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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Train took a wrong route ! ~ possible ?

In a recent Tamil film, there was a good comedy scene ~ in a transport Corporation bus having reached Tambaram, the conductor would go near the door step, canvass for passengers by shouting ‘Trichy, Trichy,… the destination’ ~ one of the harried passengers, just woken out of slumber would reach to his baggage to get down, thinking that Trichy has come !

Chennai is congested ~ vehicles of various hues vie the jostle in the little or no space.  The arterial Mount road [Anna Salai] has become one way adding to the woes………. – people are waiting for the Chennai Metro Rail to come.  The Phase I of the project consisting of two corridors covering a length of 45.1 km is under construction. The elevated section of the project is scheduled to be operational by 2013 and the entire project is scheduled to be completed by the financial year 2014-2015. About 55% of the corridors in Phase I is underground and the remaining is elevated.

There is news today that after  more than three years of non-stop construction activity, work on Chennai Metro Rail has arrived at Koyambedu. The structures of two metro stations — CMBT and Koyambedu — are now complete. Part of the elevated stretch of corridor II, which runs from Chennai Central to St. Thomas Mount, the CMBT station is located close to the Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus, where bus services from Chennai to other towns and cities culminate. The terminal point – the Koyambedu station would come up there.  

Miles away, Tokyo is blessed with one of the world’s most efficient public transportation systems. It’s a city of ‘paper drivers’ – those who have licences but haven’t touched a steering wheel in decades. That is because the city’s trains are spotless, quiet and nearly always on time. Tokyo also has a network of buses and a flotilla of taxis, but most travellers find that the trains cover all their transportation needs.

Trains attract and a travel by train is always enjoyable for various reasons including the food that is sold at various stations.  One of my friends used to read and read again the Railway Time table as it were to be an interesting comic book…. Well the massive network if Indian Railways attract different people for different reasons and it has millions of followers and more millions commute..

As the Train Engine with its countless compartments chug, you always wonder, how they find their way – though we feel that steering a train must be relatively easier.  For the commuter, there are lesser hassles, you know the time the train is expected to reach a particular station ~ it might be late – but never earlier than the scheduled time.  There are at times, when a particular compartment alone gets disengaged at a Junction and is joined with another train for another destination, on a different route. All by Railway signaling.

Railway signalling is a system used to control railway traffic safely, essentially to prevent trains from colliding. Being guided by fixed rails, trains are uniquely susceptible to collision; furthermore, trains cannot stop quickly, and frequently operate at speeds that do not enable them to stop within sighting distance of the driver. Most forms of train control involve movement authority being passed from those responsible for each section of a rail network (e.g., a signalman or stationmaster) to the train crew.  The signals along the tracks keep the train operators informed of traffic conditions ahead. Signals control train traffic much like traffic lights control automobile traffic on roads. Besides signals, many locomotives have radios and computer terminals that monitor traffic conditions using information supplied by signaling centers, which are similar to air traffic control stations.

So there are sophisticated systems that ensure that train travels on the right route, takes the right turn and reaches the right destination – in time !!!!! ~ strangely [read in TOI] that a train headed to Pune took a wrong route

It was reported that a Chennai-Pune weekly special train took a wrong route after crossing the Arakkonam station before the loco pilot realized the error and alerted the station master at Arakkonam around 5pm on Wednesday [12th Dec 2012]. Officials said the train was supposed to head to Renigunta from Arakkonam but it took the route to Katpadi. The train was pulled back to Arakkonam station before it could continue on the right track. Trains towards Mumbai take the Renigunta route, while trains to Coimbatore and Kerala take the Katpadi route after crossing Arakkonam.

The TOI report quoting a senior railway official reported that it could have been due to the staff in the cabin having switched the tracks into the wrong route and that it was not a safety issue.  Is that really so ?  How can a train travel in a wrong track and if that can occur, how another train could not have been moving on the same track.. !! ~ one shudders to think..

The scene in the first para was a comedy, hopefully, one does not buy ticket for Madurai, board a train, sleep and in the morning finds self elsewhere !!!

With regards
S. Sampathkumar
18th Dec 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing about your great train adventures journey, many of which I dream of doing myself.I probably never will, but thoroughly enjoy reading about yours.And get IRCTC log in detail to travel in train.