Now, track your train on mobile phone

Knowing the exact location of a train was never so easy as one can now track it on a mobile phone.

A joint team of Railways and IIT-Kanpur has developed a technology — the real-time train running information system — which enables a mobile user to access information about the exact location of a train. One has to type the train number and SMS it to 09415139139 or 09664139139 for knowing the exact location of a train on real-time basis, a Railway Ministry official said.

The service is currently available for 36 pairs of premier trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto. “Not all premier trains are covered yet. Some of the trains covered under the project included Mumbai Rajdhani, Howrah Rajdhani, Dibrugarh Rajdhani, Sealdah Duronto and Shatabdi trains for Bhopal, Kanpur and Amritsar,” the official said.

The facility would be extended to all major trains in the next 18 months and the railways has allocated Rs 121 crore for the project, he said.

“It will cost about Rs 50,000 to install a receiver on the locomotive for making the system operational. There will be a centre at New Delhi for receiving data from across the country,” the official said.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/logistics/article3566021.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home

Tiny device from IIT-Kanpur can prevent derailment

After fabricating Jugnu, the country’s tiniest satellite launched last month, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur graduates have now come up with a matchbox-sized device to monitor wear and tear of railway tracks and prevent derailment.

The new device is aimed at replacing a bulky, box-like contraption that is currently used by Indian Railways.

“Our device is a supplementary system for monitoring track health, making it simpler to integrate with the existing railway infrastructure,” said Kshitij Deo, M.Tech in mechanical engineering, who developed the device with three others from the vibration and dynamics lab of the IIT.

For Railways, safety is important as thousands of trains use around 114,500 km tracks of its network – the world’s fourth largest. With regular use, the tracks develop cracks and fissures, including problems linked to loose nuts and bolts at the joints. If the tracks are less firmly anchored on the soil, it could lead to derailment.

All these faults can now be detected in real time and recorded automatically to prevent derailment thanks to the oscillation monitoring system, a cutting-edge device weighing just 100 grams.

The device has been designed and developed by a team of IIT-Kanpur’s mechanical engineering graduates, under the guidance of N.S. Vyas, professor and head, mechanical engineering, and the Railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow.

The device, based on micro-electro mechanical system, can monitor track health more comprehensively and enable efficient track maintenance.

“The extremely handy package locates and logs track faults accurately with the help of the GPS (global positioning system), eliminating human errors and making train journeys safer. It has a battery life of 10 hours and can be recharged by USB port on computers,” said Deo who developed the device with three others from the vibration and dynamics lab under Vyas.

On the other hand, the existing railway monitoring equipment is bulky and operated manually, with two people being required to feed the location into the bulky device.

It is mounted on a special coach, the oscillation monitoring unit. Since it forms part of a small train, the exercise cannot be undertaken frequently. Track clearances have to be sought and the routes planned and finalised in advance, said Deo.

“The biggest challenge lay in engineering a device that could pinpoint faults with a high degree of precision while simplifying use with a drastically reduced size. We did manage to reduce the number of buttons to one as against 50 required on the keypad of the railway equipment,” said Deo.

The device once placed on the floor of a running train’s coach measures and records vibrations. Any fault or irregularity on the tracks changes the pattern of vibrations. The device feeds all such data and locational faults into a fingernail-sized data storage card with the help of a GPS receiver.

If the vibrations cross a certain threshold, especially in case of a critical fault, the device alerts engineers with audio-visual signals (beeps and flashing LEDs). Post- journey, the storage card is retrieved from the device and plugged into the computer for reading the track’s actual condition and analysis by the railways.

The plan is to install at least three-four such devices on trains running on each route to monitor each track on a regular basis.

The project grew out of a visit by the director of the RDSO to IIT-Kanpur. “We were demonstrating a similar vibration measurement instrument developed by us. In subsequent meetings, the project was finalised and we designed the device in close coordination with RDSO officials,” said Deo.

“The project took a year to fructify, involving some 25 field trials on trains, including Shatabdi and Rajdhani Expresses. The RDSO has been optimistic about the project. Many times we actually walked on the track to verify faults as predicted by the device,” recalled Deo.

After the successful completion of the first phase, the RDSO is keen on going ahead with the second phase and testing the device on trains in all the railway zones. If its performance is found satisfactory, it would be approved by the Railways.

http://pluzmedia.com/news/science-technology/22044/tiny-device-from-iit-kanpur-can-prevent-derailment

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.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/satellite-based-system-for-tracking-trains-94445?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ndtv%2FLsgd+%28NDTV+News+-+India%29&cp

Railways experiment with cost-effective fly ash sleepers

The Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of Indian Railways is experimenting with cost-effective sleepers for railway tracks. At present, railway sleepers are made with cement concrete. Now, the RDSO, in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur and NTPC, is planning to use fly ash in the sleepers, which will not only make them more durable, but also cost effective. An initiative of NTPC, the project was undertaken by RDSO in January 2010, and the sleepers will undergo lab tests in the next three months before going for field trials.

Fly ash is a residue of coal-based thermal power plants and is generally considered a waste. However, it is known to acquire cement-like properties when mixed with lime and water because of its pozzolanic characteristics, said V K Mathur, Head of Ash Utilisation Division, NTPC.

India produces 150 million ton fly ash every year and by 2012, the production is expected to reach 200 million tons. Mixing 25 to 30 per cent of fly ash gives 20 per cent more durability to the cement structure as the fly ash particles, being smaller in size than the cement particles, settle in the smallest of voids in a cement structure and make the structure more condense, Mathur told The Indian Express.

He was in town to participate in the two-day UIC Asia Workshop on Optimisation of Pre-stressed Concrete Sleepers organised by the International Union of Railways in collaboration with RDSO. This is the first time that railways organised an international workshop in Lucknow and more than 80 delegates from across the country, as well as from Germany and Australia, participated in it.

“We produce around one crore sleepers every year and if the experiment is successful, it will reduce the cost of production of each sleeper by approximately Rs 30, which will mean an overall cost saving of Rs 30 to 35 crore per annum for India Railways,” said A K Singhal, Executive Director (Track), RDSO.

“In the long run, this will also gain carbon credits for RDSO as it will reduce 0.15 million tons emission of carbon dioxide per annum,” Mathur said. Fly ash is also expected to reduce lime requirements in the process by 0.15 million tons, he added.

“The lab tests on sleepers made of 30 per cent fly ash is being done in IIT-Kanpur and if all goes well, we will be ready for its field trial in the next three months. The first trials on main track will be done in the vicinity of RDSO, Lucknow,” said Singhal.

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/railways-experiment-with-costeffective-fly-ash-sleepers/600589/0

Zero discharge toilets soon in Railways

Tiruchirapalli: Eco-friendly zero discharge toilets are all set to be introduced in trains across the country.

Some of them have already been installed on an experimental basis in trains in the south.

The toilets jointly developed by IIT Kanpur, Research Designs and Standard Organisation, Lucknow and a private agency in Chennai, ensure that all liquid discharges are converted into ‘pure water’ which can be used as re-cycled water to flush and clean toilets and sanitary fittings.

The solid waste is converted into odour free paste by certain bio-chemicals or additives applied at the departing terminal. This can be stored for 15 days in a tank and can easily be emptied at the destination point through ‘pressurised evacuation,’ V Carmelus, Chief Mechanical Engineer of Southern Railways said.

The odourless solid waste could yield revenue since the paste would an excellent manure after being dried in the sun.

After some more trial runs and studies the scheme would be a permanent feature in Indian Railways, he said.

Presently the system has been installed in trains running between Chennai and Jammu Tawi and Chennai-Lucknow, he said.

http://www.financialexpress.com/news/zero-discharge-toilets-soon-in-railways/423114/