Tamil Nadu

‘Reduce speed of trains on the stretch at night’

With three elephants being killed on the railway lines connecting Kerala and Tamil Nadu via Walayar on Friday, activists have reiterated their demand to bring the permanent speed restriction (PSR) to below 40 kmph.

Though the Palakkad Division said the train was running within PSR when it hit the elephants, several Forest Department officials and activists suspect that it overshot the limit.

The adult female elephant, which was found pregnant during the autopsy, was dragged by the locomotive for around 130 m, according to the Forest Department.

N.I. Jalaluddin of the Coimbatore-based Nature Conservation Society said the Railways should reconsider reducing the current PSR. Farmers from the village where the incident occurred also felt the speed should be reduced at night.

“The speed should be brought below 40 kmph to avoid further fatalities among elephants. It should be brought to 30 kmph, as in the case of the 45-km stretch of Punalur-Sengottai. If required, due to the up gradient, Railways can use a banker (locomotive used to haul a train up a steep gradient),” said RTI and railway activist R. Pandiyaraja.

According to the Palakkad Division, a PSR of 45 kmph is imposed for the 13.9-km vulnerable section in the A line and 19.41 km of vulnerable section in the B line, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

The PSR is 65 kmph during the day.

A loco pilot said there would be technical difficulties in reducing the speed beyond a level on the stretch, as a banker will be required due to the up gradient on the stretch.

Conservator of Forests S. Ramasubramanian said the chip of the speedometer of the locomotive that hit the elephants would be examined by railway authorities, in the presence of Forest officials, on Monday, to check the speed of the train at the time of impact.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2022 3:57:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/reduce-speed-of-trains-on-the-stretch-at-night/article37743686.ece

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