Railways to Create Green Corridor For Fast Movement of Oxygen 

Availability of oxygen is key in the treatment of certain medical conditions due to COVID infection.

Published
COVID-19
3 min read
Image of oxygen pipe used for representation purpose.
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Amid a high demand for oxygen across the country caused by a surge in COVID-19 cases, the railways is getting fully ready to transport Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) and Oxygen Cylinders from one place to another.

The railways has geared up to run oxygen Express trains through green corridor for fast movement of LMO as availability of oxygen is key in the treatment of certain medical conditions due to COVID infection.

Ministry of Railways in a statement said that the Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments had approached the Ministry of Railways to explore whether Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) tankers could be moved by the railways and it immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of LMO. This has to be done through Roll On Roll Off (RO RO) service with road tankers placed on flat wagons.

“Due to restrictions of height of Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Over Head Equipment (OHE) at certain locations, out of the various specifications of road tankers, the model of road tanker T 1618 with height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with height of 1290 mm.” it said. 

To ensure that parameters of transportation are tested, trials were conducted at various locations.

This DBKM wagon was placed at Kalamboli goods shed in Mumbai on April 15 and a T 1618 tanker loaded with LMO was also brought here. Joint measurements were taken by representatives of Industry and Railways.

Based on these measurements, route clearances were taken and it was found that it would be possible to undertake movements as RO RO as ODC (over dimensional consignment) with speed restrictions on some sections depending on overhead clearances.

In order to enable commercial booking and freight payment for RO RO movement of LMO in cryogenic tankers, the Ministry of Railways brought out a circular on April 16 providing all the necessary details and guidance on the matter.

On April 17, a meeting was held between Railway Board officials and State Transport Commissioners and representatives of industry on the subject of "Issues related to transportation of Liquid Medical Oxygen.

It was decided that the tankers would be organised by Transport Commissioner, Maharashtra. These empty tankers would be moved from Kalamboli/Boisar, Railway stations in and near Mumbai, and sent to Vizag and Jamshedpur/Rourkela/Bokaro, for loading of liquid medical oxygen tankers from there.

In pursuance of the above decision, 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.

On April 18 a trial was organised at Boisar (Western Railway) where a loaded tanker was placed on a flat DBKM and all the required measurements were taken.

The railways have already placed DBKM wagons at Kalamboli and at other locations in expectation of movement of tankers to various locations. It is awaiting advice from Maharashtra to move the tankers.

Tentatively a movement plan has been made for dispatching 10 empty tankers on April 19. Transport Secretary of Maharashtra has assured to provide the tankers by April 19.

Zonal Railways have been informed regarding the demands from state governments. CFTMs and PCOMs are in touch with the Industry and State Governments. Railway Board has directed concerned GMs to be fully prepared and proactively assist the State and Central Government Agencies in movement of Oxygen by Rail and has also nominated ED/TT/F as Nodal Officer in Railway Board.

(Published in an arrangement with IANS,)

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