Indian Railways Kavach System: A few days ago, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reviewed the working of the indigenous train protection system of the national transporter- ‘Kavach’, between Lingampalli – Vikarabad section of South Central Railways’ Secunderabad Division. In the Union Budget 2022-23, the indigenous train protection system is earmarked for aggressive rollout on 2,000 kilometres in the financial year 2022-23. This indigenous system is India’s automatic train protection system in development since the year 2012, under the name Train Collision Avoidance System, which got rechristened to the name Kavach, an IE report said.
What is Kavach?
It is a set of electronic devices as well as Radio Frequency Identification devices installed in train locomotives, in the signalling system and rail tracks, that talk to each other utilizing ultra high radio frequencies in order to control the train brakes and also alert drivers, based on the logic programmed into the system. One of the main features of Kavach is that by continuously refreshing a train’s movement information, it is able to send out triggers when a loco pilot jumps signal, known as Signal Passed at Danger, a grave offence that leads to accidents like collision. Also, the devices relay the signals continuously ahead to the loco, making it useful for locomotive pilots in low visibility, especially when there is dense fog.
The Kavach system includes key elements from already existing, tried and tested systems such as the European Train Protection and Warning System, as well as the indigenous Anti Collison Device. Also in the future, it will carry features of the high-tech European Train Control System Level-2. The Kavach system’s current form adheres to Safety Integrity Level 4 which is the highest level of safety and reliability standard.
What’s new in the train protection system?
The government wants to position Kavach as an exportable system, a cheaper alternative to the European systems. At present, Kavach uses Ultra High Frequency, however, work is on to make the system compatible with 4G Long Term Evolution technology and make it for global markets. Also, work is going on to make Kavach such that it can be compatible with other installed systems across the globe. In Lucknow, RDSO along with private vendors are developing the system. According to the report, once rolled out, Kavach may be the cheapest Automatic Train Protection System in the world with the rollout cost pegged at around Rs 30 lakh to 50 lakh per kilometer, a fourth of the cost of equivalent systems across the globe. The Kavach system, in the next phase, will also be able to recalibrate as per temporary speed restrictions en route.
When is the rollout?
So far, this indigenous system has been deployed on over 1,098 kilometres and 65 locos in ongoing projects of the South Central Railway zone. Kavach will be implemented on 3000 kilometres of the Delhi-Mumbai corridor and Delhi-Howrah corridor in the future where the railway tracks and systems are being upgraded to boast 160 km per hour speed. In addition to a 250 kilometres long trial section, currently, Kavach is under implementation on 1200 kilometres of the South Central Railway zone, on Manmad-Parbhani-Nanded, Bidar-Parli Vaiinath-Parbhani and Secunderabad-Gadwal-Dhone-Guntakal sections. Also, more than 34,000 kilometres on the High Density Network and Highly Utilized Network of on the Golden Quadrilateral have been included in its sanctioned plans.