India – The Konkan Railway runs on time due to the Vetiver System!!

This 11 year old railroad located in the mountainous “Western Ghats” of India runs according to schedule, even through the monsoons – rainfall as high as 4,000 mm – due very much to its use of vetiver grass to protect the railroad cut and fills.

Here is an extract from the latest Press release on Jan 22 2009

“Konkan Railway will be completing 11 years of the commencement of its through line train operations on 26th Jan, 2009. It was on this day in 1998 that the trains directly connected Mumbai with Mangalore in shortest possible time, reducing the travel between these places from 36 to 16 hours. In the 11 years, it is the first time that Konkan Railway has not reported any consequential accident on its route in 2008. Konkan Railway has achieved this feat by taking extra efforts to increase safety on its route by executing massive earthworks, widening the slopes, planting lakhs of Vetiver grass as soil erosion control measure, and various other geo-tech works to arrest boulder falls and soil slippage during the monsoon. The efforts have borne fruit. There has not been any major traffic disruption on the route in the past 3 years since the time these massive safety works were executed and a special Monsoon Time Table implemented on the route.”

A lakh is the Indian equivalent number of 100,000. The railroad has planted at least 10 million vetiver slips.

Practically every press release from the Railroad highlights the vetiver success story.

This example is just another good reason to use vetiver for slope stabilization, particularly in high rainfall areas where landslides and slippage occurs. Earlier railroad vetiver based stabilization on the FEC railroad in Madagascar achieved the same results – reduced maintenance and no railroad closure.

We would advise the Indian Government to see that the Vetiver System is used widely on its Federally funded railroad and highway projects, it would save the tax payer millions!

Dick Grimshaw