Electronic Interlocking works on Verka-Manawala stretch in Amritsar to affect train movements

AMRITSAR / FIROZPUR: As many as 34 trains will neither originate nor terminate at the local railway station for nearly a fortnight from July 19 as the Railways is set to complete the process of switching over from obsolete lever frame system to the state-of-the-art electronic interlocking system.

The electronic interlocking will become operational from August 1, a day after the completion of the project. The much-awaited transformation has been under progress for the past couple of years.

The new system was supposed to be operational in April but it took time as the staff demanded incorporation of more signals.

With the adoption of the new system, railway employees will not be required to pull the lever and other equipment to allow an approaching train to pass. For this work, 1,200 km long cables have been laid in the yard, which is situated a few metres away from the station. Besides, a building has also been constructed there.

The estimated cost of the project is about Rs 50 crore. Interlocking is performed manually at two places that are situated at the east and west sides of the railway station.

The manual system requires several employees to check maps, observe the number of trains parked at the station, note down their departure details and give a green signal to an approaching train. Though the entire function is performed in a few minutes, the details needs to be kept in mind so that two trains may not come on the same track. There is always a chance of human error.Interlocking is an arrangement of signal points and other appliances connected by mechanical and electrical locking so that their operation take place in a proper way to ensure safety.

Once the entire process is digitalised, the same function can be performed by clicking two buttons and with minimum error.

Officiating Station Director Amrit Singh said scores of technical experts and other staff would come from the divisional headquarters and other stations for the last leg of the switchover.

“The decision to short terminate and divert trains has been taken to provide trouble-free environment to technical hands to carry out their work,” he said.

Trains plying between Amritsar and Jammu railway line would short terminate at the Verka railway station and those plying on the busy Amritsar-Delhi route at the Manawala railway station.