The Ministry of Railways has said that it is concerned over the loss of lives at railway level crossings and is working on a comprehensive scheme to eliminate unmanned level crossings in a phased manner.
Minister of railways Shri Suresh Prabhu announced “Mission Zero Accident” in his budget and said that elimination of unmanned level crossings forms a ‘sub-mission’ of this.
Indian Railways intends to eliminate all unmanned level crossings on broad gauge lines in the next three to four years and is developing innovative financing mechanisms to help achieve the goal.
There are 28,607 level crossings across the Indian Railways network, of which 19,267 are manned and 9,340 are unmanned. Out of the unmanned level crossings, around 6,388 are on broad gauge lines and need priority attention for elimination.
The traffic density movement on a particular level crossing is defined by the concept called Train Vehicle Unit (TVU) which is multiplication of ‘number of train units’ by the ‘number of road vehicle units’ passing through that level crossing in 24 hours period.
Methods of tackling the issue include closure of those with negligible traffic, merger of unmanned level crossings to safer crossings nearby, provision of subways, or manning where the problem cannot be eliminated by other means.
The aim is to eliminate unmanned level crossings on narrow gauge lines when the gauge is converted.