Delay in installing TPWS on busy rail routes

New Delhi: Notwithstanding recurring train mishaps, the Railways is yet to install the much needed Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) an advanced European technology on identified routes to prevent accidents.

The tendering process for installing the TPWS on 800 km long route in 2012-13 is yet to be finalised by Railway Ministry, sources said. Estimated to cost about Rs 50 lakh per km, the TPWS technology ensures automatic application of emergency brakes in case the loco driver jumps the red signal.

Zonal railways were earlier asked the install TPWS but now it has been decided that the tendering process will be finalised by the Railway Board. "It has caused further delay in the whole process," the sources said.

According to the 12th Five-Year Plan, railways will install TPWS on a 3,200 km route at an estimated cost of Rs 3,200 crore across the country. While the target for 2012-13 and 2013-14 are 800 km and 1200 respectively, it seems unlikely that the target will be achieved.

According to the data, out of the total 2,763 train accidents between 2000 and 2010, more than 50 per cent of these have been attributed to failure of railway staff.

The Bangalore-bound Hampi Express today apparently overshot a signal and collided with a stationary goods train in Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh killing at least 24 passengers.

On September 13 last year, the Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment train had rammed into the stationary Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train after the driver jumped the red signal near Chennai. "Had there been the TPWS on the sections, the accidents could have been averted," they said.