New rail gate system for unsafe rail crossings
The Railway Department has taken measures to introduce a new
automatic rail gate network for unprotected rail crossings.
Matale electrical superintendent W G S Gamage has taken steps to
design a low cost automatic safety rail gate for the department.
A gate of this type will cost Rs 1.4 million. This is much less
expensive than the bell and gate type of rail gate now used which is
almost Rs 3 million.
The project plan for building 200 such gates under the first stage of
this programme was presented to Transport Deputy Minister Rohana Kumara
Dissanayake by Gamage at a press conference at the Information
Department on Wednesday.
Railways General Manager B A P Ariyaratne said at this conference
that there are 716 unsafe rail gates and 303 safe rail gates in the
"Increase of human settlements on lands adjacent to railway tracks
and the people's habit of walking along the track has been two factors
contributing to the high incidence of rail road accidents," he said.
There has been 43 rail accidents in 2008 leading to 16 deaths and 27
injuries while in 2009 there has been 66 accidents leading to 20 deaths
and 46 injuries, Ariyaratne said.
The statistic for 2010 was 75 accidents with 12 deaths and 63
Meanwhile, the Railway Department has drawn a special programme to
minimise rail accidents in future.
It will include amendments to regulations recommending enhanced fines
on those defying warnings at rail crossings and dismantling unauthorised
structures near rail gates.
Since the present bell and light gate system has been successful, the
Tender Board has been advised to call tenders for the purchase of these
If the new type of automatic gate proves to be more successful, the
Railway Department would opt for the new type for installation at
unprotected rail crossings.