The Indian Railways will construct 1,000 kilometres of boundary barriers over the course of the next six months in areas of its network, with the majority of animals being run over by trains, as per Railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw. According to government statistics, 200 trains were affected by cattle runovers in the first nine days of October. Up to 4,000 trains have been impacted this year so far. As many as 4,000 trains have been affected so far this year. Recently, the problem has been worse for the Mumbai-Gandhinagar Vande Bharat train as the train sustained damage after hitting the cattle on the track.
“We are working seriously on the issue of building boundary walls. We are looking at two different designs. While we have approved one, which is a sturdy wall, over the next five to six months, we plan to build 1,000 km of such walls across sections to determine if the design works,” Vaishnaw said.
He also stated that conventional boundary walls will not be able to solve the problem of cattle run over but will end up affecting villagers around the area. The minister, however, did not give any information on the material that will be used for building the boundary walls to make them sturdy enough to keep the cattle away from railway tracks and protect them from human intervention. Cattle run overs can cause serious damage to trains, derailment and delay them.
The nose of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Vande Bharat Express train, which was launched on October 1, was damaged owing to three cattle runovers in the first nine days of the month.
According to information accessed by PTI, with more than 6,500 of the 26,000 cattle run cases in 2020-21, North Central Railway is one of the worst affected zones. It covers 3,000 km of tracks and hosts parts of the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors. It includes divisions like Agra, Jhansi, and Prayagraj and is the gateway for trains from the east to reach the northern parts of India.
The stretches identified for building boundary walls include sections in North Central Railways and Northern Railways — in the Jhansi Division between Virangana Lakshmibai-Gwalior section, Prayagraj Division between Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyay-Prayagraj section, Moradabad Division between Alam Nagar and Shahjehanpur, Lucknow Division between Alam Nagar and Lucknow.
The Northern Railways zone recorded the highest number of cattle runover cases — nearly 6,800 — across divisions of Moradabad and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, Firozpur in Punjab, Ambala in Haryana, and Delhi in 2022, officials said.
With inputs from PTI