"There are about hundreds of railway structures and sites lying unused and abandoned. These structures with remarkable heritage value can be developed as tourist sites with private participation," a senior Railways official said. To begin with, Railways has selected Kabini bridge near Mysore to be developed as a tourist site. "We have approached the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for developing the 270-year-old Kabini railway bridge in Karnataka which is currently lying unused," the official said.
Kabini Railway track
Built in brick, sand and stone with Gothic style arches, the bridge across the Kabini river is situated between Tandavpura and Nanjangud town stations on the Mysore-Chamarajnagar section. It has been rendered redundant in the wake of gauge conversion of the Mysore-Nanjangud section.
Given the proximity of this bridge to the Mysore-Ooty highway and also the upcoming Mysore airport, it is imperative that a confluence of old and new can be created on and around the heritage bridge by developing the structure, according to a proposal by Railways submitted to the CII.
The 17th century bridge is a strong structure with 23 very substantial arches and over 50 spans of eight feet each along the bridge.
Railways has suggested commissioning of a restaurant and a heritage gallery in the metre-gauge coaches to be placed on the Kabini bridge, besides developing some colourful play stations for children.
According to the Kabini plan, a rail bus with a carrying capacity of 25 persons will shuttle between Sujatapuram and the bridge. At the Mysore-end bridge, a steam locomotive with three metre-gauge coaches will be stationed.
"We also want to develop the Kabini site into a coveted round the year picnic spot. The concept can be realised through a partnership with the heritage-sensitive organisations in the public and private sector," the official said.
So, let the renovation begin...