Indian Railways to launch real-time train tracking via Google maps


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Sep 15, 2009
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Indian Railways to launch real-time train tracking via Google maps - The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways may soon launch real-time tracking of trains on Google maps that can be accessed through mobile devices and PCs.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS), the technology arm of the Indian Railways, has developed a GPS-based solution with help of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), which can provide exact location of a train with an accuracy of 10 metres, and latency of 2 minutes, on a real-time basis.

The GPS devices, which will cost around Rs 70,000-1,00,000 per train, would be fitted in about 100 trains, which may help avert collisions and prevent loss of lives. In affect, trains in future may know each other's location, and start breaking, in case of danger ahead.

The breaking distance of passenger trains is about 1 km, while for freight trains it is about 1.4 kms. Around 22 people have died this year due to train accidents, and last year around 120 people died. According to reports, in the last four years, around 15% of rail accidents took place in India.

"The government's focus is to reduce the number of accidents and installation of real-time monitoring service on all trains by the end of 2013, which would contribute in improving the monitoring," V A Chopra MD CRIS said.

Passengers may also be available to see real-time locations, as CRIS has integrated the GPS app with Google maps. ISRO's INSAT-3C satellite will aid in location of moving trains. The GPS system can give an accuracy of about 10 metres, with a lag of about 2 minutes.

However, CRIS aims to shorten the distance to about 3 metres, the average distance between two gauge lines, a critical factor that can prevent accidents if a train on another line is derailing.

Success of the GPS-based system may help Railways in running trains at high speed. The GPS application will also aid in better planning of train schedules, especially in bad weather.

Currently, scheduling is done manually. Station masters call the divisional headquarters and inform them once a train has left a particular station. "In future, the controller will only plan the running and scheduling of trains instead of co-ordinating with various other stations to confirm the status of the trains," said Chopra.

Indian Railways has about 77 control offices at over 6,000 stations. A pilot project has already started between Chennai and Tambaram railway stations, where about 364 suburban train services have been scheduled successfully with the GPS devices. CRIS plans to allocate around Rs 70 crore to the project.

The facility to track train movements will soon be available on Indianrailways.

Last year, Indian Railways had announced the project Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) jointly with IIT-Kanpur for a similar tracking portal, which is currently in pilot stage with several trains including Rajdhani and Shatabdi.

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