Nationwide lockdown was imposed since March 25 to avoid spike in Covid-19 cases. To prevent spread of COVID, passenger train movements have been suspended. Workforce of Railways is relentlessly working to run freight and parcel trains to move essential goods and parcels across the country.
Also utilizing this time, SWR is taking up intensive maintenance works. Many track and bridge works are going on all over South Western Railway. SWR is extensively carrying out safety and maintenance works on the rail network which was not possible, without affecting passenger train operations and without taking blocks during the otherwise busy train schedules.
Converting the unprecedented extended lockdown into an opportunity, Bridge Organization of SWR has taken up regirdering work of Bridge No.86 on the Tunga River near Shivamogga starting from 28.4.2020. This is an important bridge connecting Chikmagalur to Shivamogga Town.
This important bridge between Birur and Talguppa has 15 spans of 18.30 m each – Steel plate girders. The work of replacing the girders is being taken up at a cost of Rs.7 Cr.
The existing steel girders are of non-standard Meter gauge. The same were retained for Broad Gauge. They are now re-braced and are being replaced with 25 Tonne fit loading standard steel girders. The height of the bridge is about 20m from river bed. Permission to take up the work during the lockdown period has been obtained from Shivamogga District Administration.
The work is being executed under guidance of Shri Vijay Agarwal, PCE and Shri Kaushal Kishore, CPD/Bridge Works. Two 250 T Capacity Road Cranes, one 110 Capacity earth moving machines and one Road Trailer are being used for movement of materials. In addition one 15 T Capacity Hydra Crane, lifting jacks and gas cutting equipment are involved in lifting and cutting materials. The SWR working staff at this site include 16 Bridge Staff, 22 P Way staff and 5 S&T staff. In addition 25 contract labourers have been hired for carrying out other works. The regirdering is targeted to be completed by 02.05.2020.
All staff working on bridge have been provided with safety equipment and also wearing masks and sanitizers to safeguard against the spread of Covid-19 virus. Outside labourers are also being provided food and accommodation with all precautions against spread of virus. They are also being counseled by engineers to maintain social distancing and personal hygiene during work and otherwise.
SWR is not only carrying out regular maintenance but also working nonstop for the summer and upcoming monsoon season preparedness which is challenging for train operations.
General Manager South Western Railway, Shri Ajay Kumar Singh said that Railways stands in the forefront supporting battle against COVID. Along with working on various COVID preventive measures, Railways is parallely taking up maintenance of vital safety assets also in this period. Staff are working duly ensuring social distance he said