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Talaimannar Pier and Railway Station

Talaimannar Pier
The Talaimannar Pier and railway station are located in Talaimannar in Mannar District, Sri Lanka.

Talaimannar Pier
The proposal to build a rail bridge across the Palk Strait was originally brought forward by the British government in 1894, in order to facilitate the transportation of workers from Tamil Nadu, India for the tea plantations in Sri Lanka. In 1902, the rail line between Colombo and Kankesanturai was opened and a branch of this railway line was built in 1913, linking Madawachchiya and Talimannar Pier.

The Talaimannar station was opened on 24 February 1914. The pier and railway station functioned in 1914 to ferried passengers between Talaimannar and Dhanuskodi (Rameswaram, India) At the time, it was considered the cheapest mode of transport of passengers and goods between the two neighbors. In 1967, both piers at Talaimannar and Dhanuskodi were damaged by the "Dhanuskodi Cyclone" which caused to suspend of the ferry service between the two countries. Three years later, the infrastructure had been repaired and the ferry service was commenced again.

However, the service had to be abandoned again in 1983/84, due to the escalating war situation in Sri Lanka. The war between the government forces and LTTE (a rebel group designated as a terrorist organization) badly affected the ferry transportation between the two countries. During this period, the railway lines were completely destroyed by the LTTE and the steel bars of the track were used by them to build their bunkers (Thalpawila, 2017).

The Thalaimannar railway station was abandoned in 1990 and reopened on 14 March 2015, after the end of the civil war.

The pier was extending about 960 ft North of the mainland coast and supported a double railway track. The present pier is about 848 ft long and remains in a highly dilapidated state (Asanga & Nishantha, 2018)

A protected monument
The old pier at Thaleimannar belonging to Old Pier village in the Divisional Secretary’s Division Thaleimannar is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 March 2016.

1) Asanga, M. V. G. K.; Nishantha, I. P. S., 2018. Mannarama Distrikkaya (In Sinhala). Department of Archaeology (Sri Lanka). ISBN: 978-955-7457-10-9. p.76.
2) Thalpawila, O. N., 2017. Road to Jaffna - Road to Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. The International Conference on Land Transportation, Locomotive Heritage and Road Culture - 2017, Centre for Heritage Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. p.14.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: No: 1960. 24 March 2016. p.229.

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This page was last updated on 12 January 2023

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