Railway tracks can be maintained either conventionally by manual labour or by the application of modern methods of track maintenance such as mechanical tamping or measured shovel packing. In India, maintaining tracks has traditionally been a manual activity and the ‘calendar system of maintenance’ has taken deep roots. In this system, a timetable or programme that outlines the track maintenance work to be done by the gangs in the course of a year is drawn out and generally followed. As per the timetable or calendar, the 12-month cycle of maintenance consists of the following operations.
(a) Through packing
(b) Systematic overhauling
(c) Picking up slacks
This chapter discusses these operations together with the organizational structure of track maintenance incorporated by Indian Railways.