There have been at least five such incidents in the division in the past two months. Several minor cases are often underreported.
Many passengers have complained that technical problems lead to power outages and delayed train services, especially during peak hours. Rail enthusiast Abhishek R said, “There is an increase in the number of OHE breakdowns in the Bengaluru division. OHE vans should be deployed at strategic locations, especially near KSR Bengaluru City and Yeshwantpur stations, to reduce emergency response time. Now there is a backlog in identifying and resolving issues.
He said that not all diesel locomotives can be phased out even after the completion of electrification works. “Diesel locomotives must be kept on standby in the event of a power failure and also for freight trains. It is also important to prune the branches of trees near railway tracks at regular intervals, especially during the monsoon,” he said.
South Western Railway chief PRO Aneesh Hegde said: “The main causes of OHE failure are lorry collisions/intrusions, tree fall/burst, incoming power failure and glitches. minor start-ups during the electrification works in progress. We regularly monitor at a higher level to prevent recurrences by identifying the cause and remedying it. We are also implementing a protocol to isolate a fault in less time, minimizing disruption to train services due to an OHE outage. Staff are trained, advised and informed to adopt best practices so that any failure due to human error is zero…”
Reasons for failure of OHE
According to the railways, there are six main reasons for OHE failures – uprooting or damage to OHE masts due to cyclone, derailments, etc.; entanglement of pantographs with OHE; breakage of OHE conductors; damage to insulators; faults on parasitic wires; theft of OHE conductors.
An official said outages relating to electric traction can be broadly divided into three categories – relating to substations and switch stations, remote control equipment and cables, OHE feeder lines and transmission lines. He said a sufficient number of experienced traction personnel should be deployed at selected points to quickly deal with OHE breakdowns, especially during peak hours. “Every OHE outage should be addressed without delay as electrified lines carry a high density of passenger traffic. The line should be cleared for diesel traction as soon as possible until OHE repairs are completed,” a- he declared.
Only 49% of Karnataka’s railways were electrified as of April 1, 2022. Officials said they plan to complete state electrification by 2023-24.