NEW DELHI: While Union Railways Minister Ashiwni Vaishnaw has come under tremendous fire for the Coromandel Express tragedy, the trolls, who are questioning the effectiveness of Kavach, seem to have not done their homework.
The line where the Coromandel Express was travelling was not covered by Kavach, India’s indigenous Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System.
According to Indian Railways, Kavach has been deployed on over 1,098 route kilometres and 65 locos in ongoing projects of the South Central Railway.
The verdict is still out on whether Kavach could have averted the catastrophe as it was caused by the derailment of the Coromandel Express, which many said was due to overspeeding. But there is no denying the fact that technology could be useful in averting many dangers.
Kavach, an advanced electronic safety system developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry, is designed to assist locomotive pilots in avoiding dangerous situations such as Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and overspeeding.
Additionally, Kavach offers support for train operations during challenging weather conditions like dense fog. By automatically applying brakes when necessary, this system ensures better control over train speed and prevents potential accidents.
Kavach serves a dual purpose: it helps locomotive drivers avoid missing danger signals and control excessive speed, while also ensuring safe train operations in conditions of low visibility.
Railway Minister Vaishnaw personally tested the ‘Kavach’ system and shared his experience on Twitter. In March 2022, he tweeted, “Rear-end collision testing is successful. Kavach automatically stopped the locomotive before reaching another locomotive at the front, at a distance of 380 metres.”
Kavach controls the speed of the train by automatic application of brakes in case Loco Pilot fails to do so. It can be interfaced with existing signalling interlocking, including relay-based interlocking.
It works on the principle of continuous updating of movement authority by using radio communication in UHF. It conforms to SIL-4 (Safety Integrity Level-4), which is the highest level of safety certification. It includes non-signalling-based additional features for collision prevention that are non-SIL.