A Series on “Know Your Railway” *
Custodians of Railway Assets: TRD Staff of Indian Railways
Technically skilled TRD Staff ensure efficient and safe operations & preventive maintenance of OHE, RC Equipment and Power Installations
Southern Railway covers a vast expanse of 5087 route kms of which 4204 route Kms (83%) have been electrified. The Traction department maintains the Overhead Equipment (OHE) that ensures that the requisite power is supplied for running of trains. This department is directly responsible for maintenance of Over Head equipment including the 25 kv feeders from traction substation to the feeding posts. Overhead Equipment (OHE) refers to the electrical conductors and all other associated fittings over the track that ensures supply of power for working of electric locomotive hauled trains.
TRD or Traction Distribution in an important wing of Indian Railways responsible for efficient maintenance of all the power installations, Over Head Equipment (OHE) and Remote Control (RC) Equipment which play a pivotal role in safe and punctual train operations. The dedicated staff of this department contribute immensely to the safe running of trains.
Safety is a way of life for the personnel of TRD unit. Acting as custodians of railway Overhead equipment/installations such as Substation, Masts, Portals, Contact and catenary wire,etc., the TRD staff work round the clock barring the vagaries of nature and difficult work environment. The staff possess multifaceted skills and up-to-date technical knowledge on various types of TRD components. They are tutored and mentored regularly to keep up with modernization.
The TRD staff at field can be categorized as Engineers (Senior Section Engineer (SSE) & Junior Engineer (JE)) and Open line Staff/maintenance gang (Artizans). The Engineers adorn various roles as In-charge of OHE Depot, Traction Substation, Remote Control Centre, Break Down Vehicle Maintenance and Traction Power Controllers while the Open line staff work as Technical assistants. They are also engaged in the maintenance of Tower wagons, Break Down Vehicles, First aid equipment, spares, etc. They work in teams to ensure the maintenance, repair and certification work. They are imparted the requisite technical and working knowledge of the traction installations as a whole and all its individual components.
Remote Control Centre:
Various switching stations and circuit breakers at traction substation are remotely controlled at Remote Control Centre i.e., supply of power can be controlled centrally from this location. This facility helps in failure identification, isolation of affected section from non-affected section, etc. This Remote Control Centre is located in the Traction control of the Centralized control office and is manned by Traction Power Controller. SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition System) by which real time monitoring takes place, is being used at the Remote Control Centre.
Foot-patrolling by Linesman/Technician:
Foot patrolling by linesman, an open line staff of TRD wing is an important component in the Safety of train operations. It involves visual inspection of every part of overhead equipment so that any defects/abnormalities noticed are recorded and reported to the maintenance gang for attention. He carries with himself signal flags, emergency telephone and essential tools for spot attention of defects wherever possible.
One of the challenging task that they face in their day-to-day working is the removal of bird’s nest from the electric masts/pole. Removal of birds' nests has to be carried out vigilantly as the material that the birds carry to the nest and the bird itself pose the risk of causing short circuit which would hamper the power supply for train operations and thus affecting train movement and causing detention.
Tower Car/OHE Inspection Car:
Tower car or OHE inspection is placed under the control of Senior Section Engineer (OHE).Tower car plays a key role in the preventive maintenance of OHE equipment and also for restoration of failure during break down. There are various types of tower cars. It carries necessary tools such as clamps, ropes insulators, contact wire, catenary wire and other approved list of tools required for maintenance of OHE and attending to breakdown.
During accidents and natural calamities, the TRD staff showcase utmost vigilance. They remain alert on duty round the clock and respond to accidents/derailment promptly. In the shortest possible time, they reach the accident spot and restore OHE installations so as to resume rail traffic at the earliest. As part of crisis management, failure analysis and investigation is carried out to prevent the occurrences in future.
Southern Railway accords top priority to safety and punctuality of train operations. And, the yeoman contribution of our TRD staff in ensuring safe and efficient operation of train services is highly commendable.