CAG faults rail safety equipment

CAG faults rail safety equipment

Rail Board gives nod for faulty anti-collision device

The latest report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) reveals that the Railway Board had given a go ahead for installation of Anti-Collision Device (ACD) despite reported deficiencies. 

The report has also found fault with Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS), another critical safety equipment that the railways has planned to install.
  “The ACD were prone to generation of spurious information and were not applying automatic brakes indicating presence of another train on the approach section,” CAG says on the performance of ACD.

“Audit also observed that many of the deficiencies that were noticed during previous testing were continuing and commented upon by the safety team,” says the report.

According to the observations of the safety team, the deficiencies “could lead to potentially unsafe conditions as the driver may become complacentAnti Collision Device, also called “Raksha Kavach”, was developed by Konkan Railway Corporation (a public sector undertaking) in 1999.

When installed on locomotives, brake vans and at stations and level crossings, these ACDs network among themselves to prevent accident like conditions.    

In case another train is approaching on the same track, the ACDs apply brakes in both the trains to bring them to a halt and reduce the possibility of head-on collisions.

Trials of ACD were conducted on North Eastern Frontier Railway (NFR) and an improved version was developed. After a “successful” trial of the improved version, railways decided to commission the equipment on three railway zones - Southern Railway, South Central Railway and South Western Railway.

Railway Board also committed that the ACDs would be installed on entire broad gauge system by 2013.

Similarly, despite commissioning of the TPWS in Southern Railway in May 2009 at a cost of Rs 49.49 crore, the trial reports indicated equipment failure at various stages, requiring modifications in the software. The performance efficiency recorded during trials was between 77 to 90 per cent as against the acceptable level of 99.9 per cent,” says the report.

“While the results of TPWS trials over NCR were still under evaluation and those of Southern Railway were found below acceptable standards, audit found that Railway Board had sanctioned  TPWS work on other zones during 2010-11,” notes the CAG.

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