Saturday, October 31, 2015

CHENNAI: As Indian Railways is planning to introduce semi-high speed trains, Southern Railway is gearing up to equip its signalling and communication system in such a way that there will not be human errors when trains are run at 160kmph.

A railway company from China conducted a study recently to find out if semi-high speed trains can be operated on Chennai-Bengaluru/Mysuru route. The company is yet to submit its report.

Railways is planning to introduce Communication Based Train Control System, (CBTS), widely used in metro rail networks, to ensure that more trains could be operated on the same railway line without compromising on safety by improving the signalling and anti-collision safety features. This technology is important for running high speed trains.

Speaking at a seminar on "Capacity and Safety Enhancement with Modern Signalling System" organised by Institute of Railway Signal and Telecommunication Engineers (IRSTE) here on Friday, railway board additional member S Manohar said importance would be given to CBTC on mainline and also on suburban routes where the number of trains operated was high.

"A study in Delhi metro rail showed that CBTC could create a headway of 120 seconds. Hyderabad metro is also planning to introduce the system. The system will also display signal status on the dashboard of the train," he added.

TVM Signalling and Transportation Systems Ltd managing director Gopalakrishnan P said, "When speed of the trains is increased, we have to rely more on technology to ensure safety. Technology should control over the loco pilot who drives the train. This will eliminate human error. CBTC is one such technology. In semi-speed and high speed trains, the role of the loco pilot will be supervisory. The control will be with an automated system with a select number of people monitoring movement of trains."

Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) director general P K Srivastava said, "Anti-collision system like Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which has feature of an indigenous technology called Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS), is being developed because safety is crucial as speed of trains go up. This is going to be the future."

TPWS has been under trial between Moore Market Complex suburban station and Gummidipoondi since 2008. Manohar said the success rate of the system was 99%.

"Southern Railway has modernised its signalling system and has introduced electronic interlocking facility while railways in the north are yet to introduce the modern system. The arm signal is available only at the Nilgiri Mountain Railway because heritage element needs to be maintained. The modernisation of the signalling system has helped to increase capacity of the tracks in high-density lines," he added.

In a paper Ravi Prakash Karcherla from Thales India said, "Radio-based train control technologies is a state-of-the-art and proven signalling system for increasing density of trains on a route by minimising headway and increase in asset utilisation capacity. The implementation of such system in metro rail network should give the opportunity for railways to explore the technology for mainline networks."


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