Kavach System

Context: The death of over 288 passengers in train accident in the Balasore district of Odisha has brought into sharp focus the safety mechanisms needed to prevent such tragedies.

Image Source: Hindustan Times

What is Kavach? 
  • It is an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry.
  • Features: 
    1. It is a state-­of­-the­-art electronic system with Safety Integrity Level­4 (SIL­4) standards.
    2. It is one of the cheapest, SIL­4 certified technologies where the probability of error is 1 in 10,000 years.
  • Purpose: It is meant
    1. To provide protection by preventing trains to pass the signal at Red (which marks danger)
    2. To avoid collision between two locomotives
  • Working: 
    1. It activates the train’s braking system automatically if the driver fails to control the train as per speed restrictions.
    2. The system also relays SoS messages during emergency situations.
    3. It enables the centralised live monitoring of train movements through the Network Monitor System.
  • Present deployment: The South Central Railway (SCR) Zone is a pioneer in the implementation of the KAVACH – (TACS). The Kavach system has been deployed over 1,465 kms in the SCR limits in 77 locomotives and 135 stations till March this year.
How does Kavach work on Railway Systems?
  • The Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), with the help of equipment on board the locomotive and transmission towers at stations connected with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, helps in two-­way communication between the station master and loco­pilot to convey any emergency message.
  • The instrument panel inside the cabin helps the loco­pilot know about the signal in advance without visual sighting, and the permissible speeds to be maintained.
  • If a red signal is jumped and two trains come face to face on the same line, the technology automatically takes over and applies sudden brakes.
Kavach deployment strategy? 
  • Implementation in a phased manner
    • First priority lines: High Density Routes and the New Delhi-­Mumbai and New Delhi­-Howrah Sections, as they have higher chances of accidents because the trains run closer to each other.
    • Second priority lines: Highly Used Networks
    • Third priority lines: Other Passenger High Density Routes
    • Final priority:  To cover all other routes.
  • Glitches about vulnerability of a vehicle crossing a closed level crossing, stray cattle or boulders on track, radio communication issues in tunnels, ghat sections, have been tackled.
Source: The Hindu
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