The work to replace the 87-year-old steel girder, which in normal course could have taken eight days, was completed in a record three-and-half days by the Nagpur Central Railway following which traffic on Kamptee Road was thrown open Wednesday morning.
DCP (Traffic) Ravindra Singh Pardeshi said, “After Central Railway completed the work, traffic was allowed on Kamptee Road by 10.30am.”
The railway officials burned midnight oil following requests from the Kamptee Road gurdwara members to complete the work as a huge procession was set to pass through the under bridge on Wednesday. Divisional railway manager (DRM) Brijesh Kumar Gupta agreed it was a big challenge to complete the work in record time to pave way for the procession.
“When I got calls from the Sikh community requesting that work be expedited, we worked extra hard. I’m really happy that with better coordination from state officials, police and railway headquarters at Mumbai, we could accomplish the tedious task, that too without any detention of trains,” said Gupta.
The work to replace a new 20-tonne girder in the 60 metre area along both sides of the track was completed in four hours, between 3.50am and 7.50am, after taking a block (stopping trains in both directions). This was the only slot available without disrupting rail traffic.
The block was taken after 16687 Mangalore-Katra Navyug Express went past the spot. The first train to pass after completion of work was 22135 Nagpur-Rewa Express. Loco pilots have been issued speed caution of 20 kmph while moving trains from the spot. When the repair work started three days ago it was 10 kmph.
The work to replace the corroded steel girder was planned 15 days later. It was installed by the British in the 1930s. Ahead of the proposed work, an inspection of the spot was being carried out on Saturday afternoon by senior section engineer and bridges inspector when the crack was noticed in one of the cross girders. There were four such cross girders.
By the time the damage was noticed, five trains had already passed over the spot and both officials felt it would be dangerous to operate trains. They immediately called up DRM Gupta who directed to suspended train movement on up line (Nagpur-Itarsi). Movement of incoming and outgoing trains though continued from one line.
Gupta says it was a screw girder hence it was more difficult to work on that. It had corroded due to human droppings from passing trains. “The biggest challenge was to mobilize men but headquarters responded well to the critical situation and help from chief bridge engineer MS Chouhan, Mumbai, and Bridge Workshop, Manmad, came in time. In all the three days, at least 120-140 railwaymen were at work and best was that various works were done parallel,” said Gupta.
The girder was manufactured in Central Railway workshop in Manmad but was assembled in two days at the spot, by the time other works like bringing down of OHE, setting of cranes, dismantling of tracks. The new girder has a life of over 100 years, provided that it is not corroded. “Passengers should be sensible while using train toilets,” said Gupta.
Gupta said this was unusual work aftermath the Barbadpur and Sindhi Railway tragedy when tracks were washed out.
On a solution to the bottleneck near the RUB, Gupta said, “We are ready to create a passage for traffic movement but the state government will have to bear the expenses.”