Research and Development in the Indian Railways

The Indians Railways is managed by the Ministry of Railways. It is led by a member of the cabinet and is one of the most prestigious posts in the country. A number of improvements have been made in the recent years, such as online bookings, which have made reservations a walk in the park. Train times can be checked online, allowing one to know the exact position and plan correspondingly. While these have undoubtedly been advancements, technical improvements related to electric lines used, biometrics in trains, collision avoidance and related issues

The Research Designs and Standards Organisation

With the goal of continually advancing and implementing technologies in the railways, the Research Designs and Standards Organisations, also known as the RDSO, was established by the Ministry. It currently acts as a consultant for the Railway Board, Railway Production Units, Zonal Railways and several other infrastructure companies related to the railways. It aids them in fields concerning the standardizations of equipment, including design and with the maintenance, operation and construction.

A brief history

The Indian Railway Conference Association was set up in 1903 with the aim of enforcing some standardisation amongst the various railway organisations in India under the British rule. A Central Standards Office succeeded the IRCA in 1930. The CSO was more connected with the standards and specifications across the country. Until India’s independence in 1947, however, the manufacturing and design of the railway equipment were always handed over to foreign specialists.

Post-independence, the Railway Testing and Research Centre, better known as RTRC was set up in 1952. They were tasked with scrutinizing the problems faced by the railways, providing new concepts for design purposes, to test prototypes that were made and to find solutions to the issues that plagued the IR. The CSO and RTRC were merged in 1957, into a single unit that is now known as the RDSO.

Some of the major projects that are being undertaken by the RDSO are as follows.

  •    Developing and designing a fault tolerant, easily maintainable and safe Electronic Interlocking System.
  •    Implementing WiMAX, thereby allowing passengers to connect to the internet on moving trains.
  •    Development of an indigenous fastening system, thus allowing for ballastless tracks.
  •    Assessing and monitoring of critical components of the railways, such as wheels, contact wires, wagons, catenary wires and a host of other technical parts. They must also be able to take immediate remedial action.
  •    For high-speed trains such as Shatabdi and Rajdhani Express, screening of the train drivers are crucial, to test their reaction times, vigilance and anticipation. RDSO helps develop aptitude tests that are computer-aided, for such purposes.
  •    Design and development of more advanced locomotives, with have improved braking and safety, while also significantly improving the fuel usage. They are working on a 4500 HP WDG4 locomotive aiming to obtain these goals.

Significant achievements of the RDSO

  •    With the goals of reducing the environmental impact of locomotives, an Emission Car Test was developed to test the diesel engines.
  •    The eye-catching double-decker coaches present in certain parts of North India was a brainchild of the RDSO.
  •    Improved wielding technology with the use of Single Shot crucible and a 3-piece mould, making the life of welding employees much more comfortable.

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