Technical Institutions

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Research, Development, and Standards Organization (RDSO)

RDSO is IR's premier R&D facility. It is located at Manaknagar, Lucknow. RDSO is tasked with controlling and standardizing all equipment used by IR, and coming up with new designs for equipment in line with IR's projected needs. RDSO originated with the merger of two different organizations. The Central Standards Office (CSO) was established in 1930, and the Railway Testing and Research Centre (RTRC) was established in 1952. In 1957 these two were combined to form RDSO.

Since then, RDSO has come to be in charge of all R&D work for IR. RDSO is responsible for setting out design specifications for all rolling stock, including locomotives, wagons, and coaches, as well as traction systems, track structure, and pretty much everything within the IR system. RDSO is also in charge of technical approval of all imported technology and equipment or materials, and it undertakes trials and testing of all such items before they are brought into regular service by IR. Additionally, RDSO also continuously carries out various kinds of testing and monitoring of existing IR equipment, including speed and oscillation tests, track monitoring, traction system monitoring, adherence to safety and technical specifications, etc.

RDSO is organizationally divided into several directorates, one each for a specific technical area such as signalling, telecommunication, track technology, bridges and other permanent way structures, coaching stock, wagons, etc. RDSO laboratories include: Air Brake Laboratory, Brake Dynamometer Laboratory, Beam & Slab Laboratory for work on structural mechanics, Diesel Engine Development Laboratory capable of testing diesel engines from 100hp to 6000hp with computerized systems to record 128 system parameters at once, Psycho-technical and Ergonomics Laboratory for issues concerning psychological assessments and stress management for IR staff, Fatigue Testing Laboratory, Metallurgical & Chemical Laboratory, Signal Testing Laboratory for testing all kinds of signal equipment, block instruments, etc., Track Laboratory, and a Vehicle Characterization Laboratory. RDSO has recently been given the administrative status of a zonal railway to give it some independence in its projects and operations.

RDSO has a test track near Tundla that is used for carrying out real-world tests and trials of rolling stock.

National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR)

The National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR), formerly Railway Staff College (RSC) was founded in 1930 at Dehradun and in 1952 shifted to its present location at Vadodara. It is housed in the Pratap Vilas Palace, built in 1914. The college is the premier training institution of IR, and is responsible for the training of officers of higher grades in all disciplines including personnel, stores management, accounts, traffic, medical, and others (these are the areas that are not covered by the training in purely technical disciplines at institutions such as the IRIEEN, IRICEN, etc. (q.v.)).

NAIR conducts training courses, seminars, workshops, tutorials, etc., and has an extensive library of technical publications and journals. It also has a model room for training officers in the basic principles of train working and safety, including demonstrations and simulations of signalling and interlocking scenarios.

IR Institute of Electrical Engineering (IRIEEN)

IRIEEN is the main IR training institution for electrical engineering. All probationers of the Indian Railway Service of Electrical Engineers (IRSEE) get their training here. In addition, IRIEEN conducts various training courses and prepares educational material for other engineers in the electrical engineering departments of IR. IRIEEN is located at Nasik Road, Maharashtra.

IRIEEN has laboratories for Train Lighting and Air-Conditioning, Traction Distribution (including an OHE yard with 300m of conventional and tramway type OHE at 1.8m height), Non-Destructive Testing (liquid penetrant, magnetic particles, ultrasonic, eddy current, radiography, etc.), Condition Monitoring (analysis of insulation resistance, polarization indices, shock pulse analysis, vibration signature analysis, instrumentation and data logging eqiupement), Oil Testing (acidity, breakdown voltage, resistivity, flash point, acidity, moisture, interfacial testing), and so on, in addition to various facilities for training with models of locomotive electrical components and traction distribution and monitoring equipment.

IR Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications (IRISET)

The Indian Railways Institute of Signal Engineering and Telecommunications or IRISET was set up on November 24th, 1957, at Secunderabad. The institute provides basic and advanced training in all aspects of signalling, communications (telephony, microwave communications, CDMA, etc.), train working technology (interlocking technology, track circuits, block proving, digital axle counters, etc.), and data logging/management and computer networking, to officers and S&T staff of IR. It has several laboratories for training and technology development in the areas of signalling and telecommunications. Over the years the institute has grown to provide such training not just to IR but to railway staff from many other countries as well.

IR Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN)

IRICEN was set up in Pune in 1959 as the 'Permanent Way Training School' to provide in-house training to trainee civil engineers of IR. It was changed to be the Indian Railways Institute of Advanced Track Technology in 1971, and then became the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (its present name) in 1985. It covers training in all aspects of permanent way engineering, bridges, tunnels, and other structures. It observed its Golden Jubilee on March 19th, 2009.

Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (IPWE)

The Institution of Permanent Way Engineers (India) or IPWE is an organization set up by the Railway Ministry for sharing and disseminating permanent way technology (track, electrical engineering, signals and telecom, operations) among different railway engineering groups in IR. It was set up on May 18, 1967 at Pune and later registered as a public trust in 1972. The IPWE awards diplomas in Railway Engineering, which is considered a desirable additional qualification for recruitment to IR's ranks of engineers in various disciplines. The Institution also arranges seminars and exhibitions, and publishes technical articles.

IR Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IRIMEE)

The Indian Railways Institute of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (IRIMEE) at Jamalpur is the oldest of the Centralized Training Institutions (CTIs) of IR. IRIMEE started as a technical school attached to the Jamalpur Workshops in the 1900s, then the largest railway repair workshops in India. After the first World War, the technical school was greatly expanded for training of railway apprentices and supervisory staff involved with mechanical engineering. In the 1960s, a Diesel Traction Faculty was set up to conduct training courses and publish educational materials as IR engaged in dieselization.

In 1971 the school was renamed as the IRIMEE, and brought under the direct control of the Railway Board. In 1988 IRIMEE began conducting the various required courses for IRSME probationary engineers and various Mechanical Engineering staff. From 1997, IRIMEE has also been conducting various short-duration courses for other staff on various engineering topics. Topics include rolling stock and workshop technology, management science, and information technology aimed at officers and supervisory staff.

Other Organizations

The Indian Railways Central Organization for Telecom Consultancy (IRCOT) was set up in 1986 to provide telecommunications expertise. The organization was set up as an offshoot of the Freight Operations and Information Systems (FOIS) project, when the need was felt for a separate body to work on reduced cost proposals for the telecommunications segment of FOIS. For that project, IRCOT planned the initial deployment of the microwave digital links along the Golden Quadrilateral routes and also the implementation of short-haul digitual UHF/TDMA links for many other routes. After these initial efforts IRCOT has been working on designs of telecom projects in several of the zonal railways, especially NR.

The Central Organization for Operations Information Systems (COOIS) was set up at the same time as IRCOT in 1986, to focus on the computer systems and information technology requirements of the FOIS project.

The Centre for Railways Information Systems (CRIS) was set up in 1986 at Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, to be the main coordinating agency for all computer-related activities of IR. It is tasked with designing and developing IR's information technology infrastructure (and is behind the implementation of many of the public and internal web sites of IR). CRIS originally worked on the FOIS project. More recently, it has played the central role in designing and implementing various ticketing and reservation computerization projects (PRS, NTES, UTS, Internet and telephone booking, IVRS, etc.).

The Central Organization for Railway Electrification (CORE) was set up in 1979 at Allahabad to be the central agency directing the development of electric traction on IR's network. It was formed by the reorganization and consolidation of earlier agencies that had been working from 1961 onwards on various electrification projects. It has eight major regional project units at Ambala, Bhubneshwar, Chennai, Danapur, Lucknow, Ranchi, Udhna, and Vishakhapatnam.

The Centre for Advanced Maintenance Technology, Gwalior, is a sub-institution of the RDSO (see above). It is charged with guiding and assisting maintenance personnel throughout IR by publishing maintenance instructions, developing plans for maintenance depots and workshops, providing technical assistance on matters of maintenance to the zonal railways, and training maintenance staff.

Commissioner of Railway Safety

The office of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is responsible for all safety-related aspects of IR's operations. However, interestingly, the CRS is not under the Ministry of Railways, but rather under the Ministry of Civil Aviation, an arrangement designed to afford the office of the CRS independence from political pressure from the railways.

The CRS office must certify permanent way (including track, signals, communications) and rolling stock (locomotives, wagons, coaching stock) and IR facilities as being fit for carriage of passengers before IR can commence commercial operations using them. All new lines, modifications to existing lines, and public works projects involving repairs to lines, bridges, tunnels, etc., must be inspected and approved by the CRS.

The CRS office also conducts routine inspections of IR facilities and equipment. Field inspections are carried out and every now and then and the CRS has the power to order the closure of a line or discontinuation of use of faulty or unsafe equipment or rolling stock (through a recommendation to the Central Government) if safety problems are found in such inspections. Finally, the office of the CRS is also responsible for carrying out investigations into the causes of all railway accidents involving loss of human life or grievous injuries, or extensive damage to property, and submitting reports on them.

The post and office of the CRS derives from the post of the Chief Government Inspector of Railways, created in 1941 to allow the Government of India to exercise 'effective technical control' over the Railway Board and the running of railways in India. The top post in this inspectorate was later renamed 'Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety'.

Technical Training Centres

In addition to the Centralized Training Institutes which provide training for officers and gazetted staff of IR, there are many training centres where non-gazetted staff (non-officer ranks) get technical education. These are generally run by the zonal railways themselves.