In India, on an average, the number of passengers who travel daily in trains for any reason is about 70 million in 2016-17 more than it was before. Approximately, more than half the population of India travels in trains daily. This calls for extra safety measures to be provided in trains and tracks to safeguard its citizens.
Railways run more than 7,421 freight trains carrying 3 million tonnes (MT) of freight every day. It has entered a select club of railways that includes China, Russia and USA in carrying more than one billion tons of freight annually. Indian Railways has over 239,281 freight wagons, 59,713 passenger coaches and 9,549 locomotives. Railways have initiated several initiatives in the 2016-17 fiscal to carry more passengers by pressing 87 new train services including Humsafar Express, and Antodaya trains.
With a large number of trains running daily on tracks, there are high chances of track failure if not checked regularly. Track faults occur as a result of continuous compression and tension and continuous movement makes them prone to tensile faults. Proper checks allow the tracks to function better and avoid any kind of failure. But keeping a regular check is also not possible for railway tracks that run all across the country.
However, if a system or product can be designed to keep a regular check on the tracks and monitor them and also informs about the various points where the faults can occur can help in reducing the number of accidents that occur due track cracking. The system will traverse on the tracks and provide the data of the rail track as to which section of the track is damaged or deteriorated and needs maintenance. The sensors in the device will detect any change in the density of steel at places of compression and tension and will perform tests accordingly. Not only it will provide the data about the tracks but also it will help in identifying the sleepers if they need replacement and the boulders that get stuck in the track.
This kind of system will require human controls from the station operation room and so it can be used in different weather conditions. The system should also detect which track is designed for high-speed trains and whether that passes the regulations of the government. As of now, high-speed trains are supposed to run on tracks where pressure resistant sleepers are used and not on wooden sleepers. The track failure predictive system will help in providing with the data of the tracks where failure can occur in advance and hence preventive measures can be taken in advance to avoid accidents due to structural failure.
If these systems can provide us with something that can help change the existing non-beneficial techniques that are used today, then we need to develop more systems wherever possible. If you have the ability to develop such systems, then become an Innovation Catalyst at Bots N Brains and help towards the initiatives of problem-solving.