Indian Railways new SMART coaches

Indian Railways new SMART coaches

They are billed as smart coaches, and Indian Railways will soon roll out these modern train compartments equipped with black boxes and coach information and diagnostics systems.
The black boxes, a first for the Railways, will have a powerful multi-dimensional communication interface to provide all kinds of information on coach condition and also passenger-related information on a real -time basis, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project told IANS.
The first smart coach will be unveiled at the Rae Bareli Coach Factory on May 11, National Technology Day, as a pilot project.
The most effective enabler for the system would be monitoring of critical components that have been identified as major causes for derailments and delays, and for causing deterioration in rail infrastructure.
The official said the Railways “will introduce the long-awaited sensor-based on-board condition monitoring system (OBCMS) for timely detection of defects related to passenger coaches and also tracks on a running train”.
The OBCMS aims to strengthen the security and safety in train operation as it will have integrated CCTV and information system which will constantly update the health of the coach — from oscillatory behavior, coach diagnostics and heating, ventilation and air conditioning and water management, among others.
According to the system, the on-board sensors constantly record vibrations and temperatures. Anomalies in vibration are the earliest indicator that something may be wrong with the bearings in the wheels of a coach. This allows for operators to mark those bearings out for careful observation, thus preventing any further damage.
Detection of bearing fault at this early stage will help prevent incidents and maintenance schedules can be planned accordingly.
To this end, the mainstay of the smart coach would be the wireless sensor modes that, once fitted on every wheel, help monitor the health of the wheel and its bearings.
“Once deployed in volume, these sensors would also be able to monitor track health on a real-time basis, resulting in improved safety, higher utilisation and reduced operation costs by enabling predictive maintenance and reduction in sudden catastrophic failures of the Railway’s assets,” the official told IANS.
The technology has found great acceptance and traction in other parts of the world.
It would cost an additional Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh per coach as most of the systems like the CCTV, passenger information system, fire extinguishers and the like are already a part of the system.
The Railways will replicate the system in many more coaches after the trial run.
Besides condition monitoring, the system will have Internet of Things (IoT) to provide entertainment-related offerings to passengers while train-related information will be constantly announced.
The pilot project is being executed in consultation with the experts to provide next-generation coaches equipped with maximum safety features, the official added.
On March 19, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had pushed the Rae Bareli coach factory to go ahead with the pilot project as a game-changing initiative. The OBCMS was also displayed at Rail Shivir on November 2016 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Indian Railways is now betting on “SMART” luxurious coaches with 200 kmph speed potential to improve passenger experience on trains! Giving importance to both passenger safety and comfort, Indian Railways is looking to increasingly introduce “SMART” coaches and trains, learns Financial Express Online. For this purpose, the Rail Coach Factory (RCF) of Kapurthala has been tasked with rolling out around 107 SMART coaches in the present financial year. SMART or Specific Modified Aesthetic Reform Travel coaches are in effect Tejas Express-like coaches that will boast of modern aircraft-like features in terms of entertainment, comfort and cleanliness. “SMART coach will have all the features of Tejas, this is a project that was given to us by the Railway Board and we have taken it up as a challenge. Last year, the Tejas Express that was rolled out between Mumbai and Goa had SMART coaches but this year’s coaches will have many more features,” Satya Prakash Trivedi, GM of RCF tells FE Online.
According to Trivedi, the essential features of the SMART coach include; aircraft-like bio-vacuum toilets with modular fittings, sensor-based taps and soap dispensers, Wi-Fi enabled entertainment systems/Wi-Fi facility, GPS-based passenger information screens, attendant call buttons, personalised reading lights and reclining comfortable seats. The average cost of manufacturing these LHB platform-based SMART coaches is approximately Rs 3 crore depending on whether they are executive class or chair car. LHB-platform coaches have enhanced anti-climbing features, hence reducing chances of injuries in case of an accident. Yet another feature that will cheer passengers is the ability of these SMART coaches to run at speeds up to 200 kmph!
“Basically we are manufacturing Tejas coaches, which can also be called SMART coaches. The second Tejas rake will roll out in May and third will be ready some time in June or July. In total we will make 107 SMART coaches this year, that is roughly 6 train rakes,” Trivedi tells FE Online. “Based on the feedback that we received for the first Tejas Express, we have added features such as venetian blinds on windows, automatic interconnecting doors between coaches that will either open/close automatically or passengers will have to press a button next to the door. We have also changed the colour-scheme of seats a bit. The overall experience would be completely aircraft-like,” he adds. The second Tejas Express train with SMART coaches is expected to ply on the Delhi-Chandigarh route.
Salient features of Indian Railways SMART coaches – Tejas Express
Ergonomic seating with improved cushioning and upholstery
Improved aesthetics with new colour scheme and anti-graffiti vinyl sheets
Reclining seats with leg rests in executive class
Attendant calling buttons
Wi-Fi enabled entertainment systems/Wi-Fi facility
Smart windows with automatic venetian blinds
Adjustable personalised reading lights
Dust sealed gangways, fire and smoke detection and suppression system
LED lighting
CCTV systems
Vending machines for tea and coffee
Integrated Braille displays, toilet occupancy indicators
Bio-vacuum toilets with modular sensor-based fittings
Mobile charging and USB points for every seat
Electronic Passenger reservation chart
Tejas Express on the Mumbai-Goa route saw its personalised LCD infotainment screens being damaged. The Railway Board had then taken the decision to remove them in the other Tejas Express trains. “We have already imported these screens so the next two Tejas Express trains will offer personalised infotainment systems, but in the other coaches of future, we will only have the provision for Wi-Fi enabled entertainment for passengers,” Trivedi says.
Offering higher speed, enhanced safety and better passenger amenities on new trains with SMART coaches is a welcome move by Indian Railways, however maintenance and punctuality are key to making these a success.
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