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Mumbai: To end monsoon woes, CR replaces Kurla's 29-year-old relay system

The route relay interlocking system, which is the nerve centre of control, will not break down in case of waterlogging

To end disruption of train services because of waterlogging at the Kurla station, the Central Railway (CR) has replaced the 29-year-old route relay interlocking system (RRI) at the suburban station, which controls the signalling system and points that are vital for train movements. This RRI at Kurla was one of the biggest in Asia at one point in time.

In the control room, the new RRI shows the real-time train movement on the electronic board, which faces multiple tracks right in front of it
In the control room, the new RRI shows the real-time train movement on the electronic board, which faces multiple tracks right in front of it

CR officials claim that every year, the Kurla station gets submerged and when this happens, the suburban train network collapses. This is when the signals and points malfunction or stop functioning. But, new changes made in the technology would work in rough weather as well. “Even if the waterlogging is not much, the signalling system used to draw a blank. Even the points used for crossing tracks used to malfunction,” said a CR official.

The equipment was placed on June 13. Digital axle counters — which ensure that signals don’t get corrupt when tracks are submerged — were also placed at Kurla. “The overall reliability of signalling will improve,” said Narendra Patil, chief PRO, CR.

Waterlogging at Kurla affects main (CST-Kalyan) and Harbour (CST-Panvel) sections.

In the control room
At the control room, the new RRI shows real-time train movement on the electronic board. There is a huge network on display showcasing the main and Harbour lines. In the other room are cables and wires, which control the signalling and points system.

Sources said with every RRI command, these cabinets of cables send commands within 6 seconds. Based on these, the train movements are decided. However, sources said the new system could have problems with punctuality as they will have to maintain a time limit of 2 minutes before each train enters the platforms.

What the RRI does
The RRI controls the signalling system and the points used by tracks to switch rail lines. It manages over 2,000 trains on 61 signals and 56 points, which allow trains to switch tracks. The RRI also controls movement of spare trains from the Kurla carshed, and also long distance trains arriving and departing from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus.

125
The team of signalling and telecom experts, who installed the new system on the night of June 13, without affecting suburban train operations

75 km
Length of indoor cables

600 km 
Length of indoor wires

What it controls
160 routes, 61 signals, 131 track circuits, 56 points

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