Two firms get nod to install train collision prevention system

Railways has finally selected two firms for installing the much awaited Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), the safety mechanism to prevent accidents, in the 200-km-long Vikarabad-Bidar section as a pilot project.

Medha Servo and Kernex Microsystems were selected among six contenders, including a few multinational companies, by the Research, Designs and Standard Organisation (RDSO) of the Indian Railways on behalf of the Railway Board, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

The pilot project, which aims at preventing accidents, is estimated to cost about Rs 18 crore while the trials on Vikarabad-Bidar section in South Central zone are expected to be completed in about eight months time by February 2014.

A safety device designed to prevent train accidents, TCAS is based on a combination of railway signalling data with radio communications, global position, radio frequency identification devices, software and logic.

The indigenously developed TCAS is a combination of Train Protection Warning System (TPWS), an European technology which protects trains against signal passing at danger, and Konkan Railway-developed anti-collision device which avoids collision in mid-section.

“TCAS is developed in RDSO and it is very cost effective for us. While TPWS cost about Rs 70 lakh per km, TCAS is just about Rs 10 lakh,” said the official.

Fitted with a Global Positioning System (GPS) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), the device would automatically activate the brakes if it detects any problems on the track.

After a successful trial in the South Central zone, TCAS will be deployed all over the country, said the official.

TCAS is equipped to control railway stations, signalling systems and trains including suburban, long-distance and goods trains.

The official further said that whenever TCAS has to bring the train to a halt, it will first reduce its speed and identify the nearest signal within the range of 200 metres with the help of RFID.

“It will then ensure that the train stops close to this signal.”

Satellite-based system for tracking trains

Tired of getting inaccurate and snail-paced information on movement of trains?

Help is expected soon with the Railways going ahead with the Rs. 110 crore satellite-based system to replace manual tracking of trains to provide its exact position on real-time basis.

The real-time train information system (RTIS) aims to provide train running information to the public through internet, SMS on mobile phones, call centres and through train indication boards at stations.

It will also give information to onboard passengers through the provision of display system inside the coaches.

“Efforts are on to replace the manual recording system with RTIS by connecting 8,000 trains and 8,177 stations across the country,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

To keep track of trains, currently station masters call up the control room at the divisional headquarters every time a train passes their station. Because of this manually controlled system, the information is sometimes inadequate.

As per the plan, Railways is to install loco devices in all locomotives and stations to receive dynamic data on train movement through satellite.

Name of the incoming train, speed, time duration and all relevant information required by passengers will be made available automatically once the system becomes operational.

“Trials are being carried out in certain Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains on a pilot project and the results are very encouraging,” said the official.

The system developed by IIT-Kanpur and RDSO uses global positioning system (GPS) and global system (GS) for mobile communication technology to transmit information.

Digital mapping of 8,177 stations of Indian Railways have so far been done. “Since all our control offices are now computerised the system will be utilised for tracking freight trains as well,” said the official.

“One can even track a particular train on internet through the RTIS,” the official added.

Other advantages of this system is that locomotive running information shall be available in the server which can be analysed to improve its efficiency.

Train running information like location, speed, direction on real-time basis can be analysed to improve the train running in a particular section.

Digital map of the railway station can also be used for linking various station data, yard information, signal information, city and hospital information which will be useful during any emergency.

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Engineering students in Bangalore to design metro feeder services

Four engineering students will design a feeder bus service for the Namma Metro. They will use the latest technologies like satellite imaging, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) to plan the routes.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is geared up to provide feeder services once Namma Metro commences operations, by deploying 64 buses on 26 feeder routes at a frequency of 10 minutes, said Transport Minister R. Ashok. Speaking at a press meet, Ashok said that buses will be operated to various localities up to 12 km from each metro station. These feeder services will operate to and from six stations on Reach 1 of Namma Metro between Byappanahalli and M.G. Road.

Also a group of transport engineering students have been commissioned to design a seamless feeder network to the Metro from different parts of the city to enable commuters to move from one transport system to another without any hitch. The design will be ready just ahead of the transport system getting underway. Post-graduate students from BMS and RV College of Engineering have been commissioned to undertake it under the guidance of BMRC, BMTC and overall coordination of the Department of Urban Land Transport.

The students are planning to design a system that will integrate Metro with BMTC, KSRTC and Railways. Commuters disembarking at Metro stations should be able to catch buses to different bus stands and railway stations within the city as well as to major points leading to residential areas. “The study will determine the number of buses required. It will factor in existing travelling density, how each Metro station is located vis-a-vis the destination location, stations that enable connectivity and distances over which buses have to be operated,” Said the urban development department officials.

The BMTC, meanwhile, has tentatively planned to introduce 1,000 buses as feeder services to the Metro during the night. These buses will be available for commuters between 11pm and 12.30am from different Metro stations to a variety of residential localities directly and via central points. Buses are expected to operate to central points like Majestic, Shivaji Nagar, K R Market and Jayanagar. Some key locations to which passenger flow post-10 pm is high are Kengeri, Vijayanagar, Nagarbhavi, Banashankari, Jayanagar, Yelahanka, K R Puram and Marathalli. Services to these areas from stations will get priority along with new localities that may also have high passenger flow once Metro begins.

Features of feeder service

1. Network alignment is worked out using GIS with up to four loops for each station
2. The routes are within 1.5 km radius from the stations
3. Buses will be available every five to 10 min
4. Travel time will be from 10 to 20 minutes
5. Bus stops are located between 300 metres and 750 metres from stations
6. Speed of the bus will be 40 km/hr
7. Emergency management provides users of Namma Metro access to hospitals, fire stations and police stations