Guwahati: The Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway has taken precautions to deal with any kind of untoward incident during the upcoming monsoon season.
NFR has already deployed personnel and materials for the safety of more than 6,400 km of railway tracks spreading over parts of West Bengal, Bihar and the Northeastern states like Assam, Tripura, Manipur, etc, under the jurisdiction of NF Railway.
“The monsoon season is quite challenging for this railway. Railway serves a difficult terrain close to foothills of Lower Himalayan ranges, carved by turbulent streams, fed by heaviest rainfall reaching up to about 7,000 mm in a year. The southwest monsoon period normally starts from May 15 and continues till October 15 every year except in the Lumding division where the monsoon period starts from April 15. Due to this heavy rainfall landslides, rain cuts in embankments, overflowing of bridges, etc, occur frequently. But for NFR, safety of passengers is the first priority and this cannot be compromised in any way,” NFR chief public relations officer (CPRO) Subhanan Chanda said.
For this, NFR has formulated a detailed strategy for the safety of railway tracks. As part of preparations before the monsoon collection of materials at sensitive places, cleaning drainage systems, cleaning of waterways of bridges, marking danger levels in bridges etc., have been completed. While all preventive measures have been taken, NFR has also deployed patrolling teams to continuously watch more than 6,400-km of tracks in its jurisdiction for any defect that may arise due to heavy rainfall.
“Around 815 patrol teams, each consisting of two patrolmen have been deployed to keep the railway tracks safe. This team patrols the track on the basis of rainfall alert issued by the Meteorological Department. These patrolmen are equipped with the latest and state-of-the-art equipment i.e. GPS tracker, luminous jacket, raincoat, and separate waterproof trousers, safety helmet, safety shoe high, powerful search/ flashlights etc. The team is on full track patrol round the clock. Mobile phones have been made available with each patrol team to provide information to the nearest station about any situation that may affect the normal movement of trains. In addition to patrols, stationary watchmen have also been appointed on sensitive areas i.e. sites prone to landslides, bridges where water is flowing near danger levels, etc,” the NFR CPRO said.
Sometimes, bridges are swept away, embankments are broken and landslides occur despite the adoption of all precautionary measures. To address such a situation, materials like boulders, sand, sandbags, various bridging equipment are kept ready both on the ground and loaded in wagons at important places to cope with such situation and in the least possible time for restoration work. The Monsoon Reserve Stock of this year includes Boulder (on wheel- 199 wagons, on the ground – 90750 cum), Unscreened Shingles/ Quarry Dust (on wheel – 56, on ground- 7966 cum), Service Girder- 28 nos of different spans, CC Crib- 5499 no, UC Span (Span-2, launching nose -2, Span with launching nose -1) and RS Joists- 275 nos which will be utilised at the time of emergency.
“It is hard to predict and avoid natural calamity, but NFR is fully prepared to face the challenges posed by very heavy rainfall in this region during monsoon so as to ensure all-weather connectivity and safety of our esteemed passengers,” Chanda added.