Railways to acquire Derailment Detectors in a bid to prevent accidents

New Delhi:  Alarmed by the spate of derailment incidents, Indian Railways is acquiring derailment detector devices to prevent mishaps which cause loss of lives and damage coaches.

The derailment detector devices, a first for Indian Railways, will be fitted in three Rajdhanis and two Shatabdi trains on a pilot basis and later more trains will be equipped with this system, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

The Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains that would be fitted with the device will be decided shortly.

Level of vibrations increases dramatically if a coach, wagon or locomotive derails. “The severe increase in vibrations can be sensed by a derailment detector device,” the official said.

The derailment detectors are fitted on the end of a coach or wagon, and are designed to immediately apply brakes in the event of such unusually high level of vibrations.

The action time in detector system is much faster than the reaction time taken by the driver or the guard to sense that a coach or wagon has derailed, the official said.

The device can, therefore, immediately apply brakes and save further consequential damages since the train would come to a halt much faster.

Passenger coaches or wagons often tumble and overturn in the event of derailment which causes loss of lives and severe damages to coaches.

Railways witnessed a series of derailment in the recent past, including that of a passenger train near Roha station in Maharashtra on May 4, in which 19 were killed and about 100  injured. The incidents of derailment of Guwahati Rajdhani in Bihar which claimed four lives on May 26 and a goods train on Mumbai-Howrah route on May 14 among others were viewed with concern by railway authorities.

Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had made it clear after assuming charge that the safety of passenger will be his top priority.

The derailment detection system, operational successfully in Europe and the US, will be for the first time procured for Indian Railways through global tendering process. It would cost about Rs 60 lakh per Rajdhani Express with 20 coaches, as the system is priced about Rs 2.5 lakh per coach. As many as 113 coaches will be fitted with the state-of-the-art system in the first phase.

In other instance, MOS (Railways) said in the Parliament that Indian Railways takes following measures taken to prevent derailments:

  • Upgradation of Track Structure consisting of Pre Stressed Concrete (PSC) sleepers, 52 kg., high strength (90kg/mm2 ultimate tensile strength) rails on concrete sleepers, fanshaped layout on PSC sleepers, Steel Channel Sleepers on girder bridges adopted on most of the routes.
  • Track structure is being standardized with 60 kg rails and PSC sleepers on all the Broad Gauge routes, especially on high density routes, to reduce fatigue of rails under higher axle-load traffic.
  • New construction and replacement is done with PSC sleepers only.
  • Long rail panels of 260 Meters/130 Meters length are being manufactured at the steel plants to minimize number of welded joints.
  • Reduction in Thermit welded joints on rails, use of SPURT Cars for Rail flaw detection.
  • All rails and welds are ultrasonically tested as per laid down periodicity.
  • Progressively shifting to flash butt welding which is superior in quality compared to Alumino Thermit (AT) welding.
  • Progressive use of modern track maintenance machines viz. Tie Tamping, Ballast Cleaning Machines, Track Recording Cars, Digital Ultrasonic Flaw Detectors, Self Propelled Ultrasonic Rail Testing Cars, etc.
  • Two, Rail Grinding Machines are being procured.  Rail Grinding and rail lubrication for enhanced rail life and reliability has been recently introduced.
  • Electronic monitoring of track geometry is carried out to detect defects and plan maintenance.
  • Modern Bridge inspection techniques for determining health of the bridges.
  • Introduction of Wheel impact Load Detector (WILD).
  • Regular patrolling of railway tracks at vulnerable locations including night patrolling and intensifying patrolling during foggy weather.
  • To minimize effects of accidents, LHB coaches with Centre Buffer Couplers and having anti-climbing features, are being inducted in the fleet of coaching stock of Indian Railways.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.