New Delhi: Keeping passengers` safety in mind, Railways have planned to install a comprehensive fire and smoke detection system in about 500 coaches on a trial basis during this financial year following the successful test of the technology.
The system would be among a host of technologies that it has lined up to minimise loss of life and properties in case of any mishap.
Fire-related incidents have claimed a number of lives in the recent past. Figures indicate that between March and September 2009 alone, 14 cases of fire in coaches have been
reported, out of which six cases were solely on account of electrical failure.
According to sources in Railways, they have "planned to have the system installed in 20 rakes during this financial year," which comes to about 500 coaches to test its efficacy
on a variety of coaches.
The Research Design and Standards Organisation earlier tested the system in one rake of the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express comprising 18 LHB AC coaches.
Trials on this rake were on since November 2009 and the "system was reported to be working satisfactorily," sources said. They said the unit cost per coach for such a system was found to be around Rs two lakh.
The move comes even as Railway Board has ordered a safety drive for 21 days on a number of items related to safety of pantry cars after it expressed concern over "inadequate emphasis" being given by zonal railways in setting up a system for preventive action against fire in pantry cars.
It has also observed that the generator cars of its flagship trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani and Duronto trains are most vulnerable to fire.
One of the cars of Rajdhani express was gutted in a fire incident at Rajendra Nagar Terminal on March 8 last year.
During the same month, a blaze was also noticed in the pantry car of Patna Rajdhani express in Mughalsarai station.
On June six last year, three coaches of the empty rake of 3240 Mathura-Patna express caught fire at Mathura Railway station.