Indian Railways To Issue Rs 5000 Crore Tender For 'Kavach' Safety System Covering 10,000 Km

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 19, 2024, 02:05 PM | Updated 02:57 PM IST

It has been adopted as the National Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System. (Wikipedia)
It has been adopted as the National Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System. (Wikipedia)

Indian Railways is poised to issue a Rs 5,000 crore mega tender to accelerate the adoption of its Kavach automatic train protection (ATP) technology across 10,000 km of its busiest networks.

This significant initiative aims to enhance railway safety and reduce accidents, such as the tragic incident near Balasore in Odisha last year that resulted in nearly 296 fatalities and over 1,200 injuries.

Kavach has already been successfully deployed on 1,465 route kilometres and 139 locomotives, including Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes, on the South Central Railway.

So far, Indian Railways has tendered 6,000 km of the Kavach system. Contracts have been awarded for the Delhi-Mumbai (including Ahmedabad-Vadodara Section) and Delhi-Howrah (including Lucknow—Kanpur Section) corridors, covering approximately 3,000 route km across Eastern Railway, East Central Railway, North Central Railway, Northern Railway, West Central Railway, and Western Railway.

A senior official from the railway ministry stated, "Indian Railways has received the patent for Kavach and tenders are being finalised for an additional 10,000 km. The system involves complexities and has to be customized for each train. For example, a 5,000-tonne goods train needs a 1-1.5 km distance to stop, while for MEMU (mainline electric multiple unit), it will be 300-500 metres. The system is devised accordingly," reports Mint.

Currently, three Indian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) — HBL Power Systems, Kernex, and Medha — are approved for Kavach.

Efforts are underway to develop more OEMs to enhance capacity and scale up implementation. New OEMs are expected to be onboarded for upcoming tenders as Indian Railways plans to expedite Kavach's deployment across its entire 70,000 route kilometres to ensure passenger safety.

Indian Railways' indigenous anti-train collision system — 'Kavach'

Kavach was developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) under Indian Railways. It has been adopted as the National Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System. 

Since 2016, the Indian Railways has been carrying out field tests for Kavach on passenger trains, with further operational improvements in the works.

The Kavach system involves laying optical fibre cables, installing telecom towers, and setting up equipment at stations, in locomotives, and trackside. It aids loco pilots by automatically applying brakes if they fail to do so within specified speed limits, ensuring safe train operations even in inclement weather.

Other benefits include automatic speed control on approaching turnouts, signal aspect repetition in the cab (useful for high speeds and foggy weather), and automatic whistling at level crossing gates.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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