South Western Railway (SWR) has made use of the lockdown period as the train movement has very much reduced compared to normal period, to complete major track maintenance works, which has helped in the increase in sectional speed at which train runs between stations. Track maintenance is an integral part of train operations and it has a direct impact on both the safety of tracks as well as in maintaining the maximum permissible speed of the trains.
- Maintaining the railway lines, points, crossings, sleepers and ballast for enhancing the safety, speed and reliability are being taken-up during the maintenance.
- Modern machines like track packing machines, ballast cleaning machines and others were used extensively to complete the repairs in half the time than usual.
- Work of these machines involves cleaning and packing of the ballast (crushed stones underneath track and sleepers). Along with correcting the alignments at the rail crossings was taken up.
- On SWR large scale track maintenance works have been carried out between Londa-Vasco section of Hubballi division facilitating increase in sectional speed between Majorda to Vasco-Da-Gama from 75 kmph earlier to 100 kmph for nearly 7 Km (Track km 92.500 to km 99.300) and from 65 kmph to 75 kmph for 9.5 Km (Track Km 99.300 to km 108.500)
The following works were completed to facilitate improved section speed in the section:
- Deep-Screening: Complete stretch was deep screened by Ballast cleaning machines, resulting in increased ballast cushion (below the Rail level) of 300-350 mm and thus achieving high track modulus, resilience to failures and improved parasitic motion (Rolling, pitching, nosing, shuttling, lurching and bouncing).
- Through Weld Renewals: All Aluminothermic weld which have completed 50% of prescribed service life were renewed by Flash Butt welds by undertaking Through Weld Renewal work thereby ensuring reduced failures and ensured safety.
- Ballasting: 10000-12000 Cubic meter of ballasting during the course of machine tamping, imparting increased longitudinal and lateral ballast resistance for track as per the standard Ballast profile.
- Cess Work: 5000 Cubic meter of Earth work for making good the cess, to ensure retentivity of ballast Profile and adequate longitudinal drainage arrangements.
- Interchanging of Rails on Sharp curves: In curves Outermost Rails on Sharp curves will be less written out than inner ones. Inner and outer rails in all sharp curves of 4-6 degree were interchanged for maintaining the track parameters within the permissible limits to ensure safety.
- Raising of Superelevation: For all the sharp curves SE was raised and Versines were adjusted by design mode in machine tamping to make them fit for 110 kmph passenger train speed and 75 kmph goods speeds.
Speed raising certificate on the section between Majorda and Vasco-Da-Gama has been issued based on the authorization by Shri A K Rai, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Region/Bengaluru after the window trailing inspection on OMS carried out by Shri Vinod Bampal, Chief Track Engineer and Chief Engineer (TP).
The maintenance works were possible due to the persistent monitoring of Shri Vipul Kumar, Principal Chief Engineer and Shri Arvind Malkhede, DRM/UBL and persistent team work of Branch officers of Hubballi division. Shri A K Singh, GM/SWR appreciated the planning and efforts put in taking up intensive maintenance works availing lean period, amidst pandemic. Shri Singh mentioned that in all such works, norms recommended to combat COVID such as wearing of masks, maintaining social distance etc are being scrupulously followed.
Source: South Western Railway-Press Release | Image Credit (representational): South Western Railway