Centenary celebrations of Pamban Rail Bridge to begin from Jan 28

Pamban_Rail_BridgePamban Jn (PBM): The Pamban rail bridge will be illuminated with special lighting starting from January 27 to 29 to mark the inauguration of the centenary celebrations of the bridge. Former President, A P J Abdul Kalam would inaugurate the celebrations at the Pamban railway station at 12.30pm on January 28, officials from the Madurai railway division said.

Earlier officials had planned to organize the celebrations on February 24, the day when the rail bridge was officially opened for train traffic in 1914. But railway sources said that Abdul

Kalam, who had played an important role in safeguarding the bridge during the gauge conversion time, was not available during those days. Abdul Kalam had played a key role in safeguarding the bridge when the railways adopted uni-gauge policy and contemplated on dismantling the bridge when the metre gauge section was to be converted into broad gauge.

Besides, there is uncertainty about the visit of dignitaries including the railway minister since the Parliament session begins on February 5. Hence, the railway authorities decided to change the celebration pattern by inaugurating the festivities on January 28 which will prolong till February 24 with a closing ceremony.

Divisional Railway Manager, A K Rastogi said that they will inaugurate the centenary celebrations with Kalam on January 28.

“There would be a series of celebrations for the bridge turning 100 years. The inauguration celebration will include a technical session on the bridge by the Indian Institute of Technology – Madras team which took out the study on its residual life,” Rastogi said. Based on the wind and climate conditions, they will work out extending the special lighting throughout the month, he added.

“We are planning to organise a closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations on February 24 and the railway minister has expressed his consent for the visit,” he stated.

The division is also planning to release a commemorative stamp but the officials are facing some constraints. The postal department has released a stamp on Pamban Bridge under the title landscape bridges in the year 2007 and they are reluctant to release the stamp during the centenary celebrations since the postal department can do so only after a period of 10 years. “We are taking measures to release the stamp. If it does not work out, we will release postal cover on the bridge for centenary celebrations,” Rastogi added.