Railway traffic would seem to be structured and smooth given the chaotic nature of Indian traffic. Behind this mammoth mass transportation machine which he loves, travels and engages with day in and day out, is an efficient and progressive signalling, which is the brain & the nervous system of railway operations. With the increase in the volume of rail traffic; passenger & freight, the demands are multifarious & complex. Standards were legally mandated in the backdrop of Armagh rail disaster in 1989 and Quintin hill multi-train rail crash in 1915. Accidents and crisis force standards and regulation on any system and enterprise, which comes under crisis. The signalling history of railways would certainly go down as one of the most stupendous technology developments and can be compared with the best in any sector in the world. From physical signalling to mechanical to electronics and beyond to fully automated operations, has been one of it’s kind challenge for the railways worldwide inclusive of India. There is no denying the fact we have to catch up with our European, American & some Asian counterparts.
While the humungous task the Indian Railways is facing and it will a long haul to reach global signalling standards, Delhi Metro etc have brought us at world class level in that particular sector. Being a greenfield project there was no scalability issue. E. Sreedharan, the legendary creator of Dehi Metro is known as Metro Man. Delhi type service is what India is getting accustomed to and it would end demanding the same service from the Indian Railways end to end. Undeniably, the efforts are on the path to making the Indian Railways as automated as possible.
The pace of technology is itself a big challenge today. The emerging techonologies of the day converge into fully automated signal, control, operations and safety systems. The European Train Control System is a prominent model. A gold standard, India also looks forward to it. It is an integral part of European Rail Transport Management System. It has gone through the first two levels and is transitioning into level 3. Getting wedded to Big Data, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence is our common future and so is the challenge of Cyber Security. As a critical infrastructure, it will be under threat.
A BIG TECHNOLOGY LEAP IN RAILWAY SIGNALLING WOULD BE A GIANT STRIDE IN OPERATIONS & SAFETY.