The Pakistan Railways (PR) has started laying cables for installation of a modern automatic electronic signal system costing billions of rupees for flawless rail traffic operations and timely arrival and departure, the PR spokesperson said on Friday.
Taking to reporters at the signal engineering section, the spokesperson said that foreign firms had started laying cables from Lodhran to Shahdara in Lahore. The project will be extended to the entire railway network, he said.
Work on the seven-year project has begun after a few years delay due to the unavailability of funds, he said. Civil work, including construction of cabins and buildings, has been completed from Lodhran to Khanewal during the last six months, he said.
The laying of cables began from Lodhran recently, which, he said, would be completed by a Korean and a Chinese company in seven years. The companies will also keep the system operational under their supervision for three years after its completion before handing it over to the Pakistan Railways, he said.
The spokesperson said that officials had deputed a team of engineers at the project to ensure a speedy pace.
The team comprised 12 sub-engineers (signals), a signal inspector, two assistant signal engineers, 14 assistants and an executive engineer.
In the first phase, cables are being laid from Lodhran to Sher Shah double track. Cables will then be installed till Khanewal and Shahdara in Lahore and then the rest of the country.
The spokesperson said that currently 2,200 employees were engaged in keeping the existing signal system operational. They will be trained to operate the new system, he said.
Some railway officials said that the old system faced problems like short-circuiting of signals due to bad weather, moisture and dust. They said signals stopped operating during rain and so trains had to be directed manually.
The new system would ensure the safety of two trains on the same track between two railways stations and minimise the risk of accident, they said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2012.
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