Kochi: The railways has initiated interlocking of level crossing (LC) gates in the Ernakulam-Alapuzha-Kayamkulam section in one go which will not only ease congestion at railway gates but also enhance safety. The union budget has provisions for interlocking of a total of 42 level crossing gates in the 100-km-long stretch besides 18 other LC gates in the Thiruvanant-hapuram division. An outlay of Rs 7 crore has been set aside for the works in the section.
“In the case of ordinary level crossing gates, the gatekeeper has to close down the gates once the train reaches the previous station. Vehicles on the road have to wait for over five minutes in most cases unless the LC gates are close to the station. With interlocking, the gates need to be closed only when the train reaches near the point and it’s done automatically,” a senior railway official said.
“Further, the loco-pilot is directly given a signal about the status of the particular LC gate - whether it’s closed or not. If there is some malfunction of the gates, the locopilot could take a decision and stop the train. This enhances safety,” the official said. The division currently has a total of 243 LC gates out of which 112 have been upgraded to the modern signaling system. The coastal line has got the most number of LC gates – 55. Earlier the state had the unique distinction of having zero unmanned railway level crossings. However, the railways are worried over the incidents of irate road users targeting railway gatekeepers.