The Indian Railways is planning to revamp security measures by sealing stations like airports, introducing random security checks, and asking passengers to arrive 15-20 minutes before a train is scheduled to depart, PTI reported on Sunday. The steps are part of a security scheme under the Integrated Security System approved in 2016 to strengthen surveillance mechanism at 202 railway stations.

Railway Protection Force Director General Arun Kumar said that the aim is to seal the railway stations, identifying entrances and closing them either through permanent boundary walls or collapsible gates, and deploying Railway Protection Force personnel to guard entry points.

“At each entry point there will be random security checks,” Kumar said. “However, unlike at airports, passengers need not come hours in advance, but just 15-20 minutes ahead of their departure times to ensure that they are not delayed because of the security process.”

The security plan has already been put in place in Allahabad ahead of the Kumbh Mela, which begins on January 15, and at Karnataka’s Hubli railway station. Kumar said that blueprint for 202 more railway stations were ready to be implemented.

The Integrated Security System will comprise closed-circuit television cameras, access control, personal and baggage screening system, and bomb detection and disposal system. Together, the system will help check both passengers and baggage from the station entry till boarding of train. The system is expected to cost Rs 385.06 crore.

“The security plan envisages a layered security check where passengers will be scrutinised even before they enter the station premises to ease the pressure at stations during peak hours,” Kumar said. “It will also include real-time face recognition software, which will alert the Railway Protection Force command centre of any known offenders.”

Passengers will be checked randomly, Kumar said, adding that while security at railway stations will increase, fewer security personnel will be deployed.