An onboard trolley mounted track lubrication system has been designed in the Alipurduar Jn Division of N.F. Railway which can be used for lubrication of the gauge face of rails. This attachable-detachable apparatus uses springs to maintain contact with rail gauge face, and is connected to a grease pump that maintains pressure for ejecting grease. The grease is applied through a rubber material which is in direct contact with the rail gauge face.
Gauge face lubrication of rails, especially in the curves, increases the wheel and rail life by preventing friction and decreasing the wear between the rail - wheel interfaces, saves energy, and reduce wheel noise. It also reduces lateral forces on rails and wheel flanges that may lead to derailment due to wheel flange climbing on rail.
The device was designed using tyre scraps that could be in constant contact of rail gauge face without sustaining too much wear due to friction. This device was connected with the outlet of a grease pump which is readily available in shops. The rubber applicator was then attached with a spring that would ensure contact between the applicator and rail gauge face.
The newly designed simple system is an efficient and effective method of lubrication of rails, especially outer rails on curves that can be done at speed of up to 10kmph. Railways will benefit by reduction in manpower required for maintaining assets, reduction in requirement of grease, and ensuring overall safety. The need for such a system was felt necessary for maintaining tracks in the Alipurduar Jn – Siliguri Jn Dooars section of Northeast Frontier Railway as this section has numerous sharp curves and need frequent lubrication.
As per RDSO guidelines, curves sharper than 600m radius should be lubricated once a week for safety.This is a manpower intensive task which is susceptible to inefficiencies. Wayside lubricators are also found to be not exactly feasible due to high cost. In the newly designed device, when lubrication is not required, the applicator can be contracted and raised. The entire cost of modification is about Rs. 5,000/- only.