Home / News / India /  How Indian Railways plans to use Oxygen Express train to fight Covid

Amid the rising cases of covid-19 cases in the country and the transportation of medical oxygen became a crucial issue, Indian Railways took the movement of oxygen express as a challenge and successfully ran the first oxygen express from Kalamboli to Vizag and back upto Nasik.

The moment railways got the request, it made ramps at various places immediately for the movement of liquid medical oxygen tankers and the ramp was made in only 24 hrs time at Kalamboli.

Challenges in the movement of Oxygen Express:

As oxygen in cryogenic state is a hazardous chemical, Railways have to avoid sudden acceleration, deceleration, have to check pressures in between, especially when it is in loaded condition. Yet, railways took it as challenge, mapped the route, trained people and could take these particular size tankers to the Vizag via Vasai, Surat, Bhusaval, Nagpur route.

For the movement of Ro-Ro service Railways had to map the entire route considering the various constraints like Ghat sections, Road Over Bridges, Tunnels, Curves, Platform canopies, Over Head Equipment etc. at certain locations. Because height is an important aspect in this movement, Railways mapped the route via Vasai. The model of road tanker T1618 with a height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons. The longer route via Vasai was charted as Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) is not permitted to travel in Ghat sections over Mumbai division.

The distance between Kalamboli and Vizag is more than 1850kms which was completed by these tankers only in about 50 hours. 7 tankers with more than 100 tons LMO (Liquid Medical Oxygen) were loaded in 10 hrs and transported back to Nagpur in only 21 hrs. Railways have unloaded 3 tankers in Nagpur yesterday and the remaining 4 tankers have reached Nashik at 10.25am today i.e. in just 12 hrs time from Nagpur to Nashik.

Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances than road transport. Transportation through rail takes 2 days while through road it takes 3 days. Trains can run 24 hours a day but truck drivers need to take halts etc. The green corridor is created for the faster movement of these tankers and monitoring of movement was done at the apex level.

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