Even as various parts of the country report shortage of oxygen, the Indian Railways on Friday said that more Oxygen Express trains with 126 MT of the life-saving gas are on way to Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Telangana.
A Railway Ministry spokesperson said that the national transporter is continuing its Oxygen Express journey and saving many more lives.
He said that railways is in full preparedness to run even more Oxygen Express trains, based on the requests from state governments.
The official said that Madhya Pradesh will receive its second Oxygen Express carrying 47.37 MT of liquid medical oxygen to Sagar and Jabalpur in four tankers.
The train started from Jharkhand’s Bokaro on April 29 and is currently moving uninterrupted towards its destination, which it is expected to reach by Friday evening, he said.
He also said that Haryana will receive its first and second Oxygen Express soon.
“Two trains, one from Odisha’s Rourkela to Haryana carrying 47.11 metric tonnes LMO in three tankers and another one from Angul to Haryana carrying 32 metric tonnes in two tankers are on their way to their destination. These trains will deliver much needed oxygen supply to the residents of Haryana in a safe and timely manner,” he said.
The official said that Uttar Pradesh is continuously replenishing its oxygen supply with the Oxygen Express.
“UP will receive its seventh Oxygen Express, which is expected to start shortly from Bokaro carrying three tankers of LMO. In order to further boost up the oxygen supply, the UP government has also requested to transport 10 ft ISO containers loaded with liquid oxygen from Jamshedpur to Lucknow,” he said.
The official said additional planning is required to transport ISO containers and railways officials are currently working on the best possible options to move these safely and securely. It is expected that ISO containers carrying liquid medical oxygen will start loading on May 1 at Jamshedpur.
In positive news for Telangana, nearly 63 tonne of oxygen is making its way to the state from Odisha on board the Oxygen Express. The South Central Railway (SCR) on Saturday said the Oxygen Express train loaded with five tankers has commenced its journey from Angul in Odisha to Secunderabad.
SCR officials said the first Oxygen Express from Telangana was dispatched with five empty tankers from the Secunderabad Cantonment Military Siding on Wednesday.
After getting filled with liquid oxygen, these tankers have commenced their return trip to Secunderabad on board the Oxygen Express. The five tankers are together carrying 63.6 tonne of oxygen.
Amid spiralling Covid-19 cases and oxygen shortage, the arrival of the oxygen consignment from Odisha would literally breathe life into several Covid-19 patients who are battling death.
Officials said the liquid oxygen being transported in these tanks is a cryogenic cargo which has many limitations like the maximum speed at which it can be carried, maximum acceleration and deceleration as well as loading restrictions such as availability of liquid oxygen tankers and loading ramps.
The Oxygen Express trains have been started by the Indian Railways to provide safe, secure and fast transportation of oxygen to different parts of the country during these critical times. Under this initiative, the road tankers (both empty as well as loaded) are transported by the Railways through ‘Ro-Ro’ (Roll on-Roll Off) service. The Oxygen Express trains are operated at the request of the state governments. While the states provide the tankers, the Railways undertake to bring the oxygen supplies to the requisitioning state in the shortest possible time.
Accordingly, SCR has been operating these trains to meet the needs of the states. The zone has operated two empty Oxygen Express trains from Secunderabad while the first train had five empty tankers, the second train was sent with four empty tankers on Friday.
Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, SCR, assured that the Railways would continue to give utmost priority to the running of the Oxygen Express trains.
“Any request received on this front will be immediately processed so as to operate the trains at the earliest,” he said.
“So far, Indian Railways has delivered more than 664 metric tonnes LMO to Maharashtra (174 MT), Uttar Pradesh (356.47 MT), Madhya Pradesh (64 MT) and Delhi (70 MT),” he said, adding that Haryana and Telangana will start receiving their Oxygen Express shortly.