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Indian tech to make world's rail networks safe

December 05, 2006 11:42 IST

Train travel along the Nile would soon be much safer.

Egypt has evinced keen interest in acquiring the anti-collision device developed by the Konkan Railways.

Impressed by the performance of the ACD, the first device of its kind in the world, Egypt has asked the Konkan Railways and Hyderabad-based Kernex Microsystems Indian Ltd, who have an exclusive license to manufacture the gadget, to install it on the rail network in the African country.

A team of engineers from KR and Kernex completed a survey of the rail network in Egypt last month and look forward to install the ACD along a 500-km stretch in the next six months.

"A team of engineers completed a survey of the rail network in Egypt in the third week of November and we look forward to install the ACD there in the next six months," Col (Retd) L V Raju, Managing Director of Kernex Microsystems said.

Kernex manufactures the ACD under the trademark Raksha Kavach.

He said in their survey the engineers checked whether the rail network was appropriately covered by the Global Positioning System and related parameters for the installation of the ACD.

"We would require about 600 ACDs to cover the stretch of the rail network in Egypt," said K K Gokhale, Managing Director, Konkan Railways.

The ACD systems have already been installed on the entire route of Konkan Railways and in the Northeast Frontier Railway zone where it has been tested successfully.

Fitted on a locomotive and guard's brake van, the ACDs continuously monitors emergency scenarios that may lead to collision-like situations, while the train is either stationery or on the move.

They also detect the presence of other trains, level-crossing gates, stations en route, in their vicinity, by exchanging information with ACDs fitted on them.

If the trains are on a collision course within 3 km distance, both the trains apply brakes automatically, Gokhale said.

Major components of an ACD include a command and control unit -- a microprocessor-based module that processes the data and generates commands.

Other components include a GPS receiver that picks up signals from the constellation of GPS satellites and submits the same to CCU to extract the parameters related to the movement of train engine.

It also includes a crew interface device that helps the driver know various status in the form of audio visual indications, a radio transceiver that transmits information and commands being generated by its CCU and a braking mechanism for speed control of the engine.

KR plans to install ACDs along the 63,940 km Indian Railway network by 2012. As a step in that direction it plans to cover South Eastern Railway, South Central Railway and Southern Railway division by 2008.

Besides Egypt, countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia and South Africa have also sought details about the device and its efficacy.

Sagar Kulkarni in New Delhi
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