Why is it in the news?
- A deadly train collision occurred recently in Vizianagaram district, Andhra Pradesh has resulted in 14 deaths and 50 injuries.
- According to the East Coast Railway officials, the indigenously developed Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS) called ‘Kavach,’ was not installed on the route where the Visakhapatnam-Palasa and Visakhapatnam-Rayagada trains collided.
- “Kavach” translates to “armour” or “shield” in Hindi, indicating its protective function.
- Kavach serves as a Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) for the Indian Railways.
- It aims to prevent train accidents caused by human errors or signalling faults.
- Indigenous Development: Kavach was indigenously developed over a period of about 10 years by the Indian Railways Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO).
- Cab Signalling & Anti-Collision: Essentially, Kavach is a cab signalling train control system with anti-collision features. It monitors and oversees the existing signalling system.
- Warning System: If a locomotive driver (loco pilot) fails to notice a red signal and is about to overshoot it, Kavach warns the driver. If the warning is not heeded and the train doesn’t slow down below a specified speed (like 15 km/h), Kavach will automatically apply the brakes to halt the train.
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): The system uses RFID technology embedded in the tracks. This tech employs radio waves to identify objects or convey data.
- Locomotive Equipment: Locomotives (driver’s cabins) are equipped with RFID readers, a computer system, and brake interface equipment to facilitate Kavach’s functions.
- Radio Infrastructure: Radio towers and modems are set up at railway stations to facilitate communication.
- Communication: The components on the rail tracks, locomotives, and at railway stations communicate with each other to monitor train movements and relay signals to the locomotives.
- Terrain Flexibility: Kavach’s functionality remains unaffected by visual obstacles, be it hilly geography, fog, or any other environmental conditions.
- Direct Communication: Locomotives communicate directly with each other, exchanging information about their location and track IDs. This ensures that if two trains are on a collision course, they’re made aware and can take corrective action.
· It takes ₹50 lakh per km for Indian Railways to install kavach system.
· Current coverage: 1,500 km out of India’s 68,000 km railway network.
· Funding: ₹4,000 crore allotted under the Signalling and Telecom budget, including ₹2,000 crore from the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) fund.
· Expected installation for FY23-24 is around 2,500 to 3,000 km.
- Prevents train collisions and accidents on rail tracks.
- Automatically halts all trains within a 5-km range for protection.
- Reduces the need for loco-pilots or assistant loco-pilots to solely rely on caution signs and signals.
- Significantly cheaper compared to the global cost of about Rs 2 crore per kilometre.
- Relays information to a central system for efficient communication.
- Ensures seamless communication between train crew and stations.