With constant endeavour towards modernization and enhanced safety, Indian Railways has developed various advanced technological infrastructures all over India. Engaged in primary maintenance of passenger coaches of various long distance express trains, the Coach Care Centre of Waltair Division of East Coast Railway located in Visakhapatnam stands out as a shining example of one of such modernized facilities in Indian Railways.
Conceptualized at the advent of the 21st Century with a foresight to the ever increasing demands of passenger train services, works were executed in three phases so as to realize the dream of setting up this coaching depot in the city of Visakhapatnam which was finally commissioned in the year 2006.
History: Before the establishment of Coach Care Centre, train coaches were maintained near the premises of Visakhapatnam railway station with bare minimum infrastructure, viz; 04 lines for washing and light maintenance and 02 lines for major repairs (sick line). During those days, the maintenance load was feeble, with a coach holding of just 280.
Infrastructure Facilities: The depot has six modern 600 metres pit lines of full 26 coach lengths each for maintenance of trains, six stabling lines for stationing of spare coaches as well as one line for parking of spare wheels and bogies. Additionally, for attending to heavy and scheduled repairs of coaches, four lines each of hundred metres length with covered shed and equipped with eight floor-pits as well as four integrated overhead cranes are also available.
Various modern facilities like an automatic coach washing plant for in-motion exterior cleaning of rakes, an under-floor mounted pit-wheel lathe for in-situ wheel profiling which eliminates the need to roll-out the wheels from under the coaches, an effluent treatment plant(ETP) of 5 lakh litres per day capacity for water recycling and re-use, an ultra modern mechanized laundry for washing and ironing of linen supplied in AC coaches, energy efficient LED lighting in maintenance lines and sufficient portal lights for night time maintenance, among others are available in the depot. An automated train examination system (ATES) has also been installed at Visakhapatnam station for automated initial examination of incoming and outgoing trains round the clock.
Motto: With an aim to provide premium facilities and satisfaction to passengers, the depot lays emphasis on mechanized cleaning of trains, pest & rodent control activities in coaches, depot and yards, coach amenities maintenance, bio-toilet maintenance, on-board housekeeping facilities in trains, linen washing and supply in trains, etc.
Additionally, a total of 12 trains have been upgraded to premium standards under “Project Utkrisht” to provide superior standards of facilities to passengers.
Accomplishments: Certified with ISO-9001:2008: Quality Management System, ISO-14001:2004: Environmental Management System and OHSAS 18001:2007: Occupational Health & Safety Management System, the depot, with a holding of over one thousand coaches consisting of both conventional ICF design type as well as modern LHB type, maintains close to twenty five originating trains consisting of fifty rakes. The depot also undertakes the activities of cleaning & watering of nearly seventy trains passing through Visakhapatnam station daily. The depot also has the unique Vistadome coach with panoramic view which runs through the picturesque Araku valley section as well as the latest double-decker Uday coaches.
Owing to its pioneering methods and systematic approach adopted for coach maintenance, the depot stands out in regard to various efficiency parameters and has ensured zero accidents in its entire history besides achieving minimal coach detachments during the period 2019-20. In recognition to its performance, the Depot was also awarded with Best Coaching Depot shield by the General Manager, East Coast Railway in 2019.
Efforts during Covid-19: With nearly 800 staffs and supervisors of both Mechanical & Electrical engineering departments rendering services round the clock to ensure timely maintenance and departure of trains, the depot is bustling with activities. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic time, the depot, under the leadership of Sri Chetan Srivastava, Divisional Railway Manager, Waltair Division and Sri Sambid Mohapatra, Senior Coaching Depot Officer was the first in East Coast Railway to handover for use after converting 60 coaches into isolation-wards/ Quarantine centres for Covid-19 patients. The conversion work was carried out and completed in just 14 days. In addition, sanitizers, pedal operated sanitizer dispensers and cotton masks were made in-house and supplied to railway staff.
Divisional Railway Manager Shri Chetan Kumar Shrivastava appreciated the efforts of the staff of Coach Care Centre who have been relentlessly working round the clock during the pandemic to keep the trains moving on and extending helping hand to combat the Corona virus infection.
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