The sight of a long train passing by is a common one on any railway track, and you may have noticed a small ‘X’ mark on the back of the last wagon. Have you ever wondered what it means or what purpose it serves? The Ministry of Railways has finally revealed the mystery behind the ‘X’ mark on the back of a train.
Firstly, it is important to understand that the ‘X’ mark is not just a random symbol placed on the train. It serves an essential purpose and plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of train operations.
The ‘X’ mark is called an “End of Train Marker” (ETM) and is a crucial component of the train’s braking system. The ETM is placed at the end of the train and signals to the train crew, track workers, and other rail personnel that the train’s last car has passed.
The ETM consists of a metal plate with a red reflectorized ‘X’ on it and is mounted on the last car of the train. The reflectorized ‘X’ makes it easier for train crews and other personnel to spot the end of the train, especially in low-light conditions.
The ETM also plays a vital role in the train’s braking system. When the train is in motion, air brakes are used to slow down or stop the train. The ETM contains a small air hose that connects to the train’s braking system. When the train’s air pressure drops, the air hose detaches from the ETM, signaling that the train’s last car has passed and that the brakes can be fully applied.
Apart from its functional use, the ETM is also helpful in preventing accidents. It helps to ensure that the train is complete and that no cars have become detached during the journey.
Finally, the ‘X’ mark on the back of a train is not just a random symbol but an essential component of the train’s braking system. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of train operations and helps to prevent accidents. So, the next time you see a train passing by with an ‘X’ mark on its last car, you will know that it is an important part of the train’s equipment.