The train accident in Odisha's Balasore, which killed at least 288 people and injured nearly 1,000, has brought the railways' automatic train protection system Kavach into focus.
The railways has said that Kavach was not available on the route where the accident occurred on Friday evening.
The system alerts when a loco pilot jumps a signal (Signal Passed at Danger -- SPAD), which is among the leading causes of train collisions.
The system can alert the loco pilot, take control of the brakes and bring the train to a halt automatically when it notices another train on the same line within a prescribed distance.
What is Kavach
Indian railways has developed its own automatic train protection system called Kavach for enhancing safety of running trains.
Kavach has been developed indigenously by the Research Design and Standards Organisation in association with three Indian vendors.
Kavach will not only aid loco pilot to avoid signal passing at danger and over-speeding but also help in train running during inclement weather such as dense fog. Thus, Kavach will enhance safety and efficiency of train operations.
Salient features of Kavach
- Controls speed of a train by automatic application of brakes in case loco pilot fails to apply the brakes.
- Repeats line-side signal in cab which is very useful for higher speeds and foggy weather.
- Works on principle of continuous update of movement authority.
- Auto whistling at level-crossing gates.
- Collision avoidance by direct loco to loco communication.
- Supports feature of SOS in case of any mishap to control train in vicinity.
Trials of Kavach were conducted on the Lingampally-Vikarabad-Wadi and Vikarabad-Bidar sections of South Central Railway, covering a distance of 250 kilometres.
Following successful trials, three vendors were approved for further developmental orders on the Indian Railways network.
The total expenditure incurred on the development of Kavach stands at Rs 16.88 crore.
The roll-out of Kavach is planned on the New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai sections, with a target completion date of March 2024.
Further expansion will be based on the experience gained from the initial implementation, officials said.