Diesel loco shed likely to be closed

The sole railway diesel engine workshop in the State might be shut down within a year or two.

Employees of the diesel loco shed located at Ernakulam South held a demonstration before the unit on Monday, alleging that Southern Railway is trying to relocate railway establishments from Kerala to neighbouring States. “Southern Railway has decided to substitute the shed with an electric loco shed. The matter is before the Railway Board. Diesel engines are efficient and are deployed during emergency situations and power shutdowns. As per norms, 15 per cent of loco engines must be diesel ones,” said N Sreekumaran, president of Diesel Loco Shed Protection Council.

He said though the State was often allotted very old loco engines, the 350-odd employees of the shed ensured their upkeep. “This is the third attempt at shutting down/relocating the shed. Tamil Nadu has 12 loco sheds, including three diesel loco sheds, while plans are afoot to shut down the sole loco shed in Kerala,” he said.

The Ernakulam Area Manager of Southern Railway P.L. Ashok Kumar said the matter was in the proposal stage. “Within four years, rail lines up to Mangalore will be electrified, bringing down the reliance on diesel engines. Diesel locos can be brought here from neighbouring States in case of emergency.”

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