Rly to shut 1000 unmanned crossings

PUNE: The Indian Railways has aimed to close down 1,000 unmanned railway crossings by this year and replace them with the railway overbridges (ROBs), while plans are being readied to add another 3,000 such ROBs in the next few years to prevent accidents at unmanned level crossings, a top official said on Thursday.

 “Accidents at unmanned level crossings is a major cause of concern for the Indian Railways (IR). With an aim to prevent such avoidable accidents, we have decided to close down 1,000 unmanned crossings. These would be replaced by ROBs. In the coming years, we plan to have 3,000 more such ROBs,”

 Member Engineering, and President of Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (IPWE), Indian Railways Rakesh Chopra told reporters.

 He was speaking on the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony of the IPWE technical seminar on the Impact and experience of heavier axe loads on Indian Railways and resultant maintenance strategies and Innovation in design and construction of ROBs and railway underbridges (RUBs) on the Indian Railways.

 “IR needs to enhance its capacity to carry 1100 million tonnes (MT) by end of the current five year plan. This is expected to touch 2,200 million tonnes by the year 2020.

 Clearly, no individual research can be done today. We need to learn quickly from the experience elsewhere in the world in order to face an event when it occurs,” Chopra said.

 Earlier, delivering the key note address at the seminar, Chopra stressed on the need to develop preventive measures to upkeep of track, bridges and structures.

 “We need to find out about the equipment and machinery required for this and put into use. The progress is very dismal and the use wherever these have been provided, is being compromised,” he said.

 He said that speed restrictions and detentions cause a loss of earnings. The IR has to appreciate this fact.

 “Once we are in the railways, we need to understand that we are ‘business engineers’, who are required to participate in the management of its product, that is transportation.

 We cannot therefore, have methods and systems that take years of speed restrictions and thus loss of earnings, to provide Railway Overbridges (ROB) or Railway Underbridges (RUB),” Chopra said.

 The approach needs to be that of providing a solution by shortening the field work time – whether this is at the foundation stage, construction, launching or finishing, he added, urging the IR and industry to work together for finding solutions to the existing problems.