KRC invents a device to avoid accidents

| 18 December 1999 23:12 IST

If the unique invention of the Konkan Railway Corporation works, both the Indian Railways as well as the travellers need not worry much about the frequent accidents taking place, leading to thousands of casualties time and again.

It is named Anti-Collision Device, but helps in avoiding not only head-on-collision but also in case of derailment, blocked line and even risks at the level crossings. Cases like side collision at Khanna or head-on-collision at Ghaisal could thus well be avoided.

It works by picking up signals from satellites, being used exclusively for Global Positioning purpose. With the antenna of the GPS receiver fitted on the rooftop of the locomotive, it monitors locomotive's latitude, longitude, speed, date and time.

"Safety and priority is the topmost priority of the railway ministry right now. If this device works, it would be used in all the trains running all over the country", assures railway minister Mamata Banerjee, after personally inspecting its functioning.

Taking a break in between the Parliament session, she made a special trip to Goa on Saturday along with B Rajaram, the KRC CMD, and other senior railway officials to personally monitor how the gadget functions. "I am proud of this indigenously invented gadget", she remarks.

"Rather than simply marketing it for profits, we look at it as a contribution to humanity", quips Rajaram. While applying for patent registration, he plans to even market the unique ACD, costing hardly Rs one lakh each, all over the World.

He however does not shy away to admit that it has shown 60 per cent success after testing hundred times in last seven days. But the failures have been mainly due to communication problem which, he is confident, could be rectified shortly.

The only requirement is feeding of necessary data by the driver before the train leaves using the data entry key pad, with details like the train number, direction of travel and about running on the right track or also whenever the track is changed last minute.

The ACD transmits the information while also receiving commands from similar ACDs when it is within the radio-range of about 1.5 to 2 kms. The command and control unit then takes a decision within two to five seconds on whether to apply normal or emergency brakes while the electro-pneumatic braking also gets automatically applied.

If the train is stopped in mid-section on another track, it automatically indicates other trains on adjacent tracks to reduce the speed to 25 km. In case any train is derailed on another track, the driver of that train has to just press SOS button. Trains running on other tracks immediately get the message to stop their trains even if the derailed train does not block adjacent tracks.

While the train speed is automatically reduced to 25 km throughout the journey when it is diverted on a wrong track, trains travelling on the same track in opposite direction immediately sense the danger and indicates the driver to stop. It thus avoids head-on-collision.

The ACD also avoids collision with the road vehicles if it is installed at manned or unmanned level crossing. While the ACD at the crossing sounds hooter whenever the train is approaching till it passes, it automatically reduces the train speed to 25 km when the gate is open.

In case of manned level crossing, the train stops automatically whenever that gateman presses SOS button in case of any danger while the ACD automatically applies brakes in case indication comes from unmanned level crossings, provided the 'driver alert' button is pressed by the train driver at an interval of every 15 minutes.

Though this gadget would help a big deal to avoid many accidents in future, Banerjee admits that it is not a full-proof solution to the human errors that cause several accidents. "I am sympathetic to the railway workers. But I would be rough and tough when it comes to safety", she says assertively.

While buying little more time since it is just two months she has taken over, Banerjee vows to bring in disciplined work culture in the Indian Railways. "The captain has to work first if we demand dedication and determination along with discipline", she adds.

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