Train anti-collision device trials not satisfactory: CAG

May 25th, 2012 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) The Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up the Indian Railways for not being able to come up with a reliable safety system despite carrying out field trials of the anti-collision devices (ACDs) since 2001 and spending Rs.158 crore.

“The ACDs were prone to generation of spurious information and were not applying automatic brakes indicating presence of another train on the approach section,” the CAG said in its latest report on the performance of the railways.

“The reliability of the system was not certain and robust despite an expenditure of Rs.158 crore,” it said.

Though the number of consequential accidents came down from 195 in 2006-07 to 141 in 2010-11, experts have expressed serious concern on the safety of the network.

Human failure accounts for 86 percent of train accidents.

The railways had conducted trials of the ACD in 2001 and had sanctioned a pilot project in the 1,736 km Katihar-Guwahati-Ledo-Dibrugarh section on the Northeast Frontier Railway for installation and commissioning of the safety system.

The CAG report pointed out that trials during a similar project to install the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) in Southern Railway in 2009 at a cost of Rs.50 crore indicated various failures of equipment requiring modifications in the software.

“The performance efficiency during the trials was between 77 to 90 percent as against the acceptable level of 99.9 percent,” said the report.

It also noted that another TPWS project started in the North Central Railway in 2005 had not been completed despite an expenditure of Rs 41 crore.

ACD is a train anti-collision system developed by the Konkan Railway Corporation (a public sector unit of the Indian railway).

It consists of a central processing unit, a global positioning system and a digital modem for communication with other ACDs.

When installed on the railway engines, brake vans and at stations and level crossing gates, the ACDs network among themselves to prevent accident-like conditions.

While approaching a station, the loco ACD gives warning to the driver. In the event of this warning not being acknowledged, the speed of the train is automatically regulated.

In case another train is approaching on the same track, the ACDs apply brakes in both the trains to bring them to halt thereby reducing the possibility of a head-on collision.

The TPWS is a train protection system prevalent in European countries, especially the UK. It automatically activates brakes on any train that passes a signal at danger or is over speeding.

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