The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Railway steps to prevent mishaps

New Delhi, Oct. 20 (PTI): The railway is implementing a scheme of track circuiting to prevent accidents due to removal or fracture of tracks like in the recent Rajdhani Express mishap at Rafiganj.

A low-voltage electrical circuit will cover the entire range of tracks and once the circuit is broken because of removal or fracture of tracks, the signal will automatically turn red, railway minister Nitish Kumar said.

At present, such a system is available only in station yards, but its extension to the entire stretch of tracks will improve safety standards, he added.

Kumar also said that to augment safety, coaches are being redesigned for better supervision and upkeep. The first trial run of such coaches would soon take place in Ajmer.

On the sabotage theory behind the Rajdhani accident, Kumar said he would not like to comment on the accident as it was under inquiry. Preliminary report has, however, confirmed the sabotage.

Pressed further, the minister said he could only put forward a technical point that the engine at the speed during the time of accident would cross the damaged section by sheer kinetic inertia. It would have taken it only 0.25 second to cross that section whereas derailment takes place only after momentum decreases.

On the division of railway zones, Kumar said creation of new zones was necessary for better supervision and efficiency. The last zone, South Central Railway, was created in 1965 and since then, both the freight and passenger traffic had increased phenomenally.

Besides, the railway did no longer have the kind of monopoly of the traffic they had earlier.

A general manager of a railway zone now needs to ensure better supervision and have closer interaction with trade and industry, if the railways have to have a decent share of the business, he said.

On the justification for merging the Dhanbad division with the new zone headquartered at Hajipur, the minister said only 2 per cent of the traffic from the division moves towards Calcutta and the rest has movement within the zone or towards the north. Hence, he claimed, it was only logical that it should be in the zone connected with the north.

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