Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board chairs High Level Carriage Maintenance Group Meeting of Indian Railways

Ravindra Gupta, Member (RS) Railway Board addressing the meeting and releasing a booklet titled ‘Tech Talk’ at Secunderabad

SECUNDERABAD: The 17th Carriage Maintenance Group Meeting of Indian Railways commenced today i.e., 22nd June, 2018 at Secunderabad. The two day meeting being held at the highest level nationally is being chaired by Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, New Delhi. High ranking officials from the Railway Board, Research Design and Safety Organization (RDSO), Chief Design Engineers from Production Plants/Units, Rolling Stock Engineers & Electrical Engineers from all over the Indian Railways are taking part in the deliberations.

The two day meeting is focusing on issues pertaining to Passenger safety, Passenger comfort and improvement in aesthetics of the train coaches to fulfill high expectations of rail users. The meeting is also going to discuss on various environment friendly passenger conveniences like Bio-toilets, Cleanliness of stations and coaches, hygiene etc. The discussions are expected to identify measures for improvement in all the aspects of rail users satisfaction besides important issues of maintenance related to train running, like Punctuality and reliability. On the agenda, are also issues concerning use of latest material and improved technology in coach maintenance and disaster management including under water cutting equipment, foldable ramp for physically challenged persons, improvement in Braille system for visually challenged persons.

Addressing the inaugural session of the meeting, Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board stated that coach maintenance has undergone lot of changes in the recent times with the advent of new technology. Indian Railways is contemplating to retro fit all the coaches with Bio-toilets by March 2019. The challenges of maintaining the Bio-toilets need to be met by acquiring expertise and experimenting with technology. Adequate training should be given to the staff involved in the maintenance of Bio-toilets. Coach ventilation needs to be given priority by all the zones, taking further the initiative of some of the zones experimenting with it. Enhancing the use of Mechanized Coach cleaning and introduction of Quick Watering Plants will effectively meet the needs of Railways, he stressed. The Member (Rolling Stock) stated that a team of officials from Indian Railways will visit Germany to study and examine the Mechanized Coach maintenance facilities over there, so as to adopt on Indian Railways. He stressed on the need to ensure the quality of coach production so as to match the customer satisfaction levels.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway who also addressed the meeting, stated that Passenger transportation on Indian Railways has attained main focus, with user expectations rising in the areas of passenger amenities, Cleanliness and Punctuality. Railways are facing many challenges like maintenance of Bio-toilets, Passenger complaint management mechanism, Passenger safety and surveillance, maintenance of AC coaches, disable friendly coaches, cleaning of coaches, linen management etc. Value added initiatives such as installing digital temperature devices, provision of disposable towels to the AC coach passengers need to be examined for implementation. Reduction in coach maintenance time to facilitate running of more passenger services also needs to be examined, he added.

A booklet on “Tech – Talk” highlighting Carriage Maintenance issues was released on the occasion.

Virendra Kumar, Adviser (Mechanical Engineering), Railway Board, Ashesh Agrawal, Senior Deputy General Manager, Arjun Mundiya, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer, Arun Kumar Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Hyderabad Division, SCR; Chief Electrical General Engineers & Chief Rolling Stock Engineers from all the Zones of Indian Railways were present. The discussions will continue on the second day.

Brief of the Topics for discussion at the 17th Carriage Maintenance Group Meeting of Indian Railways – 22nd & 23rd June, 2018 at Secunderabad

Maintenance of Bio-toilets and its proliferation:

Railway Board has directed Zonal Railways to provide Bio-toilets in all passenger/mail express trains. South Central Railway has provided bio-toilets in 3158 coaches out of total holding of about 4600 coaches i.e, 65% completed and balance is targeted by March-2019.

Usage of bio-toilets eliminates environmental pollution, hygiene on platforms apart from damaging rail track, bridges etc. issues related to maintenance problems of these bio-toilets are being discussed in this meeting to resolve the problems like foul smell, chocking, improved flushing arrangement etc.

As an improvement measure, South Central Railway has taken steps for

  1. i) One time evacuation of first chamber of all bio-toilets on SCR coaches has been completed.
  2. ii) Maintenance contracts with specialized agencies.

Passenger Complaint Management System:

Passenger feedback is being obtained through various passenger friendly applications in the social media such as Complaint Management Systems (COMS); Centralized Public Grievance Redressal and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS); SMS based Passenger Complaint and Suggestion System (SPCSS); IVRS feedback through Toll free Number 139 developed by IRCTC and Twitter.  Apart from these, Mobile based Android/IOS Applications are also being used for passenger convenience for making request for service.

Well-laid Mechanism is prevailing for prompt and speedy redressal of passenger complaints.  Feedback obtained from passengers is analysed at Maintenance Depots, Divisional, Zonal, at IR level and corrective actions are initiated appropriately accordingly.

Adoption of Unified Toll free number system throughout Indian Railways with feedback mechanism is also deliberated during the Group discussions.

Improvements to coach exterior paint with anti-graffiti coating:

Railways have planned to provide anti-graffiti coating on coach exterior to improve performance and better maintenance.

Automatic fire & smoke detection system:

At present Automatic fire & smoke detection, suppression systems are being provided in Humsafar type coaches and also on LHB type coaches.

This system detects the smoke at the beginning stage itself and alerts the on-board staff through alarm for immediate action. This system will be implemented in more trains gradually.

CCTV usage on coach in passenger safety and surveillance:

At present CCTVs are provided for passenger safety in Humsafar type coaches and also in SLRD coaches – Ladies compartment & Differently abled passenger compartment for their safety.

Large scale implementation of this item is in progress under Nirbhaya funds also.

Maintenance issues of AC chair cars:

Chair cars are provided in AC coaches of intercity express trains. There have been complaints regarding the chairs – defective reclining mechanism, snack tables, upholster, bottle holders, foot rest etc. the maintenance issues are being discussed in this meeting for improvement in design/maintenance on par with foreign Railways.

Disabled friendly coaches with improved facilities like retractable platform, air conditioning etc.:

Layout/design issues are being discussed to provide disabled friendly coaches with improved facilities like retractable platform, air conditioning etc. this will facilitate entraining/detraining of differently abled passengers with wheel chair directly from platform to wheel chair/ vice versa.

GNT division of SCR is the first Railway on Indian Railways to provide such facility in train no- 12747 Exp, Guntur to Vikarabad.

New features in trains and maintenance issues:

Maintenance strategy for new features in trains such as Tejas, Humsafar and Antyodaya type coaches including colour scheme, availability of spares, provision of Passenger announcement and passenger information system on trains maintenance contract with OEMs are being discussed.

Discussion on technical issues with regard to design maintenance:

Technical issues in maintenance of trains such as – maintenance of air suspension springs, LHB bogies, fitment of centre buffer couplers in existing coaches, introduction of mainline electrical multiple units, integrated maintenance of coaching STOCK with respect to Mechanical & Electrical maintenance, temperature control in AC coaches etc, are being discussed in this meeting.