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Railways launches SMS alerts to prevent elephant collisions

10 December 2018 10:55 pm - 23     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


The Department of Railways today introduced an SMS hotline 070-4445454 to inform about locations of elephant herds on railway lines countrywide with the help of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Speaking to the media at a media briefing at the Railways Head Quarters, the General Manager of Railways (GMR) M.J. Dilantha Fernando said train-elephant collisions could not be stopped 100 percent but it could be controlled.

“Therefore, the Railways Department decided to introduce a hotline to minimise the accidents,” he said.

“Most of the accidents occurred beyond the Maho Junction and the Department had decided to clear 15-meter wide stretch from both sides of the track to enhance a clear vision for the engine driver and people,” he said.

He said that measures had been taken to fill railway sleepers filled with metal for an easy crossing for elephants. He added that the railway engines will be equipped with powerful headlights to detect movements of elephants.

“People can inform about elephant herds through the hotline 24-hours. As soon as an SMS sent to through this number it will be recorded in a system in the Wildlife Department. “Then the SMS will be forwarded to Railways Department and then forwarded to a registered group in the railways.

“The group consists of engine drivers, rail guards, rail track supervisory managers, gatemen, people who live near railway lines affected by the elephant-human conflict, station masters where the elephant herd passes, people living along the tracks and all stakeholders who are interested on elephant-human conflict,” GMR Fernando said.

The SMS will be delivered among the group as ‘Elephant ALT’,” he said. He said that a typical SMS Alert would indicate the number of elephants, location, area, and the time and the track. Sample SMS - ElephantALT - Elephant Herd - Seen at 128.5 mile post - Between Galgamuwa-Tabuttegama at 19.34 - North Line (Chaturanga Samarawickrama)


  Comments - 23

  • King Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:46 AM

    All they need is a good night vision camera with motion detectors and some screens for the drivers !!!

    ravin Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:49 AM

    a ha !! another chance for illicit tree fellers.

    Soam Tuesday, 11 December 2018 06:08 AM

    This is sad but a fact of urbanisation and happening all over the world. Not necessarily with elephants , but with other wild animals as well. There are many mitigation measures which can be taken by the Sri Lankan Railway are; 1. Solar powered device emitting acoustic signals at known elephant crossing corridors 2. clearing either side of railways for more visibility 3. high sensors installed on trains , either to warn train drivers or the elephants. 4. slow down speed on known areas.

    Mm Tuesday, 11 December 2018 06:42 AM

    HOT LINE!! Sri Lankan government institutions NEVER answer hot line numbers. If they did answer a SLEEPY FOOL will say APITA KARANNA DEYAK NAHA

    Lawry Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:02 AM

    The positive efforts should be commented. Pls take into account a lot of people don't know how to SMS. Besides it is in English characters. Middle aged people in Colombo don't know anything beyond dialling a number. Try motivating villagers with a free phone and teaching how to get a call back by alerting the department.

    elephant Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:20 AM

    Elephant : we are about to cross the road STOP

    Shevan Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:26 AM

    What a brilliant idea.So people will have to stay awake at night to look for elephants and send SMS

    Rudy Hodgson Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:41 AM

    This is somewhat a good move. But the villagers and interested parties are suspect to be chasing elephant's from the villages at period the night trains are plying on those areas.

    Waco Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:50 AM

    This method will not work.. With foriegn Aids, elevate the Railway Track ,which will be a 100% success.

    Jaliya Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:18 PM

    You can build all the bridges .. but cannot train a wild animals to cross under or above. They will go in the areas where they have been for generations it is simple as that. The solution must NOT alter the existing ecosystem by introduction of concrete jungles.

    Dave Wednesday, 12 December 2018 08:19 AM

    Isnt it better to hv an unground tunnel and ask elephants to cross through it.

    ANTON Tuesday, 11 December 2018 08:05 AM


    K Perera Tuesday, 11 December 2018 03:54 PM

    Yes.. that would work. Isn't it.

    K.L Pathirana Tuesday, 11 December 2018 08:08 AM

    When I traveled by the train in these areas I cannot use my phone in most areas. It says network is not available. How is it the driver get the SMS without the network ? Who will be up at late nights hours watching these elephants on the railroad in the middle of a jungle ? All talk no effective solution.

    Unchikun Tuesday, 11 December 2018 08:11 AM

    One can send an SMS. Good. The issue that the engine drivers are asleep and drunk on long distance trains.

    Sanju Tuesday, 11 December 2018 02:31 PM

    Nothing will work if the engine drivers continue to drive DRUNK. And ofcourse it will help if the trains run SLOW in "sensitive" areas, so they can stop in time to avert collisions.This SMS system will not help. It will not work.

    pethum Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:25 PM

    Give a mobile phone to all elephants in the jungle and ask them to send a sms when they are gonna cross a rail track

    pethum Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:26 PM

    Give a mobile phone to all elephants in the jungle and ask them to send a sms when they are gonna cross a rail track

    Lafiri Tuesday, 11 December 2018 05:41 PM

    Overhead or Elevated rail bridge only solution. You can save the Elephants and other wild life. Trains could travel faster and more economically.

    Mahesh Tuesday, 11 December 2018 06:20 PM

    Do Elephants use Mobile Phones to send SMS?

    ram Tuesday, 11 December 2018 07:43 PM

    if a small pilot vehicle fitted with HD cameras, powerful lights, horns and remote control facility in front of the train which can travel about 500m in front can save all these accidents. it want cost 10 million for a pilot vehicle.

    charles Wednesday, 12 December 2018 02:10 AM

    Why try to depend on a unreliable third party. The technology is already available. Install Infra red cameras in front of train . That is the technology military use for night vision. That is the most reliable if you really care about elephants.

    jana dasa Wednesday, 12 December 2018 03:33 PM

    villager: මහත්තය රේල් පාරේ අලියෙක්hotline: පොඩ්ඩක් ඕක අලියට දෙන්න. මම අයින් වෙන්න කියනන්

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