Railways start work on fire safety system

Indian Railways seems to have learnt some lessons from recent fire accidents. Railways has initiated a detailed study to observe the spread of fire inside a running train to develop a smoke detection system that can be fitted inside sleeper coaches.

Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has invited expression of interest from firms to develop a coach diagnostic information system that will detect fire or smoke and detect flaws to bearing, brake binding, pressure of air suspension, pressure in brake cylinder, coach dynamics and airconditioner system and alert nearest railway station or control centre, said RDSO director general V Ramachandran.

Railways hopes that the system, which will be implemented in phases, will help minimise fire accidents and improve safety of running trains. RDSO is edging closer to installing smoke and fire detection system inside airconditioned coaches, but the challenge is to have a similar system inside sleeper coaches which are prone to dust.

Conventional fire and smoke detection devices work only in closed environment and are not suitable for sleeper coaches because dust and high noise level may trigger false alarms. The fire on Tamil Nadu Express, which killed 32 passengers in a sleeper coach near Nellore in July, spread so quickly that passengers did not get time to escape. A diagnostic system would help prevent such accidents because it will send an alert through a GPS or GPRS system if any component of a coach is faulty.

“RDSO has developed a fire detection system to detect fire in a coach and send an alarm. A prototype has been fitted to understand the system. However, a reliable solution to detect fire in non-AC coaches still eludes us,” he said.

Ramachandran said that “as a first step, RDSO was working to evolve standards for dust intrusion in non-AC coaches and reduce noise levels.” Railways is also planning to improve coaches by using fire retardant materials from floor to ceiling, high performance engineering plastics in windows, panels, partitions and seating when coaches are taken up for mid-life rehabilitation at coach factories.


Published in: on October 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm  Comments (1)  
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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

Railway workshop to build wagon prototype

TIRUCHI: Engaged in a slew of activities, including manufacture of container wagons and steam engines, the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here will soon knuckle down to the task of building a prototype of higher capacity tank wagon meant for carrying petroleum products.

The Railway Board has identified this premier workshop in the Indian Railways network to manufacture a prototype eight-wheeler higher payload tank wagon with a capacity to carry 73,000 litres of petroleum product.

The wagon development work is expected to commence soon based on the designs provided by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). Workshop authorities said officials of the Lucknow-based RDSO, the research and development organisation under the Ministry of Railways, would inspect the prototype tanker wagon and carry out different kinds of tests before according clearance for mass production of such wagons for future railway requirements.

Upon completion, the wagon would be put through its paces such as load testing and overload testing.

It would be taken for running test as well. This will be the first time that the workshop develops a prototype of a tank wagon.

The over 80-year-old workshop that has been manufacturing container wagons and ‘BOXN HL’ wagons made of stainless steel in addition to carrying out periodic overhaul of broad gauge diesel locomotives and exporting diesel engines after modifying them, is also engaged in developing prototypes of bogie open type (BOXN 25M) wagon and low platform container wagon (BLC 25M) each of which will have a capacity of carrying 100 tonnes.

The archetypes of these wagons with enhanced axle load are being developed based on the designs provided by the RDSO, officials said.

The workshop has dispatched over 2,500 container wagons to the Container Corporation of India, a government of India undertaking, till now.

The officials said the workshop had carried out overhaul of 134 diesel locomotives during the 2009-10 fiscal adding that 135 diesel engines would be overhauled in the current financial year.

Works are also underway for the manufacture of four new oil-fired steam locomotives for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway at a cost of Rs. 40 crore.


Railways to introduce AC double-decker coaches soon

The Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) has successfully tested the initial running of the country’s first Air-conditioned double-decker railway coaches likely to be introduced on selected routes by next year.

According to RDSO officials here today, last week a successful test of the new AC double-decker coaches with a speed limit of 115 kilometre per hour was conducted on the Moradabad-Bareilly sections. ” In the next phase, we will go for a trial of these coaches at a maximum speed of 160 kms per hour on the Agra-Mathura section by next week,” the official said.

Presently, 13 such coaches were being used for the trials by the RDSO.

After conducting several trials, Railways would introduce these coaches after an approval from the RDSO. The coaches would be built by the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in a bulk. These AC Double-decker coaches would be used for special youth trains announced by Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the last budget.

The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) of Kapurthala had developed these prototype air-conditioned double-decker coaches and the first rake was handed over to the RDSO for trials in April.

The RCF had brought out the double-decker coach in a record time of eight months.

Earlier also, double-decker coaches were made in the country but they did not have any AC and had some or the other manufacturing problems. The new double-decker AC coach design is capable of running at a speed of 160 kilometer per hour, and it is 1.5 feet higher than the normal coach and will have a seating capacity of about 128 passengers, about 30 per cent more than the present capacity.

These new coaches have been equipped with innovative facilities including anti-collision and anit-rust.

Besides, that entire coach is manufactured with stainless steel and is fire resistant.

The AC double-decker coaches have also have a unique feature of toilet discharge only when the train speed is above 20 km per hour.

— (UNI) — 13DR20.xml


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.