The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rail to spend Rs 3,000 cr on signalling gear

New Delhi, Sept. 2: The railway ministry has drawn up a plan to invest Rs 3,000 crore in signalling equipment to improve safety and eliminate congestion in the major rail networks, including the golden quadrilateral—Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta.

The resources for the signalling systems will be raised from the railway safety fund. Software and telecom companies have approached the railways to offer their products that can provide online monitoring of signalling of all the trains in the country on a single network.

Last week, Tata Infotech executives met Railway Board officials. “The private companies will have to make presentations. We have had just one presentation from the Tatas; there are a few more companies who will be providing us information about their products over the next few weeks. The software that suits our needs will be selected and then implemented,” railway ministry sources said.

“The project is to be covered over a seven-year period. Once the project is complete, we expect to bring down the accident rates caused due to signalling faults by 95 per cent,” officials said.

In the good old days, trains moved around without communications. No signals existed and it was the responsibility of the engineering department to take necessary action.

Telegraph and telephony progressively came into existence in India because of the railways’ requirements. The earliest lines sanctioned in the direction of rail routes were from Calcutta to Peshawar and Bombay area.

“There are softwares that allow the engineers to draw the signalling plan of a station based on basic inputs like the line start position, end position links to other lines and the type of such line. The computer understands the yard layout in the shape then draws it and also allows the user to give the input in signalling engineering parameters,” a software analyst said.

“The latest software is designed to take care of signalling parameters like colour light signals with lower quadrant mechanical signalling and upper quadrant double wire signalling,” officials added.

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