Every time there is a failure and the train comes to a halt, commuters are left clueless about the cause of the halt. Now, just as the airports have Air Traffic Control (ATC), the Western Railway (WR) introduced Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) on Monday.
This will be for the first time on Indian Railways that such a system would be available that would give real-time update to commuters travelling in suburban trains; in case of an emergency or untoward incident on rail lines.
The WR authorities have installed this MTRC technology in all its 100 trains. This will enable the central control room to not only get in touch with motormen and guard of local trains but also inform the commuters through the train's passenger announcement system. The time taken for a call would be less than 300 milliseconds.
Sources said that information will be provided after 10 minutes of an incident being occurred. There are towers at Mahalaxmi, Borivali, Virar, Churchgate, Bandra and Jogeshwari that will help in supplementing this system. This system was first proposed in 2012-13 at a cost of around Rs 6 crore.
"The MTRC will enable information to be dispersed from the control room to the motorman and even commuters inside local trains. It has a combination of cameras, microphones, digital audio and video recorders as well. There are six signal towers that will help in supporting the MTRC," said a WR official.
Until now, the motormen and guard used to contact station masters who then used to communicate with the control room to update the situation. This was later updated to the motormen and guards of trains. The MTRC will prove useful especially during monsoon when tracks get waterlogged and trains make an abrupt halt in the middle of the track.
This system can help the rail authorities disseminate information to commuters stuck inside trains about the actual situation. Likewise even when there is a technical problem like signal failure, OHE snapping, track failure or trespassing accident; such information can be provided sooner to commuters.
WR General Manager A Kansal said that the MTRC can communicate with all the 100 trains and 200 motor cabs of these trains. Each train can be communicated with individually or a broadcast call can be made to all local trains from central control or a group call can be made to predefined as well as a dynamic group of trains, if required. Even motormen can speak to other motormen using this system to check the extent of failure to get updates.