Improving utilization of small track machines
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IMPROVING UTILIZATION OF SMALL TRACK MACHINES. By Suresh Gupta, Dean/IRICEN. Overall scenario. Complete mechanization by 2012 3-tier system of track maintenance On-track machines (OMU) Mobile maintenance units (MMU) Sectional gangs

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Improving utilization of small track machines

By Suresh Gupta, Dean/IRICEN

Overall scenario
Overall scenario

  • Complete mechanization by 2012

  • 3-tier system of track maintenance

    • On-track machines (OMU)

    • Mobile maintenance units (MMU)

    • Sectional gangs

  • IRPWM gives a list of equipments for MMU which includes many STMs

    • MMU-I : one for each PWI section

      • Communication equipment

      • Rail cutting /Drilling equipments

      • Rail/Welding equipment

      • Spot tamping with lifting lining

      • Inspection gadgets, material handling equipment & safety and protection equipments

Overall scenario cont d
Overall scenario (Cont’d..)

  • MMU-II : one for each sub-division

    • Points and crossing reconditioning equipment

    • For minor repairs to equipments

  • STM manual also gives a scale of stms

    • There is a difference in machines as given in STM manual & that given in for MMU-I and MMU-II in IRPWM

  • We should review requirement of type of machines and their scale

    • Should have minimum but reliable & sturdy machines, which do-not fail frequently

Review of usage of small track machine
Review of Usage of Small Track Machine

  • Some track machines are popular amongst field staff

    (Abrasive rail cutter, Rail cutting machine saw type, drilling machine, Mechanical & Hydraulic track jack, Light weight rail (mono) cum road trolley)

  • A few machines have been found to be less useful

    (Hydraulic -Rail tensor, Rail bender, TRALIS, Concrete sleeper breaker, Concrete sleeper drilling machine)

  • A few machines have not been procured/tried because their need has not yet been felt by field staff

    (Hydraulic sleeper spacer, Portable ballast cleaner)

  • In general the utilization of STM remains poor

Reasons for poor utilization
Reasons for Poor Utilization

  • Resistance to change: Transition always brings extra effort, tension, insecurity

    • Need to conduct more seminars at grass root level

    • Old system should not be allowed to run parallel to new system

    • Incentive for adopting new system

      But resistance to change is not the main reason for poor utilization.

Reliability of stm
Reliability of STM

  • Reliability of machines: poor, resulting in frequent break down of machines

    • Fault lies in design

    • Whole system of approval of small track machines is defective

    • We should use machine modules/assemblies readily available in market by standard manufacturer with proven track record.

Difficulties in transportation
Difficulties in transportation

  • Work sites are remote and mostly inaccessible by Road and loading/unloading of these machines is cumbersome.

    • Provision of sufficient trucks with winch arrangement for loading/unloading.

    • Hiring of tractors

    • Provision of sufficient heavy duty material trollies.

Problem of consumable
Problem of consumable

  • Non Availability of Petrol & Other Consumable Stores

    • Sufficient Imprest need to be provided with SE/P Way Concerned.

Lack of trained manpower
Lack of trained manpower

  • Lack of Trained Manpower

    • Cadre under every SE/PWay or ADEN should be fixed in terms of Technicians and helpers as per norms of small track machines per PWI or ADEN.

    • The minimum qualification for them should be ITI.

    • As a immediate measure some interested trackmen may be trained at DETS by manufacturers

Problems of repair
Problems of Repair

  • No norms for critical inventory of spares exist.

  • No separate cadre for repair. one SE

    • PWI should have staff for repair and maintenance .

  • Powers for repair given in the manual are not adequate

    • Manufacturer to submit Operational and trouble shooting manual as well as list of spare parts with details of source along with every machine.

    • As far as possible AMC of equipment for a period of three to five years should be part of procurement tender.

    • Separate posts of Technicians to be created and filled by at least ITI qualified candidates.

Powers in procurements of stm
Powers in procurements of STM

  • Procurement of Track machines

    • Limited provision under revenue.

      • Funds Need to be provided in CTR estimates.

System of mmu in krcl
System of MMU in KRCL

  • Every SSE maintaining approx. 100 kms track

    • Assisted by two JE/SE

  • Each JE/SSE having one miscellaneous gang of 11 track man

    • One RMV (Rail maintenance vehicle) given to each SSE, headed by JE/SE and following staff

      a) MSM (multi skilled man-ITI pass) – 6

      b) Track men – 4

      Note- MSM will also drive the RMV

Small track machines in rmv
Small track Machines in RMV

  • Abrasive rail cutting machine - 1no

  • Drilling machine – 1 no

  • Off track tampers – 1 set (four tampers)

  • Mechanical track lifting jacks – 2 nos.

  • Tralis – 1 set

  • Rock splitter – 1 no.

  • SKV welding equipments – 1 set

  • One rail piece of about 6m is also loaded on RMV


  • Adoption of small track machines is a must to supplement heavy on line track machines so as to achieve complete mechanisation of track maintenance.

  • To make it a success a multi pronged approach is required right from design stage to solving problems at field level so that utilisation of STMs can be improved and we are ready for complete mechanisation by 2012