BENGALURU: South Western Railway is reviewing its project of automatic signalling between Cantonment and Whitefield stations. It was sanctioned in the pink book (railway’s budget) earlier this year for Rs 12 crore. The system will help with running of more trains, and help avoid delay in operations, according to experts.
A railway official on the condition of anonymity said, “We are reconsidering whether automatic signalling can be carried out or not, as once the quadrupling work starts, the railway cables may get cut. Right now, the work is in suspension and the decision will be taken within two weeks by the general manager.”
“The original target date for commissioning the project, that is, making it available to public was December this year. Should we decide to go ahead with the project, the commissioning will shift to January 2019,” the official added.
As of now, the quadrupling of the line was sanctioned in March this year for `492.87 crore and the tenders have been called. Amit Garg, chief engineer, construction department, said, “We have invited tenders and the bidder will be selected in a couple of months. The project will take two years to complete.”
Commenting on the hold-up over signalling, transport expert from Praja RAAG, Sanjeev Dyamannavar said, “They are delaying the project for no good reason. Several intercity and passenger trains running from Cantonment to Whitefield are suffering right now. In an RTI response last year, they said automatic signalling would be completed by September 2018. They could have finished it by now and begunquadrupling.”
As for the technical issues of cables being cut, Sanjeev said, “It is possible to implement both. At best, some cables which are cut can be repaired. It is a small cost compared to the losses we are incurring now with lesser suburban services and delay in operations.”
“A lot of time margin is kept between one train and the next in the current system of signalling. More trains will run after suburban rail project is implemented by the Special Purpose Vehicle. Automatic signalling will come in handy then, ensuring four trains can run on one section instead of just one. It improves safety and prevents train accidents as well,” he said.