Mysore/Mysuru: The introduction of additional passenger services and freight trains on the 55-km ghat section between Sakaleshpur and Subramanya Road for achieving higher productivity was rendered difficult in view of the restrictions imposed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety. The non-availability of catch sidings — a mandatory safety protocol — at two of the four stations in the section with a Ruling Gradient of 1 in 50 with 4 stations was the primary bottleneck.
With a view to overcome the critical infrastructural deficiency hampering train operations at an optimal level, South Western Railway (SWR), Mysuru Division, undertook modification and upgradation of the signalling system in the month of June 2020 through the creative use of technology by installing highly reliable and failsafe state-of-the-art signal and telecommunication gears at Kadagaravalli and Yedakumari stations.
The Multi-section Digital Axle Counter (MSDAC) is a cutting edge technology designed for train detection with added safety features. The maintenance costs are comparatively lower with a high degree of reliability so much essential for seamless train operations in ghat sections.
This was a daunting task in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unprecedented rainfall in the area — 6000 mm since the commencement of work — compounded the already delicate situation. Difficulty in moving skilled manpower for specialised work in the ghat section, non-existent road connectivity to transport cables, location boxes, MSDAC equipment, fear of landslips at the time of trenching for laying cables, lengthy tunnels, steel girder bridges, rocky topography, dependence on DG sets for power, etc., were some of the biggest challenges surmounted during the execution of the work.
Executed at a cost of Rs. 4.4 crore, which is borne by Hassan Mangalore Rail Development Company Limited, the Multi-section Digital Axle Counter (MSDAC) technology commissioned between Yedakumari and Kadagaravalli stations on the Sakaleshpur-Subramanya Road Ghat Section on Oct.1, 2020, in record time will significantly enhance the sectional line capacity. The nearly 35% enhanced capacity would help in introducing additional passenger services and also the operation of freight trains will be more efficient as detentions are brought down. The new technology greatly reduces the maintenance of track circuits in the inhospitable terrain of the ghat section.
D. Sreenivasulu, Sr.Divisional Signal and Telecommunication Engineer, SWR, Mysuru Division led the team involved in the execution of the technology-intensive project.
Aparna Garg, Divisional Railway Manager, SWR, Mysuru Division, complimented the team for working steadfastly in completing the work in a very short time despite many hurdles along the way. She was confident that the introduction of the new safety protocol will pave the way for safer and more efficient train operations in the ghat section where the demand for new passenger services is being made persistently.