Colombo: The Sri Lankan Railways
has asked the public not to use mobiles while walking along
railway tracks after a spate of incidents involving people
being knocked down by trains while talking on phones.
"At least 15 people using their mobile telephones
while walking on railway tracks have died after being knocked
down by trains this year," Railways Commercial Superintendent
Wijeya Samarasinghe said.
He said the distraction of using cell phones near
train tracks is a growing concern and warned the public about
the danger of talking or texting on mobile phones near tracks.
He said lots of people including school children walk
along the track or cross the track daily.
"Once they are pre-occupied on their mobile phones
they do not hear the train. Trains travel fast and being close
to the rail tracks is also dangerous, because trains have
about a three-feet overhang on the side. That is why we advise
people to just stay away from the tracks," Samarasinghe told
the state run Daily News.
Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Rohana
Dissanayake said, "The railways has decided to equip all major
railway crossings with modern railway gates as being used in
More than 20 people have died and 83 critically
injured while crossing unsafe railway gates in the Island
Nation during this year, he said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has instructed officials
to take all possible measures to prevent train related
accidents and to ensure safety of the people, he added.
The railway covers around 1,200 kilometres islandwide.
There are 940 railway gates and only 200 gates have been
provided with latest technology. The rest are unsafe and
risky, the Daily News quoted the minister to say.
Through this technology, an alarm signal and a
continuous ringing of a bell will indicate a train is on the
way five minutes before its arrival. Then the gate will
automatically shut down.