Fire extinguishers in all Kolkata Metro coaches by end March: GM

KOLKATA: Fire extinguishers will be installed in all Metro coaches by the end of March, General Manager Rajeev Bhargava told on Wednesday. This is one of the several measures that the Metro is taking to improve safety for commuters. All air-conditioned rakes being operated by the Metro are also being fitted with the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) that won’t allow motormen to overshoot red signals or run trains at speeds higher than the stipulated time.

“We started fitting the AC rakes with the TPWS from January 31. Till now, 12 rakes have been fitted with the system. The last rake will get the system by Thursday. On an average, it took us less than two days to install the system in a rake. This will enhance safety and bring down sole dependence on human activity to a large extent. Even if a motorman makes an error in judgement, the system will ensure that the train is safe,” Bhargava said.

The TPWS is directly linked to the signaling system. It watches out for signals. In case there is a caution (a yellow light) and the motorman fails to slow down on time, the brakes will automatically work to bring down the speed of the train. If the signal is red, the TPWS will halt the train at once just in case the motorman fails to react on time. In other words, the system will see to it that the motorman never overshoots a signal.

“We floated a tender for fire extinguishers. Within the next few days we hope to finalize the agency that will supply the fire extinguishers. By the end of March, all coaches will have fire extinguishers,” the general manager said.

According to Bhargava, Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) through Global System for Mobile Communication for Railways (GSM-R) technology will be implemented by March 31. This will allow train crew to communicate directly with stations and control rooms through the railways’ own mobile network. It will allow motormen to send emergency messages immediately. Spare capacity will be leased out to mobile service providers to increase Sundry earnings.