Since the first train of empty tankers left for Vizag from Mumbai on April 19, the railways has transported more than 302 tonnes of oxygen safely to various states across India, while 154 tonne more is enroute to regions starved of the gas, the national transporter said Monday. An oxygen express train carrying four tankers of LMO is expected to reach Delhi Cantt station from Raigarh (Chhattisgarh) at 5 am on Tuesday. For the residents of Maharashtra, a train carrying 44 MT (in three tankers) has reached Kalamboli (near Mumbai) from Hapa (Rajkot, Gujarat) on Monday.
Another oxygen express is currently on the run from Bokaro (Jharkhand) to Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) carrying 90 MT of LMO (in five tankers) and is expected to reach Lucknow by early Tuesday morning. An empty rake will depart from Lucknow to Bokaro to bring one more set of oxygen tankers. The railways is responding to all requests received from state governments and is in constant touch with the respective authorities for additional oxygen train requirements. Each tanker of 'Oxygen Express' trains can carry around 16 tonnes of medical oxygen, the railways said, adding these trains travel at a speed of around 65 kmph.
Deaths due to the lack of oxygen have been reported from across the country, and it was on the suggestion of the Maharashtra and the Madhya Pradesh governments that the railways planned a policy to transport liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic tankers. The first such train was pushed into service on April 19, when seven trucks left Mumbai for Vizag to load oxygen. These trucks were loaded on flat wagons and carried to the loading location. Since then requests for these trains have come from Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.