Shri Narendra Modi Hon’ble Prime Minister of India laid the foundation stone for two prestigious projects and also flagged off Madurai – Chennai Tejas Express at a function at Kanniyakumari (today) Friday the 01st March, 2019 in the august presence of Shri Banwarilal Purohit, Hon’ble Governor of Tamilnadu, Shri Edappadi K Palaniswami, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan, Union Minister of State for Finance and Shipping, Shri O.Panneerselvam, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Hon’ble Ministers from Tamilnadu, MPs and MLAs were graced the occasion.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister laid Foundation stones for Restoration of Rail Connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi (17.20km) at a cost of Rs.208 crore, and for Construction of new Bridge at Pamban Viaduct (2.05 Km) at a cost of Rs.250 crore. The Honble Prime Minister also flagged off the prestigious Madurai – Chennai Egmore Tejas Express through video conferencing from Kanniyakumari. The regular service of Tejas Express will start from 2nd March from both ends.
Hon’ble Prime Minister in his key note address, expressed happiness in dedicating / Inaugurating various transport sector projects of Railways, Roadways and Highways today. He said that the Modern Madurai Chennai Tejas Express Train manufactured by ICF, under the “Make in India” Programme will be the fastest in Madurai – Chennai sector.
Similarly, the Rameswaram, Dhanushkodi line that was damaged during the 1964 cyclone, is finally getting reconstructed after more than 50 years of no attention, along with the New Bridge at Pamban which are certainly milestones of Railway progress in this region.
1.Laying of Foundation stone for Restoration of Rail Connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi (17.20km) Rs. 208 Cr.
‘Dhanushkodi’ meaning ‘Bow’s end’ in Tamil, is a village at the southern tip of Rameswaram Island. It was once a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage centre. There was a 17.20 Km-long railway line between Pamban on Chennai – Rameswaram line and Dhanushkodi. A popular ferry service connected Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka. On 22nd December, 1964, the train popularly called as ‘Boat mail’ which left Pamban with 115 passengers was hit by a massive tidal wave and got drowned under water. Pamban Bridge was also washed away.
Now, after more than 50 years, the Railway line is being restored between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi - 17.2 km. at a cost of Rs.208 crore with electrification.
This will immensely benefit hundreds of thousands of tourists visiting the famed tourist destination. Modern signalling equipment and Electronic Interlocking facilities, 31 minor bridges and 10 Road Over Bridges (ROBs) will be constructed in the section. There will be three halt railway stations in the new section between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. Stations will be developed with all the facilities to promote the tourism in this sector including running of tourist special trains to this place.
2.Laying of Foundation Stone for Construction of New Pamban Viaduct Bridge No.346 (2.05 Km) – Rs. 250 Crore.
Celebrated as one of the iconic structures of the erstwhile era, the great Pamban cantilever bridge was commissioned in 1914, has already served more than 104 years which is much more than codal life. With less years of residual life of the bridge, it has been proposed to reconstruct the bridge suitable for double line including navigational lift span parallel to the existing bridge at a cost of rupees 250 crores using cutting edge-edge Technologies.
The new Pamban viaduct (2.05 Kms) will have 100 spans of 18.3m steel girder and one navigational span of 72.5 m and will be suitable for double line. 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 72.5m will be available for navigation.
3.Flagging off of new Tejas Express Train No. 22672/22671 (Madurai – Chennai Egmore six days a week except Thursday)
Chennai Egmore – Madurai Tejas Express with ultra-modern facilities will be the fastest in Chennai-Madurai sector and will cover the 496 Km stretch around 6 and a half hours. The new gift to the people of Southern districts of Tamil Nadu, Tejas Train service will provide the comfort and luxury to tourists, pilgrims and business class travellers who travel frequently between these cities.
With a composition of 1 First AC Executive Chair Car, 12 AC Chair Cars, and 2 Generator cum luggage/Brake Vans, (total 15 coaches) the regular service of Train No.22671/22672 Chennai Egmore – Madurai – Chennai Egmore TEJAS EXPRESS (6 days a week, except on Thursdays) will commence on 2nd March as per the following timings. Train No.22671 Chennai Egmore – Madurai Tejas Express will leave Chennai Egmore at 06.00 hrs, leave Tiruchirappalli at 10.25 hrs, leave Kodaikkanal Road at 11.40 hrs and reach Madurai at 12.30 hrs. (six days a week, except Thursdays) In the return direction, Train No.22672 Madurai – Chennai Egmore Tejas Express will leave Madurai at 15.00 hrs, leave Kodaikkanal Road at 15.30 hrs, leave Tiruchirappalli at 16.52 hrs, and reach Chennai Egmore at 21.30 hrs. (six days a week, except Thursdays)