1. Introduction

The Indian Railways serve as the principal mode of passenger transport in the country. It therefore, needs well maintained coaching stock for transportation of coaching traffic efficiently, safely and punctually. The productivity of a network like that of the Railways depends, to a large measure, on its fleet of coaches being well maintained. An effective and efficient coach maintenance system should have timely preventive maintenance to avoid occurrence of predictable defects, apart from attending to repairs promptly, so as to keep the coaches fit for traffic and to provide the desired riding quality, passenger comfort and safe running condition. Further, detention of rolling stock for maintenance should be kept to the barest minimum.

All Passenger Coaching Vehicles (PCVs) owned by individual Railways, are allotted by the Chief Mechanical Engineer to a base depot for primary maintenance and a base workshop for periodical overhaul (POH) and special repairs. As the basic maintenance of coaches is done in workshops during POH, special efforts are necessary to ensure good workmanship and to assure quality of repair during POH in workshop so that the coaches give reliable service on line.

2. Highlights

(Para 6)

(Para 7)

(Para 8)

(Para 9)

(Para 10.1)

(Para 10.2)

(Para 10.3)

(Para 10.4)

(Para 11)

(Para 12)

(Para 13)

3. Organisational set up

The primary responsibility for the maintenance of coaching stock rests with the Mechanical Department. The Operating Department is responsible for the effective movement of the coaching stock. On the Mechanical side over Zonal Railways, Chief Rolling Stock Engineer at Head Quarters level, Sr. Divisional Mechanical Engineer at Divisional level and Chief Workshop Engineer in respect of workshops are the designated officers. On the operating side, Chief Operations Manager at Head Quarters level and Sr. Divisional Operations Manager at Divisional level are the designated officers for movement of the coaching stock for maintenance.

4. Scope of Audit

The review covers workshops undertaking maintenance and repairs of BG/ MG conventional passenger coaches over the period 1993-94 to 1997-98. It does not cover base depots.

5. Sample size

At the macro level, general review of the 21 workshops on Indian Railways nominated for maintenance and repair of BG/ MG conventional passenger coaches was attempted. 17 of these Workshops were covered in-depth for the period from 1993-94 to 1997-98 (Annexure XVI). All figures of coaches mentioned in paras are in Four Wheeler Units (FWUs).

6. Coach holding on Indian Railways

Every Zonal Railway owns/ holds a certain number of coaches. The total holding of coaches (4 wheelers) on Indian Railway is as given in Table 1.

Table 1

(In FWUs)

As on

Total number of coaches





























The normal life of a coach is 25/ 30 years. Review of the age profile of coaches indicated that the fleet had a large number of overage coaches. The details are as follows.

Table 2

(In FWUs)

As on

Total number of coaches

Overage (over 25/ 30 years)

Percentage of overage coaches


















































Note: Eastern Railway has given the information of overage coaches in vehicle units and has stated that they cannot give the same in FWUs. For this Railway, vehicle unit has been taken as 2 FWUs.

The largest number of overage coaches as on 1 April 1998 were on Eastern (BG - 462) and North Eastern (MG - 463) Railways. The reasons for retaining and running overage coaches furnished by the Railway Administration are:

(i) Uni-gauge policy and gauge conversion, due to which MG coaches were not being replaced.

(ii) Due to requirement of coaches for running the existing trains and additional requirement for running of new trains on BG as also on new BG routes.

(iii) Coaches without serious corrosion problem are being kept in service even beyond the codal life after ensuring safety standards.

Retention and running of overaged coaches however remains a safety hazard and is against the accepted principles of Railway Safety.

7. Infrastructure for maintenance and repairs

Indian Railway has 21 workshops for the maintenance and repairs of BG/ MG coaches. As per the prescribed periodicity for maintenance, the requirement of capacity for maintenance as also the capacity available is as per Table 3.

Table 3

(In FWUs)


* Available capacity

No. of coaches due 
for POH

Percentage of shortfall
in capacity

























* As per records maintained by Mechanical Department

The capacity of any workshop would normally be related to the availability of manpower, plant and machinery and the workshop layout. The level of performance determines the output. However, it was observed that the available capacity varied from year to year. Audit scrutiny revealed that no rational yardstick was adopted by the Zonal Railways to determine the available installed capacity. For instance

(i) on Central and Northeast Frontier Railways the capacity is being stated on the basis of anticipated arising;

(ii) on South Central Railway the available capacity as indicated is with reference to availability of manpower;

(iii) on Southern Railway the available capacity is stated to have based on actual capacity of the lift shop/ berthing capacity, cranage for lifting and availability of labour;

(iv) on Eastern Railway no methodology was discernible in regard to the basis of working out the installed capacity; and

(v) the targets set by the Railway Board was adopted as the available capacity on South Eastern Railway.

Railways have no standard definition of actual installed capacity or capacity available in 21 workshops since different yardsticks are used by the Zonal Railways. Arisings adopted as the basis by Central Railway and Northeast Frontier Railway have no meaning, since arisings indicate the requirements for POH and have nothing to do with the installed capacity. Similarly targets, as adopted by South Eastern Railway, represent the output being aimed at and not the capacity available on normative basis. The only point worth mentioning is that available capacity, as indicated by Railway Administration, was not sufficient to meet the requirement of the number of coaches due for POH.

The percentage of shortfall increased from 2.03 in 1993-94 to 6.90 in 1995-96. Further, whereas on 7 Zonal Railways the available capacity, as indicated, remained the same or was put marginally higher during the period of review, in Southern and Western Railways, the capacity decreased from 6,624 and 7,896 FWUs as on 1993-94 to 6,420 and 6,936 FWUs respectively in subsequent years.

It was further observed that during the period under review, the stated available capacity was more than requirement on Northern, North Eastern and Southern Railways. On the other hand, it was inadequate on 6 Railways (Central, Eastern, Northeast Frontier, South Central, South Eastern and Western). The inadequacy of capacity was very high on Northeast Frontier Railway (77.37 per cent in 1997-98) and South Central Railway (47.96 per cent in 1996-97) (Annexure XVII).

It is thus not clear as to how, in the absence of clear guidelines to calculate the available installed capacity, the Railways are assessing capacity needs of its workshops. Railways had planned to modernise 22 of its workshops at the cost of Rs.965.65 crores and has already spent Rs.238.79 crores on modernisation of workshops till date, without this basic definition.

The reasons for inadequacy of the available capacity as given by Railway Administrations are:

(i) Insufficient berthing and lifting capacity (South Eastern and Western Railways).

(ii) Non procurement of major machinery to increase productivity (South Eastern and Western Railways).

(iii) Non filling up of posts (South Eastern and Western Railways).

(iv) Non completion of engineering construction activities (Ajmer/ Western Railway).

Reasons for inadequacy of the available capacity were not available on Central and Northeast Frontier Railways.

8. Targets and achievements

Indian Railways have 21 workshops for the maintenance and repairs of BG/ MG coaches. Targets for each Railway are fixed by the Railway Board, after obtaining information from the Zonal Railways regarding the number of coaches due for POH, the available capacity and the past average out turn.

As already mentioned (Para 7) the available capacity, as indicated by Railways, was below the requirements for POH of coaches. However, the targets set were below even the indicated capacity for POH in every year during 1993-94 to 1997-98. Consequently even though achievement from year to year in respect of POH done more or less conformed to the targets set, there has been consistent shortfall in terms of POH due. In fact, the percentage shortfall of actual POH done to POH due increased from 6.15 per cent in 1993-94 to 12.40 per cent in 1997-98 (details in Annexure XVIII).

Only in 1 Railway (Southern), the actual POH done was more than the available capacity due to handling of other coaching vehicles also in 1994-95 to 1997-98.

The reasons for shortfall in achievements with reference to available capacity were as under:

(i) Non-availability of vital items of stores (Northern, South Eastern);

(ii) Low arising of coaches for POH (South Central, South Eastern and Western);

(iii) Short supply of wheel discs and roller bearings (Western); and

(iv) Capacity for POH could not be increased (Gorakhpur/ North Eastern Railway) due to space problem.

The reasons given for fixing lower targets than the available capacity by Western and South Central Railways were as follows:

(i) Western Railway had to carry out about 40 modifications in ICF built coaching rolling stock (BG) during POH as per Indian Railway Conference Association (IRCA) recommendations dated 3 June 1996. These required more time and adversely affected the outturn.

(ii) Due to carrying out other activities such as repairs to wheels, leaf springs, bearing shells, under-carriage bogies, brake blocks, LB springs etc. (Western Railway).

(iii) Due to non-filling of vacancies, shortage of equipment and raw material, breakdown of equipment and power failure (South Central Railway).

9. Premature POH of coaches

In terms of instructions contained in Para 2.3, Chapter II of IRCA Conference Rules Part - IV, POH of coaches is to be carried out thoroughly so as to enable the coaches to run for the full period until the next POH is due.

In 3 workshops on 2 Railways (Izatnagar workshop on North Eastern; Lower Parel and Ajmer workshops on Western), out of the 15 workshops test checked on 9 Zonal Railways, there was no case of premature POH during the period under review. It was, however, observed that out of 1,71,272.5 coaches given POH in these 15 workshops test checked, 8,450 coaches (4.93 per cent) were given premature POH during the period under review. It led to loss of Rs.15 crores on six Zonal Railways of which 30.87 per cent i.e. Rs.4.63 crores related to 1994-95 (details in Annexure XIX). On Eastern Railway, the loss could not be worked out in audit as the number of months falling short of next POH was not made available by the Railway Administration. The loss suffered on this account during the period under review was relatively high on Northern (Rs.7.24 crores), Southern (Rs.5.71 crores).

It was further noticed that in terms of numbers, premature POH given to coaches during the period under review was relatively high on Northern (3026), Southern (2182) and Eastern (2096) Railways. The highest percentage of 30.42 (1338 coaches) was noticed in Liluah workshop on Eastern Railway in 1994-95.

The reasons for premature POH of coaches were given as follows:

(i) Coaches which came to workshop due to severe damage/ accident 2/3 months prior to POH were given POH as the same would be due for POH 2/3 months after the nominated POH.(Eastern).

(ii) If the repair content of coaches received for other repairs is extensive, these are taken up for advance POH (Southern, South Central).

(iii) Staff negligence and poor quality of materials and spares (South Eastern).

(iv) On Southern Railway, Finance Branch had observed that the premature POH of coaches was also undertaken due to poor feed of due coaches for POH so as to meet the targets and utilise the existing capacity.

(v) Excessive utilisation and rough handling of coaches (South Eastern)

(vi) Sub-standard quality of axle oil (South Eastern).

(vii) Poor welding work (South Eastern).

(viii) Removal of spares from coaches in sick lines (South Eastern).

The reasons for premature POH were not available on record on Northern and Northeast Frontier Railways.

Premature POH of coaches points to ineffective and poor management of the available fleet by the Railway Administration. It results in wastage of available capacity of workshops, avoidable expenditure and reduction in coach fleet available for traffic.

10. Consequences of delayed/ improper/ poor maintenance (POH) in workshops

Failure to carry out timely and quality maintenance of coaches in Workshops has the following adverse consequences:

(i) Coaches fall sick prematurely.

(ii) Coaches fail on run.

(iii) Coaches become prone to accidents.

(iv) Premature condemnation etc. becomes necessary.

(v) Loss of earnings occurs due to non-availability of coaches on account of being unfit for traffic.

10.1 Overdue POH of coaches

In terms of instructions contained in Para 1.1, Chapter I Part III of the Maintenance Manual for Coaches (1995), all coaching stock should be allotted a base workshop for POH by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of that Railway. It has also been specifically mentioned that no overdue POH coaches of other Railways should be allowed in service but should be booked to the owning Railway. Home Railway stock, if retained in service beyond the return date for any reason, should be given special Schedule C examination within three months of the return date, to ensure fitness for service for a period not exceeding three months. Commissioner of Railway Safety also observed in the Annual Report 1995-96 that usage of overdue POH stock is a definite safety hazard. However there were many coaches overdue for POH.

Test check of one month each year during the period 1993-94 to 1997-98 in the 17 workshops revealed that out of 18,854.5 coaches (MG and BG) given POH (April 1993, June 1994, August 1995, October 1996, December 1997 and February 1998) as many as 4,978 coaches (26.40 per cent) were received for POH after delay of over 3 months from the due dates.

The percentage of coaches overdue for POH was very high in the following workshops:

Sl. No

Workshop/ Railway

Month of check

Percentage of coaches overdue POH






Golden Rock (MG)/ Southern Railway

October 1996 

December 1997 

February 1998





Golden Rock (BG)

October 1996



Liluah and Kanchrapara/ Eastern Railway

August 1995 

October 1996 

February 1998





Lower Parel (BG)/ Western Railway

October 1996 

December 1997 

February 1998




It was further noticed that on South Central Railway, coaches retained in service beyond the return dates were not given Schedule `C examination within three months of the return date to ensure fitness for service. The number of such cases in which Schedule `C examination was not given ranged between 36 to 60 BG coaches and between 6 and 98 MG coaches on Southern Railway. The position in respect of Northern, North Eastern, South Eastern and Western Railways could not be ascertained due to non-availability of records.

The main reasons for arrears in POH, as stated by Railway Administrations were:

(a) Workshops had no control over receipt of coaches for POH. The Traffic Department failed to release coaches due for POH in time as these were being used by the Traffic Department as long as these remained fit (Central, Eastern, North Eastern, Southern, South Central, South Eastern and Western Railways).

(b) Restrictions were imposed on the booking of POH due coaches by the Railways (North Eastern and Southern). On Southern Railway, the restriction was imposed by the Operating Branch due to congestion inside the shop.

(c) 43 non-AC coaches on Western Railway were not traceable.

Despite the observation by the Commissioner of Railway Safety that usage of overdue POH stock is a definite safety hazard, the running of overdue POH stock in service persisted.

10.2 Coaches falling sick prematurely

In terms of instructions contained in Para 2.3, Chapter II of IRCA Conference Rules Part IV, periodical overhaul of coaches is to be carried out thoroughly so as to enable such coaches to run for the full period until the next periodical overhaul is due. It was seen in audit that in 18 workshops on 9 Zonal Railways, out of 1,88,055 coaches (BG and MG) which underwent POH during 1993-94 to 1997-98, as many as 45,170 (24.02 per cent) had fallen sick within 3 months of POH reflecting poor workman-ship during POH.

The number of coaches falling sick within three months after POH was as high as 100.9 per cent (1995-96), 84.86 per cent (1996-97) and 76.30 per cent (1997-98) on Southern Railway (Perambur Workshop), 62.16 per cent (1993-94) to 41.94 per cent (1997-98) on Northeast Frontier Railway (BG), 59.74 per cent (1994-95) to 65.49 per cent (1996-97) on Northeast Frontier Railway (MG) and 56.20 per cent (1993-94) to 57.52 per cent (1994-95) on Western Railway (BG). Obviously quite a few coaches fell sick prematurely more than once.

The main defects noticed in coaches marked sick within 3 months of POH were as follows:

(i) Brake gear repairs (4941 cases);

(ii) Draw Buffing gear (2278cases);

(iii) Hot Boxes (566 cases);

(iv) Wheel defects (3743 cases);

(v) Under gear defects (5006 cases);

(vi) Suspension defect (5616 cases);

(vii) Flooring (1728 cases); and

(viii) Others (23434 cases).

Analysis of the reasons revealed that coaches were passed after POH without being repaired fully (South Eastern Railway)and quality of POH work was not up to the mark (Northern, North Eastern, Northeast Frontier, South Eastern and Western Railways).

10.3 Coach failure on run

Review of detachment of coaches enroute revealed that during the period 1993-94 to 1997-98, out of 3693 cases of coach detachment enroute, 2712 cases (73.44 percent) were attributable to poor maintenance.

The percentage of cases of coach detachment due to poor maintenance (with reference to the number of coaches detached enroute) was high on Central (100 per cent), North Eastern (86.75 per cent), Southern (83.63 per cent- BG and 87.14 per cent- MG), South Central (74.73 per cent) and Western (78.50 per cent - BG and 70.70 per cent - MG) Railways.

The main causes for such failures were:

(i) Hot boxes (535 cases);

(ii) Spring breakage (456 cases); and

(iii) Poor brake power (110 cases).

Analysis of the reasons for failure of coaches on run revealed that:

(i) Proper and adequate quality control in maintenance of coaches was not being ensured (Western Railway).

(ii) Defects in vacuum/ brake gear and draw and buffing gear (Northern).

10.4 Premature condemnation of coaches

Average life of a coach is 25/ 30 years. Condemnation of coaches, including those involved in accidents, on Zonal Railways is proposed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer under two categories, viz., over-aged and under-aged.

It would be seen from Annexure XX that out of 3133 coaches condemned prematurely (other than those involved in accidents) during 1993-94 to 1997-98 on the ground that these were beyond economic repair, 517 coaches (16.50 per cent) were less than 20 years old. This percentage stood at 10.45 per cent in 1993-94 and rose to 22.40 per cent during 1996-97. During the period of 1993-94 to 1997-98, as many as 134 coaches (4.28 per cent of the total number) below the age of 15 years were condemned. Bulk of these premature condemnations (up to 20 years old) took place in 1 Zonal Railway (Eastern) only - 104 coaches (77.61 per cent) out of 134 below 15 years old and 232 (60.57 per cent) out of 383 coaches between 15 and 20 years old.

The loss, worked out on the basis of depreciated value minus scrap value of coaches condemned, due to premature condemnation of coaches during the period of review was of the order of Rs.27.65 crores on Central, Eastern(excluding 1993-94 and 1997-98), South Central (excluding 1993-94), South Eastern (excluding 1993-94 and 1994-95) and Western Railways. Figures in respect of 4 Railways (Northern, North Eastern, Northeast Frontier and Southern) were not available.

The main reasons for premature condemnation of coaches as stated by 2 Railway Administrations were:

(i) Due to diagonal of head stock along with top and bottom gusset found thin and corroded (South Eastern);

(ii) Top floor found weak (South Eastern);

(iii) Side panel found corroded (South Eastern);

(iv) Cross Bar found thin (South Eastern);

(v) Bolster broken and to be replaced in full (South Eastern);

(vi) Lavatory area partitions badly corroded (South Eastern); and

(vii) Coaches highly corroded and pitted (Western).

11. Results of inspection

The system of Neutral Control (NC) examination of coaches has been in force at workshops. For this purpose, a cell under the control of Indian Railway Conference Association, New Delhi and headed by Neutral Coach and Wagon Superintendent (NCWS) is functioning in each workshop undertaking POH. The above examination is confined to running gear and certain electrical components of the coaches. Coaches repaired in accordance with the required standard as laid down by Railways/ Research Design and Standards Organisation and in IRCA Conference Rules Part IV, are certified fit. Those having defects are detained for further attention.

It was, however, observed in audit that in 15 workshops test checked on 9 Zonal Railways, all 1,62,182 coaches turned out were not offered for check by Neutral Control Organisation. Altogether, 1,53,841 coaches (94.86 per cent) were offered for check.. Of those offered, 77,773 coaches (50.55 per cent) were detained by NCWS for certain deficiencies, but 56,765 of these (72.99 per cent) were locally passed by the Railway Administration without final certification from Neutral Control Organisation. In other words, in only about 27 per cent of the cases, the deficiencies pointed out were attended to before passing the coaches for service (details in Annexure XXI).

Out of 56,765 coaches passed locally by Railway Administration, 16,532 were passed with some repair still to be carried out and 40,233 (70.88 per cent) were passed due to non-availability of stores.

It was further noticed that the number of coaches passed locally without NC Certificate was relatively moderate on 2 Railways (North Eastern and Southern). 2 Railways (Central and Eastern) practically ceased to take notice of NCWS where all the coaches detained during 1993-98 (Central) and 1994-98 (Eastern) by NCWS for deficiencies, were passed locally without NC certificate. On the remaining Railways, the percentage of coaches passed locally to the number of coaches detained by NCWS for deficiencies was also very high and ranged on Northern Railway between 20.75 per cent (1993-94) and 96.58 per cent (1997-98), on Northeast Frontier Railway between 46.88 per cent (1994-95) and 100 per cent (1997-98), on South Central Railway between 89.21 per cent (1997-98) and 96.16 per cent (1996-97), South Eastern Railway between 76.74 per cent (1995-96) and 99.89 per cent (1996-97) and Western Railway between 39.27 per cent (1993-94) and 99.56 per cent (1997-98).

Analysis of the reasons for local passing of coaches by Railway Administration in audit revealed that:

1. Local passing of coaches was mainly due to non-availability of stores/ vital items (Central, Northern, Northeast Frontier, South Central and South Eastern Railways).

2. Local passing have been resorted to even in cases of poor workmanship, though such local passing are not acceptable as per orders of Railway Board (Southern Railway).

3. Rejections were high primarily on account of not carrying out select modifications, particularly provision of longer hanger and wire ropes (Western Railway).

4. Modification as required under Indo-German Project was not carried out (Western Railway).

It is thus observed that despite reports of the Neutral Control Organisation, to the Chief Mechanical Engineers (CME) of the Zonal Railways and CMEs advice to the Workshop Managers and Divisional authorities to improve the maintenance and despite periodical stores meetings held to assess and arrange procurement of material, the percentage of rejection remained high.

12. Detention to coaches in workshop prior to/ after POH

Unnecessary/ avoidable detention of coaches in workshops prior to/after POH, leads to loss of earnings.

Test check of 13 workshops on nine Railways revealed that during 1993-94 to 1997-98, 45,240 coaches were detained beyond three days before POH, the total such detention aggregating 1,60,390.5 days. Similarly 9267 coaches were detained after POH for the total number of 56,539 days (Annexure XXII).

No records were maintained in Jagadhri workshop (Northern Railway) and Lalaguda workshop (South Central Railway).

The consequential loss of earning capacity of coaches during the period under review was Rs.62.27 crores (Rs.42.52 crores before POH and Rs.19.75 crores after POH).

It was also observed that 1829 coaches were detained after POH in Alambagh workshop between 4 and 73 days, 876 coaches between 1 and 18 days in Tirupati workshop and 5544 coaches between 1 and 118 days in Kharagpur and Mancheswar workshops.

Reasons of detentions in 3 Railways (Central, Southern, and Western) were stated to be:

(i) Workshops had no control over the placement of coaches for POH which resulted in detention to coaches before POH (Central).

(ii) Coaches were stabled inside the shop for formation of different types of rakes such as bogie mounted rakes, Newly Modified Goods (NMG) rakes, Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) rakes etc. which resulted in detentions (Central).

(iii) Arrival of coaching stock for POH activity during non-festival/ summer seasons in excess of the actual capacity of the workshops. Consequently, the coaches suffered detention prior to POH (Southern Railway).

(iv) Choking of lines in the workshop yards (Western Railway).

(v) Non despatch of condemned coaches (Western Railway).

The reasons for detentions were not available on 6 Railways (Eastern, Northern, North Eastern, Northeast Frontier, South Central and South Eastern).

13. Cycle time for POH

The targets in respect of cycle time (in days) for POH of coaches (in 4 wheeler units) are fixed by the Railway Board workshop-wise depending upon the infrastructure available.

Test check of records of 16 workshops on 9 Zonal Railways for one month each year (April 1993, June 1994, August 1995, October 1996, December 1997 and February 1998) revealed that the cycle time fixed in the different workshops varied from 14 days to 26 days. Target cycle time was not fixed for Tirupati workshop on South Central Railway (Annexure XXIII).

It was seen that while in 4 workshops (Matunga, Liluah, Kanchrapara and Lower Parel), the cycle time was reset in accordance with the projection after modernisation of the workshops, in 2 workshops where modernisation had been completed, the target cycle time was not brought down as projected as detailed below:

Table 4




Cycle time



Projected after 

Target as fixed









South Eastern




It was also observed that the target cycle time fixed for Alambagh workshop (Northern Railway) was inordinately higher than the normal cycle time for POH in other workshops.

It was noticed that 5 workshops (Liluah, Matunga, Jagadhri, Lallaguda and Lower Parel) were functioning within the target cycle time. 6 workshops (Alambagh, Izatnagar, Dibrugarh, Kharagpur, Mancheswar and Ajmer) were well below the target cycle time. However, 4 workshops (Kanchrapara, New Bongaigaon, Perambur and Golden Rock) took more time than the target cycle time fixed for them. The basis on which the targets for cycle time were worked out was not made available to Audit. The target cycle time varied from workshop to workshop. Further, the target cycle time of those workshops where the actual cycle time achieved in previous years was lower, was not revised. Instances are Liluah, Alambagh, Izatnagar, Lallaguda, Kharagpur, Mancheswar and Ajmer (MG) workshops.

The reasons for excess time taken in 3 workshops were:

(i) Corrosion repair works (Kanchrapara workshop - Eastern Railway).

(ii) Attention to modification works (Kanchrapara workshop - Eastern Railway).

(iii) Extent of damages and rectification to be carried out to the stock is severe (Perambur and Golden Rock workshops - Southern Railway).

Reasons for excess cycle time taken were not on record in respect of New Bongaigaon workshop on Northeast Frontier Railway.

14. Missing fittings

In terms of instructions contained in Railway Board reference No.93/M/C/142/9 dated 27 January 1995, in respect of the stock received in the shops for POH, a deficiency list should be jointly prepared by the representatives of mechanical, electrical and security branches before sending the stock to the workshops.

Test check of 16 workshops revealed that in 5 workshops on 3 Railways (Izatnagar of North Eastern Railway, Perambur and Golden Rock of Southern Railway and Lallaguda and Tirupathi of South Central Railway), the prescribed procedure was not being followed, nor were joint checks insisted upon.

It was also observed that during the period under review, fittings costing Rs.13.14 crores (Northern Railway - Rs.9.72 crores and South Central Railway - Rs.3.42 crores) were found missing during 1995-96 to 1997-98 in coaches received for POH in Jagadhri and Alambagh workshops (Northern Railway), and in Lallaguda and Tirupathi workshops (South Central Railway).

On Western Railway, during 1996-97 and 1997-98, joint checks were undertaken without association of security personnel, who failed to turn up for inspection.

15. Cost analysis

The total expenditure on the POH of 1,62,087 coaches in 16 workshops test checked was Rs.1,400.94 crores. The average unit cost of POH for the Indian Railway over the period of review worked out at Rs.86,431. The unit cost of POH in respect of these workshops was analysed. It was observed that while the number of coaches (in FWUs) decreased from 33,071.5 in 1993-94 to 30,184 in 1997-98, the total cost of POH increased from Rs.214.91 crores in 1993-94 to Rs.374.25 crores in 1997-98. Thus the average unit cost increased from Rs.64,983 in 1993-94 to Rs.1,23,990 in 1997-98 (rise of 90.80 per cent) (Annexure XXIV).

Comparative position of the unit cost (average all-India) and in the Zonal Railways revealed the following:

Table 5

Sl. No.


All India average unit cost

Railways/ workshops showing higher unit cost








Central (Matunga) - Rs.92,160 
Eastern (Kanchrapara) - Rs.1,05,000 
Northern (Alambagh) - Rs.69,700 
Southern (Perambur) - Rs.71,600 
(Golden Rock - BG) - Rs.70,900 
South Eastern (Kharagpur) - Rs.78,000 
Western (Lower Parel) - Rs.93,290




Central (Matunga) - Rs.86,430 
Eastern (Kanchrapara) - Rs.1,05,000 
Northern (Alambagh) - Rs.80,490 
Southern (Perambur) - Rs.74,400 
(Golden Rock - BG) - Rs.75,000 
South Eastern (Kharagpur) - Rs.90,000 
(Mancheswar) - Rs.82,000 
Western (Lower Parel) - Rs.96,800




Central (Matunga) - Rs.1,15,180 
Eastern (Kanchrapara) - Rs.1,06,000 
Northern (Alambagh) - 91,710 
Northeast Frontier (New Bongaigaon -MG) - Rs.94,080 
Southern (Golden Rock - BG) - Rs.96,700 
South Eastern (Kharagpur) - Rs.90,000 
(Mancheswar) - Rs.96,000 
Western (Lower Parel) - Rs.1,12,950




Central (Matunga) - Rs.1,03,560 
Eastern (Kanchrapara) - Rs.1,08,000 
Northeast Frontier (New Bongaigaon - BG) - Rs.1,20,460 
Southern (Golden Rock - BG) - Rs.96,800 
South Eastern (Kharagpur) - Rs.1,10,000 
(Mancheswar) - Rs.96,000 
Western (Lower Parel) - Rs.1,11,470




Central (Matunga) - Rs.1,75,060 
Northeast Frontier (New Bongaigaon-MG)- Rs.1,32,780 
(Dibrugarh) - Rs.2,77,460 
South Eastern (Kharagpur) - Rs.1,38,000 
(Mancheswar) - Rs.1,28,000 
Western (Lower Parel) - Rs.1,49,790 
(Ajmer - BG) - Rs.1,38,000

Audit tried to analyse the basic reasons leading to variations in the unit cost of POH of coaches on different workshops on different Railways [Annexure XXIV (a)]. The factors which led to increase in the unit cost of POH as stated by two Railway Administrations were as follows:

Lower Parel workshop on Western Railway

(i) Cost of labour was comparatively more due to location of the workshop in A-I class city.

(ii) Due to climatic condition in coastal area, the coaches got heavily corroded involving more repair work and requiring use of more stores.

(iii) Coaches received in workshop for POH with heavy deficiencies required replenishment in addition to normal replacement of fittings during POH.

(iv) Due to more number of AC coaches given POH.

Golden rock and Perambur workshops on Southern Railway

(i) Coaches received in workshop for POH with heavy deficiencies required replenishment in addition to normal replacement of fittings during POH.

(ii) The pattern of renewal of material varied from workshop to workshop as the coaches running in different areas were subjected to different environmental conditions. The cost of material used for POH varied from place to place.

(iii) Due to variation in on cost charges from workshop to workshop which was based on the infrastructure available. Infrastructure available also caused changes in labour hours involved.

(iv) Due to adoption of Indo-German modification as advised by Railway Board.

(v) Due to increase in cost of repairs on account of age and condition of the coaches.

16. Delay in procurement/ installation of machinery

It is important that machinery procured for POH work is installed/commissioned within the stipulated period so that work does not suffer and the machinery procured does not remain idle. However, it was observed in audit during the period under review that machinery costing Rs.9.74 crores procured for 7 workshops on 6 Zonal Railways was installed/ commissioned after delay of 6 to 36 months.

Machinery costing Rs.2.66 crores procured for 6 workshops on 5 Zonal Railways from 1995 to 1998 in connection with POH work have not been installed/ commissioned as on 31 March 1998) (Annexure XXV).

The main reasons for the delay are:

(i) Non-supply of spares/ components for replacement and rectification of plant and machineries found defective (Matunga workshop, Central Railway).

(ii) Short supply of materials (Matunga workshop, Central Railway).

(iii) The concerned firms delaying commissioning (Golden Rock workshop, Southern Railway and Ajmer workshop, Western Railway).

(iv) Items sent by the firm with the machine not made available to the representative of the firm for commissioning and delay in preparation of foundation (Alambagh workshop, Northern Railway).

(v) Foundation was delayed by Engineering Department (Ajmer workshop, Western Railway).

(vi) Foreign supplier failed to commission the wheel set washing plant at Ajmer workshop (Western Railway) for about 3 years.

Reasons for the delays, however, were not on record on Northeast Frontier Railway.

Delays as indicated above could have been avoided by proper co-ordination with the departments and vigorous pursuance with the supplier/ local agents.

Back          Continue