RFID tags for 3.5 lakh wagons and coaches to facilitate better management

The Indian Railways is in process of installing radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags in all the 3.5 lakh coaches and wagons to track their location and for better management by April 2021, a top rail ministry official said.

The RFID readers being set across the network can read the tags even when trains are speeding at 180 kmph. Railway officials said till now approximately 22,000 wagons and 1,200 coaches have been fitted with RFID tags, which are compliant with GS1 standard and the pilot project has been successful.

“Additionally, roughly 3,500 fixed RFID readers are expected to come up which shall communicate to a central control centre using GS1 barcode’s LLRP (low-level reader protocol) standard,” said Rajesh Agarwal, member (rolling stock) of railway board.

The complete solution includes the integration of RFID readers with various equipment such as Train Presence Detectors (TPDs) and trackside condition monitoring equipment. The combination of all of these will allow for an early identification of rolling stock that may need maintenance.

Officials said this will enable a paradigm shift on the Indian Railways in its move to improve reliability of its rolling stock, by moving from a predominantly time-based maintenance methodology to a condition based maintenance. The operational advantages in terms of improved availability and reliability of rolling stock will affect each and every customer of the Indian Railways.