Railways blames kite ‘strings’ for train delays

Not really buggy related but interesting non the less The Times of India reports

KOLKATA: The arrival of Vishwakarma Puja has made Eastern Railway officials busy. They are now racking their brains over how to tackle the menace of kite strings, which often get entangled with railway overhead wires and cause power to trip, thus resulting in unnecessary delay and congestion.

Also, the officials are now at their wit’s end after a test conducted on samples of these strings revealed that they are coated with iron fillings. “Earlier, kite strings would be coated with ground glass to enable them to cut through the strings of rival fliers. We were shocked to find that nowadays, iron filings are being used to strengthen the strings. This kind of nylon string is reportedly imported from China. The overhead equipment (OHE) comprises two wires. The one on top is known as the catenary and comprises 19 strands. The lower one is the contact wire which is of solid brass. A tension of 1,200 kg is applied to the wires to prevent sagging. When high voltage electric current passes through the wires, they get heated. This also makes them soft. When a nylon wire coated with iron rubs against the catenary, the strands get severed,” explained Suchitto Kumar Das, divisional railway manager, Sealdah.

With a large number of encroachments along the tracks in the Sealdah division, the OHE is at greater risk than elsewhere. Kite enthusiasts move on to the tracks during kite-flying and the strings get intertwined with the electric wires overhead. Some times, the strings get intertwined with the pantographs of trains, resulting in damage.

“The strings, particularly when wet, act as conductors. One end remains in contact with the live wires while the other end hangs loose. Power trips when they come in contact with the roof of an EMU local or an OHE mast. If power trips in Titagarh, the entire stretch up to  Durganagar, the Sealdah carshed and the Circular Railway gets affected. The exact location of the tripping has to be isolated before power can be restored to other parts. While isolation takes about 3-4 minutes, the entire restoration can take up to 10 minutes. By this time, 20 trains can get stuck midway. Some times, the string has to be removed from the wires physically before services can resume,” Das said.

Power tripping due to kite strings is common in places like Nungi and  Baruipur. Awareness campaigns have been launched by the Sealdah division to keep kite fliers away from the tracks. People living along the tracks are also being told of the risks involved. In the recent past, several people have been run over while flying kites on railway tracks. Most such cases happen around Saraswati and Viswakarma Pujas, when kites are flown as a sort of ritual in this part of the country.

Source http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kolkata/Railways-blames-kite-strings-for-train-delays/articleshow/16405220.cms

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