Mumbai: A week after a suburban train rammed into dead-end buffer at Churchgate station and jumped onto the concourse, the railways will soon introduce an auxilliary warning system (AWS) at CST, Churchgate and Andheri stations to prevent such mishaps in future.
The system will warn the motorman to take “corrective action” in case the train enters a station at high speed. If the motorman fails to do so, the system will automatically apply the brakes and bring the train to a halt just before it hits the buffer.
Meanwhile, the speed restriction for entering Churchgate station on the fast line, where the mishap took place on June 28, has been reduced from 30kmph to 10kmph, the lowest ever since the past two decades. If a motorman fails to slow down to 10kmph until 50m from the dead-end of the platform, the AWS will kick-in and hit the emergency brakes. Five commuters, including three women, were injured in the mishap.
It may be recalled that Western Railway general manager S K Sood had informed a day after the accident that the AWS will be installed at prominent termini within a week. On Sunday morning, the trials began at three stations—two on the western line and one on the central line. “Trials were conducted successfully at Churchgate and two other stations. If everything goes well, we can hopefully launch the system at Churchgate from Monday morning,” Sood told on Sunday. He added that the AWS would be effective in averting such mishaps. “There will be advanced warning to the motorman in the form of a hooter. If he does not acknowledge, we have a Plan B: The system will automatically pull the brakes and bring the train to a halt,” he said.
Sources said there are plans to soon instal the system at all termini, including Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Bandra and Panvel.
Sources said the AWS will be introduced on four tracks at CST and on a single track each at Churchgate and Andheri stations before being implemented on all the tracks gradually.
“It is basically use of modern technology to stop a train at a terminus,” said a senior railway official. “In the June 28 mishap, the investigators had, prima facie, found that it was 99% human error. The motorman had failed to apply the brakes in time. So, we need an alternative system.”
At present, the AWS warns motormen of any upcoming signal, via a display panel on the driving panel of the EMU. The advanced notification is done through trackside electromagnets.