The stark difference between security at airports and at railway stations might soon disappear with the Northern Railways planning to go hi-tech.
Soon, all luggage passing through the three major terminal stations in the Capital—New Delhi, Delhi and Nizamuddin—will pass through automated X-ray machines, which display all the contents of luggage on a monitor.
According to the Rs 2.75 crore pilot project, multiple X-ray machines will be installed at entrances and at parcel centres at the three stations. While such machines are not new for airports, officials said, this was the first time they would be deployed at railway stations.
Said a senior Northern Railways official: “In the wake of the recent security alerts, we urged passengers to arrive at stations an hour in advance so that lengthy manual frisking by security staff could be carried out on time. But that engages a lot of manpower and consumes precious time, besides causing inconvenience to passengers.”
While at present at least five security personnel are stationed at every entrance to manually frisk luggage, the X-ray machines will cut down that number significantly.
“Considering that together the three terminal stations service around 10 lakh people every day, the number of luggage we have to manually scan is huge,” the official said. With the machines in place, while one person would be needed to stand on guard, another will watch the monitor.
Even the huge parcel traffic and the cloakrooms at stations will be scanned. The three stations in Delhi together receive about 50,000 parcels every day. “Manually running an explosive-detector over all the parcels is a telling task. Now even that will be taken care of by the machines,” the official added.