Ashwini Vaishnaw, Railways Minister, has directed officials to address the problem of erratic brakes in goods trains as soon as possible.
On Thursday and Friday, Vaishnaw presented the history and usage of the Bogie Mounted Brake System (BMBS), the problem itself and what is being done to fix it to officials.
There has been several incidents where the braking system on goods trains has failed, according to a report in the Indian Express published on Wednesday (November 23).
According to reports, Vaishnaw ordered officials to validate in-house brake trials. For the resolution of this system, more than 50 trials have been performed by various railroad units. Moreover, he requested officials to resolve the issue as soon as possible and with priority, sources said. It is not known what parameters or model conditions are causing the braking system faults, according to sources. Common faults include a lack of brake power, especially on downward slopes, and a non-uniform braking distance.
Identifying conditions and parameters can lead to a solution, according to officials.
Knorr-Bremse, which supplies the BMBS system, has also been pressed into service through its New York design center. Officials reported that video conferencing has been conducted with their engineers and designers. As part of the investigation, their representatives have also traveled to India to assist the Indian Railways.
The company has been asked to provide a solution that does not require dismantling braking systems from existing wagons, nor does it require the company to hold up wagons for days at a time. The brake system is installed on approximately 1.1 lakh wagons. Therefore, taking them out of circulation for days is not an option. Meanwhile, we have advised a speed reduction,” an official stated.
The results of the deliberations of an association of chief loco inspectors responsible for the operation of goods trains were submitted to the Ministry on Tuesday. As a result, they have identified 10 issues with BMBS and have requested the Railway Board to take immediate action. Trains have been observed moving for up to three kilometres even after applying the full brake, an issue known as “variable braking distance.” The issue of the “loss of braking effect” has also been described as “very dangerous.”