Soon there will be a tender for Kavach systems, which will cover 650 km of freight corridor

Indian Railways and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) will issue tenders by the end of August to procure the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), also known as the Kavach system, to cover around 650 km of the dedicated freight corridor, company officials said.

“The government wants to quickly cover the entire existing tracks of the special freight corridors with the TCAS systems and the first tender for this will be announced in August,” said a senior DFCCIL executive.

He added that the TCAS system is likely to be installed on the Rewari-Madar section of the Western Dedicated Freight Corridor and the Khurja-Bhaupur section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.

“In the Rewari-Madar section of the western DFC and the Khurja-Bhaupur section of the eastern DFC, the trains run at the highest speed and also see the most traffic,” said another DFCCIL manager.

He added that the DFCCIL plans to have the TCAS system installed on these sections by January 2024.

The 306 km Rewari-Madar section of Western DFC was inaugurated in January 2021, while the 351 km New Khurja-New Bhaupur section of Eastern DFC was inaugurated in December 2020.

DFCCIL executives added that the DFCs are currently equipped with safety devices that monitor the speed of the trains, as well as devices that measure the axle and wheel temperatures of the wagons.

According to experts, the installation of the Kavach system will cost 50 lakh rupees per kilometer, making the tender for around 650 km worth about 350 crore rupees.

Earlier this month, DFCCIL chief RK Jain announced that the entire length of DFC track would be made Kavach compliant to ensure safety on the track, which is intended to be used only for freight trains.

He added that as of May 31, around 77 percent of the work, or around 2,200 km, has been completed on both DTCs.

Currently, not a single kilometer of line on the DFCs has the Kavach network installed as the center focuses on doing this on passenger tracks.

Originally developed by the Research Design and Standard Organization and other affiliated research companies, Kavach is capable of ensuring the highest level of accuracy in avoiding collisions between two trains. The system is able to regulate speed by automatically applying the brakes if the driver fails to do so. Signal aspects in the cab are useful for higher speeds even in poor visibility. Not only does this help train drivers avoid signal crossings in the event of danger (SPAD) and overspeeding, but it also helps when running trains in thick fog.

The Kavach system will automatically stop the train when it detects that the train has skipped a red signal or detects another train on the opposite side on the same track.

Kavach can also interface with existing interlocking systems, including relay-based interlockings.

To date, Kavach operates 1,455 kilometers of track on the South Central Railway and tenders have been awarded for 2,951 kilometers of track on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah sections. Commissioning is planned for 2024.

Kavach is currently installed on a limited percentage of trains, estimated to be around 5 to 7 percent of the entire fleet. With around 20,000 trains in service, the potential market size for TCAS in India is significant.

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