Anti-collision device for trains

KOCHI, DEC.27. The Konkan Railways has developed an anti-collision device (ACD) which can prevent direct collision between two trains. The indigenously developed technology is based on microprocessors and is capable of transforming the signalled system which is prone to failures into a protected controlled system.

Plans are afoot to employ the system in the entire railway network, according to sources in the Railways.

The current signal system suffers from a single-point failure when the driver is not alert or fails to observe the signal.

There are block sections where the driver does not even have the benefit of signals and drives blindly without knowledge of the conditions ahead.

The ACD is developed to prevent collision of trains at high speeds in mid-sections and stations. The device has been tested by the Research and Development Service Organisation of the Railways.

As many as 11 types of accident scenarios were simulated and the system proved successful. The first laboratory experiments of ACD were demonstrated in 1999 and the Konkan Railway was given funds for field trials the following year.

The trials were conducted in association with the RDSO and the system was satisfactorily proved in June this year. The system is a software-based product and can be continuously upgraded.

The ACD-fixed locomotives can derive knowledge about the track on which they are moving and do not depend on the signalling system. In case of movement on a doubtful track, the system sends ACD signals to the other locomotive coming in the same track within 3 km. distance and restricts the speed of locos to 25 km until they pass and confirm to each other of their tracks.

Using the system, a train driver can stop an approaching train by pressing a button from his cabin.

To enable the ACD system to take over the present signalling system in the railway network, all locos must be fitted with the ACD unit. All railway stations and level crossings will also have to be fitted with the ACD units.

A total of 3,000 units are estimated to be needed for the entire railway network in the country. Out of this, there will be 7,000 auto-braking units, 7,000 station units, 6,000 vehicle guard units and 10,000 gate units.

At current prices, loco ACD units cost Rs. 2,75,000, station units Rs. 2,00,000, gate units Rs. 2,50,000 and guard units Rs. 2,50,000. The grand total cost for the ACD units including the extra units for special stations is estimated at Rs. 87,400 lakhs.

In addition, an amount of Rs. 9,900 lakhs is expected to be spent on radio survey for the track and stations.

The project can be implemented in three years, according to Mr. B. Rajaram, managing director of the Konkan Railways, inventor of the ACD.

Mr. Rajaram, in a communication to this correspondent, maintained that wide area networking could be adopted while employing the system. This would enable the railway authorities to get up-to-date status all over India automatically.

Local station operations can be monitored and inputs used to further enhance fault-proof operations. The existing signalling system can be retained while deploying the ACD system, according to him.