Satellite-based chip systems will now alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a real-time basis. On a pilot basis, the Mumbai and Guwahati Rajdhani trains will be equipped with this system. Road users will be warned by hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level crossing as railways are installing ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips on locomotives of trains. There will be hooters at 20 unmanned level crossings on Rajdhani routes for Guwahati and Mumbai, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.
More trains will be equipped with such technology in a phase-wise manner, according to the plan. About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through the IC chip, warning road users as well as the train driver near the crossing.
The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally it will be silent after the train passes by. Besides alerting road users, the satellite-based system will also be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on real time basis. This will be of great help to passengers as currently train movements are tracked manually.
Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the public transporter is exploring various ways to address the issue. There are about 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country which account for around 40 per cent of accidents involving the railways.
While the Railways have eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next 2 to 3 years, the official said. The satellite-based system will also help railways in mapping the area and the technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and topography.