ATPS to avert train crashes


Bangladesh Railway is to introduce the automatic train protection system (ATPS) to avert train accidents.

According to experts, ATPS is indispensable for safe train journey.

The ATPS can prevent accidents even if the driver falls asleep. This system has already been introduced in the developed world. A meeting was held recently with the Director General of Railways in the chair to install this state-of-the-art equipment in the country's trains.

Sources said the meeting was directed to take up the survey project. Officials hope the safety of the train will be possible if the project is implemented.

Railway Director General of Md Shamsuzzaman said ATPS is important for the safety of train. However, some modifications have to be made in the recommendations that have come up for the survey.

According to railway sources, 945 train accidents have taken place in the country in the five years from June 2014 to June 2019. At least 141 people were killed and 388 injured. Of these, 129 accidents occurred in 2019.

According to the Railway Operations Department, about 74 percent of accidents are happening due to derailments. Of the 702 derailments, 349 occurred due to high speed and carelessness.

Apart from that, the accidents might have happened due to wrong operation and wrong signalling. In railway language it is called over-suit or violence. In view of this, the Railway has taken up a survey proposal for the introduction of the automatic train protection system. It will be possible to prevent unwanted accidents, because of human follies of forgetting signals and speed control instructions.

The state-owned transport company Bangladesh Railway carries more than 12 crore 90 lakh passengers a year. Safe travel is being hampered due to old infrastructure, tracks, bridges, rolling stock, faulty signaling systems etc.

Besides, the manpower shortage in the operations department and the lack of proper maintenance of the engine-coach are also the reasons for the accidents. The most important of these is the shortage of manpower. Stationmaster, locomaster, pointsmen and signal maintainer have to do extra duty. As a result, train accidents are happening due to negligence or carelessness. These lead sometimes to head-on collisions.

People said that in order to solve these problems, it is necessary to identify the defects in train management and take remedial measures. And the technical and operational issues have to be addresses. Above all, train should have an automatic control system.