Restoration works on the existing Pamban Bridge is in progress
RDSO advised to make suggestions for repairs to the bridge
Railways monitors the Pamban Bridge sensor system continuously in collaboration with IIT-Madras
Work progressing fast on the New Pamban Bridge
Rail traffic on Pamban rail bridge connecting Mandapam and Rameswaram was suspended from 23.12.22 onwards after Red alert was received from the monitoring system, for safety reasons so as to undertake detailed examination and repairs as necessary to restore the rail traffic on old Pamban bridge at the earliest. Southern Railway officials immediately conducted an inspection and assessed the condition of Bridge due to heavy corrosion & possibility of repairs for safe train operations.
Now, Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the R&D wing of the Ministry of Railways that functions as technical advisor and consultant to Railway Board and Zonal Railway, has been advised to inspect and suggest possible repairs required to put the old bridge back in service.
Continuous health Monitoring System installed by IIT, Madras helps in monitoring the bridge condition. The monitoring system sends out alert based on weather and bridge conditions. Railway takes suitable measures in accordance to the nature of alerts given out by the Monitoring system.
Existing Pamban Bridge
Celebrated as one of the iconic structures built in the pre-independence era, the great Pamban cantilever bridge was commissioned in 1914. Bridging peninsular India and the Gulf of Mannar, this vintage structure interconnects Mandapam in Rameswaram mainland with Rameswaram Island.
The Great Pamban Bridge attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. Offering a visual feast to the onlookers , the Scherzer rolling spans beautifully expand and allow cruisers and ships to pass through. The bridge transports scores of pilgrims visiting the famed Ramanathaswamy Temple. This century old engineering marvel has stood the test of times amidst highly corrosive seas.
Century-old Pamban Bridge structure and the Scherzer rolling lift span
The existing bridge structure has a total length of 2058 metre comprising 146 spans of steel girders. There are 145 spans of 12.20m length and one navigational span of 61.0m length. The navigational span is also known as Scherzer rolling lift span after the name of the railroad engineer who invented it.
The bridge has already served more than 108 years which is much more than its codal life. The bridge was getting heavily corroded and was being repaired regularly by Railways in order to carry train traffic safely.
New Pamban Bridge
Southern Railway is actively engaged with RVNL the executing agency for completion of the new Pamban bridge by end of March 2023.
The new bridge now being constructed will have 99 spans of 18.3m length and one navigational span of 72.5m length. It will be 3.0m higher than the existing bridge with navigational air clearance of 22.0m above sea level. Because of vertical lift, full horizontal width of 72.5 m will be available for navigation. This will be India’s first Vertical lift Railway sea Bridge, once the work is completed.
Substructure of the bridge is being built for the double line and the navigational span will also have provision for double line. Entire bridge including navigational span will be 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.
Work completed so far
Now 84% of the work has been completed. As on date, the work of all 333 piles, 101 pile cap and substructure and fabrication of all 99 approach spans have been completed. Of the 99 approach spans, 76 girders have been launched. Fabrication of Vertical lift span girder is nearing completion.