Indian Railways has installed cameras on the exterior of Vande Bharat Express — also known as Train 18 — to detect and curb stone-pelting incidents and prevent damage to the country’s first semi-high speed train, two officials familiar with the matter said. The railways have recorded at least a dozen stone-pelting incidents since the train started its commercial operations in February. As many as 12 window glasses have been replaced so far, the officials said.
Last month, the railways installed four cameras — two each on the front and rear ends— on the engineless train that runs between Varanasi and Delhi. “On March 17, another incident of stone-pelting happened and we took the help of the cameras. The cameras enabled us to identify the area from where stones had come…,” said Arun Kumar, Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), an armed force entrusted with protecting passengers and railway properties.
The train, which runs on electric traction, was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 15. The railways are also planning to cover the glass windows with polycarbonate sheets to avoid injury to passengers in case of stone-pelting.
On February 22, the train’s aerodynamic nose, which is made of steel with a fibre cover on it, was damaged severely and had to be replaced after a bull hit it from the front. A day later, the driver’s windscreen and windows of some coaches were damaged after flying ballast hit it. The railways had earlier tried counselling locals and distributing chocolates among slum children to dissuade them from pelting stones. S Mani, former General Manager of Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory, where the train was built, said, fencing along tracks is the best solution.