Southern Railway to invite CM for Pamban Rail Bridge’s Centenary Celebrations

Pamban_Rail_BridgePamban Jn (PBM):  The Southern Railway has decided to invite Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for the centenary celebrations of Pamban rail bridge to be held in Mandapam near here on February 24 next, General Manager Rakesh Misra has said.

Talking to reporters after inspecting the function venue at Mandapam, he said former President A P J Abdul Kalam, a native of Rameswaram would be the chief guest of the function and the Southern Railway has decided to invite Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, Delhi Metro architect E.Sreedharan besides Ms. Jayalalithaa.

He said the main function would be held in front of the Mandapam Railway station on February 24, when the rail bridge, India’s first cantilever bridge would turn 100 years and a brief function would be held at Pamban on the same day. After the main function, the dignitaries would be taken by a special train across the rail bridge to Pamban, where the chief guest would unveil a plaque in commemoration of the centenary celebrations, he said.

Answering a question, he said the Southern Railway had no proposal to introduce a new train, marking the centenary celebrations. Pointing out that Parliament has to give its approval for introducing new trains after the Railways presented its budget, he said the Railway would not be able to present its budget for the year 2014 in view of the coming Lok Sabha elections.

He said the main function could not be held in Pamban for want of space and security reasons. However, the District Collector would take a final call after inspecting the venues as the State government has to provide security and control the crowd, he added. Mr. Misra, accompanied by A.K.Rastogi, Divisional Railway Manager (Madurai) visited the house of Dr Kalam in Rameswaram and extended a personal invitation to his elder brother for the centenary celebration. He also inspected the Railway properties at Danushkodi.

The Southern Railway has no proposal to restore the rail link to the town, he said. A large number of tourists and pilgrims were visiting the town and the National Highways proposed to lay a road from Mukuntharayar Chathiram.

Decision on new bridge after IIT-M submits report – Study expected to be over in a month’s time: GM/Southern Railway

The Southern Railway would take a call on building a new rail bridge after the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M), assessing the strength of the existing century-old Pamban rail bridge, presented its report, Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra has said.

In a brief chat with reporters at Mandapam, near here on Wednesday after inspecting the venue for holding the centenary celebrations of the bridge, India’s first cantilever bridge on February 24 next, he said the IIT-M was expected to complete the study in a month’s time and a decision on building a new bridge would be taken after it submitted its report and indicated the life time left in the bridge.

Stating that he would not know when the report would be available, Mr. Misra said, “everything has a life so does the bridge, which has been in existence for the past 100 years. Only after the IIT-M presented its report, will we know, whether the bridge will serve for 20 more or 50 more years.”

He said the rail bridge having split spans to open up manually to allow navigation under the bridge was located in the highly corrosive area, has a certain life.

The IIT-M has been requested to study the wear and tear in the bridge and the corrosion that has happened in all these years, he said adding “the IIT-M has been asked to tell us how much residual life was left in the bridge,” he said.

“As of now, we have no proposal to build a new bridge and we will take a decision after the IIT-M submits its report,” Mr. Misra said while answering a question.

After the Southern Railway awarded a consultancy project, the Structural Engineering Division of the IIT-M began assessing the strength of the bridge in November. S.Arul Jayachandran from the Department of Civil Engineering, IIT-M, inspected the bridge during the first week of November and launched the testing work and collection of data for various analysis.

Few days later, G.Jothinathan from IIT-M visited the bridge and supervised the Non Destructive Testing (NDT) work carried out to assess the structural integrity of the bridge