‘Kavach fitted in Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat has no safety benefit at present’

Source : PTI | The second Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat Express, which was flagged off on Monday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here, is equipped with the anti-train collision system ‘Kavach’, the Northern Railway said. However, railway officials said installation of only loco component of Kavach is not effective to protect a train from collision unless the full system is in place on the entire route of the train.

“It (Varanasi-New Delhi Vande Bharat) has superior designs, interiors and speed, providing passengers a comfortable and convenient travel experience. The trainset is also equipped with the most advanced safety features including the Kavach technology,” the Northern Railway said in a statement on Monday.

Indian Railways maintains that other Vande Bharat trains launched till date also have Kavach system.

Kavach aids the loco pilot of a train by automatic application of brakes in case the pilot fails to do so to avoid collision and also helps the train safely run during inclement weather.

Railway officials said the Kavach system has not been installed on the Varanasi-New Delhi route.

“Multiple components of Kavach make one complete automatic train protection system. Loco Kavach is just one component of the system. Station Kavach is another component. Then comes the installation of signal towers along the track and signal transmitting system in the optical fibre cable under the track,” a senior railway official told PTI, seeking anonymity.

“Having a Kavach in locomotives will not be helpful unless all other components are in place. At present, the Kavach system is not in place on the Varanasi-New Delhi route,” he said, adding the system will work only on those railway section which has all components of the Kavach system.

On December 6, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Lok Sabha that Kavach has been deployed in three sections in South Central Railway zone along with 139 locomotives.

“Kavach has so far been deployed on 1,465 route km and 139 locomotives, including Electric Multiple Unit rakes, on South Central Railway…,” Vaishnaw said in a written response.

These sections are Lingamapalli-Vikarabad-Wadi and Vikarabad-Bidar section (265 route km); Manmad-Mudkhed-Dhone-Guntkal section (959 route km) and Bidar-Parbhani section.

Vaishnaw also stated that presently Kavach tenders have been awarded for Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah corridors of approximately 3,000 route km and the work is in progress on these routes.