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Piyush Goyal foresees Railways’ future: Driverless trains and modern signalling system

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Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal sees a huge opportunity for Indian Railway to advance to new age cutting-edge technology to become manufacturing hub in the world.

“India has now decided to lead the world in terms of technological intervention,” Goyal was quoted as saying by ET at the Global Business Summit in New Delhi. He claimed that the current govt is working to not only connect with the most modern technology but also look into the future.

The minister said he is planning a complete overhaul of the signaling system which is said to be at the root of most rail accidents in the country.

Signaling has such a holistic dimension, it improves safety tremendously, it improves line capacity, he added.

“I will be able to use the same line (with) probably three times the traffic, given the fact that the headway between two trains will come down from nearly 25-30 minutes to 5-7 minutes. We could actually have driverless trains also.”

ETCS2 signalling, which is currently just 25,000 km across the world, will be across 120,000 km of rail lines, Goyal said. He had earlier said that to revamp signalling system across 118,000 km of the railway network in next six years.

WiFi networks and CCTV cameras would be installed in every train and at all stations to improve safety and boost efficiency.

Indian Railways is planning to equip 11,000 trains and 8,500 stations with 12 lakh CCTV cameras.  The Railways plans to install modern surveillance systems in all the trains in the next two years. Currently, there are about 395 stations and about 50 trains that are equipped with CCTV systems.

Besides, Railways will step up the use of technologies like ‘fog safe’ and train protection and warning system, and eliminate 4,267 unmanned level crossings in the next two years.

This year Union budget had allocated Rs 1.48 trillion for Indian Railways to raise its carrying capacity and improve the train travel experience.

Many global firms Taglo SA, Hyperloop, Siemens AG and Knorr Bremse AG have expressed their desire to talk to Indian policymakers to upgrade the existing technologies in place.

Indian Railways will also phase out diesel engines in the next five years and switch entirely to electric ones.

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