Siemens, a renowned German company and the largest electronics manufacturing company in Europe, offered an automated signaling system to Pakistan Railways, a schematic system for level crossings in which train driver would be warned of any danger or hazard on the track beforehand.
Representatives of Siemens, Helmut von Struve, Managing Director, Siemens Pakistan Engineering Company Limited and Marco Wagner, Regional Business Manager visited Pakistan Railways headquarters office and met CEO Pakistan Railways, advisor on Railways Anjum Parveiz and other relevant team members.
Digital wireless transmission of video images of train approaching and leaving a level crossing would help the driver and staff to respond to any untoward situation timely.
The Digital wireless system offered by the company is based on RFID Technology, Radiofrequency Identification System where RFID tags would be installed on level crossings and receiver for the same would keep engine driver updated of the ground situation.
The concerned officers from signaling and electrical branch raised many questions relevant to its implementation in Pakistan Railways level crossings.
Advisor on Railways Anjum Parveiz said the level crossing safety is prime concern of department at this point of time. As the train operations are increasing and are likely to escalate in future, Pakistan Railways need to implement a better system that could warn both by passerby and driver at level crossings.
CEO Pakistan Railways Javed Anwar said that this system would be a great aid to our staff and drivers and as we are moving towards CPEC, a better digitized complete interlock system is part and parcel of the big project but to respond instantly to the accidents at level crossings a committee should hold meetings with approaching company and categorize the level crossings to find way out of the problem as earliest as possible.
According to Railways Ministry there are a total of 3987 level crossings on entire Railway system including 1517 manned and 2470 unmanned level crossings. Of the total 1195 are in Punjab, 133 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 504 in Sindh and 86 in Balochistan.
About 80 level crossings have so far been manned during the incumbent government tenure while work on 100 is in progress. Only 7 level crossings were manned during the previous government period, the official added.
Pakistan Railways has also proposed to construct under passes and flyovers at vulnerable level crossing on Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis with the help of private sector. The contactor would collect toll from the users and after recovering their money, would hand over it to government.
Railway Ministry has prepared short, medium and long term plans to control the trains’ accidents. Further PC-1 of a new project worth Rs 730 million has been submitted to the Planning Division for affective communication system.
Under the project provision of better communication (VHF radio) for improvement of communication between ground staff and locomotive crew would be ensured. Manned level crossing be further upgraded with provision of signals and tracking/ monitoring of trains through GPS/ location devices is also under process.