South Western Railway gets Solar Plant for C&W Workshop/Hubli

HUBBALI: The South Western Railway (SWR) recently commissioned a 999kW capacity rooftop solar power plant at its carriage repair workshop at Hubbali, Karnataka. With the commissioning of the plant, SWR claimed, Hubballi workshop has become the first location on the Indian Railways where one MW solar rooftop module has been commissioned at a single location other than station.

Apart from Hubbali, roof top solar plants are installed atop the New Delhi and Katra stations.

The solar plant at Hubballi workshop will generate approximately 15 lakh KWh power annually that is expected to result in estimated saving of Rs. 24 lakhs per annum for the Railways, it was informed.

With the commissioning of the rooftop solar power plant, the 133-year-old workshop is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 1,200 tonnes as 60% of the power requirements of the Hubballi workshop would be met by the solar plant, sources said. The solar plant is provided in developer mode with railways incurring no cost for 25 years.

Historically Important Workshop

CAPTION: A few historic railway photographs around Hubli. These are from scans of the ‘Locomotive, Railway Carriage and Wagon review’, which was a periodical published regularly from 1896-1959.

Established in 1885 under Southern Maratha Railways the Loco, Carriage and Wagon workshop, Hubli carried out maintenance and repairs to Meter gauge locomotives, coaches and wagons.In 1919, Madras & Southern Mahratta Railway (MSMR) was formed and the workshop was brought under the jurisdiction of MSMR. The workshop continued with periodic overhauling activities of MG rolling stock.

After independence, on reorganization of the Railways, Hubli Workshop was brought under the control of Southern Railway during 1951 and in the year 1966, Hubli Workshop was taken-over by South Central Railway .The POH of passenger class YP 4-6-2 and goods class YG 2-8-2 configuration steam locomotives and YD 2-8-2 dual class steam locomotives used on steep gradients were carried out by Erecting Shop and Boiler shop.

A full fledged saw mill was functioning under Carriage shop comprising various woodworking machines such as log band saw, vertical band saw, planning, drilling and boring minspection carriages, narrow gauge coaches and horse vans during this period.MG wagons having riveted construction were repaired in wagon shop. The workshop also manufactured wooden body in 1987, the workshop commenced manufacture of fabricated UIC bogies for BOX wagons and was later discontinued in 1995 due to phasing out of BOX wagons on Indian Railways and were replaced by technologically superior higher capacity BOXN wagons.

CAPTION: Steam Locomotive workshop at Hubli, circa 1900. Hubli was a premier MG locomotive shed and workshop. The workshop was setup in 1885, and it was the main traction center for the Southern Mahratta Railway. In 1908, it became part of the Madras and Southern Mahratta Railway. After independence, it belonged initially to the Southern Railway and was transferred to the South Central railway in 1966, before eventually coming under the South Western Railway. The workshop handled the POH and maintenance of YG and YP class locomotives in later years. Shortly after the formation of SCR, the MG coach workshop at Lallaguda (LGD) was shutdown and all MG coach workshop activities for SCR were transferred to Hubli. After the conversion to BG, the workshop still remains one of the most highly rated workshops in the country.

In 1990 the workshop commenced manufacture of fabricated bogies for ICF type coaches. The workshop is now the part of South Western Railway (SWR) which was formed on 1st April 2003. The Hubli workshop thus forms the backbone of SWR for maintenance and repair activities of rolling stock and its components.

In the year 2008, i.e. at its 123rd year of inception, the workshop had undergone revamping and modernisation exercise. The workshop also focussed in increasing its manufacturing capacity under the leadership of Mr.D. Ghosh Roy, the then Chief Workshop Manager, who said that the workshop which was manufacturing 91 brake vans for goods trains during 2006-07 and 105 during 2007-08, registered an increase of 15.4 per cent. The workshop also registered an increase of 31 per cent in manufacturing coaches during the same year; compared to 1,091 bogies in 2006-07, and it produced 1,430 bogies during 2007-08; and eventually achieved the target of manufacturing 150 brake vans and 1,600 bogies in that year. The workshop also manufactured 104 bogie frames during 2007-08, which was an improvement of 6.1 per cent compared with 98 bogie frames in the previous year. During 2007-08, the workshop carried out periodic overhauling (POH) of 1,117 coaches and aimed at taking the number to 1,200 coaches during by 2008-2009.

During 2008, Hubbali Workshop also manufactured and supplied 22 Air Spring Suspension Bogies Electrical Multiple Units (EMU) Coaches to other Railway Workshops and 50 assembled bogies to Messrs JESSOP following the Railway Board’s order. In addition, the Workshop supplied 20 container flat wagons to CONCOR during 2007-08 and another 45 flat wagons in the succeeding year. In 2010-2011, the South Western Railway’s Carriage Repair Workshop, Hubli completed periodical over-hauling (POH) of 752 bogies which is 23 per cent more than the Railway Board’s target of 612 bogies. Mr Shyamadhar Ram, the then Chief Workshop Manager, Hubli, speaking at the 56th Railway Week Celebrations, highlighted the achievement of the carriage repair workshop and said intermediate overhauling (IOH), 701 bogies were done as against the previous year’s performance of 331 bogies. Work on wheel shop, bogie repairs, light shop and alto meter sections were appreciable. About 2,575 bogie frames were manufactured in 2010-11, which was 4.6 per cent more the last year’s figure of 2,462 bogie frames. “There is tremendous improvement in reduction of welded joint rejection during radiography tests. In case of production of BVZI Wagons (Guard Vans), the Hubli workshop produced 183 BVZI Wagons during 2010-11 as against the target of 168 in addition to manufacturing of 130 Jessop bogies,” he said on that occasion, adding that the quality in cleaning of bogies, painting, safety fittings and anti-corrosion measures needs further improvement, however, and by improving the process, quality of repairs and material handling, the unit cost could be brought down.

Energy Conversation Initiatives

The electrical power supply and electrical maintenance activity achieved all the parameters by 2011 itself for efficient power management and reducing energy consumption by 13.53 per cent. This was highly appreciated by the Member-Mechanical, Railway Board during Railway Week Celebrations too. During the same year, while throwing the light on solar energy utilisation, he said the Hubli workshop was the first establishment in the South Western Railway (SWR) to acquire solar energy through solar photovoltaic panels; as a result, the entire administrative building has been covered for lighting load, which measure brought down consumption by 10,000 units a year in HESCOM (power) bill.