“International Level Crossing Awareness Day” being Observed on 7th May

Every year, UIC (International Union of Railways) observes o­ne day as the International Level Crossing Awareness Day (ILCAD). This year, 7th May, 2013 is being observed as ILCAD. South Central Railway is participating in this global campaign to sensitize road users to enhance safety at level crossings. The International Level Crossing Awareness Day focuses o­n educational measures and promotion of safe behavior at and around level crossings.

The number of accidents at unmanned level crossings occurring o­n Indian Railways is a matter of concern. As o­n 1st April, 2013, there are 2122 level crossings over South Central Railway, out of which 705 are unmanned level crossings, where the accidents occur primarily due to inadequate precautions by the road users like failing to observe the mandatory signboards, and basic traffic safety rules as per the Motor Vehicles Act.

Special Safety Drive:South Central Railway launches a seven days long Special Safety Drive especially targeting safety at unmanned level crossings from 7thto 13th May, 2013 with a view to eradicate accidents at unmanned level crossings. The drive focuses o­n organizing public awareness campaigns to educate and counsel the road users and make them aware of the relevant provisions related to safe crossing of Level Crossings such as:-

Organizing safety Seminars at various places in the Divisions including Road Transport offices and Educational institutions.
Checking the whistling habits of Loco Pilots while approaching the level crossings by deputing officers and supervisors in the first coach immediately after the Locos of the trains.
Joint ambush checks involving Railway Protection Force, Government Railway Police & Civil Authorities at the level crossings to apprehend errant road users u/s of Motor Vehicle Act.
Ensuring availability of speed breakers whistle boards, road signs and stop boards etc. at LCs
South Central Railway has formulated a Safety Action Plan to eliminate all the unmanned Level Crossings by FY 2016 through various measures such as replacement of Unmanned Level Crossings with Limited Height Subways, suitable road diversions and manning of Unmanned Level Crossing etc. During the last years, 168 Unmanned Level Crossings have been eliminated in SCR. Apart from elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings, a large number of campaigns / programs are also being organized.

Cooperation from all Road Vehicle users is solicited in following the safety procedures while crossing unmanned level crossings. The simple act of stopping and looking out for any approaching train in both directions and then crossing the track in a safe manner at unmanned level crossings will avoid any scope for accident. Alertness and caution o­n the part of road users is of prime importance to achieve zero accidents at level crossings.


SIMRAN to save lives of rly gangmen

Every year about 400 gangmen are run over by trains while working on the rail tracks. To check these deaths, railways will use Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN). This train tracking technology has been developed by IIT-Kanpur and Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO).

Meanwhile, IIT-Kanpur will hand over the final report on the Gangmen Warning System (GWS) to the Railway Board on March 10. Developed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, GWS would alert a gangman about an approaching train from a distance of 2,000 metres. The gangman will have to walk with a device which will warn him against the approaching train. “GWS is a byproduct of SIMRAN which works on GSM technology,” said BM Shukla, principal software engineer, CSE department, IIT-Kanpur. While Indian Railways discontinued working with IIT-K on train tracking system, one of the most important uses of SIMRAN technology, the institute is working on two of the other byproducts of SIMRAN — GWS and the Unmanned Level Crossing Gates Warning System (ULCGWS).

IIT-Kanpur has completed trials for GWS and only a final trial in front of RDSO is awaited, said Shukla. On ULCGWS too, the institute has made headway. It’s the final report which is awaited from ULCGWS. In this, a device would be installed at level crossings, both manned and unmanned, to alert road-users about the approaching train. The signal would change colour when the train is 2,000 metres from the crossing and a hooter would blow when the train is 700 metres away from the level crossing. Once the train has crossed, signal would change colour from red to yellow. “The alarm system would be on till the last train on the track has crossed,” said Shukla.

The accidents at unmanned level crossings are rampant in railways. There have been several instances where vehicles hit the boom barriers and disrupted movement of trains. The warning system at level crossings will keep a check on such incidents. SIMRAN tracks trains through GPS, GSM and/or RF tags. The technology has been developed jointly by RDSO and IIT-K. “We completed the project in 2009 and handed it over to the Railway Board,” said executive director, administration, RDSO, AK Mathur. SIMRAN has been developed using about Rs 350 crore between 2004 and 2009.

In one of the most passenger friendly moves, railway ministry opened the first phase of Real Train Information System (RTIS) to people for accurate train tracking, using SIMRAN, in 2011. IIT-Kanpur, which played the major role in research stage, has been kept away in the deployment stage of the project. In October last year, Railway Board discontinued the role of IIT-Kanpur in train tracking system.

“We had asked for Rs 5 crore for deployment of SIMRAN in trains all over the railways but the day we were called to sign the MoU, we were told that our involvement is no longer needed in the project,” said sources in IIT-Kanpur. The institute was working on the project in 36 trains. But, after railways’ decision, IIT-Kanpur closed down the website giving real time information to the passengers using SIMRAN. The institute, since it had the experience of operating the technology, could have helped in deployment, but now it’s the Indian Railway Project Management Unit (IRPMU) which is deploying RTIS in all the trains. “We have real time train enquiry which is similar to SIMRAN,” said Anil K Saxena, additional DG, PR, Railway Board.

SIMRAN was one of the 12 projects under the Technology Mission for Railway Safety (TMRS)
It helps in locating trains through GPS, GSM and/or RF tags without any manual interference
IIT-K is working on GWS and ULCGWS
SIMRAN has been funded 50% by HRD, 30% by Railways and 20% by industries as was provided in TMRS
IIT-K and RDSO worked on SIMRAN from 2004 to 2009
About 350 crore spent on developing SIMRAN