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Sky Bus Metro to be driven manually

By Anil Sastry

PANAJI, DEC. 25. The Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL), has decided to switch over to the manual mode for driving the Sky Bus Metro, planning to use the auto drive as an anti-collision device (ACD) to execute braking, rather than driving.

Accepting the inquiry report on the September 25 mishap of the Sky Bus Metro at Margao during the trial run, the KRCL managing director, B. Rajaram, admitted that the presence of grease and water had made the coaches skid.

Mr. Rajaram said on September 25, the grease did not affect the running during the first run, but only during the second run as there was a drizzle. The application of emergency braking by panicky personnel prevented the electrical braking system to take control of the coaches, resulting in coaches hitting the poles, he said.

As such, there should be provision for a totally independent mechanical brake with parallel and independent controls and redundancy. During auto drive mode, the emergency switch should be such that it should cut electricity supply after five seconds instead of immediate disconnection, as done in reactor management, Mr. Rajaram said.

Emergency electrical braking should be applied at first, followed by mechanical braking, and the system would be so designed that electrical braking takes place before any emergency brakes are applied for control, he added.

On the accident during trial, he said people in the coach were safe even after it collapsed. The suspenders did not give way but only got bent, still holding the coaches. The wheels also did not derail, but remained on track proving the design was right. Thus, Mr. Rajaram said, the Sky Bus proved to be safer in disaster.

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