December 2, 2018
In the state of Assam in northeastern India, a road-rail bridge began service when a freight train chugged across the newly built structure. Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of railways, used his Twitter account that same day to highlight this crossing. He tweeted that the inaugural train trip on December 2 was “a milestone event,” and also indicated that it marked a “Historic Day for Railways.”
The Bogipeel Bridge, which spans the Brahmaputra river between Assam’s Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts (administrative geographical units), was officially opened to road and rail traffic by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 25. Others taking part in the dedication ceremony included Jagdish Mukhi, governor of Assam; and Sarbananda Sonowal, the state’s chief minister. Modi characterized the truss bridge as a lifeline for that part of India. One of the principal reasons for constructing the Bogipeel Bridge in the first place was to more closely link the Dehmaji and Dibrugarh districts and therefore significantly reduce the travel time between those regions.
The foundation of the bridge had been laid in 1997 by Prime Minister H.D. Deva Gowda. It was Prime Minister Atal Bihair Vajpayee, however, who initiated the actual construction on the bridge in 2002. Vajpayee, who served as prime minister from 1998 to 2004, died just a few months before the Bogibeel Bridge went into service. The official opening of the bridge took place on what would have been his 94th birthday. (Since 2014, December 25 has been observed throughout India as Good Governance Day to honor Vajpayee and strengthen awareness of the need for accountability in government.)
With a length of 3.1 miles (4.9 kilometers), the Bogibeel Bridge is the longest road-rail bridge in India. It also has the distinction of being the country’s fifth-longest bridge. The multi-modal Bogibeel Bridge consists of three road lanes as part of National Highway 15 and two rail tracks.
For more information on the crossing of the first freight train on the Bogibeel Bridge, please check out https://swarajyamag.com/insta/watch-in-a-historic-moment-first-freight-train-runs-on-indias-longest-road-cum-rail-bridge.
Additional information on the Bogibeel Bridge is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bogibeel_Bridge.