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Rlys may go for indigenous train collision avoidance system

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 09, 2021

Make in India, cost savings tilt the scales in favour of domestic firms

 

Indian Railways has envisaged investment of nearly ₹55,000 crore over the next five years on multiple signalling technologies and telecommunication to enhance safety and security.

Expanding the railway network capacity through signalling modernisation will do away with the need to lay new tracks by acquiring land.

Preference for Make in India and potentially low-cost equipment have tilted the scales in favour of Indian companies such as Medha Servo Drives, Kernex Micro Systems, HBL Power Systems over global counterparts in signalling space, a source told BusinessLine.

RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organisation) is co-developing the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) technology with Medha and Kernex. They have applied for patent. Railways is considering approval of two more vendors including Quadrant Cable, a top railway official said in a virtual press meet here.

Indian Railways, so far, has tried the European Train Control System (ETCS) standards driven by European companies in the signalling space such as Alstom, Bombardier, Ansaldo, Thales, Invensys, among others, while also trying out TCAS in certain sections. For instance, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) has signalling systems installed by European firm Alstom based on ETCS and TCAS is being tried at multiple stretches.

“So far, Indian Railways was dependent on foreign technology….. It has been decided to adopt TCAS as national Automatic Train Protection System of India under Atmanirbhar Bharat Vision of Prime Minister,” Sanjeev Mittal, Member-Infrastructure, Railway Board, said in a virtual press meet here. “There is a technical committee that will select the best features globally that can be adopted for TCAS. Locomotive equipment and track equipment costs will be cheaper than ETCS,” said the top Railway official at the virtual press meet.

Effectively, Medha and Kernex will have an advantage when the roll-out starts as they don’t need the time to develop equipment, explained another source. “One of the underlying thoughts was that all European companies also make their equipment in China. So, from a security perspective, this would help as both Kernex and Medha make their products in India at an assembly level,” explained the source.

Spectrum charge

In another move, Indian Railways may have to pay spectrum charges for using the spectrum allocated in 700 MHz band. The exact amount of spectrum fee will depend on number of towers Railways set up and will be decided by Department of Telecommunication, said Aruna Singh, Additional Member-Telecom, Railway Board. Earlier, Indian Railways and Defense Ministry did not pay for spectrum usage.

Last week, the Union Cabinet decided to allocate 5 MHz spectrum in 700-750 MHz band to Railways for safety and security and also announced adoption of train collision avoidance system. This will ensure that there is a private network (VPN) for railways in the wireless communication space. This will enable the facility to be used for communication between driver and station, driver and guards, among others, said an official.

Published on June 15, 2021

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