New device to prevent rail accidents tested

Technology to automatically halt trains before collision

Railway passengers can look forward to a more safe and secure travel in future, thanks to a path-breaking technology developed by Hyderabad Batteries Limited (HBL).

The Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), developed by the company, has been successfully tested in real time and the system is found to be viable and effective, officials of the South Central Railway said.

Field trials were conducted last month in real time on a track near Tandur station. Two TCAS-equipped locomotives operated a series of test runs, simulating scenarios including head-on collisions; rear-end collisions, and Spads (Signal Passed at Danger). The trains ran at converging speeds of 200 km per hour for the head-on tests, and 60 km per hour for Spad and collision demonstrations.

A safety device designed to prevent train accidents, TCAS is based on a combination of railway signalling data with radio communications, global position, radio frequency identification devices, software and logic.

HBL Power Systems was the first company to respond to the expression of interest floated by the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Indian Railways to develop an anti-collision device in August 2008.

The system is designed to automatically bring trains to a halt when collision-like situations arise or when the red signal is violated, for various reasons. 

It has essential features of both automatic train protection and collision prevention in one solution.

The system has two categories – one to prevent collisions between trains in station section and block section and the other to prevent collisions between trains and road traffic at level crossings.

"To address the typical needs of Indian Railways, HBL has developed solutions for both the requirements," a company spokesman said.

The successful trials were witnessed by the Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal, Director-General of RDSO, Khulbhushan, and other senior officials.  

Phased project

“It is a path-breaking technology. Following its successful demonstration, we would like to complete all the trials within a year and install the device in a phased manner,” the officials said.  The new system is essentially a fusion of Train Protection Warning System (TPWS) and Anti-Collision Device (ACD). The TPWS and ACD are already operational on a trial basis on selected routes.  

As a pilot project, TPWS has been provided on Chennai suburban section and another pilot project is in progress on Nizamuddin-Agra section.

HBL Power Systems, apart from the rail safety device, has developed electronic interlocking system, audio frequency track circuits and train management systems.

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