Indian Railways is in the process of finalising three more vendors for its indigenously designed automatic train protection system, Kavach, a senior official said. The vendors that are being finalised include GGtronics and Seimens, among others.

The three existing vendors for Kavach are Medha Kernex and HBL Power Systems.

“One vendor, GGtronics has been finalised and two others are in the process of approval. Approvals will be received over the next few week,” an official told businessline.

Annual capacity

Right now the Railways have an annual capacity to install 1500 Route km (Rkm) of Kavach; which will subsequently be taken up to 2500 Rkm in FY25 and then to 5000 Rkm in FY26, as approvals for new vendors come in.

Typically, the approval to have a Kavach vendor takes two years time; and the technology requires safety certification of the highest order.

The system aids the loco pilot in train running within specified speed limits by automatic application of brakes in case pilot fails to do so. It also helps the train safely run during inclement weather.

The first field trials on the passenger trains were started in February 2016.

Based on the experience so gained and the safety assessment done by a third party (Independent Safety Assessor), the first three firms were approved in 2018-19 for supply of Kavach.

So far, the system has been deployed on 1465 Route km (Rkm) and 121 locomotives (including Electric Multiple Unit rakes) on South Central Railway in Telangana (684 Rkm), Andhra Pradesh (66 Rkm), Karnataka (117 Rkm) & Maharashtra (598 Rkm) States.

Tenders were awarded for Delhi – Mumbai and Delhi – Howrah corridors (approximately 3000 Route km) and work is in progress on these routes in West Bengal (229Rkm), Jharkhand (193 Rkm), Bihar (227 Rkm), Uttar Pradesh (943 Rkm), Delhi (30 Rkm), Haryana (81 Rkm), Rajasthan (425 Rkm), Madhya Pradesh (216 Rkm), Gujarat (526 Rkm) and Maharashtra (84 Rkm).

A document of the South Central Railways says, field trial of Kavach systems by two new vendors ( GGtronics & Quadrant) in Moula Ali - Raghunathpalli section (86 Rkm) of Secunderabad division is in progress. Completion period is around15 months.

“Right now some 500 kms of route is pending certification, and another 500 km is ready (for the 3000 km tranche),” the official said.

Tenders for new routes

The Railways is also under the process of awarding another 3000-odd km of tenders for installation of Kavach around the December - January period. These would be enabled with the latest LTE technologies.

A second tranche of 3000 kms of tendering will also be awarded around May -June; while tenders for upgrade of the existing Kavach systems from ultra high frequency waves to LTE.

The cost for provision of track side including station equipment of Kavach is approximately Rs 50 Lakh / Km and cost for provision of Kavach equipment on loco is ₹70 lakh/ loco. The Budgetary allocation, for Kavach, in FY24 is ₹710 crore.