Indian Railways will issue tenders for the installation of Kavach – the indigenously developed anti-train collision system – across 10,000 km. Tenders will be floated in a phase-wise manner, across two–to–three phases, senior officials aware of developments told businessline.

New vendors are also to be on-boarded for speeding up the system installation process and two companies -Quadrant Future Tech (which is carrying out trails), and Seimens - are being considered.

Existing vendors include Kernex, Medha, HBL PowerSystems, among others.

“We will be issuing tenders for 10,000 Rkms, in a phase-wise manner.... probably in two or three phases. Right now tenders cover 6000 kms of which 3000 Rkms are through. Review work is under-way,” the official said.

All tenders will be on the LTE (long-term evolution), that is 4G network. KEC International is already installing Kavach along 117 Rkms (17 Rkm already done).

Current Kavach tenders have been awarded for the Delhi–Mumbai & Delhi–Howrah corridors (approximately 3,000 Route km) and the work is on. Indian Railways has also taken up preparatory work including survey, Detailed Project Report (DPR) and preparation of detailed estimates on another 6,000 Rkm.

The cost for the provision of trackside, including station equipment of Kavach, is approximately ₹50 lakh per km and the cost for the provision of Kavach equipment on a loco is ₹70 lakh per loco.

The budgetary allocation for Kavach, in FY24, was ₹710 crore and in the FY25 Interim Budget, it is nearly ₹560 crore.

According to Sajai Kumar, CMD, RailTel, tenders are expected in the next two to three months.

Speaking at a post-results investor call, Kumar said, “they (Quadrant) have developed this product, KAVACH, which is compliant not only to the existing deployment specifications, but to the latest standards, which are 4G compliant. Earlier KAVACH was not 4G compliant. And the POC (proof-of-concept) testing is underway. We have already decided to associate with them....but we are expecting that in the next maybe two to three months, the tenders will come and we will compete in these.”

Implementation in existing routes

Earlier this year, Eastern Railway officials said they were implementing Kavach in the Howrah–Chhota Ambana section (260 route km) on the Howrah–New Delhi Grand Chord route. In this section, about 150 route km of Kavach work out of 260 route km has been installed and trials have already been conducted. In the Howrah to Mankar section including Barddhaman, various infrastructures have been installed and the work is in advanced stage from the Mankar to Waria section. The Tower foundation, Kavach building and OFC connectivity are in progress between Waria and Chhota Ambana. Around 46 locomotives of ER have the anti-train collision prevention devices installed.

Previously, the North Western Railway (NWR) – covering States like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, and Haryana – awarded tenders worth ₹426 crore on 1,600 km across the zone. The targeted completion is in 2025.

Around 1,465 Rkm in the South Central Railways already have the Kavach system.

The first field trials of Kavach o­n the passenger trains started in February 2016. Based o­n the experience gained and the Independent Safety Assessment of the system by a third Party (Independent Safety Assessor), three firms were approved in 2018-19, for the supply of Kavach. Subsequently, Kavach was adopted as a National ATP system in July 2020.