Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ignatius Pereira THE HINDU
KOLLAM , JUNE 27, 2017 

New lease of life: The renovated railway viaduct at Aryankavu and (right) the viaduct before renovation 

13-arch architecture marvel at Aryankavu strengthened to run broad gauge trains

The 114-year-old railway viaduct across a valley in Aryankavu on the Shengottai-Kollam rail route has lost its colonial charm. The transformation is the result of the viaduct being strengthened to as part of the gauge conversion work.

The landmark 102-metre Aryankavu viaduct in Kollam district, which carried meter gauge trains for more than a century, is a 13-arch architectural marvel. It was designed and constructed by British engineers.

Public appeal

Given the public sentiments for the structure, Railways authorities decided not to replace it with a new one. But to accommodate broad gauge trains, the rectangular pillars of the structure had to be strengthened.

This was done by jacketing it with concrete.

The pillars were masked with specially cut granite slabs to retain its colonial look. Work on strengthening the structure began in September 2013 and the contract was awarded for ₹3 crore.

Railways authorities claim that the strengthened viaduct could be used for another 50 years. Work on constructing the original viaduct began in the late 1890s and was completed in 1903. The metre gauge service on the Shengottai-Kollam section was commissioned in November 1904 by the then Travancore Maharaja, Sree Moolam Thirunal Rama Varma V.

Though the viaduct is not the same now, the meticulous and peculiar work carried out to strengthen it has enabled the structure to retain a part of its colonial charm for posterity.


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