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ISRO, Railways Join Hands to Avert Accidents at Unmanned Level-Crossings

The hooter will be louder as the level crossing nears, and finally, it will be silent after the train passes by.

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Each year the number of deaths that occur at level-crossings of the railways across India seem to rise.

The Indian Railways has now collaborated with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), to warn road users through hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level crossing.

India has more than 30,000 level-crossings at which vehicles can cross the railway tracks. Of these, more than 11,000 are unmanned crossings. This is where most of the accidents occur.

Did you know that according to the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988 and the Railways Act of 1989, at an intersection between roadways and railways, trains have the right of way, and road users are expected to exercise caution?

As per the law, the driver of a road vehicle is supposed to get off at an unmanned level-crossing, look on both sides of the line to ensure there is no train coming and only then cross the tracks.

Representational image

According to a report in Zee News, a satellite-based system will now alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a real-time basis.

The railways are installing ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips on 10,000 locomotives of trains.

How will this system work?

About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through the IC chip, alerting 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.

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.

Railway gate crossing
Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

About 40 per cent of the accidents involving the railways occurs because of the 10,000 unnamed railway crossing across the country. This system will help in having a hold over these unnamed crossings.

Two level crossing gates in Sonepur division on the Delhi-Guwahati Rajdhani route are to be equipped with the ISRO system, to be followed by a few gates on the Delhi-Mumbai route shortly, on a trial basis.

Trials are also going to be conducted on these two busy rail corridors and, according to the plan, all level crossings will be equipped with the ISRO system in phases, according to a report in The News Minute.

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, as reported in The Hindu.

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