Rs.40.68-crore maintenance shed in Kollam to be commissioned today

The Rs.40.68-crore maintenance shed in Kollam for Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) rakes will be formally commissioned on Sunday, after a delay of five years, and Railways have worked out a Rs.74-crore project for the periodic overhaul of rakes in the State.

The project had been forwarded to the rail headquarters through the zonal office and was awaiting clearance, sources told The Hindu. Periodic overhaul was necessary to cut the wasteful expenditure of taking the rakes to Avadi every 18 months.

Overhead cranes and other facilities to for heavy lift of transformers and cars would have to be installed in the maintenance shed to start periodic overhaul activities, sources said.

Delay

The maintenance shed work got delayed due to a host of problems. Once cleared and adequate budgetary support extended, the second phase development could be completed in two years, sources said.

The maintenance shed was needed as the number of rakes would go up from the existing three in the Thiruvananthapuram division as Railways had plans to phase out passenger trains and replace those with MEMU for short distance commuters. The maintenance of the eight-car MEMU rakes had commenced in Kollam from November 29, ending the practice of taking the rakes to Palakkad for service. The maintenance shed in Kollam functioned under the Electrical Wing and had 21 personnel.

The service of the rakes was being taken up at the 210-metre long maintenance shed that had two pit lines. The six-hour service was done once in every seven days. The service included a thorough check and replacement of defective spares, sources said.

The plan was to carry out the service for the three rakes every 10 days as the distance covered each day was only 300 km compared to the 500 to 600 km the MEMU rakes operated in cities such as Chennai.

The shed at Kollam had four times the facilities in Palakkad. The facility in Erode was being used before the one in Palakkad was commissioned, sources said.

At a time, two MEMU rakes could be handled in Kollam. Railways had approached the zonal office seeking an increase in the numbers of cars in the rake from the present 8 to 12 to carry more short-distance commuters and to wean them from long-distance mail and express trains, sources added.