New Delhi: All trains, including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto, will be monitored by a satellite-based navigation system by next year as part of the Railways` effort to provide accuracy about their movement.
"We have launched Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) as a pilot project for 18 pairs of important trains which provides precise location of the trains through interactive mode on mobile phones, laptops, thereby eliminating the need for telephone inquiry," Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said in a seminar here.
Currently the information about the train movement is manually monitored which lacks accuracy. SIMRAN records movement of trains, including exact location and speed, on real time basis.
Mittal said railways have plans for installing SIMRAN in all trains, except suburban and local trains, in the next 18 months.
Referring to Train Protection Warning System, Mittal said with the approval of this system on a stretch of 3,300 km to cover the entire high density route, a major step has been taken towards train`s safety.
He further pointed out that provision of Internet in running trains, extension of optical fibre cable (OFC) over the entire rail route, IP based train control communication and replacement of overhead alignment with underground cables/OFCs, are the measures being taken to improve services to passengers, improve reliability of the communication system and improve safety and capability of the transport system.
About the financial position of the Railways, Mittal said
the fiscal year has just begun and the results of initial 20 days are very encouraging as there is an increase of 20 per cent in the overall revenue collection as against the corresponding period last year.
Admitting that the current phase is "difficult", he said, "Railways cannot function in isolation. If economy grows then Railways will also register growth. If traffic buoyancy remains and we achieve 1,025 million ton freight target and 5 per cent growth in passenger earning then we will be able to do it."
Asked how railways will manage its finance after losing Rs 4,200 crore due to roll out of the passenger fare hike, he said, "Railways plan size is Rs 61,000 crore and expenditure is slated to be Rs 86,000 crore, so the amount of Rs 4,200 cr is a small amount and it will have no impact on any project."
On security issues, he said, "Security system in railway stations are challenging because they are not covered from all sides. But we are implementing integrated security system with the help of CCTV surveillance system to strengthen security at rail premises."
As far as robbery in trains are concerned, he said, these are incidents of lawlessness and "we have taken up the issue with state governments. We are actively coordinating with states to ensure safety and security of passengers".