The Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur has been asked to come up with technologies for railways to ensure passenger safety as well as rail safety. Total 12 projects were assigned to the IIT and a lot of them are already 70 to 80 percent complete. The projects are under Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO). The technology institute offers M.Tech in Railway Engineering to 20 personnel every year. Following departments of the institute are participating in developing the railway technology:
- Metallurgical engineering department
- Mechanical engineering department
- Chemical engineering department
- Electronics engineering department
- Electrical communications engineering department
The mechanical engineering department has come up with a way to improve the quality and tensile strength of the rails as well as the tracks. The thing that will help improve the tracks is the high strength bainitic steel.
The lead researcher of the project, Professor Shiv Brat Singh told the reporters that this steel will help reduce the fracture and depletion of the tracks. He also said that now they are looking for industries which will help produce this steel and the electrical department is working on a ‘bridge health monitoring system with wireless sensor networks'.
India currently has 1,30,000 railway bridges and a huge percentage of it is over 80 years old and thus these bridges are in a bad condition.
Another researcher of the project, Professor Dutta said that the institute is also developing sensors to monitor water levels at bridges and they have placed the sensors already on the bridges to collect the data. He also said that the team has developed “membranes made of geosynthetics” to improve the stiffness of the ground below the ballast.
Following are some of the other things that the institute has invented:
- Electrical engineering department- Automated visual inspection system to monitor height
- Mechanical and Civil engineering departments- Rubber Technology Centre, bogie design and rail-wheel traction control for Metro Railway coaches.