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What is Kavach system?

Published: 8th Jun, 2023


The death of over 288 passengers in triple train accident at Bahanaga Bazaar railway station in the Balasore district of Odisha has brought into sharp focus the safety mechanisms needed to prevent such tragedies.

About the Technology:

  • The KAVACH is an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with the Indian industry.
  • The trials were facilitated by the South Central Railway to achieve safety in train operations across Indian Railways.
  • It is a state-of-the-art electronic system with Safety Integrity Level-4 (SIL-4) standards.
  • It is meant to provide protection by preventing trains to pass the signal at Red (which marks danger) and avoid collision.
  • It activates the train’s braking system automatically if the driver fails to control the train as per speed restrictions.
  • In addition, it prevents the collision between two locomotives equipped with functional Kavach systems. The system also relays SoS messages during emergency situations.

SoS means, a call or request for help or rescue

  • An added feature is the centralised live monitoring of train movements through the Network Monitor System.

‘Kavach’ is one of the cheapest, SIL-4 certified technologies where the probability of error is 1 in 10,000 years.

How does Kavach work on Railway Systems?

  • The Traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), with the help of equipment on board the locomotive and transmission towers at stations connected with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags helps in two-way communication between the station master and loco-pilot to convey any emergency message.
  • The instrument panel inside the cabin helps the loco-pilot know about the signal in advance without visual sighting, and the permissible speeds to be maintained.
  • If a red signal is jumped and two trains come face to face on the same line, the technology automatically takes over and applies sudden brakes.
  • Additionally, the hooter activates by itself when approaching a level crossing which serves as a big boon to loco-pilots during fog conditions when visibility is low.

Both the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and the Yeshwanthpur-Howrah Express were not fitted with KAVACH-TACS.

About Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO):

  • Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) is an ISO 9001 research and development organization under the Ministry of Railways of India.
  • It functions as a technical adviser and consultant to the Railway Board, the Zonal Railways, the Railway Production Units, RITES and IRCON International in respect of design and standardization of railway equipment and problems related to railway construction, operation and maintenance.

Indian Railways’ Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) has recently become the nation’s first institution to be declared as Standard Developing Organization (SDO) under the mission called “One Nation One Standard” on Bureau of Indian Standards.


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