This summer, the Central Railway is likely to spend more than Rs 2 crore to keep birds away from overhead wires and pests out of railway coaches.
Railway authorities are scouting for repellents and gels that will keep birds, especially crows, away from overhead equipment (OHE) and pantograph of trains, which are preferred nesting places.
On Friday, the Central Railway invited tenders for supplying insulating non-toxic bird repellent gel and paint on OHE structures beyond Kalyan towards north (up to Karjat and Kasara). The cost of applying the repellent gel and painting the overhead equipment will be at least Rs 39 lakh.
Tenders for similar work on the 60-km stretch between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Kalyan will be called for soon. The approximate cost will be Rs 60 lakh.
“The problem of birds becomes acute during summer when it’s nesting season, especially along creeks. Birds build nests on portals that hold overhead wires. This causes a short circuit and power failure that delays services,” a senior Central Railway official said on condition of anonymity.
When overhead wires or a train’s pantograph come in contact with twigs used to build nests, it could disrupt power supply and affect the running of trains.
Crows often get caught between the train’s pantograph and overhead wires causing serious damage to the pantograph that supplies power for the train to run on.
“Even small scraps of wire and strings found in nests can cause a short circuit. So we will apply non-toxic repellents, which will prevent birds from sitting on wires or building nests,” said S Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer, Central Railway.
The Central Railway has carried out research on what chemicals it could use so that the birds are not harmed.
The railways will also treat coaching depots at CST, Kurla Terminus and Wadi Bunder, where trains are kept for maintenance and other works, with pesticides. The railways will be spending Rs 1.76 crore to get rid of rodents, cockroaches, bed bugs and mosquitoes.