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PATNA: The railways has decided to modernize the 150-year-old railway workshop at Jamalpur at an estimated cost of Rs 117.46 crore. The plan envisages a much improved infrastructure to cope with the demands of new technology. The oldest workshop would now manufacture rail components, too, in addition to carrying out maintenance work of locomotives, cranes and wagons at the workshop, said chief works manager (CWM) Animesh Sinha.
According to him, the Jamalpur workshop had started functioning on February 8, 1862, during the British period. It was the first workshop of the country to manufacture steam engine CA 764 'Lady Curzon' in 1899 at a cost of Rs 33,000 only. Besides, it was the first to manufacture rail foundry in 1893 and a rolling mill in 1870 to cater to the needs of the railways then, he said. During the first decade of its inception from 1862 to 1872, Jamalpur workshop earned laurels for having assembled 452 steam locomotives. Besides, it was the first to manufacture nine feet long giant screws in 1918-1919 for Mesopotamia Railways ( Baghdad), Sinha said.
That apart, the workshop was the first to manufacture ticket printing, ticket chopping and ticket counting machines in the country. During the years from 1899 to 1923, it manufactured 216 steam locomotives. Though the steam locomotive era of the railways had come to an end in 1992, the workshop went on to manufacture many important components of passenger and goods trains, he said, adding the workshop celebrated the 150 years of its existence on February 8.
Located in about 5,74,654 square metres, the workshop has its own 6 MVA power plant. It is equipped with about 1,416 big and small machinery plants of rare quality. At present, the annual turnover of the workshop is about Rs 502 crore which is likely to go up to Rs 720 crore per annum, the CWM said.
Under the proposed plan, the workshop will manufacture about 60 stainless steel wagons per month. Besides, it has started periodical overhauling (POH) of diesel locomotives, wagons and cranes. The railways has decided to increase its capacity up to 6,140 cranes POH per year while the number of wagons POH is being increased up to 450 per month, Sinha said.
He said the railways has also chalked out a concrete plan to develop it now as the best workshop of the railways in the country. It would be converted into a hub of wagon manufacturing, self-propelled accident relief train (SPART) and diesel loco manufacturing plant soon. A special postal cover was also released by Railway Board additional member (mechanical) R Vijay Mohan to mark the 150 years of the workshop, Sinha said.