HESS Offers Innovative Technology for Modernization of Indian Railways

Manoj Kumar
Mr. Manoj Kumar,
MD, Hess India
Indian railways is one of the largest transporters in the sense of track lengths, stations, platforms as well as goods & people movements. The foundation of Indian railways was designed and implemented during British rule. Basically they studied and implemented the system with several considerations and today we are in a different situation as the movements have increased tremendously and the track facilities are not equipped to withstand the pressure. The design and implementation of Metro and standard stations are different and need completely separate mechanism. Another point is the time and cost on a better and durable system which can be adopted and implemented all over India easily. There are some latest products and technology which needs heavy cranes and accessories for this job. Considering the geography and lack of technical manpower this will be a tough task. With the new government at the centre and a forward looking Prime Minister, the railways is in modernization track. Indian railway is in preparation of major development in the areas of modernization of tracks, trains, stations and others. Even at any point of time it needs regular additions and maintenance to the existing 8000 plus stations and platforms. Still the technocrats are not serious on proper planning, right products and cost effective system with on time schedule. This mindset needs to be changed where anything and everything will work to the right technology on right time. I think the government seems to be serious this time and that's why they brought Mr. Suresh Prabhu and Mr. Sreedharan to speed up the process at this juncture. Definitely, the right people at right place will make major changes and this may be the time for Indian railways.


We depend on the old stations and only face lift is happening in this area without studying the importance of right technology and systems. Basically the right products and technology implemented worldwide have several benefits in the form of time, cost, durability, better face lift and easy implementation. The authorities need to look into this instead of depending on the unorganized and unreliable sources. There are several facilities in India already preparing the railway sleepers for different rail segments and Hess is one of the leading technology providers under the brand name Prinzing Pfeiffer offering the best. Apart from the sleepers, the railway station is another area which needs major attention. A normal platform is made out of roofing, base slabs, edge slabs, steps, u-channels, dish channels and others. The main reason to use such elements will help us to build the platform within the short period of time at best quality with standardized products. This will also help us to remove the rain water from the station as well as to give proper guidance for physically challenged people. The Hess Forest Press Hydraulic Wet Cast system could produce all these items out of one machine which is easier to shift from one place to another quickly. Nowadays, most of the stations are using ceramic and clay tiles which are easy to break on heavy loads and slippery during rains. Considering the amount of goods and people movement in station, the wet cast products are the right solution. Hess is very keen to support the rail networks in India to build up the best solution that suits to India in terms of time, cost and other factors.

The different types of rail networks are used all over the world and India is also in a fast pace on modernizing the existing system as well as to metro and mono rail projects. As a mass and economic transport system railway is the integral part of development and necessity of modern world. Along with the fast moving bullet trains the stations also need the proper handling of commuters. In India, we still depend on the old structures which never come under the focus of any ministries. Here I am trying to showcase the present situation and little opinion which may helpful to related agencies.

Why Indian Railway Platforms are like this

The recently-extended ground on Pune station's Platform Number 6 to accommodate 22-coach trains seems ready to open up. The interlocking paver blocks costing Rs.80 lakh, installed six months ago, are already coming apart, resulting in uneven surfaces and highlighting another shabby job by the Railway authorities.

Indian Railway Platforms

An article from Pune Mirror shows the pathetic situation in Pune railway station and this is very common now days in India. It clearly shows that they used the rubber molded pavers which do not have proper strength to carry the material or man movement. Secondly, the implementation is completely wrong which results in loss of public funds, time and troubles.

The right technology can convert the above stations to top class

Railways Caught in Bad Planning
Railways Paver Blocks
Newly-installed paver blocks worth `80L have come undone in six months, highlighting shoddy workmanship by authorities.
The investment in rail that is being made today will create a legacy for the future to stand alongside that of the railway pioneers and visionaries of previous generations.The provision of fast, safe, clean rail travel for both people and goods will transform how we view transport, taking millions more people out of cars, offering an alternative to planes, and removing millions of tons of freight from the roads, and placing it on a sustainable rail network. To build up such a massive project which should be there for a century or more and to achieve that goals several factors need to be considered from design, technology, materials, climate, local situations and implementation of all these to funding.

The platform (photo 1) is designed with U-channels, dish channels, flag tiles, edge slabs and kerb stones other than the structural shed area and roof. The products are as per international standard with quality, reliability and able to produce and install easily. When specified together our systems can form totally integrated construction solutions. All form of platform specific or external works and general contracting including traffic management and the construction of entire station could be designed. If station designs achieve these objectives, rail travel will be encouraged, the experience will be positive and quality of life enhanced.

Railway Station Designs
Photo 1: Latest railway station designs with simple and faster construction with latest technology and standard

The quality of the travelling experience is directly related to the quality of the design of the facilities; providing information, guidance and comfort. The expertise necessary to get this right is rooted in a deep understanding of traveller's needs based on many years of product design and development, supported by knowledge and experience. The care and attention intrinsic to the development and manufacture of products is paramount in meeting the public's needs in getting the details right. A product range should provide and maximize comfort, ease of use. Ability to maintain without complicated parameters is important. A designer who understands these fundamentals will build on this knowledge to create appropriate and economic design solutions. Environmental sustainability must address such matters as the choice of material to be used in the refurbishment process, its source, and method of extraction, preparation and transportation.

Economic Design Solutions

When considering safety, the success or failure of a place such as a station is influenced by the nature and quality of its connections, and the ability for the general public to put themselves in a position of danger, particularly at unprotected edges, wider mechanical and electrical services and amenities and speed and volume of pedestrian movement. Few connections can undermine vitality and can act as pinch points in the system of movement through the station. Whilst too many – and especially too many under-used or poorly thought out connections – can increase the opportunity to go wrong or can be confusing and unsettling. The right level and type of access, protection and direction, resulting in places that are both well connected and secure, is achieved through careful and creative thought process and local assessment.

NBMCW January 2015

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