Cattle hitting the tracks: Railroads see early success with in-house software

Last week, Agra Division Railway officials noticed an unusual pattern – six cases of trains hitting livestock in a matter of days on a stretch near Dholpur. They immediately dispatched a team to the scene, which found a gap on the side of a road bridge over a highway through which cattle were straying onto the lanes. The gap was closed.

This incident marks one of the early successes of SETS, or Smart Event Tracking System, a new Google Maps-based planning and analysis tool that has been rolled out to tackle what authorities say is a growing problem: livestock crushed by trains (see box).

“The software seems to be showing promising results. It has been made functional in Agra division and depending on further results will be adopted by other divisions,” said North Central Railway spokesman Shivam Sharma. The Indian Express.

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Detailing how EETS works, officials said they map mileage stamps on electric masts along the tracks and introduce the exact location of a ‘run over cattle’, which is the official label for such an incident. , in the system.

“As a result, handlers are instantly able to identify where cattle have run over and spot a pattern, if any,” an official said.

A few days after the deployment, officials were able to close another gap at a crossing. “Upon inspection, it was found that the doorman was missing,” the official said.

The system is particularly crucial for Prayagraj-based North Central Railway, which saw more than 6,500 of the 26,000 cases of cattle run over that were recorded in 2020-21. Covering over 3,000 km of track, this area is home to parts of the highly publicized Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai corridors.

It includes key divisions such as Agra, Prayagraj and Jhansi, and is the gateway for trains from the east to reach the northern parts of the country.

Spokesman Sharma said the Agra division now plans to use the software, developed in-house by senior electronic data processing manager Sahil Garg, to map the locations and patterns of chain pull incidents . “If chain pulling happens frequently in a certain place, we can act accordingly. There may be changes and additions as needed based on feedback,” he said.

Officials say Delhi-based Northern Railway has recorded the highest number of cases of cattle run over at around 6,800 spread across Moradabad and Lucknow divisions in UP, Ambala in Haryana, Firozpur in Punjab and Delhi.

The railways had previously tried unsuccessfully to educate hotspot residents about the dangers of letting livestock graze near the tracks. The national carrier is increasingly turning to technology to solve key problems – including last Friday’s trial and demonstration of Kavach, a locally developed rail collision avoidance system, set to be deployed over 2,000 km in 2022-2023.

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