New Delhi: Faced with recurring train mishaps, Railways has expedited the process for installing the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) — an advanced European technology — on an 800-km long stretch.

Estimated to cost about Rs 50 lakh per km, the TPWS technology ensures automatic application of emergency brakes in case the loco driver jumps a red signal.

"The TPWS trial is at the final stage and we are planning to install TPWS after certain modifications in the rail routes which have automatic signalling system," a senior Railway Ministry official said.

As per the plan, Railways will install the TPWS on some of the busiest routes including the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata route in the first phase.

"The work for the 800 km in the automatic signaling routes has already been sanctioned. Plans are afoot to include about 2,000 km more route in the next phase," he said.

TPWS will also cover the suburban rail route of Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai. The trial of TPWS is going on the 200 km Delhi-Agra route and the 60 km Chennai-Gumudipundi route under a pilot project for which the Railways has earmarked Rs 250 crore.

"The bid for installing TPWS would be opened shortly and after finalising the bid, the work will be awarded on the selected 800-km long route," the official said.

While one of the components of the TPWS is to be installed in the loco cabin, another is to be fitted in the signal pole along the rail track.

Of the total 2,763 train accidents between 2000 and 2010, more than 50 per cent of these have been attributed to failure of railway staff. Currently, an automatic warning system is operational in suburban section of Central and Western Railway for the last 15 years. "The system is very effective as there has been no accident on these suburban sections in the last 15 years," the official said, adding that "the TPWS is the advanced version of the automatic warning system."

On September 13, the Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment train had rammed into the stationary Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train after the driver jumped the red signal near Chennai.

"Had there been the TPWS on that section, the accident could have been averted," the official said.

Railways had set up a high-level safety committee comprising experts like former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar and DMRC chief E Sreedharan to conduct a safety audit and plug loopholes in the system.

Besides Kakodkar and Sreedharan, the committee is comprised of N Vedachalam of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Sanjay Dhande of IIT-Kanpur and GP Srivastava of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.

Based on the accidents in the recent past, the committee would examine aspects connected with signalling systems, rolling stock of all types, human resource development with emphasis on training, education and research.