This winter, as the holiday rush picks up, the railways are hoping to have less fog-related delays.
At select sectors notorious for dense fog holding up train services, Northern Railway has replaced 3,500 conventional signals with the ones made of Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
These “full-ball” signals are 1.5 times more visible in low-visibility conditions like fog, officials said.
Non-sighting of signals is the main reason why trains get delayed in fog.
To ensure that there is minimum pile up and cancellations of trains due to fog, areas in Delhi and Ferozepur divisions are getting the maximum number of these signals.
The season of fog is coinciding with the rush for extra trains, which has as much as trebled at certain sectors.
In the past 15 days alone, Northern Railway has had to deploy 132 additional trips of special trains. “These trains ran packed to the brim. Moreover, more coaches had to be added to existing trains,” said Northern Railway spokesman Anant Swaroop.
Trains see a boom in passenger traffic during the week between Christmas and New Year. Therefore this year, special trains have been rolled out for Goa, Kerala and Jammu.
This is apart from adding extra coaches to existing line-up of Goa Express, Trivandram Rajdhani, Sampark Kranti Express and Mangala Express, officials said. “We feel that with airline operations in and out of Delhi becoming uncertain due to fog and other weather conditions, people prefer railways during this season,” said a Northern Railway official.
Last winter, more than 100 trains ran late, some by as much as 24 hours and trains got cancelled almost daily, stranding thousands of passengers at stations.
Apart from the LEDs, the railways are already ready with 59,000 detonators to help run trains in fog.
These are small explosives burst on the tracks—an age-old technology to alert the driver about low visibility ahead so that he can run the train even without sighting the signals and tracks.