Railways takes ISRO help in monitoring 700 trains real-time. bets on GPS-equipped Locomotives, ISRO Satellites!

Punctual trains to be reality soon! Developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems in collaboration with ISRO-AAI, the RTIS device installed in the Locomotive will detect the position and speed of trains with the help of ISRO-developed GAGAN geo-positioning system. Here’s how ISRO will help Railways run Trains efficiently, and on time!

BANGALORE/NEW DELHI: The national transporter had already flagged off the system implementation on January 8, starting with few mail and express trains along the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra-Bandra Terminus, New Delhi-Patna, New Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Jammu routes. Speaking to RailNews, a senior railway ministry official said, “A new beginning has been made in the new year: the train movement information is acquired and fed to the control charts using ISRO satellite-based real-time train information system (RTIS) automatically.”  The RTIS device installed in the locomotive will detect the position and speed of trains with the help of ISRO-developed GAGAN (GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation System) geo-positioning system. GAGAN is a flagship joint venture between ISRO and Airports Authority of India and is headquartered at Kundalahalli, Whitefield, Bangalore.

The Control Office Application (COA) system designed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has begun real-time monitoring of over 700 trains, fitted with GPS (Global Positioning System). The system will help track movement of trains even between two stations. The COA system was designed after the Indian Railways collaborated with ISRO for monitoring of passenger and freight trains, making it easy to track them and automatically feed the control room about their movement.

Using this information, the device will send updates about the train movement to a central location server in the CRIS data centre. The information will include arrival, departure, run through, unscheduled stoppages and mid-section updates. Once the processing of data is completed, the information will be relayed to the Control Office Application (COA) system, paving the way for the automatic plotting of control charts with no manual intervention in the divisions.

It will not only help in real-time monitoring of passenger trains, but also help railways avoid theft of coal, oil and other materials ferried by freight trains.

In the past, the running status of trains was manually updated, and divisional controls set up for train movement control were dependent on the information passed between stationmasters and station controllers.

According to railway officials, the COA has already been integrated with National Train Enquiry System (NTES).

In addition to that, the Railways is also working with the premier science organisation to check accidents at unmanned railway crossings.

“The new system will help railways to modernise its control room, railway network for more efficient train movement across its network. The move is aimed at further improving the accuracy of train-running information,” the official added.

Arun Kumar, Director-General of RPF, said, “Now it will not be easy to stop freight train between stations. Anybody who attempts to commit theft or steal goods will be caught red-handed.”

Indian Railways gets major share of its revenue from freight services. The continued theft and pilferage were a cause of concern. The new system will help railways modernise control room, rail network for efficient train movement across the network.

In other news, the Ministry of Railways on Wednesday announced a discounted fare scheme to be rolled out by the end of September. The railway ministry said that discount to be offered can be up to 25% of the base fare and the scheme shall be applicable for AC Chair car and Executive chair car categories of selected trains such as Shatabdi, Gatimaan, Tejas, Double Decker, Intercity among others.

“Discount to be offered can be up to 25 per cent of the base fare. Reservation fee, superfast charge, GST, etc., as applicable will be separate. Discount can be given for the first leg and/or the last leg of the journey and/or intermediate sections and/or end to end journey. There is a provision to make catering optional with the discounted fare,” an official release said.

The national transporter has adopted three-pronged measures to implement separate projects. Indian Railways is banking on Global Positioning System (GPS), ISRO satellites, CCTVs and WiFi to provide safe, secured and technologically advanced ambience and environment for its passengers.

GPS in all locomotives: All the locomotives of Indian Railways will have GPS by the end of the current fiscal (FY 20) so that real-time position of the trains can be ascertained, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav was quoted as saying by PTI. This move is part of the Real-time Train Information System (RTIS). Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been roped in to improve punctuality of the trains. Yadav has said that train’s position and speed will be relayed through ISRO satellites to the Indian Railways’ Control Office Application (COA) system. This will go for automatic plotting of control charts.

CCTVs at railway stations, in Mail/Express trains: With an aim to improve passenger security, Indian Railways has decided to install CCTVs in Mail/Express trains. Major junctions will also be equipped with CCTVs.

WiFi at key stations: Indian Railways passengers will be able to experience high-speed WiFi facilities at major stations. This mega exercise is scheduled to be completed by September this year, Yadav said. Indian Railways was stressing on infrastructure development, Yadav said adding that there has been significant growth in Railway traffic in the country in the past 25 to 30 years.

In Budget 2019, the Modi government set out its top priorities for Indian Railways. Passengers’ safety, modernization of railway stations, improving railway travel experience, and increasing train efficiency were the key areas where the government focused. In the Railway Budget 2019, the government proposed to introduce Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system. The central government also talked about a massive programme launched by Indian Railways to modernize railway stations. To provide Digital India experience to travellers, Indian Railways targetted to provide free WiFi at 4,882 stations by August 31, 2019. Indian Railways has also proposed to install CCTV cameras at all stations and coaches of passengers’ trains by 2020-21.