Indian Railways is looking to construct a railway line between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi (the starting point of Ram Setu), and a new Pamban bridge. Both the projects are expected to be complete in the next four years.
Indian Railways to construct a new Pamban bridge and bring Ram Setu on the railway map! In two separate projects that will bring cheer to Indian Railways passengers, and pilgrims in particular, the national transporter is looking to construct a railway line between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi (the starting point of Ram Setu), and a new Pamban bridge. Both the projects are expected to be complete in the next four years. The new Pamban bridge, connecting Mandapam on the mainland and Rameswaram on the Pamban island, will have India’s first vertical launch rail section. The new bridge will be built parallel to the existing 104-year old bridge, which is practically non-operational. On the other hand, Dhanushkodi – practically a ghost town – will get a railway line several decades after a cyclone destroyed the station.
New Pamban bridge project
The new Pamban bridge will be over 2 kilometres long with 100 spans of 18.3 metres and one navigational span of 63 metres. This navigational span will move vertically upwards to allow for movement of ships and steamers. The British-era Pamban bridge has a ‘Scherzer’ rolling lift technology which helps open the folds of the bridge horizontally. The new Pamban bridge will have a navigational clearance of 22 metres above the sea level and will also be made keeping in mind Indian Railways plans for electrification. A vertical lift of the span will allow for the full 63 metres to be available for movement.
At present, a manual operation for control of movement of trains is in place. The new bridge will have electro-mechanical controlled systems which will be in tandem to the train control systems. The Rs 250 crore project has been cleared by the Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry and a tender would be floated soon, a senior railway official told Financial Express Online.
First vertical lift Pamban bridge of Indian Railways and a rail link to Ram Setu!
The Pamban bridge was commissioned in 1914 to connect the last station on mainland Indian peninsula – Mandapam – to the Rameswaram island in the Gulf of Mannar. Till 1988, it was the only surface link connecting the two places, till a road bridge was built parallel to it. Trains using the Pamban bridge transport hundreds of pilgrims everyday to the temple on the island.
Bringing Ram Setu on the Indian Railways map
Dhanushkodi is the starting point of Ram Setu and it is said the Hindu pilgrimage is incomplete without a dip there. In the 1964 cyclone, the town of Dhanushkodi was completely destroyed and hundreds of lives were lost, including that of train passengers on the Dhanushkodi-bound train. The train had been completely swept under water by the tidal waves.
Now, Indian Railways is looking to construct a 17-kilometre long line from Rameswaram island to Dhanushkodi, to re-establish rail connectivity and provide pilgrims with an easy option to travel to the holy town. The Rs 208 crore project has also got the nod from Railway Ministry and will be completed in the next 2-3 years.