Rake Link

The overall high-level plan for rake movements is described in a rake link booklet issued for official use only by a Zonal railway, which has details of the planned rake links, composition, marshalling order, permissible loads and accommodation in Mail / Express & Passenger trains handled by the Zone.

The schedule of the train is drawn by the respective Zonal Railway so as to run to the maximum before taken for the regular maintenance. This is published through a booklet by COM and CPTM. The rake link is drawn up keeping in mind asset utilization and maintenance schedules for the stock. The day-to-day operational schedules are then drawn up with this as the basis and used by the operational staff / marshalling yard staff. The rake link is also used by the reservation staff to determine the sizes and distribution of reserved accommodation quotas.

At each station based on the train schedules, a platform and siding occupancy chart is drawn up. This provides, for each day of the week, an indication of which platforms and sidings are occupied by which trains at what times. Introducing a new train at a station (originating or passing through) involves finding an appropriate slot in this chart.

The overall scheduling, traffic planning, and operational aspects of a division are under the control of the Sr. DOM of a division who is ultimately responsible for the performance of the division in terms of punctuality, efficiency etc.

FOIS and COIS help manage the movements, schedules and punctuality of freight and coaching stock respectively in a better way. The FOIS and COIS networks include many ‘ARCs’ (Activity Reporting Centre) such as goods sheds, sidings, transshipment points, interchange points, wagon repair workshops, C&W locomotive sheds, fuel stations, crew change locations, stations, and locomotive workshops. Data from all of these ARCs is incorporated into the system

Rake sharing:

Almost all trains, except special short distance trains, share rakes, for better utilization of the rolling stock, and also to reduce the pressure on stabling sheds which may not have facilities to stable or store many rakes for very long. Two-way rake sharing is very common, where a rake is used for one train and then immediately used for another train going back towards the rake’s point of origin, so that the same rake is later available for first train’s service on another day.

Sometimes rakes are shared between a pair of trains that do not have the same two endpoints. Often the station that is the point of origin or termination of a train owns the rake for that train, but it is not always so. A rake may also work a service outside its owning railway’s jurisdiction.

Trains which are not very frequent (weekly or bi-weekly) will often not share their rakes with any other trains. Trains that cover more than about 2000 km usually have dedicated rakes, because primary maintenance on coaching stock is usually done after every 2500 km.

Rake link has the details of which trains share rakes with which other trains, how and when rakes need to be formed or split up, and many other details as under:
·         Composition
·         Marshalling order
·         Vacuum or air brake
·         Permissible load
·         Train watering
·         Postal accommodation
·         Sanction runs
·         Locomotive allotment
·         Maintenance stations
·         Lie-over periods
·         Distance in Km. earned in a round trip
·         Instructions for sending sick / defective coaches / coaches due for POH to shops

Advantages of Rake Links:

1. More service to the required/needy area.
2. Idling hours of coaches reduced before or after the maintenance schedule.
3. Coaching yard congestion is reduced
4. Utilization of coaches increases.
5. More Passenger throughput thereby more revenue to railways.
6. More availability of platforms, pit lines and maintenance lines.

Factors to be taken into account while chalking out the rake links:

a) Schedule of Train
b) Time and station where primary and secondary maintenance of rakes are undertaken
c) Time for shunting placements and removal of coaches at various checking points
d) Optimum utilization of coaching stock.

Number of rakes required for a link = The turn round of the link in days.

General Instructions:

1. In order to provide the allotted accommodation on various trains, it is imperative that the different types of coaches earmarked to run on set rakes operating on Mail, Express and Passenger trains are invariably kept intact.
2. Should it become absolutely necessary to detach a coach from a set rake due to sick marking or any other valid operational reason, it should be ensured that the same is replaced on the relevant set rake on the next trip.

3. All concerned will ensure that the authorized composition of all trains is constantly watched and deviation should be rectified at the earliest opportunity. Supervisory officials will also concentrate on proper upkeep of coaches by checking up fittings, equipment, etc frequently.