Saturday, June 19

Railways seeks Isro help, links trains to satellites for better tracking

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The railways has turned to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) for help to attain greater efficiency in operating trains, to reduce accidents due to human error and offer passengers real-time information on train location. Eastern Railway (ER) has fitted 138 of its locomotives with Real-time Train Information System (RTIS) devices to track the rakes.

The GPS-based devices have been developed by ISRO and the project is being implemented by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS). Initially, all coaching trains on the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Howrah, Howrah-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah routes are being provided with RTIS devices and the exercise will be extended to all passenger and goods trains gradually.

“ISRO satellites are being used to track the trains these locomotives haul. The navigation system tracks and monitors real-time data, ensuring trains are more punctual and secure than earlier. To do this, the system acquires train movement data, including that of arrivals, departures, run-through timings at stations and en route. This allows automatic plotting of control charts, including mid-section plotting. These charts determine which train is to be given priority when two or more are approaching a particular signal. Instructions are passed on accordingly. End-to-end speed profiling is also possible automatically, eliminating manual intervention. This reduces the possibility of human error,” said Nikhil Kumar Chakraborty, CPRO, ER.

To ensure safety, the system allows emergency online messaging by loco pilots to the control room. Accurate train running information also helps optimum crew booking, reducing expenditure and ensuring better manpower management.

The punctuality of trains are also being monitored automatically without any possibility of fudging. Loco sheds are being able to track locomotives through web-based access.

Locomotives belong to dedicated loco sheds. Till now, officials at these sheds had to go through records from stations to find out where a particular locomotive is.

“From a passenger’s point of view, the most important things are improved punctuality, safety and accurate information. The last is of great importance to passengers boarding trains from midway stations. Sometimes, passengers have to wait for hours at stations as accurate information on delays is not available. Currently, 21 electric loco shades in the country have been brought under satellite monitoring, including those at Howrah and Asansol in the ER system. All locomotives will be covered by RTIS by 2020,” said Chakraborty.


Source: Times of India

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