Railway Minister calls for nation-wide Safety Check of Signaling Systems

New Delhi: Union Minister of Railways Mr.Suresh Prabhu called for a nation-wide safety check on the signaling system that had caused fire at Kurla back in 2008, leaving trains suspended for 48 hours. The check comes after the same system caught fire on June 17 at Itarsi in Madhya Pradesh due to which almost 100 outstation trains have been cancelled to and from Mumbai.

The signal system called as Route Relaying Interlocking (RRI) caught fire at Itarsi, Madhay Pradesh.

Speaking at a function at Bandra railway station, Mr Prabhu responded to a question asked by a reporters as to what is being done to ensure that the RRI system, which has been under severe criticism from within and outside the railways.

“We have called for a safety check on all RRI signals on a nationwide scale, that is, wherever these signals are being used we are going and rechecking everything from top to bottom,” he said.

The RRI is extensively used in the Indian Railways (IR) in sections where the traffic is heavy (Mumbai suburban). It provides ease in running trains as it has only two buttons, that is, to set and lock the signal at once on an entire track; thereby informing large number of motorman and locopilots whether it is safe to run trains.

The IR has been trying to phase out RRI but to do so would require money and effort, Mr Prabhu said.

“We have been trying to get RRI out of the IR for more than two-decades but it would require a special and major fund allocation in the railway budget to make it possible. There is also lack of a political will to do so, and hence the project has been languishing,” said a senior railway official on condition of anonymity.