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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Pamban Bridge: India’s First Vertical Lift Railway Marvel Nears Completion

The upcoming Pamban Bridge stands as India’s pioneering vertical lift railway bridge over the sea, presenting a breathtaking spectacle. Expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coming months, this engineering marvel connects Rameswaram on Pamban Island to Mandapam on the mainland. Constructed in parallel to the old Pamban Bridge, the new structure is nearing completion under the guidance of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 535 crore. Here are some noteworthy facts that make the new Pamban Bridge truly exceptional:

Pamban Bridge 1
Pamban Bridge
  1. Significant Progress: The new Pamban Bridge is currently 90% complete, with its foundation stone laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2019. Designed to accommodate a double railway line and future electrification, it aligns with Indian Railways’ broader electrification plans for its broad gauge network.
  2. Impressive Length and Spans: Stretching just over 2 kilometers, the bridge boasts 99 spans featuring 18.3-meter-long girders. Notably, its navigational span extends to 63 meters.
  3. Vertical Lift Innovation: A standout feature is the vertical lift facility, a pioneering addition in India. This electromechanical control, interlocked with the train control system, allows boats to smoothly pass beneath the bridge.
  4. Navigational Span Movement: To facilitate shipping traffic, the rail traffic would be temporarily halted, enabling the vertical lift section to move up, creating sufficient height for boats to navigate. This unique mechanism ensures a full horizontal length of 72.5 meters for navigation.
  5. Height Advantages: The new Pamban Bridge stands 3 meters higher than its predecessor, providing a navigational air clearance of 22 meters above mean sea level.
  6. Modernized Approach: In contrast to the manual operation of the old Pamban Bridge’s Scherzer’s Span, the new bridge introduces advanced electromechanical control for seamless vertical movement.
  7. Replacement of Aging Infrastructure: The old Pamban Bridge, inaugurated in 1914 as India’s first sea bridge, served on a narrow gauge and underwent an upgrade to broad gauge in 2007. However, wear and tear, compounded by corrosion, have led to its suspension of rail traffic from December 2022.
  8. Critical Concerns and Suspension: The older bridge faced operational challenges, prompting a suspension of rail traffic after red alerts from sensors. Concerns raised by IIT-Madras and the Research Design and Standards Organisation of Indian Railways about stability further led to its permanent suspension.
  9. Historical Significance: The old Pamban Bridge holds historical importance as India’s first sea bridge, serving the nation for over a century. The imminent inauguration of the new Pamban Bridge marks the retirement of Indian Railways’ Bridge No 346, potentially paving the way for its dismantling.
Pamban Bridge 2
Old Pamban Bridge

The new Pamban Bridge not only signifies a technological leap in railway infrastructure but also underlines India’s commitment to modernization and innovation in its transportation networks.

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