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Civil Engineering Works of Gauge Conversion Projects
Engineering-cum-traffic surveys The survey is done to examine the technical feasibility of the proposal and the economical aspects of the same.
Land acquisition The land requirement for converting the track from MG to BG is assessed and, if necessary, extra land is acquired as per the existing procedure laid down in the Land Acquisition Act.
Earthwork Earthwork is done on either side of the existing formation of a single-line track to increase its width from 4.88 m (16 ft) to 6.10 m (20 ft) in the case of embankments and from 4.27 m (14 ft) to 5.49 m in the case of cuttings.
Bridges and culverts The existing bridges and culverts are extended to suit the BG formation and to conform to the standards adopted for BG sections. The extension of these bridges is properly planned to ensure the minimum dislocation of traffic.
Track linking Track linking involves the following operations.
Unloading of track material Track material such as rails, sleepers, and fastenings are taken from the base depot to the work site and unloaded at the final location. Preliminary works such as boring and adzing of sleepers, proper matching of rails, and drilling of holes in the rails are planned in advance.
Interlacing of sleepers Wooden sleepers are best suited for gauge conversion projects, if available. They are interlaced with the existing sleepers of the track and the two are spiked together.
Arrangements of men and materials The deployment of manpower, including the supervising staff, is planned in detail so that the conversion of the track from MG to BG is achieved with minimum interruption of traffic. Normally 50 to 100 men per km work are required on the track during a traffic block. In addition, the work of skilled artisans such as blacksmiths is also required for track conversion. All track material, including fittings, are properly organized and arranged at the site. Tools and equipment such as augers and drills, Jim Crows, crowbars, rail tongs, sleeper tongs, and spanners are also arranged in adequate quantities.
Traffic blocks Traffic is suspended on the railway line for a period of 15 to 30 days depending upon the length of the track to be dealt with, so that the work of gauge conversion can be carried out at one stretch. During a traffic block, traffic is diverted on alternate routes or trans-shipped onto road vehicles.
Linking the new track During the traffic block, the existing rails are removed and new rails placed in what is to be their final position on the BG track. The new sleepers are also placed in their proper position and the rails are spiked to the sleepers as per BG requirements. The track is properly levelled and aligned and traffic is allowed on the new line at a restricted speed after obtaining the sanction of the commissioner of railway safety.
Ballasting and packing An adequate quantity of ballast is then put in the track and the track is properly packed. The speed restrictions are gradually relaxed as the stability of the track improves.
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