Signalling System enhances safety in train operations. Upgradation and replacement of equipments in use over Indian Railways is a continuous process and is undertaken based on its condition, operational needs and availability of resources.
In order to further improve safety in train operation and generate additional line capacity, modernisation of Signalling System has been taken in hand which includes –
- Provision of Electronic Interlocking (EI) to increase Safety and Flexibility – Electronic Interlocking are being adopted on a large scale to derive benefits of digital technologies in train operation and to enhance safety. So far 2221 stations have been provided with Electronic Interlocking upto 30.04.2021 covering 34% of Indian Railways. A policy decision has also been taken to provide Electronic Interlocking (EI) in future. Further, 1550 EIs are planned to be provided in next 3 years. This will enhance safety and efficiency of train operations.
- Automatic Block Signalling (ABS) to increase Line Capacity – In order to increase line capacity to run more trains on existing High Density Routes of Indian Railways, Automatic Block Signaling is a cost effective solution. As on 30.04.2021, Automatic Block Signaling has been provided on 3447 Route km. Indian Railways has planned roll out of automatic signalling on around 15000 Rkm of high density and freight intensive routes. The roll out is planned to be undertaken in Mission Mode. With implementation of automatic signalling, increase in capacity will accrue resulting in more train services becoming possible.
- Safety at Level Crossing gates – Enhancing Safety at Level Crossing Gates has been a major area of concern. Safety gets enhanced by interlocking level crossings with Signals. As on 30.04.2021 Indian Railways have provided interlocking with Signals at 11705 Level Crossing Gates to enhance the safety at Level Crossings.
- Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System as an aid to Loco Pilot to prevent human error – ATP systems are being used by advanced Railway systems in the world as an aid to the Loco Pilots. These systems prevent collisions due to any human error by Loco Pilot. In order to improve safety, a decision has now been taken to provide ATP systems on Indian Railways (IR) in a Mission Mode. So far IR was dependent on foreign technology for ATP systems. IR with Indian firms has now successfully developed indigenous cost effective technology for ATP – called Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). It has been decided to adopt TCAS as the National ATP of India under the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ Mission of Hon’ble PM. TCAS has been approved for 37300 RKm covering important routes in 1st phase. The roll out of TCAS will eliminate train collision due to human error and enhance speed potential of IR thereby reducing travel time.
It may be noted that giving a boost to ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ Mission, Government has approved allotment of 5 MHz Spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways for public safety and security services at stations and in trains.
With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged to provide Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route.
The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs. 25,000 Crore. The project will be completed in the next 5 years.
It brings a strategic shift in Railways’ operations and maintenance regime. It will help in improving the safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency. Also, it will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfill the ‘Make in India’ Mission and generate employment.
The purpose of the LTE for Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications of Railways. It will be used for :
- Deployment of Modern Cab based Signalling System with Automatic Train Protection which will increased safety & throughput in train operation. Also, help during fog.
- Mission Critical Voice Communication with seamless connectivity in train operations between Driver, Guard, Station Master, Train Traffic Controller & Maintenance staff.
- Monitoring Limited Video Surveillance (Live Feed) through CCTV cameras in Trains to enhance passenger security.
- For IoT based Asset monitoring specially the rolling stock.
- Passenger Information Systems (PIS) in trains & at stations.
In addition to LTE initiative, Other major initiatives in Railway Telecom are:
- Wi-Fi facility has been extended at 6002 stations and 101 balance feasible stations will be covered soon. Out of which 70% stations are of rural area.This facility is being used by passengers, local vendors, coolies, etc.
- To improve security CCTV System has been provided at 801 stations and balance are also planned.
- 92% Route of the Railway has been covered with OFC based system (62,205 RKms). This is being used for Railway’s internal communication and spare capacity is being commercially utilized by RCIL.
- Indian Railway is deploying e-filing system on a big way. To improve administrative works, e-office has been provided at 185 Units including all Divisions, Zones, CTIs & PUs. More than 1.35 Lakh users are using this and over 15.0 Lakh e-file are created till now. Existing physical files are being converted into digital files.
For above modernization of Signalling and Telecommunication, Indian Railways has envisaged investment of nearly Rs 55,000 Crore.