Southern Railway to use Walk-through thermal imaging scanners

Southern Railway will install walk-through thermal imaging scanners that will automatically scan body temperature and give alerts so that those with flu-like symptoms can be quickly identified as they walk in at MGR Central, Egmore and Tambaram railway stations.

A senior railway official said, “The plan is to procure three machines and install them at these stations. They are likely to be installed in 15 days.” Now, health staff use handheld thermal scanners to check temperature of passengers. A thermal imaging scanner with artificial intelligence was commissioned at Thiruvananthapuram Central Railway Station on Monday. It can screen temperature and uses artificial intelligence to detect face, masks and issue alerts if anyone has high temperature.

The ones that are being planned here may not have face recognition capability but may have facility to alert about passengers having high temperature. It will be a walkthrough facility like door frame metal detectors and will show the thermal image of people on a television screen. Medical staff or RPF staff monitoring the screen can isolate passengers if the image shows bright red.

There may be facility to mark the people on screen, if they have unusual body temperature. “The machine will speed up thermal screening as MGR Central and Egmore railway stations have daily footfalls of two lakh to three lakh,” he added.

Sources said railways is looking at procuring the machines because experience show handheld contactless thermal scanners are slow. “Often the staff using it has to point it more than once at the forehead of a passenger to get the reading. This was taking time and was also leading to building up of long queue of passengers. The delay is not affecting passengers now. But it will have an impact if train services begin in full-fledged manner,” said an official.