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Railways Plans to Acquire ₹5,000 Cr Kavach ATP Systems, Tenders to be Released Soon

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NEW DELHI (Metro Rail News): Indian Railways plans to acquire Kavach automatic train protection (ATP) systems at a cost of ₹5,000 crore, two individuals familiar with the matter revealed. This decision comes in the wake of a tragic triple-train crash in Balasore, Odisha, resulting in the loss of almost 300 lives. The Kavach system aims to prevent head-on collisions by automatically applying brakes if the train pilot fails to see and respond to signals.

According to sources, two tenders for Kavach with a total of 12,000 kilometres (km) will be launched within a year against a tender for 3,000 km that was issued in the year 2021. The Kavach ATP system, developed by the RDSO (Research Design and Standards Organization) in collaboration with the Indian industry, underwent testing by South Central Railway ( SCR).

‘It is suggested to start a DPR (detailed project report) soon so that bids may be requested by January of the following year for the commissioning of Kavach on the 6,000 kilometres of the railway network. Subsequently, another DPR for an additional 6,000 kilometers will be commissioned and implemented. The goal is to issue tenders for a total of 12,000 kilometers of Kavach coverage in phases next year,’ one of the two sources referenced earlier claimed.

While efforts are being made to expedite the installation of Kavach through efficient planning and execution, it is too early to provide a specific timeline for its complete installation, according to a railway ministry statement.

The development of India’s own ATP system began in 2012, with the final product, Kavach, being developed between 2016 and 2019. The railways issued a tender worth approximately ₹1,000 crores in 2021, covering 3,000 kilometres. Currently, about 1,445 kilometres of the railway network is equipped with Kavach. The aim is to add 7,000-8,000 kilometres of railway network under Kavach each year, aiming to cover the entire 70,000 kilometres of the railway network within a decade.

The Kavach system is best suited for heavily congested routes with frequent train intervals, where the gap between two trains is often minimal. Automatic block signalling will automatically halt trains if the driver fails to observe a signal.

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