What is Kavach? The Missing Safety System on Bengal’s Crash-Prone Tracks

Kavach is a Cutting-edge, Indigenously-developed Automatic Train Protection System by RSCO and Leading Indian Firms.

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What is Kavach? The Missing Safety System on Bengal's Crash-Prone Tracks
Kavach is a cutting-edge, indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection System by RSCO and Leading Indian Firms

New Delhi: Kavach, the made-in-India system designed to avert train collisions on the same track, was notably absent on the Darjeeling tracks where a tragic accident occurred on Monday. In a devastating incident, a goods train collided with the Kolkata-bound Kanchanjunga Express, resulting in the deaths of at least 15 passengers and injuring over 50 others.

Following today’s unfortunate accident, an old video of Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw explaining the Kavach system went viral. The officials have said that the system is yet to be installed in much of the rail network.

“The Railways plans to deploy the safety system on the Delhi-Guwahati route under its goal to cover over 6,000 km of tracks by next year. Bengal falls within the 3,000 km of tracks set to be protected by Kavach this year. The system will be applied to the Delhi-Howrah route,” Jaya Varma Sinha, Chairman of Railway Board told NDTV.

What Is Kavach?

Kavach is a cutting-edge, indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection System by RSCO and Leading Indian Firms. This advanced security solution not only regulates train speed but also assists locomotive drivers in avoiding missed danger signals, ensuring safe operations even in low-visibility conditions.

Salient features of Kavach

  • Controls speed of a train by automatic application of brakes in case the loco pilot fails to apply the brakes.
  • Repeats line-side signal in the cab which is very useful for higher speeds and foggy weather.
  • Works on the principle of continuous update of movement authority.
  • Auto whistling at level-crossing gates.
  • Collision avoidance by direct loco-to-loco communication.
  • Supports features of SOS in case of any mishap to control train in the vicinity.

Some Important Facts of Kavach:

  • The Kavach system alerts when a loco pilot jumps a signal (Signal Passed at Danger — SPAD), which is among the leading causes of train collisions.
  • The system can alert the loco pilot, take control of the brakes and bring the train to a halt automatically when it notices another train on the same line within a prescribed distance.
  • Trials of Kavach were conducted on the Lingampally-Vikarabad-Wadi and Vikarabad-Bidar sections of South Central Railway
  • Following successful trials, three vendors were approved for further developmental orders on the Indian Railways network.
  • The total expenditure incurred on the development of Kavach stands at Rs 16.88 crore.
  • The roll-out of Kavach is planned on the New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai sections, with a target completion date of March 2024.
  • Further expansion will be based on the experience gained from the initial implementation

Kanchanjunga Express Accident: What Happened Today

At least 15 passengers died and 60 others were injured, after three rear coaches of the stationary Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express derailed on Monday morning as a goods train collided with it in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, officials said.

The toll could rise, as multiple agencies of the state and Centre were simultaneously working on war footing along with locals to rescue passengers who could still be trapped inside, they said.

The deceased include the pilot and co-pilot of the goods train, and the guard of the passenger train, a senior railway official said.

The injured were being shifted to the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital, police said.

The three rear compartments derailed under the impact of the collision from behind by the locomotive of the goods train near Rangapani station, about 30 km from North Bengal’s New Jalpaiguri station, the official said.

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