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COVID-19 Lockdown: Railways uses opportunity to maintain and repair pending tracks

  • INDIA
  • Team PresentMirror | Updated: May 10, 2020, 9:30 a.m.




Initially, what was about urgent maintenance only which got converted into mega maintenance carnival in this once in a lifetime opportunity for railways.Less maintenance windows lead to over-aging of assets and installations compromising safety aspects.If one window is shut somewhere another window opens.


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Lockdown has seen many warriors on forefront in hospitals as well as on roads. But many of us missed the lifeline of the country on tracks, because of disguised arterial circulation behind the curtains. Some kept saving us from COVID-19 while other from hunger. From the fuel supply at pumps, to groceries at nearby stores along with almost every essential, were transported at double pace after suspension of passenger traffic. Initially, what was about urgent maintenance only which got converted into mega maintenance carnival in this once in a lifetime opportunity for railways.

The maintenance activities are generally carried in single corridor of 4 hours or two corridors of 2.5 hours each but practically due to heavy traffic, it becomes difficult to arrange a line block in ordinary days. Moreover, there are recovery times included in total travel time of each trains which gets consumed on account of speed restrictions due to emergencies, planned activities and signaling as well as operating delays. Less maintenance windows lead to over-aging of assets and installations compromising safety aspects. So, this lockdown brought a blessing to increase safety and punctuality on track.

Generally, these activities require 2 to 12 hours of rail traffic blockage. Major maintenance activities currently being done include-

1.     Bridge maintenance and overhauling works, replacement of channel sleepers with H-beam sleepers on bridges, girder repair works etc.

2.     Elimination of level crossings by construction of Limited Height Subway.

3.     Overhauling of level crossings.

4.     Over Head Electrical maintenance works.

5.     Footover bridges, subways and drainage works.

6.     Controlled blasting in large cuttings, removal of loose boulders and tunnel repair works.

7.     Deep screening of ballast manually and by Ballast Cleaning Machines.

8.     Destressing works to remove thermal stresses in rails to prevent fractures and bucklings.

9.     Through Rail Renewal, Through Sleeper Renewal, Through Fittings Renewal and replacement of deteriorated rails.

10. Yard Remodelling and Replacement of over-aged assets such as Points & Crossings, Switch Expansion Joints, Glued Joints etc.

11. Track Machines operation for tamping of bad patches, point packing works, Utility Train Vehicles etc.

12. Increased frequency of Oscillation Monitoring Systems and Track Recording Car runs and Ultrasonic Flaw Detection machines.

Indian Railways carrying out maintenance work at a bridge

Major maintenance projects recently completed include -

       Insertion of a new waterway bridge between Singarayakonda and Tanguturu in Andhra Pradesh.

       Re-girdering of Mithi bridge on the Churchgate-bound fast line in the Bandra-Mahim section and one over Tunga river.

       Repair work of Byculla Road Overbridge, Dismantling of Dombivali Road Overbridge and other ROBs in Chennai and Kolkata.

       Remodelling works at Kazipet, Vijayawada and Bangalore City yards.

       Subway work in Andhra Pradesh

       Construction of bridge and insertion of Box-Bridge in Andhra Pradesh

       Launching of six Foot Overbridges in Maharashtra.

Indian Railways carrying out maintenance work near the tracks

Many projects such as repair and maintenance of Pamban bridge is in full swing. As per reports, Railways has already completed pending track maintenance works of 12,270 km. 1,34,443 joints in 30,182 km have been tested through Ultrasonic Flaw Detection machines. 1,92,488 km of track length have been scanned through Oscillation Monitoring Systems.

The Indian Railways has been able to prove itself in the time of pandemic. Only the wise and dedicated can find an opportunity to resolve problems in spite of another problem. If one window is shut somewhere another window opens, this is the basic principle of life and Indian Railways is leading the way for entire Economy of India to evolve in similar manner.

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