The main land of Indian peninsula is connected with Rameswaram Island through a Road and a Railway bridge , These two bridges commonly referred as Pamban Bridge.
Pamban railway bridge was the first Indian bridge which is built across the sea. It is generally referred as The queen of Indian bridges . The efforts for built a bridge across Pamban channel (Palk strait) was proposed by 1870’s by british government however the construction of Pamban bridge was commenced on 1911 and commissioned on 1914.
The following Table depicts the short historical notes on Train service to Rameswaram island
|1902||Train service started from Madurai – Mandapam|
|1906||Railway Tracks laid between Pamban and Rameswaram|
|1908||Train service started between Pamban and Rameswaram|
|1911||The cantilever Rail bridge across the sea was commenced|
|1914||The pamban Rail bridge has been completed and train service started|
Until 1988 Pamban rail bridge is the only connection path between Rameswaram and the main land of India.
This bridge starts its service of connecting Rameswaram island from the date of February 24, 1914. It is a cantilever bridge(In this bridge two cantilever arms fitted in the piers extending from either sides and meeting at the center without supports, this kind of structural design is termed as cantilever structure).
The bridge spans a length of 6776 feet (2.065 meters) and has 143 piers. There is a double leaf bascule in the center of this bridge. This bascule section opens up and let the ships and boats to cross the pamban bridge over the sea.Based on the records averagely there are 10 to 15 large boats or ships (coast guard boats, cargo ships, container ships etc.,) pass beneath this bridge every month.. The bascule was designed by “Scherzer” a German engineer, the bascule part of the bridge is called as “Scherzer rolling type lift span” and have the length of 220 feet and weight of 200 tonnes (each leaf weighs 100 tonnes separately). Till datethese heavy weight leaves are lifted manually by workers operating levers on either side.
The environment where The Pamban rail bridge stands is said as worlds second most corrosive environment and also this region is a Cyclone prone and high velocity wind zone.
On December 23, 1964 A Super cyclonic storm struck the pamban bridge with the velocity of 240 Km/Hour after swept off the entire dhanuskodi and upturned the. Pamban-Dhanuskodi passenger Train with 150 passengers.
Part of the Pamban Railway bridge was shattered and broken because of the catastrophe.
After this disaster The Indian Railway Engineers team had been came up with a 6 monthplan to set back the tracks on place and repairing of bridge.
By let everybody in amazement , The bridge was renovated and restored again in just 46 days under the leadership of I.E.S officer E.sreedharan renowned as Metro man.
For his quick heel action to the pamban bridge he was honoured by Railway minister Award by that year.
The Indian Railway upgraded this bridge to broad gauge in august 12,2007.
On January ,2013 (one of the pier is repaired due to the minor damage caused by a cargo ship).
The 100th year celebration of the pamban rail bridge was performed in 2014 February 24. Recently Pamban bridge is nominated for UNESCO’s heritage status.
crossing catastropical events, accidnts, flowing tides and years the queen of indian bridges(the pamban bridge) stands with a everlasting smile in the palk strait as a gigantic engineering marvel.