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What is Railway kavach system?

Railway Kavach System:

A significant step towards improving train operation safety in India has been taken by Ministry of Railways with the development of Kavach, an indigenous Automatic Train Protection System.

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The Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) collaborated with three Indian vendors to create Kavach, which assists locomotive pilots in avoiding Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and over speeding, while also aiding train operation during adverse weather conditions such as dense fog. By automatically applying brakes when necessary, Kavach ensures better control of train speed and prevents potential accidents.

Railway Kavach System: Key Points

  • In a written response to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of Railways, Communications, and Electronic & Information Technology, Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, underlined the government’s dedication to ensuring safety and effectiveness in train operations through technological advancements like Kavach.
  • Following an incident in Balasore district of Odisha, which resulted in a tragic loss of life and injuries, many are questioning whether the Kavach system could have prevented the collision. However, it remains unclear if any of the trains involved in the accident were equipped with the technology, leaving everything to speculation at this time.

What is Kavach?

Kavach is a cost-effective solution that has been certified with Safety Integrity Level 4 (SIL-4), ensuring high safety standards with an incredibly low probability of error (1 error in 10,000 years). Its implementation is part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative, with plans to expand it to a network spanning 2,000 kilometres by 2022-23.

This expansion will improve capacity and safety while also creating opportunities for indigenous technology exports to other railways worldwide. Kavach was developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with three Indian vendors and has been adopted as the National ATP System for Indian Railways.

Railway Kavach System: Salient Features

Kavach, which has been designated as the National ATP System for Indian Railways, has several key features, including automatic brake application if the locomotive pilot is unable to act, line-side signal display in the cabin for improved visibility in foggy conditions and at higher speeds, continuous updating of movement authority, automatic whistling at level crossings, collision avoidance through direct loco-to-loco communication, and an SOS feature to control trains in emergency situations.

  • Kavach underwent successful trials covering a distance of 250 kilometers on the Lingampally–Vikarabad–Wadi and Vikarabad–Bidar sections of South Central Railway, and three vendors were approved for further developmental orders on the Indian Railways network.
  • Kavach works on the principle of continuously updating the movement authority.
  • The system offers collision avoidance by allowing direct communication between locomotives, and enables the feature of SOS in case of any mishap to control trains in the area.

Expenditure on Kavach  

Total expenses on the Kavach project amount to Rs. 16.88 crore. Roll-out of the system is anticipated on the New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai sections with an anticipated completion date of March 2024. Further expansion will be based on the experience gained during implementation.

Significant Train Protection Systems Automated Globally

  • Different nations and organizations have implemented various anti-collision systems for trains with the aim of improving safety and preventing collisions.
  • Automatic Train Protection (ATP) systems have been implemented in many countries worldwide to ensure the security of train operations.
  • The European Train Control System (ETCS) is a well-known standardized system used in Europe, which employs signaling, communication, and train control technology to achieve its goals.
  • Positive Train Control (PTC) is an ATP system primarily employed in the United States.
  • It utilizes GPS, wireless communication, and onboard computers to regulate and monitor train movements, aiming to prevent train-to-train collisions, derailments caused by excessive speed, and unauthorized train movement.
  • In the United Kingdom, the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is deployed to prevent train collisions and overspeed incidents.
  • TPWS employs trackside transmitters and onboard receivers to regulate train speed and maintain speed limits.
  • Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) is a commonly used ATP system in North America and combines track circuits, signals, and centralized control to regulate train movement, monitor train positions, and avoid collisions.

Ansaldo’s Advanced Train Control System (ATCS) is an ATP system created by Ansaldo STS, an Italian company. It is used in numerous countries globally and ensures safe train operations by managing train speeds, maintaining distances between trains, and providing real-time information to operators.

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