Railways to adopt Modern Technology in train operations

With the aim of enhancing safety, capacity and efficiency in train operations, Ministry of Railways has decided to upmark signaling and communication technology. Progressive implementation of route relay/panel/electronic interlocking, installation of block proving axle counters and data loggers, track circuiting along with multi aspect colour light signallng system are works currently spread over the network. This was stated by Shri Sudesh Kumar, Member Electrical, Railway Board at the inauguration of a seminar on “Role of Modern Signalling, Telecom & ICT system in making Indian Railways a world class Rail Network” here today. The Seminar was organized by the India Section of the London-based Institution of Railway Signal Engineers (IRSE) in collaboration with Institution of Railway Signalling and Telecom Engineers (India) here today.

Mentioning the Vision 2020 document of Indian Railways released recently by the Railway Minister in Parliament, Shri Sudesh Kumar said that Indian Railways have carefully thought investment plan for the next decade for upgrading the technology aimed at bringing about substantial improvements in services with user centric focus.

Shri Sudesh Kumar said that the multi cabin mechanical systems which have outlived their purpose will all get replaced with electrical/electronic interlocking system at more than 200 stations during the year 2009-10. Further, for reducing dependence on human and for verification of clearance of track, thrust has been given for track circuiting of the complete station section. Track circuiting at more than 700 locations has been provided during the year 2009-10 and about 1500 additional locations are targeted for completion within next two years. Simultaneously, plans are afoot to monitor the alertness of the onboard engine pilots electrically or biometrically. Filament lamp signals are being replaced with high visibility, low power consumption durable LED based signals. Over 600 stations have been equipped with these LED signals during the year 2009-10 and this will be extended to over 1000 stations within next two years. Data loggers would be installed for progressing from time elapsed maintenance regime towards predictive maintenance of signals, he added.

Referring to the importance of imported technologies, Shri Sudesh Kumar said that appropriate thought has to be given to ensure that adopted technology is customized to environmental and technical needs of Indian Railways and desired safety and quality standards. This needs building up of desired competence levels in existing manpower. He emphasized on implementing best maintenance standards and on making technology more user-oriented instead of being only equipment-oriented.

Shri Sudesh Kumar further added that in order to enhance safety, onboard train warning and protection/collision prevention systems would be installed after evaluation of trial results of different projects currently under way. In order to prevent cases of “signal passing at Danger” (SPAD) and check over speeding by drivers, the pilot project of Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) has been commissioned on sub-urban section (50 route kms) of Southern Railway. The trial of TPWS system on non-suburban section is underway on Delhi-Agra section (200 route Kms). Mobile train radio communication, extension of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) over the entire route are among the measures to be used to improve reliability of the communication system and enhance the capability of the transport system, Shri Kumar said.

Wishing the Seminar a success, Shri Sudesh Kumar expressed the hope that by 2012 when the IRSE/London would commemorate 100 years, the Indian chapter would participate with significant contribution from ideas and concepts that would evolve during the day-long deliberations of the Seminar.

In his address, Shri Ajay Bhattacharya, Administrator, Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) set up by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Government of India and the Guest of Honour at the inaugural session of the international seminar, made a categorical reference to the core strength of the Railways’ PSU viz. Railtel for extending optical fiber based communication to remote, non urban and far flung areas. The Railtel by themselves or in collaboration with other agencies could also work to extend the reach of the modern communication technology to the remote areas with assistance of the USOF.

Institution of Railway Signals Engineers, known more usually as IRSE, London is an international voluntary organization and active through out the world as a professional body of those engaged or interested in Railway Signalling and Telecommunication and allied disciplines. This has played a pivotal role in making Railway networks in European countries as world class most modern Railway networks. This seminar will help Railway professionals to identify suitable technologies to make Indian Railways a world class rail network.

The topics discussed at the Seminar included “Development of new competence to match existing technologies”, “IP based communication for a safer and secured train operation” and “Broadband on Trains – A means for operational excellence and passenger delight”.

The seminar was attended by Shri Ajay Bhattacharji, Administrator, Universal Service Obligation Fund, Shri K.D. Sharma, Additional Member (Telecom), Railway Board, Shri S.K. Vasishta, MD, RailTel, Shri K.K. Bajpeyee, Chairman, IRSE (Indian Section), Mr. Charles Page, Business Development Director, Invensys Rail, Mr. Antonio Casazza, Global Head of Portfolio Management and Sr. officials from Railway Board.


Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS) to monitor railway tracks

Owing to the rising number of accidents, the Railways has come under scrutiny and pressure to adopt safety measures.

As a result, a modern instrumentation system, based on automatic detection techniques, to monitor track irregularities has been adopted.

After certain trials, the Ambala Division has approved the Oscillation Monitoring System (OMS) for maintaining tracks and railway vehicles (coaches, wagons and locomotives).

“Keeping pace with technology, the Railways has adopted a state-of-the-art system to detect the condition of tracks and railway vehicles. OMS is an advanced portable instrument which continuously measures vertical and lateral accelerations at any desired location on the floor of a carriage while in motion,” said Ambala Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) H K Jaggi. The Division has already conducted successful trials on the system from Kalka to Ambala and Ambala to Jalandhar section.

The DRM said the system was running under trial in other sections too. “With favourable results, the system has been gradually applied to more sections in the division, including Chandigarh. This would be further increased in the coming months, gradually covering the entire division,” added Jaggi.

Till now, the track and railway vehicles maintenance was done manually, which consumed more time and labour.

The technology was developed last year by Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO), Chandigarh.

CSIO Director Dr Pawan Kapur said, “OMS helps to detect deterioration and stress patterns of the tracks, if any, which has great significance as detection is important to avoid an accident

The OMS technology is said to play an important role to facilitate high speed trains, which the Railways has proposed, as they require constant monitoring of tracks.