The Indian Railways has taken the prolonged nationwide lockdown as an opportunity to complete long-pending major maintenance work of the bridges and tracks as well as to improve safety and operational efficiencies. According to an official release, the Indian Railways has executed major maintenance works like yard remodeling, renewal of scissors crossover, repairs of bridges during this lockdown, which were pending for a long time.
The Indian Railways stated that it planned to use this 'once in a lifetime opportunity' of the country being in a complete lockdown to finish off all its repairs and maintenance arrears since all train services stood suspended.
As per the release by the Indian Railways, "Around 500 modern heavy-duty track maintenance machines along with track, signal, and Overhead Equipment (OHE) maintainers worked regularly for 10,749 machine days to complete overdue track maintenance of 12,270 km plain track and 5,263 numbers of turn outs".
The release further added that the health of the track has been monitored through periodic runs of Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS) cumulating 1,92,488 km of track at 5,362 peak locations indicated by OMS test has been attended to ensure proper quality. The ultrasonic flaw detection (USFD) of 30,182 km of track and 1,34,443 rail welds has been carried out with the USFD machine.
Furthermore, critical summer precaution activities like de-stressing of long welded rail (LWR) which involved huge manpower has been taken up with a new procedure for carrying out the work with ensuring adequate social distancing norms. 2,246 km of de-stressing of LWR has also been done.
In a massive development, the Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday, issued a notification extending the nationwide lockdown by 2 weeks from May 4. The notification states the considerable relaxations in districts falling in green and orange zones allowed by MHA, will continue to remain in place. Currently, India has 37336 cases of COVID-19 with 1218 deaths.