SIMRAN to save lives of rly gangmen

Every year about 400 gangmen are run over by trains while working on the rail tracks. To check these deaths, railways will use Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN). This train tracking technology has been developed by IIT-Kanpur and Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO).

Meanwhile, IIT-Kanpur will hand over the final report on the Gangmen Warning System (GWS) to the Railway Board on March 10. Developed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, GWS would alert a gangman about an approaching train from a distance of 2,000 metres. The gangman will have to walk with a device which will warn him against the approaching train. “GWS is a byproduct of SIMRAN which works on GSM technology,” said BM Shukla, principal software engineer, CSE department, IIT-Kanpur. While Indian Railways discontinued working with IIT-K on train tracking system, one of the most important uses of SIMRAN technology, the institute is working on two of the other byproducts of SIMRAN — GWS and the Unmanned Level Crossing Gates Warning System (ULCGWS).

IIT-Kanpur has completed trials for GWS and only a final trial in front of RDSO is awaited, said Shukla. On ULCGWS too, the institute has made headway. It’s the final report which is awaited from ULCGWS. In this, a device would be installed at level crossings, both manned and unmanned, to alert road-users about the approaching train. The signal would change colour when the train is 2,000 metres from the crossing and a hooter would blow when the train is 700 metres away from the level crossing. Once the train has crossed, signal would change colour from red to yellow. “The alarm system would be on till the last train on the track has crossed,” said Shukla.

The accidents at unmanned level crossings are rampant in railways. There have been several instances where vehicles hit the boom barriers and disrupted movement of trains. The warning system at level crossings will keep a check on such incidents. SIMRAN tracks trains through GPS, GSM and/or RF tags. The technology has been developed jointly by RDSO and IIT-K. “We completed the project in 2009 and handed it over to the Railway Board,” said executive director, administration, RDSO, AK Mathur. SIMRAN has been developed using about Rs 350 crore between 2004 and 2009.

In one of the most passenger friendly moves, railway ministry opened the first phase of Real Train Information System (RTIS) to people for accurate train tracking, using SIMRAN, in 2011. IIT-Kanpur, which played the major role in research stage, has been kept away in the deployment stage of the project. In October last year, Railway Board discontinued the role of IIT-Kanpur in train tracking system.

“We had asked for Rs 5 crore for deployment of SIMRAN in trains all over the railways but the day we were called to sign the MoU, we were told that our involvement is no longer needed in the project,” said sources in IIT-Kanpur. The institute was working on the project in 36 trains. But, after railways’ decision, IIT-Kanpur closed down the website giving real time information to the passengers using SIMRAN. The institute, since it had the experience of operating the technology, could have helped in deployment, but now it’s the Indian Railway Project Management Unit (IRPMU) which is deploying RTIS in all the trains. “We have real time train enquiry which is similar to SIMRAN,” said Anil K Saxena, additional DG, PR, Railway Board.

SIMRAN was one of the 12 projects under the Technology Mission for Railway Safety (TMRS)
It helps in locating trains through GPS, GSM and/or RF tags without any manual interference
IIT-K is working on GWS and ULCGWS
SIMRAN has been funded 50% by HRD, 30% by Railways and 20% by industries as was provided in TMRS
IIT-K and RDSO worked on SIMRAN from 2004 to 2009
About 350 crore spent on developing SIMRAN

Railways’ online tracking site now to have info of all trains

Expanding its facility, Railways have included all trains under its online train tracking service,, providing updated information about their movements.

According to a statement issued today, train running information can also be sources by sending SMS to 139. All that one has to do is type ‘SPOT’ and send it to 139.

The development comes in the wake of real-time train tracking system SIMRAN (Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation) developed by IIT-Kanpur shutting down operations recently.

The agreement between Railways and IIT-Kanpur has come to an end for running the project on September 30, sources in the Railways said.

While SIMRAN provided information of only 36 selected Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains, the statement said, information on all these trains would be available on ‘’.

SIMRAN was launched by the then Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi as a pilot project in October last year.

Indian Railways to launch real-time train tracking via Google maps

Indian Railways may soon launch real-time tracking of trains on Google maps that can be accessed through mobile devices and PCs.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the technology arm of the Indian Railways, has developed a GPS-based solution with help of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which can provide exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis.

The GPS devices, which will cost around Rs 70,000-1,00,000 per train, would be fitted in about 100 trains, which may help avert collisions and prevent loss of lives. In affect, trains in future may know each other’s location, and start breaking, in case of danger ahead.

The breaking distance of passenger trains is about 1 km, while for freight trains it is about 1.4 kms. Around 22 people have died this year due to train accidents, and last year around 120 people died. According to reports, in the last four years, around 15% of rail accidents took place in India.

“The government’s focus is to reduce the number of accidents and installation of real-time monitoring service on all trains by the end of 2013, which would contribute in improving the monitoring,” V A Chopra MD CRIS said.

Passengers may also be available to see real-time locations, as CRIS has integrated the GPS app with Google maps. ISRO’s INSAT-3C satellite will aid in location of moving trains. The GPS system can give an accuracy of about 10 metres, with a lag of about 2 minutes.

However, CRIS aims to shorten the distance to about 3 metres, the average distance between two gauge lines, a critical factor that can prevent accidents if a train on another line is derailing.

Success of the GPS-based system may help Railways in running trains at high speed. The GPS application will also aid in better planning of train schedules, especially in bad weather.

Currently, scheduling is done manually. Station masters call the divisional headquarters and inform them once a train has left a particular station. “In future, the controller will only plan the running and scheduling of trains instead of co-ordinating with various other stations to confirm the status of the trains,” said Chopra.

Indian Railways has about 77 control offices at over 6,000 stations. A pilot project has already started between Chennai and Tambaram railway stations, where about 364 suburban train services have been scheduled successfully with the GPS devices. CRIS plans to allocate around Rs 70 crore to the project.

The facility to track train movements will soon be available on Indianrailways.

Last year, Indian Railways had announced the project Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) jointly with IIT-Kanpur for a similar tracking portal, which is currently in pilot stage with several trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.

Real-time info system for trains launched

The Indian Railways on Wednesday launched a real-time train information system (RTIS) for a dozen important trains through which passengers can access the accurate train running information.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi launched the facility at the Economic Editors’ Conference here.

The facility will not only be available to passengers on these trains but also to the public who are accessing the website “http:/”, and through SMS from railway enquiry number 139.

Passengers will be provided with the information about the location of the train, its running position — on time or late, next stop, nearest approaching/crossed station and the speed.

This facility has been provided for 12301 Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, 12302 New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express, 12305 Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, 12306 New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express, 12313 Sealdah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, 12314 New Delhi-Sealdah Rajdhani Express, 12951 Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, 12952 New Delhi-Mumbai Central Rajdhani Express, 12953 Mumbai Central-Nizamuddin A K Rajdhani Express, 12954 Nizamuddin A.K.-Mumbai Central Rajdhani Express, 12003 Lucknow-Delhi Shatabdi Express and 12004 New Delhi-Lucknow Shatabdi Express.

The Railways intends to provide this facility in all passenger and freight trains by December 2012.