Organization Structure for Track
Track maintenance on Indian Railways is a well-organized
affair as described below.
1 Organization at the Headquarters
The primary duty of maintaining
the track lies with the civil engineering branch headed by the principal chief
engineer stationed at the head quarters of each zonal railway. He is assisted
by a number of functional chief engineers such as the chief track engineer
(CTE), the chief bridge engineer (CBE), the chief engineer planning and design
(CPDE), and the chief engineer general (CGE). Normally, one functional chief
engineer is in charge of one division or more and supervises the work of that
division in all civil engineering matters. Each chief engineer is assisted by
deputy chief engineers, executive engineers, etc., who are responsible for
planning, designing, and providing the necessary materials along with providing
any other assistance that may be required by the field engineers.
2 Organization at the Divisions
direct responsibility of the maintenance of civil engineering assets, including
the track, lies with the division. In each division, there are one or more
divisional superintending engineers (DSE) or senior divisional engineers (sr
DEN) who work under the administrative control of the divisional railway
manager and the technical control of the chief engineer. Figure 18.3 gives the
details of the divisional organization for track maintenance.
Each divisional superintending
engineer (DSE) or senior divisional engineer has complete charge of a division.
He or she is assisted by two to three divisional engineers (DENs), each with
about 1000 integrated track kilometres under his or her charge. Every DEN is
assisted by two to three assistant engineers (AENs), each in charge of about
400 kilometres of track. An AEN in turn is aided by two to three permanent way
inspectors, who are directly responsible for the safety and maintenance of the
track. Each AEN is also assisted by one or more inspector of works (IOW) who
look after all the work. The track maintenance work is done by various gangs,
each of which is headed by a mate who has about 10 to 20 gangmen working under
him or her. Each gang has a keyman, who inspects the track daily to ensure its
safety. The duties of AENs, PWIs, and other permanent way officials are
explained briefly in the subsequent sections.
3 Duties of Permanent Way Officials
The permanent way officials in
charge of maintaining the track have to ensure that the finest standards of
track maintenance are followed as per the prescribed procedures at the minimum
cost. The duties of all PW officials have, therefore, been specified so that
they can work systematically to achieve the desired objectives. This chapter
only outlines the essential duties of PW officials. In actual practice,
however, they have to carry out many more miscellaneous functions as per the
traditions and practices of Indian Railways.
4 Duties of Assistant Engineer
assistant engineer is generally responsible for the maintenance and safety of
all way and works under his or her charge, for the accuracy, quality, and
progress of any new work that may be undertaken and for controlling all
expenditure with respect to the budget allotment.
essential duties of an AEN are as follows.
and maintenance of track and all track structures to ensure satisfactory and
of plans and estimates; execution and assessment of work
of stores held by stockholders
of proposals for inclusion in the track renewal programme,
of revenue budget, and work programme
An AEN is
also required to carry out the following inspections.
Trolley inspection The
entire subdivision should be inspected once a month by assistant
engineer, as far as possible with the help of a push trolley. This inspection
should be intensive and should include the checking of gang attendance, the
work done by the gang, the equipment used, and an examination of gang
charts/diaries with reference to the prescribed track maintenance schedule.
During the inspection, the assistant engineer should check the work done by one
or two gangs under each PWI and record his or her observations.
Fast train inspection Either
the foot plate of the engine or the last vehicle of a fast train should
traverse the entire length of the subdivision once a month.
Inspection of level crossings The
assistant engineer should inspect all manned level crossings once every
six months. He or she should examine the gatemen's knowledge of the rules and
check the equipment, track, road approaches, and all other safety aspects of
Checking of curves The AEN
should verify the versine and superelevation of at least one curve under
the jurisdiction of every PWI every quarter.
Checking of points and crossings Once a
year the AEN should inspect all the points and crossings on passenger
lines and 10% of the points and crossings on other lines.
Monsoon patrolling During
monsoon patrolling, the assistant engineer should use either a train,
push trolley, or motor trolley once every month to check the patrolman's work.
Scrutinizing of registers during
inspection The AEN should scrutinize the various
registers maintained by the PWI such as the creep register, curve register, and
the points and crossings register.
Inspection of bridges The AEN
should inspect all the bridges of his or her subdivision once every year
after the monsoon is over and record the inspection details in the bridge
register. Tracks on girder bridges should also be inspected as part of the
annual bridge inspection.
Inspection of office and stores The AEN
should inspect each office and store of all the PWIs and IOWs under his
or her charge at least once a year. When checking stores, he or she should pay
particular attention to the allocation of the imprest engineering indicators,
protection equipments, and other important items in the stores.
also has the following additional duties.
(a) To ensure
that all work is done as per the standard plans and specifications.
witness the payments made under one inspector once every month.
(c) To record
the measurements of the ballast or to carry out a thorough check of its quality
and quantity if the same has already been recorded by an inspector. Also, to
test check the measurements of other works.
(d) To reach
an accident site as early as possible and to take the necessary measures to
restore traffic on the affected track.
accompany any track recording or oscillograph car runs in his or her section.
exercise control on expenditure so as to contain it within the alloted budget.
(g) To train
probationers in their work.
inspect water purification systems once every three months.
inspect all steel structures once every six months.
(j) To look
after the welfare of the staff and to inculcate discipline in them.
accompany the GM or other senior railway officials during inspection.
coordinate with officials of other departments.
5 Duties of a PWI in Overall Charge
The PWI is generally responsible for the following.
and inspection of the track to ensure satisfactory and safe performance.
execution of all works incidental to track maintenance, including track
and periodical verification of the stores and tools in his or her charge.
of land boundaries between stations and at important stations
as may be
specified by the administration.
also carries out inspections of the following facets of a track.
Testing the track He or she
should run a test check on the foot plate of the engine of fast trains
at least twice a month and in a rear brake van of a fast vehicle once a month,
and make a note of sections where the quality of running is defective and get
Inspection of track and gangs The PWI should
inspect the entire section with the help of a push trolley at least once
a week or more often if necessary.
Level crossing inspection
(a) He or she
should check the equipment assigned to the gateman once a month.
(b) He or she
should periodically examine knowledge of safety rules.
(c) He or she
should ensure that all level crossings are safe.
Points and crossings inspection The PWI
should inspect the points and crossings on passenger lines once in three
months and those on other lines once in six months.
inspection The PWI should check the versines and
superelevation of each curve once in six months. Based on his or her
observations, the PWI should take the appropriate action to correct the curve,
Inspection diagram The PWI
should maintain an inspection diagram of all inspections carried out
during the month as per the schedule laid down in the pro forma and submit the
same every month to the divisional engineer via the AEN, bringing out the
reasons for failure in adhering to the schedules of inspections, if any.
Safety of track The PWI
is directly responsible for the safety of the track. He or she should be
vigilant so as to promptly locate faults in the permanent way and get them
repaired without delay.
addition to the inspections, a PWI also carries out the following duties.
accompany high officials during their inspections along with the relevant
records. The PWI should carry all the important measuring equipment such as the
gauge-cum-level, flange gauges, fishing chord, tape, and inspection hammer on
accompany any track recording and oscillograph car that runs in his or her
(c) To check
the proximity of trees that are likely to damage the track and get them
(d) To check
night patrolling at least once a month by train as well as by trolley.
(e) To take
the necessary safety measures while executing maintenance work that affects the
safety of the track.
(f) To rush
to the site of an accident and take the necessary measures to safeguard the
line and restore traffic.
periodically inspect and supervise LWR tracks to ensure their safety.
(h) To ensure
the cleanliness of station yards.
(i) To keep
proper records of the training out of ballast.
witness the payments made out to the staff every month.
(k) To look
after all establishment work, including the welfare of the staff working under
his charge, and to maintain their service records.
(l) To ensure
the safety of the track during the execution of work that affects
Based on the system of
maintenance, the permanent way inspector in charge of the section should
prepare detailed short-term plans covering a month's work (split into weekly
programs) at least a month in advance of the commencement of actual work. The
PWI should ensure that adequate arrangements have been made for the requisite
tools, materials, and manpower for the allotted task and that work is executed
within the specified time. The following procedure of track maintenance is
followed on Indian Railways.
Each mate should be supplied with a gang chart and a gang
register. The gang chart should have a record of the day-to-day track
maintenance work to be done over the gang length, maintained by the permanent
way inspector (PWI) according to specified instructions. The gang registers
contain a record of the weekly programme of the work to be carried out, also
maintained entered by the PWI in charge of the section. At the end of the week,
the PWI should qualitatively and quantitatively assess the completed work and
record his/her observations in the gang register after a detailed inspection of
the work done during the previous week.
charts or gang registers should be checked by the assistant engineer and
divisional engineer during their inspections. After inspecting the section by
trolley, they should record their observations in the gang register.
withdrawal of old gang charts or gang registers and supply of fresh ones, the
PWI should carefully analyse the work done and make a note of those stretches
of the track that frequently gave trouble during the year, with a view to
formulate such special measures as may be necessary.
6 Duties of Mates
Every mate should make sure that
the length of line under his charge is kept safe for the passage of trains.
Sections needing urgent attention should be taken care of without waiting for
orders from PWIs.
Working of permanent way gangs
The track on Indian Railways is
mostly maintained by permanent way gangs. Each permanent way gang has a
strength of about 10-20 people and a beat of about 6- 10 km. The gangs normally
follow the annual programme set for regular track maintenance and complete at
least one round of through packing in a year, depending on various
circumstances. A gang works under the control of a mate who assigns track
maintenance works to the permanent way gangmen.
Tools used by a PW gang Each gang
should have the following maintenance tools and equipment. Worn out
tools and equipment should be replaced every month.
(b) One set
of red hand-signal flags, two hand-signal lamps for the nights, and 12
steel scale, 1-m-long straight edge, square, hemp, cord, and marking chalk
mallet or canne-a-boule, fish bolt spanner, keying and spiking hammer, and
measured shovel packing (MSP) equipment if MSP is required
sufficient number of shovels, phowrahs, beaters, crowbars, ballast forks or
rakes, and mortar pans or baskets
Knowledge of safety measures The
permanent way mistry (PWM) mate and all other gang men should have
complete knowledge of the following safety measures.
(a) Method of
protecting the line in an emergency or during maintenance work that affects the
running of trains, including methods of fixing detonators, banner flags, etc.
the obligatory signals with or without a hand-signal flag during the day and
with a hand-signal lamp during the night.
(c) Action to
be taken when a train is noticed to have parted.
of lines on LWR tracks during heavy rains, storms, sandstorms, and during hot
of 'safety first' rules.
Gang strength for track maintenance
A track is maintained manually by
gangmen. Each gang has about 10 to 20 persons and a jurisdiction of about 4 to
6 km. In order to ensure uniformity of practice, Indian Railways has prescribed
a standard formula known as the special committee formula for
calculating the number of men to be included in each gang.
N = MKE =
MKLU(1 + A + B + C)
where N is the number of
men per km, M is the manpower factor, K is the correction factor
due to modernization of track, standard of maintenance, etc., E is the
number of equated track kilometres (ETKM) and is equal to L × U(1
+ A + B + C), A, B, and C are
variable factors, L is the length of a single track, and U is the
traffic density that varies from 0.4 to 1.4 depending upon whether the section
is a siding or a busy section with heavy gradients.
The manpower factor M is
the weightage for the actual man-days required to carry out normal permanent
way maintenance work in a year vis-à-vis the actual number of man-days
available. The correction factor K is required as a result of the
modernization of the track. It has been felt that the effort required to
maintain short welded rails and long welded rails is much less as compared to a
The variable factors, A, B,
and C denote the following. A is the formation factor, which
varies from 0 to 0.20 depending upon the type of soil, B is the
alignment factor and is equal to 0 where the track is straight and 0.25 when
the entire track is on a curve, and C is the rainfall factor and varies
from 0.10 to 0.20 depending upon whether there is little or heavy rainfall.
7 Duties of Keymen
Once a day, the keyman should
inspect both the track and the bridges on his/her beat. He should go along one
rail on his outward journey and return along the opposite rail on his return
8 Knowledge of Rules and Signals
Every mate, keyman, and gangman
should have the correct knowledge of handling detonating signals and should be
conversant with the following measures of track maintenance.
the line in an emergency and during the execution of maintenance work
(b) Action to
be taken when a train is noticed to have parted
of 'safety first' rules
(d) Action to
be taken when sabotage is suspected
(e) Patrolling during emergencies