Govt steps to up-grade vulnerable railway level crossings

ISLAMABAD, Aug 19 (APP):The present government was taking several steps including up-gradation of unmanned and vulnerable railway level crossings across the country in collaboration with respective provincial governments.

150-year-old faulty and obsolete signal system installed on Pakistan Railways network is considered the main reason behind the increased number of train accidents, sources in the Ministry of Railways told APP.

As many as 384 train accidents were occurred on Pakistan Railways network across the country, during the past six years, which claimed around 150 lives.
They said at least 74 major and minor train accidents had occurred in last year out of which 54 inquiries had been completed and the other 20 were still under investigation.

The sources said Main Line-I (ML-I) from Peshawar to Karachi track had completed its life by 55 per cent, while ML-2 and ML-3 had surpassed 82 per cent and 80 per cent of their usable lives, respectively.
Pakistan Railways had filed 13 cases relating to the serious incidents and issued 24 show cause notices against employees and other officials responsible for the accidents, besides punishing 34 people who were found guilty, they added.

They said Pakistan Railways faced 89 accidents in 2014-15, 76 in 2015-16, 78 in 2016-17 and as many as 67 incidents during the year 2017-18.
The sources said road surface of all level crossings was being improved together with improved warning boards and provision of reliable communication (VHF radio) between ground staff and locomotives crew.
The Directorate of Public Relations has produced video messages for circulations over social media to inform the public about the dangers associated with railway crossings, they added.
The sources said that all level crossings on Main Line-I (Karachi to Peshawar) would be eliminated by providing under passes and flyovers under China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC).

They said timely refresher courses and safety seminars were also being arranged to enhance the professional knowledge of the staff and auto train protection system is also underway to minimize such accidents as this system applies brake automatically if the divers of train fail to respond red signal.

A professional knowledge testing schedule after every six months for drivers particularly of Multan, Lahore Sukkur, and Karachi divisions should be tested in working of auto block signaling, they said.
They said that joint certificate of this effect would be issued by the Divisional Signal Engineer and Divisional Mechanical Engineer certifying competency of driver especially regarding the knowledge of auto block signaling.

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