Andhra Pradesh

Anti-collision devices hold the key, says rail body

Could Thursday’s collision involving a train and school bus in Medak district have been prevented if a Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), currently undergoing field trials, were in place?

Yes, say experts at the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the technical wing of the Indian Railways that indigenously developed the promising new safety device. Its features include automatic braking of locomotives when they confront each other on the same track, preventing a train from passing through a red signal by tripping its speed, keeping a tab on the speed beyond prescribed limits at various track sections.

In the context of Thursday’s accident involving a train ramming a school bus, resulting in deaths at an unmanned level crossing (UMLC), the TCAS assumes significance.

Officials of RDSO are confident of adding a feature wherein there would be a continuous, high-pitched whistle both from an UMLC and the approaching locomotive, to warn road users trying to cross the tracks.

The whistle would automatically start once a locomotive touches the 300-metre mark on either direction at the UMLC, said Mahesh Mangal, Senior Executive Director-Signal at the RDSO. Once installed, the TCAS will constantly update the locomotive pilot, information pertaining to the location of a signal, an UMLC, the safe distance that the train can move and permissible speeds.

TCAS is based on a combination of railway signalling data with radio communications, global position, radio frequency identification devices (RFID), software and logic and is said to be the first-of-its-kind. It comprises three main sub-systems-Loco TCAS the onboard equipment, Station TCAS deployed at stations and level crossings and RFID tags on the tracks, at one each per kilometre.

The device, with European Level II safety features, promises to prevent train accidents and based on successful trials. Officials are confident that the TCAS would be far more effective than all other safety devices.

As for the cost, installation of TCAS would cost about Rs.10-12 lakh per route km and the project cost is estimated at about Rs.7,000 crore for Indian Railways. This will cover about 64,000 route km, all the 6,000-odd stations, 8,000 to 10,000 Interlock level crossing gates and the 10,000-odd locomotives (engines) and take five years to implement, officials said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 9:16:37 AM |

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