Three automated devices developed by the Asansol Division of Eastern Railway (ER) will ensure safety for trains running between eastern and northern India, including important ones like the Rajdhanis and Durontos. In addition to safety, the devices will also ensure improved punctuality of these train services.
The technicians who are involved in developing the devices have focussed on three basic areas where things can go wrong, leading to disasters.
“The first of these devices is a level-crossing gateman alert system. Gatemen are supposed to keep vigil throughout the day and night to ensure that tracks are free from infringement by road vehicles when trains pass. However, gatemen sometimes fall asleep, particularly at night in remote locations. That is why, the device generates an alarm at the intervals of every 30 minutes to alert them. If a gateman fails to acknowledge, the device automatically alerts the sectional supervisor or permanent way official-in-charge. The officials can also use this device to communicate with the gateman, when needed,” said Nikhil Kumar Chakraborty, CPRO, ER. The device costs about Rs 45,000.
Sometimes there are delays in closing level-crossing gates by the gatemen due to miscommunication. At times, station masters or assistant station masters forget to alert the gatemen at interlocked level-crossing gates of approaching trains.
Till now, station masters communicate with them through magneto telephones where the conversation is not recorded. The ASM-LC communication system developed recently uses GPRS technology while the alerts are sent by the press of a button. The gatemen receive both visual and audio alerts and have to respond in time. Both the times of informing and response are recorded and stored in a cloud for verification later, if required. Each unit costs about Rs 78,000.
“Till now, it was the station master’s word against the gateman’s. In the end, passengers suffered. Under the new system, the alarm at the gateman’s end will only stop after he acknowledges the instruction. If there is a delay in response, he can be hauled up,” said Chakraborty. Oversized vehicles passing through a level-crossing gate can also cause severe problems.
At times, their tops get entangled in overhead equipment, resulting in major snags that last for long. Trains forced to make unscheduled stops for such reasons are prone to accidents. Though there are height barriers at either end of level-crossings, oversized vehicles sometimes knock them down, causing more trouble for trains. The new system detects oversized vehicles from a distance and emits a warning, both audio and visual till it stops. It costs Rs 98,000 to build the device.
“The devices are now being tried out at specific locations and will be distributed to all stations and gates after more are manufactured,” said the CPRO.
Source: Times of India