India’s First Vertical-Lift Railway Sea Bridge: The New Pamban Bridge

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November 20, 2023

India’s First Vertical-Lift Railway Sea Bridge: The New Pamban Bridge

India's 1st vertical lift sea bridge to be ready in a year: 10 things to  know | Mint


  • Anticipation surrounds the imminent inauguration of India’s pioneering infrastructure marvel, the new Pamban Bridge, scheduled to be unveiled by the Prime Minister within the next few months.

Bridge Overview:

  • The groundbreaking bridge links Rameswaram on Pamban Island to Mandapam on the Tamil Nadu mainland, boasting several significant advancements over its predecessor, the iconic 1914 Pamban Bridge.

Length and Structure:

  • Spanning an impressive 0.78 kilometers, the bridge comprises 99 spans, featuring 18.3-meter-long girders, with a navigational span stretching over 63 meters.
  • It stands as a replacement for the historic Pamban Bridge and is being constructed parallel to its predecessor by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.

Unique Features:

  • The new Pamban Bridge introduces pioneering features that revolutionize maritime passage:

Vertical-Lift Mechanism:

  • A standout attribute is its innovative vertical lift technology, a first in India. Unlike the old ‘Scherzer’ rolling lift system, this bridge ascends vertically while maintaining a parallel position to the deck, facilitated by precise sensors at each end.
  • The vertical lift span integrates an electromechanical control system, interlinked with the train control system.

Navigational Ease:

  • Designed to enable smooth passage for maritime traffic, the bridge momentarily halts rail traffic to elevate its navigational span vertically, creating ample clearance for boats to pass underneath, offering a full horizontal length of 72.5 meters for navigation.
  • Notably, the new bridge boasts a height 3 meters greater than its predecessor, providing a navigational air clearance of 22 meters above mean sea level.

Adaptability and Expansion:

  • Foreseeing future railway demands, the bridge is crafted for a double railway line and potential electrification, enhancing its adaptability and long-term utility.


  • The imminent inauguration of the new Pamban Bridge marks a pivotal milestone in India’s infrastructure development, symbolizing innovation and technological advancement. With its vertical lift mechanism and enhanced navigational provisions, this bridge stands as a testament to modern engineering excellence.

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India’s First Vertical-Lift Railway Sea Bridge: The New Pamban Bridge | Vaid ICS Institute