The Pamban railway draw bridge, Rameswaram Island, TN , a heritage site that needs periodic upkeep

the Pamban bridge TN connecting  Rameswaram to the mainland

The Pamban bridge Tamil Nadu's Image Credit: Business Insider India)

the Pamban bridge TN connecting  Rameswaram to the mainland

Among the Indian Railroad  bridges the Pamban bridge in Tamil Nadu built by the British is the most interesting and an outstanding one known for its engineering grandeur fabricated  in the most difficult marine terrain surrounded by sea water. Some facts need to be mentioned:  01. First ever draw railway bridge to facilitate the ship movement from one side to another.  

02. Resting on well-built concrete piers, it  has a double-leaf bascule section midway, which can be raised to let ships and barges pass through

 Drawbridge, double-leaf bascule

Abov image: A Twin-Leaf Bascule bridge is a bridge where the two leafs (sections) of the bridge can rotate upwards to let the height clearance below the bridge to increase to allow ships,etc  to pass below.

the Pamban bridge, Rameswaram.

he Pamban bridge, Rameswaram

Above image: Basically, the rail bridge is, for the most part, a conventional  one,  resting on  firmly constructed concrete piers.  But the  double-leaf bascule section  being midway, can be raised to let ships and barges pass through...... A bridge over a navigable waterway must allow boats and ships to cross its path, usually by being tall enough to allow them to sail underneath it. Sometimes it is impractical to build a bridge high enough; for example, it may rise too steeply or block the view of an important landmark.  In such cases, the bridge can be designed so it can be easily moved out of the way for vessels that are too large to sail under it. Ref: html................. 

 03. Made of rust-free cast iron girders which were well fabricated to cut down the menace of  rusting and corrosive action because of persistent humidity in a marine, high-wind velocity environment, prone to cyclone.

04.  Only surface transport connecting the island of Rameswaram, a famous pilgrimage center with the mainland of Tamil nadu. 

05. It spans 2.06 km across the bay -Palk straight. 

06. On 23 December 1964, the historical Pompan bridge suffered unprecedented damages  due to severe storm surge of an estimated 7.6 m (25 ft)  overturning the Pamban-Dhanuskodi passenger train killing more than 200 passengers on board.  Again on 13 January 2013, the bridge suffered minor damage when a naval barge drifted into it.

 07.  Designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company of Chicago, it was constructed by the UK firm Head Wrightson & Co Ltd. 08. The BG line was laid on the advice of late Indian Space scientist and President A.P.J. Kalam  in 2007.

08. The British Crown administration took a decision in 1870 to build a sea bridge to increase trade with Ceylon. The construction for a draw bridge began in August 1911 and the proposal included 143 piers with a double-leaf bascule section and a Scherzer rolling type lift span that could be raised to let ships pass

The Pamban bridge was completed and opened on 24 February 1914 during the Raj; it was India's first sea bridge and the longest one  until the opening of the Bandra-Worli Sea Link in 2010. 

Rameswaram being vulnerable to cyclone during the NW Monsoon season - November- December on a few occasions the Pampon bridge was so damaged, the train services were stopped temporarily.  On 23 December 2022, the bascule of this  drawbridge was damaged primarily due to  extreme corrosion and the transportation on the bridge  was shut down permanently. The last train which officially ran on this bridge was Train no. 07695 Secunderabad - Rameswaram Special Express, which completed its commercial journey on the previous day.  In February 2023, the railway made a decision to restore the train service to the temple island with a new new Pamban bridge  using modern techniques to avoid  susceptility to corrosion and extremes humidity factors. .

It was in 1988 a long road bridge was built across the Palk straight  parallel to the rail bridge. Named  Annai Indira Gandhi Road Bridge, it connected to the NH 49 with the Rameswaram island. - between the shores of Mandapam (a place on the Indian mainland) and Pamban (one of the fishing towns on Rameswaram island)

The 2.2 km.long bridge over a bay is being used ny thousands of pilgrims a day.  Similarly the railway SCISSORS bridge connecting the island is  provided with a draw bridge to facilitate ship movement.  

When the railway officials completely suspended the services and said works for constructing a new bridge would begin soon. Rail tracks on 889 metres connecting Mandapam and the bridge had been dismantled so far, while works to take apart 275 metres of tracks leading to Rameswaram would be taken up soon, the senior residents of Rameswaram were nostalgic and recalled the MG line connecting the temple town served the people and the visiting devotees in thousands for more than 100 years (Feb 2014 it turned 100 years). An engineering ingenuity, the heritage bridge connected the island people with the main land all these years and the chugging of the steam locomotives still linger their mind and heart. 

The  new Pamban Bridge in Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu will soon ( cost of Rs. 535 crores) become a reality. . According to Piyush Goyal, "the upcoming 2.07 km long New Pamban Bridge is going to be a boon for pilgrims and devotees who wish to start a spiritual tour to Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi, in the state of Tamil Nadu."