According to reliable sources, Indian Railways plans to fit GPS devices on each train and which will track Google Maps for general usage. For each train the cost of the GPS device would come to around Rs 70,000 to Rs 100,000 for each train. The tracking instruments are expected to provide precision of 10 meters and delay of 2 minutes. These devices will be fitted in nearly 100 trains.
The move is expected to help prevent accidents and avert loss of lives. The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the technology arm of the Indian Railways, has developed a GPS-based solution with help of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which can provide exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis.
Eventually CRIS aims to shorten the distance to about 3 metres, the average distance between two gauge lines, a critical factor that can prevent accidents if a train on another line is derailing. ISRO’s INSAT-3C satellite will aid in location of moving trains.
With GPS put in use, trains will be aware of each other’s location, following which they can take required actions to avoid accidents. Last year India reported a death toll of 120 because of train accidents. This year, so far, these accidents have caused 22 deaths. The breaking distance of passenger trains is about 1 km, while for freight trains it is about 1.4 kms.
Indian Railway Department has already started a pilot project between Chennai and Tambaram railway stations. On this route, scheduling of nearly 364 suburban train services was successful with GPS devices. Centre for Railway Association System (CRIS) plans to assign approximately Rs 70 crore to the project.
Last year, Indian railways launched SIMRAN (Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation) project in collaboration with IIT Kanpur to enable passengers to know the exact position of a train by sending an SMS. The project is currently under pilot with several trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.