Odisha Train Tragedy: Here’s How Kavach Anti-Collision Device Works


Bhubaneswar: The train route where the three ill-fated trains collided near Bahanaga railway station in Odisha’s Balasore district sans Kavach system, said Indian Railways spokesperson Amitabh Sharma on Saturday. He said that the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) or Kavach was on trial last year.

“The Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) or Kavach was on trial last year…in this technology when locomotives are on the same track then there is an automatic break,” Amitabh Sharma, Spokesperson, Ministry of Railways, said on Saturday.

“Anti-collision device was an old technology used in Railways. It used to work with automatic brakes in locomotive proximity. However, if the driver crossed the red signal, then there were no automatic brakes. The enhanced version of this technology, TCAS, was designed indigenously. Work is being done with regard to this, and it has been rolled out nationwide. It has also been sanctioned in various railway lines, and we are expecting to have it installed by 2024,” he added.

According to reports, 288 people were killed and more than 1000 injured in the accident involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and a goods train.

The Railways is in the process of installing “Kavach”, an anti-train collision system, across its network. Kavach alerts when a loco pilot jumps a signal (Signal Passed at Danger — SPAD), which is the leading cause of train collisions.

The system can alert the loco pilot take control of the brakes and bring the train to a halt automatically when it notices another train on the same line within a prescribed distance.

The ATP system also helps a train run safely during inclement weather such as dense fog.

The Kavach also facilitates continuous update of Movement Authority with display of signal aspects in Driver Machine Interface (DMI) / Loco Pilot operation cum Indication Panel (LPOCIP).

Using high frequency radio communication, the Kavach operates on the principle of continuous update of movement to prevent collisions. It automatically activates the brakes if the driver fails to do so and also applies brakes to prevent collision between two trains installed with the system.

Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are installed on tracks and at station yards for identification of tracks and locating trains and their direction. When the system is activated, all trains withing the vicinity of 5 kilometres are stopped and the train on the adjacent track is let to pass safely.

The The On Board Display of Signal Aspect (OBDSA) helps loco pilots to view the signals on days with low visibility due to bad weather, which they usually have to spot by looking out of the window.

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