GUWAHATI, June 15 - With the onset of the monsoon season, Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has taken precautionary measures to ensure safety of major bridges, including deployment of scour sensors, patrolling by teams to monitor the structures and installation of water level monitoring systems.
Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) of NFR told The Assam Tribune that as part of the procedure, pre-monsoon inspection and drive has been carried out. This includes repair of bridge protection works and bridge floorings as per requirement.
He admitted that the NFR zone comprises areas which receive heavy rainfall during monsoon and witness major flooding at times. “Utmost care is taken to ensure that bridges are maintained in safe condition. Regular patrolling is done along the track as well as the bridges during the monsoon season wherein, if any abnormal situation regarding scouring is noticed, protective and preventive action is taken up immediately,” he said.
The official added that ‘Automatic Scour Measuring Instruments’ have been installed on three important bridges located within the NFR zone.
“The Automatic Scour Measuring Instruments have been set up as part of adoption of new technology to enhance safety of bridges. Such devices have been installed on the Saraighat Bridge over the Brahmaputra in Guwahati, on the Naranarayan Setu over the Brahmaputra near Jogighopa and on the bridge over River Teesta near Sevoke,” Sharma said.
He added, “The system comprises scour sensors for measurement of scour level at designated locations and telemetry equipment for real time data transmission to engineers of NFR. Sonar echo technology has been used in the system. Scour is measured automatically and result is sent to mobile phones of designated railway officials through SMS.”
SMSes are generated twice a day and sent automatically to phones of railway officials concerned at the divisional and zonal levels.
“Accurate current bed level is achieved automatically without human involvement from which safety of bridges can be monitored by railway engineers on real time basis. The system has eliminated delays in obtaining scour depth on these important bridges, which was earlier done manually. Based on the extent of scouring, preventive action is taken accordingly, whenever it is felt necessary,” he said.
Boulder protection of the pier or abutment is the first line of defence for immediate action in the event of scour.
“Boulders have been kept ready in stocks and in loaded condition in wagons at certain designated locations from where early mobilisation would be possible. Such boulder stacks have also been kept at approaches to major bridges to tackle any eventuality,” said the official.
NFR has also installed a ‘Continuous Water Level Monitoring System’ based on radar technology, on ten other important bridges.
“This instrument monitors the water level in the rivers automatically and continuously and sends SMSes to pre-determined mobile phones of officials concerned at regular intervals. Our intention is to try and ensure that there is no disruption in movement of trains so that regular services can continue over bridges even during severe weather conditions,” said the NFR CPRO.