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Trains getting delayed despite fog safe device installed by Northern Railway

On Thursday, as many as 92 trains were reported running late while 19 were cancelled and 44 trains were rescheduled because of dense fog

delhi Updated: Jan 05, 2018 19:28 IST
A Mariyam Alavi
A Mariyam Alavi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Fog,Delhi weather,Winter
The GPS-based fog safe device was introduced in 2010. It has been made available in all Northern Railway trains this winter.(Sanchit Khanna/HT Photo)

Huddled in blankets and thick shawls, sleeping on benches, or playing cards to while away the time.

This is how those stranded at the New Delhi Railway stations’ platforms coped with almost a 100 trains running up to 30 hours late on Thursday.

All trains of the Northern Railway are now equipped with a portable GPS-based fog safe device, which alerts the locomotor pilot of upcoming landmarks, signal crossings and stations 500m in advance.

Nitin Chowdhary, the chief public relations officer of the Northern Railway, said that the device was introduced in 2010, while another spokesperson said that this winter, it had been made available in all trains.

However, the device has not been able to make a major dent in the number of trains that are delayed, rescheduled and cancelled because of the weather. According to Northern Railway officials, at 5:30 pm as many as 92 trains were reported running late while 19 were cancelled and 44 trains were rescheduled because of the very dense fog.

“On clear days, we run the trains at the sanctioned speed, which is around 100 kmph. When it is foggy, we do not go over 30-35 kmph,” said the locomotive pilot who was demonstrating the functioning of the device, illustrating how trains run at almost less than half their regular speeds, causing delays.

Another railway official explained that while the device tells you about an upcoming signal, it does not indicate whether the signal is green or red. It is because of this the locomotive pilot may have to even stop the train, to confirm whether they can go ahead or not, thereby causing delays.

The effects of these almost unpredictable delays were seen at the railway station, where many commuters had come in the previous night and had to wait for up to 19 hours for their train. Many had spent the night at the station, waiting for their trains.

“My train was supposed to be at 3 pm on Wednesday. They are saying it will leave at 10:30 am now, which means it is over 19 hours late... I stay in Okhla, and autowallas will take at Rs 300 each way. So it may cost me up to Rs 1,000 to go and come back. So I just sat here wrapped in a blanket,” said Om Prakash, who was on his way to Siwan in Bihar.

Others seemed to have decided to make lemonade when life gave them lemons. A group of Punjabi daily wage earners working on farms in Maharashtra, on their way home,were seen playing card games on the platform, even as their train was running around 12 hours late.

“We have to wait anyway, so we might as well play a game to pass the time,” said Raman (who goes by his first name).

First Published: Jan 05, 2018 14:25 IST