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The latest technology for railway safety in India

The latest technology for railway safety in India

On
20 July, the Ministry of
Railways released a press statement
that outlined the latest
technology being used in the country’s railway systems. 

As
a part of the Prime
Minister Narendra Modi’s Make in India initiative
, a number of new
state-of-the-art technologies have been implemented to ensure railway safety. According
to official figures, the railways have maintained the best safety record in
2017-2018 fiscal in over five decades.  

The
press release noted that an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System called the Auxiliary
Warning System (AWS) is currently operational on 364 RKMs (Route-kilometres) in
the Mumbai suburban section of Central Railway (240 RKMs) and Western Railway
(124 RKMs). The system will provide technical aid to Loco Pilots to avoid
Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) and over-speeding. Presently, three different
Automatic Train Protection (ATP) Systems are used in Indian Railway systems
including an ATM system indigenously developed called Train Collision Avoidance
System (TCAS), an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System based on proven
European Train Control System (ETCS-L1) Technology, and the aforementioned
Auxiliary Warning System (AWS).

Indian
Railway systems have also introduced complete Track Circuiting, which is a
device that is used to detect the absence of a train on railway tracks. This
has been implemented in around 5,989 stations in the country. The Ministry has
also implemented Axle box level accelerometers that can monitor track defects.

A
number of Axle Counter for Automatic clearance of Block Section (BPAC) have
been installed in train 5,117 block sections to reduce the amount of manual
intervention needed before granting line clear. Integrated Track Monitoring
Systems (ITMS) that are capable of recording identifiable track component
defects and Self-Propellered Ultrasonic Rail Testing (SPURT) Cars for detection
of internal flaws in rails have both been introduced into the railway system.

According
to the press release, over the last two years, the Ministry has witnessed several
improvements in techniques/technologies to ensure the safety and security of
passengers.

Among
the new technologies is an ATP System being indigenously developed called the Train
Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) is under trial on 250 RKMs of South Central
Railway as a pilot project.

The
press statement said that Electrical/Electronic Interlocking Systems with the
centralised operation of points and signals are being provided to reduce human
error and to replace out-of-date mechanical systems. Crew Voice/Video recording
systems are being installed to ensure the effective and tamper-proof video and
voice recordings of locomotive cabs for post-failure event analysis. 

The
Online Monitoring of Rolling Stock (OMRS) system monitors defective bearing,
wheel flats and defect reports are generated in real-time and corrective action
is taken. For development in the quality of welding, the Ministry has
introduced mechanised preheating systems, three-piece pre-fabricated moulds,
Auto Tapping Thimble and single shot crucible.

The
release also noted that new specifications for Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD)
testing machines have been issued by the Research Design & Standards Organisation
(RDSO) that includes features for location tagging, time stamping of recordings
and improved scan (B-scan) capability.

Thick
Web Switches & Weldable CMS Crossings have been introduced that will help improve
track maintenance and safety.

Work
for daily track health monitoring through deploying Axle Box Level
Accelerometers on one/two bogies of Rajdhani type trains on Group–A route has
been sanctioned.  This will ensure the regular
monitoring of track defects on routes that have been covered. Advanced
Integrated Track Monitoring System (ITMS) and Self Propelled Ultrasonic Rail
Testing (SPURT) cars have been developed.

Indian
Railway systems have already developed the safety aspects of coaches and wagons
by introducing the Modified Centre Buffer couplers and Bogie Mounted Air Brake
System (BMBS).  The Ministry is working
to improve suspension designs and provide automatic fire and smoke detection
systems in coaches that will eventually lead to better safety standards.

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