The Indian Railways will use the radio-frequency identification tags (RFID) for tracking of wagons, coaches, and locomotives to ensure efficient and transparent functioning. On leveraging information technology in a big way, the public transporter has issued the instructions for equipping all the wagons with the RFID tags, to begin with. Lately, the Indian Railways has emerged with an IR-OneICT software for the faster data collection and analysis.
There are about 2.25 lakh wagons, 50,000 coaches and about 9,000 locomotives in the railways. Railways have sanctioned Rs. 57 crores for the first phase of the rollout of the system. The tag designed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) is estimated to cost Rs. 1000 per tag.
Using the RFID devices will be easier for the railways to know the exact position of the wagons, locomotives, and coaches. Currently, such data is maintained manually, and which leaves the scope for the errors. While the RFID tag will be fitted in the rolling stock, trackside readers would be installed at stations and the key points along the tracks to read the tag from a distance of about two meters and to transmit the wagon identity over the network to a central computer.
In this way, each of the moving wagons can be identified, and its movement tracked. With the introduction of the RFID, the issue of shortage of wagons, locomotives, and the coaches was expected to be addressed in a more transparent and in an expeditious manner, told a senior Railway Ministry official who is connected with the automatic vehicle identification project.
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At the time of the wagon condemnation, radio-frequency tags have to be removed and could be reused as they have a lifespan of 25 years. Henceforth it would be a standard practice for all the new wagons coming out of manufacturing units to be equipped with the RFID tags.
RFID devices would be used for freight maintenance management, locomotive management, and the coach maintenance management so as to ensure the more effective and transparent functioning, the official told. Railways had implemented the RFID system in the Vishakhapatnam-Talcher-Paradeep section as a pilot project.