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Project Idea | Automatic Unmanned Railway Barrier

  • Last Updated : 20 Jul, 2018

Project Title: Automatic Unmanned Railway Barrier

Introduction: The railway system is the most commonly used transportation mode in India. It is also one of those modes of transport that face a lot of challenges due to human errors such as level cross accidents, collisions, etc. India has more than 30, 000 level-crossings at which vehicles can cross the railway tracks. Of these, more than 11, 000 are unmanned crossings. This is where most of the accidents occur. According to the statistics obtained under a Right to Information application by activist Sameer Jhaveri, 3, 202 passengers died and 3, 363 were injured on the suburban railway network last year. In 2015, 3, 304 people were killed and 3, 349 were injured. According to the Railway budget 2015-16 Highest numbers of fatalities over IR occur due to accidents at manned level crossings. They take place mainly due to the negligence of road vehicle users in not observing the precautions laid down in the Motor Vehicles Act while negotiating unmanned level crossings. The data may seem old but still today level crossing constitutes 40% of Rail Accidents in India.

A level cross, an intersection of a road and a railway line, requires human coordination, the lack of which leads to accidents. Level crosses are controlled by manually operated gates. In order to avoid the human errors that could occur during the operation of gates, the proposed project introduces the concept of unmanned railway Barrier automation. Level crossings are managed by the gatekeeper and the gatekeeper is instructed by the means of the telephone at most of the level across from the control room. But the rate of manual error that could occur at these level crosses are high because they are unsafe to perform without actual knowledge about the train timetable. Delaying the opening and closing of the gate could lead to railway accidents. Thus the Unmanned Railway Gate Automation system aims to deal with four problems.Firstly it reduces the total time taken for the gate operation at the level cross and also ensures the safety of the passengers at the level cross during when the train passes.The reduction in the direct human intervention during the gate operation, in turn, helps to reduce the collision and accidents at the level cross. Since the gate operations are automated based on the switch gears, the time for which the gate is closed is less. Secondly, this automated system also reduces the accidents due to vehicles or humans trapped during the closing of level barriers. The project thus intends to develop an automatic railway gate control system which is reliable and secured than the existing manual system.


  1. Opening and closing of train barrier: Currently, the Indian railway system uses manpower to handle the opening and closing of the train barrier. Currently, railway control system contacts the barrier control room via telephonic call, giving information of the approaching train, its time etc. The whole system is vulnerable to many external issues like human error or issue in telephone connectivity. The following mentioned errors may cause an accident, so in order to tackle this problem we are upgrading the barrier opening and closing system, making it automated with the help of various sensors. We are handling this objective in the following three ways:
    • Detection of the train: When the train will come in the NRF coverage area of the NRF placed in the Barrier control system placed near the barrier. The NRF placed on the train shares the information of the approaching train with the barrier control system. This mechanism will replace the traditional telephonic calls to the barrier control room about the approaching train.
    • Traffic light: The traffic lights will be synchronized with the opening and closing of the barrier whenever the barrier closing process gets initiated, the traffic light will go yellow and then red. And will remain green otherwise. Traffic light system will alert the coming approching car.
    • The closing of barriers: With the information received by the Arduino Mega in the barrier control system via NRF when the approaching train comes in range. The closing of barriers is handled by the servo motor moving from 0 to 90 or 90 to 0 degree slowly.
  2. Stopping of the train on Obstacle detection: As many train casualties include someone accidentally coming in front of the moving train, considering the case like someone get stuck while crossing the level crossing as his car fails to start or some other unavoidable situation or if someone accidentally comes under the closing barrier. These are some of the conditions which may cause an accident. We are handling this objective in the following two ways:
    • Object detection under the crossing barrier: With the application use of infrared sensors, we are detecting any object under the crossing barrier. Infrared sensors are placed on the crossing barriers detecting an object. If an object gets detected, IR sensor sends a signal to the Arduino Mega placed in the data box near the train barrier which on receiving the signal in turns sends the signal to the train with the help of NRF connection between the train and the approaching crossing barrier data box. The train on receiving the signal from the data box via NRF passes the information to the Arduino Nano placed on the moving train, which on the basis of the information received passes a variable voltage to the trains motor with the help of Motor driver board, and in turns slows down the train.
    • Object detection in front of the moving train: With the application use of Ultrasonic sensor, we are detecting an object in front of the moving train. An ultrasonic sensor placed on the head of the moving train continuously sends and receives signal and with the help of time difference between the send and receive the signal it detects an obstacle in the near field range of concern. If any obstacle gets detected in the near field range of ultrasonic (set by us), we calculate the distance between the obstacle and the moving train with the help of the time difference between the send and received signal. On the basis of the distance calculated Arduino Nano sends the desired voltage to the motors with the help of a motor driver board. The minimum deceleration will be set because we are are also preventing any inside train accidents caused due to sudden deceleration.
  3. Uploading Train’s Information on SERVER: When train’s information(train’s ID, Next Station ID, Speed, Water Level ) is transferred to Arduino MEGA in barrier control node via NRF communication, it is then forwarded to Raspberry Pi using I2C (Inter-Integrated Communication), which then verify the Data and then uploads it on the Internet Server Using Python. We are handling this objective in the following two ways:
    • Getting Data from Train and Verifying It:When Train reaches near barrier it transfers Train’s vital information to Barrier control Node containing ARDUINO MEGA. This MEGA System is used to transfer Train’s information to Raspberry using I2C communication protocol. We choose to use I2C due to the Fact that it does not use your serial communication, this is definitely a big advantage. Secondly, flexibility. We can easily connect up to 128 slaves with the Pi. Also, we can just link them directly without a Logic Level Converter. This Data is verified in Raspberry To know whether it is actually from a verified source(i.e Train).
    • Uploading Verified data on Server: A client request application is running on each individual Barrier node, as the verified data is passed, a POST request is sent to the centralized server which posts train’s information on that centralized server instantly.
  4. Creating an Application and a Web Server for Passengers and Station Master: For the Real-time location detection Of Train and for the convenience of the passengers and station master, an app is created which fetches its data from the centralized server, where data is updated in real time. We are handling this objective in the following way:
    • Creating an Application and Web Server: In this Objective Firstly, a POST Request with an authentication token is made on the Server by the Raspberry Client running on Node Box. In this request Body, Parameters are also passed. After this server validates this authentication, If this authentication is validated then this information is updated on the database. An event known as the “Value” is called in order to update the current status of the train to the concerned station master. This status of the train is also updated to common passengers.

Hardware Requirements:

  • L293D [Motor Driver Board]
  • Voltage Regulators
  • NRF
  • Ultrasonic
  • Infrared
  • Servo Motors
  • Raspberry Pi

Software Requirements:

  • NRF: Library user RF24.h
  • Servo: Library used SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)


  • Train Barrier with IR sensors and Traffic Lights:
  • Station Master Login:
  • User Tracking:

Team Members:

  • Ayush Kumar Singh
  • Akhil Sharma
  • Abhimanyu Vashisht

Note: This project idea is contributed for ProGeek Cup 2.0- A project competition by GeeksforGeeks.

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