Cameras on trains to minimise animal deaths
A pilot project was launched last week to minimise animal deaths, especially of elephants, caused by collisions with trains at night.
The Department of Railways, with support from the private sector, has taken the initiative of installing cameras on locomotives to minimise the deaths of animals crossing rail tracks at night. The first phase of the installation of these cameras took place at the Colombo Fort Railway Station last week under the patronage of Transport Minister Kumara Welgama. The night vision cameras will detect the movements of elephants or other animals within the range of one kilometre.
Minister Welgama said depending on the success of the pilot project, the Department will install a camera network on trains running on the Northern rail track. The number of elephants dying following collisions with trains has been increasing over the past few months. Ten elephants were killed by railway accidents last year. The accidents have also caused massive damage to the locomotives, in some instances even derailing trains. Sri Lanka Railways has identified the areas between Kekirawa and Punani on the Batticaloa line, between Galoya and China Bay on the Trincomalee line and between Maho and Galgamuwa on the Anuradhapura line as most vulnerable for elephant accidents.
The state of art solution proposed to minimize train-elephant collisions by our group to the transport ministry has been implemented as a pilot project by the Sri Lanka Railways. Initially one camera has fixed in EMD M3 591 locomotive which frequently undertake assignments in Eastern routes (Trinco and Batti). This is the first time in history that locomotives come up with thermal cameras to avoid accidents to wildlife. We as a group take the pride of this move though the authorities did not acknowledge us in the launching ceremony.