Kavach: Automatic Train Protection System | 05 Mar 2022

For Prelims: Train Collision Avoidance System, Kavach Technology, Radio Frequency Identification.

For Mains: Infrastructure, Mobilisation of Resources, Significance of Train Collision Avoidance System.

Why in News?

Recently, the Indian Railways tested 'Kavach'-Automatic Train Protection System by making two trains move towards each other at full speed.

  • The Kavach system was announced in the 2022 Union Budget as a part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative. Around 2,000 km of rail network is planned to be brought under the indigenous system to enable safety and capacity augmentation in 2022-23.

What is Kavach?

  • It is India’s own automatic protection system, which is in development since 2012, under the name Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), which got rechristened Kavach or “armour”.
  • It is a set of electronic devices and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) devices installed in locomotives, in the signalling system as well as the tracks.
  • They connect to each other using ultra high radio frequencies to control the brakes of trains and also alert drivers, all based on the logic programmed into them.
    • TCAS or Kavach includes the key elements from already existing, and tried and tested systems like the European Train Protection and Warning System, and the indigenous Anti Collision Device.
    • It will also carry features of the high-tech European Train Control System Level-2 in future.
  • The current form of Kavach adheres to the highest level of safety and reliability standard called Safety Integrity Level (SIL)4.
    • SIL comes from two voluntary standards used by plant owners/operators to quantify safety performance requirements for hazardous operations.
    • There are four SIL Levels (1-4). A higher SIL Level means a greater process hazard and a higher level of protection required.
  • In the new avatar, India wants to position Kavach as an exportable system, a cheaper alternative to the European systems in vogue across the world.
  • While now Kavach uses Ultra High Frequency, work is on to make it compatible with 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology and make the product for global markets.
  • Work is on to make the system such that it can be compatible with other already installed systems globally.

What is the Significance?

  • Safety:
    • The Kavach system will help prevent accidents on rail tracks like collision of trains.
    • Once the system is activated, all trains within a 5-km range will halt to provide protection for trains on adjacent tracks.
      • Currently, the loco-pilots or assistant loco-pilots have to look out for caution signs and signals.
  • Cost:
    • It will only cost Rs 50 lakh per kilometre to operate in comparison to about Rs 2 crore worldwide.
  • Communication:
    • It will also include stationary equipment to gather signalling inputs and relay them to a central system to enable seamless communication with the train crew and stations.

What are the Initiatives Related to Railways?

Source: IE