Trial production at Saran wheel factory from October
PATNA: The trial production of the railway wheels, supposed to commence from July, has been delayed due to some technical reasons. The railways is, however, hopeful to start the trial production of wheels from its factory located at Belapur, Chhapra, from October this year, said chief administrative officer (workshop) Rajiv Mishra.
This is likely to be the first major railway factory which would become functional in the state this year. The project has cost about Rs 1417.23 crore to the railways. Former railway minister Lalu Prasad had kicked off the civil work of the wheel factory on July 29, 2008.
According to sources, the railways has acquired 138 acres of land for the project. The railways has acquired 52 acres of land for the factory, 35 acres for rail siding yard and 51.76 acres for constructing a railway colony for its employees. Besides, the railways has submitted an application seeking permanent acquisition of about 65 acres of additional land against which it has already paid about Rs 8 crore to the state government, sources said.
The Chhapra wheel factory – second in the country after Bangalore -would start production to fulfil the needs of the Indian Railways. The proposed factory has the capacity to produce about one lakh wheels of goods wagons, passenger coaches and locomotives per year. It will fulfil the need of the entire eastern and northern regions of the country. These wheels would be manufactured on the latest US-based Griffin technology, an ECR official said .
According to him, the railways would require at least one lakh wheels every year in the wake of sudden increase in the number of long-distance goods and passenger trains. The opening of new freight corridors (eastern and western) would also require more wheels to keep pace with the production of goods wagons. Since the railways has decided to run more goods trains across the country to carry more freight, more wheels would be required, particularly for goods trains, he said.
Currently, the railways produces three kinds of wheels – one for passenger coaches and two others for goods and locomotives (engines). The railways manufactures wheels at the Bangalore factory and the heavy industries ministry’s factory at Durgapur in West Bengal. That apart, the railways imports wheels for locomotives from other countries as well, which costs it about Rs 3 lakh per wheel, including the cost of axles as well, the sources said, adding that the proposed wheel factory would save a huge sum of foreign money, which is currently spent on importing wheels.
The ECR also sends its wheels and axles to Bangalore for their periodical reconditioning, a mandatory norm for the safety of wheels.