The Ponmalai Loco Shed is being revamped to enable maintenance of electric locomotives of Southern Railway
In a major decision to convert its entire fleet of diesel locomotives to environment-friendly electric ones, the Indian Railways had decided to upgrade the Southern Railways maintenance shed located at Ponmalai at a cost of Rs.13.5 crore.
This facility which at present undertakes maintenance of diesel locomotives is being upgraded to enable it to handle the overhaul of 100 electric train engines. The work of transition into an electric locomotive maintenance shed which is spread over three phases is being carried out at rapid speed and it is expected that it will be completed by 2024.
In the first phases which started in 2022, an outlay of Rs.2.7 crore was sanctioned. The focus of this phase is to upgrade the shed for handling basic maintenance of the electric locomotives. Sharing details about an official said that a locomotive has to undergo some basic maintenance and service inspection after completing 2,500 kilometres. He added 80 per cent of this Phase I work for basic maintenance has been completed and that the remaining work will be over by October.
The second phase of this project is the crucial and during this the maintenance shed will have to be equipped with the infrastructure for undertaking complete overhauling of electric locomotives. This will entail an expenditure of Rs.8.8 crore. Under this second phase two 50-tonne cranes and necessary infrastructure for handling the maintenance of more locomotives will be installed.
With the completion of the second phase – expected to be finished by the end of 2024 — the shed will be responsible for the complete overhaul of about 100 locomotives of Southern Railway.
The third phase will include construction of a building in Ponmalai at a cost of about Rs.2 crore for the testing and maintenance of electric components of the locomotives. This work is also expected to be over by 2024, the official said.