Railways has decided to equip some of its premier trains with automatic fire detection system involving activation of emergency brake followed by hooter sound in case of a blaze.
"The automatic fire and smoke detection system is being installed on Ranchi Rajdhani," a senior Railway Ministry official said, adding, "as per the plan, more such trains will be equipped with the system in future."
LHB coaches of Ranchi Rajdhani now have fire safety device manufactured by an Australian company. The installation was done at a rail coach factory in Kapurthala at approximately Rs 1.75 lakh per coach.
The air brake system will be automatically activated if there is a fire in the coach and the hooter sound will follow 45 seconds after the emergency brake, the official said.
The hooter will alert the Railway staff in case of fire, enabling them to shift or evacuate the passengers from the train.
Earlier, the fire detection system was installed in Bhubaneswar Rajdhani on a trial basis.
"Two fire incidents were detected by the system in two coaches of Bhubaneswar Rajdhani during the trial period and timely warning saved loss of life and property," the official said.
Based on the feedback from the trial, Research Design and Standards Organisation, Railways' research wing, has improved on the specification and also made provision of interfacing the system with the air brake system of the coaches so that in the event of fire, train stops before the hooter is sounded.
This will ensure that passengers get out safely without panicking, he said, adding that this arrangement was tried on the Bhubaneswar Rajdhani.
Currently, the fire safety system can be installed only in air conditioned coaches - AC First, AC Second, AC Three Tier, AC Chair Car and AC pantry car. The general compartments and sleeper coaches have been left out.
A different system will be developed for sleeper and general compartments as this technology is suitable for AC coaches only, the official said.