Ahead of winter season, railways is gearing up to install a modern safety device for enhancing the vision of loco pilots in foggy weather.
Dubbed as “Tri-Netra” (third eye), the new systems will give the locomotive pilot a clear view of the track ahead in bad visibility conditions so that he can apply brakes well in time.
“We have firmed up a proposal to install the device to equip diesel locomotive drivers with terrain imaging and radar assisted system to enhance the vision during the inclement weather,” said a Railway Ministry official.
The system shall map the terrain ahead so that the driver knows when he is approaching a station or a signal.
It will enable the locomotive pilot to see objects from upto one kilometer away on straight track during inclement weather, he said.
Railways witness a serious problem of train running late by several hours during every winter in northern parts of the country due to fog.
The system would also come in handy specially during foggy weather as the system would enable the driver to see the signals clearly on the device.
Railways had called for Expression of Interest for the Tri-Netra project. “It has a got good response as a number of companies from Israel, Finland, USA and Austria have expressed interest in developing such a system,” he said.
The train drivers face a lot of challenges while moving in poor visibility conditions. During fog, heavy rain and also during night, the locomotive pilots face serious challenges in looking out ahead to spot any obstruction on the track such as vehicles which get stuck while crossing the track or trees or boulders which have fallen across the track.
Because of the heavy momentum of the running train, the train driver has to always adjust the speed so that he can stop the train after seeing the obstruction.
In fair weather and in daytime, this is not a problem since train driver has a clear view of the track ahead. But in poor visibility, he has to reduce the speed suitably so that the brakes can be applied in time to stop the train without hitting the obstructions.
The system shall be made up of high-resolution optical video camera, high sensitivity infrared video camera and additionally a radar-based terrain mapping system. These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the loco pilot.
The concept of Tri-Netra was developed by using the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness and the technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.