TRACK QUALITY AND MAINTENANCE DEMANDS FOR INTRODUCING 160 KMPH SEMI HIGH-SPEED (SHS) PASSENGER TRAINS ON INDIAN RAILWAYS – SAFETY ISSUES

The Challenge in Introducing Speeds of 160 kmph for passenger trains on IR is to meet the Demands for Initial and Inherent Quality of Track, modern Infrastructure Management, modern best Practices of Permanent Work Procedures and  of mechanised Track-Maintenance.

Prerequisites for 160 kmph are:

  • Well bearing and drained formation.
  • Long rolled rails of high steel-alloy quality.
  • High performance turnouts with condition monitoring sensors.
  • High standard robotic rail flash-but welding or digital controlled AT welding under supervision of well trained and skilled gangs.
  • Under sleeper pads for concrete sleepers and a fit-and-forget replacement rail-fastening system for the current Mark III ERC fastening.
  • Well planned, condition based and predictive modern mechanised maintenance practices and procedures executed with appropriated tools and heavy duty & high performance on-track machinery.
  • Regular preventive and target rail-grinding.
  • Deployment of automatic train protection/control.

To learn more download:TRACK AND MAINTENANCE DEMANDS FOR INTRODUCING 160 kmph PASSENGER TRAINS ON IR

MATHERAN – AN ECOLOGICAL SENSITIVE HILLSTATION IN INDIA WITH POOR ROAD-INFRASTRUCTURE AND MASSIVE POLLUTION; TRANSPORT-SCHEMES; Part III By Dr. F.A. Wingler, February 2019

Matheran is ailing under poor road-access, poor road and trail conditions, air-pollution by stirred-up latertite-dust mixed with horse-dung and under waste-littering.

Programmes have commenced to bring betterments and to improve the road and cleanness situation. “Clean-Up Marshalls” advise now tourists not to litter the eco-sensitive zone and the beauty of the nature of Matheran.

After abolition of the brake porters on the 2 feet Narrow-Gauge Toy-Train, the introduction of the dual pipe, graduate release and indirect working compressed air-brake system in combination with the old 1903 bumpy tramway coupling system has resulted in hazardous train-set jerk and jolt movements, especially on down-gradient runs, that increase the derailment proneness. Therefore, the train-speed had to be reduced, which hampers a frequent train-service between Neral and Matheran. The Train-Drivers have to run trains, especially on down-gradient and on the poor aligned tight curves, in a snail`s pace with upmost vigilance, to avoid the risks of a derailment caused by train-set jerks. On 21th October 2018, a parcel-van of the shuttle service derailed on a turnout at Amman Lodge with a lucky narrow escape for the passengers in the adjacent coaches. Luckily the derailed parcel-van did not pull the passenger coaches from the track. Within the next 10 weeks 4 more coach derailments happened. Under modern Safety and Risk Management aspects, those unwanted bad events have to be investigated and treated as “NEAR MISSED BAD EVENTS” and therefore as “ACCIDENTS”. Lessons have to be learned.

The author suggests installing jerk- and jolt-movements free force locking railway couplers, as in use on the other Indian narrow gauge railways and on other narrow gauge heritage railways around the globe.

LUXURY is not needed; but SAFETY FOR THE PASSENGERS. This means: Luxury air-conditioned VISTA-DOM cars are not needed, but sound, healthy and well aligned rail-tracks and – in conjunction with the dual pipe compressed air brake system – force-locking state-of-the-art railway couplers.

CULTURE OF ERROR AND RISK MANAGEMENT IN RAILWAY COMPANIES – LEARNING FROM THE AVIATION INDUSTRIES

The paper is based on the publication of  Dipl. Ing Karoly Obrecht and Dr. Bernhard Rüger: FEHLERKULTUR BEI EISENBAHNEN – NOTWENDIGKEIT UND CHANCE ZUR ERHÖHUNG DER SICHERTHEIT in Eisenbahn Technische Rundschau, ETR, Juni 2018, p. 42, eurailpress, DVV Media Group, Hamburg, Germany, ISSN 0013-2845.

At the centre of the modern proactive, precautionary and generative culture of error and risk management culture in transport corporations  stands the thought that errors, mishaps and accidents (unwanted bad events)  are components and an integral part of any actions and learning’s. The vision of “Zero Accidents” in transport environment cannot be reached, and therefore, it has to be regarded as an illusion.

 A positive working atmosphere and trust in the management of the company are essential for employees to be willing to voluntarily report in order to support the new error culture. A pronounced hierarchical structure in a company is usually a big obstacle in establishing a new trust-based generative error culture.

Unfortunately, railway companies with their rigid structures and established cultures are often 10 years behind aviation industries when it comes to introducing modern human error, risk and accident management methods and a new modern proactive, precautionary and generative culture of error, risk and accident management. The good experience and successes in safety management of aviation industries and operators with an open and proactive safety culture can be used to the advantage of railway operators.

 Risk is the product of probability that an incident will occur and the impact that it will have. It is impossible to have a zero probability. An all encompassing information system about near errors, near missed accidents and prevailing unsafe conditions must be at disposal.

 The data as a basis for safety management are generated through a voluntary and anonymous  reporting, notification and information system. Conditions have to be provided that errors and prevailing unsafe conditions can be reported without reservations and sanctions.

 

To read more, download:Learning from Aviation_ PDF

RAILWAY PERFORMANCE IN THE LIGHT OF INVESTMENT POLICY. What Indian Railways can learn from the Performance of European Railways.

A MODERN RAILWAY OF WORLD CLASS STANDARD needs efficient INFRASTRUCTURE with a HIGH CAPACITY RAIL NETWORK allowing economical high Rail-Performance (high Route Capacity, short start-to-end Journey Time, high Punctuality and high Safety).

The whole Infrastructure should be owned and managed by one state owned Infrastructure Management Company/Organisation/Undertaking, which will be the only partner to deal with, concerning investment in and maintenance of infrastructure. The INFRASTRUCTURE should be managed effectively and economically under one umbrella out of one hand. There must be a governmental INVESTMENT POLICY, which guarantees a long-term financing agreement of long-term certainty.

Concerning INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT and BEST PRACTISE IN TRACK MAINTENANCE, as well INVESTMENT POLICY, India can learn and take lessons from Central European Railways of high PERFORMANCE.

 The Infrastructure Managers and Train Operation Companies from the Central European “Alpine Railways” (ÖBB, SBB-CFF, DB, RFI, SNCF, VTG, BLS, Shift2Rail and the European Investment Bank) are currently allocating record budgets for rail investment in the DIGITAL REVOLUTION with a Euro 205 Billion plan to revolutionise rail service. They will meet for a ground breaking event on 08th November 2018 at Vienna, Austria, for catalysing improvements of efficiency, reliability, customer experience, helping to reduce costs.

 It is the question if the Indian Government invests enough and will make the necessary structural, organizational and streamlining reforms/reshuffles in the Railway System to keep the current Performance Level or even to improve it under its MISSION MODE PLAN to become a Modern Railway?

Behind recent Indian Prime Minister N. Modi`s rejection to install on the Indian network the automatic Train Protection System (ETCS Level 1 or Level 2), there is obviously the cognizance and insight that India`s economy is not yet advanced enough to allow that more safety for the train passengers and for an increase of route capacity through shortening the headways can be made affordable by capital investment, latter needed for the implementation of a general Automatic Train Protection System (ATPS), something like ETCS Level 1 (limited protection) or Level 2.

Therefore, presently no investment priority is given in achieving more safety and higher route capacity by shortening the headways through general deploying of a modern Automatic Train Protection System on the whole network. The economic development of the country does obviously not produce enough revenue for the needed investment.

Unfortunately, the Indian Government under Prime Minister N. Modi has decided to give priority to the huge capital intensive scheme for a Journey Time Cutting Project for privileged train travelers on a stand-alone Standard-Gauge High-Speed Route between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The common train-travelers in India will not benefit from this this investment policy in terms of Safety, Performance and shorter Start-to-End Journey Times.

 The common train-traveler, who cannot afford a higher ticket prize for a time-cutting service on the envisaged stand-alone Standard-Gauge line (- which cannot be integrated in the current rail-network because of different track gauge – ), will have to travel under current safety conditions on the current slow Broad-Gauge Line.

 To read more, download: INVESTMENT POLICY PDF

 

 

SETTING THE POINT FOR APPROPRIATE DECISIONS LEVERAGING THE WAY FOR EXTENSIVE RAIL-TRACK REHABILITATION, RE-ENGINEERING, STRENGTHENING, MODERNISATION AND UPGRADING OF ALL ROUTES IN INDIA

Underfunding of Safety related Rail-Track Works is a main underlying Factor for the recent Spate of fatal Derailment-Disasters. India has to catch-up the Investment Backlog under the Vision for modern sound and healthy Rail-Tracks for a World-Class Railway.

Let’s hope that the new leadership will overcome the deficiency in making decisions in favour of modern, safe, sound and healthy rail-tracks on all routes of high track-quality for close-to-zero derailments and for overall low life cycle costs. India must invest by far more in track infrastructure and assets than in the past to catch up the accumulated investment back-log of the past decades. As far as track quality is concerned, the demands and the realities differ widely.

An Audit elaborated by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), covering the period from April 1, 2016, to 31 March, 2017, reveals multiple lapses in the railway-track maintenance plans.

The new leadership want to “CHANGE THE FUTURE OF INDIAN RAILWAYS” in order to “TAKE INDIAN RAILWAYS TO THE LEAGUE OF WORLD-CLASS RAILWAYS”. The Railway has been declared as “LIFE-LINE OF THE COUNTRY”.

However, a WORLD-CLASS RAILWAY needs MODERN WORLD-CLASS RAILWAY-TRACKS OF HIGH QUALITY. In this respect, expectations of the new leadership and track-realities differ widely.

In the past decades, IR has not invested enough to keep the quality of all its rail-tracks fit for the increased traffic load, they have to carry. The Indian Government is pushing in front a huge investment and organisation/performance backlog for keeping all its rail-tracks in sound and healthy condition.

A backlog of track-renewal, rehabilitation, re-engineering, upgrading, modernization and strengthening has accumulated over the years. Now, it will cost a huge amount of capital investment schemes to catch up this backlog. The accrued debts will not be paid off with the annual renewal of 3500 km rail tracks from about 115 000 km total length of tracks. To renew 3500 km rail-track per year even does not compensate the present ageing of ailing rail-tracks, ageing under the strain of the increased traffic load.

A Picture Gallery in Annexure IV delineates “archaic” Rail-Track Works.

To read more, download:SETTING THE POINT, PDF

GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING INDIA`S RAIL-ROADS TO ENSURE “CLOSE-TO-ZERO” FATAL DERAILMENT DISASTERS, AND FOR NEARLY ACCIDENT FREE RAIL-TRAVEL

PREFACE:

It can never be ethically acceptable that people are killed or seriously injured when moving within a transport system!

Rail-Track Engineering and Technology is not difficult to understand. However, it is difficult to make it comprehensible for Politicians, Decision-Bearers and Upper Echelons how a rail-track behaves under traffic load and what can be done in order to reduce the risks of Derailment-Disasters killing and injuring train passengers (“risk” is the product of probability of a bad incident to occur, the impact it has and the harm it produces).

Indian leadership wants to give Indian Railways the semblance of a world-class technology driven organization. But Trains derail on poor quality and rapid aging rail-tracks not matching the increasing traffic load, killing and injuring train-passengers.

SUMMARY:

Indian Railways show two faces, a “brilliant” and an “ugly” face. With the “brilliant” face IR can look on outstanding engineering results with new Railway Lines, Gauge-Conversion Projects, Bridge and Tunnel Constructions and with Introduction of new comfortable and faster running Trains. With the “ugly” face IR look on the spate of unwanted and nasty Train Derailment-Disasters killing and injuring Train-Passengers, on account of not optimized Wheel-Rail Systems, rapid aging rail-tracks and on account of Track-Quality not matching the increased traffic load/volume.

India is ready to go for High-Speed Train-Services, but is not in a position to keep all its rail-roads in sound and healthy condition by proper repair, maintenance, enhancement, rehabilitation and renewal for “Close-To-ZERO” Derailment Risks ensuring nearly Accident free Rail-Travel. Several routes age faster than they can be rehabilitated or renewed.

 People want to use a safe railway. Rail-tracks are an area presenting a great opportunity to achieve safety benefits. It is the obligation of the Indian Government to provide rail-tracks assuring close-to-zero fatal derailment-disasters and ensuring accident free rail-travel.

A railway-organization is only as good as the condition of its track-infrastructure. Therefore, it is in its original interest to optimize it and to keep it always on a high quality standard, which serves both the interests of its customers and business as well the operational safety.

World countries, whose economy can afford 300 kmph high-speed train services, have faced in the past decade ZERO killed or injured train-passenger due to a Derailment on account of an in-service failure of rail-tracks. They maintain, rehabilitate and renew all rail-roads in order to keep them in sound and healthy condition, fit for the traffic load/volume they have to carry.

It is not possible to achieve a HIGH QUALITY rail-track with short 13 m Indian rails with AT welds requiring to be bandaged with joggle-fishplates.

An underlying factor for the spate of fatal Derailment-Disasters in India, killing and injuring train passengers, are the aging long-welded (LWR) and continuous-welded (CWR) rail-panels consisting of poorly AT welded 13 meter short rails of sometimes inferior steel-alloy quality, needed to be bandaged with joggle-fishplates. Those panels age faster than they can be replaced or renewed by long milled rails of high steel-alloy quality welded by modern robotic flash-butt welding methodology. It needs long-term strategies and high capital investment schemes to renew the aging LWR/CRW tracks.

To bring the quality of all rail-roads in India in compliance with the increased traffic load/volume, massive capital investment schemes of long-term certainty in Safety related infrastructure-works, especially in high quality of rail-tracks on all routes, are needed. And “long-term” in Railways means really long, covering a period of 5 to 15 years ahead for planning, organisation, logistics and procurement. Enough skilled and well trained manpower, materials, tools, Monitoring Technology and Heavy-Duty and High- Performance On-Track Machineries are needed. High track quality means low track deterioration rate resp. slow aging under given traffic load/volume and hence low overall life cycle maintenance costs.

The lower the Track-Quality, the more frequent Track-Inspections and Monitoring are appropriate. A low Quality Track deteriorates faster than a high Quality Track and hence needs more maintenance expenditures causing higher costs.

Strong commitment and skillful execution of all people involved from the top to the bottom are prerequisites of paramount importance in order to reach the ultimate goal of “Close-To-Zero Fatal Train Accidents” by improving all India`s Rail-Roads up-to world class standards.

 One Indian expert has quoted: “The problem in India is not of safety standards but the execution of standards.”

To read more download: GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING INDIA`S RAIL-ROADS, PDF

TRAFFIC SHEMES FOR THE UNIQUE ECO-SENSITIVE HILLSTATION MATHERAN IN INDIA

In India there is an unique eco-sensitive zone on the Matheran Hills. There are massive aspirations to develop the Matheran Hill-station into a “hot” tourist spot in Maharashtra for the population in the nearby townships of Mumbai, Navi-Mumbai and Pune.

The following points are of paramount importance for the socio-economic well-being and development of Matheran:

  • The provision of an all-season stable, well drained and smooth access-road from Neral to the entry-point Dasturi,
  • a proper car-park at the entry-point,
  • a smooth dust-free and all-season stable well paved supply cart-road from Dasturi to Matheran Market,
  • and a dedicated horse-trail from Dasturi to Matheran.
  • Pedestrians and horses should be prohibited to use the rail-track as a trail.

Instead of the Diesel hauled 2 ft. narrow gauge Toy Tran shuttle service between the entry point at Dasturi and the centre of Matheran, the author suggest since years an electric operated and battery energy stored 2 ½ ft. narrow gauge light weight rail-car with a middle traction module on a dual-gauge 2 ft. / 2 ½ ft. gauntlet track between Matheran and Aman Lodge. On the down-gradient run the energy can be recuperated to charge the batteries. This state-to-the art technology is nowadays available from Stadler, Switzerland, for modern eco-friendly transport environment.

The envisaged “PEOPLE MOVER” with a capacity to carry per hour up-to 600 visitors by a two-stage ROPE-WAY from Bhutivali/Bhivpuri near Neral with a relay interchange or stop-over station on the lower Garbut-Rim Plateau and further with the Commanding-Valley Crossing to Madhavji Point, and as well the envisaged entertainment facilities, will bring additional load onto the already over strained ecological sensitive zone.

To read more, download: MATHERAN TRAFFIC SCHEMES PDF2

MATHERAN`S TOY TRAIN, THE JOY AND PRIDE OF TOURISM IN MAHARASHTRA, INDIA, UNDER SAFETY SCRUTINY

.In Maharashtra, India, there is a 2 ft. Narrow Gauge Train climbing from Neral nearly along the abyss of a scenic rim nearly 800 m up to the Hill-Station Matheran, situated on a mountain rim of volcanic origin in midst a lush green forest. In this tar road free ecological sensitive zone only pedestrians, horses, hand-carts and hand pulled rickshaws are allowed.

The train had been built between 1904 and 1907 by a private Entrepreneur as a Light Weight Steam Tramway. 1948 the ownership has been taken over by the Indian Government. The “Joy Train” is operated by the Indian Railway Division: Central Railway. Train-Derailments with narrow escape for the passengers, two Coach Derailments in May 2016 and a Train-Set Run-away in April 2016, have send safety related authorities into a tizzy. In May 2016, in the latest development on the SAFETY-ISSUE the toy train service has been suspended.

January 2017 in the related developments, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu sanctioned Rs. 6.8 crores to build anti-crash barriers, retaining walls and gabion walls along the Neral-Matheran section to ensure the toy train does not fall into the valley in case of a derailment. Central Railway had also decided to bring clean ballast on the entire 22 km corridor to improve the track.

On October 30th 2017, after 17 month of suspension, the shuttle-service resumed its service on the upper 3 km section between Matheran and Aman Lodge with a speed restriction of 10 kmph on a partly rehabilitated formation and with a graduate release dual-pipe (feed- and brake-pipe) compressed air-brake system mounted on the coaches. Since there is no elasticity in the primitive loose coupling system sans dampers and with opening and closing gaps, the jerk-problem has not become less. It seems that with the installation of the dual pipe, non-exhaustive compressed air brake system in lieu of the manual operated brakes, the jerk-problem increased on the shuttle service train-set with front-and rear locomotives. Jerks contribute to derailment proneness.

However, the rail-track itself has not been rehabilitated. The Steel-Trough Sleepers are still resting on earth and mud, and kinks at joints had not been eliminated. As long pedestrians, and even horses, are allowed to use the track as a trail, it will not be possible to maintain a clean and un-fouled ballast cushion.

Although the likelihood for a train to derail has not been reduced, the impact that a derailment might have and the harm a derailment might produce are mitigated by the retainers and crash barriers.

On the shuttle-service section between Matheran and Aman Lodge, at certain locations gabions have been erected as retainer-walls to retain the formation from yielding and to broaden the top formation width. At risky sections, where derailed coaches might be prone to tumble down the precipice, Guard/Crash-Barriers, as used on highways, had been installed. On such risky sections in addition one or two guard-rails have been added between the running rails to prevent derailed rolling stocks to leave the formation.

Begin of December 2017 the safety related works had not yet reached the main section on the west-side of the Panorama Point Rim. The rail-track itself is at it has been 17 month before. There are still severe formation defects, aprons washed out, joints are kinking and there is no ballast under the sleepers. The safety related works for new gabions, retaining walls and crash-barriers, to prevent a derailed train to tumble down the abyss, started November 2017 on the Governor Bungalow Hill west-side as well on Mt. Berry east-side. There is still a lot to do in order to make the main-section on its full length safe for passenger service.

 The technical paper describes the safety shortcomings as well the ongoing safety related works under progress. The independent technical expertise gives recommendations how to redesign and revamp the toy train and the rail track up to modern state-to-the-art international SAFETY STANDARTS, for the ULTIMATE GOAL to provide a safe joy ride for the tourists.

To learn more, download :Matheran Toy Train Safety Issue AMENDMENT 2 PDF

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR THE KILLING AND INJURING OF TRAIN-PASSENGERS IN UNWANTED DERAILMENT-DISASTERS

OPTIMISING THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM IN INDIA TO ACHIEVE NEARLY ZERO FATAL DERAILMENTS ON RAIL-TRACK ACCOUNT; PART II

 “ZERO TOLERANCE” is a new “buzzword” used in particular context with “ZERO ACCIDENT VISION” in transport environment and has been recently used by the new Indian Minister of Railways Mr. Piush Goyal, when calling for Innovation in Railway Safety and speaking at the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON TECHNOLOGICAL ADVANCEMENTS IN RAILWAYS & METRO PROJECTS, 6-7th OCT 2017, Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal stressed on the importance of innovation and out-of-the-box thinking.

“Innovation” and “out-of-Box Thinking” are not the problem. Out-of-box Thinking, Innovations and Technologies assuring nearly ZERO fatal Derailment Accidents on Track-Account are in India at hand.

The problems are budgeting, management, organization, logistics, education and teaching, manpower, tools, modern track-machineries, updated working manuals, supervision, controlling and generative safety culture.

Indian Railway Engineers have all the capabilities and competence to adopt those Technologies. For the “CLOSE-TO-ZERO ACCIDENT GOAL” and for the “ULTIMATE GOAL TO PREVENT UNWANTED NASTY DERAILMENT-DISASTERS”, killing and injuring Train-Passengers, massive input in Capital Investment Schemes of long-term certainty and organisational as well logistic Measurements in Safety related Infrastructure Works optimizing the all-important Wheel-Rail System on all routes are of paramount importance. With well-maintained Wheels on Modern Railway Tracks the likelihood of Derailments will be nearly ZERO. Train-Passenger`s Freedom from bodily Harm and Injury matters most.

The “CLOSE-TO-ZERO DERAILMENT GOAL” can be achieved by OPTIMISING THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL-RAIL-SYSTEM on all routes of Indian Railways.

 

To learn more, download:OPTIMISING THE ALL-IMPORTANT WHEEL-RAIL SYSTEM; PART II, new with ZERO VISION, PDF

TRAIN ACCIDENTS IN INDIA, Part II

SPATE OF FATAL TRAIN DERAILMENT-DISASTERS IN INDIA

On many routes of India`s vast rail-network the Track Quality does not match the increasing traffic load, the tracks have to carry. This is the underlying factor of the frequent Train Derailment-Disasters.

Since decades UNDERFUNDING and backlog in LONG-TERM CAPITAL INVESTMENT SCHEMES of long-term certainty for Safety related infrastructure and rail-track works and ORGANIZATIONAL SHORTCOMINGS and CONSTRAINTS in achieving on all rail-tracks the laid down quality standards ail Indian Railways.

The ability to make long-term plans for Safety related infrastructure maintenance works has suffered in the past from lack of available funds and recourses and uncertainty about budget provisions.

The new appointed Minister of Railways, Mr. Piyush Goyal faces the challenge to come to a CAPACITY AND FUNDING AGREEMENT with the Government, that will give certainty over a 15 year period, guaranteeing healthy and sound rail-tracks of required quality. He will has to organize to overcome the mismatch between the quality standards as laid down and as achieved in the fields

On healthy and sound modern rail-tracks of high quality there will be ZERO derailments. Other countries around the globe with rail-tracks of high quality do not face frequent train-derailments.

Message: When Wheels, Rails and Rail-Tracks are kept in healthy and sound condition, then there will be no fatal Derailment-Disaster.

To read more, download: TRAIN ACCIDENTS IN INDIA PART II PDF