VIENNA: The Indian Railways may soon start deploying an European system of preventing head-on collisions of trains. The move follows a successful trial of a technology developed by the French multinational Thales on a 68-kilometre stretch in Southern India.
“India is an important market and we have a clear intention to have a presence there,” Alfred Veider, country director, Thales Austria, said in an interaction.
Trains have been colliding on Indian tracks with alarming regularity in the last few years, and has accounted for the second-largest cause of passenger deaths. Over the past decade and a half, the Railways have experimented with various technologies, including the indigenously developed Anti Collusion Device, and the Train Collusion and Avoidance System.
“We plan t o de ploy t he European system on certain routes,” a senior ministry official said.
Called the European Train Control System (ETCS), the technology involves the monitoring of train movements and calculates the maximum speed limit accordingly. In the event of an impending collision, the system ensures that the brakes are automatically applied. The system, which costs around 25 lakh per kilometre, also provides the “cab signalling” device to alert train drivers about the signals passing by.
“The ECTS has a 30% global market share,” said Denis Laroche, vice-president, Thales.
The Railways have identified 28 projects for implementation of the European system between 2016 and 2021, officials said, adding, 2,600 cab signalling systems would also be installed.
(The author’s visit to Vienna was sponsored by Thales Foundation).