Concrete Sleeper Plants emerge as the Backbone and Lifeline for Indian Railways – a Review

Indian Railways is the life-line of nation providing transportation facility over the length and breadth of country. It’s vision is to provide efficient, affordable, customer-focused, environmentally sustainable integrated transportation solutions and to be the vehicle of inclusive growth, connecting regions, communities, ports and centers of industry, commerce, tourism and pilgrimage across the country.

Civil Engineering infrastructure is the largest static infrastructure of Indian Railways comprising of track, bridges, land, etc. Management of this huge infrastructure has to be done in accordance with the organization’s vision. Civil engineering department of Indian Railways manages and maintains all these infrastructures. Further, it has key role in the area of infrastructure development, technological leap in various fields, high speed travel and development of world class stations.

Earlier, wooden sleepers were used for laying the railway tracks but due to the depleting wooden resources and increasing concern of the ecological balance, the use of concrete sleepers was started and now it has completely replaced the wooden sleepers on entire Indian Railways. Concrete sleeper have several advantages over wooden sleepers as it does not rot like timber sleepers and its weight adds stability to the tracks, particularly with changes in temperature. It can also withstand fire hazards and has longer life than wooden sleepers. Besides, it requires less maintenance.

Automation in the sleeper industry aims at improving productivity, achieving zero defects and meeting just-in-time supply requirements of not only Indian Railways, but the Metro Rail systems and the Private Railway siding markets to cater to the exacting standards.

The “Long Line Technology” as the manufacturing process is called, is used to manufacture Pre-Stressed Concrete Sleepers in an automated environment. Some of the biggest advantages that this technology brings over the conventional technology are reduced dependency on manpower and substantial improvement in quality. Also, the casting time comes down by nearly 25% thereby increasing productivity. This technology helps in manufacturing large quantities of sleepers in least possible time. The regular operations of the sleeper plant such as de-moulding of sleepers, cutting of pre-stressed wire, HTS wire drawing are automated using machines. This technology permits relaxation and cutting of the prestressed strands and shakeout of the sleepers with no movement of the shuttering, thus eliminating all problems of maintenance or clearance adjustment connected with the moving parts. The long line system can be applied to any type of fastening: Pandrol, Vossloh, Stedef, D.E. Clips, Denik, KB, etc. The moulds are designed and created in such a way so as to allow changing of the necessary type of fastening simply by replacing the plates with the required cast and housing, the plates being screwed onto the structure of the mould.

The adherent wire system provides considerable savings in sleeper production based on the use of normal market products (pre-stress strands or rods) that do not need special processing or accessories – they are simply drawn between the pre-stressing heads, fixed with ordinary prestressing clamps and then pre-stressed.

Talking to RailNews, a Subhodh Kumar, AEN/P-Way from the Civil Engineering Department of Railways said, “Concrete Sleeper Plants prepares special kinds of sleepers which are required at different places across the length and breadth of the country and are capable of producing the high quality sleepers.”

Few companies have been recognised as the country’s largest Suppliers’ of concrete sleepers to the Indian Railways. Prominent ones among them are Patil Rail Infrastrructure Pvt Ltd, GPT Infraprojects Ltd, Econ Antri Limited, S.Subramanyan and Co., Usha Prestressed Sleeper Udyog Pvt Ltd., Vaman Prestressing Company Pvt ltd., These companies manufactures the pre-stressed concrete (PSC) sleepers across various Plants located in the country. Today these companies are some of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of all kinds of PSC Sleepers for Indian Railways and Railways subsidiaries like RVNL, RITES, IRCON and DFCCIL and also for all other reputed private sector companies like Tata Projects Limited, Larsen & Tubro Limited, Bajaj Group, Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) Limited, etc who are engaged in Rail network and projects.

Production Position of Concrete Sleeper Plants
Sr.
No.
Railway Name of Plant July-2018 Total
2018-2019
1-10 11-20 Total
1 CR Bemco Sleepers Limited Khandwa 5937 2305 8242 29057
2 CR Daya Engineering Work Poles Pvt. Ltd. 2979 3797 6776 26165
3 CR Kaprecon Sleeper Works Pvt. Ltd. 3564 0 3564 14693
4 CR Malu Sleepers Maharashtra Pvt. Ltd. 1795 2911 4706 21690
5 CR Mohol 2261 2387 4648 15765
6 CR Nandgaon 2269 1674 3943 22980
7 CR Stresscrete Pvt. Ltd. 1734 1427 3161 10943
8 CR Wadi 0 0 0 252
CR Total 20539 14501 35040 141545
9 ECOR Garudabilli 4208 3352 7560 30782
10 ECOR KaipadarRoad 6560 6043 12603 88756
11 ECOR Pendurthi 5660 1860 7520 26068
12 ECOR Rayagada 2321 2791 5112 20795
13 ECOR SurlaRoad 0 6562 6562 45445
ECOR Total 18749 20608 39357 211846
14 ECR (DEWL)Manpur,Gaya 9452 7588 17040 136976
15 ECR NEPL, SARAI 7627 8562 16189 83319
ECR Total 17079 16150 33229 220295
16 ER Chamagram 2301 1000 3301 27160
17 ER ChottaAmbona 0 1641 1641 15728
18 ER Jagdispur 2902 2861 5763 34383
19 ER Panagarh 2821 4602 7423 38605
20 ER Rampurhat 2994 2472 5466 37931
ER Total 11018 12576 23594 153807
21 NCR Antri 2520 2666 5186 27890
22 NCR Banmor 3509 504 4013 29388
23 NCR Chola 712 736 1448 6728
24 NCR Karari 4032 4536 8568 47880
NCR Total 10773 8442 19215 111886
25 NER Burhwal 0 0 0 0
26 NER KanpurAnwarganj 0 0 0 11839
27 NER Lalkua 5696 2955 8651 46062
NER Total 5696 2955 8651 57901
28 NFR Bihara 791 0 791 3469
29 NFR JagiRoad 3171 3460 6631 42489
30 NFR Mirza 0 7033 7033 43332
31 NFR NJP 0 0 0 8882
NFR Total 3962 10493 14455 98172
32 NR Chandigarh 5598 4753 10351 33502
33 NR Gohana Rukhi 0 6974 6974 33479
34 NR Kandrori 4614 0 4614 35245
35 NR Kosikalan 0 0 0 0
36 NR Lohta 0 1940 1940 4584
37 NR Pathri 0 735 735 2526
38 NR Rewari 0 0 0 9107
39 NR Virbhadra 0 5345 5345 38194
NR Total 10212 19747 29959 156637
40 NWR Bissau 0 3532 3532 46637
41 NWR Degana 0 0 0 37899
42 NWR MarwarChapri 4180 3881 8061 39906
43 NWR MKS(HMH) 2612 3337 5949 35925
44 NWR Shambhupura 3565 847 4412 44572
NWR Total 10357 11597 21954 204939
45 SCR Hasanparthi 2197 0 2197 36848
46 SCR Kondapalli 4864 3039 7903 53700
47 SCR Kondapuram 0 0 0 0
48 SCR Kovvur 0 2929 2929 17036
49 SCR MantralyamRoad 0 0 0 9161
50 SCR Nallapadu 0 5555 5555 28410
51 SCR Narayanpet/Saidapur 4362 7443 11805 53224
52 SCR Wadiyaram 3066 4041 7107 82636
53 SCR Yellakaru 0 0 0 0
SCR Total 14489 23007 37496 281015
54 SECR Bhanpuri, 0 0 0 0
55 SECR Dongargarh 2932 1269 4201 41340
56 SECR Kapa 0 0 0 0
57 SECR KargiRoad 8443 5579 14022 72359
SECR Total 11375 6848 18223 113699
58 SER Anara 3923 10509 14432 95324
59 SER Chandil 3264 4800 8064 38426
60 SER Jharsuguda 0 6227 6227 40748
SER Total 7187 21536 28723 174498
61 SR Bommidi 3714 4564 8278 49995
62 SR Gangaikondan 4331 4091 8422 56620
63 SR Thirumanglam 9822 5288 15110 102105
64 SR Tiruvalam 4896 2964 7860 62467
SR Total 22763 16907 39670 271187
65 SWR Birur 3449 3460 6909 63441
66 SWR Harihar/Davengere 2666 2981 5647 48341
67 SWR Hospet 0 3413 3413 47801
68 SWR Hubli 3513 0 3513 13644
69 SWR Yeshwantpur 0 4295 4295 20188
SWR Total 9628 14149 23777 193415
70 WCR Bankhedi 5256 7872 13128 87274
71 WCR Bareth 5828 5392 11220 65397
72 WCR Shamgarh 6504 6178 12682 76678
WCR Total 17588 19442 37030 229349
73 WR Manibhai and Bros. sleeper Kharsalia 1836 5814 7650 55539
74 WR Patil Rail Infrastrructure PVt LTd Udvada 4473 5025 9498 66903
75 WR S.Subrahmanyan and Co Kharsalia 4816 6040 10856 71255
76 WR Usha prestressed sleeper udyog Godhra 6247 6782 13029 69010
77 WR Vaman Prestressing Co Pvt Ltd Digsar 5514 6279 11793 55057
WR Total 22886 29940 52826 317764
Grand Total 214301 248898 463199 2937955

The structure and the design for concrete sleepers had been constantly undergoing changes in conjunction with the R&D of Indian Railways to suit the changing requirements, be it operational, environment or otherwise. With the adoption of M60 grade cement by the companies, the life of these sleepers increased. It is noteworthy to mention here that with the increased base width, the ballast pressure came down by 10% leading to proportionate savings on ballast and maintenance costs.

The Range of manufacturing are as follows:

  1. Broad Gauge 52 Kg/60Kg MBC Sleepers (RT-2495 & RT-2496).
  2. Level Crossing Sleepers (RT-4148 & RT-4148A).
  3. Slack Gauge Sleepers (RT-4170, RT-4171, RT-4172 & RT-4173).
  4. Broad Guage Special Sleepers – Wider Guage (RT-4183, RT-4184, RT-4185 & RT-4186).
  5. Bridge Approach Sleepers (RT-4088, RT-4089, RT-4097).
  6. Shallow Sleepers (RT-4852).
  7. Heavy Axle Load PSC Sleepers (RT-7008, RT-8224, RT-8225 RT-8228 and RT-8229 to RT-8237).
  8. 1 in 12 Point and Crossing Sleepers (RT-4218 & RT-4732).
  9. 1 in 8.5 Point Crossing Sleepers (RT-4865).
  10. Derailing Switch Sleepers (RT-6068).
  11. Rerailing Ramp Sleepers (RT-6420 to RT-6440).
  12. Diamond Crossing Sleepers (Without Slip, Single Slip & Double Slip) (RT-5362, RT-5363 & RT-5364).
  13. Rex Lock Sleepers (Special Fastening of Rex Lock provided by Escorts India Limited) (A4-97-EQ41-5).

Indian Railways has plans to go for higher axle loads in coming years and with the onset of Dedicated Freight Corridors and High Speed / Semi-High Speed Rail systems coming up, the new design for concrete sleepers will suit future challenging requirements of the Indian Railways. The companies also also using special strand wire with higher UTS by which the overall weight of steel per sleepers will be brought down by 25%.

In case of Patil Rail Infrastructure, the company has its manufacturing plants located at Anara, Bhubaneshwar (Kaipadar Road), Bilaspur (Kargi Road), Madurai (Tirumangalam), Tumkur, Udwada and Wadiyaram while the new automated plants are coming up at Badi Khatu and Bhurwal. The company is also the country’s first ISO certified concrete manufacturing plant.

The Concrete Sleepers manufactured by these companies are suitable for:

  1. Normal Broad Gauge: This sleeper has a trapezoidal cross section having a width of 154 mm at the top and 250 mm at the bottom and a height of 210 mm at rail seat.
  2. Points & Crossing: These specialized sleepers are used to hold switches, CMS crossings and lead rails for main line and turnouts. High speed trains can run on these PSC layouts with utmost safety.
  3. Guard Rail: These are used at the approaches to girder bridges to prevent a derailed train from capsizing.
  4. Switch Expansion Joints: These are PSC sleepers for switch expansion joints (with 120 mm maximum gap) for long welded rails for 52 kg & 60 kg rails using corresponding chairs.
  5. Check Rail on Curves: Check rails are absolutely essential to offer an inner side for sharper curves, which are more than 50 to prevent derailment.
  6. Level Crossings: This is formed at various points where a road crosses a railway track at the same level and sleepers used here are made with 60 kg UIC or 52 kg check rail.
  7. Dual Gauge: The unique pre-stressed concrete dual gauge sleepers have been designed to cater to handle meter and broad gauge trains so that both trains can run on the same track. All the sleepers are manufactured under stress bench system with very strict quality control measures.

The Concrete Sleeper plant produces various kinds of specialized sleepers. It produces level crossing sleepers (sleepers used at level crossings are special ones as roads are also built over it), SEJ sleepers (Switch Expansion Joints- sleeper used to connect joints of the railway tracks), Turn out sleepers (sleepers used at the turnings).

It also produces diamond cross-over and scissors cross-over. Concrete sleepers for turnouts are much longer than normal sleepers, have gaps for switch motors, have sleepers individually designed, and are generally made by a small number of specialist manufactures.

These specialised sleepers are manufactured through the stress bench method. Here, moulds of sleepers are kept on the bench and high quality steel tendons are put on it. The steel tendons are pulled between the two end abutments (also called bulkheads) prior to the casting of concrete. The abutments are fixed at the ends of a prestressing bed. After fixing and welding of fittings the concrete is poured in each of the mould. After that steam curing is done in which the prepared sleepers are subjected to steam. Finally, moulds are removed and water curing takes place.

Later, the stage of testing is done in which each of the sleepers is subjected to intense load to check whether it can sustain heavy load or not. The checking is also being done to check cracks in the sleeper.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail