Truck drivers harass railway staff at level crossings: SWR

Truck drivers harass railway staff at level crossings: SWR

Railway staff posted at unmanned level crossings between Yelahanka and Penukonda stations face constant harassment from truck drivers and other motorists who refuse to follow rules, according to the South Western Railway (SWR).

The railway staff try to act as counsellors by sounding whistle and raising red flags to stop traffic when a train is approaching. They advise motorists against crossing the tracks, but their warnings sometimes go unheeded. Accidents at level crossings, manned or unmanned, are proving to be a major problem for the railways. Monday’s accident at the manned level crossing (gate number 77) near Penukonda in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh once again highlights this.

The ghastly accident, which the SWR described as freak, occurred when a granite-laden truck crashed into the Bangalore City-Nanded Express at the manned level crossing near Penukonda.

Anil Kumar Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager, SWR, Bengaluru, said they were exploring options to make the gate number 77 safer. “Work on unmanned level crossings has already started. We have set a target to eliminate 10 unmanned level crossings this year by constructing rail underbridges or creating traffic diversions. There are five such level crossings between Yelahanka and Penukonda alone where work is in progress. Work on two railway crossings between Maglur and Penukonda has also started,” he told Deccan Herald.

According to the SWR, its efforts to build rail underbridges and overbridges are hampered by government delays to hand over land. There are 290 manned and 65 unmanned level crossings in Bengaluru alone. At 10 unmanned level crossings, the railways has started constructing the bridges, Agarwal added.

The SWR official said that getting the State government to part with land was a major challenge near Jakkur lake. Besides, defence officials have delayed sanctioning the land for constructing an underbridge near the Yeshwantpur railway station, he added.
DH News Service

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