Bridge Number 73 from Bhayander-Panju Isle (in the district of Thane) is 1,430 metres long, while Bridge Number 75 from Panju Isle-Naigaon (in the district of Palghar) is 550 metres.
Indian Railways’ 156-year-old two open bridges that fall under the Western Railway zone spanning two arms of the Thane Creek between Panju Isle-Naigaon and Bhayander-Panju Isle are being dismantled. The two bridges- 1,980 metres long in total, were built in the year 1864 – the same year as north India’s first railway station was set up in the form of Delhi Junction to connect the national capital with the then Calcutta. Both the bridges were constructed by the Bombay Baroda & Central India (BB&CI) Railway and are 6 metres wide. Bridge Number 73 from Bhayander-Panju Isle (in the district of Thane) is 1,430 metres long, while Bridge Number 75 from Panju Isle-Naigaon (in the district of Palghar) is 550 metres, the Western Railway zone confirmed to Financial Express Online.
According to Western Railways, on 12 April 1867, the first train on the then Backbay-Virar sector ran. For nearly 120 years, the two strategic bridges served the national transporter on Western Railways Mumbai-Delhi and Mumbai-Ahmedabad routes. The zonal railways said these two bridges handled all Mumbai local trains from Churchgate to Virar, long-distance passenger trains including Rajdhani Express, Jammu-Tawi Express, Frontier Mail, or Ahmedabad Passenger and other trains with many halts en route, other than heavily-laden freight trains.
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According to the Western Railway zone, Bridge Number 75 was sold in February 2020, but due to COVID-19 lockdown, it could start the dismantling work only from 5 November 2020. Now, almost 80% of the dismantling work is completed and more than half the scrap delivery is done. The dismantling work on Bridge Number 73 with gas cutters started on 20 December 2020, and approximately 35% progress has been achieved. The entire dismantling work of the upper portions would be over by the end of January as per current trends, before the work on the pillars rooted in the waters of Thane Creek is taken up.
For several years, these two bridges were utilized by the public of the 2.50 sq km vehicle-free Panju Isle, housing a population of approx 1,500. As per some estimates, the Western Railways could rake in an amount of around Rs 3 crore from the 1,450 tonnes scrap iron that would be generated from these bridges.