Indian Railways is planning an investment of Rs 56,955 crore over the next five years in modernisation of signalling and telecommunication systems to augment the safety and capacity of the national transporter.
The modernisation will be in the areas of Long Term Evolution (LTE), Optical Fibre System, Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), Automatic Block Signalling (ABS), Electronic Interlocking (EI) and Centralised Traffic Control. The Cabinet had announced earlier this month, on June 9, the allocation of 5 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz band for the Railways which will be used for providing LTE based mobile train radio communication and advanced radio network on its route.
The Cabinet had also approved the TCAS to make rail travel safer and faster, envisaging a spend of Rs 25,000 crore for these two projects. With an expanded modernisation plan, the cost of the projects is estimated to be Rs 56,955 crore.
The roadmap on providing more modern signalling solutions to enhance the safety and all-round operational efficiency of Railways was given out at a press conference addressed by Sanjeev Mittal, member (infrastructure) of Railway Board and other members of the Board — Aruna Singh, additional member, (telecommunications) and Rahul Agarwal, additional member (signal).
With more signal bandwidth now available to support the objective of improving safety in train operations and generating additional line capacity, the TCAS has been approved for 37,300 route km, covering important routes in the 1st phase. The TCAS is an automatic train protection system which works as an aid to loco pilot to prevent human error.
The Railways plan to boost the capacity to run more trains on existing network with ABS, a solution designed to enhance line capacity and run more trains on existing high density routes. While ABS has already been provided on 3,447 km, the Railways plan to roll out automatic signalling on around 15,000 Rkm of high density and freight intensive routes in mission mode.
Also, in the pipeline is a boost to the EI systems which are being adopted on a large scale to increase safety and flexibility in train operation and are currently in use at 2,221 stations. The Railways plan to provide further 1,550 EIs in the next 3 years to enhance safety and efficiency of train operations.
The five-year investment will also include covering more routes with OFC based system. Already, 92% route of the Railways is covered by the OFC which is used for the national transporter’s internal communication. While Wi-Fi facility has been extended to 6,002 stations, the 101 balance feasible stations, of which 70% are in rural areas, will also be covered.
The CCTV system to improve security has been provided at 801 stations and balance are also planned.