Cleaning of non-electrified demo coaches has been started by South Western Railway from Jan 11. The region’s Divisional Commercial Manager (DCM) expects it will take a maximum of three weeks to start things off.
Finally, the first Automatic Coach Washing Plant (ACWP) for South Western Railway (SWR) zone of Bengaluru division is set to launch in a few weeks after a huge delay in shifting the required machinery to Bengaluru.
Raushan Kumar, DCM of South Western Railway zone, does not want to mention the deadline this time. “We had set a deadline of the second week of December last time but it didn’t go with the planning for some reasons. Soon, we will announce the date after the testing part of this project is examined successfully,” Kumar told the softcopy.
Heavy rainfall followed by flooding in Gujarat prevented Vadodara-based Oriental Manufacturers Private Limited from installing the facilities.
The ACWP does away with the very labour-intensive activity of external cleaning of passenger trains. It reduces the requirement of water and consumables as compared to conventional cleaning methods.
The advantage of implementing ACWP in railway stations is the excellent quality external cleaning of full-length trains of 24 coaches achieved within 10 to 15 minutes, while being placed on the pit line for primary or secondary maintenance. Kumar promises that it takes 15 minutes for each train cleaning. The water consumption per rake of 24 coaches is 1440 litres (60 litres per coach). Whereas, the total water consumption for manual washing per rake of 24 coaches is 3600 litres. So, it saves 60 percent of water compared to manual cleaning.”
Ramu Raj, a contractor working in this project to implement in SWR zone is hopeful that the passengers departing from KSR railway station will travel in cleaner trains once the final test completes.
“It requires minimal electrical energy, maintenance and manpower for operation. – The plant is able to clean and disinfect the area of bogie, below the toilets which is otherwise not cleaned manually. The entire project costs around Rs. 2 crores with the financial assistance of Indian Railways,” he said.
Abhishek Bhattacharya, a daily commuter from KSR railway station, said, “Hopefully we will help to maintain cleanliness as well. Recently, the railway ministry released the top 10 railway stations list in national cleanliness survey. Most of them are from Rajasthan and Delhi, and five out of ten railway stations have the facility to make use of automation to clean their trains.”
Suresh Heblikar, the chairman of Eco Watch, praised the initiative taken by the SWR department for implementing this project in Bengaluru. “The procedure to clean train coaches is very much eco-friendly as it takes less water, less energy and less soap. The water used for washing coaches can be treated through ‘Effluent Treatment Plant’ which is recycled and reused. This helps in conservation of water. It is user friendly, sturdy, easy to maintain and economical also,” he added.