मुम्बई Mumbai: The Konkan Railway Corporation’s (KRCL) confidence of braving this monsoon by neither changing the train timings nor curtailing the speed of trains, as it has been the usual case, did not get a green signal from the Commissioner for Railway Safety.
A top KRCL official on condition of anonymity told that the disapproval of KRCL’s proposal by Commissioner for Railway Safety caused the one-month delay in announcing the corporation’s monsoon railway timetable for 2014 which will come into force from July 1 to September 30.
Usually, the KRCL’s monsoon time table will come into effect at the beginning of monsoon ie., June.
KRCL officials approached the Commissioner for Railway Safety with the idea of doing away with the change in train timings from this monsoon, as they were confident of the success of various safety measures the corporation has been implemented along the high terrain path to avert monsoon havoc on tracks.
Had the KRCL received the nod, then it would have been the first time in the history of KRCL to do away with monsoon timings after it was introduced in 2003, five years after the KRCL went fully operational on January 26, 1998.
Apart from a change in time-table, running speed of trains has been cut short to 60 km per hour instead of 100 km from Mangalore Junction to Roha in Maharashtra during the period. The trains carrying freight should run at a speed of 40 km per hour instead of the usual 70 km/hr.
Geo-tech safety measures
The measures such as boulder netting, rock bolting, shotcreting, flattening of cuttings, construction of toe walls were the major safety measures the KRCL has been carried out in the 760-km path of Western Ghat which consists of 92 tunnels, 320 curves and 1,998 bridges.
The path, usually hailed as an engineering marvel for its unique carving out of a railway track off rock, mountainous terrain is also infamous for mishaps during monsoon.
Several lives were lost along the path during monsoon due to boulders falling on track, land slide, flood in tracks etc.
Besides, the KRCL has taken remedial measures of identified vulnerable cuttings every year.
Earthwork for flattening of slopes, lining of catch water drains and construction of ballast retainer cum drain wall were also taken up.
After flattening of cutting slopes in soil, grass plantation with locally available grass or vetiver is planted on the slopes to check soil erosion.
A whopping 12 lakh square feet of land on slopes are now filled with grass to keep the soil intact during monsoon.
Additionally, special patrolling is done extensively during the period. About 700 personnel will be patrolling the route from Kolad to Thokur.
In case of an emergency, self-propelled accident relief medical van with provision for operation theatre and emergency medical aid are kept ready all the time at Ratnagiri and Verna.