Railways to totally replace obsolete Lever-frame System on Firozpur Division

A railway employee works on an obsolete lever-frame system at the railway station in Amritsar.

AMRITSAR: After years of hue and cry by passengers over arduously long waiting period of trains on the city outskirts, the Railways has finally commenced the process of replacing the obsolete lever frame system with state-of-the-art electronic interlocking.Passengers are highly inconvenienced as trains are stopped on the periphery before allowing entry in the city.

Shatabdi train remains parked for almost 12 hours at platform No.1. The railway administration here is already grappling with shortage of platforms.

Divisional railway manager, Anuj Prakash, said, shifting to the state-of-the-art electronic interlocking would bring perceptible change in handling of trains at the Amritsar railway station. He added that it would take one year to set up the advanced system.

“In the electrical or electronic interlocking schemes, signals are worked from one integrated mechanism in a signal cabin set up on the platform, which features a display of the entire track layout with indications of sections that are occupied, free, set for reception or dispatch and other. The interlocking is accomplished by electrical and computerised circuits,” he said.

He added that, “It is also called panel interlocking (PI) and route relay interlocking (RRI) in which points and signals are worked by individual switches that control them.”

While elaborating he said, “The RRI is a system used in large and busy stations that have to handle high volumes of trains. In this system, an entire route through the station can be selected. All associated points and signals along the route can be set at once by a switch for receiving, holding, blocking, or dispatching trains.

Implementation of the electronic interlocking will end cabins constructed on either sides of the station from where levers are currently managed to provide signals to trains.”

Meanwhile, there is no end to long wait of passengers, who want their trains to reach the railway station on time. A daily passenger Lalit Kumar said he travelled daily to Batala by train as he was employed with a college there. “All these years, it has been rare to find a train reach its destination on time. Like me, a majority of daily commuters arrive late at their schools, colleges, offices and businesses.”

Meanwhile, parking of luxury trains — Shatabdi and Swarn Shatabdi — for a larger part of the day by the railway authorities at platform No.1 has irked passengers and vendors.

They said Amritsar-Mumbai Deluxe, Amritsar-Delhi Superfast, Amritsar-Dehradun and Amritsar-Chandigarh Inter City were also shifted from platform No 1. The move has exclusively reserved the platform for the two Shatabdi trains.

A vendor on condition of anonymity said, “Many amenities of the railway station are available at platform No.1. Regular parking of Swarn Shatabdi here from 1:30 pm to 5 pm and another Shatabdi from 10:40 pm to 5 am reduces business of vendors here considerably.”

He said business suffered as passengers crossed over to island platforms for boarding trains to their destinations.