The "A. C. Traction Manual" containing procedures and practices to be followed uniformly throughout Indian Railways, was published for the first time in 1972.
Considerable experience has since been gained in the operation and maintenance of electric traction assets. Technological upgradation has also been continuously taking place. Microprocessor based SCADA systems for remote control of traction power supply have been introduced with telemetering facilities. Vacuum and SF6 gas circuit breakers have by and large replaced minimum oil circuit breakers. A pilot project of electrification with 2 x 25 kV State-of-art technology on Bilaspur-Bina-Katni section has also been taken up. While earlier supply was being availed at 25 kV from power supply authorities, Railway owned traction sub-stations and transmission lines have come up.
As regards Rolling Stock, 6-axle WAM4 locos introduced in early 70s have given place to 3900 H. P. WAG5 freight locomotives 5000 HP. WAG7 locos & WAP1/WAP3 locomotives with speed potential of 140 km/h for passenger services. A sizeable fleet of dual brake locos has come up to offer better operational flexibility. Thyristors, electronic slip/creep control using Doppler radar sensors, computerised self-diagnostic fault indicating systems have also been introduced.
These developments have given rise to a need for updating the Manual, The present Manual caters to this requirement and is the result of efforts put-in by a number of Electrical Engineers of Indian Railways. I hope the Manual, in its revised form, will help towards developing better know-how of the prevalent system in respect of Maintenance and Operation and thereby improve reliability and safety.
The "Manual of AC Traction - Maintenance and Operation" covering the maintenance and operation of 25 kV ac 50 Hz single phase traction installations, electric locomotives and electrical multiple units and other connected matters including railway electrification - was issued in 1972.
The Manual is generally procedural in scope and includes essential technical data of use to the operating and maintenance personnel but does not cover the theoretical and design aspects of the traction installations and electric rolling stock as these are contained in documents issued by the RDSO as well as the respective manufacturers.
In the preparation of the Manual all relevant documents, rule books, operating manuals and standing instructions issued by the electrified railways are considered together with the knowledge of procedures and practices as observed during inspections of various installations on the railways as well as discussions with Chief Electrical Engineers of the Railways and concerned officers and staff as also with RDSO.
In what is considered to be the greatest common measure of agreement in regard to the maintenance schedules and their periodicity, the forms and registers in use, the availability of staff and operating conditions obtaining on the Railways the bases have been standardised, subject, of course to the condition that the Chief Electrical Engineer of the Railway may, where considered essential, authorise deviations to the prescribed procedures and practices to the extent necessary.
Over the years since the issue of Manual in 1972 changes have taken place in certain aspects of the traction installations as well as the electric rolling stock. Keeping these changes in mind, the Manual has been revised and is brought out in three Volumes as indicated below though the style has by and large been retained.
Volume I - General is of a general nature and contains descriptions of the traction installations and electric rolling stock. It indicates the organisation for operating and maintaining the traction installations and electric rolling stock, both in the Headquarters and Divisional offices of the Zonal Railways, describing the functions at various management levels. It also contains the rules and procedures for the staff of other disciplines like Signalling and Telecommunication, Civil Engineering etc. apart from subjects which all electric traction engineers and supervisors should be familiar with and therefore this volume would necessarily be an omnibus one.
Volume II - Fixed Installations has been made in two parts. Part I covers the operation and maintenance of traction installations of fixed installations as well as procedures for commissioning of new traction installations while Part II contains various guidelines and procedures issued by the Railway Board and RDSO in connection with fixed traction installations.
Volume - III - Electric Rolling Stock is exclusive for the maintenance and operation of electric rolling stock - locomotives and multiple units.
In the get up of this Manual the paragraphs are numbered with 5 digits. The first digit indicates the Volume number, the next two digits indicate the Chapter number and the last two digits the specific paragraph number.
It will be appreciated that in a Manual of this nature, it will not be feasible to include material to cover each and every contingency that may arise in the course of working of the traction installations and the electric rolling stock, though efforts have not been spared to make it as comprehensive as possible. In the event of any contingency that might arise requiring supplementing what is contained in this Manual so as to suit the conditions on a particular Railway, the Chief Electrical Engineer of the Railway may issue necessary instructions/orders for the purpose. It would be good practice to copy such instructions/orders to other Railways as well for their benefit. However, the provisions in this Manual, the Codes/Manuals issued by various authorities, the General and Subsidiary Rules and any other statutory regulations in force shall not be contravened.
Any comments or suggestions for improving this Manual as well as any advice in regard to errors or omissions if any requiring correction may be sent to the Railway Board.
The making of this revised Manual has been an arduous work and for the efforts put in by a number of senior officers as well as staff of Railway Board, Railways, RDSO/Lucknow and RITES, New Delhi to bring this out, no amount of words of appreciation and gratitude to them will be adequate for the purpose.
It is hoped that the Manual will serve the needs for which it has been made.
NOEL LOBO PRABHU