Report From Ground Zero: When Railways Tested Their Collision-Prevention System, With The Minister On Board

by Arun Kumar Das - Mar 4, 2022 06:24 PM +05:30 IST
Report From Ground Zero: When Railways Tested Their Collision-Prevention System, With The Minister On BoardUnion Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw inspecting ‘Kavach,’ an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system.
Snapshot
  • It is a big step in the railway safety system to prevent train accidents, said Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw after the live demonstration of the automatic train protection system.

Leading from the front, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw today (4 March) witnessed the successful operation of the Kavach, an indigenised accident prevention system, in a section of the south central zone.

The much-awaited event saw the two trains moving on the same track from opposite directions come to an automatic halt due to the induction of the Kavach.

While the Railway Minister was onboard in the loco cabin of a train, Railway Board chairman V K Tripathy was on the other train along with the senior railway officials.

It is a big step in the railway safety system to prevent train accidents, Vaishnaw said after the live demonstration of the automatic train protection system.

Developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with Indian industry, Kavach, an Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, is to be replicated in the entire rail network to achieve zero accident rate in the country.

Vaishnaw said the Kavach would prevent head-on and rear-end collisions and it would restrict the speed and then stop if there is another train on the same track while the loco pilot would see the red light on the console of his cabin.

Vaishnaw, who conducted an onsite inspection of 'Kavach' between Lingampalli-Vikarabad section of Secunderabad Division, South Central Railway, said Kavach will be rolled out in 2,000 kms in financial year (FY) 2022-23 and in 4,000 to 5,000 km in every subsequent year.

The Kavach system would not allow the loco pilot to pass the danger signal and when the train moves from the main line to the loop line (platform line), the speed of the train should be slowed down, and the Kavach would ensure the same even when the loco pilot forgets to decelerate to reduce the speed.

Besides, the indigenised system would also ensure auto whistling at level crossings even if the driver does not do the same at the gates.

The technology being used for the system include relay system, GPS, GSM and RFID among others. The Kavach system covers stations, tracks and the locomotives for its operation.

While the south central zone has deployed it in 70 locomotives and about 1,200 km tracks there would be a total 4,415 lm track in the zone equipped with the system.

The system, an upgraded version of train collision avoidance system (TCAS), would also be installed on the high density route of the Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai section. The two routes are in the process of being upgraded for running trains at 160 kmph.

The Kavach would cost about Rs 40 lakh to 50 lakh per km as compared to Rs 1.5 crore per km for the European Train Control System Level-2.

Vaishnaw said it is cheaper than the European system and we are planning to export the system.

Announced in the 2022 Union Budget as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, 2,000 km of rail network is planned to be brought under the indigenous world-class technology 'Kavach', for safety and capacity augmentation in 2022-23.

'Kavach' is an indigenously developed automatic train protection system by South Central Railway which has been closely associated with its implementation since the development stage.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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