What keeps Wabtec’s locomotives running 95% of the time

Mamuni Das New Delhi | Updated on January 04, 2020 Published on January 03, 2020

Locomotive at Roza maintenance shed of GE Transportation — now a Wabtec company.

Its Roza, UP shed focusses on quick replacements and seamless power supply

The maintenance shed of GE Transportation — now a Wabtec company — located at Roza in Uttar Pradesh’s Shahjahanpur district has pulled electricity from a farther substation instead of the nearest one to ensure continuous power supply. It has also set up multiple lube oil refill points across the network to ensure the movement of its locomotives is not impacted. .

Wabtec has taken these steps to keep the locomotives it has supplied to Indian Railways (IR) continuously running, and to prevent breakdowns. Under its contract with IR, diesel-based locomotives have to be up and running over 95 per cent of the time, failing which the locomotive supplier can be penalised.

The Roza shed is a maintenance-cum-training unit set up by GE Transportation, which was acquired by Wabtec, as part of it contract to supply and maintain 1,000 diesel locomotives to IR. It is the first such initiative of IR. Wabtec (through its subsidiary GE Global Services India Pvt Ltd) has a 76 per cent stake in the unit while IR holds the balance 24 per cent stake.

Quick service

Attending to problems and breakdowns within 30 minutes is a key target for the Roza shed. When a locomotive malfunctions and is not available for operations (beyond 30 minutes), it is designated as a failure, per the contract, Surendra Mohan Varma, General Manager, Services Operations, GE Diesel Locomotives Shed-Roza, told BusinessLine. The remote monitoring centre at Roza helps to make sure that doesn’t happen.

The company has laid a separate 33 kV electricity cable from a substation 13 km away. “Getting power from the nearest substation would have meant dealing with three-four hours of power cut for the Roza maintenance shed, which works 24x7 in three shifts,” said Varma. The shed also has two diesel generator sets for back-up.

The team from the shed has also set up multiple lube oil filling points along the routes where these freight locos haul massive cargo. This means the engines don’t have to come back to Roza for consumables, said Sumeet Banga, Vice-President, Global Services Operations, South Asia, GE Transportation. The cost of lube oil and sand in the engine are borne by the shed.

The Roza facility also has an inventory of spare parts. “Usually, the team knows in advance what is the exact problem and what needs to be done to fix the locomotive quickly,” said Varma.

This makes sure the staff don’t spend extra time on planning and on making material available once the locomotive is inside the shed. “We replace the (problematic) part. We don’t repair. The repairing is done only at the centres of excellence. For instance, the centre for excellence for traction motors and traction alternators is at Pune,” Banga said.

(The writer was in Roza, Utter Pradesh, at the invitation Wabtec.)

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Published on January 03, 2020
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