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Addressing Safety and Security issues relating to EMU Sub-urban Services

By on October 24, 2013

The services of Electrical Multiple Units (EMU) and Mainline Multiple Units (MEMU) plays a vital role in meeting the transportation need of the Urban and Suburban services of Indian Railways. There are features of these services that make them different as compared to the operation of other trains. This result in certain safety and security issues in Sub-urban network.

How are EMU/MEMU services different for safety/security concerns?

  1. There are frequent stoppages, with an average passenger journey time to around 30 minutes. It is very difficult for anyone to recognize anyone at a later time if the situation is so-called.
  2. The train is worked by one member crew called Motorman
  3. The operation of Alarm chain pulling does not stop the train but gives an alarm to Motorman, who looks back and stops the train only when convinced that there is an emergency and the train shall be stopped.
  4. Heavy crowds, even 16 passengers per mduring peak hours, and passengers hanging outside the coach. Falling off a passenger sometimes goes unnoticed.
  5. There is overcrowding during peak hours, but only a few passengers during non-peak hours, and women’s safety becomes a concern. There is hardly any woman passenger in Lady’s compartment, and unsafe in general coach with only a few passengers.
  6. Non-provision of Automatic Door Closure that the train starts only when women are satisfied that there are no unauthorized men in the ladies coach.
  7. The services operate in sections having high inhabitant density
  8. Train acceleration is very high, and trespassers take the risk of crossing the track, unable to perceive the time it will take to reach them.
  9. Traffic density on the section is very high, and there is little time to react to shift from one track to another for the trespasser.
  10. The services generally work in Automatic territory, and the motorman encounters at least one or two aspects of the signal at the danger which he has to pass after stopping for one or two minutes day and night. Non-observance of this aspect is a safety violation, and there is no way to find this out, and during accident inquiry, it becomes a subject of dispute.
  11. OHE breakdown caused due to OHE   or panto defect is very difficult to establish, and preventive actions are generally initiated on hearsay/surmise, etc.

How to address issues?

The development of technologies can address the problem without very little investment. The technologies have already been introduced in metro trains and can easily be introduced over EMU/MEMU trains. These are as follows:

  1. Installing a video camera in the driving cab recording motorman actions, front, and rear end view continuously during the journey.
  2. A hidden surveillance camera in the ladies’ coach with thick metal sheet protection and secured power supply wiring with battery standby operation. Central Railway started a good practice of video graphs of all the passenger boarding GS coaches at CST to track offenders involved in “Jahar Khurani” and robbing co-passenger. This has much impact on lowering crime against passengers.
  3. Ladies coach earmarked next to driving and guard cab. There should be an open grilled or glassed peeping window between the motorman cab and the ladies’ compartment. This may not be possible for the Mumbai Sub-urban network where the passenger are addicted to one system of coach location.
  4. The alarm chain from the ladies’ Cab gives a different sound bell something like a hooter sound.
  5. Provision of Ladies armed constable in Ladies coach during night time.
  6. Improved illumination of around 200 lux level

An effort has been made to record the front-end view during the day and night to check the view clarity and to what extent it can help identify the prevailing line conditions. It is almost equivalent to virtual foot plate inspection with clear visibility of OHE, Track, Signal, trespassing, Railway station, infringement on track, etc.

Similarly, the Hidden surveillance camera in the Ladies’ coach will record all incidents during the journey. This proven technology can easily be installed in the Ladies’ coach. The through coupler provides a facility for continuous power supply and transfer of recorded data in the motorman cab. Illumination Lux level in the ladies’ coach shall be around 200 so that the recording is good and the culprit’s face is easily traceable.

It may also be seen that during non-peak hours, any offender boarding the train will be captured even if he escapes video-recording in the ladies’ coach and can be apprehended.

Below are given the recorded video graph.

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