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The ambitious automatic train protection (ATP) system, Kavach, has so far been deployed on 1465 route km and 139 locomotives (including Electric Multiple Unit rakes) on South Central Railway sections, as per a government release.

The sections include Lingamapalli – Vikarabad – Wadi and Vikarabad – Bidar section (265 Rkm), Manmad-Mudkhed-Dhone-Guntkal section (959Rkm) and Bidar-Parbhani section (241Rkm).

As per the release, presently Kavach tenders have been awarded for the Delhi – Mumbai and Delhi – Howrah corridors (approximately 3000 Route km) and work is in progress on these routes.

Indian Railways has also taken up preparatory works, including a survey, Detailed Project Report (DPR) and preparation of detailed estimate on another 6000 RKm, the release mentioned. Presently, three Indian OEMs are approved for Kavach. Efforts are being made to develop more OEMs to enhance the capacity and scale up the implementation of Kavach.

Kavach is an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system. It is a highly technology-intensive system, which requires safety certification of the highest order. Kavach aids the loco pilot in trains running within specified speed limits by automatic application of brakes in case the loco pilot fails to do so and it also helps the train safely run during inclement weather.

The first field trials on the passenger trains were started in February 2016. Based on the experience gained and the Independent Safety Assessment of the system by a third party (Independent Safety Assessor: ISA) three firms were approved in 2018-19 for the supply of Kavach.

Subsequently, Kavach was adopted as a National ATP system in July 2020. There was much debate around the anti-collision system in light of the horrific triple-train accident in Odisha’s Balasore on June 2, which claimed the lives of close to 300 passengers while leaving about 1,000 injured.

Abdul Gh Lone

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