The Indian Railways has ditched the tried-and-tested method of tying crackers to the tracks to alert drivers of approaching signals, in favour of a system that can ensure trains no longer move at a snail’s pace in foggy weather. The device — Fog Pass (Fog Pilot Assistance System) or FSD — is GPS-enabled and can continuously calculate the distance of the train in relation to the next landmark, enabling drivers to know when exactly a signal is approaching. The national transporter has recently installed 4,920 such devices in the most fog-affected railway zones — northern, north-central, north-eastern and north-western. Plans are afoot to install an additional 1,175 such devices in two more zones by this Friday — east-central and northeast-frontier — to take the total to 6,095, covering the most-affected zones.
“In the absence of this device, (the) crew has to reduce speed, often to walking speed in search for signals. With the deployment of FSDs, train pilots are able to know precisely and, in advance, about the location of signals, level-crossing gates and other such approaching markers,” an official said today. Any approaching landmark will be announced by a recorded voice before 500 metres and three pre-fed marks are shown at a time on the display unit in bold letters, along with the distance to reach the first landmark. Speed and time are also displayed on the right-bottom corner. There is also a provision to cross-check history, the official added.