Train services on Pamban bridge suspended

Experts from IIT-Chennai conducting tests on sea bridge

Even as a team of experts from IIT-Chennai are involved in investigating the ‘strain’ on structural member of Pamban rail bridge, Southern Railway has short-terminated Chennai-Rameswaram special train at Mandapam as a precautionary measure.

“Since the continuous health monitoring system revealed a major strain on the member of the bridge, we are not allowing any passenger trains on it,” a senior railway official said.

The sensors installed on the century-old steel bridge by IIT-Chennai raised an alarm after the first train — on resumption of train services after lockdown — crossed the bridge on Friday. Consequently, the empty rake of the train was run on the structure from Rameswaram to Mandapam. Passengers were ferried through special bus services to Mandapam.

“The inspection is under way and the actual problem is being ascertained. Only after trials and ensuring the stability of the bridge, we will advise on running of trains on the bridge,” the official added.

“Till [today] Wednesday morning, we operated special buses to ferry passengers from Mandapam to Rameswaram. However, since the train service have been cancelled between Mandapam and Rameswaram, buses will not be operated by us anymore,” an official said.

Passengers have to make their own transport arrangements between Mandapam and Rameswaram. “The difference of fare would be given to passengers. They are being intimated about the change in facilities,” he added.

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