New Delhi: To speed up rescue and relief
operations in the aftermath of accidents, Railways have
decided to procure hi-tech equipment worth Rs 500 crore,
including high-speed self-propelled accident relief trains,
plasma cutters and 175-ton capacity cranes.
Hydraulic cold and hot cutters and tunnel rescue
equipment will also be procured to make rescue operations
faster and effective.
Estimated to cost about Rs 500 crores, Railways will
float global tenders for procuring the high capacity equipment
"We will go for procurement of latest machineries
required for faster rescue and relief operation during train
mishaps," said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding "the
procurement will be carried out in phases."
Currently, Railways have 140-ton capacity cranes.
"There is a requirement for 175-ton capacity cranes to take
care of higher axle loads," he said.
Plasma cutters are required to cut coaches and wagons
made of stainless steel. "Since Railways are replacing
conventional coaches with stainless coaches and wagons are
also now made of steel, we need plasma cutters."
Asked about difficulties faced during rescue
operations in recent train accidents and lessons learnt from
them, the official said, "It is a continuous process to
upgrade skills and machineries involved in rescue and relief
Railways have 170 accident relief trains (ART)
stationed across the country. "But these ARTs require
locomotives to run. So we will go for self-propelled ARTs
which do not require locos," the official said.
According to railways` disaster management plan, an
ART has to start its emergency run within 30 minutes of
receiving a message about an accident in the day time and 40
minutes during the night.
Railways have their own communication network and
medical infrastructure. Besides uniformed force of RPF/RPSF,
the national transporter has an army of gangmen spread across
the country which are pressed into service to restore the
However, there is absence of tunnel rescue equipment
in case of a mishap in rail tunnels.
"We are procuring tunnel rescue equipment along with
the high-capacity cranes," the official said.
Besides accidents, railways disaster management plan
takes into account natural calamities like earthquakes or
flash floods which also disrupt train services.