Mumbai: Safety lights to blink on 134 locals on Central Railway

Updated: Jan 14, 2020, 07:27 IST | Rajendra B Aklekar | Mumbai

After test runs, simple mechanism - where a light glows to warn commuters that a train is leaving and illuminates the platform - is ready to be installed

The bulb is fixed atop the compartment on the outside
The bulb is fixed atop the compartment on the outside

Reviving its year-old experiment of installing safety light indicators above train doors, Central Railway (CR) will have them on all its rakes soon. The feature includes a blue light that switches on just before the train is about to leave the platform. A ray of light falls on the platform and creates a danger line warning commuters not to step beyond it. A year on, it looks like CR has once again started working on the safety light indicators, which were last tested in January 2019.

The CR had conducted a trial run on the CSMT-Kalyan route to test the feature, which not only impressed commuters but Railway Minister, Piyush Goyal as well.

Requesting anonymity, a senior official said that approvals were in place to install the feature in all the suburban trains. He also said that the Kurla car shed was working on the specifications along with the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the Railways' consultancy arm. "Once the final specifications of the RDSO are in place, we will go ahead with the plan," said Shivaji Sutar, CR's chief public relations officer.

The blue light is reflected on the platform as a warning
The blue light is reflected on the platform as a warning

While the Western Railway is running one train with the feature, they are in the process of getting approval for installing it 100 more trains in the upcoming financial year. The Air-Conditioned EMU local trains will come fitted with the indicators from Chennai.

The visual indicator emits a beam of light over the entrance area just before the train prepares to leave the platform. This alerts the commuters and warns them of the danger of being too close to the train. A year back the CR had said that they would monitor the performance of the safety indicators and based on the outcome and commuter feedback, a decision on their installation in the suburban locals would be taken. Designed by city-based electrical engineer, Joseph Malachi, who has three patents (all for devices on commuter safety), to his name, the device could become the key to saving lives. As per data, at least 711 passengers died after falling from trains in 2018, of which 482 were on the CR section and 299 on the WR route. The total number of deaths due to falling from trains between January and June 2019 was 311.

Speaking to mid-day, Malachi said, "I first communicated the idea with the railway minister and railway board in June 2016 and subsequently visited the RDSO at Lucknow the same year and 2017 respectively. I had submitted two different concepts, and I am happy that this one got selected."

Vasai-based Malachi, who quit his job to work for safety on tracks, said the technology was simple and could be installed on local trains without much intervention. "The concept is based more on the idea of a brain-game and has been validated by psychiatrists and station masters. It can bring about major transformation and discipline in the way the crowd behaves," he added.

No. of passengers who died by falling from trains in 2018

No. of deaths due to falling from trains between Jan-June 2019

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