CHENNAI: Southern Railway has begun a survey on the Chennai-Arakkonam line for installing the anti-collision system Kavach. The line was selected because it has been upgraded to run trains at 130kmph. “A project survey is going on to install Kavach on the route,” said general manager of the railway zone R N Singh. This is part of the plan to install the new safety system on 2,099 route km in the zone.
A type of anti-collision device was tried out on the line more than 10 years ago. But now the focus is on installing Kavach, which comes with five subsystems, is more efficient and is crucial as the speed of the trains is being increased from 110kmph to 130kmph. There is a target to increase the speed further to 160kmph. Kavach will also be installed on the Chennai Central-Gummidipoondi route and the Chennai Central-Arakkonam route, though a train protection and warning system has already been commissioned on these routes.
Work on installing the system would begin in a phased manner in the financial year 2025-26. The final surveys have been completed for 2,205 route km, but preparatory work needs to be done on many of the routes.
A senior Southern Railway official said that 510 crore had been sanctioned towards various signal and telecom projects in the zone for the 2024-25 financial year. This includes thrust on proliferating the indigenously manufactured anti-collision devices across the network.
Surveys and assessments of the existing lines and the signalling system are needed because the anti-collision system has been upgraded and has five subsystems: the optical fibre network, telecom towers, data centres at railway stations, sensors on the tracks, and sensors on the locomotives. “The installation of Kavach has been speeded up after difficulties, including the design of the track system near the stations, were ironed out. We have automated a large part of the design,” railway minister Ashwini Vaishnaw had said at a recent press conference. He also pointed to the fact that signalling experts say it is superior to anything that’s available in any country. “Kavach can be exported to the USA.”