Old beauty signals goodbye

Vintage signalling system to be preserved at City railway station

Old beauty signals goodbye

Traditional signalling system.

However, the railways is just not able to let go of its 40-plus electrical-mechanical signalling system in one of its cabins which is part of Bangalore Division’s history. The cabin with the machine are now set to be preserved for posterity.

The mammoth machine has been assembled from parts exported from different parts of India and abroad. According to sources, the frame bearing control switches dates back to 1967 and was bought from Podanur in Tamil Nadu, when Bangalore was part of the Southern Railway Division. The 20 locks, located underground were been manufactured by Siemens and General Electric, London nearly 50 years ago. The age of the levers, which had been operated manually all these years is uncertain. “It has been in existence since our operations began and may be more than 50 years old but no one is aware of the actual age,” a source said.

Two other cabins bearing the fully mechanical signalling system have now been dismantled. “This cabin, at the end of the first platform, and the equipment will be preserved. It would be a vital learning process for railway staff and to public interested in railway heritage and antique objects,” said a source.

“It is vintage by Railway standards,” said Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore Division,  Akhil Agrawal. “Equipment used for operational purposes are generally changed every 25 years due to wear and tear. We are fortunate that this machine was used for more than 40 years and it functioned perfectly well till its last day,” he said. The high quality of the products used to assemble it and periodic oiling and maintenance have helped in lengthening its life span, he added. Spares for the machines are no longer available and the Railways had acquired a modernised system before the archaic machine gave way.
The levers sometimes got stuck but the problems were managed due to extra levers in place, he said.

There is no plan to move it to the Rail Museum in Mysore which is a storehouse of railway antiques. “The parts have to be shifted and reassembled again if we decide to relocate it. It is a vital part of the signalling history here and so we have decided to retain it here,” said a source.

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