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Indian Railways? wild breakthrough

AS THE Swarn Shatabdi sped past a railway station, none noticed that it was ?limping.? But the train running at a speed of about 100 kmph could not escape the sensors placed on the railway tracks that recorded the deformity.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2006 01:52 IST

AS THE Swarn Shatabdi sped past a railway station, none noticed that it was ‘limping.’ But the train running at a speed of about 100 kmph could not escape the sensors placed on the railway tracks that recorded the deformity.

Four out of 54 pairs of wheels of the super fast train, were detected flat.

The vital information about the condition of wheels was a part of a technological breakthrough in Indian Railways that would have a far-reaching consequence with regards to passenger safety.

The Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur, Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) have jointly evolved the Wheel-Impact Load Detection (WILD) Instrumentation System for Indian Railways.

During a live demonstration at Ajgain Railway Station, here, the experts detected that the wheels of the train were flat, but the situation was not scary as the deformity could be removed through corrective measures. But uninterrupted run of such wheels on tracks could cause wear and tear of tracks, cracks resulting in derailment, said Prof N S Vyas of Department of Mechanical Engineering. He said flat wheels hit the tracks hard, damaging the tracks.

“With the help of tiny sensors ‘strain gauge’ fixed on the side of tracks, we can get the minutest details about the condition of wheels,” said Executive Director (research) R B Srivastava. So sensitive are the ‘strain gauge’ that 25,600 samples are generated on each record, he added. Twelve sensors are fixed at a distance of 60 cms at a stretch of 7.6 meters.

“The vertical movement of tracks are recorded on the monitors,” said the Director (Research) Aloke Kumar. The detailed calibrated chart is readied in seconds. The chart shows in detail the vertical movement of tracks and the deformed wheel shows the maximum movement, which is again recorded in the monitor. Alok Kumar said that the Indian government had decided to bring the technology from abroad at the cost of Rs 1.5 crore, but the same technology was developed in India at the cost of Rs 8 to Rs 10 lakh with the effort of the IIT and RDSO.

First Published: Feb 25, 2006 01:52 IST