NFR geared up to ensure timely running of trains during winter
With many trains being cancelled or delayed because of fog in north India, the North East Frontier Railway (NFR) has geared up to ease the problem of late running of trains. NFR chief public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said as of now there has been no substantial delay in the running of trains to and fro Guwahati and other places in the northeast.
"Whatever delays to northeast-bound trains happened because of poor visibility are being made up once they are out of north India. There has been so significant delay of trains coming to Guwahati or elsewhere in the northeast," Sharma informed.
However, Sharma informed that seven trains under NFR have been cancelled due to "fog-cum-low patronage". He explained that "low patronage" means trains that do not have much demand.
“Usually, the problem of fog in our region starts from mid-December and continues up to the first or second week of January. But we are fully geared to ease out the problem when fog starts," Sharma added.
In a bid to ensure timely running of trains during winter, the Railways has planned to use GPS-enabled fog safety devices in the trains to alert the loco pilot about approaching signals.
A railway official informed that plans are afoot to use the GPS-based devices in trains that would provide advance warning. The official said that the Railways has provided about 2,400 of these devices in northern India where trains are worst-hit by intense fog during winter. He further added that 900 of these GPS devices have been given to the Delhi zone.
Besides, the Railways will also deploy fogmen to place detonators on the tracks to alert the loco pilots about approaching signals. Officials will undertake intensive night foot plate inspection and track patrolling to detect cases of rail fracture, a major cause of derailment during winter.
The auto signalling system will also be converted to semi-automatic and speed restrictions will be imposed during an intense fog situation. The Railways is also planning to provide sufficient walkie-talkie sets to the crew and station staff.
They will also provide signal indication booklet to loco pilots, and carry out counselling on working during fog. During intense fog situations the Railways faces problems like shortage of crew due to longer working hours on a train due to slower mobility, complete disorientation of timetable, heavy crowding of waiting passengers and non-availability of track maintenance slots due to reduced capacity.