NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways’ first Oxygen Express train piloted by two female pilots reached Bengaluru on Friday evening carrying 120 tonnes of medical oxygen from Jamshedpur. They covered the last 120 km stretch in one-and-a-half hours, clocking an average speed of 80 kmph.
The train had started from Tatanagar in Jharkhand with six tankers of liquid medical oxygen. This was the seventh Oxygen Express to Karnataka.
“We started our journey from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu and drove till Whitefield in Bengaluru. It was altogether a different experience as we got all clear signals on this stretch and we could achieve such a good speed. It was raining and it was a nice experience,” assistant loco pilot Aparna RP told TOI, who has been in this job for less than a year.
Loco pilot Sireesha Gajini also said the experience was different as they did not need to wait anywhere. When they drive other good trains, halting at stations and different spots is quite common. But due to perfect coordination, Oxygen Express trains are reaching the destinations in less time. “The railways has always encouraged women participation and this is one of such opportunities for us. We are proud of doing our bit,” she said.
The Indian Railways has gone for meticulous planning while running such trains to ensure these reach destinations in time considering the urgency. Since these trains run non-stop unlike road tankers, this is a more reliable mode for transport of LMO for longer distances.
The railway ministry on Saturday said they have delivered nearly 14,500 tonnes of LMO in more than 884 tankers to various states. The LMO transported by these express trains have reached out to 13 states so far. The railways had started Oxygen Express trains on April 24 when a train carrying 126 tonnes had reached Maharashtra.