Boat Mail Train Runs On The New Pamban Bridge, 1914 Photo

Boat Mail Train Over New Pamban Bridge, 1914 Photo

A rare old 1914 photo of the Boat Mail Train running on the new Pamban Railway Bridge. In fact, it was also the inaugural run of the first Boat Mail Train or the Indo-Ceylon Express Train. It is shown here crossing the new Pamban Railway Bridge. This postcard-size photo shows the inaugural run of the Boat Mail Train after the opening of the new Pamban Railway Bridge.

Formerly named the “Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge”, later renamed the “Annai Indira Gandhi Bridge”. But colloquially known as the Pamban Railway Bridge. It is India’s first rail sea bridge. Built on the Palk Strait, it connects mainland India to Rameshwaram Island and then to Dhanushkodi.

The boat mail began its service in 1914 after the Pamban Bridge was completed. The service starts from the Egmore Station in Madras (Chennai) to Rameshwaram and then to Dhanushkodi. From there a ship awaits the passengers to ferry them to Talaimannar on the Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) side.

But in the late 19th century the railway route was up to Tuticorin (Thoothukodi), and then catching a ship to cross to Ceylon. The journey was considered longer and more tedious. After a huge cyclone hit in 1964 giant waves swept away the train at Dhanushkodi killing several people. The rail service was then terminated to Rameshwaram.

See more on Dhanushkodi.

Did you know – the service existed primarily to ferry Tamil labourers to the Sri Lanka side to work for the tea and plantation estates, since Sri Lanka had a shortage of workers.  

From the collection – M. Suriyamoorthy Charcoal On Paper Beautiful Lady (#6)., Life In British India Horseshoe Work – Old Photo 1890., British Restaurant At Pune, Old 1900 Postcard., Rioting In Southern India – Old print 1921.