History of Hardinge Bridge
Located in the western region of Bangladesh is a structure that was once used as a railway to enable more convenient communication between Assam, what was Eastern Bengal and Calcutta. The proposal to construct the Hardinge Bridge was put forward in 1889, but it took twenty years before the commissioning of the bridge was passed. Today it is the second biggest railway bridge in the country. Just recently the Lalon Shah Bridge was constructed next to the Hardinge Bridge, but it remains a remarkable attraction in Bangladesh.
A detailed plan for the bridge was drawn up in 1902 by Sir FJE Spring, and once the permission was given for the railway to be built, a committee was formed in 1908 to oversee the project, with the chief engineer being Sir Robert Gailes from Britain. The commissioning of the Hardinge Bridge was authorized in 1908 and in 1910 construction on the bridge had begun. It took two years to complete, and in 1815 the first trains began to make use of the 1.8 kilometer bridge. The bridge stands over the Ganges and crosses the Padma River, and runs between the railway stations Bheramara and Paksey. The bridge was named for Viceroy of India, Lord Hardinge, who was in power from 1910 until 1916. The construction of the Hardinge Bridge also benefited the local population, as it provided jobs for twenty-four thousand people. The first train to use the bridge tested its engineering on 1 January 1915 and in March that year, the bridge was officially inaugurated by Lord Hardinge.
The bridge itself was constructed out of fifteen trusses that were prefabricated and concrete was used to build the sixteen piers that keep the bridge above water, while the structures above water were constructed out of steel. The original structure was made out of a type of mild steel. After the Liberation War of Bangladesh, which took place in 1971, extensive damage was done to the bridge, but was repaired in 1972 by a joint project between the Eastern India Railway of India and the Bangladesh Railway, with reconstruction assistance being received from the Japanese Government. The Hardinge Bridge is a significant part of Bangladesh’s history that is still in use today.