East Central Railway Ready for Monsoon

PATNA: East Central Railway (ECR) has started preparations to deal with water-related problems, considering the onset of monsoon.

ECR has installed automatic water-levelling device on all critical railway bridges, which will alert engineers once the water touches the danger level.

It is for the first time that the railways has taken such an initiative to minimise human error as heavy rainfall damages railway tracks. Railway tracks in north Bihar get submerged during monsoon. Once that happens, trains are either stopped or diverted. Even rail connection gets snapped.

“Automatic water levelling instrument has been installed on all critical railway bridges. The device will continuously monitor the water level after a programme is fed into the device. Once the water is about to reach the danger level, the automatic system will trigger an SMS to the in-charge or supervisor of that bridge. Thereafter, he will rush to the spot to take necessary steps,” ECR chief public relations officer (CPRO) Rajesh Kumar said.

Sources in the railway said ECR had already taken precautionary measures in face of the flood threat in north Bihar and has sent their team of experts to camp at Koparia-Dhamara Ghat in Saharsa district. The railway line in the Saharsa-Mansi section faces the greatest threat from erosion. It had suffered the biggest erosion in the 2008 Kosi floods.

Asked about the kind of steps the supervisor is taking in case the water level rises, the CPRO said: “If there is a need to stop the train, it would be stopped. If there is a need to send the reinforcement team, it will be sent depending on the situation.”

The ECR CPRO could not share the actual number of bridges on which the devices have been installed. “Devices have been installed on all bridges located on major rivers known for spate such as Kosi, Bagmati, Gandak, Budhi Gandak, Kamla Balan and other flood-prone areas. Surveillance and inspection takes place on a regular basis but this is for the first time that such devices has been installed,” the CPRO stressed, adding that the move will minimise human error.

The railway official said it was humanly not possible to deploy staff on every railway bridge, prompting the need for the new devices.

ECR is in constant touch with state officials and the India Meteorological Department for updates on rainfall.