New Delhi: In these high-tech times, Indian Railways continues to rely on the age-old practice of bursting fire crackers on tracks to alert train drivers during dense fog. "Fire crackers continue to help us deal with fog. New technology supplements the decades old practice," said Y S Rajput, senior PRO, Northern Railway.
According to Rajput, the Delhi division buys around 1.5 lakh fire crackers every year for use during periods of dense fog. Railway officials said the firecrackers are tied on the tracks before a signal and burst under the weight of the engine. The blast alerts the driver to slow down the train and look for the signal ahead.
The crackers are usually placed around 300-500 metres before an electric signal. Officials said though the railways now use electronic signal system for the purpose, the bursting of firecrackers helps the drivers during dense fog when visibility drops to less than 250 metres.
"The siren is a portable device which the driver can keep in the engine. It flashes light and produces sound as an additional measure to alert the driver," said Rajput.
Fog is a major cause of disruption of train movement in north India and leads to rescheduling and cancellation of trains, causing inconvenience to lakhs of passengers every year.