Mumbai: WR installs track magnets to reduce train delays

Authorities at Western Railway have installed Auxiliary Warning System (AWS) that informs the motorman the status of a signal in advance

What can a small magnet do? For Western Railway (WR), it can help improve the efficiency of local trains. Authorities have been fitting Auxiliary Warning System (AWS) inductors that can send information about the status of a signal to the motorman electromagnetically in advance, allowing him to increase or decrease the speed of the train, on all tracks between Churchgate and Virar. Sources in WR said that they have installed around 70 additional inductors on the entire stretch.

Track magnets help motormen increase or decrease the speed of the train based on the information received about the status of the signal, well in advance. File pic for representation
Track magnets help motormen increase or decrease the speed of the train based on the information received about the status of the signal, well in advance. File pic for representation

“We already have around 100 of these track magnets in place. However, at many stretches where there were none, the train had to wait till the motorman saw the signal, affecting the punctuality of train services. In addition, we have been carrying out technical work at Borivli and Andheri, that will also help us improve the on time performance,” said a WR official.

How does AWS work?
AWS is a signalling system that warns the driver about the status of the next signal. The inductors on the track, fitted around 180 metres before a signal, sense its status – which could be red, yellow or green – and then pass on the information to the motorman when the train passes over it.

Based on the status of the signal received, the motorman can then increase or decrease the speed accordingly, before he can see the signal. At present, the distance between two signals is around 800 metres or so. The AWS can also automatically apply brakes to the moving train if the motorman fails to see the red signal, and warns the motorman if it has crossed a signal that is yellow.

After completing the work at Borivli, WR officials will now start the work at Andheri station too, where they will improve the curvature of tracks and replace signals. The work is expected to take two years, during which the services could get delayed by an average of 10 minutes.

“We have installed these track magnets between Churchgate and Virar,” said Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Railway Manager (Mumbai) of WR. Officials believe that the AWS system will help improve the speed of local trains.

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