NEW DELHI: Facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen, the Delhi government has requested the Railways to operate ‘Oxygen Express’ trains to save COVID-19 patients gasping for breath in the city’s hospitals, Railway Board Chairman Suneet Sharma said on Friday.
After Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the Andhra Pradesh and the Delhi governments too have lined up for ‘Oxygen Express’ services, he said.
Each tanker of the ‘Oxygen Express’ trains can carry around 16 tonnes of medical oxygen, Sharma said, adding these trains travel at a speed of around 65 kmph.
“We have received a request from Delhi just now, and we are still planning its movement. We will likely get the oxygen from Rourkela,” the Railway Board chairman said.
“Andhra Pradesh has asked for oxygen to be moved from Angul in Odisha. We have asked the Delhi government to keep their trucks ready, and our wagons, ramps are ready in the NCR area,” he added.
Sharma said the ‘Oxygen Express’ train headed for Uttar Pradesh will reach Lucknow on Saturday, and the one for Maharashtra will reach Nagpur on Friday night.
He added that around 93,000 railway beneficiaries are affected by COVID-19, and 72 railway hospitals and 5,000 beds are dedicated to their care.