To reduce the possibility of accidents such as the Sunday incident at Churchgate station and to provide more trains for commuters, the railways is looking at installing more advanced controlling systems in suburban trains.
The system –communication-based-train-control (CBTC) – is one of the priority projects in the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-4 (MUTP) and is estimated to cost around Rs4,000crore.
Apart from controlling the train during an emergency, the CBTC will also mean more services for suburban commuters, as the railways will be able to operate trains at an interval of two minutes, instead of the present 3.5 minutes.
This means that five to seven more trains can be operated every hour.
At present, trains work on an auxiliary warning system that has fixed signals. Under this, motormen control the trains based on four types of signals – green, double yellow, yellow and red.
In the CBTC system, there is a master controller installed in the trains, which enables trains to communicate with each other through radio frequency about their speed and location. Besides, this system will give motormen the required warnings in the cabin itself, and they will not have to rely on signals fixed along the tracks.
“It is a highly advanced system, where trains can communicate with each other,” said a senior railway official, requesting anonymity. “The CBTC will remove that scope of manual error, making travel safer for commuters,” he added.
This is the second major railway accident on the Western Railway in the past few years, after a head-on collision of two trains in 2012 at Andheri station, in which 10 people were injured.