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GPS-enabled display system in AC coaches

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GOING PASSENGER-FRIENDLY: GPS-enabled Station Name Display System introduced by the Southern Railway in the AC Chair Car coach of the Vanchinad Express on Thursday. - Photo: S. Gopakumar
GOING PASSENGER-FRIENDLY: GPS-enabled Station Name Display System introduced by the Southern Railway in the AC Chair Car coach of the Vanchinad Express on Thursday. - Photo: S. Gopakumar

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: A Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled Station Name Display System (SNDS) has been introduced in the AC coach of Vanchinad Express for displaying the approaching railway station in advance along with the time to the commuters.

Half a km before the railway station where an express train has a stop, the LED display system placed above the inside door of the AC coach would display the time along with the approaching railway station in English. Once the train reaches the station, it would display the name of the railway station and the time.

"This would be a boon for outstation commuters, especially foreign tourists and those commuting during the night as it would help them to identify the railway stations from inside the coach", according to Divisional Railway Manager S. Vijayakumaran. This is the first time that SNDS is being introduced in the coaches of Southern Railway.

Southern Railway (Electrical Branch), Thiruvananthapuram, has developed the SNDS with the support of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC), Thiruvanantharuram. The SNDS uses a GPS receiver to know the train's current position. The system, which maintains a database for the route and stops, identifies the stop automatically with respect to the GPS and displays the station.

Mr. Vijayakumaran said SNDS would be introduced in all the seven AC Chair Cars and 150-odd AC Sleeper Class coaches running in the division within two months. The SNDS, which costs Rs. 48,000, would be installed above the two doors of AC coaches.

CDAC Director Rajan T. Joseph and other officials, who were present at the demonstration held at the central railway station, said they would look into whether messages in the SNDS can be provided in other languages along with alarm.

Extension of platforms to accommodate 24 coaches, raising platforms, construction of new booking offices and foot over bridges and introduction of information systems are among other things to be taken up as part of improving passenger amenities. In addition to the existing 12 touch screens, Mr. Vijayakumaran said another 20 would be introduced in the division this year.

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