The derailment detector devices, a first for Indian Railways, will be fitted in three Rajdhanis and two Shatabdi trains on a pilot basis and later more trains will be equipped with this system, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.
The Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains that would be fitted with the device will be decided shortly. Level of vibrations increases dramatically if a coach, wagon or locomotive derails.
"The severe increase in vibrations can be sensed by a derailment detector device," the official said. The derailment detectors are fitted on the end of a coach or wagon, and are designed to immediately apply brakes in the event of such unusually high level of vibrations.
The action time in detector system is much faster than the reaction time taken by the driver or the guard to sense that a coach or wagon has derailed, the official said. The device can, therefore, immediately apply brakes and save further consequential damages since the train would come to a halt much faster.
Passenger coaches or wagons often tumble and overturn in the event of derailment which causes loss of lives and severe damages to coaches. Railways witnessed a series of derailment in the recent past, including that of a passenger train near Roha station in Maharashtra on May 4, in which 19 were killed and about 100 injured.
The incidents of derailment of Guwahati Rajdhani in Bihar which claimed four lives on May 26 and a goods train on Mumbai-Howrah route on May 14 among others were viewed with concern by railway authorities.
Railway Minister Sadananda Gowda had made it clear after assuming charge that the safety of passenger will be his top priority.
The derailment detection system, operational successfully in Europe and the US, will be for the first time procured for Indian Railways through global tendering process. It would cost about Rs 60 lakh per Rajdhani Express with 20 coaches, as the system is priced about Rs 2.5 lakh per coach. As many as 113 coaches will be fitted with the state-of-the-art system in the first phase.