Extended trial runs for Train Collision Avoidance System

    TCAS is a step above the Automatic Warning System and the Anti-Collision Device

    Hyderabad : It’s been nearly two years since the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) - also known as Automatic Train Protection (ATP) - was tested for the first time in the South Central Railway. After scores of trial runs under various conditions across the country, the railway authorities are preparing to have more full-fledged runs soon.

    In the next few months, the trail runs would be covering the Lingampalli-Vikarabad-Wadi and Vikarabad-Bidar sections, up to a total length of 250 kilometers. About 40 locomotives - 20 electrical and 20 diesel - would be put to use for the purpose, according to Chief Signal and Telecommunications Engineer M. S. Mahaboob Ali.

    System said to be cheaper than similar technology available in advanced Nations

    Mr. Ali, who had earlier overseen the initial train runs carried out in the division between Lingampalli-Vikarabad-Tandur-Koukuntla railway stations on the Begumpet-Wadi section, said the operational part of TCAS was tested here for suitability, inter-operability, and signaling.

    For the extended trial runs, railway engineers are going to take up key infrastructure on the routes identified, like tower foundations and installation of necessary equipment. The indigenously developed system by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, is said to be cheaper compared to the similar technology available in Europe and other advanced nations.

    Local requirements

    Since Indian Railways has its own peculiarities in control centres, interlocking between stations, braking systems, etc., TCAS was designed to suit local requirements to provide protection by ensuring trains do not pass signal at danger, controlling speed at turns, restricting speed, avoiding collisions when more than one train is on the track, and when loco-pilots are unable to control the train.

    Through this, loco pilots get a real-time display of signals inside the cabin, also indicating the distance to be traveled safely. 'It improves the safety in train operations and also allows loco pilots to drive trains at maximum speed with confidence, especially when visibility is low,' said General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav, in a recent interaction.

    TCAS is a step above the Automatic Warning System (AWS) and the Anti-Collision Device (ACD) used in some railway lines across the country. It traces the location of the train through the distance traversed from RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags installed on tracks and transmits the signal to all other trains in the vicinity. More than 1,500 trails were conducted to check the functionality and address any teething issues so that the system could be deployed throughout the rail network, Mr. Ali said.

    Source : The Hindu

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