One of the country’s oldest railway lines between Karjat and Khopoli still functions on a 19th century signalling system — carrying a steel ball token to continue its journey.
The method ensures safety in train operations by dispensing tokens, which are handed to train drivers as an authority to run the train.
The 15-km section between Karjat and Khopoli, about 100 km from Mumbai, has only one track. This is one of the country’s oldest railway sections opened in 1856 by the erstwhile Great Indian Peninsula Railway, now called the Central Railway.
“In the single line section, it is one of the safest and foolproof methods of signalling. This method is known as absolute-block signalling system as against the commonly used automatic signalling system in the more intensively used suburban sections,” a senior official said.
The system, Neale’s Ball Token Instrument, named after its designer working with the GIP Railway, was introduced during the British rule. It involves an electro-mechanical instrument provided at each station on single line railway sections.