According to the national transporter, the Railways will run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.
Amid spiraling coronavirus cases in the country, the demand for medical oxygen in the country has gone very high.
As states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are struggling for oxygen at their Covid hospitals, the steel plants in Odisha have come forward to supply Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) for the treatment of patients.
While Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) has already transported LMO, Tata Steel has agreed to supply oxygen from their plants in Jajpur after a discussion with Union Minister for Steel Dharmendra Pradhan.
According to the officials, empty tankers will begin their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on 19th April to load liquid medical oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, and Bokaro.
According to the officials, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra state governments had earlier approached the Railways Ministry to explore whether liquid medical oxygen tankers could be moved by the rail network.
On the receipt of the request from the two states, the Railways immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of liquid medical oxygen. It has to be transported through roll-on-roll-off service with road tankers placed on flat wagons.
According to the officials, they would be able to send oxygen wherever there is such demand. A green corridor is being created for the fast movement of Oxygen Express trains.
A meeting was held between Railway Board officials and state transport commissioners and representatives of the industry on April 17 on issues related to transportation of liquid medical oxygen.
Instructions have been issued to zonal railways to ensure readiness to receive the trailers and load them. Ramps have to be built at Vizag, Angul, and Bhilai and the existing ramp at Kalamboli is to be strengthened.
According to the railways, due to restrictions of the height of Road Over Bridges and over-head equipment at certain locations, the model of road tanker T-1618 with a height of 3,320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with a height of 1,290 mm.
In order to ensure that parameters of transportation are tested, trials were conducted at various locations. On 18th April, a trial was organised by the Western Railway at Boisar where a loaded tanker was placed on a flat DBKM wagon and all the required measurements were taken.
The Railways have already placed DBKM wagons at Kalamboli and at other locations. The Railways is awaiting advice from Maharashtra to move the tankers.
According to the Railways, a tentative movement plan had been made for dispatching 10 empty tankers on April 19.
In order to enable a commercial booking and freight payment for roll-on-roll-off movement of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic tankers, the Railway Ministry had issued a circular on April 16 providing all necessary details and guidance on the matter.
Zonal railways have been informed about the demands from states.
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