Indian Railways, which is running 'Oxygen Express' to supply medical oxygen to various states amidst increased demand due to COVID-19, on Thursday said its trains will supply the gas to Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
Oxygen Express carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) is going to begin its journey for Mumbai from Visakhapatnam tonight i.e April 22, a release from the Railways Ministry said. Tankers carrying LMO at Visakhapatnam are being transported through railways' Ro-Ro service.
Another Oxygen Express began its journey from Lucknow and is heading towards Bokaro via Varanasi. This train is being operated to fulfil the requirements of medical oxygen in Uttar Pradesh, it said.
"For the movement of the train, a green corridor was created between Lucknow to Varanasi. The distance of 270 km was covered by the train in 4 hours 20 minutes with an average speed of 62.35 kmph," it added.
Transportation of oxygen through trains is faster over long distances as compared to road transport as trains can operate 24 hours, while truck drivers would need to take breaks.
Railways said it had also transported essential commodities and kept the supply chain intact during the nationwide lockdown last year and will continue to serve the nation in time of emergencies.
As COVID-19 cases and hospitalised patients because of the infection continue to rise, many states and hospitals have complained about scarcity of medical oxygen. The country reported 3,14,835 new COVID-19 cases and 2,104 deaths due to the infection in the preceding 24 hours as of Thursday morning.