Forest clearance sought to revive ‘Boat Mail’ rail link

Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi rail line was destroyed in ’64 cyclone

Published: 26th March 2022 06:04 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2022 06:04 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Southern Railway has sought forest clearance to restore the erstwhile 17.20-km railway line connecting popular pilgrim centres of Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. Though the foundation stone of this much-hyped project was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 1, 2019, it has so far remained dormant, leading to cost escalation. While the original cost estimate was `208 crore, it burgeoned to Rs 747 crore now.

Dhanushkodi (Bow’s end) is a village at the southern tip of Rameswaram island. O­nce a flourishing tourist and pilgrimage centre, it was devastated by the cyclonic storm of 1964, which also destroyed the Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi rail link. The train, popularly known as ‘Boat mail’, was hit by a massive tidal wave and got submerged in the sea; none of the 115 passengers survived. 

 To tap the rail link’s tourism potential, the railway proposed to reconstruct the 17.20 km long electrified line. Officials said this will benefit thousands of tourists visiting the island. “Modern signalling equipment and electronic interlocking facilities; 31 minor bridges; and 10 road over bridges will be constructed along the Rameswaram-Dhanushkodi section,” officials said. There will be three halt railway stations as well along the section, officials added. 

As per official documents available with TNIE, 28 hectares of Rameswaram reserve forest will be diverted for the project. R Subramanian, deputy chief engineer (construction), Arasaradi, Madurai, said in the application: “It (the project) follows erstwhile alignment that was in existence till 1964, and it is important from pilgrimage point of view to connect Kada Theertham temple, Kothandaramar kovil, Mukundarayanchatram, and Dhanushkodi.”

The official said the project will also help restore the ferry service between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp