Rail­ways tries tech to avert mishaps

Au­to­matic train-pro­tec­tion sys­tem, new coaches on the cards

Business Standard - - FRONT PAGE - SHINE JA­COB

In a bid to pre­vent ac­ci­dents that have grown fre­quent in re­cent times, the In­dian Rail­ways is set to in­tro­duce tech­nol­ogy that will en­sure that a com­put­erised sys­tem will take over the run­ning of trains, if driv­ers miss sig­nals or over­speed. The au­to­matic train-pro­tec­tion sys­tem could be launched across the coun­try in a year.

“A trial run is on in the Hy­der­abad di­vi­sion. We ex­pect a na­tional launch in a year’s time,” said an of­fi­cial. This is part of a safety road map drawn up by Rail­way Min­is­ter Piyush Goyal.

“The tech­nol­ogy will en­sure there are no col­li­sions. Our fo­cus is to adopt tech­nol­ogy and im­prove as­set re­li­a­bil­ity to re­duce hu­man de­pen­dence,” the of­fi­cial added.

There are two such sys­tems: A warn­ing sys­tem used by Euro­pean rail­ways and a col­li­sion-avoid­ance sys­tem adapted for In­dia. A pro­posal for in­tro­duc­ing the first sys­tem on 3,330-km routes, and the sec­ond sys­tem on 1,427-km routes has been cleared by the rail­ways. Goyal has also in­structed Rail­way Board of­fi­cials to speed up the in­tro­duc­tion of Linke-Hof­mann-Busch (LHB) coaches that come with an­ti­col­li­sion tech­nol­ogy.

The rail­ways will stop pro­duc­ing coaches at its In­te­grated Coach Fac­tory from April next year. Of the 63,000 coaches in the In­dian Rail­ways, 53,000 are re­port­edly un­safe.

In­dia has only 6,000 LHB coaches, used in Ra­jd­hani and Shatabdi trains.

In­dian Rail­ways claimed the record of hav­ing the least num­ber of ac­ci­dents at 0.09 per mil­lion train km in 2016-17, with only five na­tions ahead in terms of safety. “This fig­ure has im­proved from 0.2 ac­ci­dents per mil­lion train km in 2012,” the of­fi­cial added.

Com­pared to 27 deaths and 25 in­juries in the April-Au­gust 2016 pe­riod, rail ac­ci­dents led to 37 deaths and 166 in­juries dur­ing the same pe­riod of 2017.

The gov­ern­ment had in the 2017-18 Bud­get an­nounced the set­ting up of a Rashtriya Rail San­rak­sha Kosh with a cor­pus of ~1 lakh crore for a pe­riod of five years.

The rail­ways are also plan­ning to in­tro­duce ul­tra­sonic fault de­tec­tors to de­tect track frac­tures. The ul­tra­sonic fault de­tec­tor has been tested in the Al­la­habad di­vi­sion. Train­ing of rail­way­men will be re­vamped and the rail­way safety direc­torate will be con­verted into an au­dit­ing body, with the onus of safety be­ing trans­ferred to the engi­neer­ing de­part­ment.

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