TCA Systems for Safe Rail Transport
Northeast train tracks will be equipped with Track Circuit Assister (TCA) systems by the end of the current year (March 20). Installation of the systems can bring down the railway accident rate to zero, said Dr. Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei, deputy minister of roads and urban development and head of the Islamic Republic Iran Railways (IRIR).
“After the completion of the plan called “Samen” on this route, TCA systems will be installed on other tracks across the country,” Mehr News Agency quoted him as saying.
The northeast railway line connects the two important cities of Tehran and Mashhad, and is one of the best transport options for visitors to the Imam Reza (AS) holy shrine. “So, the safety of this line is paramount to us.” It may be recalled that due to heavy train traffic on the line and a few errors by train operators, there were some accidents, causing concern among passengers about railway safety.
The national railways have a good record and the annual loss of life due to rail mishaps is very low compared with road accidents on this route. According to statistics, during the 15-year period 1997-2014, on average annually 2.5 individuals lost their lives to train accidents, while the fatalities in road accidents were 65 during the same period. “However, we are planning to reduce rail transportation risk to zero.”
Of all the modes of transport, car travel is still the most treacherous. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that road traffic accidents were the eighth highest cause of deaths worldwide in 2004 representing 2.2 per cent of all deaths (heart disease is number one). WHO forecasts that by 2030, road accidents will rise to the fifth position.
In the current calendar year, $430 million has been allocated for development of railroads and the same amount is also expected to be earmarked in the budget bill next year (starts March 21).
The funding has been used to launch the double-track lines for Bafgh-Meybod-Isfahan and Tehran-Karaj-Varamin-Garmsar railways. This will lead to a threefold increase in rail transport capacity.
Pour Seyed Aghaei also said that railway transport is affordable in every respect. “Transfer of 1 ton goods by railway is far cheaper than by heavy vehicle.”
Also a major part of deaths and disabilities caused by road accidents and other problems such as traffic jams and broken asphalt road layers are related to heavy vehicle transport.
At present 4.5 tons of iron ore which are extracted from Bafgh mine, Yazd Province, are transferred by railways.