Indian Railways is the country’s most popular mode of transportation and manages the day the fourth largest national railway system in the world by size. The railway authorities have made changes to improve the travel experience. However, the railroads are now planning to introduce modern train system technology that will pave the way for a better signaling system and enable unmanned operation of subways and trains. India, known for its complicated railway network, will soon see a transition from a traditional railway signaling system to a native Communications-based Train Control (i-CBTC) system. Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has signed an agreement with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) to jointly develop an i-CBTC.
It is a major advance in the field of metro and rail automation and will give impetus to the Indian government’s “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission. i-CBTC, being developed for the first time in India itself, will enable unmanned operation of subways and trains.
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The project is implemented under the Government of India’s Department of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA). The MoU aims to leverage the complementary strengths and capabilities of BEL and DMRC.
i-CBTC is an advanced communications-based system that uses radio communications to transmit timely and accurate train control information. The system takes a major leap forward in the field of automation, enabling unmanned operation of subways and trains.
“This is an important step towards the development of a native signaling system in India and a major step towards achieving self-sufficiency in metro signaling and train control systems. This will facilitate and encourage innovation, enhance local capabilities and reduce metro deployment costs, and lead to the development of expertise in the country in the field of train control signaling systems,” DMRC said in a communiqué.
According to media reports, conventional railway signaling is based on colored light signals and train detection with the help of track circuits and axle counters. Although this technology is suitable for detecting and controlling trains, it cannot yet fully utilize the track capacity. And this is where the indigenous Communications-based Train Control System (i-CBTC) comes into play.
The modern communications-based system uses telecommunications between train and wayside equipment for traffic management and infrastructure control. It helps track a train’s exact position, which is better than the traditional signaling systems. This results in a more efficient and safer way to manage rail traffic. Subways (and other railway systems) can improve headway while maintaining or even improving safety.
Bringing together the latest technology, the i-CBTC is the first choice for mass transit rail operators around the world, with over a hundred systems currently installed worldwide. The technology is also used in subways in India.
As the population of large cities/small towns increases, the need for mass transit transportation and signaling systems must evolve and adapt to safely accommodate this increase in demand and traffic capacity.
As a result, i-CBTC is becoming widely adopted due to its block-shifting feature, which enables high train frequency. As the latest technology in metro train signalling, the system promises efficient use of metro infrastructure and safe operation.
(With input from IANS)