Railways will preserve a portion of the 19th century-era Jubilee Bridge over the Hooghly riverin a specially-designed open air museum, in what is billed asa first-of-its-kind conservation exercise in the country.
Decommissioned since April 2016, the rail bridge in Kolkata will be dismantled and a significant section of itwill be re-assembled at the open air museum for public displayas well as for educating engineering students.
Opened for traffic on February 16, 1885, the Jubilee Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in the country, is an engineering marvel with a riveted cantilever truss structure and fitted with unique cast iron pendulum bearings.
While it may not be possible to preserve the whole bridgedue to river navigational channel issues, relocation of atleast part of it to an open air museum is worth considering for preservation, said a senior Railway Ministry official responsible for rail heritage preservation.
Eastern Railway has been instructed to identify asuitable place near Kolkata to develop the museum in Kolkata. This will be the first such museum, the official said. According to the plan, one span/girder of this iconic bridge along with bridge plates and other unique items likependulum bearings will be mounted in the museum.
Creation of the museum is part of an ongoing exercise being undertaken by the Railways to preserve and showcase rail heritage properties including bridges, locomotives, buildings across the country.
So far about 100 buildings, bridges and structures have already been identified by the Railways as heritage assets. The Railways is creating a digital repository for allrail heritage structures including bridges and buildings.
The Jubilee Bridge was opened in the golden jubilee yearof the reign of Queen Victoria. After serving more than acentury, the Jubilee Bridge connecting Naihati and Bandelstation has been decommissioned in April 2016.