Railways’ Kavach tech can be exported in five years

In what could eliminate human error-induced train collisions, the Indian Railways is gearing up to install Kavach technology in its entire network of 68,000 route km, Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw has said. He added that the indigenously developed technology also has the potential to be exported in five years.

“In 2024, we will install Kavach in 2,500 km route. And from 2025 onward, we will be deploying it in 5,000 km every year till we cover our entire rail network of 68,000 km,” Vaishnaw told ET in an interview. He said large electronics and telecom equipment manufacturers have shown willingness to manufacture Kavach in India, which will boost the overall capacity of the industry.

“As Kavach is effective, easy to implement and less costly, it will have a huge potential for export five years from now,” the minister said.

Kavach, first piloted on a passenger train in 2016, provides protection to trains against signal passing, excessive speed, and collisions, thereby mitigating any chance of error on the part of a loco.

“The train drivers are giving a huge thumbs up to this technology,” the minister said, adding that neither the driver nor Kavach (had it been installed) could have prevented Balasore, referring to the deadly train accident in Odisha in June that killed 296 people. “Balasore was a sabotage,” he asserted.

Kavach is currently operational in 1,465 km of South Central Railway while it is being installed in another 3,000 km in DelhiMumbai and Delhi-Kolkata sections. Whereas three approved manufacturers – Medha Servo Drives, HBL Power Systems and Kernex Microsystems – are currently supplying the devices, two more private companies–Bengaluru-headquartered GG Tronics and Mohali-based QFTL are currently undertaking trials.Vaishnaw also said two multinational companies, Kyosan and Siemens, which have been developing Kavach prototypes, will likely join the race soon. “Kavach will turn out to be a very large project for the Railways.710 crore towards Kavach in the Union budget for this fiscal year. Though the Railways has made several failed attempts in the past to introduce the European Train Control System, or ETCS, Vaishnaw says “there is no question of going back to the ETCS”.

The Delhi–Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System, which comes under the Union urban affairs ministry, is however using a hybrid version of the European hardware, which is considered superior to the ETCS Level 2.

But Vaishnaw claimed that in terms of its architecture, Kavach is better than the ETCS. The minister added that he would initiate talks with the urban affairs ministry for adopting this indigenous technology in rapid rail services in the future. Vaishnaw also said that his ministry is giving priority to Kavach’s smooth migration to the LTE technology. We will require a greater number of manufacturers,” he said

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *