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 What is TCAS - Kavach

  • Kavach is a cab signalling train control system with anti-collision features. 

  • It plays the role of a watchdog over the existing signalling system. 

  • It was developed over a period of 10 years, starting in 2012, by the Indian Railways Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO). 

  • Kavach is designed to give out warnings to the loco pilot in case he does not notice the ‘red signal.

  • After giving warnings the Kavach system automatically applies brakes to bring the train to a halt.

How is the Kavach system deployed?

In the Kavach set-up, provided with three components. 

  • First is Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology in the tracks. 

  • RFID tech uses radio waves to identify people or objects. 

  • It uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and read information contained in a wireless device from a distance without making physical contact or requiring a line of sight.

  • Secondly, the locomotive, which is the driver’s cabin, is provided with RFID readers, computer, and brake interface equipment

  • Finally, radio infrastructure which are towers and modems are installed at railway stations.

How does Kavach infrastructure work?

  • The three components of Kavach on rail tracks, locomotives and at railway stations are communicating with each other to monitor train movements.

  • Their function is not affected by visual interferences like hilly geography or haze

  • There is direct loco-to-loco communication and information regarding location and track IDs are exchanged.

  • The locomotives have antennas which communicate with towers on railway stations and display warnings

Why did the A.P. train accident occur?

  • The cause of the Andhra Pradesh accident to the deceased loco pilot, saying it was likely caused by a ‘human error.’ 

  • Railway officials said that the loco pilot of the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train did not stop or slow down the train despite a red signal given in the block section. 

  • Experts say that if the Kavach system was in place it could have helped avoid this accident. 

  • The system would have warned the loco pilot that he was overshooting the red signal, and would have automatically applied the emergency brakes.

How much does the Kavach system cost?

  • Deploying Kavach costs ₹50 lakh per kilometre for the Indian Railways. 

  • Experts say present coverage for Kavach is only 1,500 km and at this rate.

  • It may take many years to ensure Kavach even on high-density routes as Railways has a total route length of 68,000 kms. 

  • Current Kavach coverage includes the 1,400 km stretch in South Central Railway and 200 to 250 km routes from Delhi to Mumbai and Delhi to Kolkata where it is still under testing in patches.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Kavach UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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