The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh appeared to infuse a sense of urgency among the staff of South Central Railway’s electric loco shed (ELS) here to have a periodic overhaul (POH) workshop established in Vijayawada in view of its importance from the railways’ perspective.
The South Central Railway (SCR) zone has three electric loco sheds at Vijayawada, Secunderabad and Kazipet but not even a single POH workshop.
As a consequence, locomotives which require complete overhauling are sent to the POH workshops at Chittaranjan, Kanchrapara (near Barrackpore in West Bengal), Perambur and a very few other such facilities in the country.
Keeping logistics and expenditure in view, the ELS branch of SCR Mazdoor Union (SCRMU) has been demanding that a POH workshop should be set up in Vijayawada.
It might be far-fetched at the moment to expect Railway Board to concede the demand anytime soon but Vijayawada certainly has a distinct advantage in the form of enough land, water and skilled manpower.
The local ELS can conduct only minor and intermediate overhauls of locomotives whereas a POH has to be done at larger intervals of a few lakh kilometres of running.
SCRMU ELS branch Chairman S. Ranga Rao and secretary R. Bhupendra, who led a delegation that submitted a memorandum to SCR General Manager P.K. Srivastava during his visit on Saturday, told The Hindu that the electric loco sheds at Vijayawada, Secunderabad and Kazipet were carrying repairs to nearly 500 locomotives of different types but the absence of a POH workshop in the State was a major problem.
Besides, the ELS at Vijayawada is facing difficulty in conducting repairs to locomotives with sanctioned staff of only 960 against Railway Board yardstick of 1,120. It is at present handling 200 locomotives.
Another problem at ELS worth mentioning is the wear and tear of electrical overhead traction cranes some of which outlived their utility span of 30 years. Safety of staff working with them is a matter of concern.