The country is going through a devastating pandemic and due to an unprecedented spike in daily coronavirus cases there is a growing demand for medical oxygen which is being umnet at the moment. Indian Railways is playing its part in this time of need for the nation as it is getting fully ready to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and Oxygen Cylinders across the key Corridors. Availability of oxygen is a key element in the treatment of certain medical conditions in the Covid infection
Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments had approached the Ministry of Railways to explore whether Liquid Medical Oxygen tanks could be moved by Railways. Railways decided to explore the feasibility of transportation of LMO. LMO has to be transported through Roll On Roll Off (RO RO) service with road tankers placed on flat wagons. Due to restrictions of height of Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Overhead Equipment (OHE) at certain locations, out of the various specifications of road tankers, the model of road tanker T 1618 with height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with height of 1290 mm.
In order to ensure that parameters of Transportation are tested, trials were conducted at various locations. This DBKM wagon was placed at Kalamboli goods shed in Mumbai on 15th April, 2021 and a T 1618 tanker loaded with LMO was also brought there. Joint measurements were taken by representatives of Industry and Railways. Based on the measurements, clearances were taken and it was found that it would be possible to undertake movements as ODC (over dimensional consignment) with speed restrictions on some sections depending on overhead clearances.
A meeting was held between Railway Board officials, State Transport Commissioners and representatives of industry on the subject ofIssues related to transportation of Liquid Medical Oxygen. It was decided that the tankers would be organized by the Transport Commissioner, Maharashtra. These empty tankers would be moved from Kalamboli/Boisar, Railway stations in and near Mumbai, and sent to Vizag and Jamshedpur/Rourkela/Bokaro, for loading of liquid medical oxygen tanks from there.
Instructions have been issued to Zonal Railways to ensure readiness to receive the trailers and load them back. Ramps have to be built at Vizag, Angul and Bhilai and the existing ramp at Kalamboli is to be strengthened. The Kalamboli ramp would be made ready by 19th April, 2021. Ramps at other locations would also be ready in a couple of days by the time the tankers reach those locations.
On 18 April, 2021 a trial was organised at Boisar where a loaded tanker was placed on a flat DBKM and all the required measurements were taken. Railways have already placed DBKM wagons at Kalamboli and at other locations in expectation of movement of tankers to various locations.
A movement plan has been made for dispatching 10 empty tankers on 19th April, 2021. Transport Secretary of Maharashtra has assured to provide the tankers by 19th April, 2021. Zonal Railways have been informed regarding the demands from State Governments. Railway Board has directed concerned GMs to be fully prepared and proactively assist the State and Central Government Agencies in movement of Oxygen by Rail and has also nominated ED/TT/F as Nodal Officer in Railway Board.
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