Friday, April 4, 2008

Technology aid for track safety

Ranchi, April 1: The manually operated route-selection task for trains at Ranchi, Hatia, Muri and Jamshedpur stations would soon be replaced with upgraded technology.

The interlocking system would be manned by only one person through a button. The chance of accidents arising due to human error would thus be reduced to minimum, said sources.

The railway ministry has planned to upgrade the route selection work with the inter-locking system, in which railway tracks would be either linked or de-linked from each other through an automated electro-mechanical device, which would be controlled by a centrally-located computer.

The station master, who knows the outlay of the railway tracks, would decide the route of a particular train.

“At present, the interlocking system is the global standard of railway operations, which would be a reality in Hatia, Ranchi, Muri and Jamshedpur stations of Jharkhand soon,” said A.K. Dutta, the divisional railway manager, Ranchi railway division.

Officials said the railway ministry has granted Rs 5 crore for the system at Muri station while another Rs 4.5 crore has been granted for Hatia and Rs 2.5 crore for the Ranchi stations.

At present, the cabin men of four cabins at Ranchi railway yard and six cabins at Hatia railway yard, in verbal communication with their respective station masters, manually carry out the task of route selection and fixing.

In the latest system, a tower would be installed in the middle of the railway yards of each of the stations, from where the stationmaster concerned would be managing the show. He can see the physical outlay of the train lines of the yard on his computer screen.

So, even if a stationmaster makes a technical mistake, his computer would not allow him to go ahead with it, thereby bringing down the possibility of accident to nil.“If the route selected by the station master is not permissible, the route will not be set at all. It will ask him to choose an alternative and safe route,” Dutta explained.

The new system has already been put in place in important stations across the country. Under the South Eastern Railway, the system is available only at Jharsuguda, an important railway junction in Orissa.

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