This track-side equipment can detect overheated bearings, wheels and brake discs in trains and help staff take fast decisions as to whether or not the train is safe to run.

Faulty parts of rolling stock are a major cause behind train accidents and that is why the track-side system is to be installed at 10 locations near some stations at an estimated cost of Rs 73 crore in the first phase.

Equipped with high-speed infrared and digital cameras, the device will also detect loose, hanging and damaged parts of rolling stock which can lead to accidents if not detected in time, said a senior Railway Ministry official.

"As a pilot project, we will begin the installation of the track-side equipment near a railway station shortly and it is to cost Rs 7.3 crore," he said.

At present, train examination at the station is done physically by railway staff who position themselves on either side of a track when a train rolls into a station. They watch out for defective parts by visually assessing the condition of each part below the coach -- which is a crude method.

There are chances that an unsafe component may escape notice since the train is in motion. The objectivity of the judgement by railway staff is also adversely affected by weather conditions like extreme heat, cold, rain, poor visibility, fatigue, etc.

Track-side diagnostic equipment use a combination of high-speed infrared cameras and high-speed digital cameras to take photographs of the parts of the trains, bogies and underslung equipment and relay them to the train examiner for intensive analysis.

Thermal and optical imaging systems also identify hot wheels, hot bearings and hot brake discs due to any malfunction. These systems can check the health of wheels, brake discs and bearings at full running speed of the train and thus increase operational safety and reliability by flagging unsafe conditions well in time.

The system is capable of working in rain, fog and in extremely hot and cold temperatures and data captured by it shall be used to improve quality and accuracy of safety inspections.

After taking over as Railway Minister in the NDA government, Sadananda Gowda has been maintaining that enhancing the safety and security of passengers is his prime concern.

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