As per a press release issued by Indian Railway, the ministry has managed to complete 200 long due projects amid the lockdown. Indian Railway has a long list of pending projects that could not have been completed because of the busy schedule. Some projects required a complete or partial shutdown of some of the busiest railway stations in India, which is practically impossible in normal days. However, the lockdown brought a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Railway, and the ministry took full advantage of the lockdown.
Backend Warriors on the Go 👷🏻♂️: Boosting safety & speed of train operations, Railways has completed 200 maintenance projects of critical importance during COVID-19 lockdown period.— Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) June 27, 2020
📖 https://t.co/DeAny2dXXL pic.twitter.com/VTeQS5MR5n
These projects include yard remodelling, repair and registering of old bridges, doubling and electrifying rail lines, and renewing scissor crossovers. Some of the projects were pending for several years, and there were some unfinished projects as well. All these together created bottlenecks for the Railways, which has now been cleared to a large extent.
Railways played a vital role in ensuring the supply chain of essential commodities during the lockdown. The parcel trains and freight trains ensured that every state gets an ample supply of essentials, including grains, groceries, medicines, and more. Indian Railways is also running special Shramik Trains to ensure migrant workers’ smooth movement back to their states.
As the passenger services were suspended, Railways got a chance to finish the pending projects. The main focus revolved around several long-pending projects that require traffic block of a long duration, which was not possible, especially on busy routes and stations. When the lockdown happened, Railway decided that it is time to take advantage of the situation and clear these maintenance arrears.
During last three months, Railways completed several projects including 82 rebuildings/rehabilitation of the bridge, 48 limited height subway/road under a bridge in lieu of level crossing gate, 16 construction/strengthening of the foot over bridge, 14 dismantlings of the old foot over bridge, seven launchings of the road overbridge, 5-yard remodelling, 1 commissioning of doubling & electrification and 26 other projects.
Some of the key projects include:
- Yard modification work at (Chennai Division, Southern Railway): The project was completed on 21st May 2020. It helped in easing out of the curve and enhanced track speed up to 60 Kmph on Bengaluru end.
- Dismantling of old abandoned, unsafe Foot Over Bridge at Ludhiana (Ferozepur Division, Northern Railway): The project was completed on 5th May 2020. IT was a 135-meter bridge that was covering 19 tracks and seven passenger platforms. Ludhiana is one of the busiest railway stations in Punjab, and closing it down for a long duration was not possible. The project was overdue since 2014 after the new Foot Over Bridge was commissioned.
- Re-girdering of the bridge on Tunga River (Mysuru Division, South Western Railway): The project was completed on 3rd May 2020. The Railways dismantled the unsafe deck of Kopar Road ROB near Dombivali (Mumbai Division, Central Railway) on 30th April 2020. It improved safety settings over the tracks. This deck was declared unsafe for road users in 2019 and had six railway tracks under it.
- Doubling with Electrification in Varanasi Division, North Eastern Railway: Two projects were complete on 13th June. One is on Kachhwa Road to Madhosingh Section, and the second one is 16 KM of Manduadih to Prayagraj Section. It will help in decongestion of east-west routes.
- ROB dismantling by Chennai Central Station: The project was completed on 9th May 2020. It was declared unsafe in July 2016. It was impossible to dismantle the Road Over Bridge as it would have required a traffic block resulting in massive cancellation and rescheduling of trains.
- Construction of two new bridges in the Vijayawada Division of South Central Railway: The project was completed on 9th May 2020. It will help in increasing the operational efficiency of the trains.
- The signaling up-gradation work of Azamgarh station (Varanasi Division, North Eastern Railway) was completed on 23rd May 2020.
- Railways also initiated an innovative pilot project to power trains by solar power developed over vacant railway land at Bina. It is a 1.7 MegaWatt project that will directly feed to 25 kV Railway overhead lines. The project is a joint venture of BHEL and Indian Railways.
Apart from completing many pending projects and ensuring essentials in every part of the country, Indian Railway has been producing PPE kits and masks on a large scale. Indian Railways has also deployed non-AC coaches as the Covid-19 isolation wards.