The ML’s Views on Signalling and Rly Electrification.


HT Report : Railway Board Member (Electrical) Kul Bhushan feels that technology can enable the Railways in achieving its goal of eliminating accidents. In an interview with HT he spoke on the various safety. Several train accidents in the recent past have reportedly been caused because of signaling failure. How does the Railways intend to address these issues?

It is not technology — but rather the lack of it — that might have been responsible for some accidents that have happened. The Railways need to absorb the latest technology to provide for a safer travel.

Plans to install mobile train radio communication systems are being vigorously pursued. These gadgets provide for advanced safety features that are not available on the wireless sets that have conventionally been used. These are already being used by loco pilots on 2800 kilometers, while the target is to cover 2200 more kilometers of tracks this year.

Plans to install anti-collision devices (ACDs) have been on the anvil for about a decade now. Has the scheme been dropped?

We have not been completely satisfied by the ACD trials so far. But we are proceeding with other systems including the train protection warning systems (TPWS) and the train collision avoidance system (T-CAS).

The TPWS technology comes at a much higher cost of `80 lakh per kilometer, while T-CAS can be installed at a cost of `10 lakh per kilometer. If the T-CAS trials are successful, it is likely that the Railways will choose this technology over others. But all the three systems will co-exist.

What is the progress on running high speed or semi-high speed trains?

These plans are under consideration at present. 

One view is that there has been an overemphasis on electrification in the past few years. Comment.

Such arguments are misplaced. The Indian Railways spends `16,000 crore on diesel locos to carry 37% of the traffic, while just `9000 crore are spent on buying power to run electric trains — which carry 67% of the traffic. More electrification will lead to the optimization of fuel costs. Our dependence on fuel imports 


GM/Metro may be the New CRB.

Kolkata Metro general manager (GM) Radhey Shyam has emerged as the dark horse in the race for the post of full-time chairman of the railway board — a post that is being ‘looked after’ by member mechanical (MM) Arunendra Kumar since the retirement of Vinay Mittal on June 30.

Shyam — who is also ‘looking after’ the charge of GM, south-eastern Railways — is among the two officers for whom clearance has been received from the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) from the list of names forwarded to it. The CVC has also cleared the candidature of AK Mittal, a stores officer who is currently posted as the GM of the south-western Railway.



Vigilance clearances of other candidates including that of Kumar and the North-east Frontier Railway GM, RS Virdi are still awaited, sources said.

Shyam — an officer of the civil engineering branch — has a long experience of dealing with the core functions of the public transporter.

Railways minister Mallikarjun Kharge is expected to shortly forward names of candidates for the top railway job for approval by the Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC).

Meanwhile, vacant positions of GMs in seven zones are unlikely to be filled in the near future, with the ACC having sought further clarifications on the list of names forwarded to it last month, sources said.

The ACC wants the railways to resend the panel of names for GM posts after finalising a policy on such appointments, as ambiguities in existing policy has caused a large number of representations from the officers.

GMs appointed in the ‘open line’ are eligible for higher postings as board members or as CRB, while such options are denied to GMs of the production units, according to existing norms.