Pamban Bridge Nears Completion: India’s First Vertical Lift Railway Bridge | India Business News – Times of India

Pamban bridge nears completion! Railway Board chairperson Jaya Varma Sinha has announced that the Pamban railway bridge, India’s inaugural vertical-lift bridge linking the mainland with Rameswaram Island, is on the brink of operational readiness. Varma, after a recent visit to Rameswaram to assess the project’s advancement said that the reconstruction progress is proceeding smoothly.
“Our team has demonstrated remarkable dedication amidst numerous obstacles encountered during the bridge reconstruction.Erecting a vertical-lift bridge, the first of its kind in the nation, over turbulent seas presents significant challenges,” stated the Railway Board chairperson and chief executive officer (CEO) according to a PTI report..
The new Pamban bridge, India’s first vertical lift railway bridge over the sea, is a breathtaking marvel. Serving as a link between Rameswaram on Pamban Island and Mandapam on the mainland, it is being constructed parallel to the old Pamban bridge by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited at an estimated cost of Rs 535 crore.

New Pamban Bridge: Top facts

  1. One of the most distinctive features of the new Pamban bridge is its vertical lift capability, facilitating seamless passage for boats beneath the bridge. This vertical lift span will feature electromechanical controls integrated with the train control system.
  2. The new Pamban bridge has been designed to accommodate future electrification, aligning with Indian Railways’ broader goal of transitioning to full electrification across its broad gauge network.
  3. The new Pamban bridge’s substructure has been constructed to accommodate double lines, and provisions have been made for double lines in the navigational span as well.
  4. This vertical lift mechanism, a pioneering innovation in the country, will provide a full horizontal clearance of 72.5 meters for navigation.
  5. To facilitate the passage of shipping traffic beneath the vertical lift section of the bridge, rail traffic will be halted temporarily. The navigational span will ascend vertically to create adequate clearance for boats to navigate through.
  6. The new Pamban bridge will consist of 100 spans of 18.3 meters each and one navigational span of 63 meters. It will stand 3.0 meters taller than the existing bridge, providing a navigational air clearance of 22.0 meters above sea level.
  7. Cutting-edge technologies such as stainless steel reinforcement, composite sleepers, and a long-life painting system have been employed by the railways in the construction of the new bridge.
  8. The new 2.05-kilometer-long Pamban bridge, according to Southern Railway, will facilitate faster train operations and enhance traffic between mainland India and Rameswaram Island.
  9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the new Pamban bridge, running parallel to the old one, in November 2019. The construction, undertaken by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), commenced in February 2020, with an initial completion target of December 2021. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the deadline was extended.
  10. The previous bridge had a limited vertical clearance of only 1.5 meters between high tide level and girder bottom, resulting in sea water splashing onto the girders. “Due to the bridge’s dwindling residual lifespan, it was deemed necessary to reconstruct it to accommodate double lines, including a navigational lift span parallel to the existing structure,” PTI quoted a Southern Railway spokesperson as saying. Before the construction of a road bridge in 1988, train services served as the sole connection between Mandapam and Rameswaram Island in the Gulf of Mannar.

Train services between Mandapam on the mainland and Rameswaram Island ceased on December 23, 2022, following the closure of the existing rail bridge, constructed in 1913, due to safety concerns. A Southern Railway official emphasized the imperative for a new bridge, citing the aging and unsafe condition of the old Pamban bridge. Previously, trains would traverse the Pamban bridge at a leisurely pace, reaching Rameswaram in approximately 15 minutes. Currently, all trains terminate at Mandapam, necessitating travel via road to reach Rameswaram.

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