Indian Railways which is trying to leverage technology to shore up its fortunes is now looking for external assistance for its drive. The national carrier’s research wing–the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) which has the mandate to develop in-house technology—is now scouting for off-the-shelf technologies from countries such as Russia, Germany, US, Italy, Japan and Spain.
As part of this strategy, Indian Railways has organized a two days ‘Global Technology Conference’ starting Wednesday, where 52 global experts from state-owned and private firms are showcasing their expertise in areas such as safety, monitoring, congestion reduction and customer service.
Addressing a press conference on Monday, Shailendra Jaiswal, executive director (efficiency and research) in Railway Board said, “We wish to seek ready to use technology for Indian Railways through this conference that can be adapted quickly.”
This comes in the backdrop of Indian Railways trying to improve its freight and passenger revenue. An increase in speed will help the carrier reduce congestion on its networks, which in turn will help improve revenue from freight and passenger traffic. However, this raises safety concerns given the abysmal record of the national carrier.
RDSO is the sole research and development organization of Indian Railways and functions as the technical advisor, employing around 350 design engineers. RDSO is headed by the director general and has 32 executive directors in-charge. It is responsible for development of new and improved designs, development, adoption, absorption of new technology for use in Indian Railways, development of standards for materials and products and technical investigation, testing and consultancy services.
On the question of what technology India will showcase in this global technology conference, RDSO chief R.K. Kulshrestha said, “We are the organizers, so why would we participate?”
An RDSO official said the only presentation by RDSO will be in the form of an audio-visual describing a train collision avoidance system (TCAS) on which RDSO has been working for over four years, with field trials still going on. The official added, “The focus will be on technologies to reduce accidents, increase speed, anti-fog devices, etc.”
Indian Railways is the world’s largest railway network under a single management. It runs around 20,849 trains daily, transporting 23 million passengers.