Indian Railways

Uses GS1 identification standards to track wagons, coaches 

Indian Railways uses GS1 identifiers, encoded in radio frequency tags, to manage and know which of its assets – wagons, coaches and locomotives – are located where.  This also helps Indian Railways capture data accurately on these assets while in transit and use this information for more efficient utilisation of its rolling stock. 

For unique identification of its rolling stock, Indian Railways uses EPC/RFID tags designed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) encoded with GS1’s GIAI-202 standard. These tags have a user memory area that allows the information stored in them to be read and used, without any backend network connectivity. 

By the end of April 2018, Indian Railways has uniquely identified 3,500 wagons and tested the design of radio frequency tags at a speed of over 180 kmph. Trackside readers installed in between stations and other key points can read these RFID tags from a distance of one-and-a-half metre and transmit the vehicle identity over a network to a central computer. Indian Railways also plans to integrate these tags with trackside equipment for runtime detection of maintenance parameters. 

Once fully implemented, this will provide visibility to each vehicle, i.e., wagon/coach/ locomotive that runs over the Indian Railways in near real time. With this, Railways plans to improve the quality of information available for predicting maintenance work content.

RFID tags would be of significant importance also in areas such as freight traction and coach maintenance in the near future.