Indian Railways prioritises safety of passengers! In a bid to enhance the safety of passengers, Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry has taken several significant measures. According to a written reply in Lok Sabha by Piyush Goyal, various steps have been undertaken to prevent accidents on tracks and also to combat low visibility due to foggy weather in winter months. With the elimination of unmanned level crossings, GPS-enabled FOG PASS devices and more, the measures which have been taken to prevent accidents on rail tracks across the Indian Railways network are as follows:
- Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK): In the year 2017-2018, the RRSK was introduced for the replacement, renewal and upgradation of critical safety assets, with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore for a period of five years, having an annual outlay of Rs 20,000 crore.
- Electronic Interlocking Systems: The electrical interlocking system with a centralized operation of points and signals have been provided in order to eliminate accidents due to human failure and also to replace the old mechanical systems. These systems have been provided at as many as 6,010 railway stations till March 31, 2019.
- Train Protection and Warning System: The TPWS or the train protection and warning system based on the european technology level-1 have been installed for the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) in order to avoid train accident, collisions on account of human error or due to over speeding. This has been provided at selected railway sections.
- Elimination of Unmanned Level Crossing (UMLC) Gates: As many as 3,479 unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) were eliminated during the year 2018-2019. All of the UMLCs on the broad gauge have already been eliminated through closure or merger provision of the subway for the safety measures.
- Vigilance Control Device : All of the diesel and electric locomotives operating on the Indian Railways network have been provided with the Vigilance Control Devices (VCDs)
- Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) Coaches: The LHB type coaches consist of a stronger design which decreases the chances of derailment and reduces the possibilities of injury or deaths in the case of accidents. The Indian Railways network has completely switched over to the manufacture of LHB coaches from the year 2018-2019 onwards.
Apart from these, the following steps have been taken to combat the low visibility conditions during the winter months:
- The retro-reflective sigma (S) boards are now being provided on the mast which is located at two OHE masts before the signals, in the electrified territories to warn the loco crew about the signal ahead.
- The GPS based Fog PASS devices has been provided to the loco pilots in the fog affected areas which enables the loco pilots to know the exact distance of the approaching landmarks such as signals, level crossing gates. The device also serves as an aid for the crew during dense, foggy weather though audio visual alarm, whenever any landmark comes within the geo-fence range. The location of railway stations, signals, warning boards, level crossing gates as well as Whistle for Level crossing boards in the section have been fed in the equipment. It also displays the speed of the locomotive, distance and the time to reach the landmarks.
The work of modernisation of signalling systems on the Indian Railways network has also been taken up. As a prelude to this, four pilot projects of a total length of 640 km at total cost of Rs 1609 crores on the golden quadrilateral and the diagonal routes have been sanctioned for the trails of Modern Train Control Systems on the following sections:
-Nagpur-Badnera section of the Central Railways zone
-Renigunta-Yerraguntala section of the South Central Railways zone
-Vizianagaram-Palasa section of the East Coast Railways zone
-Bina-Jhansi section of the North Central Railways zone