South Western Railway has devised a new way to ease the life of track maintenance staff on the difficult ghat section terrain. It has started reusing old discarded pre-stressed concrete sleepers to create a new pathway along the railway track.
Such work has been carried out on the Castle Rock-Dudhsagar ghat section of SWR.
Track maintainers, gangmen and key men have to move on the section by foot, for checking and ensuring the safety of the track.
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Sleepers are released in large quantities after renewal work. These have reused and laid in an inverted and longitudinal position parallel to the railway track. The idea is to create a level pathway for track maintainers and keymen. This all-weather road will allow rainwater to seep through during the rainy season.
Around 10,000 scrapped sleepers have been used for constructing the pathway on the 12 km ghat section stretch.
Care has been taken to ensure that the vertical distance from rail level to pathway level is maintained suitably.
The sleeper pathway helps in easy access of track for inspection by Railway officials. In addition Loco Pilots of trains use these paths to check their train formations during halts and when waiting for signal in this section.
Staff conducting night patrol can also easily spot and move to this new pathway easily on sighting an oncoming train. Loading and unloading of rails for maintenance work will also be simpler for personnel.
Old sleepers are also used for creating trolley refuge platforms along railway tracks in several zones. Trolley refugees are built at an interval of 100m and are used for placing the trolley during train movement.
The trolley platforms are also being used for keeping rail dolly, trucked out rails and sleepers and even as a resting place for keymen after completion of the beat.
Around 2,500 sleepers have been used for construction of trolley platforms.
Recycled rails are also used as a ballast retainer. These retainers prevent ballast from falling due to vibrations in train movement. At bridge approaches, retainers maintain sufficient ballast and elevated track retainers also obstructs the movement of animals from entering the track area.
Use of scrapped sleepers and rails is cost-effective and time-saving, says a statement from SWR.
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SWR also uses scrapped sleepers for constructing side drains in tunnels. This prevents the track ballast from falling into the drains and allows free flow of rain water during the monsoons. Sleepers in double layer are also used as a Ballast retainer wall to prevent the shoulder ballast from falling off at steep locations.
Other zones have also been exploring the recycling of old and discarded sleepers. North Central Railway is also recycling used PSC sleepers to construct fencing along tracks as part of the 160 kmph upgrade project.