We are still struggling to come to terms with the tragic train accident in Balasore, Odisha that put the nation on hold. This accident has brought the focus on “Kavach” – a system that is said to be like ‘an armor for trains’ that is designed to prevent the collision of trains, avoid train accidents and save hundreds of innocent lives. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of this technology.
Kavach is a technology indigenously developed by Indian Railways to prevent train accidents and make the journey safe for commuters. It has been developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) as part of the Indian Railways’ goal to achieve zero accidents. Kavach is one of the cheapest and most secure technologies in the world to avoid train collisions. It is set to be the world’s cheapest automatic train collision protection system when installed with an operational cost of INR 50 Lakh/km as compared to costs worldwide of INR 2 Crores/km.
How does Kavach Work?
Train Kavach employs a set of electronic devices and RFIDs installed inside the trains, tracks, railway signaling system, and every station at a distance of 1 km. It is designed to send alerts when a loco pilot jumps a signal which could lead to train collisions. Kavach can not only alert the loco pilot but also take control of the brakes and bring the locomotive to an automatic halt on detecting another train on the same line within a set distance. It would also act as a savior during adverse weather conditions such as fog by continuously monitoring the train movement and sending signals to the locomotives in advance.
When with ‘Kavach’ be implemented across India?
Live Demo of Kavach
While the initial development of this system started in 2012, it was completed only in 2022. A live working demonstration of Kavach happened between Gullaguda and Chitgidda railway stations in Andhra Pradesh in March 2022 when the Indian Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Vinay Kumar Tripathi, chairman, and CEO, of Railway Board were traveling in two different trains moving in opposite directions on the same railway track. The Kavach system detected this movement of locomotives and applied automatic brakes automatically, thus avoiding a collision.
— South Central Railway (@SCRailwayIndia) March 4, 2022
The Kavach train anti-collision system has been implemented by the South Central Railways on 65 locomotives over a 1445 km route and 134 stations. The FY 2022-23 Union budget has further allocated funds for the speedy implementation of this anti-collision system on another 2000 km track while also sanctioning the implementation of Kavach on the 34,000 km Golden Quadrilateral rail route by 2027-28. The cost of the technology along with the tedious task of covering the entire Railway system of the country would mean that it is going to take a few years before this technology has been adopted all across by the Indian Railways.
We hope that the Kavach system is implemented in locomotives, railway tracks, and stations across India to avoid tragic train accidents.