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India Railways to use geospatial tool as fog shield

India: The Indian Railways claims to have found a method to prevent train accidents during the foggy season. Ahead of the foggy conditions of the winter months, INR 3.96 crore plan, involving the use of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based fog safe devices, has been put in place for 11,000 passenger trains in fog-prone areas.

The device, Fogsafe, weighing 1.4 kg can be carried by the loco pilots and placed in the train engine as they start their journey. Each device will cost INR 36,000. It will display advance information concerning names of approaching signals, level crossings and gates.

The gadgets — indigenously developed — will provide the much-needed technological aid to loco pilots during foggy weather. They have been successfully tried out and a month-long training programme on using the machine has been given to train drivers, according to the Indian Railway Ministry. Foggy conditions are a regular occurrence in December- January, when hundreds of lives are lost in train accidents. Early this year, about a dozen fog-related accidents were reported.

Traditional techniques for alerting drivers ahead of signals involve explosives burst by “fog-men” on duty on the tracks. Besides being expensive, the method is not foolproof as there are too many variables. The crackers may fail to burst at the right time. The fog-men may arrive late for duty.

Estimates are that the railways spend INR 12.5 crore a year on the cracker method during December-January.

Source: Hindustan Times