Railways miss meeting on fog monitoring

New Delhi, Jan 13 (PTI) Despite facing delays in trainservices due to dense fog conditions, Railway officials weremissing from a meeting convened by the meteorological officeon monitoring and forecasting the weather phenomenon.

The weather scientists had offered solutions to airportsin the northern parts of the country for better management offlight operations in the region by installing equipment formonitoring climatic conditions and providing fog forecasts.

A National Workshop on Fog Monitoring and ForecastingServices was organised by the Airport Met Office on December27 and invitations were also sent to officials of the RailwayBoard but no one turned up for the interactions.

"We had invited officials from the Railway Board. I myselftried contacting them over phone but without any success," R KJenamani, incharge of the IMD weather office at Palam toldreporters here.

He said the weather office had successfully implementedfog monitoring and forecasting systems at airports in Delhi,Amritsar, Lucknow and Jaipur which has led to bettermanagement of flight operations.

"We are keen on sharing our experience with the railways.

Many accidents can be avoided by using information onpossibility of fog," Jenamani said.

Efforts to contact Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahaiwere futile.

Jenamani said visibility meters could be installed alongthe most used rail routes that are susceptible to fog andtrain traffic can be managed accordingly.

"We have to be prepared for dealing with fog conditions,"he said adding that visibility meters can be installed onheavy traffic routes like Lucknow-Delhi, Amritsar-Delhi.

Seven visibility meters have been installed on threerunways at the IGI Airport (IGIA) here which makes availablereal time fog information on its formation, intensificationand dissipation.

"Accurate fog forecasts up to 18 hours in advance updatedat each six-hours have also helped IGIA for advance flightplanning and advance preparation for minimising impact," hesaid.

Train services have been badly affected due to dense fogconditions across northern parts of the country.

The delays, which ran into several hours, left passengersstranded at railway stations in bitter cold conditions.

Railways also had plans to install a fog safety device onlocomotives but it was shelved after Railway Design and SafetyOrganisation found some fault in it.

In January last year, at least 10 people were killed inthree rail accidents in Uttar Pradesh when the region wasengulfed in dense fog.

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