With an aim to avert unwanted situations due to fault in tracks, Indian Railways has directed its engineers to detect and fix defects on an urgent basis. This comes days after Vasco Da Gama Express was derailed in Manikpur, Uttar Pradesh. Three people were killed in the incident. Taking a tough stance, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani directed these instructions to general managers during a review meeting on Monday, according to Indian Express report. It has been learnt that a process to fill up the vacancy in safety category has already begun. Lohani has also directed to chalk out a stringent strategy to check laxity. “The chairman has also asked to finish residual deep-screening of tracks in a phased manner,” an officer said.
Notably, following the Vasco Da Gama Express derailment, Lohani had rushed to the accident site on Friday. According to reports, he had communicated to the Railway Board insiders that a better maintenance regime would be required to prevent such rail fractures to go undetected. While the year 2017 has been marred by some of the worst derailments in recent history with high death tolls, the numbers show a downward trend. Investigations into the derailment of Utkal Express in August, in which over 20 people were killed and around 150 injured, had revealed that the tracks were cut without seeking formal approval.
Earlier in September, the Railway Ministry had decided to install GPS trackers in all hand-pushed trolleys used to inspect the tracks. In a letter to all zonal railways on September 6, a copy of which is with PTI, the railway board has said installation of such systems should be completed within a month. “The board has decided that all push trolleys should be numbered and installed with GPS trackers for effective monitoring of safety inspections of track and that the installation should be completed within one month period,” the letter said
Sources say such a system would not only ensure that inspections are carried out by section engineers routinely but also the repair work done by trackmen are monitored. Physical track maintenance involves around two lakh trackmen and gangmen who carry 15 kg of equipment and walk along tracks checking for defects
In January this year, the railway board had said that the railways was in the process of acquiring six self-propelled automatic machines based on ultra sonic detection system to spot cracks and defects and cover longer lengths of tracks in the shortest possible time.
Last year, Railways had launched web-based management system to monitor track maintenance and inspection online. Management of track maintenance involves huge volumes of data statistics as well as dynamic analysis of various measurement, defects and planning, deployment of large resources.