विजयवाड़ा Vijayawada (BZA): Taking the restoration of ravaged railway tracks near Visakhapatnam on war footing basis, the authorities of South Central Railway (SCR) brought operations back to near normalcy on Tuesday. The opening of Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada route provided the much needed relief to the stranded passengers in cyclone hit Visakhapatnam city as well as those trying to reach their kin in north-coastal districts. Working against the odds, the SCR took just 32 hours to restore the track and move the trains.
Although, single track has been restored by Tuesday, all the trains both up and down line would be operated through the same line till the other track was readied for operations. “We are working overnight to bring the other line too into operation by Wednesday,” claimed chief spokesperson of SCR, Koganti Sambasiva Rao.
The Visakhapatnam bound Lokamanya Tilak Terminus express passed through the restored section around 3.45pm on Tuesday. Heavy rains under the influence of super cyclone hudhud lashed out in Visakhapatnam district resulted in breaches to track at several locations between Elamanchili-Narsingapalli-Bayyavaram stations on Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam route prompting the authorities to cancel all the trains going and coming from Visakhapatnam for the last two days. Several trains were diverted through alternative routes due to the track damages.
With Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada being a key railway line connecting Chennai-Kolkata metros, the union government took the issue of restoration of trains seriously and directed the state government to extend all support to the railway authorities in bringing the damaged railways back into operation on war footing basis. SCR General Manager PK Srivatsava himself rushed to Visakhapatnam and camped there to monitor the track restoration works. Huge number of track repair workers and material was deployed at the spot. “Meticulous planning and speedy execution of works enabled us bringing the key route back to regular operations,” said GM Srivatsava.
After making an on the spot assessment on the situation on Monday, GM directed the engineering officials to deploy more workforce and machinery by Tuesday. According to information, as many as 10 heavy duty JCBs, 10 engineering track material trains with 180 loaded wagons consisting of sand bags, boulders, quarry dust, girders and cribs and around 600 labour force have been involved in this massive exercise. Diesel generator sets were also rushed to the spots in a big way and special lighting arrangements made at the track breach locations allowing the staff to carry the works uninterrupted all through the night.
“We could manage to restore the line within one and half day, despite several odds such as lack of proper road connectivity to the affected portion, disruption to communication facilities and rain,” said Sambasiva Rao. He said that the entire workforce and machinery have been shifted to restoration of second line and it would also be brought to operation by Wednesday.