Indian Railways in an effort to maintain and keep a check on its 3, 50,000 wagons will be putting RFID tag in its coaches.

The railways carry about 23 million passengers per day and over 3 million tons of freight every day over 65000 route kilometers.

The project will be completed by 2021 and will cost ₹112.96 crore according to a senior railway official.

Till now approximately 22,000 wagons and 1200 coaches have been fitted with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags, said Rajesh Agarwal, member, Rolling Stock, Railway Board.

The RFID project undertaken by CRIS, the IT arm of Indian Railways, can read data even at a speed of 182 kmph, Agarwal said.

The RFID is a technology where an antenna broadcasts energy to the tag, which in turn returns the modulated energy back in the form of back-scatter.

A RFID reader is a device used to gather information from an RFID tag, which is used to track individual objects.

The complete solution also includes the integration of RFID readers with various equipment such as Train Presence Detectors (TPDs), trackside condition monitoring equipment etc.

The combination of all of these allows for an early identification of rolling stock that may need maintenance. This will enable a paradigm shift on the Indian Railways in its move to improve reliability of its Rolling Stock, by moving from a predominantly time based maintenance methodology to a condition based maintenance.

The Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS, the IT arm of the Indian Railways), GS1 India and the Indian Industry have come together in alignment with the 'Make in India' initiative.

It will help in creating a new segment in the AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Collection) industry in India uniquely suited for the Indian Railways requirements.

The project enables real time visibility of railway wagons through the National Rail Network using cutting edge technologies like RFID with GS1 global standards for unique & universal identification, in line with global best practices.

Indian Railways opted to use the GIAI-202 standard in order that RFID tags can be used in all locations in the country including those with poor connectivity. The railways has successfully field tested these CRIS designed GIAI202 encoded tags at a speed of 182.7 kmph.

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