Consent from civil administration sought

The divisional railway authorities have identified 130 unmanned level crossings in Tiruchi Division for closure and sought consent from the civil administration in a bid to check accidents at unmanned gates.

Letters have been sent to Collectors concerned falling within the jurisdiction of Tiruchi Railway Division seeking their consent to close the identified unmanned gates coming under their respective limits and divert traffic through the nearest level crossings.

The rationale for closing the identified unmanned gates is that the Train Vehicle Units (TVU) passing through them was negligible.

Encompassing over 10 districts, the Tiruchi Railway Division accounts for a total number of 750 level crossings of which 357 are unmanned at present. Railway officials here say that they were awaiting reply from the civil administration for closing the identified unmanned gates. Written approval from the civil authorities is mandatory for closing an unmanned crossing. The Cuddalore – Vriddhachalam BG gauge section accounts for more number of unmanned gates in Tiruchi Division, say officials.

The division witnessed a fatal accident at an unmanned gate between Neyveli and Uthangalmangalam in the 2011-12 fiscal which claimed the lives of three occupants of a car. The car trespassed through the unmanned crossing when a goods train rammed the vehicle and dragged it to some distance before coming to a halt.

Keeping in mind the safety aspect, 11 unmanned gates in Tiruchi Division were closed in 2011-12 financial year after obtaining written consent from the respective district administration authorities, say officials adding that conversion of unmanned gates into manned were currently on after taking into account the TVUs. The TVUs is calculated based on the movement of three-wheelers, bullock carts and four-wheelers multiplied by the number of trains passing through the section.

Unmanned crossings with over 3,000 TVUs per day are usually chosen for conversion into manned gate. The Railway Board accorded sanction to convert over 80 unmanned crossings into manned across the division. Twenty six out of the 82 unmanned crossings were manned over the last two years. Infrastructure works such as stocking of materials, erection of lifting barrier, construction of gate lodges and provision of communication, water and toilet facilities were on the in rest of the places. Limited use subways have been constructed in five out of the eight crossings, say the authorities.

Conversion of unmanned gate into manned would ensure safety of road users and rail passengers besides enabling the railways to have better control on train movements, say officials.