Railways minister Dinesh Trivedi is planning to create a big splash in his budget speech of March 14 by unveiling plans to deploy the world’s largest European Train Control System (ETCS) project, covering 20,000 route kilometers of the Indian Railways. Denmark has implemented the largest ETCS project so far — covering 4,000 route kilometers.
The big ticket ETCS project of the Indian Railways — a signaling, control and train protection system currently used by the European Railways — will cost Rs20,000 crore and is expected to be implemented over the next five years.
“The Railways plan to float global bids and award contracts for Level-2 of the ETCS systems in the next fiscal”, sources said. Transportation majors including Thales, Seimens and the Bombardier are likely to pitch in for this meaty contract.
“We are looking ahead to a mutually beneficial engagement with the Indian Railways”, said Eric Lenseigne, country director of the France-based Thales Group.
ETCS Level 2 is a digital radio-based signal and train protection system. Movement authority and other signal aspects are displayed in the cab for the driver. All trains automatically report their position and direction of travel to the Radio Block Centre at regular intervals.
The on-board computer fitted in the engines continuously monitors the transferred data and the maximum permissible speed – thereby minimising the possibility of accidents.
Passenger deaths in train accidents have been reported with an alarming regularity in India. As many as 1,406 train accidents have been reported in the last nine years from 2002-03 to 2010-11, causing the deaths of 988 passengers.