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Time to break chains to the past

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By Atul Sethi, Times of India.

"The train comes to a screeching halt — its third unscheduled stop in less than an hour. One of the passengers looks out of the window only to find vast swathes of agricultural land with a few scattered huts in the middle of nowhere."Looks like a case of chain pulling again," he mutters, throwing in a few expletives for good measure even as other passengers nod in agreement and brace themselves for further delays. This is a common scenario often repeated in thousands of trains across the country."


"Incidentally, in 2006, former president APJ Abdul Kalam had urged the railways to phase out the alarm chain system and replace it with better technology. During a speech at the ceremonial parade of the Railway Protection Force, Kalam had said that the railways should consider "the provision of a communication system in all the compartments on the lines of the system already being followed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation."

A spokesperson for the railways says that the system has been under active consideration although "it will take some time to find out the status of its implementation." Wonder how much more time the railways would require to pull the plug on its alarm chains."

I thought it would be simple to add a camera monitoring system would be easy and cheap thing to catch the chain pullers. That might be the deterrent they need.
I don't really see a need to have the alarm chain at all. If there is an emergency and you pull the chain to let the train stop in the middle of a jungle what is being gained? Instead an intercom should be installed in every carriage where by pressing a button the individual can talk by giving details (including his name and the carriage number--so that he can be identified). If there is a medical emergency, the engineer (driver) can announce through the intercom for help from any doctor in the train who can then be directed to the particular carriage in question. I hope the carriages are interconnected. If no immediate help is available the engineer can stop at the next station which may not be very far and get help there for the emergency. Even a fire can still be first communicated to the driver before the train can be stopped.
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