What defines a Smart Coach?

Introduction: India introduced its first “SMART” coach in the year of 2018.

The Smart Coach has many new features that go a long way for the security and safety of train journeys and passenger comfort. 

It provides the world-class facilities to the passengers with the help of the Sensor-Based System and also the Indian Railways can move to predictive maintenance.

The Smart Coach has been manufactured by the Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli as a part of the Make in India initiative. It is built on the LHB – platform and comes with the state of art sensor and a centralized computer that turns on all the sensors.

The Smart Coach offers the Indian Railways a single-window platform to monitor several key indicators of the train’s health from coach diagnosis to the security and the surveillance system. From the passengers’ perspective, the smart coach has the WI-FI hotspot and the Passenger Information System which means the passengers can connect their devices such as laptops, Mobile Phones, and Tablets.

The Smart Coach has a “self-power harvesting sensor” which helps to predict wheels defects, defect on the bearings and hard spot (defects) on the tracks. The Smart Coach has a Passenger Information System and Coach Computer Unit (PICCU) which has been provided with GSM network to send reports to the remote server.

Why “Smart ” ?: The coaches are known as “Smart” because they have some modern sensors that detect the problem in the train compartment and send the information that helps to integrate with the computer system.

The special vibration sensor which has been installed on the wheels of the train is called Self Power Harvesting Sensor. The Smart Coach diagnostic system can also monitor the brake system that helps to communicate to the maintenance staff.  

If there is any problem, the sensor will relay the information to the Railways which helps to prevent the accidents from occurring. The smart coach will also provide the information of the next station and the next location of the train as it will also tell what will be the next station. Also, this information system shows the speed of the train.

Challenges for development: The Central idea is to develop the management and dissemination of the information at Railway Stations and to enhance customer satisfaction using the new and novel digital insights.

The challenge is to encourage the ease to use for the product and solutions that enable and drive access for passengers to these services, right from the entry to exit in the stations that can lead to convenient and seamless travel.

Future Scope: The first Smart Coach of Indian Railways that is NCR-18155/C (LWACCN)  was manufactured by MCF. It was furnished with the Passengers Information Coach Computing Unit (PICCU) with various amenities like CCTV surveillance, OBCMS (Onboard Coach Monitoring System), Water Level Indicator, Control of HVAC parameters and digital destination board, Wi-Fi & Infotainment, automatic fire detection and alarm system that has been turned out on June 2018. 

It started giving its preliminary report to eliminate online failure and will facilitate preventive to predictive maintenance and will result into savings in terms of reduced maintenance   

Current Status: MCF is expected to roll out the 100 new coaches during this year 2019. Further, MCF has turned the three Smart Coaches already produced, attached to different rakes of Kafiyat Express.