MUMBAI: The first Oxygen Express carrying liquid medical oxygen tankers from Visakhapatnam reached Nashik in Maharashtra on Saturday morning.
The train reached Nasik Road station at 10.25 am, where four tankers were unloaded, the Central Railway (CR) said in a statement.
Tweeting about it, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said, “‘Oxygen Express’ train loaded with liquid medical oxygen tankers from Vizag has reached Nashik.4 Oxygen tankers have been unloaded to provide additional oxygen to the patients.”
Of the seven tankers filled with liquid medical oxygen, three were unloaded in Nagpur after the train arrived there at 8.10 pm on Friday.
After its departure from there, the train reached Nashik in 12 hours, the CR said.
The train was carrying 100 tonnes of medical liquid oxygen from Rashtriya IspatNigam Ltd in Vishakhapatnam, from where it had begun its journey on April 22.
“Railways took the movement of Oxygen Express as a challenge and successfully ran the first Oxygen Express from Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai to Visakhapatnam and back upto Nashik,” it said.
The moment railways got the request for it, ramps were constructed at various places immediately for the movement of liquid medical oxygen tankers.
The ramp at Kalamboli was built in only 24 hours, the statement said.
For the movement of Ro-Ro service, the railways had to map the entire route considering the various constraints like ghat (hilly) sections, road over bridges (ROBs), tunnels, curves, platform canopies, over head equipmentat certain locations.
As height is an important aspect in this movement, railways mapped the route via Vasai.
The model of road tanker T1618 with a height of 3,320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons, it added.
As oxygen is cryogenic and hazardous chemical, railways have to avoid sudden acceleration, deceleration, have to check pressures in between, especially when it is in loaded condition.
Yet, railways took it as challenge, mapped the route, trained people and could take these particular size tankers to the Visakhapatnam via Vasai-Surat-Bhusaval-Nagpur route, the statement said.
The distance between Kalamboli and Visakhapatnam is more than 1,850 kms, which was completed by these tankers only in about 50 hours.
Seven tankers with more than 100 tons liquid medical oxygen were loaded in 10 hours and transported back to Nagpur in only 21 hours, it said.
Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances than road transport.
Trains can run 24 hours in a day, but truck drivers need to take halts, it said.
Last Sunday, the railways had announced that it would run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.
Amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the country, the demand for medical oxygen has gone through the roof.