scorecardLockdown gives time for Mumbai's busy rail network maintenance
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Lockdown gives time for Mumbai's busy rail network maintenance

Lockdown gives time for Mumbai's busy rail network maintenance
IndiaIndia2 min read
Mumbai, Apr 22 () Converting the unprecedentedlockdown into an opportunity, Mumbai divisions of the CentralRailway and Western Railway are extensively carrying outsafety and maintenance works on the suburban network, whichwas not possible during the normal busy train schedules.

It has been a month since trains stopped plying on theMumbai suburban rail network, which is one of the busiest andcongested in the world.

Nearly 3,000 local train services operate on the routedaily and over 80 lakh commuters use it everyday, making itthe lifeline of the country's financial capital.

Since disruption of services for even 15 minutes leadsto a chaotic situation, rail authorities used to carry outimportant maintenance and safety works either during the fewhours window available late night or by enforcing megablocksduring the weekends or holidays, when comparatively lesscommuters travel in the local trains.

As the system is so busy and overburdened, a few hoursare never sufficient for carrying out some of the criticalmaintenance works and those lead to disruptions sometimes,causing hardships to commuters, a railway offiical said.

But, as the trains are now not running since a monthdue to the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, the rail authoritiesare carrying out maintenance of the rail signalling system,tracks, overhead equipment and the rolling stock, he said.

"The Western Railway is using this as an opportunityto complete the maintenance works wherever required, sincegetting a traffic block in this division is a big challenge,"Western Railway's chief said Ravinder Bhakar said.

Since the lockdown began, keymen are inspecting everyinch of the 1,394 km track everyday. About 210 km of track and1,250 critical welds were tested by ultrasonic flaw detectors,he said.

"The entire fleet of track machines has worked anddone tamping of 99 km of track and 105 turnouts. For thehealth assessment of the tracks, the Oscillation MonitoringSystem (OMS) run was conducted on 2,503 km of the railwaytrack," said Bhakar.

The Western Railway also completed several other worksof overhead equipment, signal and telecom infrastructuremaintenance during the ongoing lockdown, he added.

The Central Railway's chief spokesperson Shivaji Sutarsaid along with track maintenance and testing, they carriedout some critical works like removal of rusty portal booms ofoverhead equipment, maggering (an electric test) of signal andtelecom cables of the entire Mumbai division, cleaning andmaintenance of transformers, among others.

"In the Asangaon-Kasara section, line block margin isvery less, hence the traction distribution department utilisedthe lockdown period for removal of the rusty portal booms and34 upright masts. These masts were about 70 years old and somewere even of the British era," Sutar said.

He said these works were being carried out byfollowing the social distancing guidelines.

"This period has also been utilised to carry outcritical works to enhance the safety of train operations. Theworkplaces are sanitised and all social distancing norms arefollowed," Sutar added. KKGK GK