The first batch of 100 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from the Vizag Steel Plant is being loaded onto the Indian Railways' Oxygen Express, for transportation to Covid-hit Maharashtra. The special train designed for transporting LMO arrived in the early hours of Thursday, at Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited's Vizag Steel Plant, officials said.
The oxygen will be transported after it is filled in seven cryogenic tankers, each with a capacity of 15-20 tonnes of liquid oxygen. The entire process, including filling the tanks, weighing them, and conducting safety checks, is expected to be completed in 22-24 hours. After that, the Oxygen Express will embark on its journey to Maharashtra.
The Air Seperation Plant at the Vizag Steel Plant, comprises of five oxygen extraction units with a combined production capacity of 2,600 tonnes of oxygen, and one hundred tonnes of liquid oxygen, sources said.
Last week, Vizag Steel Plant had supplied around 400 tonnes of LMO to several places in Andhra Pradesh. The medical-grade oxygen is used for Covid patients who suffer from low oxygen levels.
The Vizag Steel Plant is currently in the news following widespread protests in Andhra Pradesh, over the centre's privatisation plans. The Vizag Steel Plant has an annual capacity of 7.3 tonnes of steel.
Another Oxygen Express started its journey from Lucknow to Bokaro via Varanasi to fulfil the requirements of Medical Oxygen in Uttar Pradesh. For the movement of the train, a green corridor was created between Lucknow to Varanasi. The distance of 270 Km was covered by the train in 4 hours 20 minutes with an average speed of 62.35 kmph.
Transportation of Oxygen through Trains is faster over long distances than road transport. Trains can run 24 hours in a day but a truck drivers need to take halts etc.
It may please be noted that to facilitate loading/unloading of tankers in/from flat wagons, a ramp is required. Also, 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.
Railways transported essential commodities and kept the supply chain intact even during the lockdown last year and continue to serve the Nation in times of emergencies.