Old damaged railway bridge, reduced speed of 35 trains
Baunjan railway bridge in Chalanbil of Bhangura upazila of Pabna has become dangerous as it is hundred years old. Contractors have been appointed to repair the damaged pillars of the bridge but the work has been stopped for almost two months. As a result, 35 trains of north and south are running daily on this damaged bridge.
According to the Pakshi divisional office of Western Railway, the only way to connect northern and southern parts of Western Railway with Dhaka is through Bangabandhu Bridge and Ishwardi-Joidebpur railway line. About 35 trains ply on this route every day. About 75 thousand passengers travel in these trains. This century old railway has several railway bridges built by the British. Meanwhile, the pillars of the Baunjan bridge have become vulnerable due to damage. Recently, the railway department hired a contractor to repair the bridge.
Last Saturday, it was seen on the ground that the water was flowing. The red colored bridge is standing on 14 of these pillars. The bridge is 100 meters long. Most of the pillars have collapsed. Some pillars have cracks. The girders are fastened with iron angles to the sides of the two pillars. In this situation, the train is running over the bridge. A worker waves a red flag when the train arrives. In this, the driver slows down and crosses the bridge slowly.
Talking to local people, it is known that the bridge has been damaged for a long time. Recently the railway department appointed contractors as the situation worsened. But the contractor has stopped the work after constructing the iron angle structure next to the two pillars. They have not been doing any work for almost two months.
College teacher Abdur Rahim said that he regularly travels by train on this route. When the train comes near the bridge, I get scared. Many get off when the train stops, cross the bridge on foot.
Abdul Malek, master of Bhangura railway station, said that special precautions have been taken for train movement until the damaged bridge is repaired. Every train coming and going is stopped by red flag when it approaches the bridge. After that the train is crossing the bridge at a speed of eight kilometers according to the instructions of the railway engineering department.
A contractor named Max RTC is working on the renovation of the bridge. Saju Sekh, an employee of the organization, said that all 14 pillars of this old bridge are weak. As a result, iron bars are provided around each pillar. This fence will protect the main pillar. After the start of the work, the fence has been constructed on two pillars. However, the work cannot be done due to the increase of water in the bill. The work will be started again when the water subsides a little.
Pakshi Divisional Transport Officer Anwar Hossain said that this is the only way to connect north and south with Dhaka. As a result, the train is forced to cross the bridge slowly. It takes more time and sometimes the train schedule is disrupted.
In this regard, Birbal Mondal, Pakshi Divisional Engineer of Western Railway said that although the bridge is old, there is no risk to train movement. The damaged pillars are being repaired. There is no fear if the train runs at a reduced speed until the renovation work is completed.
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