Piyush Goyal calls for adopting latest Technological Innovations in Railways; cites LiDAR as a good example

New Delhi: Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal addresses at the inaugural function of the Second International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railways and Metro Projects, in New Delhi, on Oct 4, 2018. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

NEW DELHIMinister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal inaugurated International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railway and Metro Projects (IC-TRAM 2018) in New Delhi today. V.K.Saraswat, Member, Niti Aayog, Keshav Chandra, Chairman, Organizing  Committee and former Member Railway Board & senior Railway officials were present on the occasion.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday emphasised on the need to use technological innovations to make the railways safer and more efficient while expanding its capacity at the least cost. “Unless we evolve with technology and with time, an organisation cannot survive,” Goyal said after inaugurating the two-day International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railways and Metros here.

“There are very simple interventions like the concept of a freight convoy that does not require the latest technology but just a little simple thinking that can improve efficiency,” he pointed out.

Giving an example, Goyal said that the Indian Railways last week tried a convoy concept of freight trains. “Forty freight trains in this convoy were able to run at higher speeds due to lack of interference from passenger trains. This concept would increase efficiency and revenues for the railways.”

Likewise, he also cited an example of LiDAR technology helping Railways in speeding up the Survey and DPR activities for laying of a new Railway lines. “Laying of a new Railway line involves multiple factors that requires survey of large areas with a very high degree accuracy traversing through the forests, wild life sanctuaries, semi/thick inhabitations, water bodies, mountainous/hilly terrains that involves multiple approvals/sanctions from the concerned authorities in different political zones. The traditional technologies of manual survey or using Satellite imagery fall woefully short for getting this data as the traditional technologies are either prone to manual errors or in case of survey from satellite imagery the accuracy is of more than 2 meters of limitation. This is one of the hindrance in execution of the project. Paralelly the aspects of culverts, bridges, bank strengthening, embankments, bridges, culverts, marshaling yards, station platforms, concourse designing and structuring, intelligent automation systems, optical fiber communication systems, electrical network including infrastructure etc. to be factored at near 100% accuracy for higher operational efficiency. The disruptive LiDAR technology is capable of automatically surveying very large areas in a short span of time using LiDAR sensors at an accuracy of upto 5cm and delivers most accurate result on the ground,” he said.

LiDAR Technology for surveying the new Railway lines which is one of the most advanced technologies used by Railways

“Railways is always open to embrace technological innovations to provide best services to the commuters. The introduction of Shinkansen from Ahmedabad to Mumbai wasn’t only about speed but about introducing the latest technology in the country. The need of the hour is to figure out technological innovations which can make Railways safer & more efficient. The top management of Railways is open to new ideas & willing to take up new assignments for creating a ‘New Railways’.

Goyal talked about the remarkable progress made in elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings across Indian Railways & the convoy system in freight train movement adopted by South Central Railway recently. Forty freight trains in this convoy were able to run at higher speeds due to lack of interference from passenger trains. This concept will increase efficiency and revenues for the railway.

He also said that there were a lot of naysayers in the country. “Whenever we speak of introducing new technology or bring up an out-of-the-box idea, there is a lot of resistance.”

The minister said railways would have to look at the best of technology that was available anywhere in the world and how this could be brought into the country’s infrastructure. “When we introduced the concept of a high speed train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the idea behind the project wasn’t only about speed but about introducing the latest technology to the country,” Goyal said.  He further cited the example of Aerial LiDAR implemented by IIT-Kanpur startup M/s Geokno which has speeded up the survey investigation (FLS) for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad Highspeed Rail Corridor. He insisted that such innovative concepts will not only reduce the time duration for initial feasibility Surveys/DPRs but also help in generation of better construction management practices for large projects of National importance.

If the industry comes up with innovative ideas then my team can make it happen. “Every discussion and idea will be taken with an open mind,” he said.

Earlier, Keshav Chandra, Chairman, Organizing Committee and former Member Railway Board, welcomed the delegates and elaborated the focus areas of each session of the conference. He asked all those in the business of railways and metro transportation, as well as the larger transportation community, operators,engineers to upgrade their technical skills and knowledge, interact with specialists from various engineering disciplines, hear from the experts from India and abroad on the fine ‘art and science’ of metro building and railway modernization.

The second edition of the International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railways & Metro Projects is being organized on 4-5 October 2018 by DIPM Council (India). The aim is to take stock of the consolidation taking place in Railways & Metros world-wide with special focus on India, the inflow of new technologies effecting sweeping changes in manufacturing processes and operations and review of the multiple business opportunities for ‘Make in India’. Experts from various fields of Railway and Metro Operations and Infrastructure from all over the world will be participating in this International Conference being held at New Delhi.