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Transforming Railway Industry with IoT Solutions

  • Abhishek Shukla
  • Jul 22, 2023
  • RFID
Railway Industry with IoT Solutions

“With the help of various IoT devices, cellular networks such as NB-IoT (Narrow Band-IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution-Machine type communication), real-time data collection in rail operations has become possible…”

For centuries, railways have been playing an instrumental role in transporting people and freight across states. Though rail has not been the most efficient way, it was one of the most prominent transportation methods after shipping. Shipways and railways have been the driving factor behind industrial revolution in many European, American and Asian countries.

We have also witnessed significant transformation in railways since its inception and with the first public railway line being operational in 1825 between Stockton and Darlington in northern England, major transformation being coal powered steam engine locomotives (1830s-1940s) to diesel engine and now electric engine locomotives.

In India, on average, 13555 trains run on daily basis and 63% of these have been transitioned to electric operations and only 37% are run by diesel locomotives at present.

 The rail vehicles/coaches have also gone through tremendous change with the adoption of various modern day technologies such as Internet of things (IoT), RFID, gps etc.

Transforming Railway Industry with IoT

IoT technology has revolutionized the way we live our lives and run our business. It has opened up new opportunities and possibilities in wide range of industries, including the railway industry, which has been transformed by IoT solutions.

Earlier lack of visibility into train operations and the end-to-end working of a train journey was a big cause of financial loss as well as train derailments and accidents. The passenger experience was also unsatisfactory for trains were often behind schedule and the safety and amenities in passenger cars were virtually nonexistent due to poor maintainability.  With the help of various IoT devices, cellular networks such as NB-IoT (Narrow band-IoT) and LTE-M (Long Term Evolution-Machine type communication), real-time data collection has become possible and various AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) tools can be leveraged to make sense of this data, generate insights and reports.

The technology at present allows us to make train operations a profitable business while prioritizing safety, timely movement and passenger experience. IoT solutions in the railway industry involve the use of sensors and other connected devices to collect and transmit data in real-time. The data collected includes information on train performance, track conditions, passenger behavior, and many other factors that affect the efficiency and safety of railway operations.


Real-time monitoring and safety with IoT

Implementation of IoT solutions in the railway industry ensures improved safety. IoT sensors can provide real-time data on assets such as coaches, signals, locomotive engine, and even passenger occupancy. With real-time monitoring, railway operators can quickly identify and respond to potential safety hazards, such as train derailments, track obstructions, as well as passenger experience including strange behavior by passengers, if any. It helps to reduce accidents and improve overall safety for both passengers and railway employees.


Enhanced rail reliability and efficiency with IoT

In addition to safety, IoT solutions also improve the efficiency and reliability of railway operations. With real-time data on train schedules, tracks, and passengers, operators can optimize train schedules, adjust routes, and improve overall efficiency in real-time resulting in reduced transit times, less downtime, and improved passenger satisfaction with railway services. Various IoT proximity sensors can improve the rail movement and contribute to rail reliability.


Cost savings with IoT and predictive maintenance

IoT solutions also offer significant cost savings for railway operators. IoT machine sensors can monitor the machine run time and optimize the working as well schedule maintenance activities in advance. Predictive maintenance will also prevent sudden machine failure and keep the rail operations running without any hindrance. By reducing accidents, improving efficiency, and optimizing maintenance schedules, railway operators can save money on maintenance costs, reduce labor costs, and improve overall profitability.


The railway industry is just beginning to scratch the surface of the potential of IoT solutions. As more connected devices become available and more data is collected, there is enormous potential for even more significant improvements in safety, efficiency, and cost savings.

IoT solutions are transforming the railway industry, enabling improved safety, efficiency, and cost savings for railway operators. As we move forward, it is clear that IoT will play an increasingly important role in the future of the railway industry, enabling even more significant improvements in safety, efficiency, and profitability.

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  • Created on Jul 22, 2023

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