Since May this year, Pakistan Railway has been focusing on improving level crossings by manning the unmanned ones for the sake of safety and control.
Unmanned level crossings in populated areas have always been dangerous and due to the well-known poor management of Pakistan Railway, many accidents have occurred – as many as 189 were injured in a span of 2 years (2014-2016) including 80 deaths.
Pakistan Railway has started overhauling level crossings and training the personnel involved in the safety measures. Some “technological advancements”, like LED lights will be used to upgrade the warning signals and tail lamps for the sake of safety and information (which is on-par with the flying train in China).
Unmanned Level Crossings in Pakistan
There are 3,987 level crossings in the country, out of which 2,470 are unmanned. Pakistan Railway data tells that 1,195 unmanned level crossings are in Punjab, 133 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 504 in Sindh and 86 in Balochistan.
Around 511 of these crossings were declared dangerous and vulnerable in 2013 in a survey by Pak Railways.
According to estimates, Rs. 25 billion will be required to man all the unmanned level crossings and a yearly cost of Rs. 2.5 billion for maintenance and repair will be required. This does not include the wages of the staff.
Flyovers and Underground Passages
Dangerous railway level crossings are also getting underground passages and flyovers built on BOT (Build, Operate and Transfer) basis using fundings from the provincial governments.
Recently, divisional level teams were formed to regularly inspect railway tracks, crossings, signals, and bridges throughout the country. The teams report to the Chief Engineer associated with the team and the railway connection. They are expected to rectify any faults they spot to ensure smooth railway operation.
Funds Allocated by Provincial Governments
Pakistan Railways (PR) recently demanded Rs. 177.96 million from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government to improve 18 level crossings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
An official statement by the Ministry of Railways reveals that 75 out of 550 unmanned crossings have been manned at a cost of Rs. 610 million with funds provided by the Punjab Government. Punjab government also spent Rs. 1,250 million for the improvement of another 150.
Sindh Government allocated Rs. 104 million for the 15 most vulnerable level crossings.
Rs. 80 million has been demanded from the Government of Balochistan for 10 unmanned level crossings.
Via The Nation