Royapuram (RPM): Southern Railway’s electric loco shed in Royapuram is getting a major facelift that is expected to raise quality of maintenance of various classes of locomotives used for express trains and bring down timelines for periodic overhaul of the engines.
Though the electric loco shed was initiated in 2007 with ambitious plans of turning it into a hub for maintenance of locomotives, the modernisation plan was slow in taking off in spite of increasing demand for electric locomotives.
The Royapuram facility is also only the third of its kind after the ones in Arakkonam (primarily freight locos) and Erode (passenger and goods locomotives).
On Friday, Kul Bhushan, Member (Electrical) of the Railway Board, is scheduled to launch facilities worth around Rs. 10 crore that will include cranes and modern lathes.
“The upgrade will considerably tone up preventive maintenance and annual overhaul works,” an official said. The Royapuram loco shed has a holding capacity of 75 locos that serve various categories of passenger trains, including the high-speed Rajdhani express services. Officials said the holding capacity would soon increase to 100 locos as timelines for maintenance could be virtually halved from a 30-day schedule.
The scaling up of facilities at Royapuram is in step with the Railway’s renewed emphasis on energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction that has led to electrification of railway lines and increasing adoption of electric traction as pollution free and energy efficient mode of transportation. The demand for electric locomotives is expected to spike further in the years ahead with Indian Railway’s Vision 2020 document envisaging electrification of 33,000 route kilometres at an approximate rate of adding about 1,300 route kilometres every year for the next few years.