Coach maintenance workers who turned around rakes at the Basin Bridge train care depot will no longer have to put up with pit lines filled with slush and garbage pile-ups in the yard.
In a rare concerted drive, Chennai Divisional Railway has put together a team of over 300 personnel from the electrical, mechanical, engineering and medical wings for a one-time cleanliness initiative.
The entire exercise is being monitored closely by Chennai Divisional Railway manager, P.K. Mishra, and assistant divisional railway manager, Mohan Rajan, officials said.
While the poor working conditions at the Basin Bridge coaching depot have often been highlighted by railway trade unions and the media, the recent burst of activity was set off by a visit to the site by Rakesh Misra, general manager (GM), Southern Railway, an official said.
Mr. Misra, who visited the depot on October 9 was appalled at the conditions prevailing in this premier coach maintenance hub and ordered immediate remedial measures. He wanted the makeover completed in 10 days.
“Ever since the GM issued instructions, dedicated teams have been rushing to meet the deadline,” an official said. Mr. Misra is due to visit the depot later this week.
Meanwhile, trade unions, while welcoming the cleanliness drive, also want the authorities to reduce the acute manpower deficit at the depot, which is one of the important train care centres in the six divisions of Southern Railway for primary and secondary maintenance of trains.
According to a spokesman for Indian Railways Technical Supervisors’ Association (IRTSA), every day the depot undertakes primary maintenance of 17 trains that translates into 52 rakes and 1,010 coaches.
Apart from this, primary maintenance is performed for eight trains during the night as the vehicles are running on the tracks during the day.
The staff is also entrusted with the secondary maintenance of seven rakes comprising 131 coaches as well as the ‘other end attention’, or basic cleanliness and safety certification of 534 coaches at the yard and 650 coaches at the platform on a daily basis.
The coach depot has staff strength of 1,200 across various safety categories, including mechanical and electrical divisions, as against a requirement of about 1,700 personnel.
“Even as per the Railway Board’s norms, the maintenance of every new train will require the dedicated service of at least 60 personnel,” an IRTSA spokesman pointed out.