TD Power Systems stocks rallies on the Order win for supply of Traction Alternators to DLW/Varanasi

The stock rallied 10% to Rs 377 after the company received order from DLW to supply 10 traction alternators.

Dobbaspet (DBS), Bangalore Rural: TD Power Systems has rallied 10% to Rs 377 on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) after thecompany said that it has received order from Diesel Locomotive Works to supply 10 traction alternators.

Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) is a production unit owned by Indian Railways and the largest diesel-electric locomotive manufacturer in India. These Traction alternators are mounted on EDM locomotives manufactured by DLW in India.

“The order is based on a provisional approval consequent to an RDSO capability audit of the Company. The Journey commenced in March 2013 culminating into this trial order,” TD Power Systems said in a press release.

After acceptance of the generators by DLW, the Company stands to be eligible for significant orders especially with the massive capex plan that the Indian Railways announced in the recent Union budget, it added.

The stock opened at Rs 369 and hit a high of Rs 382 on the NSE. A combined 147,445 shares changed hands on the counter till 0952 hours on the NSE and BSE.

CRS clears newly electrified Shoranur-Kozhikode section only up to Kallayi

Shoranur (SRR):  The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Southern Circle, S. K. Mittal has cleared the stretch from Shoranur to Kallayi of the newly electrified Shoranur-Kozhikode section for running trains hauled by electric locomotives.

A lack of the mandatory two-metre clearance for the overhead equipment has resulted in the clearance only up till Kallayi, a top Southern railway official told.

The railway authorities will be able to operate trains hauled by electric locomotives up to Kozhikode only after the defect is rectified at Kallayi. The defect will be taken to the Railway Board for clearance, he said.

The inspection by the CRS follows the successful trial run of electric engine between Shornur and Kozhikode on March 26 by a team led by Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Palakkad, Mohan A. Menon.

Inspection

The inspection by the CRS commenced from Shoranur Junction at 9.35 a.m. and arrived at Kozhikode at 2.45 p.m. In the return trip, the Commissioner left Kozhikode at 4.10 p.m. and arrived at Shoranur Junction at 5.50 p.m. Mr. Mittal inspected the feeding posts, sub-sectioning and parelleling posts, pitching posts, feeder posts, power line crossings, rail overbridges, foot overbridges, interlocked level crossings, girder bridges, and curves.

In the return direction, Mr. Mittal scrutinised the conduct of speed trial and current collection tests. The route kilometer between Shoranur and Kozhikode is 84 while the electrified track kilometre is 194 kms. Beside the main line, siding line to the goods shed at Kallayi has also been electrified. According to the railways, the electrification of oil siding yard at Feroke will soon be taken up.

PMO pulls up Railway Ministry over Failure in ensuring Punctuality of Trains

New Delhi: Facing repeated complaints by passengers, the prime minister’s office has pulled up the Railway ministry. According to sources, the PMO has come hard on Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu over his failure in ensuring punctuality of trains.

Sources say that the complaints received by the PMO were being forwarded to the railway ministry on a regular basis from teh past few days and last week, the PMO called Prabhu and told him to follow the same pattern as was followed during emergency when the trains were on time.

After the PMO’s intervention, the traffic officials are said to have dug out parliamentary speeches and records of the emergency to find out whether trains at that time were actually on time or was it merely a myth.

However, quickly reacting to the report, the Railway Ministry has clarified on PMO’s intervention. “It’s my duty to ensure regular monitoring of punctuality of trains. Slackness in the system has to be corrected. Our trains are running on time than they were ten days back. It shouldn’t be linked to any order from the PMO,” Member Traffic Ajay Shukla said.

“We’ve been told that trains ran on time during the Emergency. We are taking out old files from that time to study the patterns of train punctuality. Old records show trains did maintain punctuality of upwards of 90 per cent back then,” said a senior ministry official on condition of anonymity.  This, sources said, comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought an explanation from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu recently on why trains were running late and punctuality figures were on the decline. Railway officials were also told that the PMO has been receiving frequent complaints from MPs, ministers and citizens about trains running way behind schedule. The complaints were being forwarded to the ministry, and many of them mentioned how punctual trains were during the Emergency.

Since then, Prabhu is learnt to be taking stock of punctuality figures and asset-failure on a daily basis — a first for a Railway Minister in recent years.

The veil over punctuality figures was lifted earlier this month after Railway Board Member (Traffic) Ajay Shukla, in a letter to all zonal railways, warned traffic officers of “wrong reporting” of the figures, which can be done by manually feeding incorrect information about the movement of trains in the central coaching operations information system. This is virtually the same as admitting that figures were being fudged all these years. The punishment for it, the letter says, will be suspension and inter-zonal transfer and other disciplinary action against officers as high as the zonal chief passenger traffic officer.

Since then, the punctuality figures have plummeted which, Rail Bhawan officials believe, is a sign of a decrease in the apparent fudging of punctuality data. While 84.43 per cent punctuality was maintained in March 2014, the figure for the same month now stands at 79 per cent on a nationwide basis. Zonal railways like the Northern Railway saw its punctuality figures come down from 82 per cent to 60 per cent. The figures are expected to drop further in the coming days.

Under fire, the traffic directorate, whose job is to run trains efficiently, has said that asset/equipment failure — like signal malfunction, rolling stock breakdown, overhead equipment failure, etc — contributes a lot to “punctuality loss”, but not all such instances are accurately reported by their engineering counterparts. “The extent of asset failure causing punctuality loss was being hidden behind rosy punctuality data all these years. That will now come to the fore now,” said an official.

A few years ago, trials of ‘data logger’, a system installed by the signalling and telecom branch of the Railways to automatically log running status of trains, were held successfully, but it was never rolled out across India as the traffic directorate voiced cost concerns. Currently, it is active at a few places along High Density Routes like Mughalsarai.

Madhusudan Prasad is new Chairperson of Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad

Madhusudhan-PrasadGandhinagar (GNC): Madhusudan Prasad, IAS, secretary of the urban development ministry, Government of India has replaced former Gujarat chief secretary Dr Manjula Subramaniam, IAS (retired) as chairperson of the Metro-link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Limited, as it has been made a joint venture special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Union government and Gujarat government. Subramaniam has been re-appointed as director in the new SPV while I P Gautam, IAS (retired) who is the Managing Director has been re-appointed as MD of the new SPV.

According to the notification by the Government of India, the central and state government’s have each appointed five directors in MEGA. Representing the GoI, are Madhusudan Prasad, Secretary of the Urban Development Ministry; Shailendra Singh, Executive Director, Railway Board (Ministry of Railways); Mukund Kumar Sinha, Officer on Special duty, Joint Secretary, Urban Development Ministry; Pravin Prakash, who is Joint Secretary, Urban Development Ministry and R Ramnathan, Director (Projects) of Chennai Metro Rail Limited.

From the Gujarat government, Dr Manjula Subramaniam, former Chief Secretary; G R Aloria, Additional Chief Secretary (ACS), Urban Development and Urban Housing Department; J N Singh, ACS Finance; Ajay Bhadu, Chief Executive Officer of Gujarat Infrastructure Development Board and Secretary to CM, and I P Gautam, retired IAS Officers and Managing Director of MEGA have been appointed.

Chinese Co bags Kolkata Metro’s Contract for Supply and Maintenance of 14 Rakes

Kolkata (KOAA): Low-maintenance rakes made in China will form the backbone of Metro Railway’s fleet in another two years, breaking the monopoly of the snag-prone AC trains designed and built at the railways-owned Integral Coach Factory near Chennai.

CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company Ltd has signed a contract to supply 14 trains after winning the transport lifeline’s first global tender in 33 years. The budget of Rs 800 crore covers annual maintenance.

For more than three decades, Metro Railway has had to make do with “assembled rakes” that have been compared with home computers put together with components manufactured by various companies. This is the first instance of a contract to build rakes being given to a company with proven expertise in manufacturing Metro coaches, officials said.

The AC rakes manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur have a history of breakdowns, often in the middle of a trip. There have also been complaints about water leakage from the roof because of the allegedly faulty draining system used for the air-conditioners.

The Metro fleet comprises 13 AC rakes along with 23 non-AC trains whose components have been manufactured by various PSUs.

The Integral Coach Factory is building seven more AC coaches to replace the non-AC trains that are long past their use-by date. The first of the lot is scheduled to join the fleet by the end of this year.

Sources said several components of the new rakes were imported.

Maintenance of rakes has always been a problem for Metro Railway because none of the Indian companies has the expertise to produce rakes on its own. “The Indian Railways suffers from a split personality,” Rakesh Mohan, economist and former deputy governor of the RBI, had stated in a 2001 report on the state of the railways.

Mohan’s argument was that the railways saw itself as a commercial organisation even as it hung on to the coat-tails of the government and characterised itself as a “social organisation that must be subservient to the social needs, as deemed fit by the government”.

By trying to strike a balance between these two roles, the railways floundered in a Soviet-era planning where it attempted to do everything: building rails, laying out tracks, building its own wagons and rolling stock at its six production plants in the country. In most countries, the railways have abandoned such a sweeping role because it is neither efficient nor profitable to do all things on their own.

In Calcutta back in 2010, the rakes built in Perambur came with defective doors and the German software had to be redesigned to allow them to function in overcrowded rakes where passengers often lean on the doors.

Railway officials insisted that the new batch of rakes would be free of such problems. They said the Integral Coach Factory was not given the contract to supply the new generation of Metro rakes because the railways didn’t have the technology to minimise power consumption while making rides smoother and the passenger information system more effective.

The railways-owned Research Designs and Standards Organisation, in Lucknow, has developed similar technology that has yet to be used by the Integral Coach Factory.

Metro officials said the rakes built by Dalian were meant not only for the north-south routes but also the under-construction Joka-BBD Bag and New Garia-Airport lines.

The global tender for 14 AC rakes, floated in 2011, had attracted some of the bigger names in coach manufacturing, including Bombardier. The Bangalore-based public sector unit BEML was in the fray too.

Dalian promises rakes that will be more comfortable and twice as economical as the existing AC fleet. “The rakes will look like those of the Delhi Metro. They will come with an in-built passenger information system that is expected to be far better than what we have now,” a Metro official said.

Dalian’s website mentions that the company has exported locomotives to South Africa and New Zealand, among other countries.

“The company is able to produce diesel locomotives, electric locomotives, urban transit LRVs, high-power medium-speed diesel engines and a variety of locomotive fittings…. It also can repair or modify diesel locomotives. The company has the capacity of producing 600 locomotives, 300 urban transit LRVs and 500 diesel engines annually,” the website states.

About CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company:

CNR Dalian Locomotive & Rolling Stock Company Ltd. originally founded in 1899 is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CNR. As a key large-scale state-owned enterprise, the Company is able to produce diesel locomotives, electric locomotives, urban transit LRVs, high power medium speed diesel engines and a variety of locomotive fittings. In addition it also can repair or modify diesel locomotives. The Company has the capacity of producing 600 locomotives, 300 urban transit LRVs and 500 diesel engines annually. Nowadays, the Company covers a total area of 900,000 m2, has 8600 employees, and owns total capital assets of RMB 6 billion yuan.

Since the foundation of the People’s Republic of China, the Company has successively experienced six large scale technology transformations and step by step turned into a modern enterprise being able to design and manufacture high-level diesel locomotives independently from an old works who could only repair steam locomotives. In 1954 the Company realized a historic transition because it was capable of manufacturing steam locomotives than repairing them, thus became the first manufacturer of designing locomotives in China. In 1956 it successfully designed and manufactured China’s first “Heping” steam locomotive used for main lines. In 1958 it successfully self-designed and self-manufactured China’s first “Julong” diesel locomotive, filled the blank in locomotive industry and provided a good foundation for national locomotive development. In 1965 the Company realized another historic transition, turned into China’s first diesel locomotive manufacturer rather than a steam locomotive manufacturer. In 1969 the Company successfully designed and manufactured DF4 high power diesel locomotive. In 1974 DF4 diesel locomotive were produced in batches which ended the history that China can not independently design and manufacture high power diesel locomotive. In 1986 the Company produced DF4B diesel locomotive in batches. DF4B diesel locomotive won the national gold award and was designated as a national alternative to imported products, ended the history of importing a large number of locomotives. In 1996 the Company successfully designed and manufactured DF4D diesel locomotive for passenger transport and launched into the railway market on a large scale, which became a main type in the first five times of speed increase process in China.

Through several generations’ unremitting efforts and indigenous innovation, the Company has designed and manufactured more than 50 kinds of locomotives as the main force for national railway passenger and freight transportations. Now its total output accounts for over 50% of the same reserved product in domestic loco market, covering every railway bureau and equipping tens of depots in China, entering large-scale enterprises and local railway markets in many fields such as power stations, metallurgical fields, chemical industry, oil fields, seaports and mines, etc.. Thus the Company is praised as Cradle of Locomotives by national leaders.
For many years the company always persists in a management concept of “technology is the backbone and quality is the life.” The Company owns the National Enterprise Technology Center honored in 1994 and Postdoctoral Workstation. Every year the Company invests large amount of money on developing key technology and introducing test equipment, Costs on technical development have been keeping beyond 3% of the sales revenue. In the technical team with the number of over 3000, one third of which are engineers and technicians for new product development and 300 of which are senior designers. These are the personnel guarantee for the Company to ceaselessly improve its product design level and technical innovation capacity. In the meantime of self-development, the Company is also keen to the technical cooperation and exchange with many world-famous companies. It has successively cooperated with Ricardo, GE, SwRI, Siemens, Voith and other advanced companies. After years of development the Company’s technology system tends to be perfect step by step and its comprehensive strength is at a leading position in China.

In recent years, the Company has seized the historic opportunity of China railway equipment modernization construction.  Aiming at“Introducing the Advanced Technology, Jointly Designing and Producing and Creating Famous China Brand”, the Company has established technical co-operations with many famous foreign companies. Meanwhile the Company has also undertaken the Projects of technology introduction, digestion, absorption and re-innovation on diesel and electric locomotives. HXD3 high power AC electric locomotive (7200kW) and HXN3 high power AC diesel locomotive (4400kW), as the main powers in China Round Speed-increase Campaign for freight transportation, have successively put into mass production. A series of the latest world-level products such as 9600kW high power AC electric locomotive with independent IPR and other locomotives are to be equipped for Chinese railways on a large scale.  A brand new platform will be set up to promote a fast and sound development.

The Company has exploited urban rail vehicle market, self-designed and manufactured LRVs with today’s domestic advanced level, unveiled the curtain of the metro market and formed a new pillar industry. China’s first unit of LRV with independent IPR was successfully developed in July, 2007. It utilized the most advanced VVVF AC technology in the world, composed of two motor cars plus two trailers with the maximum service speed 100km, operating in Dalian City as a beautiful scenery line, and has been well-received by Dalian citizens. At the end of 2006, the Company undertook the Procurement Contract for LRVs on Shenyang Metro Line 1 and the Extension Line with the total number of 36. On September 1, 2008, the Company took part in the bid for Tianjin Metro Project and won the order of 138.

Over the past few years, the Company has been developing export-oriented economy with great concentration on constructing the export base and actively looking for target markets. The international popularity of its diesel locomotives has been rapidly improved and a good image of credibility has been made. Since 1993 when its diesel locomotive was first exported to Myanmar, a breakthrough of exporting China’s main line diesel locomotives has been realized. The Company has accumulatively exported 246 diesel locomotives to more than ten countries such as Myanmar, Nigeria, Iraq, Pakistan, Malaysia etc.

Diesel engine is the Company’s core technology advantage with independent IPR. Through technology introduction and independent innovation, its diesel engines have formed four major series, i.e., 240, 265, 270 and 280. The power range covers from 1,000hp to 7,000 hp. The main performance index of the engines has taken the leading position among domestic high power medium speed engines. The technology of its diesel engine has reached the international advanced level and its application fields have been expanded constantly. Besides being mounted to diesel locomotives as usual, its diesel engines are being applied in many fields such as marine, generator-set and mechanical engineering markets etc.. The Company has signed contracts on the supply of marine diesel engines and auxiliary equipment with many enterprises since 2005.

The Company has actively promoted the modernization of enterprise management. Since the Company attached importance to the information construction such as, opening the internal internet, realization of OA and computerization for products developing, designing and manufacturing, a framework of enterprise network has been basically established and Certificate of Demonstration Enterprise for State 863 Plan CIMS application was granted. The quality assurance system has been improved. The Company successively passed ISO9000 for diesel locomotives and ISO9001 for wagons in 1995. In 2001, the Company began to operate in conformity with the new standard ISO9000 and was able to provide reliable quality assurance for domestic and overseas customers. The Company has fully implemented friendly environment and clean production and passed ISO14000 and OHSMS18000 in 2002. After the supervision and conversion audit by China United Certification Center (CCLC) for its OHSMS, the Company obtained a new version of Environment Management System Certificate in 2005, smoothly passed the review and acceptance by the expert group of Safety and Health Association of China Mechanical Industry, became a first Class A enterprise in Dalian in terms of safety & quality standardization and ranked into the first batches of 33 national Class A enterprises.

For many years, the Company has successively won dozens of honorable titles such as National Top Ten Enterprise, National Advanced Enterprise, National Quality Management Award, National Advanced Quality & Benefit Enterprise, State Jinma Award for Enterprise Management—the highest award in quality control of enterprises, A Garden Factory, National Users Satisfactory Enterprise, Top 100 Enterprises for Core Competence in China Machinery Industry. Jiang Zemin, General Secretary of P.R.C., wrote an inscription for the enterprise at the 100th anniversary of its founding on May 28, 1999. He said, “Keep a foothold in China, march to the world and strive to develop Chinese locomotives industry”. Hu Jintao, China’s Vice President, put forward his ardent expectations to the enterprise on June 11, 2002. He said, “Your enterprise is a senior factory with more than 100 years history, which should be also managed to be a first-class locomotive manufacturer.” Two Chinese leaders have pinned high expectations with the Company and both of them not only affirmed the Company’s achievements, but also pointed out the way forward for the development of the Company. On July 1,2006, Li Changchun, member of Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee came to inspect and praised the Company as a “‘national team’enterprise, bearing the historic responsibility to revitalize  our national industry”.

Shouldering the historic mission of “Join the World, Drawing the Future” and striving to accomplish the good prospect to become a world-class enterprise in railway transportation equipment industry, the Company is ready to take advantage of its good situation, speed up its development and make a rapid advancement in the process of fully gearing to international standards.

Chinese Ambassador briefs Tamil Nadu CM about High-Speed Rail Projects

Chennai (MAS): Ambassador of the China to India Le Yucheng on Monday said that his country is collaborating on developing the high speed rail link between Delhi and Chennai and on increasing the speed on the Chennai-Mysuru rail line.

During his meeting with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, the ambassador mentioned that his embassy was keen on further strengthening the relations between state level leaders in India with provincial leaders in China.

Le Yucheng said China proposes to establish a Consulate General in Chennai soon besides collaborating on developing the high speed rail link between Delhi and Chennai and on increasing the speed on the Chennai-Mysuru rail line.

“Information Technology, Pharma and Agriculture are three areas where India could export even more to China to redress the trade imbalance some more,” he said.

Expressing concern over a statistics that annually 110 million Chinese tourists go abroad, but only 100,000 visit India, he said this needs to change.

Le Yucheng expected that there would be substantial Chinese participation in the Global Investors Meet to be held in Chennai and highlighted the possibilities of investment in the renewable energy sector, particularly solar energy where the Chinese had some world class companies.

AC-DC conversion of the CST–Thane stretch awaits CRS nod

Mumbai: The AC-DC conversion of the CST-Thane stretch is still awaiting the nod from the Commissioner of Railway safety. The AC-DC test conversion was done by the Central Railway in December and the reports were sent to the Commissioner Of Railway Safety for approval.

Official sources reveal that there are augmentation errors which the commissioner is not in favour off as it raises major safety concerns. However, the final approval would be from the railway board.

Speaking to ADC, Chetan Bakshi, Commissioner Of Railway Safety said, “I have sent the condonation to the railway board and I am waiting for their sanction. Once I receive the sanction, I will inspect the AD-DC conversion myself.”

A Central Railway officer informed ADC, that only after the CST – Thane AC-DC conversion is done, work on Harbour line AC- DC conversion would begin, “New local trains would be introduced in the Harbour line only after the AC-DC conversions.”

    Benefits of Alternating Current (AC):

  •     Number of suburban train services would increase
  •     After the AC-DC conversion, the power would be increased to 25,000 volts
  •     Save electrical energy of nearly Rs.67 crore per annum
  •     Faster, superior and long trains would be introduced

CRS inspects newly Electrified 84-km Shoranur-Kozhikode section

Shoranur (SRR): A high-level team led by S.K. Mittal, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru, inspected the newly electrified 84-km section between Shoranur and Kozhikode on Monday.

This was consequent to the successful trial run of electric engine between Shoranur and Kozhikode by the Southern Railway Palakkad Division and Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), Project Unit, Chennai, last week.

The inspection began at Shoranur Junction at 9.35 a.m. and reached Kozhikode at 2.45 p.m.

The Commissioner of Railway Safety inspected the feeding posts, sub-sectioning and paralleling posts, pitching posts, feeder posts, power line crossings, railway overbridges, foot overbridges, interlocked level crossings, girder bridges, and curves.

Beside the main line, the siding line to the goods shed at Kallayi has also been electrified.

The electrification of the oil siding yard at Feroke will be taken up soon. The approximate cost of the project is Rs.100 crore.

Commuters to avail Metro Train every 15 minutes in Kolkata Metro on Sundays

Kolkata (KOAA): Metro Railway will run trains at 15-minute interval right from the start of its service at 9.50am from this Sunday.

Till last week, trains used to run at an interval of 30 minutes between 9.50am and 2pm and at an interval of 15 minutes between 2pm and 10pm.

“Since Metro started running trains from 10am on Sundays from December 2013, we have seen a steady rise in passenger count and nowadays, several trains on Sunday mornings even run with capacity crowd,” the Metro spokesperson said.

“Hence, we have decided to increase the frequency of trains to distribute the passenger load and make the journey more comfortable for them,” the spokesperson said.

Metro currently runs 94 trains on Sundays. The increase in frequency would mean an addition of eight more trains, taking the total number of trains in the city to 102.

Metro will reduce the interval between trains on Saturday night as well.

“Till last week I used to take a bus or a taxi to reach my workplace on Sarat Bose Road on Sundays.

“The 30-minute intervals on Sundays were hardly of any use,” said Niladri Basu of Belgachhia. “But now on, life will get easier.”

Ever since Metro services were advanced on Sundays, the daily footfall has increased from 1.5 lakh to 3.7 lakh.

The footfall between 10am and 2pm is over 1.5 lakh. On weekdays, the number is about 6 lakh.

Commuters lauded the Metro but said it would be better if the timings are stretched till 11pm.

New routes to ease Airport traffic during Lucknow Metro works

Lucknow (LKO): Considering difficulties faced by residents commuting to and from the airport during metro construction, chief secretary Alok Ranjan has directed Public Works Department to strengthen alternative routes before monsoon begins so that traffic is diverted accordingly from Kanpur Road.

Secretary issued orders to LDA to facilitate in providing land to the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) on a lease period of 90 years for building corridor, stations and other metro related infrastructure. He said all necessary proceedings should be initiated for transfer of land to LMRC. “All necessary clearances should be availed from the forest department on priority basis”, he added.

He was reviewing the metro project and found the construction pace to be satisfactory. He asked the UPSRTC officials to transfer immediately its land to metro for building of Alambagh metro station and also arrangements should be made for signing of an MOU between UPSRTC and LMRC.

The DM was instructed to provide partial land of Krishna Nagar police station to LMRC for constructing the metro station. He also directed the home department to immediately issue clearances for the above transfer.

Centre all set to clear Metro Rail projects worth Rs.83,000 Crore

New Delhi: In an attempt to provide hassle-free transport facilities across cities in the country, the Union Government is all set to clear metro projects for nine cities entailing a whopping investment worth Rs. 83,000cr, said official sources elaborating that the cities included Pune, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, Vishakhapatnam and Vijayawada, while work is already in full swing on building metro projects in Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Nagpur.

The urban development ministry’s initial estimates indicated that the cost of constructing one km of metro rail stretch is around Rs. 250 Crore and that a total of 223 km will be covered by these metro projects. Currently, 259 km of metro rail is operational of which, 189 km is in Delhi, 60 km in other cities, including Chennai, Bengaluru and Nagpur. As a matter of fact, about 528 km of metro lines entailing a staggering investment worth Rs. 1.64 lakh Crore, including 138 km in Delhi and 25 km in Kochi will become operational very shortly.

Alstom bags Power Supply contract of Kochi Metro, making it the Main Supplier for the Line

Alstom was awarded a contract worth €9 million from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to provide receiving and auxiliary main substations for the Kochi metro. This contract includes high voltage cabling from the state grid for the new 25 kilometer long metro line. Alstom is the main supplier of Kochi metro after it has been awarded previous orders for 25 Metropolis trainsets, signalling, telecom and electrification. Commercial service is scheduled to begin in March 2016.

Under this new contract, Alstom is in charge of the supply, installation, testing and commissioning of 110kV cabling incoming from the grid (incl. civil works), 2x GIS 110kV Intake Power Substations and their associated Power Transformers 110kV/33kV, and 33kV/415V Auxiliary Transformers.

“With this new contract, which is, by the way, the first metro receiving sub-station contract for Alstom Transport in India, we are supplying most of the Kochi metro line. It reaffirms the trust that the customer has in our products, technology and capability to provide a complete metro system” said Bharat Salhotra, Managing Director, Alstom Transport India.

Globally, Alstom designs, builds, delivers, tests and commissions all types of rail electrification infrastructure with a strong focus on customer needs and  ensures maintenance of the entire system. It has installed nearly 4,000km of contact systems throughout the world and takes part in hundreds of power supply projects, including both turnkey contracts and the delivery of separate sub-systems.

Alstom has been present in India for more than a century. The company has recently opened a new facility at SriCity to build metro train sets and has a manufacturing unit in Coimbatore for traction systems and an engineering unit specialized in signalling, telecom and rolling stock in Bangalore. Alstom has strong references in the country both in signalling and rolling stock, including the metro train sets for Chennai and the signalling systems provided for Delhi, Bengaluru and Jaipur metros.

About Alstom Transport 

A promoter of sustainable mobility, Alstom Transport develops and markets the most complete range of systems, equipment and services in the railway sector. Alstom Transport manages entire transport systems, including trains, signalling, maintenance and modernisation, infrastructure and offers integrated solutions. Alstom Transport recorded sales of €5.9 billion in the fiscal year 2013/14. Alstom Transport is present in over 60 countries and employs around 28,300 people.

About Alstom in India 

Alstom is a global leader in power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure. Present in India since 1911, Alstom has strong capabilities in engineering, manufacturing, project management and supply of products and solutions for infrastructure. Alstom has four R&D centres in India: Transport in Bengaluru, Hydro Global Technology Centre in Vadodara and Grid R&D centres in Hosur & Padappai. It has three engineering centres for Power in Noida, Vadodara and Kolkata and fourteen manufacturing units dedicated to: Power – Hydro in Vadodara, Boilers in Durgapur, Power Mills in Shahabad, Steam turbines in Gujarat, Transport at Coimbatore and SriCity and Grid in Padappai, Pallavaram, Hosur, Vadodara, Naini and Noida.

Railways Freight on Grains, Coal, Cement to increase from April 1

Hike set to fetch an additional Rs.4,000 Crore in revenue for Railways

Aiming to mop up an additional Rs.4,000 crore in goods earning, the Railways will increase its freight rates for several commodities including grains, pulses, urea, coal and cement from April 1 as proposed in the Railway Budget 2015-16.

While sparing passengers in his Rail Budget, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had proposed an average hike of 3.2 per cent in freight rates which is expected to have a direct impact on consumers of essential commodities and steel and aluminium industries.

Freight rates for carrying grains, pulses and urea would be increased by 10 per cent from the next fiscal, while coal rates would be raised by 6.3 per cent. Cement freight rate has been proposed to be increased by 2.7 per cent, while a hike by 3.1 per cent is expected on scrap and pig iron rates.

Railways has set an ambitious target of carrying 1,186 million tonnes (MT) of goods in the 2015-16 fiscal as against 1,105 MT in the current fiscal.

Prabhu had also proposed to raise freight rates for iron ore and steel by 0.8 per cent in the fiscal 2015-16 which begins in April. The freight rates for bitumen and coal tar are to be hiked by 3.5 per cent.

Freight earnings are estimated to be Rs.1,21,423 crore in the next fiscal as against its estimated freight earnings in 2014-15 of Rs.106,927 crore.

Besides freight rates, platform tickets will cost Rs.10 from Wednesday, as against the current rate of Rs 5.

The advance reservation period is also going to be increased from the existing 60 days to 120 days from April 1.

We have made Action Plan for our Railway Budget: Suresh Prabhu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu presented a budget that was very different and broke away from the tradition. Nor did he announce any new trains, the most looked out part of the Railway Budget, neither did he tinker with railway fares. His budget focussed on getting the Railways back on track and making sure that a foundation has been laid to propel Railways into a growth engine of the India story.

In an interview with Media, Suresh Prabhu said that action plan for proper implementation of the budget allocations and agenda laid down in the Railway Budget 2015 is formulated. Excepts as below:

Q: Mr. Prabhu in your very first budget, you made history; you gave a practical Rail Budget, 2015  which does not have any announcement for new trains. What was the rationale behind this decision?

Suresh Prabhu: Our Prime minister has always maintained that Railways can and should become a major source of our  nation’s development story. I believe the budget should be designed keeping present and future requirements in mind and that’s what we did. I would like to thank members of parliament, PM and citizens of this country for welcoming this budget.

Q: Railways lacks infrastructure and you have initiated new steps to deal with it.Do you think you  can achieve those dreams of improving the infrastructure by these steps? 

Suresh Prabhu: Whatever we stated in the budget, we have made an action plan for it. Today,  we have all the action plans with us. For instance, responsibilty for every action etc. and we have made a detailed list for the same. Few days back, we said that we will handle 1200 million tonnes of freight capacity; we have an action plan even for that. People who manage the system will implement it 101%. Mr. Manoj Sinhaji, will monitor even that.

Q: For the transformation of railways, you have inducted Mr.Ratan Tata, Mr. Vinod Rai. What is your purpose of bringing in these people?

Suresh Prabhu:  The world economy is undergoing transformation and Raliways need to be in tandem with the same.  So we required experienced people who have been successful and visionary entrepreneurs manage these tasks better.

Q: So, you think it was required and will it help?

Suresh Prabhu: They can give an expert view and in addition to that leaders of two of our Rail Federations are also involved in this. Railways is the property of our nation hence, we need to safeguared it. And of course it will help as increasing accidents in railways and non-commitment to the time are the biggest problems and we need to rectify it.

Q: According to the sources, the committee under Bibek Debroy has permitted Pvt. Companies to run goods train and passanger trains. As a Railway Minister, whats your take on this?

Suresh Prabhu:  Well, I can’t say anything right now as I have not seen the report yet.

Q: You have raised many issues in this budget whether its cleanliness or something else but still people are facing problems for ticket reservation in the coming holiday season.

Suresh Prabhu: Even I am concerned about the problems that Railways is facing.One is punctuality of trains, although we have made a new structure to deal with this problem but still it will take some time and yes I agree that people are facing problems in getting reserved ticket because there is a huge gap between demand and supply. We are upgrading our softwares to make it easy for people. With the help of CRPF we are keeping  touts away from railway stations. We are in the process of installing CCTV cameras for any suspicious activity and specially in peak season people are facing such problems. We are working really hard in keeping ‘aam janta’ in mind so that they don’t face such problem in future.

Q: Investment in Railways is being discussed. LIC is planning to invest 1.5 lakh crore. but pvt. players have lots of expectations and I would also like to ask about your expectations.

Suresh Prabhu: Railways need investments. In the next 5 years, we need 8.5 lakhs cr..So, through PPP model, we are trying to garner the investment and will try to revamp PPP cell. Mr. Ajay Shankar was the Secretary of
Department of National Policy and Promotion. Under his aegis we are trying to work in this direction.

Q: The biggest fear of the private sector is corruption. What are going to do to rectify the same?

Suresh Prabhu: We are devising a regulatory framework and for that Arvind Panagaria and Mr. Shankar will also be a part of that. Along with that we are taking suggestions from people to improve the system.

Q: Government is planning to develop IRCTC along the lines of Flipkart and that is entirely your thought process.

Suresh Prabhu: To develop the Railways, we will have to work in a way which is manifold, because people have invested money through equities too and we must give them the correct valuation of their money.

Q: It is being said that despite taking the privatisation route you have made good rapport with lots of private companies and experts view this as a positive move..

Suresh Prabhu: We have already made it clear that Railways shall not be privatized. Mr. PM said the same thing on 25 December in Varanasi too. So, the amount of money Railways need can’t be fulfilled with the help of
finance ministry. So Railways has to find its own source.

Q: Modi govt is completing 1 year. What is your gift to this country on completion of one year to the people of this country?

Suresh Prabhu: Our biggest priority is to gift ‘achhe din’ to the low-income group of this country and we are committed to this.

Q: You had promised to increase the speed of trains and there has been some improvements in this direction too and we did run this news on our channel. How soon can you fulfill this
promise that you had made in this budget?

Suresh Prabhu: It will take some time to lay down new tracks. We need to differentiate between the tracks as right now , we have same track for goods, passenger, express as well as Rajdhani trains ..So we will try to overcome the hindrances.

Q: According to my research, this will entail a minimum investment of Rs 100 crore. Is it feasible?

Suresh Prabhu: Yes, we will invest whatever amount is required for this and average speed must increase within an years time.

Q: By when do you expect an IPO of IRCTC?

Suresh Prabhu: Can’t say now but will work on devising the actual valuation.

Q: For ‘Make In India’ , you have been succesful in getting FDI for two big ticket projects. What will be the contribution of Railways to PM’s ‘Make in India’ project?

Suresh Prabhu: Production units and our commities are making the plans as to how should the production be increased in our country. So in the times ahead the modern technology should be manufactured in the
country itself..So,a detailed roadmap is required for the same.

Q: What will you say to Corporate India how can they help in developing the Railways and what message will you give to Public?

Suresh Prabhu: We want to increase our partnership with corporate India as they have the capital and experience too. Catering etc, everything is in private hands.

Q: What are your views on land Acquisition Bill..Because a large part of land is today with the Railways?

Suresh Prabhu: Farmer is a pivotal part of India and it’s future. BJP is working for the development of farmers. According to National Sample survey, 44% of the farmers say that we do not want to pursue Agriculture, which is disappointing. So, we need land for manufacturing and for capacity building too.

Q: Do you feel Modi government is facing the heat?

Suresh Prabhu: No, Modi govt is simply presenting the facts.

Q: Today, Mr Vajpayee is receiving Bharat Ratna.What do you want to say..

Suresh Prabhu: I treat him like a father. I too feel honored and can’t express my happiness and emotions in words.

Cuttack-Barang Doubling: Cancellation of Train will be notified soon

Cuttack (CTC): Due to operational reasons, the safety related modernisation work between Cuttack and Barang Stations has been kept in abeyance now and the new programme of the said work will be notified soon.

As a result, 18414/18413 Puri-Paradeep-Puri Express , 22810 Visakhapatnam-Paradeep Express, 22814 Paradeep-Santragachhi Express, 22813 Santragachhi-Paradeep Express scheduled to leave Santragachhi o­n 31st March (Tuesday) and 22809 Paradeep-Visakhapatnam Express including 58406/58405 and 78507/78508 Paradeep-Cuttack-Paradeep passenger trains declared earlier as cancelled are hereby resumed.

Delhi Metro tie up with Offer World App for Android users

delhi_ncr_metroNew Delhi: Starting today, several Delhi Metro commuters would be able to download new free apps from an application, which would also offer them redeemable points for recharging their smart cards.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has entered into a tie-up with ‘Offer World’, an application for Android users, that in turn will reward users, who will download apps available in its kitty.

“To get the benefits one will have to simply download the Offer World app from Google Play Store.

Then simply download any of the selected apps, listed on the offer page that will give you credits,” DMRC Chief Spokesman Anuj Dayal said.

From games, newsportals to ecommerce portals, the range of apps on offer is vast and will grow in the days to come.

For every recharge, a user can simply redeem his collected credits by entering his smart card number – which is printed on the back of every card – on the app.

“The card will be recharged within 48 hours of entering the details. You will also be able to check your available balance or credits from the home option of the app,” he added.

delhi-metro-train-android-appAccording to the app developers, to get recharge benefits, a minimum of 100 credit points will have to be collected.

Dayal said, the move is aimed at optimising and encouraging use of smart cards by tapping the ever-growing community of Android smartphone users.

“70 per cent of metro commuters use smart cards at present.”

The app will be popularised through media and by advertising it inside the stations and train coaches.  DMRC Managing Director Mangu Singh will launch the app tomorrow morning, following which Offer World will be available on Google Play Store.

Stakeholders, Consultant stick to Elevated Metro Plan for Pune

Pune: There is strong support from the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the elevated metro plan for corridor II between Vanaz and Ramwadi. Presenting their case before the committee appointed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, PMC and DMRC officials submitted that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the DMRC was “workable”. Early this month, Fadnavis had appointed a committee under Guardian Minister Girish Bapat to study an alternative alignment for this corridor. In its recent submission to the committee, the PMC suggested that the state government should back the DMRC report for the Pune metro project. The civic body opposed demand by activists and citizens to have a new DPR and tap the possibility of underground metro. “The civic body has strongly opposed the idea of a new DPR. The process will take another few years and the project may be delayed further. Other cities have started working on the metro. The state must go ahead with the DMRC plan,” said a senior civic official. DMRC officials, who presented their case before the committee, defended the DPR proposing an elevated metro and said an underground metro would mean heavy investment. Activists want a new DPR. “The state government will have to redo the entire DPR. There is no scientific background to the DPR and the state government must not start work on any corridor without a detailed study. It would be a waste of taxpayers’ money,” said urban planner Aneeta Gokhale Benninger. The committee will submit its report by second week of April.

No Change in Metro-III Corridor alignment: Aswhini Bhide, MD/MMRCL

ashwini bhideMumbai: The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd has ruled out change in alignment for the Metro III corridor, which has met with opposition from Girgaum and Cuffe Parade residents.

Speaking at the event organized at the Press Club, MMRCL’s Managing Director Aswhini Bhide said, “As of now, there are no plans to change the alignment. If we concede to change the alignment at one place, there will be similar demands from residents of other places. It will also mean taking the project again to the drawing board.”

Residents of Cuffe Parade have demanded termination of the Metro at Vidhan Bhavan station, while tenants of buildings in Girgaum and Kalbadevi fear permanent displacement if they are shifted out of the locality for this project.

Bhide also allayed fears about disposal of muck generated by the digging work for the underground metro. She said, “A total of 180 trucks will ferry muck every day from seven different locations along the corridor. In effect, there would not be more than 7 to 8 trucks from each location across the city per day.”

She said MMRCL had planned the Metro corridor in such a manner that there would be minimal impact on traffic. Nearly 60 per cent of the 27 Metro stations along this corridor are in open space or on internal roads and not on the main arterial roads.

Bhide refused to comment on the fate of the car shed proposed at Aarey. She said, “A committee has been appointed to look into the matter.”

She also said MMRCL is open to suggestions from residents on traffic management.

India’s antiquated rail network is earmarked for an Overhaul with High Speed Rail system

India’s railway system is a remarkable piece of engineering: some 71,000 physical miles of track, 41,000 miles of network and 7,172 stations – a colossus which carries 23 million passengers each day and 8.4 billion every year

A few months ago, I stood on the platform in Shin-Omuta station – which serves the small city of Omuta, on the south-westerly Japanese island of Kyushu. I had just stepped off a “slow” commuter service, and wasn’t entirely paying attention to my surroundings – so that when the bullet train from Fukuoka to Kagoshima came racing through at 160 miles per hour, I was almost knocked off my feet.

There is something about the sight of a shinkansen in full flow which still speaks of the future – even though Japan’s ground-breaking take on rail travel first blazed across Honshu in 1964. It is the roar of wind as it dashes past you, its split-second presence (the top operating speed for a bullet train is 200mph), which still seems like a vision from a science-fiction movie. It is something which can only be appreciated from a trackside spot – a journey on the train itself is so swift that the pace of it is lost in a blur of motion.

I was brought back to this random encounter in a distant corner of the Far East – I’m sure my reaction was something akin to the astonishment of farmworkers on glimpsing George Stephenson’s Rocket in 1829 – by reports that India is toying with constructing a bullet-train network of its own.

In theory, this is a glorious idea. India, after all, is the world’s seventh largest country, and its second most populous, home to a head-count of 1.2 billion people. It is a place where a revolution in internal transport would make a big difference. It is also one of the globe’s most booming economies. Where is the downside?

The answers to that question are “money”, “money”, and “money”. And the fact that, for now, any thought of India forging a rail system to rival those in France, Japan and China is partly based on the sparkling promises of the current Prime Minister. Narendra Modi was elected by a landslide last May having talked a fine game about creating a modern country in keeping with its size and ambition. One of the offered innovations was a total restructuring of the rail network. “Why do our railway stations need to be so old?,” he asked during a triumphalist speech last July. “Why can’t they be better than our airports?”

Why indeed? But having attained the top job, Modi has been, to an extent, inching back from his grand pronouncements. Earlier this month, his Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu suggested that each kilometre of the necessary high-speed track would cost around £14 million – a sum that smacked of reality being introduced to a blueprint made of stardust.

Nonetheless, India is gently shuffling towards a radical rail overhaul. A feasibility study (involving Japanese expertise) is underway. And while a series of what Modi has referred to as “Diamond Quadrilateral” lines would take decades to complete, there are plans for a halfway-house “semi-high-speed” service which would be a huge improvement on the status quo. Last July, an experimental version of this compromise covered the 140 miles between New Delhi and Agra at 100mph. And there is tentative chatter about forging such a connection between Kolkata and Delhi which would see trains manage the 923-mile odyssey in nine hours. The current time for this route, using the existing infrastructure, is closer to 36 hours. On average, Indian trains “move” at around 31mph.

And here is the nub of the problem. India’s train system is a remarkable piece of engineering: some 71,000 physical miles of track, 41,000 miles of network and 7,172 stations – a colossus which carries 23 million passengers each day and 8.4 billion every year. And all at soil-scraping prices which keep its carriages within financial reach of much of the population. It is India’s veins, arteries and capillaries – and many of its vital organs too.

However, it is also enormously antiquated – a very literal legacy of the Raj era in that much of it was laid down while India was under British control. Only 6,000 of those 40,000 miles of network have been built since independence in 1947. The other 85 per cent of the system is rather older. The first train on Indian turf rolled between Mumbai and Thane – a 21-mile jaunt through Maharashtra – on April 16, 1853. By 1880, after a wave of Victorian enthusiasm and investment, 9,000 miles of track had been pinned into position. Bombay and Calcutta were linked in 1870.

It would take a similar explosion of effort to convert what is a 19th century relic into a 21st century phenomenon. Would India lose some of its character as a result? Perhaps a little. The trundling, passenger-stuffed cavalcade of carriages is one of the most evocative images of travel in the sub-continent – a clanking process taking days over a journey that could be done in hours by plane. In many ways, its decrepit railway is a crucial part of India’s soul. Mahatma Gandhi made most of his tours of the country in the Twenties, Thirties and Forties – building momentum for his policy of non-violent resistance to its colonial masters – by rail. His final foray – his remains being transferred from New Delhi to Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, where his ashes were scattered in the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna in the wake of his assassination in January 1948 – was also by train.

That, at least, is the romantic view. A more pragmatic approach is that train travel in India is hot, stuffy and decidedly unreliable – even if, as a tourist, you have booked a berth in a first-class compartment. And it holds back a nation of high potential and huge resources.

Its torturous wheel-dragging also ensures that it is only ever possible to see so much of India. Many roads are cluttered and impassable, the distances gargantuan. You can, of course, hop around by air. But that has its delays and its disadvantages – not least that, as you jump from one air-conditioned terminal to another, you lose sight of the destination.

Imagine an India where you could race from Kochi to Bangalore in a few hours, watching the rural flanks of Kerala and Karnataka flash past. Where you could zip from Mumbai to the beaches of Goa, along the side of the Arabian Sea, in an afternoon – or swap lunch at Colaba market for Rajasthan, Jodhpur and the Mehrangarh Fort before the sun sets. Where you could visit Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Udaipur and the foothills of the Himalayas in less than a fortnight without missing a scrap of the mileage in between.

It is a splendid prospect. It is a moot point too – such a scenario may be half a century away. Yet an India with a railway network fit for contemporary purpose would cease to be a desirable, but difficult, venue for holidays – and hit the top of everybody’s travel list.

-Chris Leadbeater

CR and WR remove Coupon Validating Machines (CVMs)

Mumbai: Officials will soon start removing coupon validating machines (CVMs) on both Central and Western Railway to meet the March 31 deadline set by the Railway Board for phasing out the devices.

The announcement was made early evening on Friday by both railways. CR chief public relations officer Narendra Patil said that though CVMs would be phased out, commuters would be given a month to use the coupon booklets they had already purchased. “Commuters can use booklets until April 30 only by which time we will remove the CVMs,” he said.

WR chief public relations officer Sharat Chandrayan said that no new coupon booklets would be sold at counters henceforth. “No new CVM booklets will be sold to the public anymore. They will be allowed to punch or stamp coupons until the last day of April,” he said. Along with the machines, the stamps often used to stamp coupons will be thrown out too, said officials.

The decision hasn’t gone down well with WR commuters, who say they find use of Automatic Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) difficult. Rani Pawar, a nurse who travels from Andheri to Borivali daily, said, “The screen of the ATVM is so confusing. The machine just goes crazy with people losing their money and getting the wrong ticket,” she said.

Demand for Broad Gauge line from Mainaguri to Jogighopa intensifies

Jogighopa (JPZ): A new broad gauge (BG) railway line connecting New Mainaguri, Mathabbanga, Chengrabandha and Coochbehar to Jogighopa via Boxirhat, Dhubri, Gauripur and other places has been a long-standing demand of the people in the Jalpaiguri and Coochbehar districts of West Bengal and the Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Goalpara and parts of Kokrajhar districts of Assam, besides the East Garo Hills and West Garo Hills districts of Meghalaya.

Around 80 per cent of the people of these areas belong to the poor strata of the society. There has been no industrial development in the region, mainly due to the lack of adequate infrastructure facilities, including a railway network. However, the demand has been overlooked by the Railway authorities since the past 50 years.

Transportation facilities available before Independence have also been discontinued. Before Independence, this part of the country was connected to mainland India through then undivided Bengal (now Bangladesh). Besides a rail link, the region was connected to Kolkata through the Brahmaputra river. Dhubri town was then the biggest inland river port of Assam. The airport at Rupshi was constructed during World War II and the one at Coochbehar was constructed much earlier. But they remain unutilised today.

The joint convener of the New Mainaguri-Jogighopa Railway Demand Committee, Tazmul Hoque said all the transport links had been snapped after Independence, and that the people of the area have been virtually cut off from mainstream national life.

All the districts concerned in Assam, North Bengal and Meghalaya seeking the proposed railway line are rich in forest wealth. Sal, sishu, segun, bonsom, gamari and numerous other varieties of valuable trees grow in abundance in the forests of these areas. Moreover, bamboo, cane, pati bet (a variety of cane used in making mats), medicinal plants and herbs, orchids, resins and other varieties of plants, trees and forest produce are abundantly available in the forests of the region.

The region is also rich in mineral resources. Dolomite, an essential raw material for the production of cement and coal, is available in the two districts concerned of Meghalaya. Dolomite is also available in the Jalpaiguri district of North Bengal.

The proposed railway line from New Mainaguri to Jogighopa and other places covers a distance of 270 km approximately. The earth work for the construction of the rail route is likely to cost much less as compared to other places. This proposed railway line will help optimum utilisation of the Naranarayan Setu over the Brahmaputra river at Jogighopa, which is a road-cum- railway bridge. The total cost for the construction of the proposed line is estimated to be Rs 1,400 crore.

The proposed railway line passing through the districts of West Bengal and Assam bordering Bangladesh, now a friendly country, will be strategically important from the defence point of view too. The demand is justified in view of the fact that the per capita railway in the region is very negligible and much below the national average.

The demand for expansion of the railway network in the region was raised at the conventions at Tufanganj (Coochbehar district) and Bijni (erstwhile Goalpara district) in 1961. The then Northeast Frontier General Manager, late BC Ganguly took some initiative in this regard; but subsequently, the matter was abandoned by the Railway authorities for reasons best known to them.

Recently, the joint convener of the New Mainaguri-New Coochbehar-Dhubri-Jogigopha Railway Extension Demand Committee submitted a memorandum to the Railway Minister of India for the construction of the BG line immediately.

Onset of Summer makes ECR beef up Track Safety

Patna: With the mercury rising, the Danapur division of East Central Railway (ECR) has stepped up summer safety measures. A foolproof plan has been chalked out to ensure safety on the tracks.  DRM/Danapur N K Gupta said vulnerable places, including bridges, have been identified to maintain the smooth run of passenger and goods trains either originating from or passing through the division during peak summer. “Extra alert is being maintained during the peak time of the day when the mercury is extremely high,” he said.

An action force has been created to patrol the tracks during the peak hours from 11am to 4pm. In case of detection of any fault in the tracks, the action force team reports the matter to the control room at the divisional HQ at Danapur. The repair work is started on the damaged tracks on a priority basis, Gupta said.  Track patrolling men have been put on alert. The Danapur control room is also keeping a close watch on vulnerable places, the DRM said. Surprise inspection has been initiated at different places under the five divisions of the zone during day and night to check safety preparedness.

The ECR CPRO said the zone is strictly following summer safety directives under the supervision of GM. Gangmen and keymen have been asked to remain vigilant while patrolling tracks, he said.  At least 260 passenger and 45 goods trains either originate from or pass through the division daily. A team of safety officials are constantly moving from one place to another to check any damage to tracks caused by excessive heat, sources said.  Train movement is adversely hit in summer due to buckling of tracks caused by excessive heat. Buckling often causes derailment of trains if preventive steps are not taken in time.

Railways aims to equip all Passenger Coaches with Bio-Toilets by 2020-21

New Delhi: Aiming to eliminate direct discharge toilets from its entire fleet of passenger coaches by 2020-21, Railways has drawn up an action plan to replace them with environment-friendly bio-toilets.

“While 17,338 existing toilets in trains have been replaced with bio-toilets till date, our aim is to equip the entire coaching fleet with bio-toilets,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project. According to the action plan, all new coaches would be fitted with bio-toilets by 2016-17, while the retrofitting of existing coaches with bio-toilets will continue. For the 2015-16 fiscal, Railways has set the target to fit 17,000 bio-toilets in long-distance trains as part of its ‘Swachh Rail – Swachh Bharat’ programme.

Direct discharge of human waste from the existing toilet system in trains causes corrosion of the tracks, costing the public transporter in crores to replace the rail tracks. The new-age green toilets have been designed by Railways along with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) keeping in mind the requirements of Indian trains.

The bio-toilets are fitted underneath the lavatories and the human waste discharged into them is acted upon by a particular kind of bacteria that converts it into non-corrosive neutral water. While the process of fitting 10,500 bio-toilets in new coaches is in progress, the target for the 2015-16 fiscal is 17,000 bio-toilets.

The Railways is also working towards improving the condition of toilet facilities at stations and in trains as it has been receiving several complaints from passengers regarding lack of cleanliness at these facilities. The official said the aim is to make Swachh Rail the driving force behind the governments flagship programme – Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Railways, which have launched a cleanliness drive across the country, has collected a fine of Rs 4 crore in the last six months against spoiling and littering railways stations across the country.

Central Railway installs 658 ATVMs at Suburban Stations

Mumbai: Central Railway has installed a total 658 automatic ticket vending machines (ATVMs) for the convenience of commuters.

In the past, it had installed 383 machines in a phased manner at 74 suburban stations and it recently added 275 more machines based on commuter response. The major stastions which has these ATVMs are — 39 at Thane station, 33 at Kalyan, 24 at Dombivli, 24 at Kurla, 22 at Mulund, 22 at Ghatkopar, 19 at Dadar, 17 at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and more than 10 ATVMs at Byculla, Sion, Vidhyavihar, Kanjurmarg, Bhandup, Kalva, Mumbra, Diva, Ulhasnagar, Ambarnath, Badlapur, Vadala Road, Mankhurd, Vashi, Sanpada, Nerul and Panvel.

Said a CR official, “To purchase a ticket through ATVM the passenger has to purchase a smart card first which can be recharged as per requirement. The passenger is benefited with 5% more value. For example, with a charging of Rs 100. the passenger can purchase tickets valued at Rs 105.”

To make these ATVMs more user friendly, CR has deputed retired government employees as facilitators for the ATVMs at some of the crowded stations. “The sale through ATVMs is about 21% of total sale of tickets thereby reducing the queues on counters considerably,” the official added.

CRB inspects Agra Fort and Agra Cantt. stations

Agra: Railway Board Chairman A K Mittal today inspected Agra Fort and Agra Cantonment railway stations of North Central railway and pitched for better passenger amenities.

Mittal told railway officials to step up efforts to clean the platforms and tracks which had piles of garbage. He said he will never tolerate garbage piling at Agra stations as it is among one of the top tourist destinations of the world.  He also pitched for better and broad-based facilities for passengers at the stations.

Later talking to reporters, the Railway Board Chairman said the Gatiman Express, which will run at a speed of 160 km per hour between Agra and Delhi, would be launched following green signal from the Railway Safety Commissioner.

Central Railway to procure 153 new coaches for Harbour Line

Mumbai: The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) officials have finally decided to open the tenders for the 153 new coaches to be procured for Harbour line.  This had been announced under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) II itself, but the decision was taken only after the MRVC met with Central Railway (CR) officials to discuss works of MUTP III, which has been sanctioned in this year’s Railway budget. “The 153 coaches for Harbour line, which would be 12 trains of 12 coaches, was a long-proposed project and for whatever reason this is the last major project in the proposed MUTP II that is yet to materialise,” said an official. Officials said these trains would be given not just to the mainline Harbour line but also to Trans-Harbour line.  The MRVC is keen to open the contracts, and like always, will go to the lowest bidder, the official added.

The Harbour line currently has 36 rakes on the mainline and 22 on the Trans-Harbour line. “By the time these coaches do arrive, the current rakes running on Harbour line will be beyond use; in fact the situation is almost dire as Harbour has the oldest rakes on the Mumbai suburban system,” the official added.

Although this is a positive sign, Harbour line commuters said these promises had been made to them for long.

Uran-Seawoods Railway line gets impetus

Mumbai: The 27-km Seawoods to Uran line has gotten a push after Railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that he is keen for the Railways to wrap up projects and move on to MUTP III that had been sanctioned in the Railway budget on February 26.

In 1996, the Central Railway (CR) had calculated that the Seawoods to Uran line would cost Rs 500 crore, but after the cost review in 2013, the expenditure estimated had escalated to Rs 1,800 crore. The project is a joint venture between CR and City Industrial Development Corpo-ration (Cidco) that owns most of the land in Navi Mumbai and is known to build spacious stations in the city.

A Railway official said that around 11 rakes will be purchased for the project at the total cost of Rs 528 crore. The official said on condition of anonymity, “Each rake will provide around 12 services, so there will be around 132 services in the first year itself. More rakes will be eventually added and services will be increased.”

The project has been given the deadline of December 2017 for completion. The CR plans to build this line with Alternative Current (AC) 25,000 V. “We are not going to repeat the mistake we did on mainline Harbour, which is on DC. We have a long way to go before converting Harbour to AC as the same has not been done on the mainline yet,” added the officials.

Cidco will be sharing 33 per cent of the 18,00 crore with the Railways bearing the rest of the expenditure. However, there have been problems in procuring land for the last three stations — Targhar, Bamandongri and Kharkopar.

CR is currently waiting for Cidco to submit the final design plans to them so that they can plan the stations, platforms and the alignment of the tracks accordingly

Maharashtra MLC demands special rail corp for Marathwada region on the lines of KRCL

kaAmarsingh Pandit, MLC of NCP in the upper House of Maharashtra asked the state government to institute a special rail corporation for Marathwada on the lines of the Konkan Railway Corporation so that the state could raise funds to push pending railway routes in the backward Marathwada region. Discussion on rail issues started after Amarsingh Pandit (NCP) moved the non-governmental motion in the Upper House.

The state government on Friday admitted that the railway ministry had not sanctioned the new Pune-Nashik rail route. Transport Minister Diwakar Raote assured the House that he would arrange a meeting with Union Railway minister Suresh Prabhu with all party members to push pending issues of the railways in the state. Mr Raote was replying to a non-governmental motion on pending railway route issues in the Marathwada region moved by Amarsingh Pandit of NCP in the upper House.

Mr Raote, in his reply, said that the state would consider Mr Pandit’s suggestion and informed the House that he had visited Delhi thrice to meet Mr Prabhu in this regard. “After pushing and continuous follow-up, Mr Prabhu has approved 12 projects in the state. However, the railway ministry has not approved the most awaited Pune-Nashik rail route,” the minister agreed.

Mr Raote further said that Konkan had connected with western Maharashtra through the new Karad-Chiplun line. “The railway ministry has approved the new line and we’ll arrange for laying the foundation stone for it very soon,” he said, adding that an outlay of Rs 1,200 crore had been allocated in the Railway budget for the same.  He also informed the House about the status of Ahmednagar-Beed-Parli railway route, Solapur-Beed and other ongoing works of railway routes in the state.

Railways issue Special Identity Cards for Physically Challenged

New Delhi: In the wake of recent Court directives based on a number of complaints and requests from the NGOs and public representatives on issue of special identity cards to the physically challenged, the Indian Railways, on Saturday, extended its support to the physically challenged by providing concessions to them. The Railways will be issuing special photo identity cards to the physically challenged persons.

They, through the special ID cards, will be entitled to book concessional tickets across PRS counters, e-ticket/i-ticket through IRCTC website and also concessional unreserved tickets at UTS counters throughout the country.

Director, Traffic Commercial (Genl.), Railway Board, S.K.Ahirwar issued the new directive to all General Managers of Zonal Railways.

To avail the facility, a physically challenged person will have to approach the nearest DRM office along with all the relevant documents including concession certificate, photo identity proof, date of birth certificate, address proof and two passport photographs, either in person or by post, for the new photo identity card. One self attested photocopied set of all the documents need to be submitted to Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of the Division to apply for the identity card.

Physically Handicapped persons in Tamil Nadu slam Railway’s Circular on Special ID Card

The Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) has come down heavily on a recent Railway Board circular on the issuance of special identity card for e-ticket booking for the disabled.

The circular mandates disabled passengers to procure a separate railway identity card by submitting necessary documents to the respective Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs). The unique ID number would be necessary for disabled passengers to avail concession while booking e-tickets through IRCTC as well as physical tickets through counters.

“The conditions are impractical and would cause enormous hardship to the disabled. As per the conditions, the disabled have to submit applications with Sr Divisional Commercial Managers in the Divisional Railway Manager Offices,” said TARATDAC secretary Namburajan, who is one of the activists who campaigned for e-ticketing facility for the disabled. Currently, the facility of booking e-tickets is available only to those who have procured the special ID cards from Northern Railway. This will soon be extended to all zones.

A majority of disabled passengers live in locations which are far from the office of the DRM, Namburajan said. “A person living in Rameswaram would have to travel 170 km to Madurai city to submit the documents. This is not fair,” he added. Though the circular mentions that the documents can be sent by post also, Namburajan contended that this would still be an added headache to those who may not be aware of the facility.

Railway officials pointed out that without a unique ID, it would not be possible for people to book e-tickets under the disabled quota. However, Namburajan said it was discriminatory in nature. “Senior citizens don’t have to get a separate railway ID card to prove that they are aged above 60. Why should the disabled be discriminated against? We already have a disability certificate,” he reasoned.

Further, the association demanded the circular be withdrawn. It also demanded extension of the procedures that are in practice to senior citizens and children for online booking.

Kochi Metro signs Agreement for additional Term Loan of Rs.366 Crore with Coop Bank

Kochi: Kochi Metro Rail Limited signed an agreement for additional term loan of Rs 366 crore with the Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank for funding land acquisition requirements for the ongoing Metro Rail project here.

The Ernakulam District Cooperative Bank had earlier sanctioned Rs.470 crore for KMRL.

“However, since the amount of Rs 104 Crore, which will be required for widening of Vyttila- Petta road, needs cabinet approval, KMRL and DCB signed agreement only for Rs 366 crore as the first tranche,” a KMRL statement said here.

The cabinet approval on this is expected in a month’s time and the agreement for the rest of the amount will be signed separately after this, it said.

KMRL also decided to explore the possibility of obtaining a supplementary loan for land acquisition as the Kerala government was unable to release sufficient funds as required to complete the land acquisition.

“This loan will be subject to repayment by the Government of Kerala from their annual budgetary provisions over a period of 12 years.

“The loan will be available for a floating interest rate of 9.95 per cent, which is linked to SBI’s base rate of interest and with no attached charges including processing fee,” the statement added.

The first phase of the Kochi Metro project is expected to be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 5,181 crore. It is expected to be completed by mid-2016.

‘Make in India’ initiative: Delhi Metro rides high

New Delhi: When it comes to “Make in India”, the Delhi Metro is already walking the talk. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said 90% of its trains are being manufactured in India. And a case in point is Phase III. Of 846 coaches that have been ordered for this phase, only 120 are from Korea. The rest have been manufactured in the country.

That’s not all. These trains, made in India, are being exported abroad too, like to the Queensland and Sydney Metro systems in Australia.

“We have been consistently increasing the number of indigenous trains in the system,” said Delhi Metro’s director, rolling stock, H S Anand. Of 1,234 coaches in Phase I and II, 36 were from Germany and 64 were from Korea.

The DMRC said over the last 10 years, it has been able to keep the capital cost for procurement of these coaches at a consistent level. “These costs are substantially lower than the cost of Metro coaches world over,” said DMRC spokesman, Anuj Dayal. For instance, while the capital cost of a coach is around Rs 8.94 crore in India, the cost in Vancouver is Rs 16.08 crore and in San Francisco is Rs 15.13 crore.

Mangu Singh, the DMRC head, said, “Delhi Metro’s initiative to indigenize the manufacturing of its trains and ancillary technologies is in consonance with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the government of India.”

The reason why the Delhi Metro has been going local is because, due to because of contract conditions mandating indigenization have resulted in major coach manufacturing companies setting up production facilities within the country.

“The conditions in the DMRC train contracts mandate a cap on upper limit of 25% for production abroad, while the balance of the contract order has necessarily to be manufactured in India either through tie ups or a wholly-owned subsidiary,” the Delhi Metro spokesman said. That the quality remains high in these local manufacturing cases is a given, officials added.

In fact, three Metro coach manufacturing units have set up their base in India. These are Bombardier Transportation in Savli, Gujarat, state-owned Bharat Earth Movers Limited in Bengaluru, and Alstom, which has established a new facility at Sricity near Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Besides manufacturing coaches in the country, 18 major sub-systems of these coaches have also been indigenized in the country in a phased manner. “This has led to a lot of in-house ancillary industry and skilled manpower development. Window glasses, battery boxes, brake blocks, bogie frames, vacuum circuit breakers, HVACs, propulsion etc are being manufactured in India now,” the spokesman said.

What Not to Do in a Train Accident: -Shan Jayakumar

A sliding sensation. Like slipping and falling, not knowing when you’ll hit the ground, or what bones might be broken on impact.

The train has gone off its rails. In the time it takes to exclaim, “Oh my god, oh my god,” the train grinds to a stop. Disorientation for three seconds. The carriage has rolled to its side and pitched up, making navigation out difficult, like walking up a ladder designed by Escher.Do we take our luggage? Leave it, leave your bags, shouts a man on the other side of the compartment. Come, I’ll help you with your bag, offers my seatmate. There doesn’t seem to be the urgency of smoke or fire, so I take my things. Assisting each other, the passengers in my carriage evacuate from the gloomy compartment and into bright sunshine. I am uninjured. Where was the elderly woman sitting next to me? I saw her, she’s fine, answers my neighbour.

Outside, another type of inferno awaits. A few compartments behind mine, the train cars have jack-knifed, creating a pincer, crumpling into each other. Behind the gashes in the carriage, bodies, some alive, others inert, and presumably dead, are hanging upside down, dripping with blood, like carcasses in a meat locker. An inverted woman in a black sari with white floral patterns is awake, in anguish and shock, blood flowing down her temples.Next to her, a man in a white banian, stained red. The foot of a child. Other passengers have gathered, pulling at the metal skin of the carriage, trying to free those crushed inside. The work is slow.There is only so much bare hands can do to tear away steel.

Earlier that morning, the train from Bangalore to Ernakulam in Kerala had been half an hour late. The line just had a single track, so we had to wait for the northbound train to pass. I turned to my cousin who was dropping me off at the station, and remarked how lucky I felt to be traveling by train. Famous last words.On entering my “luxury” compartment, a 2nd Class AC Chair Car, I realized my “romance for the rails” had been misguided. I saw the familiar dusty seats, their upholstery cracked and torn, broken ceiling fans, windows obscured with years of film.

Settling in, I opened a book. After twenty minutes, or in the time it took to read a few pages… The train lies in a small valley . The landscape is semi-arid, and sparse bushes and trees border the railway line. I climb up the 20-foot embankment for a better view. It appears that the casualties are confined to the two carriages that have collided. A train conductor is on his cellphone, calling for help (a thousand calls, he reports later). Other railway staff, consisting mostly of food servers in their faded maroon uniforms, sit cross-legged on the embankment, looking on blankly , untrained for disaster response. The passengers continue to lead the rescue effort.

Lathi Power

Embedded in the train’s decrepit corpse is the cancer of decades of corruption, malaise and neglect. This train should have been retired years ago. But this is a developing country , goes the common refrain; with the posturing of a superpower.Aircraft carriers, nuclear weapons and a space program compete for finances with an antique train collection.

Onlookers gather from the nearby village of Bidaragere. Some bring tools to help with the recovery . A man, his back contorted, scoliosis-like, is brought out of the train. Don’t touch him, he may have a spine injury . But he wants to get up. The woman in the black sari is released from her confinement and also brought to the embankment. Bystanders ask each other -are you a doctor? I find a small, officiallooking box by the track. Opening it, there are some bandages and ointment. An anemic first aid kit. I offer it to the other passengers who are trying to provide care to the woman. Do you have any painkillers?
I go in search of my luggage and paw through my toiletries for a bottle of Ibuprofen. By the time I return, the woman is gone, apparently whisked away by paramedics who have finally started to arrive.

Another person is brought out of the train -the man in the white-red banian.Bystanders valiantly , vainly try to resuscitate his limp body . Shaking their heads and shrugging, they stop. It’s no use. I’m distracted for a moment, and when I look again, I see that the body of a boy has joined him. Someone shrouds their heads with a coat. Up on the embankment, by the ambulances that have appeared on the dirt paths, Kathakali theater. A policeman in a khaki uniform wields a lathi stick at the crowds assembling nearby . Hiyaaa! Hiiiyyyaaa! He intones with exaggerated facial expressions, striking the red dirt at the foot of the onlookers. (“He who wields the lathi keeps the cow,” explains a South Indian proverb.) I ask him what the point is. Wouldn’t he be of better service putting away his lathi and helping down at the crash site? Sir, I am not beating you. A cousin later tells me that in the United States, being white gives you protection.In India, looking affluent (like wearing a Polo Ralph Lauren-branded jacket) offers you protection. If you’re white (or lightskinned) and affluent in either country …

Don’t ask, won’t tell

A state minister is holding an ad hoc press conference. I hesitate, wondering if I want to say anything in front of rolling cameras, considering if I want to become part of the story rather than just documenting it. Throughout the morning, I have been navigating, unevenly , unsuccessfully, the roles of witness, photographer, activist, rescuer, surviving passenger. “Sir, we are now three hours into this situation, where was the official response hours ago?” Please keep quiet, the minister is speaking. I persist. The minister cocks his head towards me. This is a remote area. We are trying our best. But I can see the outskirts of Bangalore, just 4 km away . Not Bangalore. Anekal. We have differing opinions on urban sprawl. This is an unusual occurrence. Have you seen anything this bad before? Yes (I’m thinking about 911).Then trouble must be following you (well Minister, today is Friday the 13th). This is not the time to be having this conversation, he says.

When would be the right time? A year from now? Twenty years ago? Tomorrow, when another rail accident in India is likely to happen? If you truly want to help, then I suggest you go down to the train and do something, the minister offers. I can’t -lathi and megaphone-wielding police constables have finally cordoned off the area. He abruptly ends the news conference and moves towards his car.One of his entourage nods and smirks as he passes. My thoughts chase after them.If I really want to help, I should find a way to hold you accountable.

Another minister broadcasts that the cause of the derailment is a boulder that has fallen from the ghats (that the train was not traveling through). Invisible boulders and non-existent mountains -the magical thinking of politics. Is “boulder fell on track…train hit it…” a metaphor for political and operational incompetence?
Criminal negligence? Or was the displacement of blame beginning to happen? Force majeure. Beyond anyone’s control. This would conform well with a culture of superstition. A newspaper changes its original reporting to be less critical of the minister. History is altered.

Cost versus life

Accounts vary as to the death toll too. A railway official tells me eight, a paper claims ten. Rs 2 lakh is offered as compensation to the families. They can buy a twowheeler or two with that. How about Rs 2 crore? That might at least incentivize Indian Railways to provide better service.That’s naive, someone tells me. Lack of naivety , the excuse for political inertia.

Would reformers of the Indian railways be reviled? For change would likely involve higher fares. Pick: safety , comfort, efficiency , cost. Cost. For lives are cheap, and poverty is desperate.

The well-off can insulate themselves with air travel. Sir, please remove your scissors. But airports in other countries allow small scissors. Sir, this is India. We have a higher level of security here.

(The author is an assistant professor at the School of Architecture and Design, New York Institute of Technology)

CR to surrender Rs.20 crore passenger amenities fund

Mumbai: In a setback, the Central Railway will have to surrender Rs 20 crore of its passenger amenity funds by March 31 as it was unable to initiate projects and tender-related works from the Rs 53 crore allotted to it during the year 2014-15.

Officials argued that the delay in utilisation of funds was due to slow tender approvals from Delhi. “The problem is that the work gets delayed; the tenders need to be approved from the Railway Board in Delhi and then if changes are to be made, there is additional delay in an already pending project,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

Officials also said that the Rs 20 crore would be added in the next passenger amenity budget, although the money would take another three to four months to arrive in the CR’s kitty. “The money is not gone forever, it will come back to us. But the fact is that that we are not able to utilise the fund when it is allotted to the concerned railway. We are hoping that the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will change this trend since he hails from Mumbai and knows what these delays mean on Mumbai suburban,” added the official who did not wish to be named.

Mohd.Jamshed Committee suggests Dynamic Fare System for more trains

New Delhi: Introduction of dynamic fare system for all mail and express trains, change in schedule of certain trains and their proper maintenance were some of the suggestions that Mohd.Jamshed Committee gave for optimisation of traffic in its report submitted to Suresh Prabhu today.

Currently, the dynamic fare system, which is being practised in airlines, is operational in limited number of special trains. Under this system, fare goes up if the demand is high for berths.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had formed an eight-member committee, consisting of senior railway officials and headed by the Additional Member Mohd Jamshed, in February to examine factors affecting growth of passenger and freight traffic and suggest a plan of action for traffic optimisation.

The committee in its report, submitted to Prabhu today, has suggested various measures including capacity augmentation, system improvements requiring changes in rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance among others to achieve substantial traffic growth.

Accepting the report, Prabhu said “We did not appoint any consultants or outsiders for the committee and all railways men are part of the committee. We have to implement the reports as we have to make the Railways the engine of economic growth.”

The committee has also suggested using satellite for Indian Railways’ operation and safety needs.

According to report, there has also been reduction in number of passengers being carried by railways except in reservation segment during last five years.

The committee has also looked at the growth of passenger traffic of Railways. “There has been decline in number of passengers in both sub-urban and non-sub-urban short route traffic. These are identified areas which require rationalisation of fares,” it suggested.

It has found that the long distance reserved category traffic has shown robust growth, which has to be doubled during the next three years.

“Full load running of trains, induction of DMUs and MEMUs, dynamic pricing for all Mail/Express trains and changes in scheduling of trains and their maintenance are some of the areas requiring attention,” report said, adding Railways growth has not been able to keep pace with the growth in GDP.

Mohd.Jamshed Committee submits Report on Traffic Optimization to Railway Minister

The Committee Estimates Growth of 9 to 15 Per Cent in Freight Traffic During the Next 4 Years, suggests Measuires to Increase Passenger Traffic, Use of Satelite Suggested for Operation and Safety Needs, Specific Plans of Action Suggested for Zonal Railways

The Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu received the Report of the Committee on traffic optimization from Committee’s head, Shri Mohd. Jamshed, Additional Member (C&IS) and (T&C), Railway Board at a function here today. The Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha was specially present on the occasion. Also present on the occasion among others were Chairman, railway Board, Shri A.K.Mital, Board Member, Members of the Committee and senior railway officials.

Speaking on this occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that it is heartening to know that the Committee on Traffic Optimisation have submitted its report within the stipulated time frame. It is really an amazing document prepared by a Committee consisting of Railways’ own officers. The Minister said that the Committee has pointed out the potential of growth for Indian Railways and the roadmap suggested by the Committee, indicates that Indian Railways freight loading has the potential to grow between 9 to 15 per cent during the next 4 years against the growth of around 4% recorded during the last four years. The Railway Minister pointed out that the measures suggested by the Committee would be implemented in a mission mode. He called upon the railway officers to not only complete the freight loading traffic but work towards exceeding the target.  The Railway Minister also announced that this Committee continue to be in existence and will monitor the implementation of its recommendations.

 The Committee on Traffic Optimisation has examined and analysed the pattern of transportation growth both passenger and freight on Indian Railways in the last four decades and specifically during the last five years.  Various constraints that have been impacting the desired growth of freight and passenger traffic have been reviewed at length and various bottlenecks identified.  It is observed that growth of originating freight loading on Indian Railways has remained at a level of 4% during the last five years.  There has also been reduction in number of passengers being carried by Indian Railways except in PRS segment during last five years. Indian Railways growth has not been able to keep pace with the growth in GDP.

The Committee has examined all factors impacting the growth of Indian railways including development of infrastructure, augmentation of capacity and saturation levels of all high density routes.  It has also identified specific bottlenecks requiring urgent attention including completion of last mile projects, specifically those connected to through put enhancement i.e. doubling of traffic facility, signaling and electrification works.  The Committee has also reviewed growth for various core sectors requiring high demand for transportation of selected commodities including Coal, Iron-ore, Steel, Fertilizers, Food-grain, POL and Cement, etc.

The Committee made the assessment to meet demand for transportation of Coal, Iron-ore and Containers.  Demands in other sectors will also be robust providing huge volumes of freight traffic for the railways to move.  The potential estimated by the Committee looks at growth of 9 to 15 per cent during the next four years.  The Great Leap Forward would be achieved only with completion of Dedicated Freight Corridor.  In the ensuing period various other capacity augmentation works will have to be completed, system improvements requiring changes in rolling stock and infrastructure maintenance practices will have to be looked at, capacity of terminals is to be augmented, utilization of alternate routes will have to be rationalized, wagon capacity scheme requires liberalisation, private freight terminals have to come up and rating structure have to be revised to provide more incentives in empty flow direction.

The Committee has also looked at the growth of passenger traffic of Indian railways.  There has been decline in number of passengers in both sub-urban and non-sub-urban short route traffic.  These are identified areas which require rationalisation of fares.  The long distance reserved category traffic has shown robust growth, which has to be doubled during the next three years.  Full load running of trains, induction of DMUs and MEMUs, dynamic pricing for all Mail/Express trains and changes in scheduling of trains and their maintenance are some of the areas requiring attention.

The Committee has also suggested using satellite for Indian Railways’ operation and safety needs.

The Committee has also suggested specific plans of action for Zonal Railways who have been provided not only the potential targets but also various actions to be taken during 2015-16.

Various policies requiring review and modifications have also been mentioned in the report. The report has been submitted to the Ministry of Railways for acceptance and implementation.

Earlier, the Ministry of Railways (Railway Board) had constituted a Committee on 13/02/2015 to identify factors and issues affecting growth of traffic (Freight & Passenger) and suggest a plan of action for Traffic Optimisation in short term (during 2015-16) and long term (2018-19).  The Committee consisted of the following:

  1. Shri Mohd. Jamshed, AM(C&IS), Chairman
  2. Shri Rinkesh Roy, CFTM/ECoR, Member
  3. Ms. Sarla Balagopal, CCM/SR, Member
  4. Shri Prabhakar Pranai, CTPM/WR, Member
  5. Shri Mukul Jain, CTPM/SER, Member
  6. Shri H.D. Gujrati, Director/DFCCIL, Member
  7. Shri A.K. Gupta, MD/CONCOR, Member
  8. Shri V. Shanker, CFTM/NR, Member, Secretary.

The Committee was given following terms of reference:

  1. a) To review the traffic growth both passenger and freight from 2010-11 to 2014-15 & constraints in achieving higher growth during this period;
  2. b) Identify bottlenecks which can be removed in short term (during 2015-16 and long run term (upto 2018-19) for capacity augmentation;
  3. c) Suggest innovative measures to enhance through put to achieve traffic growth of upto 15% in short and long term periods;
  4. d) Develop a brief action plan for implementation by Zonal Railways during 2015-16 towards optimization of traffic out put; and
  5. e) Suggest policy changes required to be undertaken by Railway Board to enable achieving higher traffic (Freight & Passenger) output.

Railways to approach World Bank for Financial Assistance: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday said that the World Bank would be approached for financial assistance to modernise the Indian railways. Prabhu spoke at the ‘Global Rail Convention-2015: Indian Railways on the fast track’ organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.

“Besides, borrowing from LIC (Life Insurance Corporation of India) to upgrade and modernise the railways, it would soon approach the World Bank for fiscal assistance to accomplish the job,” said Prabhu.

In line with its funding programme outlined in last month’s railway budget, insurance major LIC has committed Rs.150,000 crore for the development of various commercially viable projects.

The investment would be made through bonds issued by various railway entities such Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC), beginning next fiscal.

Prabhu ruled out the possibility of privatisation of the Indian Railways and said that the government has sought India Inc’s participation to transform the railways.

“We would also organise to hire private capital and its efficient management skills to catapult railways in a PPP (public-private partnership) mode but will not let railways be privatised,” the minister added.

Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mittal said the conventional projects of the railways would be financed through budgetary support.

“Whereas necessary investments would be garnered through various institutional mechanisms to fund the newly announced projects in a time bound manner identified in the latest railways budget,” Mittal said.

Prabhu opens Lumding-Silchar rail line in Assam through Video Conference

Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu addresses at the flagging-off ceremony of the Lumding - Silchar Broad Gauge section (Assam) of 210 kilometres in North Eastern Region through video conferencing, in New Delhi on March 27, 2015

Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu addresses at the flagging-off ceremony of the Lumding – Silchar Broad Gauge section (Assam) of 210 kilometres in North Eastern Region through video conferencing, in New Delhi on March 27, 2015

New Delhi: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday inaugurated the landmark Lumding-Silchar broad gauge rail line by flagging off a goods train from here over video-conference, bringing Assam’s underdeveloped Barak Valley on the broad gauge map.

Passenger train services on this route will start soon.

The 210-km line is expected to change the landscape of the Barak Valley. It will later be extended to Tripura.

The line, considered a lifeline for the entire region, is crucial for the supply of foodgrains, fertilizers, petroleum products and other essentials from the rest of India.

The minister said opening the Lumding-Silchar line marked a historical day and he was happy to be a part of this history.

It will accelerate development as it is the “lifeline of Barak Valley and the states of Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram”, Prabhu said after flagging off the goods train.

“I have flagged off a goods train and soon passenger train services will also start… This will also ensure movement of essential commodities like foodgrains, fertilizers and petroleum products in this area.”

The Lumding-Silchar line is a milestone for connectivity in the northeast region and one of the largest gauge conversion projects of Indian Railways. It cost Rs.3,500 crore.

The project was completed despite difficult hilly terrain, geologically unstable hills and law and order challenges. A number of railway employees died while working on the project.

After gauge conversion of the Guwahati-Lumding line in 1994, the transhipment point got shifted from Guwahati to Lumding.

The Lumding-Silchar Gauge Conversion Project under the Northeast Frontier Railway was sanctioned in 1996-97 and was declared a National Project in 2004.

The project was hit by insurgency from 2006 to 2009. The Territorial Army had to be deployed to take on the insurgents.

With the conversion of the BG line, the first goods train carrying 42 wagons of potatoes ran on the line.

The Rs 3500 cr line passes through 21 tunnels and have 75 major bridges and 340 minor bridges along the track.

The line will be very soon a developed region and railways will play a major role to make that happen, Prabhu said.

Hailing the dedicated efforts of railway staff involved in the project, he also announced Rs 15 lakh award for the entire team.

Prabhu also announced that Railway Week will be held in North East next month.

It is for the first time Railway Week will be held in the NE region, he said.