Commuters cross rail tracks at their own peril

The death of two youths at the Whitefield railway station recently, after they were mowed down by speeding trains while crossing the tracks, sparked off a protest by commuters.

They demanded that the railway authorities construct a skywalk for passengers to cross over the tracks. The department obliged and has taken up the construction of a skywalk.
But then, a reality check by Deccan Herald shows that only a small percentage of commuters make use of the skywalks that are present at the City’s other stations.  

The station master of the K R Puram station told Deccan Herald that in spite of the recent accidents and the protest at Whitefield, people prefer to cross the tracks even though the station has a skywalk. The situation at the Malleswaram railway station is no different. Twenty-three people died crossing the tracks at the station in 2012 alone, a rise of four compared to 2011. The skywalk at Malleswaram station was constructed in 2010. Yet, there have been many accidents since then. The station has two tracks and the railways have erected a railing to separate them to prevent commuters from crossing over the tracks.

“Even after repeated warnings over the microphone, people climb over the railings to cross the tracks. It is very difficult to watch them every minute,” says the station master.  This has been the norm at most of the stations across the City, say railway officials. A total of 714 people have been mowed down by trains in the City in 2012 alone, up from 645 in 2011. 

Officials of the Railway Police say that crossing the tracks is a punishable offence and that not many commuters know about it.

“Walking on the tracks is a punishable offence. Offenders can be booked under Section 147 of the Railway Act for trespassing,” says Louis Amuthan, Divisional Security Commissioner of the Railway Protection Force.

He said in 2012 alone, 4,564 people were caught crossing the tracks across the City’s railway stations and a fine of Rs 4.6 lakh was collected from them. A total of 2,018 people were caught and fined Rs 3.74 lakh in 2011. He said, in such cases, the Railway Court decides the quantum of punishment and offenders could be jailed for up to six months or fined up to Rs 1,000.

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