State seeks auto blocking system for better traffic

The state government has taken up with the Railways, the issue of implementing the Automatic Block Signalling system (ABS), in the Shornur-Ernakulam section, known as the rail-line bottleneck, so that more trains could ply through the state.

“We are working on it and have taken up the matter with the Railways. If the ABS is in place, a train could start from a particular point if the one before it is 600 metres ahead.

Currently, the system is such that only after a train reaches the next station and gets a green signal, can the one behind it start. In short, the advanced system enables 10 trains to pass per hour in the place of three at present,” said Aryadan Mohammad, minister in charge of railways.

The Railways cite heavy traffic congestion as a stumbling block for starting new trains. At present, there are five lines (from Kozhikode, Coimbatore and Nilambur) till Shornur Jn but after that there is only the double line rail network till Ernakulam.

“The capacity can be more than doubled by the automatic block signaling which is being installed at most of the stretches in central and northern regions. The system is more accurate from the safety point of view also. Currently, it is estimated that a train requires 20 minutes on an average to reach one station from the other in a stretch.

This way, through one route, only a maximum of three trains can be run per hour,” said P. Raju, former railway official and ex-general manager, RITES Urban Transport.

Experts vouch the system is not expensive when compared to the installation of additional lines. “The cost roughly comes to Rs 10 lakh per km, whereas if we go for an additional line, the land acquisition cost and the ground work together will cost Rs 4 crore per km.

I don’t know why the Railways has not implemented the ABS system yet in the section. Under the present system, one cannot hope to get new trains without improving the line capacity in the section,” Mr Raju said.

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