Silent, high-speed danger on the tracks

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The clamour for MEMU services linking some of the southern towns and Ernakulam is slowly giving way to some worry over the silent, high speed trains’ potential for danger, as the train service has begun.

People, especially the vehicle-users in the Ernakulam-Alappuzha- Kayamkulam stretch, need be aware that danger lurks mainly along the 44 unmanned level crossings(LCs).

“The Maximum Permissible Speed (MPS) at the stretch is fixed at 100 km/hour. The people and vehicles crossing the tracks should be extra cautious as the trains do not emit noise during the operation, unlike the other trains, a top railway official said.

The stretch is already an accident-prone area. In January, two lives were lost there. Earlier, in August 2010, four persons including a German tourist couple were killed at the unmanned LC at Mararikkulam.

A year later, five people lost their lives when a train rammed into a mini lorry in Ochira. The most shocking of them all was the accident at Cheppad in 1996 when a tourist bus rammed into a train, Killing 35 people.

Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Aggarwal said the railways would deploy personnel at the gates. “We’re discussing it with the state government and will address the issue at the earliest.”

The MEMU trains can reach 100 km/hour in just 80 seconds. So, it is extremely dangerous to board the train once it starts moving.

“At stations, passengers should stand towards the front (near the signal) as these are small, eight rake trains halting at a station for 15 to 30 seconds. No one should attempt to board the train once it starts moving.”

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