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6.1 The aim of better maintenance practices would be to upgrade maintenance technology and methodology for improvement in productivity, performance and reliability of assets. The most appropriate technologies would be adopted to enhance reliability of motive power and rolling stock. As regards track, OHE, signal & telecom equipment, better maintenance practices would lead to increased safety in train operation and reduced frequency of maintenance.

6.2 The Indian Railways have progressively been using equipment to provide assistance to the staff and to reduce the chances of human error, and speed up operations. The equipments are based on the logic of 'fail-safe'. For example, if a signal fails, 'fail-safe concept' implies that the aspect of signal will show 'red' to the driver indicating not to proceed, even though the conditions may be there for signal aspect to show 'green' for the train to proceed. Manual operations have to be performed during the time of equipment failures, be it block instrument failure, point failure, communication failure, panel failure etc. This procedure, though safe in train operation, is however time consuming. At a very low level of traffic, not many safety devices are required. The basic functions get performed manually. As the traffic increases, induction of equipment becomes imperative. The concept of 'fail-safe' is adequate till a stage when the traffic has grown from a low level to medium level. Situation is entirely different when the traffic level is high, when staff tend to adopt short-cut methods and are susceptible to create an unsafe condition leading to an accident. Equipment failure is the root cause and the concept, therefore, requires to be changed from 'fail safe' to 'fail proof'.

6.3 The life of an equipment needs to be meticulously assessed. It also needs to be ensured that between the two maintenance schedules, no failure takes place. e.g. no roller bearing of a wagon or a coach fails between the two successive periodic overhauls or the signal gears do not fail between the two maintenance schedules etc. Standardisation of equipment will be ensured and maintenance practices will be upgraded. Equipment failure is proposed to be treated at par with accident. All efforts will be made to reduce the frequency of equipment failures.

6.4 Maintenance Principles

The chief objectives of any maintenance principle would be :
  • Reduced frequency of maintenance
  • Increased Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
  • Reduced Mean Time To Repair (MTTR)
  • Reduced cost of maintenance
6.5 Maintenance operations would be geared to preserve any equipment to fulfil functions, for which it has been designed. Corrective maintenance comes into play only after an equipment becomes defective. Preventive maintenance, on the other hand, is applied when equipment is still operative and proactive treatment is given consisting of checks, examination and supervisory inspection. To ensure this, adequate time needs to be made available for maintenance of various assets. Generally, an equipment failure is preceded by some instances of unsatisfactory working, which is symptomatic of an approaching grave problem. All such warning signals will be investigated promptly to ensure that they are taken care of, before an actual failure takes place. Preventive maintenance is a function of manpower, skill, material, technology and timely maintenance. Equipment failures would include any failure, which is pre-defined and advised to all concerned levels.

Though the ultimate aim is to achieve `zero failure' of assets or adoption of fail-proof concept, efforts have to be made to contain and control asset failures. It is proposed to reduce defects/ failures by 40% upto March, 2008 and by another 20% upto March, 2013 as compared to present level.

6.6 Track defects
Track defects will constitute all rail fractures and weld failures. A consolidated target for all types of track defects is proposed to be laid down as follows.

Reduction from present level of 10.58 defects per billion GTKM (Gross Tonne Kilometers) per year to 6.35 by 31.3.2008 and 4.23 by 31.3.2013.

6.7 Coach defects/failures

Coach defects will constitute any type of defect that results in detachment of coach during its run. Targets are proposed to be laid down as follows :
Reduction from present level of 0.59 incidents of coach failure per billion GTKMs to 0.35 by 31.3.2008 and 0.24 by 31.3.2013.

6.8 Wagon detachments/failures

Wagon defects will constitute any type of defect that results in detachment of wagon en-route. Targets are proposed to be laid down as follows:
Reduction from present level of 10.63 incidents of wagon detachments per billion GTKMs to 6.38 by 31.3.2008 and 4.25 by 31.3.2013.

6.9 Poor Brake Power (Goods)

These defects will constitute the defects resulting in vacuum / air pressure trouble and poor brake power in goods trains. Targets are proposed to be laid down as follows :

Reduction from present level of 0.38 incidents of poor brake power per billion GTKMs (Goods) to 0.23 by 31.3.2008 and 0.15 by 31.3.2013.

6.10 Incidence of Train Parting (Goods)

These will constitute the cases of parting of goods trains, while on run. Targets are proposed to be laid down as follows :

Reduction from present level of 1.49 incidents of train partings (Goods) per billion GTKMs (Goods) to 0.89 by 31.3.2008 and 0.60 by 31.3.2013.

6.11 Motive Power defects

Motive Power defects will constitute any type of defect that results in its losing more than half an hour time in case of coaching train and one hour in case of freight train en-route. The targets proposed to be laid down for different types of Motive power are as follows :

  • Diesel Locomotives
    Reduction from present level of 11.85 incidents per million diesel loco kms. to 7.11 by 31.3.2008 and 4.74 by 31.3.2013.
  • Electric Locomotives
    Reduction from present level of 8.50 incidents per million electric loco kms. to 5.10 by 31.3.2008 and 3.4 by 31.3.2013.
6.12 Signal defects/failures

Signal defects will constitute defects of all types of signal gears and equipment including signal failure, point failure, track circuit failures, axle counter failure, RRI failure, panel failure, point machine failure, block instrument failure, interlocking failure etc. A consolidated target for all types of signal defects is laid down as follows :

Reduction from present level of 13.19 incidents per thousand workload of Zonal Integrated Signal and Telecom Units (ZISTUs) to 7.91 by 31.3.2008 and 5.28 by 31.3.2013.

6.13 Communication Failures

Communication failures will constitute defects of all types of communication circuits, gears and equipment including control circuit, intra-station communication (connected with train running), IBH communication, level crossing gate telephones etc. A consolidated target for all types of communication failures is laid down as follows.

  • Down time 1% by 31.3.2008.
  • Down time 0.5% by 31.3.2013.
6.14 OHE (Overhead Equipment) defects

OHE defects will constitute defects of all types of OHE gears and equipment that result in disruption to traffic, imposition of speed restriction, OHE tripping sustaining for more than 3 minutes affecting train operations. A consolidated target for all types of OHE defects is laid down as follows
Reduction from present level of 5.02 incidents per thousand electrified track kms. to 3.01 by 31.3.2008 and 2.01 by 31.3.2013.

6.15 Each zonal railway and division will also set its targets accordingly.

6.16 Analysis of failures

To have a correct analysis of various kinds of equipment failures, a computerised database for following types of equipment failures is proposed to be maintained on each division :
  • Track failures
  • Coach defects
  • Wagon defects
  • Motive power defects
  • Signal defects
  • Communication failures
  • OHE defects
  • Defects of safety equipments at level crossing gates
  • Defects of safety equipments on trains
These equipment failures would be classified and analysed as `avoidable' or `unavoidable', separately for departmental or inter-departmental activities. All failures which are beyond the control of railway would be treated as `unavoidable'. All avoidable equipment failures will be further analysed to indicate whether the failure was due to failure of operation management, failure of maintenance management, lack of instructions, lack of training, failure of material, design defect or lack of trained staff etc.

Responsibility for each equipment failure will be appropriately assigned. Periodic analysis of equipment failure will be undertaken by each department to identify problem areas with respect to failure prone vulnerable sections, vulnerable installations, frequent failure of specific components, shortcomings in maintenance practices and whether failures are occurring under certain supervising officials, etc.
`Avoidable' failures will be monitored at higher levels which will ensure that preventive maintenance concept is implemented and efforts directed towards zero failures. For timely maintenance of any asset, availability of appropriate material is essential which will be the responsibility of branch officers in the divisions and HODs in headquarters.

To maintain assets in proper order, following steps are proposed :

6.17 Mechanized laying and Maintenance of Track

Pre-stressed Concrete sleepers(PSC) and LWRs are being laid progressively. In order to meet the need of better track geometry for high speed passenger trains and heavier freight trains, use of track machines is a necessity for maintenance as well as laying. This results into better safety environment at work sites, lesser duration for speed restrictions, better quality of work and faster execution of work etc.
State-of-the-art, high output track machines are being procured on the IR. The level of mechanization of track renewal and maintenance activities is being increased

progressively. To achieve full mechanization of track renewal and maintenance activities, a Master Plan for procurement of additional track machines by the year 2012, has been drawn and will be implemented through normal Plan outlay.

6.18 Introduction of Mobile Mechanised Units (MMU) for maintenance

Entire group `A' route on Indian Railways is to be covered under MMU. A pilot project for implementation of MMU is in advanced stage on Allahabad and Kota divisions. After gaining the experience, MMUs are proposed to be set up on other Group `A' routes in next five years. This would enhance mechanization of day-to-day track maintenance works for better quality and safety. Thereafter, this MMU concept shall be extended to other routes.

6.19 Inspection and track monitoring

Inspection, repairs and maintenance of track are carried out as per laid down instructions. Track geometry is recorded through track recording cars (TRC). Oscillation characteristics are recorded to assess the riding quality of track. Total potential of track recording on IR is about 1,60,000 kms. per year. There are five TRCs already in use and one new state-of-the-art TRC with laser-based sensors is likely to be commissioned by March, 2004. With these six TRCs, all the routes on the Indian Railways can be covered at specified frequency.

6.20 Prevention of corrosion

Another area of serious concern is corrosion of the rail, specially in approaches to major stations, coastal areas and also the railway track passing through inhabited areas. Encroachments have become a common problem in approaches of all major towns and metros. At certain places, the drainage from railway track is chocked due to existence of the encroachments on either side. The track is frequently being used by the local populace for their morning natural calls, which causes rapid corrosion of rails and track components, in addition to causing difficulty in track maintenance.

Toilet discharge is another major source of corrosion of rails and fastenings. Suitable modification in passenger coach toilet chutes will be undertaken to ensure that toilet discharge does not fall on rail foot area. As corrosion of rails contributes substantially towards rail fractures, a project has been taken in hand to develop corrosion resistant rails, within next five years i.e. by 2008 to suit Indian conditions.

6.21 Preventive Rail Grinding

The 90 UTS rails are having greater hardness and have a tendency of gauge corner cracking due to rolling contact fatigue. This can be prevented by rail grinding to remove the fatigued top layer of rail metal. Many of the World Railways have increasingly adopted this method. Gauge corner cracking can result in accidents due to rail fractures as well as pre-mature renewal. One rail grinding machine, is to be procured by 2005-06.

6.22 Adoption of improved turnouts

The points and crossings are another weak area. Fan shaped concrete sleeper turnouts and curved switches are being laid progressively at the rate of 2500 per year and thereby improving the safety and reducing the need for maintenance. It has been decided to provide 20,000 Thick Web Switches (TWS) which are more stable and require less maintenance, on entire group `A' route at the rate of 2000 nos. per year. It is further planned to provide weld-able Cast Manganese Steel (CMS) crossings as a part of improved turnouts to facilitate the continuation of LWRs through turnouts, thus reducing a large number of fish plated joints. Funds requirement will be met from normal Plan outlay.

6.23 Ballast Hoppers

Provision of adequate ballast is very essential for proper up-keep of track. To wipe out huge arrears of ballast deficiency, procurement of BOBYN wagons has been planned in addition to regular procurement of ballast, mostly from mechanized quarries. Nearly 3800 Hopper wagons are to be procured in next 5 years through Rolling Stock Programme.

6.24 Corridor Blocks

The concept of Fixed Time Corridor Blocks has been approved and the corridors have been notified in the Working Time Tables of Zonal Railways. However to improve actual availability and for implementation of the Fixed Time Corridor Blocks for integrated maintenance, a Committee has been nominated to devise the methodology.

6.25 Integrated Maintenance Block

For implementing the concept of preventive maintenance, granting of adequate time for maintenance of assets _ both fixed and movable _ is absolutely essential. To overutilise an asset and temporarily neglect its maintenance is bound to be counter- productive in the long run. Efforts will be made to make optimum use of all such granted blocks and also standard output achieved. Computerised database would be maintained at divisional
level for keeping accurate record of all aspects of working connected with maintenance blocks. Since granting of maintenance blocks is an expensive proposition, each maintenance block granted will be simultaneously utilized by all departments. Integrated maintenance vehicles on the pattern of accident relief train, may have to be procured in the long-term so that staff and materials of all departments can move together. Working of maintenance staff is to be geared up to ensure that they are in a position to avail of night maintenance blocks also, especially on over_saturated sections.

6.26 Procurement of Track items having bearing on safety

All track items, having a bearing on safety, need to be procured from RDSO approved vendors only. Selected vital track fittings are to be procured on the basis of life cycle cost so that the life of such fittings matches with that of rail to avoid intermediate renewal of fittings.

6.27 Maintenance of Metre Gauge/Narrow Gauge Sections

After the launch of Project "Unigauge" in 1992, track renewals on the sections identified for gauge conversion were frozen and no inputs were given to these sections. On a review, certain minimum inputs are now being given by way of sleeper and rail renewal to these MG sections. During the last five years (1997-2002), over 1175 kms. of track have been renewed on MG/NG. Over 4000 kms. of track renewals on MG have been sanctioned and will be completed by March 2007, out of SRSF.

Out of approximately 18,000 kms of track on MG/NG, 9,000 kms is identified for conversion to BG and this may take up to the year 2013 or so for completion. Sanctioned track renewal works on the 9,000 kms identified for gauge conversion would be done using mixed gauge PRC sleepers so that at the time of gauge conversion, no part of expenditure becomes infructuous. As regards the track renewals in the remaining 9,000 kms of track, which is not yet identified for gauge conversion, the sanctioned track renewal works would be done either by using "BG/ST sleeper converted to MG/ST if available" or by using MG/PRC sleeper. Some Tie Tamping Machines (TTMs) will also be required for MG track maintenance which will be added in the Master Plan.

6.28 Inspection and management of bridges

There are nearly 1.2 lakh bridges on the Indian Railway system. Out of these, there are about 565 important bridges, 9792 Major Bridges and 1,09,627 Minor bridges. 51,340 bridges (44%) are more than 100 years old. 327 important and 3,545 major bridges are more than 100 years old. Approximately 89,000 bridges i.e. 74 % are more than 60

years old. Some of the bridges are of obsolete technology and materials e.g. Cast Iron Pile foundations, Early Steel Girders, Stone slab, Laterite substructure, Steel pipe arch bridges etc.

Rehabilitation/rebuilding of bridges is not based on merely the age but on condition basis assessed through the laid down inspection procedures. Distressed bridges are inspected at closer intervals.

The present system of inspections and assessment of bridges is based on visual inspections and is subjective. It will be modernized and a modern bridge management system will be introduced.

6.29 Rehabilitation/rebuilding of railway bridges

  • Rehabilitation/rebuilding of about 2700 bridges, as identified in October, 2001 are in progress and shall be completed over the next four years. Bridges made of material like Cast Iron Pile and Early Steel will be rebuilt/rehabilitated.
  • Rehabilitation/rebuilding of approx. 600 bridges, including distressed bridges, annually, on condition basis shall be carried out. Funds for the same will be arranged through normal Plan outlay.
  • Rehabilitation of about 19000 bridges, on the basis of technical obsolescence, like small span girders, steel pipe arch bridges, stone slab bridges shall be carried out over next 10 years. Funds for the same will be arranged through normal Plan outlay.
  • Modern methods of repair and rehabilitation requiring lesser speed restrictions like Cintec anchors, Helifix Anchors, Advanced Composite Fibre Wrapping , Shock Transmisssion units /Lock Up devices shall be adopted in larger proportion.
6.30 Signalling Infrastructure Replacement

A number of overaged signalling assets, overdue for replacement, are of mechanical semaphore signalling systems, and they suffer from frequent failures, prone to miscreant activities and cause avoidable delays in train operations. Accordingly, all overaged signalling installations, where the equipments are more than 25 years of age upto D route and more than 35 years of age on E Spl route, have already been sanctioned for replacement under SRSF. At about 800 stations, signalling gears, more than 35 years old, will be replaced on E and MG routes on age- cum- condition basis.

The works for replacement of overaged signalling assets on E & MG routes will also be taken up. Fresh accruals as well as overaged signalling installations on important E route and MG routes are to be taken in hand for improving reliability and safety in train operations. Funds for this will be arranged through normal Plan outlay.

Nearly 2700 stations are already equipped with Panel, Route Relay or Solid State interlocked signalling systems. Works for over 1300 stations for replacement of conventional and overaged signalling system are sanctioned and are underway on A, B, C, D & E.Spl. routes. Further works of 630 stations will be considered for replacement on age-cum-condition basis in the plan period, through normal Plan outlay.

6.31 Technological Upgradation of Safety equipments on locomotives

Reliability of equipments provided on locomotives especially on under gear has direct bearing on safety. The earlier designs of locomotives are provided with plain suspension bearing, riveted cage bearings in Traction Motors, a feature which is prone to failure and affects safety. In case of bearing failure, locos have to be moved with one axle in lifted condition, which increases the axle load and stress on the track. Hence, it is planned to modify such suspension bearings and traction motor bearings on existing locos of earlier design.

All Electric locomotives will be provided with Dynamic Braking Resistance.

6.32 Sealed Bearings for diesel loco axle

Presently, all ALCO diesel locomotives have been provided with conventional roller bearings on axles needing frequent greasing and maintenance attention. This makes it prone to dust and moisture ingress leading to failure. Recently introduced 4000 GM diesel locomotives and ABB electric locomotives are provided with sealed type of bearings on axles. It is planned to progressively modify axle bearings on existing locos for better reliability giving due consideration to residual life.

6.33 Replacement of overaged locomotives

Diesel locomotives

213 diesel locomotives are overaged as on 31.3.2003. At the end of financial year 2013, total arising of overaged main line BG diesel locomotives shall be 819 (including 213). It is proposed to replace overaged locomotives by new locomotives with enhanced safety features. The year-wise replacement plan is as under :

Year No. of locos
1st 5 years (From 2003 to 2008) @ 90 locos per year
Next 5 years (From 2008 to 2013) @ 74 locos per year

Electric locomotives
It is also proposed to replace 333 electric locomotives becoming overaged during the period 2003-2013 by 250 improved locomotives with enhanced safety features. The year-wise replacement plan is as under :

Year No. of locos
1st 5 years (From 2003 to 2008) @ 20 locos per year
Next 5 years (From 2008 to 2013) @ 30 locos per year

Funds for the annual arisings will be provided through Rolling Stock Programme.

6.34 Safety enhancement of rolling stock

Maintenance infrastructure for rolling stock would be ensured before introduction of new trains. The works connected with upgradation of ARTs/ARMEs related with efficient rescue and relief operations have been identified. They would include conversion of ICF coaches to ART/ARME. Replacement of tyred EMU/MEMU & DEMU wheels with solid wheels for stock with residual life above 5 years will also be undertaken during the Plan period.

6.35 Inputs for Metre Gauge/Narrow Gauge Rolling Stock

The residual maintenance infrastructure of NG & MG system will require marginal inputs for coaching depots, wagon examination points and MG/NG diesel sheds over next 5 years. Besides, 5 MG and 4 NG workshops will also require investments to sustain their existing infrastructure.

6.36 Wheel traceability and identification system

Since there are over 12 lakh wheel discs/6 lakh axles on line, it is proposed to create web-enabled portal to keep trace of all coaches/wagons and details of wheels fitted on them. It can warn each maintenance depot of individual coach, where wheels/axles of suspect nature manifest. Establishment of on-line wheel monitoring system will lead to better safety management.

6.37 Coaching Maintenance Terminals

Zero-based review of sanctioned strength of staff at all existing coaching maintenance depots may be conducted. Primary maintenance schedule of coaches has been laid down on kilometers and on time basis.

Time required for maintenance of coaching rakes would also be specified in terms of man-hours per coach, both at primary and secondary maintenance depots. Adequate pitlines will be constructed to ensure proper maintenance of all rakes. Computerised database would also be maintained at all coaching depots to take out the history of a coach.

6.38 In order to ensure that rake integrity of every passenger link is maintained and coaches are maintained invariably at their nominated base depot, it has been decided that coaches shall move to workshop for POH as full rake units instead of piecemeal. Similarly, the workshops shall ensure replacement by overhauled rakes in complete rake units. It will also ensure retrofitment of safety systems in all the coaches of the same rake viz. crashworthy modification, tight lock couplers with anti-climbing features etc.

6.39 Upgradation of freight train examination

Inadequacies of facilities and infrastructure for freight train examination will be made good in a time-bound programme. Upgrading freight stock maintenance infrastructure at some major ROH depots, freight train examination points and sicklines will be completed during the Plan period. Funds will be arranged through normal Plan outlay.

6.40 More reliable track friendly bogies with comparable performance to the bogies operating over developed railway systems will be inducted by 2005. Retrofitment of existing wagons with track friendly bogies will be carried out by 2013.

6.41 Bogie-Mounted Brake System on all newly procured freight stock will be introduced subject to successful field trials in the first phase by 2005. Thereafter, retrofitment of Bogie-Mounted Brake System on existing air brake freight stock will be undertaken in the second phase.

6.42 ISO-9000 & ISO-14000 certification of 30 air brake ROH depots and 10 tank wagon depots will be got done by 2007.

6.43 Model coaching depots and model goods yards will be nominated to turn out rolling stock with zero defects.

6.44 More Closed Circuit Rakes

Closed circuit rakes are not only more productive but also much safer compared to other freight stock. The concept will be introduced as widely as possible, as it generates a sense of belonging and gives better output. The discipline of logging actual kms. will also be enforced.