Train management system (TMS) — a digital board that provides real-time updates of traffic on the suburban system — is frequently used by both Central and Western Railways.
The system, according to railway officials, aids in quick collection of information on smooth movement or disruption of trains.
A TMS board consists of station-wise details of trains leaving and entering its platforms. Each section is divided among four colours — red signifies that the train has crossed the respective station, green allows movement, yellow hints at slowing down and a double yellow implies that it could soon go green.
Details of level crossings and other technical details of the track are also mentioned.
“We keep track of the train system through the digital axle counters (DAC) set up on the tracks. Each movement of on a DAC signifies that the train has crossed over the respective section. Two operators are always in charge to monitor the movement of trains between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)-Kurla and Kurla-Kalyan, respectively. Any further delay in the movement of the rake makes the supervising officer take updates from the assistant station manager and inform the authorities concerned,” said an official.
TMS was implemented by both Central Railways (CR) and Western Railways (WR) in 2012, at a total cost of Rs 58.76 crore. It replaced the earlier practice of listing details of train movement by having to call up station managers at frequent intervals.
“On WR, the TMS records train movement from Churchgate – Virar, whereas CR uses it between CST-Kalyan. We are planning on increasing it beyond Kalyan and also on the harbor line,” said a senior railway official.
TMS also aids officials to decide the frequency at which mega-blocks need to be taken.
Operators in the earlier system would collect information about the departure of trains from important nominated stations. These were recorded in a pre-printed chart, where movement of services was marked after every thirty minutes. Cases of diversion and cancellations would only be informed after the operator was apprised of the same by a railway official.
“Through TMS, we are able to take quick decision whenever there is any disruption. It helps us transfer services between two sections without having to take suggestions. Each detail is available to us on the board. Not only does it save up on our labour and clerical work, we are also able to make better punctuality report of train operations,” the official added.
Commuters can now see the expected arrival time of trains on display boards at platforms. They are also informed about any cancellation of services through platform announcements.
“For few operators at TMS, it is a challenge to be attentive yet they are in constant communication with the officials. During the recent crisis on harbor line, when services were suspended for sixteen hours, the TMS team arrived as early as 5 am to the office and worked till the problem was resolved. We are the reason behind smooth operations of a congested suburban network,” said Nikunt Madhav, chief controller for CST-Kurla section.