To avoid frequent train derailments across the country, government is planning to introduce "ultrasonic broken rail detection system". Discuss the merits in this system while elucidating its key features.

Over the last few years, India has witnessed frequent rail accidents. Out of the total 586 accidents reported in the last five years, nearly 53 per cent were due to derailments mainly caused by broken or ruptured rail tracks. To cope with the problem, the railway ministry decided to introduce the “ultrasonic broken rail detector system” for monitoring and maintenance of the tracks.
Salient Features of the ultrasonic broken rail detector system are:

  • It consists of a transmitter and receiver module and is based on simple transmit-receive application that functions well even at remote locations.
  • The system is guided by ultrasound waves every few minutes between equipment spaced at about 1km. The acoustic signals are converted to electric signals by transducers and are frequently displayed on the screen at receiver end. Absence of valid signals on the screen signifies a broken or cracked railway track.
  • The ultrasonic transducer used in this system has been developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research
  • The system interrogates continuously welded rail in sections up to 1 kilometre long.

Merits of the installing the ultrasonic broken rail detection system:

  • It is designed as one of the best alternative to monitor track circuits and detect breaks in the railway tracks under different environmental conditions. 
  • The system will help flourish the high-speed rail project and dedicated freight corridors project in the country.
  • It is not maintenance intensive and easy to install
  • It helps in automatic and continuous monitoring of railway tracks with zero human intervention.
  • It is designed to operate on solar power thereby reducing electricity demand from conventional sources.
  • It has been already tested and implemented in other countries
Question for UPSC Mains:
To avoid frequent train derailments across the country, government is planning to introduce “ultrasonic broken rail detection system”. Discuss the merits in this system while elucidating its key features. (150 Words, 10 Marks)

Published: January 25, 2018 | Modified:June 27, 2019

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