To whom shall we blame for the ambush, the severe traffic jam which has become a juggernaut all over the country??? The condition of existing roadways is deteriorating day by day be it the city roads, the state or national highways. Let us not forget the size of potholes which is increasing as the days are progressing. No the reason is more than just population explosion or the poverty. Well the main cause of such situation is heavy movement of freight in trucks and lorries from one place to another. Yes you are reading it correctly. As per the present scenario, the roadways carry a freight traffic of more than 60% of the total traffic. The number of vehicles running on the roads is more than the expected envisaged no. of vehicles so if you see the potholes next time, you cannot rule out the possibility that this is due to the increasing freight traffic on the roadways. Nevertheless, the problems always come with solutions.
In the year 2005-06, there was this notable reform which came into picture during the presentation of railway budget. It was a propaganda of the government to start working on dedicated freight corridors in the west and the east which shall minimize the traffic from saturated golden quadrilateral, the roadways and shift it to railways. This major reform shall move almost 40 % of the freight traffic from roadways to railways. A special purpose vehicle was established to look only after the eastern (1856 km) and western (1504 km) corridors called the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (herein DFCC) on 30th October 2006. There are many properties of DFCC which makes it one of a kind, be it the dimensions of wagon, load carrying capacity of the train, the speed which moves upto 100 kmph from 75 kmph which is the maximum speed of existing trains. Well the most interesting part of the Corridors is execution of the track work activities. New Track Construction Machine (herein NTC) is used for laying of sleepers, rails and the fitting arrangements together in one go. The NTC machine used in one of the project package of DFCC is imported from Austria, being operated by their Indian division. The cost of machine is close to 70 Crores and the efficiency is 1.5 – 2 kms of track works per day which itself is a massive upgradation from the traditional manual method in which a maximum of just 200 meters of track works can be executed in a single day. The manpower required includes the operators and a few labors unlike the manual method wherein the major role is of the highly skilled, skilled & unskilled manpower. The procedure of executing this unique construction activity starts with
- The sleepers which are manufactured in sleeper plant installed at a close proximity to the site where the mechanized track construction shall take place. The concrete grade used is M60. Concrete is laid in molds, undergoes a 12 hours rigorous cycle to get the product i.e. the sleepers. The sleepers are then stored in water tank for 28 days in order to achieve the desired strength. Once this is done, the sleepers are ready to get marked and stacked.
- Whilst it is easy to manufacture sleepers, the rails are procured from the government/ private manufacturers. The rails are brought to the stacking yard in wagons from their production house.
- Gantry with hoists arrangement is made for movement of sleeper and rails at the stack yard. Once the ballasted bed is ready, the gantry handled sleepers and the rails shall be shifted to wagons.
- 1 Wagon is of 13 meters length. Total 20 Wagons accommodate 4 Nos of 260 meter rails and 720 numbers of sleepers in one go.
- The Locomotives is used to take the wagons to the desired location. Ballasted bed should be ready for some stretch so that the costly NTC can be….