SWR to remove 57 unmanned level crossings in State

445 such crossings to make way for underbridges/ overbridges

Soon, the Bengaluru Division of the South Western Railways (SWR) will be able to bring down the number of accidents taking place at unmanned level crossings if the announcement made in the railway budget are anything to go by.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu announced that the Railways plans to eliminate a total of 3,438 level crossings at a whopping cost of Rs 6,581 crore. According to statistics provided by Railways, under SWR, there are 1,270 level crossings, of which 750 are manned and 520 unmanned. Officials said this number has been further reduced, as some of the unmanned crossings have been eliminated.

As per the budget announcement, this year, 970 Railway Overbridges (RoBs) and Railway Underbridges (RuBs) and other safety-related works would be taken up to eliminate 3,438 level crossings, across all states. To facilitate construction of RoBs and RuBs, a web-based application is being commissioned with user-friendly measures for online submission and approval of drawings within 60 days.

In the State, 445 unmanned level crossings will make way for RoBs/RuBs in a phased manner. This year, 57 such crossings will be removed, out of which 22 are in Bengaluru Division alone, said SWR officials. Besides, SWR is planning to convert 100 unmanned level crossings into manned ones. These also include seven unmanned crossings identified as most accident prone in SWR.

On an average about two dozen accidents take place in the jurisdiction of SWR annually, which includes Hubballi, Mysuru and Bengaluru divisions.

Though the number is far less than the national average, officials are making efforts to minimise the number. Railway officials said accidents at unmanned level crossings are due to error of judgment and negligence on the part of road users trying to cross the tracks when trains are approaching. Last year, the Centre had asked the Railways to eliminate all 12,518 unmanned crossings in the country. Lack of funds is delaying the move.

Officials said unmanned crossings are eliminated or converted based on physical monitoring of unmanned level crossing for 24 hours, detailing of trains crossing in that time and multiplying the number with road vehicles moving at the crossing.

Based on this, unmanned crossings are either turned into manned ones or low-height subways are constructed at the site so that light motor vehicles can pass through or diversions at a distance of 200 to 300 metres made for road traffic.

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