Measures suggested to prevent accidents win him award
Of the 38,000 level crossings across Indian Railways, 50 per cent are unmanned. Statistics since 2001-02 show a steady increase in the number of accidents at unmanned level crossings. Provision of limited use subways, closure of redundant level crossings and installation of Approaching Train Warning System can help in preventing train accidents.
This is the gist of a paper presented by an engine driver of Southern Railway's Madurai Division that got him an award. V. Ram Kumar, Loco Pilot, Madurai made a presentation on the ways and means to reduce unmanned level crossings at a seminar in the Zonal Railway Training Institute, Tiruchi, recently.
Mr. Kumar, divisional secretary of the SRMU Loco Running Staff Wing, explains that 35 per cent of the train accidents occur at unmanned level crossings. “Such crossings not only pose a threat to human life but also cause huge loss to the Railways. In the last five years, the administration suffered a loss of Rs.780 crore due to accidents at unmanned level crossings.”
Since 35 per cent of the total train accidents occur at unmanned level crossings, steps have to be taken to reduce their number. Besides converting unmanned level crossings into manned gates, he lays emphasis on construction of limited use subways.
“MPs and MLAs can be requested to contribute from their constituency development fund to create such facility. In Mysore Division (South Western Railway), a 52-km stretch between Hassan and Saravanabelagola has no manned or unmanned level crossings as limited use subways or road under bridges have been constructed there,” he points out.
Reducing the speed of road vehicles by providing speed-breakers and joint ambush check at level crossings by law enforcing agencies to ensure compliance with road safety norms are among the steps highlighted by Mr. Kumar to prevent accidents.