To fight against Covid19 pandemic, Indian Railways has geared up to run Oxygen Express for transporting liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and oxygen cylinders across the key corridors.

Availability of oxygen is a key element in the treatment of certain medical conditions in the Covid19 infection.

Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra state governments had approached the Railway Ministry with a request to move liquid medical oxygen (LMO) tankers by Railways.

“The Railways immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of LMO. LMO has to be transported through Roll On Roll Off (RO RO) service with road tankers placed on flat wagons,” Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) chief public relations officer Subhanan Chanda said in a statement.

Railway minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet said: “Railways is running its first Oxygen Express in its fight against COVID-19. The Ro-Ro service with 7 empty tankers departed from Kalamboli, Maharashtra for Vizag today.
Oxygen Express will move via a green corridor for loading with Liquid Medical Oxygen.”

Due to restrictions of height of Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Over Head Equipment (OHE) at certain locations, out of the various specifications of road tankers, the model of road tanker T 1618 with height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with height of 1290 mm, the NFR statement said.

Also read: Covid19: Centre asks states to prohibit supply of oxygen for industrial use

In order to ensure that parameters of transportation are tested, trials were conducted at various locations.
This DBKM wagon was placed at Kalamboli goods shed in Mumbai on April 15, 2021 and a T 1618 tanker loaded with LMO was also brought here.

Joint measurements were taken by representatives of industries and Railways.

Based on these measurements, route clearances were taken and it was found that it would be possible to undertake movements as RO RO as ODC (over dimensional consignment) with speed restrictions on some sections depending on overhead clearances.

In order to enable commercial booking and freight payment for RO RO movement of LMO in cryogenic tankers, the railway ministry has brought out a circular on April 16, 2021 providing all the necessary details and guidance on the matter.

“Zonal Railways have been informed regarding the demands from state governments. CFTMs and PCOMs are in touch with the Industry and state governments,” the NFR CPRO said.

Railway Board has directed concerned GMs to be fully prepared and proactively assist the state and central government agencies in movement of oxygen by Rail and has also nominated ED/TT/F as Nodal Officer in Railway Board, Chanda added.

The central government has already banned the supply of oxygen cylinders for industrial purpose except a few industries.

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