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HindustanTimes Thu,28 Aug 2014

Rail budget to focus on safety systems

Srinand Jha, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 14, 2014
First Published: 23:49 IST(14/6/2014) | Last Updated: 14:07 IST(22/6/2014)

The Railways are readying implementation schedules on pending big-ticket projects ahead of new Railways minister DV Sadananda Gowda’s first budget presentation next month. This includes the train protection and warning systems (TPWS).

Despite Rs. 1,737 crore sanctioned in the railway budgets of 2009-10 and 2010-11 for TPWS, the Railways has been shuffling its feet over implementation largely on account of inter-departmental rivalries. Global tenders to acquire the systems have not been floated so far.

Sources said that the Railways minister met board officials and discussed plans to implement the major recommendations in the Anil Kakodkar committee report on rail safety. The minister asked officials to take immediate steps to implement TPWS in passenger trains.

TPWS is a state-of-the-art system equipped with the European Rail Traffic Management System (EMRTS) technology to help regulate the speed of trains and in case of emergency, even activate the emergency braking system in case the pilot fails to heed emergency warnings.

German company, Siemens, had initiated pilot trials on the 50-kilometer long Southern Central Railways stretch along Chennai-Gummindipundi in 2008. Over the last three years, French company Ansaldo has been conducting trials on the 200-kilometer stretch from Hazrat Nizamuddin to Agra.

An internal note accessed by HT points out that in the absence of concurrent planning by the railways, several sections of the Nizamuddin-Agra line including Farah-Baad and Kosi yard sections have been lying vacant from October 2012.

TPWS trials have not been initiated in these sections.

In a piece of communication last year, the Railways blamed Ansaldo for not having provided adequate training to field staff and also pointed to a large number of faults in the lineside equipment unit (LEU) – critical components of the TPWS.

“The project has essentially been hampered because of departmental rivalries”, an official said.


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