Indian Railways has inducted five new track maintenance machines in a bid to mechanise the monitoring and maintenance of tracks and improve operational safety.
The initiative follows the introduction of new track maintenance technology by inducting 13 09-3X Dynamic Tamping Express machines.
The new fleet of machines, which includes three Dynamic Track Temping Machines, one Ballast Cleaning Machine and one Points and Crossings Tamping Machine, was inaugurated by the Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal.
Valued at around Rs270m ($3.93m) each, the new 09-3X Dynamic Tamping Express machines are capable of carrying out multiple functions. These include the measurement of pre and post-track geometry, adjustment of the track to required geometry, as well as the stabilisation and measurement of post tamping track parameters.
It can also tamp three sleepers simultaneously, as well as vibrate and compact the loose stone ballast to ensure safe train movement.
Other than improving the safety and reliability of the services, the induction of the Dynamic Tamping Express machines will eliminate the need for manual evaluation of the railway lines.
Indian Railways plans to gradually induct 42 such machines into services over the next three years.
The second machine, Ballast Cleaning Machine (BCM), is used to screen ballast beneath the sleepers on plain tracks and turnouts to enhance track resilience, as well as clear drainage systems.
Indian Railways currently has 115 operating BCMs, with additional 41 scheduled to be procured in the next three years.
The Points & Crossing Tamping Machines are used to adjust track geometry correction on turnouts. Indian Railways has already deployed 32 such machines across the network, while 62 additional machines will be added to the fleet in the next three years.
The move is part of Indian Railways’ plan to complete mechanisation of inspection, monitoring, relaying and maintenance of rail tracks by 2020 on trunk route and by 2024 on the entire network.