Upgradation of Track Structure consisting of Pre-Stressed Concrete (PSC) sleepers, 52 Kg/ 60 Kg high strength (90 Kg/ mm2 ultimate tensile strength) rails on concrete sleepers, fanshaped layout on PSC sleepers, Steel Channel Sleepers on girder bridges has been adopted on most of the routes.
Standardization of track structure with 60 Kg Rails and PSC Sleepers: Track structure is being standardized with 60 kg rails and PSC sleepers on all the Broad Gauge routes, especially on high density routes to reduce fatigue of rails under higher axle-load traffic. New track construction and replacement of over-aged tracks is being done by PSC sleepers only.
Long Welded Rails: To improve maintenance and reliability of assets, efforts to eliminate fish-plated joints by welding single rails into long welded rails were continued. During relaying/ construction of new lines/ gauge conversion, long welded rails are laid on concrete sleepers. Long rail panels of 260 Meters / 130 Meters length are being manufactured at the steel plants to minimize number of welded joints. Turnouts are also being improved systematically.
Flash Butt Welding: There is progressive shifting to flash butt welding which is superior in quality as compared to Alumino Thermic (AT) welding.
Ultrasonic Testing of Rails and Welds: All rails and welds are ultrasonically tested as per laid down periodicity. To improve quality of testing, it is planned to replace existing analogue type USFD testing machines with digital type USFD testing machines which are capable of data logging, saving and transferring scan to computers. .
Tie Tamping and Ballast Cleaning Machines: There has been progressive use of Tie Tamping and ballast cleaning machines for track maintenance. Also, sophisticated Track Recording Cars, Oscillograph Cars and Portable Accelerometers are being used progressively.
Rail Grinding Machines: Two Rail Grinding Machines are working on high density routes of Indian Railways for enhanced reliability of Rails.
Electronic monitoring of track geometry is carried out to detect defects and plan maintenance.
Modern Bridge Inspection and Management System: Modern bridge inspection and management system has been adopted, which includes non-destructive testing techniques, under water inspections, intelligent water level monitoring system, mapping unknown foundations and integrity testing, etc.
Patrolling of Railway Tracks: During adverse weather conditions patrolling of railway tracks including night patrolling is carried out at vulnerable locations regularly.
Centre Buffer Coupler: Progressive fitment of tight lock Centre Buffer Coupler (CBC) in lieu of screw coupling on new manufacturing of ICF design coaches has been carried out with a view to prevent the coaches from climbing over each other in unfortunate event of an accident. So far, 2900 LHB coaches, 425 Hybrid Stainless Steel Coaches and 1340 Conventional ICF Design Coaches have been manufactured with Centre Buffer Couplers. Design of CBC has been upgraded to mitigate problem of jerks during acceleration/deceleration of trains.
Crashworthy Features of Passenger Coaches: To improve upon the standards of safety, a “crashworthy” ICF design, in conjunction with a Centre Buffer Coupler (CBC), was evolved. Such a design enables absorption of significant amount of energy during the impact/collision. About 530 such crashworthy ICF design coaches have been manufactured so far. LHB AC Double Decker coaches introduced first time on Indian Railways have also been provided with enhanced crashworthy features. On similar lines, principal design for a crashworthy LHB coach shell has been manufactured and crash test for design validation on this coach has been completed at RDSO. Enhancing crashworthiness of coaches, therefore, remain continuous endeavor of Indian Railways which minimizes injury/loss of life in the event of collision when compared with ICF design conventional coaches.
Progressive use of Air Springs: For enhancing safety and reliability of passenger coaches, the suspension systems are being redesigned with air springs at secondary stage capable to maintain constant height at variable loads. Air springs have been developed and are being fitted on all the newly built EMU & DMU coaches for sub-urban trains. Air springs have now been developed for mainline coaches as well and have been fitted in limited number of coaches. Trails have been planned on use of LHB type second class coaches which are subjected to higher payloads in service.