Safety works give KRCL smooth run in monsoon

MARGAO: The multi-crore, geo-safety works undertaken in phases by the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) to stabilize the cuttings and slopes along its rail route from Roha in Maharashtra to Mangalore in Karnataka are nearing completion. But the results are already, pleasantly, showing.

Save for a minor landslide that caused a large boulder to fall onto the tracks near the Adavali station in Ratnagiri, disrupting traffic for only a couple of hours, the recent monsoon season has been trouble-free for the KRC, say its officials.

The rains, in past seasons, have been a time for delayed and even disrupted rail travel, with minor and major landslides commonplace.

Towards putting an end to this annual monsoon nightmare, the KRCL has incurred, since its inception, an expenditure of nearly Rs.300 Crore, says Baban Ghatge, senior public relations manager, KRCL.

Of this, 26crore has been spent just on various geo-tech safety works along the route in the current year. Railway sources say another 200crore has been earmarked for undertaking permanent measures during the next three years.

Ghatge explains that the works undertaken include earthwork for flattening of cutting slope and provision of berms, catchwater drain lining, reinforced cement concrete retaining walls, gabion walls, concreting, rock bolting, soil nailing, micro-piling, etc.

“The emphasis on safety works this time was on stabilizing cuttings and tunnels and improvement of track in order to ensure safe passage for trains,” he says.

Sources say 340crore has been earmarked for undertaking permanent measures in tunnels and cuttings for a five-year period from 2011-12 to 2015-16.

KRCL chief public relations officer, Siddeshwar Telugu told that earth stabilization works have been completed in 87 cuttings along the Maharashtra-Karnataka route so far.

“The incidences of boulder fall/soil slips have been reduced considerably on completion of flattening of deep-cutting slopes, rock bolting/shotcreting of tunnels, construction of lined catchwater drains etc,” says Siddeshwar.

Pointing out that ground settlement (sinking of earth) at Nivsar station near Ratnagiri had turned out to be a bottleneck for the smooth running of train traffic, he says the problem was tackled by providing a diversion line at Nivsar station yard before the monsoon of 2011.

“Thereafter, there has been no unusual occurrence of ground settlement and traffic has been running uninterrupted,” he says with a smile.

Pomendi cutting in Ratnagiri region with the depth of cutting (excavation) exceeding more than 45 m, was another problem zone for the KRCL.

Railway sources say that as per the recommendations of the expert committees constituted for the purpose, various geo-tech safety works were carried out.

These included widening of the deep-cutting slopes by providing berms, concrete-lined catchwater drains, berm water drains, cross drains, side drains, retaining wall, grass plantation to help preventing soil erosion, etc, for making the slopes stable.

Approximately three lakh cu m of earthwork was executed and approximately 1,200 cu m of concrete lining done in the region to prevent any unusual landslide, say sources. The positive effect is already there to see.