HomeIndiaWhat is the railway’s ‘Kavach’ system? Why did it not work in the Kanchenjunga Express accident?

What is the railway’s ‘Kavach’ system? Why did it not work in the Kanchenjunga Express accident?

What is the railway’s ‘Kavach’ system? Why did it not work in the Kanchenjunga Express accident?

#News Bureau June17,2024

Nine people died in a train accident in Darjeeling, West Bengal.

When this accident happened, the Kanchenjunga Express was crossing New Jalpaiguri station and going towards Sealdah, when a freight train hit it from behind.

This collision happened because the loco pilot of the freight train broke the signal, due to which it collided with Kanchenjunga standing on the track.

After this accident, people are asking why the system ‘Kavach’ created by the railway did not work in this case. The railway had claimed that the Automatic Train Protection System Kavach was created to prevent such accidents.

What is ‘Kavach’

‘Kavach’ is an indigenous technology and it was claimed that this technology will be installed on all the busy routes of Indian Railways, so that rail accidents can be prevented.

This is a type of device which is installed on the railway route in addition to the train engine.

When two trains come close to each other on the same track, the train pilot gets information about it through train signals, indicators and alarms.

But even after all these claims, rail accidents are not being stopped.

The biggest thing is that the kind of accident for which ‘Kavach’ was developed, a similar accident happened in Odisha last year. 275 people were killed in this accident.

CEO and Chairman of Central Railway Board Jaya Verma Sinha said that ‘Kavach’ system has been installed in 1,500 km and this year it will be installed in 3,000 more km.

She says that similarly it will be installed in 3,000 km again next year.

Jaya said that West Bengal is also included in this year’s plan, but it has not been installed at the accident site yet.

She said that this is an expensive system, so it is being installed in a phased manner.

The Economic Times, citing a report of the Indian Railways, said that the Railways had decided to issue tenders for Kavach for ten thousand kilometers.

Tenders have been issued for Kavach system on six thousand kilometers so far. Out of this, Kavach has been installed in 1465 km route and 139 engines of South Central Railway.

In India, serious work to prevent head-on collision between two trains started after the Gasal rail accident in 1999.

In this accident, Avadh-Assam Express and Brahmaputra Mail trains collided, killing about 300 people.

After that, Konkan Railway of Indian Railways started working on the indigenous technology of Anti Collision Device or ACT in Goa.

In this, GPS based technology was to be installed in trains, so that if two trains come close to each other on the same track, the pilot of the train gets information about it in advance through signals and hooter.

Initially, it was seen in this technology that even if a train is coming on the other track, signals start coming in this way. Some flaws were seen in this technology in other countries as well and the need for better safety technology was felt.

According to Satish Kumar Rai, later the railways shelved it due to the cost, while many European technologies costing more than this were considered to be purchased. In this way, the technology of Konkan Railway gradually went into cold storage.

The railways later also considered preventing such accidents by developing a vigilance control device.

After that, Train Protection Warning System or TPWS and TCAs i.e. Train Collision Avoidance System were also considered to prevent collision of trains.

Buying such technology from abroad was proving to be very expensive, so the railways insisted on developing its technology themselves and in this connection, an indigenous technology called ‘Kavach’ was adopted on the lines of TCAs.

Last year, after a trial in India’s South Central Railway, it was claimed that by the year 2022-23, it would be installed on a 2000 km network.

That is, it may take a long time to install this technology even on only the busy sections of the nearly 65 thousand route kilometer network of Indian Railways.

Indian Railways often talks about zero tolerance towards accidents. That is, not even a single accident will be tolerated in the railways.

This is usually heard in the priority of every Railway Minister. But despite having more than ten Railway Ministers in the last 15 years, rail accidents have not stopped in India.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav himself participated in the trial of ‘Kavach’ near Secunderabad in March 2022.

At that time it was claimed that Kavach is a cheap and better technology to prevent accidents in Indian Railways.

The Railway Minister himself got videos of its trial made by boarding the engine of the train, but the capability of this technology is being questioned.

In terms of accidents, the record of previous governments in India has also been bad and many major rail accidents have happened in the current government as well. There are many accidents in railways which are not even discussed.

According to Shiv Gopal Mishra, general secretary of the All India Railway Men’s Federation, “Every year around 500 railway employees die while working on the tracks. Not only this, many people die every day while crossing the tracks in Mumbai. The priority of the railways should not be increasing the speed of trains but safety.”

Major railway accidents happened during Modi government

2 June 2023- The Coromandel Express train collided with a freight train parked at Bahanga station in Balasore, Odisha. After this collision, at least 12 coaches of the Coromandel Express train derailed. 275 people were killed in this accident.

13 January 2022: 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express going from Bikaner in Rajasthan to Guwahati in Assam derailed. The accident took place in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. In this, the motor of the train engine opened and fell on the track and the train climbed over it, causing this accident. At least 9 people died in this accident.

19 August 2017: 14 coaches of the Utkal Express train derailed in Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh. This train was going from Puri to Haridwar. Repair work was going on here by removing the track. About 23 people died in this accident. After this accident, Suresh Prabhu resigned from the post of Railway Minister.

22 January 2017: Eight coaches of Hirakhand Express derailed in Vijayanagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. About 40 people died in this accident.

20 November 2016: 14 coaches of Patna-Indore Express derailed in Pukhrayan near Kanpur. About 150 people were killed in this accident.

20 March 2015: Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express derailed. About 35 people were killed in this accident. This accident took place in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh.

24 July 2014: At least 15 school children died in a collision between a school bus and a train at a railway crossing near Hyderabad. This accident took place at an unmanned railway crossing in Masaipet area of ​​Medak.

26 May 2014: Six coaches of the Gorakhdham Express derailed and collided with a freight train near Chureb railway station in Sant Kabir Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh, killing more than 25 passengers. More than 50 people were injured in this accident.

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Translation result

What is ‘Kavach’

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