Was expansion of pre-Independence era Amritsar Mechanical Workshop was ignored?

AMRITSAR: Local residents endorse the view that the expansion of pre-Independence era mechanical workshop of Railways in Amritsar was ignored. A retired Principal, Kulwant Singh, said a plan was formulated by the government some time back to expand the mechanical workshop to augment its services.

However, the plan was neither pursued by the Railways nor the state government after private players in machine and tool industries torpedoed it, fearing that it would harm their industrial output.“Years ago, a plan was mooted to re-set the workshop at Tangra village. However, the Army prevented the same due its importance for defence purposes.”

The Amritsar Mechanical Workshop specialises in new improvised systems for overhauling and repair of wagons. It also has now augmented facilities at machines shop, roller bearing, screen-printing sections, besides smith shop, where bogies and wagon welding is undertaken.It boasts off the model room housing newly manufactured BOXN wagons and refurbishing of high-value wagons. It also carries out overhauling of locos and heavy repairs besides other work.Amritsar Mechanical Workshop is one the oldest workshops of Northern Railways.

It is a pre-Independence workshop associated with repairs of machines of the Public Works Department, besides serving as Ordnance Factory for a brief period.The factory had also undertaken manufacturing of equipment for the Bhakra Nangal Dam before it was taken over by the Railways in 1956 for overhauling of steam locomotives.

The workshop was developed progressively as a lead wagon manufacturer and for development of state-of-the-art wagons, besides restoring heritage wagons. Noteworthy innovations carried out at the workshop include bogie bolster, energy saving screw air compressor, besides renovation of BOXN wagons, repairs of DMU coaches among other works.Senior railway officials of the engineering wing stated that the proposed plan was at a very formative stage.

They said in due course of time many such plans were put forward. Some were implemented while others were not, they added.