Guwahati: In an effort to avert tragedies and help in the timely running of trains, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) have recently installed a GPS-based alert system Fog PASS (Fog Pilot Assistance System for Safety) in all its locomotives to warn train drivers in case of an emergency during the foggy seasons.
As per a statement released by NF Railway, the equipment which weighs about 1.5 kilograms is equipped with an inbuilt battery and a GPS antenna with the magnetic base system and is placed at the pilot consul of all locomotives. It is informed that as the train moves, the Fog PASS starts displaying a short description and remaining distance of the next two nearest landmarks including signals of various types, level crossing gate amongst others in geographical order on its LCD screen.
Notably, as a train approaches a station the FogPASS device will start flashing the remaining distance to the home signal of that station and hence even if the pilot is unable to physically see the signals during heavy fog he will be alert to notice the aspect of the signal (red, green or yellow) and act accordingly.
The new device which will be a great help to train drivers during foggy weathers, especially in winter, is also equipped with a voice announcement system for the attention of the drivers.
NF Railway authorities also informed that ‘Fog PAAS’ device has been provided in crew lobbies of all locomotives including mail/express, passenger and goods trains. Train drivers are instructed to carry the device while assuming their duty. Adding to it, NF Railway authorities have provided sufficient sets of walkie-talkie to train drivers and station staff. They have also arranged for a counselling of staffs about working during foggy weathers.
In addition to it, NF Railways have deployed fog signalmen at vulnerable station section to place detonators on the tracks for alerting the loco pilots about approaching signals. These detonators are placed on track about 270 – 280 meters ahead of the first stop signal of a station to alert driver during heavy foggy weather. Railway authorities have also instructed painting of all signal sighting boards, Fog Signal Posts with retro-reflective paints and level crossing gates to be provided with yellow/black luminous indications strips.
Significantly, during intense fog situation, railways normally face a heap of problems including, crew shortage resulting to longer working hours due to slower mobility, non-availability of track maintenance slots due to reduced capacity and complete disorientation of timetable.
Meanwhile, the newly introduced GPS-based system ‘FogPASS’ is proving to be a boon to speed up trains operation during an intense fog situation in in the region.