What is'Kavach? Indian Railways Floats Tender for 10,000 km of 'Kavach' System, Details Here
What is'Kavach? Indian Railways Floats Tender for 10,000 km of 'Kavach' System, Details Here

Indian Railways is set to launch tenders covering 10,000 kilometers for the implementation of 'Kavach,' an indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system aimed at enhancing safety and preventing accidents caused by human error such as Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) and over-speeding.

Currently, the Kavach system has been deployed on 1465 route kilometers and 139 locomotives. Additionally, preparatory work for an additional 6000 kilometers is underway.

Contracts for Kavach have already been awarded for corridors such as Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah, covering approximately 3000 route kilometers across various railway zones.

What is Kavach System in the Indian Railway?

The Kavach system in Indian Railways refers to an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system designed to enhance safety by preventing accidents due to human error. It is an indigenous technology developed to address issues such as Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD) and over-speeding. The Kavach system works by aiding the loco pilot in trains to operate within specified speed limits. It automatically applies brakes if the loco pilot fails to do so, ensuring safe operation, especially during adverse weather conditions. The system involves the installation of optical fiber cables, telecom towers, equipment at stations, in locomotives, and along the tracks to ensure comprehensive coverage. Kavach also includes features like controlling train speed near turnouts, repeating signal aspects in the cab, and automatic whistling at level crossing gates to further improve safety measures on Indian Railways.

According to a senior railway ministry official, the complexity of the Kavach system requires customization for each train based on factors such as weight and speed. For instance, a heavy goods train would require a longer distance to come to a halt compared to a passenger train like MEMU (mainline electric multiple unit).

New Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are expected to be brought onboard for the upcoming tenders to accelerate the implementation of Kavach. The ultimate goal is to deploy Kavach across the entire 70,000-kilometer railway network to ensure passenger safety.

The Kavach system involves laying optical fiber cables, installing telecom towers, equipment at stations, locomotive equipment, and trackside installations. It assists the loco pilot by automatically applying brakes if necessary and ensures safe operation during adverse weather conditions.

Among the benefits of Kavach are automatic speed control near turnouts, signal aspect repetition in the cab for better visibility in high-speed and foggy conditions, and automatic whistling at level crossing gates.

Currently, three Indian OEMs—HBL PowerSystems, Kernex, and Medha—are approved for Kavach. Efforts are underway to onboard more OEMs to enhance capacity and scale up implementation.

The Kavach system underwent field trials on passenger trains starting in February 2016. Based on the experience gained and independent safety assessments, three firms were approved in 2018-19 for supplying Kavach. Subsequently, Kavach was adopted as the National ATP system in July 2020.

Indian Railways has already tendered 6000 kilometers for the Kavach system and deployed it on 1465 route kilometers and 139 locomotives, including Electric Multiple Unit rakes, on the South Central Railway.

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