Madurai

Railway men keep idle infrastructure in ship shape

Keeping it running: Workers unloading sugar bags from a wagon at Virudhunagar railway station.

Keeping it running: Workers unloading sugar bags from a wagon at Virudhunagar railway station.  

Though passenger services are not operated, essential goods are moved by rail

Though working with a skeletal staff strength, railway officials and employees in Madurai Railway Division have been putting in strenuous efforts to move essential goods from various parts of the country to the southern districts even under the lockdown period.

Staff from all departments of the railway are working day and night to ensure safe running of the goods trains despite cancellation of all passenger trains. “Railway is an essential service and under this extraordinary situation wherein people have been asked to stay indoors, our men have braved not only to come out but also to put in their best efforts to run the goods trains so that all essential goods are available everywhere in this critical situation,” a senior railway official said.

Most of the people have either locked themselves within four walls or working from home so that they do not contract the COVID-19 infection. “But our men are there out in the empty railway stations, deserted tracks and remote railway gates so that the safety of the rakes, goods carried and railway men is in place,” the source added.

Trackmen are working every day on all the important railway routes to make sure that the tracks are fit for operating goods trains. “Though it is not new for them to work in the most remote parts, what makes the difference is that they are working in more secluded places these days as normal movement of people has been curtailed under lockdown,” another official said.

The railways have operated 18 rakes since March 21 and have moved 16,000 tonnes of rice, 9,325 tonnes of sugar, 5,132 tonnes of paddy, 2,670 tonnes of wheat and 1,350 tonnes of petroleum products.

Though there was no originating load from within the division, unloading had been done in various stations. Government agencies such as Food Corporation of India, Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and private players had used the railway services, the official said.

The goods have been unloaded in Meelavittan, Pudukottai, Mayiladuthurai, Aruppukottai, Tirunelveli, Virudhunagar, Rajapalayam and Dindigul.

The task is not limited to operating the goods trains, but also in ensuring personal safety of railway employees and workers involved in loading and unloading. “We have given masks and hand wash facilities at all working spots. The officials made sure that the workers maintained minimum personal distance while working. Besides, personal details of all the loading workers were collected as a precautionary measure,” the official added.

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Printable version | May 26, 2020 10:40:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/railway-men-keep-idle-infrastructure-in-ship-shape/article31253589.ece

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