Gearing up to run train service at 160 kmph in Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors, Indian Railways is installing Kavach, the indigenously developed accident prevention system, to improve the safety mechanism in train operations.
Besides upgrading the signalling system, the Railways is also strengthening the tracks to run semi-high speed Vande Bharat sleeper service on these two routes.
The first prototype Vande Bharat sleeper train is expected to be ready by April 2024.
According to the Railways, Kavach system will be implemented in about 3,000 route-km rail network while detailed project report and estimate has been worked out for 6,000 route-km more in the next phase.
Kavach is the indigenously developed automatic train protection (ATP) system. A highly technology intensive system, Kavach requires safety certification of highest order.
Kavach aids the loco pilot in trains running within specified speed limits, by automatic application of brakes in case loco pilot fails to do so and also help the trains run safely during inclement weather.
The first field trials on the passenger trains were started in February 2016. Based on the experience so gained and independent safety sssessment of the system by a third party independent safety assessor, three firms were approved in 2018-19, for supply of Kavach.
Subsequently Kavach was adopted as a National ATP system in July 2020.
Kavach has so far been deployed on 1,465 route-km and 121 locomotives (including electric multiple unit rakes) on South Central Railway.
Kavach tenders have been awarded for Delhi–Mumbai and Delhi–Howrah corridors and work is in progress on these routes.
Indian Railways is preparing the detailed project report and detailed estimate for another 6,000 route-km.
The amount spent so far on Kavach implementation is Rs 351.91 crore. The cost for provision of track side, including station equipment of Kavach, is approximately Rs 50 lakh per kilometre and cost for provision of Kavach equipment on locomotives is approximately Rs 70 lakh per locomotive.
Presently there are three Indian original equipment manufacturers who are approved for Kavach. Efforts are being made to attract more vendors to enhance the capacity and scale up the implementation of Kavach.