Signalling is an integral part of operations over Indian Railways. With the increasing quantum of traffic over IR and need to enhance the speed of trains, the requirement to upgrade signalling infrastructure and adopt latest maintenance practices is inevitable and thus there was the need to update rules and regulations governing them which are covered under Signal Engineering Manual (SEM) that was earlier updated in the year 2001. It required a series of deliberations among experienced senior officers from Railway board, zonal railways, research wing and training centres. Lockdown was the period when, this major task of revision of Signal Engineering Manual (SEM) was assigned by Railway Board, by constituting two committees having selected officers with varied and rich experience over Indian Railway.
The first committee was assigned the task of revision of existing SEM considering the latest technology introduced in Signalling over IR. For this committee, Arun Kumar- Principal Chief Signal & Telecom Engineer NCR was chosen due to his wide experience in signalling over IR and IRCON in which he got many signalling projects executed in foreign countries. The second committee was formed for revision of maintenance practices of a signalling system for various equipment, systems including new technology system such as MSDAC, CTC, Electronic Interlocking etc. In this committee Niraj Yadav- Chief Signal Engineer NCR was taken as a committee member for having worked in one of the busiest zonal railways over Indian Railway shaving adopted innovative methods to improve upon the reliability of signalling system.
Committee met over video conference during COVID lockdown period and after many rounds of video conference, the draft SEM was finalised and circulated all over zonal railways for comments. All such comments received from zonal railways were compiled by IRISET & RDSO. Railway Board has approved holding of a special Signal Standards Committee (SSC) meeting from 9.09.2020 to 11.09.2020 to deliberate and finalize draft SEM. Special virtual SSC session on VIDEO CONFERENCE which is being attended by all PCSTEs of the zonal railway and senior officers of RDSO and IRISET. The inaugural session was addressed by Member, Infra, Railway Board Pradeep Kumar who lauded the huge efforts put in by SEM revision committee and hope that new SEM shall be finalized within 10 days time so that same can be got approved by RB and issued this month itself.
NCR has contributed in revision of SEM by sharing field experience about the latest technology systems installed over its routes. Inclusion of new technology systems in SEM will give uniformity for system understanding, installation and maintenance practices. Since the last revision of this manual, a lot of new signalling technologies has been inducted over NCR and there was an urgent need to get these items incorporated in the manual. Centralised Traffic control was one such experience of NCR which was unique and it has been included in the manual so that whenever new installations take place at any other place, it could be maintained as per manual from date of installation. In order to raise the speed over NCR routes, Thick web switch point machines are being installed and NCR officials have the first-hand experience about it. They have enriched the discussion about manual updation through their first-hand experience for effective maintenance of these switches. In the field of Online monitoring, NCR is a pioneer railway and has eliminated many earth faults which hinder the reliable and safe working of signalling by using of ELD( earth leakage detector). Harnessing such online equipment for reliable signalling is also covered in the manual.