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CR goes 'e-way' to rectify glitches

Of late, technical glitches have been marring the commuting experience for 37 lakh daily travellers of Central Railway (CR). However, if all goes according to plan, soon these snags would be a thing of the past. It has been learnt that CR authorities would be installing electronic chips (e-chips) inside all motor coaches, to help them identify the exact location of a problem, when one arises. A 9-car train is equipped with three motor coaches.


Problem fixer: According to CR officials, e-chips will help rectify glitches without disrupting the railway schedule. Representation pic

Officials requesting anonymity said that e-chips would help motormen pinpoint the precise position and extent of the snag in electric circuits of a particular rake. These chips, however, won’t be able to rectify hardware issues.“In case of an electrical surge or abnormal fluctuations, e-chips will identify the location. At the same time, they will also suggest an ideal solution for temporary repair without causing much delay,” explained a senior CR official. In addition, the chips will be programmed to sort out issues related to the train’s software, electric circuits and microprocessor, as they will be fed with solutions.

Three phases
CR authorities are looking at dividing the e-chips and their working module in to three phases. In the first phase, in case of a technical glitch, an e-chip will send a signal along with a message to the motorman, giving the exact location of the problem. Sources said that signals sent by an e-chip would read like a message on a display board installed inside the motorman’s cabin. On receiving specific information about the problem and its location, the motorman can then inform authorities concerned with the repair work.

In the second phase, the programmed e-chips would also provide a possible temporary solution. In the third and the last phase, authorities want the chips to inform the railway control room about the problem, apart from the motorman. Motormen will also be trained in fixing minor problems, so that they can drive the train to the car shed for further repairs.

Officialspeak
“Once the e-chip module becomes successful, we can easily manoeuvre trains in line behind the problematic ones,” said a CR official.

37
The average number commuters travelling on Central line daily

Did you know?
Usually, trains come to an abrupt halt whenever there’s a unit failure or a problem in the locomotive’s circuits and unless engineers don’t identify the problem after inspecting the train, it cannot be moved. This in turn disrupts the entire timetable. With e-chips in place, issues will be sorted out without conducting a physical inspection. CR, first began working on the e-chip module in April 2010, but had stalled the project.

Fact file
The Central Railway is one of the largest of the 17 zones of the Indian Railways. Its headquarters is at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST). The CR includes the first passenger railway line in India, which opened from Mumbai to Thane on April 16, 1853. 

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