In a groundbreaking move, Central Railway has introduced a game-changing innovation, the OHE (Overhead Equipment) Measurement Gauge. This innovative device is set to transform the assessment of critical OHE parameters, with a particular focus on turnouts, crossovers, and overlaps. By addressing long-standing challenges in railway infrastructure inspection, this initiative aims to enhance the efficiency, safety, and reliability of train services.
This innovation is the brainchild of the Kurla OHE Depot, showcasing the exceptional talent and dedication within the Central Railway team.
Plans to deploy 70 such instruments in the next 4-6 months
Currently, one such OHE measurement gauge instrument is already in successful operation, and plans are underway to deploy 70 such instruments within the next 4 to 6 months. This will now enhance the procedure of routine OHE inspection since dependence on getting OHE traffic & power blocks gets eliminated. This enhanced speed OHE inspection will reduce the failures of OHE such as OHE entanglement with local trains/ Loco Pantograph of long-distance trains, OHE parting etc.
"The primary objective of this pioneering initiative is to enable live line checking of OHE Parameters on turnouts, crossovers, and overlaps, addressing the aforementioned challenges head-on by use of this OHE measurement gauge instrument. Thus, eliminates the need for traffic & power blocks for checking" said an official.
According to Central Railway, the Overhead Equipment (OHE) of a railway network is vital for the safe and efficient operation of trains. "Among the most critical aspects of railway infrastructure is maintaining standard OHE parameters, especially at points and crossings. Deviations in these parameters have historically caused issues like Pantograph entanglements, leading to significant disruptions in traffic flow. Traditionally, inspecting these critical areas required the use of Traffic and Power Blocks, which often resulted in service delays" said an official.
The Mumbai Division of Central Railway is the busiest division in India with 1810 suburban and 250 mail/express services. It spans over 555 km with 4 to 6 line in CSMT-Kalyan Section and 2 lines in other sections. Three hours night block margin is available on each line individually, so block margin for its routine maintenance is available. But Crossovers and Turnouts means joints of 2-3 lines and need to combine block of 2 lines which is hardly 1 hour and is insufficient since the movement timing pattern of Up and Down trains are different
"Ensuring the maintenance of Crossovers and Turnouts, which involve joints of 2-3 lines, has been a logistical challenge. The limited availability of block time for routine maintenance compounded these issues. This made it clear that innovative solutions were needed to address the evolving demands of the railway network" further added officials.
Benefits of OHE measurement gauge
Asked about the benefits of OHE measurement gauge, an official said, "Its provides an accurate mapping of mainline and contact wire height and stagger, along with GPS facility for precise tracking. Critical readings can be taken without any physical contact, ensuring safety and reliability"
The OHE measurement gauge can automatically adjust stagger measurements based on the track's cant. “One of the most significant advantages is that it eliminates the need for Traffic and Power Blocks, allowing inspections to occur without service disruptions" said officials adding that only 1 to 2 personnel are needed for the checking of the OHE in this system reducing labor costs. Apart from that each location takes just 5 to 10 minutes for measurement, ensuring minimal disruptions. It is cost-effective too, each gauge costing up to Rs 1.2 lakh only
"The Central Railway is committed to leveraging cutting-edge technology and in-house expertise to enhance safety, efficiency, and reliability across the network. The OHE Measurement Gauge represents a significant step forward in achieving these goals." Said Dr Shivraj Manaspure CPRO of CR.