Mumbai local trains’ new dashcams could help reduce track deaths

Mumbai’s new local trains now come with a new feature – dashcams. This is in addition to live feed from cameras in all compartments and the train guard’s cabin. The dashcams will be of great help amid a high number of deaths due to track crossing, suicides, etc.

While the cameras inside coaches will help keep track of untoward incidents and emergencies. Around 10 to 11 people die every day in train accidents in the city. Officials said the footage will also help identify stone-pelting and vandalising miscreants during rail ‘rokos’ and protests.

“The new train has arrived and is called the ‘Uttam Rake’. It has CCTV cameras in both cabs near the headlight so that the motorman can keep an eye on the front and the guard can track the area at the back. There are CCTV cameras in all coaches and the feed will be streamed inside the guard’s cabin,” a senior official said.

“In addition to this, the alarm chain has also been replaced with an easy-to-operate push button,” he said, adding, “Other features include full LED lights in all coaches to improve the lux level and aesthetically designed seats and partitions made of fibre-reinforced plastic in second class compartments.”

Central Railway’s (CR) chief public relations officer Shivaji Sutar said the first Uttam Rake is running on the main line. “The train arrived just before lockdown. It took some time to make modifications. It was put on the line in October 2020,” he said. Two Uttam Rakes were built at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, with one going to Western Railway and the other to CR.

Passenger associations welcomed the train saying they’d offer practical solutions for untoward incidents. “The CCTV cameras and dashcam are small devices, but very effective. We need to use technology effectively to probe the reasons for accidents to take corrective and preventive actions. The railways should get these installed in all rakes,” Ajit Shenoy, senior transport expert with Mumbai Mobility Forum and Mumbai Vikas Samiti, said.