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Rajdhani, Shatabdi likely to get GPS, SOS buttons by March

Railways collaborates with Isro to track moving premium trains, help motormen send distress signals

mumbai Updated: Dec 31, 2018 00:55 IST
Aroosa Ahmed
Aroosa Ahmed
Hindustan Times
A Rajdhani Express heads towards New Delhi.(HT FILE)

A system to enable passengers to track the movement of moving premium trains and for motormen to send distress signals during emergencies are the highlights of a Railways and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) collaboration to usher in a new age of rail technology.

The Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) — an organisation of the Indian railways — along with ISRO will be installing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and SOS systems in locomotives, starting with premium trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi. The first set is likely to be installed by March 2019.

Under the Real-Time Information System (RTIS) project, passengers will track a moving train through a National Train Enquiry System (NTES) and related mobile applications.

This RTIS will also help motormen send distress signals. For example, during a derailment, the motormen will be able to give information to other locomotive pilots who are on the same railway track. This system will help speed up evacuations and provide relief to passengers without having to follow a chain of command.

In the first phase, the system will be introduced in premium outstation trains, the second phase would have all superfast outstations trains, the third phase will have the system in other passenger trains and goods trains.

According to the railway board, the system will be installed in 2,835 locomotives. The overall cost of the project is ₹100 crore with ₹ 88.95 crore to install these devices.

“The system would provide the exact position of a moving train with the help of satellites provided by ISRO. Transceivers, 4G modems, antenna will be placed in the locomotives,” said a senior CRIS official.

The Hindustan Times had in February reported CRIS’ plan to implement the system across India.

The RTIS plan will also be able to improve the punctuality of outstation trains. “As there is manual registration of figures, those numbers can be fudged, however with RTIS, the zonal railways will have to maintain punctuality of the trains,” said a senior railway board official. “The implementation of GPS and SOS in locomotives shows that railways is moving towards reform. It is a modern technique and will help save lives,” said Lata Argade, president, Rail Yatri Parishad.

First Published: Dec 31, 2018 00:55 IST