NEW DELHI: Dense fog in many parts of northern India continued to disrupt rail traffic on Tuesday.
At least 45 Delhi-bound trains are running behind schedule, 22 have been cancelled and four rescheduled due to fog and operational reasons.
Come winter and all north-bound trains get delayed for hours due to poor visibility during foggy weather, causing a ripple effect on the congested network. The dense fog forces drivers to slow down train speeds up to 15 kmph as a safety requirement — resulting in delays ranging between four and 22 hours.
The Government in December 2017 had informed the Parliament that more than 3,000 trains were delayed due to fog between November 1 and December 21 in 2017.
In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had said 3,119 trains were delayed during the period on account of fog.
Goyal said portable global positioning system (GPS)-based fog pass devices were being issued to the loco pilots for the regions which get seriously affected due to fog.
According to the data provided by the minister, the Northern Railways has received 3,185 of such devices, North Eastern Railways has got 975, North Western Railways 802, East Central Railways 617, North Central Railways 282 and the Northeast Frontier Railways has received 183.
"The reported outcome of the fog pass devices from the zonal railways has been satisfactory. The device provides a visual indication of the approaching level-crossing gates and other signal landmarks to the loco pilots, 500 metres in advance," Goyal said.
Rattled by the massive disruption in services year after year in winter, the railways has initiated several steps to use technology to fight fog. The steps include a Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), a Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), and a Terrain Imaging for Diesel Drivers (Tri-NETRA) System, with the latest one being LED fog lights to improve visibility so that drivers can maintain normal speeds.
The Tri-NETRA system enables the driver to view the terrain on a computer installed in the cabin. However, all these systems are in the pilot stage. As for the LED fog lights, the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the railways is currently finalising their specifications on these. The railways expects that once these systems are installed, it will help in enhancing the vision of locomotive drivers in difficult weather conditions, such as fog, heavy rains and during the night time so that they have enough time to react to an emergency.