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Indian Railways propose Research & Development Wings in Workshops Print E-mail
Written by Krishna Kumar, Anita   
Thursday, 13 August 2009
Tiruchirapalli: The Minister of State for Railways, E Ahamed, stressed the need for setting up research and development (R & D) wings in railway workshops in  the country, with a view to institutionalizing innovative ideas of railway staff, as well as according due recognition to their talents and expertise.  

The minister was speaking at a function held at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Tiruchi, on Saturday, 8th August 2009, where he flagged off the 22nd rake of low bogey container wagons manufactured at the workshop, for the Container Corporation of India Limited.

The Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Tiruchi is recognized as a nodal agency for various pilot programmes of the railways.  With a workforce of approximately 7,000, this prestigious railway institution is involved in a gamut of activities including the manufacture of wagons, maintenance of coaches, and the periodic overhaul of locomotives. 

The minister felt that this workshop, and others like this across the country, deserve their own Research and Development wings. He stated that the Railway Ministry would consider providing special funds towards this end.

Rupees 90 crore modernization programme

A rupees 90 crore modernization programme is already underway at the Golden Rock workshop. According to sources, funds amounting to nearly Rs. 69 crore would be spent on replacement of old machines and acquiring modern mechanical equipment. Some of the advanced equipment to be procured include Portable plasma profile cutting machine, robotic welding system with automation etc. PAMA - a special purpose multi-station machine for repairs of engine blocks - will be procured at a cost of nearly Rs. 40 crore. Tenders for smaller machines are expected to be floated soon. A modern material-testing laboratory will be set up inside the workshop, at an investment of nearly Rs. 2.5 crore. The workshop's three traversors are also expected to be replaced. The training center will also be upgraded.

Funds amounting to approximately Rs. 15 crore would be utilised for augmenting infrastructure facilities and structural repair work. The workshop has over 30 shops inside the facility.

With the detailed estimate having been approved, Chief Workshop Manager, J Digi expects the entire modernisation programme to be completed in two years time.

In addition to being profitable in the domestic market, this workshop actively undertakes export orders. It manufactures wagons and exports modified diesel engines. The workshop also carries out periodic overhaul of diesel locomotives and coaches.

The Mozambique Railways have ordered two serviceable diesel locomotives. Benin has already purchased three locomotives. Locos manufactured here have also been shipped to Tanzania and Malaysia. Mr. Digi had earlier stated that the workshop earned rupees 29 crores in one year from overhaul of locos belonging to some 20 public sector undertakings. 

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