As much as 79% of the 1,204-km rail tracks under the Thiruvananthapuram railway division and 50% of the 1,200 km under the Palakkad division have 52-kg a metre rails that have been phased out by Railways.

Of the 951.16 km that has 52-kg rail in the Thiruvananthapuram division, 200 km has been found to be ‘critical’, needing immediate replacement. Only 252.4 km (21%) in the division has 60-kg rail now used by Railways.

In Palakkad, 60-kg rail is being laid when the 52-kg rail has to be replaced. “Even in the northern parts of the country, 52-kg rail is not being used. We have decided that the 52-kg rail will be replaced with 60-kg rail and the Railway Board and Zonal Railways have agreed to make available more 60-kg rails to us,” Divisional Railway Manager Shirish Kumar Sinha told
The Hindu

Railways are also using 65-m long rails instead of the conventional 13 m. Four 65 m rails are welded at the steel plant in Bhilai and transported to the site.

Instead of the 40 to 50 weldings needed for a km, only four weldings are needed in a km as 260-m long rail is made available at the site. This reduces field work and fissures and ensures quality and riding comfort to commuters.

Railways have set a monthly target of 22 km of track renewal in the State. “It is impossible to meet this target as the rail lines are saturated and line blocks cannot be imposed during daytime to take up the work,” Mr. Sinha said.

Railways have mobilised men and machinery to complete renewal of rails and sleepers with other maintenance activities. A four-and-a-half hour mega block is in place from 8 p.m. to 12 midnight since May in the division to take up the work . Mr. Sinha said 400 metre of rail was being replaced daily during the mega block in the night.

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