The forthcoming Railway Budget is expected to have substantial earmarking for the safety of trains, as the department is likely to back up the new anti-collision systems with investments.
The ministry may earmark funds for the new version of Anti-Collision Device (ACD), the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) and other modern equipment. In addition, allocation for Safety Fund may also go up from last year’s Rs 2,000 crore.
The Railway’s search for a safety system, following a spate of major train accidents, ended last year when it found the TCAS to be foolproof against all kinds of collisions and Spads(signal passed at danger).
Trials for the equipment were conducted at Tandur station, west of Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh, where two TCAS-equipped locomotives operated a series of test runs before the Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal and other high officials of the ministry. The TCAS uses a combination of Radio Frequency and GPS (Global Positioning System) technologies.
It applies brakes with no intervention of loco, the train pilots as soon as it spots another stationary or locomotive on the track and it avoids collision.
Though an earlier version of ACD has been introduced in North East Frontier Railways, it was found to be deficient in trials conducted in other zones. The TCAS, which is linked with signalling system, is found to be effective even in fog. It is also equipped to sound a fire alarm.
“Safety is very important for us (Railways) as repeated accidents only remind us of our inability to cope with the situation. While we need to address the safety issues, other operational deficiencies are also linked with safety, making it an important issue,” asserted a Railways official, an indication that safety and modernisation are likely to dominate the budget due to be presented by Pawan Kumar Bansal.
The government is likely to install Modern signalling system with Electronic Interlocking and Multi Aspect Colour Light Signalling in more stations, while Automatic Block Signalling is also likely to be introduced on more routes.
Mobile Train Radio Communication system for communication among train Driver, Guard, Station Master, Control Office and field maintenance staff during run of the train may also be commissioned on more route kilometres.