Passengers aboard trains entering and exiting Bengaluru City Station from and towards the north / Chennai have a reason to cheer. Their waiting time will get shorter as the South Western Railway has just commissioned automatic signalling between Baiyyappanahalli (BYPL) and Bangalore Cantonment (BNC).
The upgrade was completed on the evening of February 10 according to a statement from SWR. Work on the 19 km stretch was completed at a cost of Rs. 19.75 crore.
This section handles 86 long distance and 26 commuter services each day. Work is in progress to extend automatic signalling to Whitefield.
Automatic signalling has long been in use on the extremely dense Mumbai Suburban corridors. It is also being deployed on several congested sections to improve sectional capacity (ability to receive, hold and dispatch trains).
Automatic signalling versus Absolute Block Signalling
Automatic Block Signalling (or automatic signalling as it is commonly known), reduces the gap between successive trains on the same line. Trains can be spaced as little as a kilometre apart as against the 4-7 km gap using the existing absolute block system. Hence, trains can queue up closer and enter the station sooner when a platform becomes vacant.
Better occupancy of platforms is likely to improve overall station and section capacity. This will free up slots to run more trains. Besides, the frustrating wait that passengers endure when their train is about to enter big stations will likely reduce significantly.
In Absolute Block Signalling setup on a section, incoming trains often have to be queued up several kilometres apart waiting for a platform to become vacant. When multiple platforms become vacant one after the other, it takes time for successive trains to reach the station and occupy available platforms. This lag results in loss of potential train handling capacity at the station. In a cascading effect, sectional capacity (ability to receive, hold and dispatch trains) is reduced since main lines leading into the station are also occupied unproductively by trains waiting for entry.