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Central Railway elevates passenger safety with innovative ‘panic switches’ across 117 platforms

Dec 22, 2023 07:06 AM IST

The Central Railway in Mumbai will install 'panic switches' at all 117 railway stations to alert authorities to emergencies. The switches will be activated by incidents such as accidents, overcrowding, or criminal activities. The railway stations will also have additional CCTVs installed, and emergency talk-back buttons and more CCTVs will be placed inside ladies' compartments of local trains. The initiative aims to improve safety and response times in emergencies.

Mumbai: Central Railway authorities in Mumbai have announced the implementation of ‘panic switches’ across all platforms at each of the 117 railway stations under its purview. Scheduled to commence in January, each platform will be equipped with two strategically placed panic switches, serving as crucial triggers for emergencies.

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“These panic switches will be installed at two locations on each platform of all the 117 railway stations,” said RK Yadav, general manager, Central Railway. These switches are designed to alert authorities to incidents such as accidents, overcrowding, or criminal activities.

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The coverage of these panic switches will extend to major railway lines, including Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus - Kasara/Khopoli Main line, CSMT-Panvel Harbour line, Thane-Vashi Transharbour, and the Seawoods-Uran fourth corridor. To implement this safety measure, Central Railway has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RailTel, the entity responsible for the installation process.

Upon activation of the panic switch, the surrounding closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) will focus on the specific location. Simultaneously, the control room will be alerted, and railway police personnel will be dispatched to the affected platform. While the exact placement and colour identification of these switches are yet to be determined, work on the project is anticipated to span several months.

In an effort to prevent misuse of the panic switches, railway officials emphasise the importance of responsible use. “This mechanism will certainly give commuters to inform the rail authorities sooner about any issue. People should not misuse this facility,” said Subhash Gupta, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.

To complement this safety initiative, Central Railway plans to install emergency talk-back buttons and additional CCTVs inside ladies’ compartments of local trains by March 2024. Already, the installation of talk-back systems and CCTVs in a substantial number of local train have contributed to improved safety, with facial recognition systems aiding in identifying and addressing potential risks.

Railway authorities report successful outcomes from the use of CCTVs inside trains and stations, including the rescue of 1121 children, apprehension of over 400 ticket touts, and identification of more than 1600 individuals who travelled in ladies’ coaches.

“We have installed the talk back system in 512 coaches and CCTVs in 421 coaches of local trains out of 771 coaches,” said another railway official. Ongoing trials within the motormen cabin of select local trains involve the use of CCTVs under the Advanced Driver Assistance System for real-time monitoring, recording, and alerting motormen and drivers to potential distractions, fatigue, mobile device usage, smoking, and other safety concerns.

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