Firozpur Division goes for Electric Lifting Barriers at Level Crossings

The electric lifting barriers are easy to operate as compared to the mechanical ones. Moreover, these require negligible manpower, are less time consuming and easy to maintain.

FIROZPUR: Started three years ago, the Indian Railways project to replace mechanical lifting barriers with electric ones at various levels crossings has taken shape with three out of the total 20 level crossings in Ludhiana acquiring the electrical system in the first phase. The work for replacing the remaining 17 barriers will commence as soon as the railway authorities receive the go ahead from the Centre.

The electric lifting barriers are easy to operate as compared to the mechanical ones. Moreover, these require negligible manpower, are less time consuming and easy to maintain.

“The work of replacing the lifting barriers was to be carried out in phases, said NK Verma, senior divisional signal and telecom engineer.

“In the Ferozepur railway division, around 350 level crossings have mechanical lifting barriers. Of these 38 were to be replaced in the first phase and three were from Ludhiana,” he added.

Anurag Srivastava, assistant divisional signal and telecom engineer (ADSTE) said, “The remaining 17 level crossings in Ludhiana will also get electric lifting barriers soon. We will start the work as we get a notification from the railway boards.”

“To set up an electrical system, we construct a separate cabin where we install the generator, which is attached to solar cells installed on the rooftop,” says Srivastava.

Eliminating unmanned gates

The railway authorities are also working at eliminating unmanned gates by installing Limited Height Subway (LHS).

In the Ferozepur railway division, under which the Ludhiana railways station falls, there are 1,002 level crossings, out of which 701 are manned level crossings and 301 are unmanned level crossings.

Limited height subways are 4X4 sq metre subways running below the tracks at the crossing point.

These have been known to bring down the number of accidents occurring due to unmanned railway crossings.

Divisional railway manager Vivek Kumar said that the work of phasing out unmanned gates is in process. Till date, 45 LHS have been installed in the Ferozpur division.

“By 2018, we will ensure that unmanned level crossings are phased out.”

How a mechanical lifting barrier works?

The mechanical lifting barrier system at the level crossing is installed at a cabin located close to the level crossing gate. The range of winch operation of lifting barrier from the point of operation is 150 metres. Winch operating system consists of a driving wheel and a lever. When a train has to pass from a level crossing, the gateman deputed at the level crossing receives a call from the station master’s office about 15 to 20 minutes before the train is to pass. After receiving the call, the gateman rotates the wheel to close the gate. While the gate is being closed, a siren is blown, to signal people to stop. In case the winch operating system does not work, the gateman rushes out from the cabin and pulls a long iron rod or ties a chain on the pole on both ends of the road to restrict the movement of road traffic.

How an electrical lifting barrier works?

The electrical lifting barrier comprises mainly of a control panel, a pedestal attached with a boom (barrier) and generator/batteries. After getting information from the station master’s office, the gateman just presses the button on the control panel and the gate closes and locks automatically. Another button is pressed to give a green signal to the train. A separate cabin is constructed for storing generator and batteries for the solar cells.

No signals on gate C-8 and C-9

A visit by the HT team revealed that there are no railways signals at gate C-8 and C-9, which are located in Thareeke and Jhande village respectively.

The gateman deployed at the spot said that since signals are not installed at these gates, they have come up with a temporary arrangement — a red cloth put up on two sticks on the railway lines.

“We remove the cloth only after we have locked the gates. Till the cloth is not removed, the train cannot pass,” the gateman said. He added that this temporary arrangement isn’t effective.

“Sometimes the cloth flies away due to the wind. Moreover, when any kind of problem occurs at the gate— like if a vehicle gets stuck in between the gates, we have no provision to give signal to the train driver,” he said.

ADSTE Anurag Srivastava said that the division is working to install the signals wherever it is required. “We have marked these two gates. The signals will be installed here soon,” he said.