Innovative warnings to prevent track deaths

The Central Railway (CR) will introduce neuro science-based concepts to alter the behaviour of railway line trespassers in an effort to prevent fatal accidents on tracks.

The CR had implemented similar methods with reasonable success in 2009, but the idea soon faded away.

The CR has now decided to implement innovative solutions offered by Final Mile, a behaviour architecture firm, in phases.

“In the first phase, locations at Mulund, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Mankhurd and Wadala Road have been selected,” CR chief public relation officer Atul Rane said.

The measures suggested by Final Mile had first been introduced at Wadala Road, and the results were encouraging. In 2009, about 40 people died because of trespassing at Wadala Road, but the number of deaths came down to 10 in 2010, after the implementation of these initiatives by the CR.

“Despite our success, the concept died an early death as our officials implementing the project got transferred or promoted,” a CR official said.

In its renewed effort, the CR will paint the sleepers yellow at chronic trespassing spots. A CR official said the measure will help trespassers judge the speed of an oncoming train by the rate at which the yellow sleepers disappear below it.

“Most accidents happen as trespassers are unable to gauge the speed of the trains, resulting in accidents,” the official said.

Whistle boards will also be put up at trouble spots to serve as a sign to the motorman to honk intermittently.

“It has been observed that trespassers ignore the honking sounds coming from all directions, but intermittent honking a few metres before the vulnerable locations will warn the trespasser about the lurking danger,” the official said.

Scary images of trespassing-related accidents will also be put up to warn people of the dangers of crossing railway tracks.

These measures have also been introduced at trouble spots on the Western Railway line.

THE MEASURES

SLEEPERS PAINTED YELLOW | As large objects appear to move slower compared to smaller ones, people tend to misjudge the speed of an approaching train. People get a better idea of the train speed when they see how fast the yellow sleepers are disappearing under it.

WHISTLE BOARDS | The boards will be installed 120 metres before chronic track-crossing spots. Motormen must give two short, rapid honks instead of a lengthy hoot when they approach these signs. Staccato horns have been found to be more effective in discouraging crossing of tracks

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