March 04, 2022
Today is marked to be a very important day for Indian Railways. For strengthening the safety of moving trains and their passengers, the Indian Railway has designed its own indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System known as “Kavach”. Kavach which literally means armour, is being promoted by the Railways as the world’s cheapest automatic train collision protection system. Today, Kavach was tested when two trains at top speed hustled towards each other near Secunderabad, one carrying the Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and the other the Chairman of the Railway Board. However, due to the indigenous ‘KAVACH’ technology, they did not collide.
Kavach is built to help the Railways achieve the goal of “zero accidents”. It is designed to bring a train to a halt automatically when it notices another train on the same line within a prescribed distance.
How will KAVACH technology help prevent accidents?
Trains will also stop on their own when digital system notices any manual error like “jumping” of the red signal or any other malfunction, senior officials said.
Once implemented, it will cost ₹ 50 lakh per kilometre to operate compared to about ₹ 2 crore worldwide, they said.
- The system works in three situations — head-on collisions, rear-end collisions, and signal is passed at danger (Spads).
- ‘Kavach’ controls the speed of the train by an automatic application of brakes in case the loco pilot fails to do so.
- It works on the principle of continuous update of movement by using high frequency radio communication.
- It also conforms to SIL-4 (Safety Integrity Level – 4) which is the highest level of safety certification.
- RFID tags are provided on the tracks and at the station yard for each track and signals for track identification, location of trains, and identification of train direction.
The ‘On Board Display of Signal Aspect’ (OBDSA) is to help loco pilots check signals on board consoles even when the visibility is low,” an official said.
- Also, once the system is activated, all trains within a 5-km range will halt to provide protection for trains on adjacent tracks.
- Currently, loco-pilots or assistant loco-pilots usually crane their necks out of the window to look out for caution signs and signals, said, officials.
It also includes stationary equipment to gather signaling inputs and loco inputs and relay them to a central system to for seamless communication with the train crew and stations.
- The first field trials on the passenger trains were started in February 2016 and based on the experience gained, initials specifications of the Kavach were finalized in May 2017. Subsequently, the independent safety assessment of the system by a third party (Independent Safety Assessor. ISA) was conducted, and based on the developmental project and the ISA safety assessment, three firms were approved by the Railway’s RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) in 2018-19 for working up to train speed of 110 kmph.
Subsequently, based on further trials, Kavach has been approved for speeds up to 160 kmph. The Railways is trying to find more suppliers of this technology.
With India.com inputs