Raipur: Most of the Railway Coaching Depots in the country having the capacity of over 300 coaches will now have 'Automatic Coach Washing Plant' - a modern state-of-the-art facility to clean the exterior surfaces of railway compartments, the project expected to be commissioned later this year.
Chhattisgarh will get its first such plant installed in the Coach Maintenance Depot at Durg with an estimated cost of around Rs 2.2 crore. The facility is being procured through the centralised machine procurement agency of railways - Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshop (COFMOW) headquartered in Delhi. The tender for procurement of the plant was floated in October 2018.
As of now, the coaches are being cleaned manually which not only is time-consuming and remains labour intensive requiring much efforts to reach out to all surface areas of the coach besides the huge consumption of water.
According to one estimate around 1500 litres of water used for cleaning one coach but with the new facility, it can be accomplished with the far better result using just 250 litres. It barely uses 15 per cent of freshwater and the utilised quantity of water gets recycled.
"The railways are in the process of adopting innovative ideas in recent years. Our ministry focuses on a global perspective when it comes to maintenance, performances and services. The coach washing plant is owing to endeavour of the Railway Board to execute such ideas promptly. Durg in Chhattisgarh state will have such automated service by mid-2019", the senior divisional commercial manager (Raipur Division) Tanmay Mukhopadhyay told the Express.
"Through such plant, an entire 24-coach train gets thoroughly cleaned in just 8 minutes while moving at a speed of 5-6 km per hour. The system automatically optimises the use of detergents and cleaning agents, resulting in more effective cleaning-", said S K Senapati, senior divisional mechanical engineer (south-east central railways zone).
The system has a multi-stage cleaning mechanism, using high-pressure water jet, horizontal and vertical rotating nylon and cotton brushes, Senapati further added. The plant comes with separate integral water softening and effluent treatment plant.
The quality of cleanliness of exterior of train coaches far superior as compared to a conventional manual system. On the operation side, it has an advantage of requiring minimal electrical energy, maintenance and manpower requirement.