Collision-free Railways

Our Country's Anti-collision Devices network with each other and form an intelligent safety layer to protect railway staff as well as the passengers from dangerous collisions/washouts in floods. A more positive and aggressive implementation is needed in public interest.

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Location: Hyderabad /Herndon VA USA , Andhra Pradesh, India

Fellow of National Academy of Engineering Fellow of Institution of Engineers, M.Tech., Indian Railway Service of Engineers (1970-2005) Former MD/ Konkan Railway Corporation

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Live and Let Live

Its probably time that the Indian Railways explores ways of installing the Anti-Collision Device developed by former Konkan Railway MD B Rajaram

Debasis Sarkar

We just had one more railway accident at Sainthia and over 60 deaths.This has been followed,as is wont,by an investigation which will produce a report that,in all probability will gather dust.History keeps repeating itself.But,what restrains Indian Railway from installing its own unique anti-collision device (ACD) across the Indian Railways network in the country which could prevent many of these collisions
All the accidents in which lives are lost can be prevented by use of the Anti-Collision Device (ACD) technology developed and proven in 2002, says IIT Kharagpur alumnus B Rajaram,who invented the system.Rajaram was former MD of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.Incidentally,the latter holds the patent for ACD.With the trademark,Raksha Kavach,ACD is designed as a signalfree system.This provides the required safety enhancement layer and blocks gaps in safety levels due to limitations of the existing signal-based train protection systems.It was commissioned in the 1,736-km route of North Frontier Railway (NFR) as a pilot project in June 2007.Says S Hajong,chief public relations officer of NFR: In one of the most adverse signalling environments here on the NFR route,ACD had to match a failure rate lower than 0.025%. And,the system passed the trial run with distinction.Even the World Intellectual Property Office in Geneva praised this indigenous devise,says Konkan Railways chief ACD project manager K Mazumder.The system is now being upgraded from version A to level K to make it fool-proof.The ACD network consists of mobile ACD units,which are installed in engines and guards brake vans,while trackside ACDs are kept at stations,level crossings,locosheds,etc.Mobile ACDs gather inputs from a GPS satellite system for position updates and network with track-side ACDs located within a radius of three kms (using UHF radio modems).Mobile ACD units activate automatic braking units whenever a collision-like situation is perceived.Drivers,guards and station masters are also provided with ACDs and they can stop trains by using an SOS button manually.
At zones where GPS is blocked out,it can run by itself using its own complex and reliable communications and short term bridging algorithms.
Mr Rajaram says: Weve built the system but we deny it to our people.Its implementation is being delayed over the years by successive revision of norms by the Railway Board despite its having passed all yardsticks set by Research Design and Standards Organisation,the railway ministrys apex research body. Actually,as the system evolves further,it can run trains,too,eliminating the need for the existing expensive fixed signal systems.Multinational companies,which a great deal to lose if the ACD comes into operation,have consistently been fighting a proxy technology war using our own retired and even working railway officers, Mr Rajaram says.
Developing the ACD took up hardly 2% of the time as far as intellectual exercise goes.But,the rest 98% had to be spent to fight self-interest groups who were driven by their own interests in technologies of foreign companies, he adds.
The fact of the matter is that despite being mentioned in all railway budgets since 2003,the railways has so far implemented it in only one zone of the 16 zones.Since April 1,2007,the railways levy a special railway safety surcharge ranging between Rs 2 and Rs 100 per traveller.Railways had claimed that all works planned under the safety-fund had been completed by March 31,2008 at a total cost of Rs 17,000 crore.This claim was questioned by the CAG.Whereas,Mazumder says the nationwide rollout of the ACD should not cost the country more than Rs 1,600 crore.
Mr Rajaram has wrote to Union railway minister Mamata Banerjee in April 2010,As you know all the patent rights (of ACD) had been donated by me to the nation.It is for you to take care of the ACDs for the people of India. Will the railways take the plunge for a greater cause Only time can tell...

B Rajaram

Station master with ACD SM console

Loco ACD with ABU in Loco

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Posted on: Saturday, October 02, 2010 11:42 AM
Author: Dr.A.S.Rao
Subject: Innovator Rajaram Bojji

WIPO introduced case studies sharing experience of innovators and from India the cases include that of inventor Rajaram Bojji. He is well known in India yet the case makes interesting reading. He is not a programmed researcher but a railway engineer working in operations. His patent Anti Collision Device was valued by PWC at one billion US dollars and he donated the rights to Konkan Railways. In a nation short of Heros- he is my HERO.

Read WIPO case:

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

ACD Indian Railways

Now, Railways for CBI to probe Sainthia collision - Raghvendra Rao - ‎Jul 27, 2010‎
... Railways Corporation Ltd (KRCL) for a meeting to discuss the ministry's failure to implement the Anti-Collision Device (ACD) across the Indian Railways ...

Railways sits on ACD, trains continue to collide - ‎Jul 23, 2010‎
New Delhi: A combination of clash of interests, technology and sheer political unwillingness has left trains on collision course as Indian Railways has ...

Konkan Railway has patent on anti-crash device

Times of India - ‎Jul 19, 2010‎
This system is used all over the Indian Railways as well as on CR and WR, said senior CR officials. The pilot project developed by KRCL was commissioned in ...

Device that could have saved lives

Calcutta Telegraph - ‎Jul 19, 2010‎
G. Raghuram, the Indian Railways chair professor at IIM Ahmedabad, endorsed the use of ACDs. The devices constantly monitor moving units using radio ...

Runaway train rams another in West Bengal, 61 dead

Hindustan Times - ‎Jul 19, 2010‎
Monday's accident emphasized the need of anti-collision devices (ACD) on all the 19000 trains that Indian Railways ply across the country every day.

Inventor of 'Raksha Kavach' upset with Railways

Express Buzz - ‎Jul 21, 2010‎
NEW DELHI: Rajaram Bojji, former managing director of Konkan Railway Corporation, who developed the anti-collision device (ACD) which might have saved 60 ...

Column : Preventing rail accidents

Financial Express - ‎Jul 20, 2010‎
Indian Railways, over 63000 km long, is the world's fourth largest network behind the US, Russia and China. Safety is a vital aspect for any mode of ...

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

India's Ant-collision Device

Generic Definition:

Anti-collision non-signal devices (ACD) are intelligent rugged microprocessors to self determine location and status when mobile on a railway and static ACDs monitor vulnerable locations like stations, gates, slopes, bridges, securely inter communicate within the range of distance required to reduce speeds of moving units to assure safety against dangerous collision or accidents, keeping a log, independent of signals and human inputs, creating an ever present Raksha Kavach, protective bubble.

Descriptive Definition for ACD ( a non-signal Anti-collision Device)

ACD is a device comprising of a high speed microprocessor integrated with secure digital radio communication modem, a GPS, an interface with braking system and odometer of the locomotive in case of Loco ACD, no such interface with braking or odometer but portable unit is for Guard ACD , interfaced with gates but no GPS in case of manned gate ACD, interfaced with sirens and flashlights for unmanned Gate ACD, with track circuit occupation circuit in case of station ACD as needed, but no GPS for station ACD, with appropriate field monitoring transducers for vulnerable location ACD, having on board flash memory to log events, loaded with software for on board data collection and intelligent analysis to decide action in real time, the entire unit ruggedized to stand severe climatic , dusty vibratory environment. All such ACDs within a range of twice the braking distance required for a moving Loco or EMU or DEMU inter communicate with each other and form a network, RAKSHA KAVACH, a non-signal system, assuring each other’s safety by taking action automatically without human inputs, to reduce the speeds of moving units, and stop if necessary, if any dangerous situation is perceived, in any part of railway network.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Anti-collision device could have averted latest train accident

By Shudip Talukdar

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) Even as the latest rail accident claimed 60 lives and injured 150 people in West Bengal, the railway ministry is still prevaricating over installing anti-collision devices (ACDs) on its trains.

This year, 13 accidents, including the latest one, have claimed scores of lives, and the impact at Sainthia station in Birbhum Monday was so severe that the top of one of the coaches rammed into the foot overbridge across the platform.

Officials say the ACD, designed and developed by former Konkan Railway managing director B. Rajaram, has a success rate of 99.9 percent in preventing collisions after it was commissioned by the Konkan Railway and the Northeast Frontier Railway.

Incidentally, it also had the support of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in her earlier stint at Rail Bhavan here.

"Its implementation is being delayed over the years by successive revision of norms by the Railway Board even though the technology met the conditions successfully in every instance," Rajaram, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur, told IANS.

Rajaram raised this issue with Banerjee in a letter written April 5 this year, drawing her attention to the money earmarked for the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the ministry's apex research body.

"Indian Railway never produced a world class technology since independence. We spend so much of funds on RDSO, but we have nothing innovative of world class to export from RDSO or even to be used on Indian Railways," he said.

"We just import. RDSO is used to assist to import."

The letter said the device named "Raksha Kavach" was developed indigenously and was even singled out from the millions of global patents and praised as a unique safety system by the World Intellectual Property Office in Geneva.

"But the multinational companies which have much to lose if ACD comes in operation, have consistenly been fighting a proxy technology war using our own retired and even working railway officers."

He went on to say that at every stage of development, hurdles were raised and said its implementation in the Northeast Frontier Railway would have been blocked but for former railway minister and present Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

Then Railway Board chairman K.C. Jena had stated that ACDs were to be installed in the southern zones by 2009 before its phase-wise implementation in all railway zones.

The ACD pilot project was assigned to the Northeast Frontier Railway for thorough testing, considered to be among the most challenging zones for railway safety and plagued by erratic power supplies and faulty signalling.

"Railway experts, doubting if the technology will work under highly adverse conditions prevailing in Northeast Frontier Railway, said if the ACD showed results it will succeed anywhere in the world. Its success silenced its critics," Rajaram said.

The ACD, showcased by National Geographic channel, detects the presence of two trains approaching each other, or even when a speeding train moves towards a stationary train on the same track, bringing them to an immediate halt before possible collision.

"The ACDs fill up gaps of what existing systems cannot do, like averting collisions even in block sections (the distance between two stations beyond the range of signals) and in foggy weather when signals are not visible," said Rajaram.

(Shudip Talukdar can be contacted at


Thursday, April 08, 2010

India insults own technology development with ridicule!

B. Rajaram, FIE., FNAE
Fmr. MD Konkan Railway and Inventor of ACD technology.

Herndon, VA 20170 USA.

Dt 5th April 2010

Dear Hon'ble Minster of Railways Ms Mamata Banerjee,

Didi, you are a very rare occurrence in political space because of your simplicity and honesty to truly serve the poor. These qualities endear you to all honest and hard working public servants and I deeply respected you with whom I could deal frankly and never hesitated to say the truth even if it is not liked.

But for your courage and confidence in my work, the railways ACD net work invention of world class, would have been killed at the inception itself.

Indian Railway never produced a world class technology since independence. We spend so much of funds on RDSO, but we have nothing innovative of world class to export from RDSO or even to be used on Indian Railways. We just import. RDSO is used to assist to import. These are facts which you can easily verify.

For the first time we have successfully developed Anti-collision Devices network and named as Raksha Kavach.. our own Indian product! The World Intellectual Property Office, Geneva, Switzerland singled out from millions of world patents our ACD and praised as a unique safety system development in their Journal. This is very rare and there is no other case like this from our country.

Further National Geographic internationally publicised our achievement and show cased the ACD technology of ours in 160 countries and is repeatedly shown over the last 5 years.

Let us pause and think how our country has achieved this distinction while we consistently failed earlier and continue to fail even now with all the budget allocation to RDSO.

With my decade long experience of working in Research both in Kharagpur IIT and in RDSO, I did identify the system defects which sap our intellect. I was actually instrumental in preparing the RDSO restructuring report in 1987, before I left for working in Zambia.

So for ACD technology development I laid down a policy document in Konkan Railway. This follows the fundamental canons of financial propriety as per Railway Code. If we are to follow the standard tendering and stores procurement process, then the story of RDSO repeats. We get disabled from the very beginning to innovate any thing. That is because creative work cannot be done through stores procurement process.

Technology development of ACD needs advanced information and communication technologies coupled with tight integration of hardware technologies including firm ware. It is a skill level none of our officers are capable of. In fact Government cannot afford to have that type of professionals at salary ranges much above the Secretary Government of India. There is also heavy turn round in such cadres. We needed to have an outsourced facility providing such professional inputs and also a focus and commitment to the product on a long term basis.

So based on a competitive test of skills and application of skills to be delivered within a tight frame work of time, a few renowned companies were involved and the successful company who could produce the first experimental prototype was chosen to become a committed partner to take forward technology development. Konkan Railway can only give domain knowledge and the concept as enunciated by me with my new theory of Deviation count to get world wide patents, but the hardwork needed for software development, hardware development, firmware modifications need definitely major intellectual contribution which has to come from the private company. I could keep the costs of development low because, the agreements entered for establishing the partnership, ensured long term stakes to the private company.

To protect railway interest, I provided for all the technology documentation to be kept under joint ownership in a bank locker. The intellectual property of the private company in manufacturing the integrated devices with specialised hardware after testing world wide available equipment and causing modifications to the same to suit our requirements, was also take over by Konkan Railway, in terms of exclusive marketing rights for India for Konkan Railway, in return for granting exclusive manufacturing and installation rights to the private company.

Additionally to assure reasonable pricing, mechanism and parameters also were detailed in the agreements, so that railway is not required to pay more than what is reasonable and workable.

In case any of the technology partners fail in their obligations severe penalising clauses also are incorporated. At that time I thought to protect railways against private company mis-behaving. I never imagined Konkan Railway will be directed to misbehave by the Ministry. But the severe penalty clauses will apply to any one who misbehaves breaking the obligations.

The ACD needs a continuous development cycles because, we have a road map which finally makes the technology replace all existing visible signaling. One cannot have multiple vendors for such technology development effort, because plenty of research and development effort has to happen with specifications being fluid.

After successful implementation of ACD network in the worst possible field conditions, India should be proud of its achievement. We have all safeguards for protecting our interests and Konkan Railway is the PSU which supplies the equipment. They do this with their technology partners with whom they have long term continuous working agreements for controlling all the processes involved. In normal course we should have seen ACDs protecting our people by this time.

But the multi-national companies which have much to lose if ACD comes in operation, have consistenly been fighting a proxy technology war using our own retired and even working railway officers. At every stage of development, hurdles were raised. But for another honest and committed Shri Nitish Kumar in your position, they would have prevented ACD from being implemented in NF railway.

Be as it may, during Shri Lalus's they succeeded in getting an inquiry ordered in the manner of development of ACD, but to their dismay found no cause for taking action to close ACD. But they wasted time of three years and also demoralised staff and officers.

Having found nothin wrong finally it was announced in parliament too that ACD would be implemented even by Shri Lalu Prasad Ji. That makes three successive Minsiters, first yourself, then Shri Nitish Ji and then Shri Lalu Ji too.

Now as destiny would have it you are there. But a new game to sabotage the project has been initiated.

Some one in the Board seems to have threatened the MD Konakn Railway that he must fix multi-vendors. It is ridiculous. A technology partnership agreement cannot be converted into a routine stores and procurement process. I came to know from staff of Konkan Railway that they will now freshly start developing the ACD!!! Letters to drop the private company who worked for a decade to develop have been issued. Threats of violating stores code and vigilance angles are being used now against the officers concerned.

Konkan Railway is a vendor to Indian Railways. If Rly Board wants multi-vendors, then RDSO should be asked to develop additional vendors. They have a huge budget too. But not Konkan Railway.

So to cover tracks, an attempt is being made by Konakn Railway to do in house development work That means the clock is put back to 1999. Multinationals and their agents in Board are happyy for this development. They can now sell their product at 10 times the cost of ACD, even though they are unable to achieve the performance of ACDs in preventing mid-section accidents of collisions.

The implications are that Konkan Railway will face serious legal challenge including financial losses for their unilateral and arbitrary action because the very survival of the private company which devoted their 10 years of working for ACD is in question. Indian Railways after having spent money for proving ACD will still have no ACD and spend ten times more to get less effective foreign solutions.

In the courts of law both Ministry and Konkan Railway will be forced to explain their strange and irrational behaviour. So instead of glory for producing a world class product, we end up with ridicule in India and internationally too.

Who gains? The lobbies which worked hard to get their product chosen from foreign companies. they will not hesitate to use any means right or wrong including abusing the vigilance process and insecurity of railway officers.

It is paradoxical that an honest group like Didi, Sri Manmohan Singh and indirectly Smt Sonia Gandhi will preside over this annihilation of an Indian show piece.

Personally I have nothing to gain by writing to you-- as you know all the patent rights I had donated to the nation. It is for you to take care of the ACDs for the President of India.

As I said earlier, had it been any other person than you, I would not even attempt to write openly like this. I would consider it is fate of our country.

It is still not too late. I can only appeal for some good sense to prevail and stop this insulting ridicule of development of technology in India.

With regards,

( B. Rajaram)
Dt 5th April 2010


The Hon'ble Minsiter of Railway
Rail Bhavan New Delhi

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Atrilab.MoR.08.01.07 Hyderabad
07 Jan. 2008

Dear Shri Jena,

Sub: Our country’s opportunity to lead in railway technology could be lost with short sighted ego-clashes of certain individuals with limited understanding of the subject matter on hand & abetted by activities of strong technology rivals trying to stunt growth of our country

Ref: Case of Knowledge Embedded Anti-collision Device network technology of Indian Railways.
Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC):
To see what is right, and not to do it, is want of courage or of principle.
May I seek your indulgence to spend a few moments to read some of my reflections as the inventor and originator of the Anti-collision device network, as I feel precious time is lost in implementing a proven technology, exposing the Ministry to risk of avoidable public criticism, and, God forbid, if unwanted incident happens on railways.
It was sheer anguish of watching the shame of railways in 1999, when we lost hundreds of lives in collisions one after the other that I promised the then CRB that we can do something cost-effectively for such a large network, to save lives. I demonstrated the first prototypes in Dec 1999, to the Safety Commission and later to the then Minister of Railways, Ms Mamata Banerjee. It took real inspiration for me to discover and frame the Deviation Count theory and track topology derivation, which made possible to get over the inadequacy of the GPS to distinguish tracks within 5m distance. Even World Intellectual Property Office Geneva singled out this invention from 1.5m patents in the world at that time, for special mention.
From then on, the uphill task of proving and reproving the system went on over the years, with un-ending revisions of functional requirement specifications with the result that the system has become much more complex than mere prevention of collisions in mid-sections at high speeds, but also prevent all kinds of dangerous collisions in yards too. So far so good. The competencies to either make or check such complex knowledge based system cannot be readily available within our railway resources. Hence, I had to approach the ETDC Chennai, a Govt. of India organization, for complete assurance of performance quality of software both in simulated conditions as well as in field conditions and for hardware M/S Lloyds independently.
The system is a knowledge-based system, a self-learning and correction process also has been built in by me during implementation phase, called incubation period- which will correct any mistakes during survey stage, as well as factor in the local time variant GPS signals and radio transmission conditions. You may call it the road learning experience of a driver new to the route! After all the ACD is a cyber-driver, only to stop not to drive the train when danger is perceived!
For auditing independently I made sure even after my retirement, at the time of field trials, renowned M/S Lloyd UK, Rail Division to check and analyze the results- which is the international practice of independent assessment. Whatever the Ministry prescribed as performance requirements were checked for and certified. To avoid possible play of vested interests, which may not be in the larger interests of railways in particular, and nation in general, as we are spending public funds, this is the only methodology to have credible assessment of a new technology. Our country lacks skills of developing and implementing new technology and I am forced to lay down the norms following the international practices and principles of honest governance.
Field trials involving RDSO, zonal railways and Konkan Railway, supported by jointly signed fact sheets, which again is a methodology I insisted from the beginning in the year 2000, again proved that the ACD system as developed by our Indian Railways proves itself beyond expectations.
When power is switched off, batteries are not renewed or yard layouts changed without advising the signal branch, naturally the signals too do not function as they should. It is the case for the ACD too. One cannot expect the ACD to compensate for all such conditions too- and perform even better than the signal systems- one should remember it is an additional layer and not a vital system like signals at this stage, but takes care of human errors, and in no way takes away, the responsibility of the driver and the stationmaster. It is an extremely cost effective intelligence based device drawing strength from networking with each other approaching very high standards of performance amazingly with better availability than the current signal system in N F railway. An effort of more than 250 engineers over 7 years is truly a showpiece for the country and now it is a matter of having a proper strategy to implement across the country with proper maintenance manuals as we have for signal equipment too.
There is a learning curve for the railway maintenance units- incompetence or unwillingness to follow the curve- in no way can be camouflaged as ACD equipment’s deficiency.
To say briefly the governing principles are:
1. When ACD is alive, it works- let us not keep doubting it! However, when NOT alive we should be warned.
2. Frequent battery/power source checks and periodicity for routine replacements to be enforced.
3. Sample checks of about 2% of ACDs per month of about half an hour data can be downloaded and checked for any inconsistency, to assure ourselves.
4. Any serious unusual occurrences of braking of a train will automatically be reported in our daily operational monitoring of trains and individual examination of such cases,will reveal the true cause- it could be a case of battery back up, replacement failure, or some yard lay out modifications without advising the ACD maintenance group. It is rarest of rare cases that the chip itself started malfunctioning.
5. If still an untoward incident takes place, the log of events available for the last 10 minutes should be sufficient to do analysis whether the ACD did perform as needed or not. Even though it is not a black box as per airline norms, it is very rare that in a collision case without fire the small memory device will be crushed in the cab.
6. What is important is when ACD applies the brake the record of the event is maintained and this log is adequate for all practical purposes. It is a mistake to convert enthusiastically the ACD as a data logger and to go on reporting on its condition at all times. The ACD is not a data logger but certainly when one does not function, other ACDs note and report to management.
7. An ACD-failed loco shall be treated as a failed loco and no train can enter a declared ACD territory without ACD- we have to accept this discipline.
8. For operational reasons if a loco is not fitted with ACD and has to enter ACD territory, then we must fit a portable ACD- which has built in siren, and instead of braking, it will emit siren for the driver to apply brakes, when danger is perceived.
9. All locos, including the new ones, should get ACD fitted as original equipment and all loco sheds should be given priority to get ACDs fitted, while route wise ACD coverage progresses in stages. This approach is essential because now a loco may travel almost any where in the network.
Training inputs in ZTS to impart standard knowledge for handling in ACD territories, we must provide, including refresher courses, for Drivers, Station Masters and Guards to learn about their “Saathi,” the cyber friend of theirs. Similarly in Railway Staff College and IRISET, all officers should now get a standard brief so that they are not ignorant.
My humble submission is that it is no more a case of proving ACD- it is proven well beyond doubt- what is at test is the capacity of Indian Railway Officers to absorb a new technology! If new imported signal systems as well as ABB or GM loco technology can be absorbed, I find no reason how Indian Railway Officers cannot come out with flying colours in absorbing this new technology, all the more so being from our own country, so with all pride!
To delay further will be a great disservice not only to our own Hon’ble Minister, who has put our railways on the world map, but also to the people of our country.
With warm regards,
Yours truly,

(B. Rajaram)
Shri K.C Jena, Chairman Railway Board, Ministry of Railways, New Delhi.

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