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27 Dec, 2021

25 Min Read

Railways in India

GS-III : Economic Issues Infrastructure

Railways in India

Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS)

  • The country’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) is set to use an advanced signalling and train control system.
  • According to the NCRTC, the RRTS will adopt a modern European Train Control System Level 2 signalling over the long-term evolution communication backbone with the adoption of state-of-art Hybrid Level 3.
  • Adoption of this signalling technology adds to the distinction of RRTS, as the first technologically advanced rail network in India will be operational with a design speed of 180 km/hr.
  • The ETCS signalling system will be a key enabler in ensuring interoperability and train movement at quick frequencies, thereby reducing waiting time for passengers.

Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS)

  • The Planning Commission formed a Task Force in 2005 under the Chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to develop a multi-modal transit system for Delhi National Capital Region (NCR).
  • This was included in the Integrated Transport Plan for NCR 2032 with special emphasis on Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) connecting regional centres.
  • The Task Force identified 8 corridors and prioritised three corridors namely Delhi-Meerut, Delhi-Panipat and Delhi- Alwar for implementation.

Difference between RRTS and Train

Indian Railways and Technology for India

Technology in the year 2020 is going to be a growth driver for Indian Railways. In the coming years, Indian Railways aims to provide world-class train journey experience to passengers by embracing technological advancements. With a focus on safety, comfort, and convenience, Indian Railways is aiming to transform its network.

With the launching of engine-less, self-propelled- Vande Bharat Express trains to implementation of passenger eco-friendly facilities, there is a sense of improved and enhanced train journey experience.

Vande Bharat Express

  • It is India’s first indigenously built engineless semi-high speed train. Earlier, it was known by the name Train 18.
  • It runs between Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
  • It has been built by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, in a record time of 20 months.
  • The train is a 100% ‘Make in India’ project and is claimed to be built at half the cost of a similar train set that is imported.
  • It is energy-efficient as its coaches will be fitted with LED lights.
  • Coaches will have automatic doors and retractable footsteps.
  • It will be inter-connected with fully sealed gangways along with a GPS-based Passenger Information System.
  • It is provided with Bio toilets.

Enhancing passenger experience

  • According to Indian Railways, technology in the year 2020 is going to be a growth driver. As there is no shortage of coaches now, the focus will be on introducing SMART coaches to the Indian Railways network.
  • Also, with modern features like CCTVs with facial recognition, emergency talk-back system, WiFi infotainment system, automatic plug-door and step control, etc. there will be a complete change in the travel experience.

Introducing world-class train sets

  • For Indian Railways, the introduction of ‘Make in India’ semi-high speed Vande Bharat Express trains was the biggest success story of last year.
  • This year as well as in the coming years, the national transporter plans to launch many other world-class train sets, improving the railway connectivity across the country.
  • According to Rajesh Agrawal, the aim is to also start exporting trains.

Manufacturing of coaches

  • The Chittaranjan Locomotive Works in Chittaranjan and Banaras Locomotive Works in Varanasi makes electric locomotives.
  • The Integral Coach Factory in Perambur, Chennai makes integral coaches. These have a monocoque construction, and the floor is an integral unit with the undercarriage.
  • The Rail Coach Factory in Kapurthala also makes coaches.
  • The Titagarh Wagons builds freight wagons.
  • The Rail Wheel Factory at Yelahanka, Bangalore and Rail Wheel Plant, Bela, Chhapra, Bihar manufacture wheels and axles.
  • Diesel-Loco Modernisation Works, Patiala upgrades the diesel locomotives.
  • Some electric locomotives have been supplied by BHEL, Jhansi and Palakkad, and locomotive components are manufactured in several other plants around the country.
  • There has been an exponential growth in coach production. For the first time in 2018-19, Indian Railways has witnessed more supply than demand.
  • The financial year 2018-19 saw the highest production of coaches in the last two decades, with a total of 5,836 coaches.
  • The Modern Coach Factory (MCF), Rae Bareilly had doubled its production, last year.

Environmental impact

  • Indian Railways plans to focus on the cleanliness of trains and stations.
  • Beginning with the installation of 57 bio-toilets in 31 coaches in January 2011, Indian Railways has now successfully installed over 2.2 lakh bio-toilets covering about 61,500 passenger carrying coaches.
  • Moreover, 950 railway stations have been provided with integrated mechanised cleaning till now.
  • Also, 13 railway stations have achieved Green Certification and 85 railway stations have been certified for implementation of Environment Management System.

Freight logistics

  • The freight logistics of the national transporter is picking up, according to the Railway Board. The freight carrying capacity has been increased from 7 Million MT to 1 Billion MT.
  • Meanwhile, Indian Railways has come up with a wagon design for new traffic streams, which includes bulk, cement and fly ash transportation, steel coil 1, steel coil 2, road railers, parcel wagon.
  • A private parcel wagon design is also currently under consideration at RDSO.
  • Additionally, a Smart Yard is likely to be introduced for maintenance of rolling stock.

Recent news in the Railway sector

  • In 2017, NITI Aayog cleared half-a-dozen proposals of the transport ministry exploring options to improve public transport.
  • The think tank approved the proposals of the transport ministry with a condition that the ministry conducts a trial run of all these technologies and puts in place safety measures before starting commercially operation.
  • These technologies include metrino, Stadler buses, hyperloop, pod taxis, hybrid buses and freight railroad.
  • The new technologies are being explored as current public transportation is unable to resolve the increasing traffic crisis in the country. Besides, some of them are more cost-effective than the existing ones.


  • In a Hyperloop, the passenger pods or capsules travel through a tube, either above or below ground. To reduce friction, most but not all of the air is removed from the tubes by pumps.
  • Overcoming air resistance is one of the biggest uses of energy in high-speed travel.
  • Airliners climb to high altitudes to travel through less dense air; in order to create a similar effect at ground level, Hyperloop encloses the capsules in a reduced-pressure tube, effectively allowing the trains to travel at aeroplane speeds but on the ground.
  • In the model, the pressure of the air inside the Hyperloop tube is about one-sixth the pressure of the atmosphere on Mars. This means an operating pressure of 100 pascals, which reduces the drag force of the air by 1,000 times relative to sea level conditions and would be equivalent to flying above 150,000 feet altitude.
  • The pod would get its initial velocity from an external linear electric motor, which would accelerate it to ‘high subsonic velocity and then give it a boost every 70 miles or so; in between, the pod would coast along in near-vacuum.

Modern Train Control system

  • Indian Railways has decided to modernize its Signalling system on its entire network by implementing a Modern Train Control system.
  • The RailTel Enterprises Ltd. (REL), a 100% subsidiary of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. has been given the responsibility to implement these four pilot projects on behalf of the Indian Railway.
  • The MTCS includes provision of:
  1. Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System
  2. Electronic Interlocking System
  3. Remote Diagnostic & Predictive Maintenance System
  4. Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) System
  5. Centralized Traffic Control System (CTC) /Train Management System (TMS)

Maglev trains in India

  • State-run engineering BHEL announced its tie-up with SwissRapide AG to bring Maglev trains (magnetic levitation) to India.
  • Aimed at expanding its footprint in the urban transportation sector as part of its diversification initiatives, BHEL has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SwissRapide AG for Maglev Train projects in India.
  • The Maglev Rail system hovers in the air instead of rolling, due to magnetic levitation, thus the vehicles have no physical contact with the guideway. This enables the system to be highly energy-efficient, allows operating speeds of easily up to 500 km/h and significantly reduces the total cost of system ownership.
  • The agreement has been signed in the backdrop of the Prime Minister's 'Make in India' and 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' initiatives and will enable BHEL to bring the latest, world-class technology to India and manufacture state-of-the-art Maglev trains indigenously.
  • The SwissRapide AG is a Swiss company specialising in the promotion, project management, planning, specification, design, implementation and commissioning of international Maglev Rail projects and related technologies.
  • It holds the unique position of offering Transrapid Maglev technology, the only established and commercially proven ultra-high-speed Maglev Rail system in the world.
  • BHEL has been pioneering new technologies and has been a reliable partner in the growth of Indian Railways for over ve decades by supplying electric as well as diesel locomotives, EMUs (electrical multiple units), and propulsion system sets and drives for the same.
  • Kolkata Metro, the first Metro in India, is equipped with BHEL made propulsion systems. The first-ever air-conditioned AC-EMUs, presently operational in Mumbai suburban, are also equipped with BHEL-made propulsion and related electrics.

India’s first pod taxi project moves a step forward

  • The Union Government has approved country’s first Metrino Pod project i.e. personal rapid transit (PRT) network for Gurgaon, Haryana. It is a projected pod taxi scheme.

What is a Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Network?

  • A PRT network is made up of small automated vehicles (dubbed as pod) running at close intervals on a guideway with docking stations for passengers to get on and get off.
  • The pod can accommodate up to five people. The average speed of the pods is 60kmph.
  • Passengers have an option to hire an entire pod that will take a passenger straight to the destination, skipping the scheduled stops.

  • PRT is an advanced public transport using automated electric pod cars to provide a taxi-like demand responsive feeder and shuttle services for small groups of travelers and is a green mode of uninterrupted journey
  • NHAI has been mandated to execute it on Delhi-Gurgaon pilot corridor from Delhi-Haryana border to Rajiv Chowk in Gurgaon on a PPP (public-private partnership) basis.
  • The model is in place at London’s Heathrow airport, Morgantown and Masdar city.
  • It will be incorporating Automated People Movers (APM) standards and specifications, along with other general safety parameters with Niti Aayog recommendations.

Automated people mover (APM) standards in the US

  • These are recommended by the committee for the maiden PRT in India and have been prepared by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE)
  • These constitute the minimum requirements for an acceptable level of safety and performance for the PRT
  • These include vehicle arrival audio and video visual warning system, platform sloping, evacuation of misaligned vehicles, surveillance/CCTV, audio communication, emergency call points and fire protection, among other advanced systems.

Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail (MAHSR) corridor

  • The Mumbai–Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is an under-construction high-speed rail line connecting the cities of Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and India's economic hub Mumbai, Maharashtra. It will be India's first high-speed rail line.
  • The bullet train is a symbol of strong trust between India and Japan as it involves the technology transfer at the core of this deal.
  • By L&T constructions.
  • Length 508 km double line. Mumbai Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail will be passing through two states, Maharashtra 155.642 KMs and Gujarat 350.530 KMs and one Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli 2 KMs.
  • 12 stations: Mumbai, Thane, Virar, Boisar, Vapi, Bilimora, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati. Except for Mumbai, all other stations will be elevated.
  • Maximum Design Speed - 350 kmph while Maximum Operating speed of 320 kmph.
  • Journey time: 2.07 hrs (limited stops), 2.58 hrs (stopping at all stations).
  • Maintenance of Trains: Sabarmati (Depot & Workshop) and Thane Depot.
  • A 21-km-long tunnel will be built between Boisar and BKC in Mumbai, of which 7km will be underwater.
  • The Railways will only require around 825 hectares of land for the project as 92 per cent of the route will be elevated, six per cent will go through tunnels and only the remaining two per cent will be on the ground.

Source: TH

Mission SAGAR

GS-II : International Relations Indian Ocean diplomacy

Mission SAGAR

  • Mission SAGAR is a major milestone in India’s engagement with the countries in the Indian Ocean Region, in line with ‘SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region.
  • Launched on May 10, 2020, Mission SAGAR is India’s initiative to deliver COVID-19-related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Mission SAGAR is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region and builds on the excellent relations existing between these countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As part of this Mission, INS Kesari successively visited Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles in May June 2020 to deliver assistance to our maritime neighbours in dealing with the COVID crisis.
  • India’s humanitarian assistance included supplies of essential food items, medicines, Ayurvedic medicines and deployment of medical assistance teams to Mauritius and Comoros.

  • As part of Mission SAGAR-II, Indian Naval Ship Airavat delivered food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • As part of yet another deployment undertaken by the Indian Navy since May 2020 under Mission SAGAR, Indian Naval Ship Kesari entered the Port of Maputo, Mozambique on 25 December 2021. This is the eighth such deployment in consonance with the Hon’ble Prime Ministers' vision of Security And Growth for All in the Region and is being conducted in close coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs, and other agencies of the Government of India.
  • These deployments were conducted in solidarity with India’s extended Maritime Neighbourhood and highlighted the importance accorded by India to these special relationships. 500 Tons of food aid has been shipped by INS Kesari to support the efforts of the Government of Mozambique to cope with the ongoing drought and concurrent challenges of a pandemic.
  • India also remains committed to supporting the capacity-building efforts of the Armed Forces of Mozambique. To this end, INS Kesari is carrying two Fast Interceptor Craft and self-defence equipment to be handed over to the Armed Forces of Mozambique.
  • INS Kesari, a Landing Ship Tank (Large) had undertaken a similar mission in May – June 2020 to provide humanitarian and medical assistance to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, including deployment of Medical Assistance Teams of the Indian Navy in multiple locations.
  • Since May 2020, the Indian Navy has deployed ships to 15 Friendly Foreign Countries under SAGAR missions.
  • These deployments spanned over 215 days at sea and have delivered cumulative assistance of more than 3,000 MT of food aid, over 300 MT LMO, 900 Oxygen Concentrators and 20 ISO containers.

Source: PIB

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