WR’s bright idea to cut track deaths: Paint sleepers yellow

Western Railway (WR) has begun an initiative that, it hopes, will help curb deaths on tracks due to trespassing. At vulnerable spots, it is painting the sleepers yellow and putting up scary posters to reduce fatalities.

Other steps in the pipeline include changing the pattern of honking and the design of fences between tracks and placing random hurdles at ends of platforms to alter the behavior of trespassers.

WR has already painted the sleepers under the tracks yellow for about a 100m stretch at chronic points at Mahim, Khar, Kandivli and Jogeshwari.

“As large objects appear to move slower than smaller ones, people tend to misjudge the speed of an approaching train. However, people get a better idea of the speed when they see how fast the yellow sleepers are disappearing under it,” said Sharat Chandrayan, WR’s chief public relations officer, explaining the solution suggested by Final Mile, a behaviour architecture firm.

In 2009, Final Mile came up with an innovative concept to reduce accidents on CR. Measures suggested by the firm for certain sports led to a drop in accidents. For example, at Wadala road, implementation of the novel concept helped reduce the number of fatalities from 40 in 2009 to 10 in 2010.

“Final Mile conducted in-depth study to identify the problems and offered suggestions to alter the behavior of trespassers at vulnerable spots. While some of the measures like painting the sleepers yellow and putting up scary posters are being implemented, other suggestions, if found technically feasible, will also be implemented,” said Chandrayan.

WR has put up three-panel scary posters with photos of a person being run over by a train to discourage walking across tracks (see box).

WR said instructions have been issued to tweak the sound pattern of the horn used in the Electrical Multiple Units (EMU) rakes.

Ram Prasad, director of Final Mile, said: “The idea is motormen must give two short, rapid honks instead of a lengthy toot when they approach whistle boards. It is found that while trespassers notice a train on one track, they may not register another on an adjacent track. The staccato horns have been found to be more effective in discouraging track crossing.”

Published in: on March 12, 2013 at 5:09 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. The idea of western Rayway is actually unique.

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