Self Propelled Accident Relief Train

 Self Propelled Accident Relief Train

In most of the countries in the unfortunate event of Railway accident, relief and rescue work is not spearheaded by Railway organization but by civil authorities as in case of road accidents. However, on Indian Railways, because of the historical reasons all the rescue and relief work is carried over by Railways. Indian Railways has an established system for such a disaster response for over a century and half. ART, i.e. Accident Relief Train is one such important component for restoration of the Railway working.

Indian Railways has the provision of Accident Relief Trains at all the important stations to carry out rescue, relief and restoration work during natural calamities/accidents/unusual incidents. This is one of the unique characteristics of Indian Railways because nowhere in the world the relief, rescue and the restoration work is carried out by the Railway organization. In other countries, the responsibility of such work is borne by the civil administration. Indian Railways as consistently strived hard to improve and upgrade the Accident Relief Trains or the ART, which plays a major role in such operations.

The Accident Relief Train (ART) for Mumbai area of Mumbai Central Division of Western Railway is located at Diesel Loco Shed Bandra. It is mainly used for speedy restoration of traffic in Mumbai suburban area from Churchgate to Virar after an emergency or an unusual incident. Besides this, it is also utilized for restoration of railway working upto Palghar in case of emergency.

The ART is located Diesel Loco Shed Bandra since the days of steam traction. During the steam traction period, the ART was equipped with heavy mechanical screw jacks and water hydraulic jacks. Later in July 1993, the mechanical screw jacks and water hydraulic jacks were replaced by modern light weight hydraulic rerailing equipment supplied by a German Company.

Present Status:

Previously the Accident Relief Train was powered by locomotives brought from line in case of accidents/ derailments. Due to this, a little more time was required for the departure of ART from the shed. This problem was solved by using the modern technology and making the ART self propelled in June 2001. The self propelled ART was manufactured and supplied indigenously by Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala.

Presently ART BA has one self propelled Accident Relief Train consisting of two coaches carrying one set of rerailing equipments and one truncated ART consisting of five Nos. of wagons/coaches/BFR carrying one additional set of rerailing equipment and permanent way materials required for restoration of damaged track of approximate two k.m length.

Other Major Features:

  • Communication:- ART is equipped with all modern advanced technology for better communication facility, such as walkie talkie, group mobile and satellite phone.
  • Training and Preparedness:- SPART is taken out for weekly trial on every Saturday and full scale Mock trail is regularly carried out for staff preparedness.
  • Inflatable Rescue Air Bags:- SPART is equipped with inflatable rescue Air Bags imported from Holland. It is a very useful life saving device. These bags are extremely useful in case of passenger train accidents as it is worked with 6 kg/cm² of air pressure which is given by compressor. It inflates very quickly and takes a load of 130 tonnes. It only requires 1” ground clearance and can lift several tones with the touch of a button. It is primarily used in low insertion situations with heavy weight needed to be lifted in rescue of passengers.
  • Hydraulic Rescue Equipment:- It consists of hydraulic cutters, spreaders and hand operated tools for cutting of coaches for rescue of passengers trapped inside the coaches in case of an accident.
  • Under water cutting equipment:- Also Known as petrogen, is able to cut under water iron and steel in case of accident in under water.
  • Inflatable tower lights:- One of the most innovative rescue equipment is inflatable tower lights. It is a light weight, portable and glare free illumination system, which is ideally used for meeting any illumination requirement whenever there is an accident or an emergency situation.
  • Inflatable tent:- These are very special type of tents, used in remote areas, for giving shelter to the affected passengers. It can be inflated and erected at the site of accident within 10 minutes. These tents are so strong that they can sustain extreme weather conditions.
  • Self contained breathing apparatus:- The ART contains a self contained breathing apparatus. It is a device which is worn by rescue workers and fire fighters for breathing air in immediate danger to life. This apparatus has basically three main components i.e. a high pressure tank, a pressure regulator valve, and an inhaling connection (mouth piece, mouth mask or face mask).

Remarkable achievements of ART Bandra:

  • ART played a major role in restoring of about one k.m of railway track which was completely washed away due to flood at Palghar in February 2005. ART staff worked round the clock under heavy rains continuously till the restoration of the railway track.
  • On 10.10.2005 ART even played a major role outside the railway premises by placing back the airplane VT-SID -737 (SAHARA AIRLINES) which was off shot from the main runway at Santacruz Domestic Airport during takeoff.
  • On 11.07.2006, the entire nation was rocked by serial bomb blasts in Mumbai local trains. ART played a vital role in restoring the railway traffic within shortest possible period.

There are 42 skilled and supervisory staff nominated for the ART. This staff is kept in readiness 24 hrs i.e. all the time for meeting any emergency. As soon as the information of any unusual/emergency is received, the ART moves out in about 30 minutes during day time and in about 45 minutes during the night time for rescue and restoration.

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