Updated February 22nd, 2024 at 21:38 IST

Pamban Railway Bridge in Rameswaram: 11 Points to Know About India’s First Vertical-Lift Bridge

India's first vertical-lift bridge – the Pamban Railway Bridge – connecting the country's mainland with the Rameswaram Island will become operational very soon.

Reported by: Digital Desk
Edited by: Kriti Dhingra
India's first vertical-lift bridge – the Pamban Railway Bridge – connecting the country's mainland with the Rameswaram Island will become operational very soon. | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: India's first vertical-lift bridge – the Pamban Railway Bridge – connecting the country's mainland with the Rameswaram Island will become operational very soon, Railway Board chairperson Jaya Varma Sinha announced today. “The re-construction work is going very well and we will be restoring the services very soon”, news agency PTI quoted Varma as saying.

"Our people have done a commendable job considering the multiple challenges that they have been facing in the bridge re-construction. Building a vertical-lift bridge, which is the first-of-its-kind in the country, on the sea which tends to get very rough is a very challenging task," Varma reportedly said.

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All you need to know about Pamban Railway Bridge:

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the new bridge in November 2019 and the work was started in February 2020 by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.
  • The bridge was supposed to be completed by December 2021. The deadline, however, was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the Southern Railways, the 2.05-kilometers-long bridge will allow the Indian Railways to operate trains at a higher speed and it will also increase traffic between the mainland of India and the Rameswaram Island.
  • Until 1988 – the year in which a road bridge was constructed – train services were the only link connecting Mandapam to Rameswaram Island situated in the Gulf of Mannar.
  • The vertical clearance for the old bridge was only 1.5 metre between the high-tide level and the bottom of girder, that often resulted in splashing of sea water on the girders.
  • According to a Southern Railway spokesperson, "With only little left in terms of residual life of the bridge, it was decided to reconstruct the bridge suitable for double lines, including navigational lift span parallel to the existing bridge.
  • The new bridge will have 100 spans of 18.3 metres and one navigational span of 63 metres.
  • The new bridge will be 3.0 metres higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22.0 metres above sea level. 
  • The substructure of the bridge has been built for the double lines and the navigational span will also have provision for double lines.
  • The entire bridge, including the navigational span, has been designed keeping in mind the railways' plan of electrification. 
  • In comparison to existing manual operation and control, the new bridge will have electro-mechanical controlled systems which will be interlocked with train control systems.
  • The railways has deployed cutting-edge technologies like stainless steel reinforcement, composite sleepers and a long-life painting system in the construction of the new bridge.  

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the new Pamban Railway Bridge in November 2019 and the work was started in February 2020 by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited. (Image courtesy: ramanathapuram.nic.in)

The train services between Mandapam in the mainland and Rameswaram Island were suspended on December 23 2022 after the existing rail bridge, which was built in 1913, was declared non-operational from the safety point of view.

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"As the old Pamban bridge aged and was not safe for usage, the need to construct a new bridge became necessary," a Southern Railway (SR) official told PTI.

The trains to Rameswaram first arrive at Mandapam in Ramanathapuram district in Tamil Nadu. "When the Pamban bridge was operational, trains used to move to the bridge and reach Rameswaram. They used to move slowly on the Pamban bridge and reach the pilgrimage town in about 15 minutes," the railway official reportedly said.

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The railways has deployed cutting-edge technologies like stainless steel reinforcement, composite sleepers and a long-life painting system in the construction of the new Pamban Railway Bridge. (Image courtesy: ramanathapuram.nic.in)

At present, all trains terminate at Mandapam and people use road routes to reach Rameswaram.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Published February 22nd, 2024 at 21:38 IST