Southern Railway GM cites security-related constraints to operate additional services

General Manager of Southern Railway Rakesh Mishra on Tuesday cited practical difficulties in replacing oil-fired locomotives with diesel locomotives on the Nilgiris Mountain Railway and inability to operate additional services on the NMR section owing to safety-related constraints.

He was on a routine inspection of the NMR along with the Divisional Railway Manager, Salem, Sujatha Jeyaraj, for assessing the stability of the track and other operational difficulties.

Mr. Mishra told reporters that Railways would initiate measures through agencies concerned for clearing the choked rainwater drain systems at various places along the NMR section and measures would be initiated for putting mesh type nets at places which are vulnerable to landslip during rainy season. As regards locomotives, Mr.Mishra said that indigenously-manufactured oil-fired locomotives have brought respite from the earlier operational problems caused by coal fired locomotives. The locomotives have adequate hauling capacity.

Two oil-fired locomotives from the Golden Rock Workshop at Tiruchi have already joined the NMR system and of the remaining two, one would reach Mettuppalayam by September .

Increase in number of locomotives would not help in introducing more services.

Mr. Mishra pointed out that line had to be inspected in the morning by railway employees by foot and clear the track for the first service and in the evenings there is a need for operating the return trip early because of the risk of wild elephants. Hence, it would not be practically possible to operate more services or add extra coach in the existing service.

Diesel locomotives would not be feasible as they are not compatible with the rack and pinion system of operation in the ghat section for hauling the train in and having a grip while descending steep gradients. Mr.Mishra also said that Southern Railway was managing to offer passenger-friendly services despite the fall in budgetary allocation.