The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has introduced a new GPS-based system in all locomotives for auto warning to train drivers during the foggy season, an official said. The system is also expected to ensure timely running of trains.
NFR Chief Public Relations Officer, Pranav Jyoti Sharma, said an equipment called FogPASS (Fog Pilot Assistance System for Safety), consisting of an in-built battery and GPS antenna with a magnetic base, has been installed in all locomotives in the NFR.
“The device, which weighs 1.5 kg, is carried by the loco pilot at the time of assuming charge of the locomotive. It is placed on the console of the loco and, as the train moves, it displays short description and remaining distance of next two landmarks in geographical order on an LCD screen,” he said, adding that landmarks include signals of various types and level-crossings.
“This means that as a train approaches a station, the device will flash the distance left for the home signal of that station. Thus, even if the pilot is unable to physically see the signal, he would be aware of how far train is from the signal and would be alert to notice the aspect of the signal (red, green or yellow) and act accordingly,” he said. He said there is also provision of voice announcement from speakers attached to the device. The new device has proved to be helpful to drivers in foggy weather, Sharma added.
“A total of 1,101 such devices have already been allotted to all Divisions for fixing in locomotives. Besides, the Railways has also deployed Fogmen to place detonators on the tracks to alert the loco pilots about approaching signals. Senior railway officials are undertaking night foot-plate inspection and track patrolling to detect cases of rail fracture,” he said.
Railway authorities have also provided sufficient walkie-talkie sets to the crew and station staff. Signal indication booklets have been provided to loco pilot and counselling on working during fog is also being done. He said FogPASS is also proving to be a boon in speeding up trains during intense fog.