RAMESWARAM: The century-old Pamban Cantilever Railway Bridge, which is the only link between Rameswaram and the mainland, had a major damage on Tuesday. Engineering experts working to repair the damage have recommended that Southern Railways should not operate any trains on the bridge for the next 45 days. Soon after the damage, the officials, including Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM — I) Lalit Kumar Manusukhani and a team led by Ravindran Babu, Chief Bridge Engineer, Southern Railway, began the repair work in the bridge. They found that the Scherzer rolling type lift span was broken.
On Thursday, after rectifying the defects, the officials held a trial run of a locomotive train with empty rakes. Analysing the trail run, the expert team found more fissures in the parts of the movable track which opens to allow the passage of ships.
It was also found that the iron parts in the track were damaged to some extent, prompting experts to suggest that operating the trains on the bridge would be very risky. A Trichy-based based company is said to have undertaken the responsibility of supplying iron parts for repair.
A highly placed source involved in the maintenance work told Express that it would take more than a month to rectify the damages and that the double truss span which helps in opening the bridge should be monitored closely. The source also added that the Chief Bridge Engineer of Southern Railway had suggested suspending the running of trains on the bridge for the next 45 days.Speaking to Express, Neenu Ittreyah, Divisional Railway Manager of Madurai Division said the expected time for repair cannot be revealed because of technicality.