Highest priority accorded to Safety in Nilgiri Mountain Railway ops: Alok Johri

No proposal to increase coaches of mountain railway

Ketti (KXT):  In maintaining the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the highest priority is being accorded to safety, said Alok Johri, Member Mechanical, Railway Board.

Trials were still being conducted on the fourth oil-fired steam locomotive which was brought here recently from the Golden Rock Workshop in Trichy, he told reporters at Ketti on Monday.

The conventional coal fired locomotives had to be replaced with furnace-oil fired engines as it was not possible to ensure a steady supply of high quality coal in small quantities.

There was no proposal to increase the number of coaches, he said. Since some parts of the line were traditional elephant crossing areas, all aspects including the likelihood of train-elephant collisions had to be carefully considered before exploring the possibility of increasing the number of services.

Mr. Johri said that considering the enormous heritage value, the mountain railway should be preserved with some modern amenities.

At the national level, the focus was on providing faster and safer trains.

High speed trains had been introduced in some places like the Konkan route and the Mysore-Bangalore and Delhi-Jaipur sectors, he said. Ways were being evolved to make unmanned level crossings safer. Thrust was on preventing fire accidents and providing escape routes.

Furnace oil is used as the main fuel for the oil firing system of the new steam loco

Alokjohri inauguralThe fourth oil-fired steam locomotive meant for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) rolled out of the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here on 6th March adding one more steam engine to the existing NMR fleet. The ‘X’ class metre gauge locomotive manufactured at a cost of around Rs. 4.79 crore is all set to chug on the 20-km Mettupalayam- Coonoor hilly terrain.

Comprising over 3,400 components, the brand new steam loco weighing nearly 50 tonnes can run at a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour on the plain and 15 kilometre per hour on the gradient.

The Tiruchi workshop, which was entrusted with the task of manufacturing four oil-fired steam locos for the NMR, declared as a world heritage railway system, had despatched three locos between February 2011 and March 2013.

The fourth loco was flagged off by Alok Johri, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, New Delhi, at a function organised on the workshop premises here on 6th March.

The need for new locos to run on the NMR section was felt as the old locos imported from Switzerland years ago developed problems leading to frequent service failures.

As efforts to import steam locos failed due to limited number of sources and prohibitive costs, the Railway Board assigned the Tiruchi workshop with the task of manufacturing four oil-fired steam locos and sanctioned Rs. 40 crore for this purpose.

Furnace oil is used as the main fuel for the oil firing system of the new steam loco with its codal life being 40 years.

The workshop undertook manufacture of 600 components in-house to speed up the loco manufacture.