The Railways will run 'Oxygen Express' over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country, the national transporter said on Sunday.
Amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the country, the demand for medical oxygen in the country has gone through the roof.
Empty tankers will begin their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on Monday to load liquid medical oxygen Vishakhapatnam, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro, officials said.
Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra State governments had earlier approached the Railways Ministry to explore whether liquid medical oxygen tankers could be moved by the rail network, they said.
On the receipt of the request from the two States, the Railways immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of liquid medical oxygen. It has to be transported through roll-on-roll-off service with road tankers placed on flat wagons.
"Since the first empty tankers will move on April 19, we hope to begin operations of Oxygen Express over the next few days. We would be able to send oxygen wherever there is such demand. Green Corridor is being created for fast movement of Oxygen Express trains," an official said.
A meeting was held between Railway Board officials and State transport commissioners and representatives of the industry on April 17 on issues related to transportation of liquid medical oxygen.
"Instructions have been issued to zonal railways to ensure readiness to receive the trailers and load them back. Ramps have to be built at Vizag, Angul and Bhilai and the existing ramp at Kalamboli is to be strengthened. The Kalamboli ramp would be made ready by April 19. Ramps at other locations would also be ready in a couple of days by the time the tankers reach those locations," the Railway Ministry said.