The Central Railways (CR) is taking significant strides to enhance the safety, security, and efficiency of its services, with a comprehensive set of initiatives aimed at benefiting commuters. In a press conference on Thursday, Ram Karan Yadav, the General Manager of Central Railways, highlighted several key projects and improvements.
Yadav acknowledged the challenges associated with introducing more 15-car local train services, emphasizing the necessity for platform extensions to accommodate the longer trains. When questioned about the accommodation in first-class compartments for women, he stated that existing compartments adhere to norms, but further consideration would be given based on demand.
Asked about the proposed station between Mulund and Thane he said authorities concerned have yet to allocate the necessary land for the new station.
Enhanced security for women
One of the primary focuses is the safety of women passengers. CR has undertaken the task of equipping all ladies coaches of suburban trains with CCTV cameras and TalkBack systems by March 2024. Currently, 421 out of 771 coaches are already equipped with CCTV, and emergency TalkBack Systems are operational in 512 ladies coaches. The "Meri Saheli" scheme has been launched to secure women traveling alone on long-distance trains, with special attention to 103 identified crime-prone trains.
40 critical signals grappling with visibility and identity issues
Mumbai division of CR has identified 40 critical signals grappling with visibility and identity issues. According to Yadav a comprehensive plan for the potential relocation of these signals onto gantries will be executed in adherence to the guidelines set by the Railway Board. The Mumbai division, which boasts nearly 2000 signals, including 390 on the right side, has identified this subset of signals as a priority due to visibility challenges.
Station security and technological advancements
Beyond the trains, CR is investing in station security with the installation of panic buttons at two locations on each platform across its 117 major stations. Additionally, advanced technology, such as Video Analytics and Face Recognition capabilities, is being integrated into CCTV systems at prominent stations.
Innovative driver assistance systems
To enhance the safety of train operations, CR is implementing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in suburban trains. ADAS includes audio alert units, Signal Location Announcement System (SILAS), and a Virtual Reality Based training module for crew training. The ADAS, combined with Cabin Video Voice Recording Systems (CVVRS), ensures continuous monitoring of the crew's status, addressing concerns like fatigue, distraction, mobile usage, and smoking.
Infrastructure upgrades, redevelopment
CR is actively involved in infrastructure development, with the ongoing redevelopment of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) and major upgrades at Nagpur and Ajni stations. The timeline for the CSMT redevelopment project is targeted for completion within the next 30 months.
79 unauthorised entry points
CRs Mumbai's division has identified 79 unauthorized entry points out of this 12 already closed .Efforts are on to close the remaining points gradually to control the trespass. Furthermore, the Mumbai division has sanctioned the construction of a 46 km boundary wall at various locations, with 3.5 km completed and the rest in progress. Additionally, 204 locations have been earmarked for boundary wall/fencing construction, with 25 already completed.
Despite these measures, Yadav said that in the past year, 272 trains experienced delays due to human run-over incidents, with 227 delays recorded in the current financial year. Expressing concern over the loss of precious lives, Yadav urged the public to refrain from crossing railway tracks for their safety.
Speed enhancements of suburban trains
According to Yadav, Mumbai Division is set to boost local train speeds in three suburban sections. The Tilak Nagar to Panvel harbor line, currently at 80 kmph, aims to reach 105 kmph by March '24. Similarly, the Thane-Vashi and Nerul-Kharkopar sections are undergoing speed enhancements projected to conclude by March '24. Additionally, the Karjat-Khopoli section's speed is targeted to increase from 60 kmph to 90 kmph by March '24, contributing to overall improvements in local train efficiency.
CR is focused on improving passenger amenities, including the development of subscription-based "Woloo" toilets for women at six stations in Mumbai. These modern facilities are equipped with WiFi, central air conditioning, access control software, and sanitary napkin dispensers.
CR is actively pursuing green energy solutions with the installation of 8.2 MW of rooftop solar energy and plans for an additional 10 MW in the near future. Wind power energy, amounting to 56.4 MW, is being utilized for traction. The commitment to environmental sustainability also includes operating 98 Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) rakes on Head on Generation (HOG), achieving an operational efficiency of 85%.
Social responsibility and security measures
The Central Railways, through its Railway Protection Force (RPF), has undertaken various measures such as rescuing 1121 children, saving lives, recovering stolen railway material, and cracking down on ticket touts, unauthorized hawkers, and male passengers in ladies' compartments.
AC coaches of long distance trains will be equipped with smoke detectors
According to Yadav, smoke detection system in 837 AC coaches (464 during this year) already provided. In remaining 372 coaches it will be provided upto March 2024" said Yadav .A total of 103 crores. Passengers carried by CR in this financial year as compared to 94 crores last year upto Nov’23.
Hundred percent electrification
According to Yadav, hundred percent Electrification of broad gauge routes except new line of Ashti- New Loni section of 40 Kms which is planned to be completed by March 24.Thereby reducing the traction change.