How Railways plans to boost mobile train radio communications

How Railways plans to boost mobile train radio communications

The Railways is planning to use the five MHz spectrum allocation from the government to considerably boost mobile train radio communications to enhance safety and improve movement on its network, senior officials said on Tuesday. The spectrum will provide long term evolution (LTE) based seamless communication between staff on running trains and traffic controllers and maintenance personnel, they said.

This will enhance safety and security on the railway’s network, the officials said.

The project will considerably boost the safety of trains as well as movement across the network, and it will be completed in the next five years at an estimated investment of Rs 25,000 crore, Member Infrastructure, Railway Board, Sanjeev Mittal, said in a press briefing.

He said that the spectrum allocation is for public safety and security services at stations and in trains.

It brings a strategic shift in the railways’ operations and maintenance regime, Mittal said.

“It will help in improving safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency,” he said.

“It will also attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfil the ‘Make in India‘ Mission and generate employment,” Mittal said.

The purpose of LTE for the Indian Railways is to provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications, he said.

The system will help in deployment of modern cab-based signalling system with automatic train protection which will increase safety and throughout train operations and also help during fog, the senior official said.

The national transporter in a statement said, “LTE will be used for mission critical voice communication with seamless connectivity in train operations between the driver, guard, station master, train traffic controller and maintenance staff.”

“It will also be used in monitoring limited video surveillance (Live Feed) through CCTV cameras in trains to enhance passenger security,” it said. Mittal also said that the railways has taken on the modernisation of the signalling system.

This includes the provision of electronic interlocking (EI) which is being adopted to derive benefits of digital technologies in train operation and to enhance safety, he said.

So far, 2,221 stations have been provided with this system till April 30 covering 34 per cent of the Indian Railways.

Mittal said that a policy decision has also been taken to provide electronic interlocking in the future. Further, 1,550 EIs are planned to be provided in next three years. This will enhance safety and efficiency of train operations, he said.

The railways has also used automatic block signalling to increase line capacity and as on April 30, this has been provided on 3,447 route kilometres.

It has planned the roll out of this system on around 1,5000 route kilometres of high density and freight intensive routes.

The national transporter has also brought into use the automatic train protection (ATP) system as an aid to the loco pilot to prevent human error.

The railways with Indian firms has now successfully developed indigenous cost effective technology for ATP – called Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), the statement said.

It has been decided to adopt TCAS as the National ATP of India under the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat’ Mission.

TCAS has been approved for 37,300 route kilometres covering important routes in the first phase. The roll out of TCAS will eliminate train collision due to human error and enhance speed potential of the Indian Railways, thereby reducing travel time, the statement said.

For this modernization of signalling and telecommunication, Indian Railways has envisaged investment of nearly Rs 55,000 crore, it said.


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