Bhubaneswar: East Coast Railways has reversed its decision to cancel several trains today after power service from the State Electricity Power Supply in Andhra Pradesh to its Visakhapatnam division resumed.
East Coast Railways (ECoR) had yesterday decided to cancel the Bhubaneswar-Secunderabad Visakha Express, Bhubaneswar-Puducherry Weekly Express and Janmabhoomi, Simhadri, Ratnachalam, Tirumala, Dakshin Link, Garib Rath and Duronto Express trains originating from Visakhapatnam today, according to a release of the ECoR.
However, after resumption of power supply in the Visakhapatnam Division of ECoR late last night, the Railway administration immediately took steps to normalise train services, it added.
From engine drivers to signal inspectors, the Anglo-Indian community dominated the Railways until well into the 1960s
Chennai: If it were not for the modern convenience of sound-proof rooms, one would hear the constant rumble of trains at the Egmore railway station, as Noel Thomas, editor of a book on Anglo-Indian railway memories, passionately spoke about how the railway platform was their performance stage.
“We were in every act and in every scene and we gave a sterling performance,” he said on Monday evening, at the launch of ‘Footprints on the track – Anglo Indian railway memories’, a compilation of 35-odd articles by various contributors published by Anglo-Ink.
The compilation is a warm and passionate recollection of Anglo-Indian engine drivers who would never desert their engines, about the riotously vibrant life at the railway colonies and institutes, and stories of courage and deep knowledge about the railways.
From engine drivers to railway guards to signal inspectors, the community dominated the profession until well into the 1960s.
“Anglo-Indians have been part of the railways from very early on, right from when the tracks were being laid,” Mr. Thomas said. A railway man himself, Mr. Thomas joined the railways as an apprentice at the age of 17 and retired as a divisional mechanical engineer after serving in the railways for 42 years.
Harry Maclure, publisher, Anglo-Ink, who has also contributed to the book, has written about the ‘dancing driver’, the Fuller family in Chennai whose five generations have been employed in the railways. He has also written about the ‘Trichinopoly junction and Golden Rock’, a chapter which Mr. Noel said Mr. Maclure wrote at ‘the speed of his father’s mail train’.
Mr. Maclure said the book also had material from various other sources.
Historian S. Muthiah, who released the book, said it was not just a good read, but the history of a forgotten era. “Anglo-Indians were found in other government services as well, but the Railways served as the lifeline of the community,” he said. They took pride in their engines, and ensured that they were gleaming, he added.
However, the book is not just about nostalgia. “It is nostalgia with a message,” said Mr. Thomas. “I think that Anglo-Indians have been misunderstood as a happy-go-lucky people. But we put duty first. What the outsiders did not see were the struggles and sacrifices,” he said.
The book delves into the sacrifices made by those such as Percy Carroll, driver of the Bombay-Calcutta Mail, who lost his life while saving the lives of the passengers on his train one fateful morning, Mr. Thomas said.
Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner who received a copy of the book, recalled his two eventful train journeys in India.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched an official Windows Phone and Windows app. Users can download the app for free from the Windows Phone Store and Windows Store.
While we do not have a Windows Phone device or a Windows 8 machine to test the app, from the Windows Phone store description it appears that the app allows users to book ticket, check reservation status, train schedules, train routes, availability of tickets, cancellations, booking history, recent history, favorites, ability to add passengers as contact, among others. For Windows 8 and RT tablets, it also supports live notifications.
Why Windows platform?
Having said that, we don’t understand why IRCTC chose to launch its app on Windows platform first. A mobile app on Windows phone platform in the Indian market hardly makes sense considering that Android operating system is more widely used here. Besides, how many users have actually upgraded to Windows 8 platform? Microsoft’s RT tablets have already failed to gain any user traction. In July 2013, Microsoft announced a $900 million Surface RT write down.
As expected one cannot book tickets through the App between 8am and 12pm and between 11.30pm and 12.30am. IRCTC had shifted the opening of Tatkal bookings from 8am to 10am in July 2012, in a bid to increase the public access to e-ticketing and facilitate load balancing on the IRCTC server. It has also restricted ticket booking through agents between 8am to 12 pm. One cannot book tickets on the IRCTC mobile site between 8 am to 12 pm as well.
It’s not clear why IRCTC restricts one to book tickets from mobile and App during that time. The only reason that comes to our mind is that its server cannot handle the load. However in May 2013, IRCTC had upgraded its website which can support bookings of more than 4.15 lakh e-tickets daily. Prior to this, IRCTC claims to have handled 3.67 lakhs e-tickets per day. The website can currently handle 2000 tickets per minute and claims that in future it plans to upgrade the website to handle 7200 tickets per minute.
Credit where it’s due. IRCTC has been increasing its server capabilities, diversifying its business, and adopting new technology. In July 2013, it had launched an SMS based and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) based ticket booking service starting July 1, 2013. In July 2012, it had integrated payments using the Interbank Mobile Payments Service, as per an email sent out by the company. IMPS allows real time payments between individuals.
Value Added Service (VAS) provider, Spice Digital had launched a B2B travel and tourism solution called Spice Safar for travel agents, as a part of Spice’s retail initiatives. Spice launched this platform with an Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) partnership where Safar act as its principal agent to carry out IRCTC’s e-ticket booking services in the country.
In August 2013, its e-commerce venture had gone live at shop.irctc.co.in. In July 2013, IRCTC had selected Yebhi.com to manage its E-commerce platform.
Many passenger trains were either cancelled or short-terminated on Monday
In view of the power crisis the railways have cancelled a number of trains starting from here and passing through on Tuesday, including major trains like Godavari, Ratnachal, Simhadri and Dakshin link, according to a release from the East Coast Railway. A number of express trains, scheduled to leave or passing through Visakhapatnam, have been cancelled on Tuesday also. Visakhapatnam-Hyderabad Godavari Express, Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Janmabhoomi Express, Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Duronto, Visakhapatnam-Vijayawada Ratnachal Express, Visakhapatnam-Tirupathi Tirumala Express, Visakhapatnam-Secunderabad Garib Rath, Visakhapatnam-Nanded Express, Visakhapatnam-Guntur Simhadri Express, Visakhapatnam-Nizamuddin Dakshin Link Express, Koraput –Visakhapatnam Intercity have all been cancelled, according to an official release.
Train no. 18411/18412 Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam-Bhubaneswar Intercity, 17015 Visakha Express and 12898 Bhubaneswar-Puducherry weekly Express and all passengers trains, cancelled on Monday, will remain cancelled on Tuesday also.
Passenger trains cancelled
Meanwhile, many passenger trains were either cancelled or short-terminated on Monday owing to the agitation by the A.P.GENCO and A.P. TRANSCO employees and the high tension power-grids not being attended depriving 25 KV power supply to overhead electric traction, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of Waltair Division M. Yelevender Yadav said in a statement. Several trains were running late.
The real estate developer has rolled out its message of Green Living on one of the five trains of Rapid Metro Gurgaon Rail.
Reality firm 3C has rolled out its message of Green Living for sustainable development on one of the Rapid Metro Gurgaon Rail trains. As a part of the campaign, titled ‘Green Mission’, the reality firm has done a full train wrap on one of the five trains along with inside branding. The creatives spread awareness on small things that people can do at their homes to promote Green Living, such as saving energy, not using plastic or paper bags and switching to jute bags.
3C partnered with Rapid Metro Gurgaon Limited (RGML) last year for an undisclosed amount. The deal will come into effect once the metro rail is operational, but while the test runs are on, people can see the fully wrapped train with the message. The total term of the deal between The 3C Company and IL&FS owned RMGL is three years.
Once operational, the 3C train will hit each station 72 times during its operational hours between 6 in the morning and 12 at midnight. It is estimated that 90,000-1 lakh people will take the train every day.
Speaking about the campaign, Brijesh Bhanote, director, sales and marketing, The 3C Company, says, “One part of it is definitely a branding activity where we want to reach out to as many people as possible, while another part of it is definitely the message of Green Living, where we want to tell people that it is the only means for a sustainable living, that is also our philosophy.”
The main motive of the campaign is to educate people about the tangible and intangible benefits of green living. The company plans to do multiple awareness campaigns including distribution of some eco friendly products in the 3C train.
Apart from real estate, the 3C company is present in hospitality, facility management, architecture and education. Some of its group companies are Vistar and Design and Development.
OTIS has been contracted to supply and install 222 units of the of escalators!
New Delhi: OTIS Elevator Company (India) Limited has announced that it has been awarded the escalator contract for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Otis has been contracted to supply and install 222 units of the of escalators (520NPE-L model) for phase III of the Delhi Metro project. OTIS is a unit of United Technologies Corpopration.
Patrick Blethon, President, OTIS Pacific Asia Area said, “We are delighted with the Delhi Metro Rail win. Our experience with the Taipei Metro System, Shanghai Metro Line 6, Singapore East-West metro line, Tianjin Subway, Beijing South Railway station etc. will all help in delivering the best solutions for this prestigious project. This win reaffirms our position as a major vertical transportation supplier to Metro systems in Asia and around the world.”
Sebi Joseph, Managing Director, OTIS India said, “The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation win is a proud moment for us. This win re-affirms our position as a key solutions provider for elevators and escalators in the infrastructure segment. This back to back win in the infrastructure segment ensures that OTIS is a strong driver that keeps the heart of urban life beating”.
The environment friendly 520 NPE-L escalators caters to public transportation and heavy traffic demands by offering exceptional safety, solid reliability and service friendly design. The control panel allows for monitoring of actual working conditions while interfaces allow for remote monitoring and control, therefore providing for safer operation.
OTIS Elevator Company (India) Limited recently announced its partnership with L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited (LTMRHL) to provide 670 units for the Hyderabad Metro Rail Project
New Delhi: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways, under the chairmanship of T.R. Baalu, MP, are examining the subject ‘Suburban Train Services of Indian Railways, with particular emphasis on security of women passengers’ for presenting a Report thereon the Parliament. The suburban Train Service is a very vital service provided by the Indian Railways. The subject involves issues relating to the nature of suburban services provided, scope of further improvement of these services, problems faced by the commuters in the Suburban Trains and passenger security, with special emphasis on women passengers. Keeping in view the significance of the subject, the Committee have decided to invite written memoranda containing views/suggestions/comments from interested individuals/associations/experts/professional organizations/institutions etc. on the subject and matters relating thereto.
Those desirous of submitting memoranda to the Committee may send two copies (in English or Hindi) thereof to the Director (PAC & R), Lok Sabha Secretariat, Room No.439, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi-110001 (Tel No.011-23034439, 23034089; Fax No. 011-23019956; email: email@example.com) within 30 days of the date of the advertisement in National Dailies.
The memoranda submitted to the Committee will form part of the records of the Committee and would be treated as strictly confidential and would not be circulated to anyone, as such an act would constitute a breach of privilege of the Committee.
Those who are desirous of giving oral evidence before the Committee besides sending memoranda are requested to intimate the same to the Lok Sabha Secretariat for consideration to the Committee. The decision of the Committee to invite the persons for appearing before the Committee shall be final.
Agartala: Extension of the Agartala-Sabroom railway network and broad-gauge conversion of the Kumarghat-Agartala track has been stalled because of lack of funds and land acquisition problems.
Officials of the Northeast Frontier railway made this clear to the Lok Sabha’s 30-member estimate committee during its recent visit to Mizoram and Manipur. Disclosing this at an interaction with the media today, CPM MP from West Tripura and the party’s central committee member Khagen Das said during the estimate committee’s visit to Imphal, he had requested the NF railway officials to meet him at the hotel where the committee members were staying.
“They made it clear to me that unless fund constraints and land acquisition problems were resolved, the extension between Agartala and Sabroom, Tripura’s southernmost subdivision and gauge conversion between Kumarghat in North Tripura and Agartala may not be completed till early 2019,” said Das.
He deplored the sanction of only Rs.5 crore for the gauge conversion which required an allocation of Rs.132 crore. Out of the Rs.300 crore needed for the extension, only Rs.160 crore have been sanctioned in the current year’s railway budget.
“The Prime Minister had earlier assured a delegation of CPM MPs and leaders that Rs 250 crore would be sanctioned for the Agartala-Sabroom extension project but the railway board chairman was non-committal when we met him,” said Das.
He rued the fact that railway work in Tripura was suffering at a time when work on the Lumding-Silchar gauge conversion was progressing well.
“The gauge conversion between Lumding-Silchar-Badarpur suffered because of the Assam government’s failure to provide dedicated security in the tunnel 7 and 10 regions, where many abductions including that of an executive engineer, has taken place. But now security is available and work is going on,” he said.
Regarding the land acquisition problem, Das said 198.05 hectares of land between Udaipur and Sabroom fall under forests and the Trishna wildlife sanctuary.
“We have raised the issue with the Union ministry of forest and environment and requested the minister to ensure that 172.856 hectares of land belonging to the forest department are denotified. The rest of the land belongs to the Trishna wildlife sanctuary and the rare species of bison there can be easily relocated to a place 30km away and a part of the land can be released,” said Das.
He, however, said a dispute over a small stretch of land between Agartala and Udaipur through which the Agartala-Sabroom railway track will pass has ended and work on it is scheduled to begin in the first week of November.
“The gauge conversion between Kumarghat and Agartala is scheduled to be completed tentatively by March 2015 but railway officials have told me that unless funds are sanctioned adequately the work may not be completed even by early 2019,” said Das.
On the 15km Agartala-Akhaura (in Bangladesh) railway linkage, he said the governments of India and Bangladesh signed a memorandum of understanding on September 16 and work is all set to begin now after the railway board authorises its international construction wing (IRCON) to start the work.
“The project will entail an expenditure of Rs.252 crore and the cost will be borne by the Centre,” said Das.
He also demanded the inclusion of Tripura and Mizoram in the proposed trans-Asian railway network. “The present alignment drawn by the railway authorities is that the network will start from New Jalpaiguri in Bengal and will move ahead through Guwahati, Lumding, Silchar, Imphal and Kaley in Myanmar but we want Tripura and Mizoram also to be included in the alignment. If the route starts from Calcutta across Bangladesh, the distance will be reduced by 883km,” said Das. He added that the estimate committee’s chairperson, Sardinha Francisco, was also sympathetic to the demand raised by Tripura.
Kolkata: Metro Railway has been ferrying nearly 7.5 lakh people each working day since the festival rush started, but it’s a record to worry about rather than be proud of.
On Monday, the passenger count crossed seven lakh by 8pm, with still two hours to go for the last train.
The transport lifeline had recorded a footfall of 7.73 lakh passengers on September 30, 1.8 lakh more than its daily capacity of 5.67 lakh with the full fleet in operation.
Since 2008-09, the average number of passengers in September has increased by 2.3 lakh, whereas only 56 trains have been added during that period. The casualty of this increasingly glaring mismatch is the comfort of the regular Metro commuter.
Transport planners blame dwindling options — the bus fleet has shrunk by almost half — and Metro rail becoming the cheapest mode of commuting for the overcrowding. “If the numbers increase so fast, a systemic breakdown can happen anytime,” an official said.
An engineer at the Integral Coach Factory in Perambur, which manufactured the 13 air-conditioned rakes and several of the older trains, said the “slated capacity” of an eight-coach rake was about 2,100 passengers. On September 30, an average of 2,900 passengers crammed into each train.
“The slated capacity of a rake is calculated at the time of manufacture and takes into account normal wear and tear. More the number of passengers in excess of capacity, more the pressure on the motor, brakes, wheels and other vital components,” he said.
Such is the pressure on Metro’s fleet that even the new air-conditioned rakes have been spending more time than normal in the maintenance depot.
The New Garia (Kavi Subhash)-Noapara Metro link is the only speed-transit option available in the city. Delhi has added five lines since the first one became operational in 2002, evenly distributing the load.
Commuters say a Metro ride used to be different even three years ago. “Now there is no non-peak hour. Earlier, we would comfortably travel once the morning crowd thinned. There would be vacant seats whenever I boarded a train at Kalighat station in the afternoon,” said Ballygunge resident S.K. Mukherjee. “Now, even at 2pm, it’s difficult to get into a train. There is hardly enough space to stand.”
The recently introduced musical interludes inside the air-conditioned coaches do little to ease the irritation of commuters jostling for space like they would on a peak-hour local train.
Getting into a packed compartment on a weekday morning means enduring the scorn of co-passengers crowding around the door a station or two in advance before their destination, as Metro experienced at Kalighat station.
It is not uncommon to see those with backpacks being verbally abused for taking up extra space. At almost every station, one door or the other wouldn’t close because of people trying to bulldoze their way in.
Even a journey during the non-peak hours isn’t comfortable anymore. Almost all seats were occupied when a train left New Garia station at 3.02pm last Friday. Two stations later, at Garia Bazar, there were more passengers standing than seated.
“I have started carrying a fresh shirt in my bag because the one I am wearing is usually crumpled by the time I reach office,” said Soumyadeep Mukherjee of Girish Park, who takes the Metro to and from Kalighat.
Telecom executive Titas Bandopadhyay has already shifted to buses. “I had been a regular Metro commuter since my college days but the office-hour trains are so crowded now that I prefer buses,” said the Tollygunge resident.
Fares that haven’t been revised since October 1, 2001, are partly responsible for the rush. An autorickshaw ride from Gariahat to Rashbehari Avenue, a distance of barely 2km, is Rs 7 while the minimum fare for a 3km bus journey is Rs 5. The minimum fare for a 5km Metro ride is Rs 3, even cheaper than getting into a local train!
Another rush factor is the extension of the Metro route from Tollygunge to New Garia. Earlier this year, the passenger interface link between New Garia Metro station and Eastern Railway’s south suburban section led to the addition of about 15,000 passengers, sources said.
Increasing the frequency of trains to ease the rush is apparently not feasible with the infrastructure Metro Railway has.
“It is not possible for us to increase the frequency further or run trains at the lowest five-minute frequency for a longer period of time,” a senior official said.
Trains presently run at a five-minute frequency for two-and-a-half hours each in the morning and evening.
Metro Railway has a fleet of 27 rakes, of which 21 are used in daily operations. “Some of the rakes are almost 30 years old and prone to snags. Even the new air-conditioned rakes need to be taken for maintenance often,” the official said.
Manpower is another problem area. Metro Railway needs 50 more motormen to run more trains at a frequency of five minutes, sources said.
Turnaround time is a factor, too. On reaching the terminal stations at Noapara in the north and New Garia in the south, trains take four minutes to change from one track to another. Another minute is used up by passengers alighting and boarding.
Officials say the only solution is to complete the other Metro projects, all of which have been delayed.
NASHIK: The Department of Posts (DoP) is planning to open Railway Reservation Centers at 19 locations in the Nashik division.
The DoP has identified 19 locations in Nashik to serve as booking centres for the railways but these are yet to be finalized.
According to Assistant Superintendent, Posts, Nashik headquarters, Pankaj Kulkarni, “Eleven locations have been identified inside the city while eight locations have been identified in the rural areas. The new system will ensure that commuters get their bookings through better assistance.”
The official added that after starting the system in Mumbai, the Postal Department plans to start the railway reservation centres across rural areas and enable citizens to book their tickets in advance.
The Nashik Division includes – Igatpuri, Trimbakeshwar, Surgana, Kalwan, Nashik and Sinnar talukas.s
According to the officer, the centres were likely to be raised at Nashik and Nashik Road Head Post Offices, Devlali Camp, Nashik Road Camp, HPT College campus, Nashik City and other post offices inside the city. In the rural areas the post offices at Ghoti, Trimbak, Surgana, Peth, Dindori, Ozar, Sinnnar and Wani that could be serving as reservation centres.
The official also said that as the DoP’s reach is tremendous, they wanted to make it available to the common man. “One of the ways to do this is to start railway reservation centres. People would not have to be dependent upon agents and middlemen who charge a high amount as commission,” the official added.
Currently, the railway department has only two booking offices – one at Nashik Road and another in Nashik city. The railways has also started an online reservation centre and a service for cellphone users.
“The services started by railway department were mostly for internet users. Citizens without access to the internet are forced to approach railway agents, who charge hefty sums as commission. The new centres will only help commuters book tickets easily,” the official said.
Nagpur: The Nagpur division of Central Railway has achieved a unique distinction in energy conservation by saving revenue to the tune of Rs 5 crore during a special drive within a span of just three months starting from June this year.
The Railway Board declared 2013 as the year for energy conservation. Authorities led by Divisional Railway Manager Brajesh Dixit and his colleague Sr Divisional Electrical Engineer Namdeo Rabde followed the guidelines and chalked out a plan on the conservation front.
It was realised that 90 percent of the energy was consumed by idle locomotives following which they planned seminars and discussion with the train crew.
As a part of this drive, seminars on Energy Conservation were organized at divisional level to educate running staff as well as staff of concerned departments.
Booklets of ‘Urja Saurakshan Mantra’ (tips on energy saving) and Monsoon Mantra were circulated to all the running staff involving those in train operations.
Star rated Loco Pilots who exhibited their performance in coasting and regeneration of energy were selected and rewarded from time to time.
According to railway statistics, in the month of July last year, 4.39 crores units of electricity was consumed which reduced to 4.03 crores this year. This was roughly an estimated saving of Rs 2.45 crore.
Subsequently, Specific Energy Consumption (SEC) for the month of June, July and August 2013 improved by 8 per cent, 17 per cent and 12 percent respectively as compared to figures of last year.
This resulted in reduction of energy and saving of revenue (Rs 5 crore) incurred on energy payment, the Public Relations Officer P D Patil said.
Impressed, the Jabalpur division along with Bhopal and Baroda division have also taken interest in the energy conservation methods and may follow suit, sources close to Nagpur division of Central Railway said.
Agartala: The CPI-M Monday accused the UPA government of ignoring the north-eastern region while developing the railway infrastructure.
“Expansion of railway lines and conversion of meter gauge to broad gauge in southern Assam, Tripura and Manipur are delayed by many years against their targeted dates of completion,” CPI-M MP Khagen Das said.
“Due to huge shortage of funds and utter negligence of UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government towards north-eastern states, the railway projects have remained half-done,” he said.
He said Northeast Frontier Railway officials recently told a team of MPs in Imphal and Aizawl that sanctioning meager amount of funds was the chief reason for the slow expansion of railway network in the region.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist leader said the delayed projects include new railway lines in the northeast, gauge conversion work between Lumding (200 km north of Guwahati) and Agartala, and the Agartala-Sabroom rail extension.
Then prime minister H.D.Deve Gowda laid the foundation stone for conversion of the Lumding-Agartala metre gauge track to broad gauge in January 1996.
The cost of the project has escalated to Rs.2,800 crore from Rs.648 crore in 1996 due to the inordinate delays, Das said.
He said that at this rate, the line would not be completed even by 2017, against the original targeted year of 2010.
Agartala is one of the newest stations on the Indian railway network. It came up in October 2008.
MANGALORE: Southern Railway has rescheduled departure of various reasons due to technical reasons on October 8.
Train 12997 Tirunelveli-Hapa Express that was scheduled to leave Tirunelveli at 6am on is rescheduled to leave at 10pm. Train 16348 Mangalore Central – Thiruvananthapuram Express scheduled to leave Mangalore Central at 2.20pm is rescheduled to leave Mangalore Central at 3.30pm.
Train 12617 Ernakulam – Nizamuddin Mangala Express that was scheduled to leave Ernakulamat 10.45am is now rescheduled to leave at 2pm .Train 16346 Thiruvananthapuram – Lokamanya Tilak Netravati Express that was scheduled to leave Thiruvananthapuram at 9.50am will now leave at 11pm.
New Delhi: Railways have earned Rs 65,354.64 crore during the April-September period as compared to Rs 58,661.79 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 11.41 percent. The total goods earnings have gone up from Rs 40,293.70 crore April-September 2012 to Rs 44,191.92 crore during the corresponding period this year, registering a growth of 9.67 per cent, according to railway ministry data.
The passenger earnings during this six month period were Rs 18,099.83 crore as against Rs 15,582.42 crore during the same period last year, an increase of 16.16 percent. The earnings from other coaching amounted to Rs 1850.22 crore during April-September 2013 compared to Rs 1510.59 crore during the same period last year, an increase of 22.48 percent. The total passengers booked during April–September 2013 were 4257.55 million compared to 4270.09 million during the same period last year. In the suburban sector, 2275.20 million passengers were booked during this period as compared to 2212.06 million in the same period last year, an increase of 2.85 percent. However, in the non-suburban sector, 1982.35 million passengers were booked as against 2058.03 million during the same period last year, showing a decrease of 3.68 percent.
Thousand of train passengers were stranded at various stations in various railway stations at Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Rajahmundry, Nellore, Ongole, Chirala, Tenali, Vijayawada, Guntur, Tuni, Machilipatnam, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Guntakal, Anantapur, Tirupati and various other stations, and bordering cities/towns in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka as well as the movement of trains to and from Andhra came to a halt as Electricity supply was snapped due to employees and engineers of APGENCO, EPCPDCL, SPCPDCL and APTRANSCO are on continued strike since last three days. Railway passengers in the restive Seemandhra region of Andhra Pradesh are bearing the brunt of ongoing strike by employees of state power corporations with many trains are either being partially cancelled or rescheduled.
The South Central Railway (SCR) on Monday partially cancelled services of passengers trains running on Rajahmundry-Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam routes in the wake of the strike by employees of Andhra Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation.
Employees of all three wings viz generation, transmission and distribution are on strike in protest against Centre’s decision to carve out separate Telangana state.
While Rajahmundry-Visakhapatnam passenger train which left at 11:15 hrs was partially cancelled between Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam stations, a passenger train running between Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam station was partially terminated between Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam, according to a SCR spokesperson.
The Tirumala and Konark expresses were stopped at Tuni and some services are running behind the schedule, he said.
Meanwhile, the South Central Railway has set up a helpline at major stations like Vijayawada, Nellore, Ongole and Rajahmundry to update passengers about the schedule.
Anticipating power disruptions in coming days due to strike, the SCR is keeping various options open, including hauling important express trains with diesel locos.
Locomotives are kept on standby along Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta section.
“Another measures the SCR has planned to roll out in case of emergency situation are suitable diversions of long-distance trains via convenient alternate routes, shutting down goods trains and cancellation/partial cancellation of short-distance passenger trains to facilitate movement of express trains,” the spokesperson said.
No Power Supply to Villages/Towns/Districts in entire Seemandhra
Millions across 13 districts of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions are facing the worst blackout in years as power employees continued to be on strike to protest the bifurcation Andhra Pradesh and create a separate Telangana state.
Employees of the state power generation, transmission and distribution companies began an indefinite strike on Sunday, as most parts of coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema remained without power while several trains were cancelled.
The talks between Seemandhra electricity employees’ Joint Action Committee and officials of of Andhra Pradesh Transmission Corporation and Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation failed as the employees refused to end the strike unless the central government gives an assurance that the state will not be divided.
Dozens of towns and hundreds of villages were without electricity as generation and transmission came to a standstill due to the strike in all 13 districts of Seemandhra, as Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra are together known.
With no exemption to emergency services, patients in hospitals faced severe hardships while drinking water supply was affected in many areas. Internet service was hit. Even ATMs and mobile phones collapsed in some areas.
Visakhapatnam Airport ran on back-up power. In Hyderabad, authorities imposed power cuts for two to three hours.
Hundreds of train passengers were stranded at various stations in Srikakulam district bordering Odisha as the movement of trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam went haywire.
For the second day, railways cancelled several trains in Vijayawada, Guduru and other sections. Vijayawada, one of the biggest transit hubs in south India, was the worst hit. Some trains ran with diesel engines.
The situation remained tense in Vizianagaram town of north coastal Andhra as an indefinite curfew continued for the third day Monday. Police said curfew would be relaxed for one hour Tuesday morning.
The town was rocked by violence Friday and Saturday when protestors targeted the residences and other properties of state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana and his relatives.
The situation turned worse on Monday with employees of Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited joining the strike, hitting the power supply to Srikakulam, Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts.
Hundreds of train passengers were stranded at various stations in Srikakulam district bordering Odisha as the movement of trains between Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam and other destinations in Andhra came to a halt as electricity supply was snapped.
Officials said trains were running four hours late as only one track is being used.
For the second day, railways cancelled several trains in Vijayawada, Guduru and other sections. Vijayawada, one of the biggest transit hubs in south India, was the worst hit. Some trains are being run with diesel engines.
More than 4,500 MW of electricity generation has affected due to the strike by 30,000 employees.
Generation has come to a complete halt at Narla Tatarao Thermal Power Station (NTTPS) at Vijayawada, Rayalaseema Thermal Power Station (RTPS) at Kadapa and Srisailam Hydel Power Station at Srisailam.
Meanwhile in New Delhi, four central ministers from Seemandhra met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and urged him to accept the resignations they gave after the cabinet decided to carve out a Telangana state.
Manmohan Singh sought more time to decide after meeting cabinet minister Pallam Raju and ministers of state K. Chiranjeevi, D. Purandeswari and K. Suryaprakash Reddy.
Purandeswari said they told Manmohan Singh they would not attend offices from Tuesday to respect the feeling of the people of Seemandhra, which covers Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra regions.
“We stand by our demand for a united state. But this doesn’t mean we are defying the party,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, who too opposes the state’s division, told some television channels that he doesn’t rule out stepping down.
Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde assured the people of Seemandhra that their concerns would be addressed. But this had few takers.
New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has returned Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s recommendation of appointing South Western Railway general manager A.K. Mittal as chairman of the Railway Board, according to highly placed sources.
The post has been lying vacant for over three months now, and under the additional charge of Member, Mechanical, Arunendra Kumar.
The sources said the PMO returned the proposal with a request to change the norms for the selection of chairman. This was apparently done after one of the affected candidates made a representation.
Some railway officers, however, questioned the move to change the norms after vacancy was caused. They argued criteria could be revised prior to the vacancy.
Norms could be changed prospectively only, the officers claimed. The present requirement for the post is one should have served as a zonal general manager with two-year residual service.
The CVC has so far cleared four names, of which Mr. Mittal has two years of service to go.
The other names cleared are that of Kolkata Metro general manager Radhey Shyam, Northern Railway general manager V.K. Gupta and Mr. Arunendra Kumar, whose residual tenure is only 18 months and, hence, does not automatically qualify for the post.
Mr. Mittal’s name has been opposed on the ground that he belongs to the stores officers’ cadre and not fit for the post.
Railway officers, however, countered this, saying the post of chairman was open to all cadres and not to any specific group of officers.
Should he succeed, Mr. Mittal would be the first stores officer to become the chairman.
Following Railway ministry’s decision to hike freight rates from today, most domestic primary steel producers have raised prices of steel products on the back of increased transportation costs.
“We are compelled to hike product prices since we have to shell out 400-500 rupees more per tonne of steel now after the rail freight hike,” said a source from Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.
The Delhi-based company has hiked prices of some steel grades mostly in the flat segment in the range of 500-1,500 rupees per tonne.
Most industry officials were of the view that though the hike was inevitable, the concern was the quantum of price hike given the current bleak demand scenario for steel in the domestic market.
The market does not have the required appetite to bear price hikes month-after-month, they said.
Slowing economic growth in the country has reduced demand for the alloy, in turn pressurising prices.
“The steel industry is already bleeding and to add to it if freight, power or tariffs are increased like this then steel companies have no options and are compelled to raise product rates,” said the Jindal Steel source. “The railway’s decision has been harsh on the steel industry,”he added.
The Railway ministry has decided to increase freight rates on the back of increasing fuel prices. Due to this, freight tariff will go up by 1.7% across all commodities. This freight revision is effective from today.
JSW Steel Ltd has also raised prices of most of its flat products between 1-2% and that of long products by up to 1%, said director (commercial and marketing), Jayant Acharya.
State-owned Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, which produces only long products that finds wide application in the construction segment, has raised prices of wire rods alone by 900 rupees per tn.
“There is a strong demand for wire rods across the country and so we have hiked prices of only this product,” said a RINL source. “Prices of all other products have been kept unchanged,” he said.
Essar Steel Ltd has also increased prices for retail customers by 1,000-1,200 rupees per tonne and is working out the price hike for its large clients, said a source close to the development.
Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) was not reachable for any update, while Tata Steel Ltd has not raised prices so far.
Aurangabad, Marathwada: In a major foreign direct investment proposal in the rail sector, a Czech company has come forward for setting up a wheel factory at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore in Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
“We will set up a 100 per cent Indian subsidiary to produce the Wheel sets in Aurangabad in Maharashtra,” said Joachim Marreck, CEO of Bonatrans India Pvt Ltd here.
“The wheel manufacturing unit wil be set up at 40,000 sq metre area in Aurangabad at an estimated cost of about Rs.200 crore,” said Marreck, adding “the factory will be operational in 2015.”
The ground breaking ceremony for the state-of-the-art wheel factory will be held in January next year.
Bonatrans will employ about 70 people in the fully automated factory in the first phase.
A major manufacturer of railway wheelsets in Europe, Bonatrans has share of about 35 per cent share in European market and has already been supplying wheelsets to Indian Railways since many years.
“We are supplying about 10,000 wheels to Indian Railways and Metros this year. In the beginning we will be manufacturing about 20,000 wheelsets and 5000 axles in a year but our aim is to increase the supply to 50,000 a year,” he said.
A delegation of Indian Railways will travel to Prague for signing an MoU with Czech Railway in November.
Railways requires more than three lakh wheels a year for its ever increasing number of trains. Currently, it depends upon import of wheels from China and Europe to meet its requirement as domestic production falls short of the total target.
Incidentally, Railways is also setting up a forged wheel factory at Raebareli in a joint venture with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd to manufacture about 50,000 wheels annually.
However, the Bonatrans CEO said there is scope for everybody as Indian market is increasing and also becoming competitive.
“We would like to be very close to our customer and we are keen to cooperate with Railways in a big way as Indian market is opening up and very competitive also,” he said.
Bonatrans along with several other Czech companies have participated in the recently held international railway exhibition here. Last week, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge while speaking at a function invited FDI in rail sector.
New Delhi: Travelling by train became costlier from today as the new fare structure came into effect following the latest round of revision.
Facing an additional burden of about Rs 1,200 crore due to increased diesel and electricity costs, Railways made an upward revision of passenger and freight tariffs, linking it with the fuel adjustment component (FAC).
The decision to link fuel prices with the fare structure was announced in Rail Budget, 2012-13.
Mumbai: The Western Railway has banned illegal advertisements carrying messages of tantriks, black magicians and occultists inside the coaches of suburban trains, an official said Monday. Railway authorities and the railway police are jointly exploring the possibility of using the stringent Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifice and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2011, to nail ‘Bangali babas’ pasting their cure-for-everything-under-the-sun posters inside local trains.
The ban has been enforced under the new Maharashtra Black Magic Act which seeks to eradicate human sacrifice, inhuman, evil and aghori practices.
The WR warned that the law stipulates a jail term of up to seven years if anybody is found pasting such advertisements in the suburban trains and thereby propagating superstitious practices and witchcraft.
The WR is continuing a drive to clean out coaches of such advertisements and has detected 156 cases of illegal pasting of stickers, the official said.
While six people have already been sent to jail, the WR also recovered penalties of Rs.152,300 for the offenses.
The coaches of the trains on WR’s suburban section between Churchgate-Dahanu, used by over four million commuters daily, are a favourite site for display advertisements and stickers of various products and services, including black magicians.
The issue of such evil practices suddenly came to the fore after the killing of prominent anti-superstition campaigner Narendra Dabholkar in Pune Aug 20. His killers are yet untraced and on the run.
What Railway Police says:
Railway Police Commissioner Prabhat Kumar said that discussions on the matter had taken place during a meeting of the railway police brass with the Railway Protection Force (RPF). The RPF, being a central government paramilitary force under the railway ministry, does not have the powers to use state laws, such as the recently-enacted anti-superstition bill, and will have to depend on the railway police, a state government agency, for it.
Kumar said, “It will all depend on the kind of case the RPF transfers to us. We will have to study the act in detail to see where the pasting of such posters fits in.”
Western Railway (WR) authorities, however, are optimistic, with an official statement from WR stating that the new anti-black magic law does have ‘a provision of imprisonment of up to seven years if anyone is found pasting such advertisements in trains and, thereby, propagating superstitious practices and witchcraft’.
WR chief spokesperson Sharat Chandrayan told that the railways, in tandem with the railway police, will work towards invoking these provisions to act against the offenders.
The pasting of such posters is a big headache for the train-runners in the city; apart from dirtying the trains’ interiors, it also hits advertisement revenues in a big way as many of these posters are pasted over legitimate advertisements, leading to the advertisers crying foul and holding back payments to the railways.
The RPF uses sections 144 (canvassing in railway carriage without requisite railway permissions) and 166 (defacing or damaging railway board or document pasted inside railway carriage) of the Railway Act, 1989, to take action against people pasting illegal posters inside trains. While section 144 comes with a fine of Rs1,000 and/or a jail term of up to one year, section 166 has a fine of Rs500 and/or jail term of a month.
WR, in a statement, said that in the first eight months of 2013, 156 cases of illegal pasting of stickers had been detected on its trains in which Rs1,52,300 was realised as fine and six people were sent to jail.
Tackling superstition in compartments
WR authorities are optimistic, with a statement from WR stating the new anti-black magic law has ‘a provision of imprisonment of up to 7 years if anyone is found pasting such advertisements in trains and, thereby, propagating superstitious practices and witchcraft’
Presently, the RPF uses sections 144 (canvassing in railway carriage without requisite permissions) and 166 (defacing or damaging railway board or document pasted inside railway carriage) of the Railway Act, 1989, to take action against people pasting illegal posters inside trains.
AHMEDABAD: A 25-year-old youth, who claimed to have a ‘Gold pass’ of the Indian Railways generally issued to senior officials or to achievers as an honour, was caught at Kalupur railway station by railway officials. The youth, identified as 25-year-old Sumit Kumar, was handed over to the Government Railway Police (GRP) for questioning.
According to GRP officials, a ticket checker of the Indian Railways came across the youth who had got down from Gujarat Mail. Kumar showed a gold pass when the ticket checker asked for his ticket. The checker was surprised as the pass is generally issued to senior officials. Moreover, travelers with a Gold Pass use it to travel in first class while the youth had come out of the sleeper class. The ticket-checker immediately brought the case to notice of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) who directed him to the GRP.
PP Pirojiya, inspector of GRP Kalupur, told that Sumit Kumar was a native of Bihar and resident of Ghatkopar in Mumbai. “He told us that he had come for the Railway Recruitment Board ( RRB) examination in Ahmedabad and that he currently works in Mumbai. When questioned about the pass, he told us that he had purchased it from a man in Bhagalpur, Bihar, for Rs 200. The man had asked him to identify himself as a sportsman. We suspect that Kumar had earlier used it for various trains but was caught when he attempted to travel in an inter-state train to come to Ahmedabad from Mumbai,” he said.
Get set for NCR’s daredevil aunties in the Metro – From all-aunty rugby teams to moral judges’ brigade, from irritating kids to noisy gossip-lovers – the first compartment of the Delhi Metro offers women a diverse range of better-without-them experiences
The first compartment of the Delhi Metro may forever remain the subject of curiosity for the male commuter. However, for Delhi girls, it is no less than a battlefield – with women who can put even a Dolly Bindra to shame. These women warriors, who strangle fellow commuters with their bags and bangles can go from ‘thoda adjust kar lo beta’ to ‘aaj kal ki ladkiyan’ when they fail to get a seat. Then there are those who choose Metro time for mom-in-law gossip, while we save ourselves from their pole-dancing kids. While we can’t imagine life without the Metro – these women – we sincerely hope, discover the merits of peaceful existence.
The easiest to identify, you’ll find these women pacing the platform area as soon as the announcement of an arriving train is made. If you dare stop the female standing behind you in the line from entering first, be prepared for a journey full of bag-punches and aggressive elbowing. A safer way to travel would be to let them take a seat, else, by the end of your journey, you’ll find yourself bruised, thanks to their killer heels and pointed jewellery.
Sapna Bains, a freelance writer, says, “It’s a daily routine for me – getting elbowed in the chest by some or the other fat aunty who is struggling to get off at Rajiv Chowk. It’s like they fear that the Metro will trap them inside forever if they’re not quick enough. They could be in an all-aunty rugby team with that kind of enthusiasm. Just make them think they’re in a train with ‘agla station… Rajiv Chowk hai’ playing in the background. From their killer heels to bangles, it’s like they come dressed for damage. And nothing you say or do can stop them. Even if you try to stoop to their standards, they will invent an all-new level of low and punish you with the badtameez-log-wali speech later.”
According to this lot, there is absolutely no one who deserves a seat more than they do, and the fact that you’re returning from work and they’re returning from shopping doesn’t help either. If the person sitting in front of them doesn’t take a hint, then these mascots of adjustment will squeeze and fit in their derrieres in the most microscopic space. The six-seater marking was obviously a mistake by the Metro authorities.
Archana Ramachandran, a student at NIFT, says, “I take the Metro every day to college, and every day I am expected to be adjusting to the needs of some miserable, tired old soul. The fact that this miserable soul is usually in the body of a fat, space-consuming aunty doesn’t help my situation at all. Sometimes I actually give in to their a**-fitting attempts and let them take over the ‘golden triangle area’. But on days when I am really tired, I act equally stubborn and ignore all their looks and just stay in the space I was originally sitting in.”
The moral brigade
The emotional outburst inspired from the TV soaps has to come out somewhere, right? These aunties will look at you in the meanest way possible because they take their position of being moral judges quite seriously. Because by ‘kalyug’, the Gods were obviously referring to the time when a girl would refuse to give her seat up for an aunty. The aaj kal-ki-ladkiyaan dialogue is their identification point and that’s cue for you to plug in your headphones, too.
Niyati Malhotra, who works with a bank, says, “There was this one time, when I was travelling back from work with a colleague. We were talking about an office party from the previous night, which had some mentions of alcohol and dancing. This aunty, who by the way had headphones on, goes all judgmental on us and says, ‘tch tch, aaj kal ki ladkiyon ko toh koi rokne wala hi nahi hai. Kaun sambhalega inhe?’ Before we could even recover from what just happened, she went back to listening to what we’re guessing were bhajans. And that was not the first time we got such looks from other commuters.”
The absent mothers
You don’t need the Metro signs to tell you to give up your seat to the thaki-haari mother, who is travelling with her kids. But once the mom is seated, God save you from the hyperactive, seat-climbing, pole-hugging, attention-seeking child, who has suddenly become your responsibility. Don’t be surprised if the mother uses this time for catching up on family gossip even as your Metro journey becomes a scene out of Problem Child 1, 2 and 3. (Courtesy: TOI for RailNews People and Culture)
Kochi: There has been no light on the 3.7-km stretch on MG Road in Kochi as it will remain in darkness until the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) completes the road widening work and shifts all streetlights from the median.
The streetlights stopped working over 45 days ago after the contract awarded to an advertisement agency expired, and the contractor removed LED lights installed on an experimental basis.
While DMRC has provided lights on stretches barricaded for the work on viaduct, other areas remain under darkness, posing a threat to pedestrians who have to also negotiate the treacherous footpath.
Though the city corporation is aware of the matter, they have failed to initiate any action, pointing instead to the burden of huge electricity bills.
Currently, streetlights are placed at a gap of 30 metres. The maintenance of streetlights across the city is awarded through tenders, but the civic body has failed to call for one after the last one expired.
Refuting the charges, town planning committee chairman K J Sohan said, “The proposal for replacing tubes on MG Road at Ravipuram was approved by the last council meeting. After identifying those that need to be replaced, tender will be floated to carry out the work.”
“The contractor, who had installed LED lights, removed it and replaced them with old tube lights when his contract period expired. They had drawn overhead cables in many areas and many were damaged. But we noticed it now only. We will take immediate steps to address the issue,” said Gopalakrishna Pillai K B, town planning officer, Kochi corporation.
Meanwhile, city residents criticized the corporation’s failure to replace tube and bulbs that are not functioning.
Exactly two years after it began to run, Metro has not reduced traffic, and remains a joy ride
In the two years since the inauguration of Reach One of Metro Phase One, connecting Byappanahalli and M.G. Road, life has remained largely unchanged for the average commuter.
Given that the service presently covers only six kilometres, the Metro is yet to become the preferred mode of transport for people who live in East Bangalore neighbourhoods of Indiranagar, Ulsoor, Old Madras Road and Byappanahalli. The impact of the line on vehicular traffic is negligible.
“Right now it’s just a joy ride. It feels like the Namma Metro authorities have put this line just to give people an idea of how things might be when the full project becomes functional,” says D.R. Narendra Kumar, a Kannada professor who lives in Jogupalya.
The professor’s assertion is borne out by the hordes of tourists who ride the Byappanahalli line just for thrills – cameras and all. “Earlier people used to go to Cubbon Park for a toy train ride. Now they take the Metro,” laughs Mohan Raj, a cellphone shop owner in Indiranagar.
When Reach One was inaugurated in October 2011, elected representatives as well as bureaucrats promised that Underground Two (M.G. Road-Magadi Road) would be inaugurated within a year. Owing to several technical problems, particularly resistance to land acquisition, this stretch is still some distance from completion.
“Had this stretch been commissioned, the Metro would actually have had some value as it would have connected us to the [Majestic] Railway Station,” says Parakram Chetri, a security guard who works in C.V. Raman Nagar. Aruna Prakash (46), a bank employee, shared, “I live in Indiranagar and Metro serves only 20 per cent of my travel due to its limited connectivity. How can anyone completely rely on it as a staple mode of transport everyday?”
Lakshminarasimhaiah, a Cubbon Road traffic sub-inspector, says, “On M.G. Road, there has been a small but significant reduction of traffic [after the Metro line was commissioned]. But this might also be because BMTC buses are no longer allowed in that stretch.”
Bangalore’s Additional Commissioner of Police, B. Dayanand, said that while there has been no formal assessment of traffic increase or decrease after Metro, “due to its limited coverage area, we assume it has not made much difference”. Even a layman with a vague analysis can decipher that there is no change on the roads and the dependence on others modes of transport viz., buses, autos, private vehicles, continues to infest these areas.
However, the present service is still beneficial to a lucky few. Rajeshwari Ganesh, a homemaker who resides near Byappanahalli, said, “I am lucky, the Metro does help me. I take it to drop my son everyday at his school but I don’t generally see many students and corporate employees as regular commuters.”
The BMRCL claims that with a limited reach of six km, the daily ridership in Metro is about 20,000. “With the completion of Phase 1 the ridership is expected to touch one million per day,” B.L.Y. Chavan, Public Relations Officer of BMRCL, said.
However, as per statistics shared by BMRCL, there has been considerable reduction in emission of carbon monoxide and automobile exhaust. The energy required to transport people for the distance through Metro is less than one-tenth of that required in transporting the same number of persons by bus. Indeed, energy efficiency appears to be the only positive of the Metro facility servicing a meagre percentage of commuters.
After the baneful acquisition of land, demolition of buildings, felling of trees and narrowing of roads, residents see no purpose in having the prestigious mega-transport structure which provides no relief in any form.
Jayanthy Bhagatha (32), a resident of Indiranagar, said, “Living in this area, I have seen an increase in noise pollution, chaotic traffic jams and vehicles squeezing through roads narrowed by Metro construction. Many residents and private businesses have suffered immensely.”
Palanivelu (54), a resident of Halasuru, said, “My house collapsed during the laying of the foundation for the Metro station. I couldn’t expect any help or compensation from the BMRCL. The road gets very dusty due to constant vehicular movement and people have a hard time maintaining their houses. But, the division of road has kept traffic at bay. It is the only consolation.”
Will the Metro impact be truly felt once its reach expands?
Secunderabad: Disruption in power supply owing to anti-Telangana stir hit train services, especially those bound to Tirupati, Vijayawada, Guntakal and Guntur in Seemandhra region, but the railways ensured that the problem does not affect its all India operations.
“As a precautionary measure and to ensure continuous supply of power with adequate voltage to haul Express Trains in case of possible shortfall in power supply, the movements of goods trains in some sections have been temporarily curtailed.
Also, 25 passenger trains and 6 express trains have been cancelled and 5 passenger Trains have been partially cancelled, many of which are for the purpose of rake balancing,” sources informed.
London: Engineers working on a rail project in London are wearing two hats these days—those of construction worker and archaeologist – after discovering about 20 ancient skulls and gold coins in the sediment of a historic river channel deep beneath the city.
Tunnelers discovered the Roman skulls, along with Roman pottery, gold coins while building a utilities tunnel underneath the Liverpool Street station site for Crossrail, the project developers announced.
And because the skulls are up to six meters (just shy of 20 feet) below ground, the archaeology work is being left to the construction workers for safety reasons.
“This is an unexpected and fascinating discovery that reveals another piece in the jigsaw of London’s history,” said lead archaeologist Jay Carver.
Clusters of Skulls
This isn’t the first discovery of skulls in the River Walbrook bed, Carter notes. Early historians suggest they are those of people killed during the Boudicca rebellion against the Romans, he said.
Throughout London’s history, Roman skulls have been found along the Thames tributary, and many speculated that they belong to those decapitated by Queen Boudicca’s rebels in the 1st Century AD.
However, the skulls are now believed to be from a Roman burial site 50 meters up the river from the Liverpool Street station worksite.
“Their location in the Roman layer indicates they were possibly washed down river during the Roman period,” Carver says.
The skulls were located in clusters, suggesting that they had been washed out of the burial ground and caught in a bend in the river.
The skulls were found below the Bedlam burial ground established in the 16th century. Three thousand skeletons will be removed from the location next year during an archaeological excavation.
The workers also found wooden medieval structures thought to be from the walls of the Bedlam burial ground.
The Museum of London Archaeology, contracted by Crossrail’s, will analyze the discovery in hopes of learning more about the age, sex and diet of the people.
Since the Crossrail project started in 2009, more than 10,000 archaelogy items have been discovered across 40 construction sites. The findings represent more than 55 million years of London’s history, according to Crossrail Limited.
Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and is delivering the UK’s largest archaeology program.
Funding for Crossrail totals £14.8 billion (about $23.9 billion USD). The route will pass through 38 stations, increasing London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 percent.
Crossrail Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London; Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.
Crossrail is scheduled to open in central London in 2018.
Ghaziabad: Owners of properties along the metro rail track in Ghaziabad have been allowed to increase their plot coverage or add additional floors, an official of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) said Monday.
Authority’s Vice Chairman Santosh Kumar Yadav said the GDA board has passed a proposal to enhance the floor area ratio (FAR) from the existing 33 percent to 66 percent along the over two-km-long metro track from Anand Vihar in Delhi to Vaishali in Ghaziabad.
The proposal is expected to bring in an additional revenue of about Rs.150 crore to the GDA, the official said.
The board passed 15 proposals in all.
To sell its properties at high premium, the GDA passed a proposal for introduction of a two-bid system in its auction. Bidders will now have to qualify in the technical bid before entering into the financial bid, the official said.
New Delhi: The Railway Board has paid Rs.5.00 Lakh compensation to an alleged victim of rape by a constable of Railway Protection Force at New Delhi Railway Station in September last year after the National Human Rights Commission rejected its contention that it was not liable in the case.
“A reluctant Railway Board has finally paid Rs.5 Lakh as monetary relief to the victim of rape by a Constable of Railway Protection Force at New Delhi Railway Station. The incident happened on the night of September 4, 2012,” an NHRC statement said today.
Earlier, in response to the notice of the Commission, the Railway Board had informed that it was not liable to pay compensation to the victim as the constable was not on duty when he committed the crime.
However, it said that a case under Section 376/506/34 IPC, GRP, Delhi was registered on the September 5, 2012 against the constable.
He was arrested the same day, sent to jail and had been dismissed from service with immediate effect.
The Commission did not accept the contention of the Railway Board that it was not liable to pay compensation to the victim and observed that the International Tourist Bureau is apparently an office of the Indian Railways, located on the premises of the New Delhi Railway Station.
Subsequently, the Commission issued a notice to the Railway Board asking why monetary relief should not be paid to the victim.
In response, the Railway Board reiterated its earlier stand and said that the victim should not be paid relief as she was not having a journey/platform ticket at the time of the incident. Also she was not a passenger and the case may not come in the ambit of Railway Claims Tribunal for payment of compensation.
Criminal case has been registered against the culprits and the accused constable, who had been dismissed from the service, was still in the judicial custody. It said the case being sub-judice, the Commission should keep making recommendation pending till its finalisation by the court.
Setting aside the contention of the Railway Board, the NHRC said that the victim, who suffered grievous harm, was certainly entitled to relief for violation of her human rights
The Commission observed that it had issued a notice in the matter under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which empowers it to make recommendations in case of violation of human rights.
Also, a recommendation on violation of human rights can be made by the Commission irrespective of conclusion of the trial of the case.
In response, the Railway Board paid Rs 5 Lakh as monetary relief to the victim and also sent the proof of payment.
The Commission had registered the case on the basis of a complaint filed by a human rights activist.
Ratnagiri: A major tragedy was averted after Konkan Railway’s Mumbai-Goa Mandovi Express derailed on Sunday afternoon.
Konkan Railway will remain affected till the restoration work is completed on the single-line track.National trains passing the route will also remain affected. Railway police said that the driver of the speeding train spotted a track fracture on time and braked the train, averting a major crash.Initial reports said there were no injures. The locomotive and the first coach of the train went off the track near Khed station after the incident. The derailed Mandovi Express had advanced WDP-4 diesel-electric locomotive that has aircraft-like sound. It took the brunt of the fall.
“The derailment of the locomotive and the brake van of CST-Madgaon Mandovi Express between Diwankhavati and Khed stations occurred at 12:30 pm. On this account, only one train, namely Sawantwadi-Diva passenger train, has been terminated at Ratnagiri and there is no cancellation of any services. However, the trains may be running late due to this and the public may call 022-27561721, 27561723, 27561725 for information,” Said KR senior spokesperson Vaishali Patange.
“There is no injury or casualty. Our officials had rushed to the spot of derailment for expeditious restoration of the traffic. The work is going on in full swing and the engineers and the staff are working on a war footing,” she said.
The commissioner of railway safety was apprised of the incident and an inquiry has been instituted, officials said. “The inconvenience caused to the public is deeply regretted,” a senior official added.
While 2014 Lok Sabha Elections are apt approaching, UPA tries to speed up projects in VIP constituencies
Railways on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with steel ministry’s public sector unit, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), to fast-track the wheel factory project in Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli.
Ministers from both participating ministries, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Steel Minister Benipersad Verma, were present to oversee the signing ceremony. The Rs 960-crore forged wheel factory was announced in the current budget and within a short period, railways arranged the resources. The state government has already provided 40 acres of land in Raebareli. RINL will invest the entire cost under assured off-take for around 26 years.
Only 10 days ago, Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) coach factory in Bhiwara to strengthen her confidant and a state heavyweight C P Joshi. The foundation laying programme was to be organised sometime in October, but keeping in view the assembly elections in Rajasthan, it was advanced.
The Rs.1000-crore MEMU project is in partnership with the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). The project took off during Joshi’s brief tenure in the ministry and an MoU was signed without delay.
However, the Rs.600 crore rail coach factory in Palakkad in Kerala was pushed behind. The CPM government gave 400 acres of land in 2009 on the condition that it would be a joint venture of railways with a government PSU.
Chennai: Describing the revision of railway fares as unjustifiable, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha today said the latest proposal would put an additional financial burden of about Rs.1,150 crore on the people and demanded its immediate ‘rollback’. “For the next six months about Rs.1,150 crore financial burden has been placed on people through the revision of railway fares. Through this, low and middle income groups will suffer more. I strongly condemn the proposal to increase the fares and urge the Centre for its rollback”, she said in a release. Instead of throwing the burden on common man, Railways should first correct its own system, curtail undue spend on various unnecessary overheads, reduce corruption to extend support to common man, she said. She further added “Railways cannot betray this way everytime without correcting its own house and it should not forget the socio-economic role it plays in the country. If this trend continues, it (Railways) stand to loose the credibility in public interface”.
The Railways has decided to increase the passenger fare and freight tariff by about two per cent from today to offset the financial burden arising out of increased input cost.
Referring to the earlier practice of revising fuel prices every six months, she said the Union Government has subsequently led (the oil marketing companies) to revise it every month.
Similarly, the practice of hiking railway fares every two years has been revised to every six months, she said, adding, “this is a blatant betrayal of the common man”.
She alleged that if the UPA government had prevented various scams like the 2G Spectrum Scam, Coal Scam, Railway Scams and Commonwealth Games scam, revising fuel prices for every month may have been “avoided”, citing the fact that Railways is one of the most corrupt organisation in India as per CVC reports. She also said that there is no proper watch-dog for Railway finances leading to large scale corruption in the Railway Board, Zonal and Divisional set up and urged strong need to safeguard Railway finances.
“At a time when the price of essential commodities are increasing and fuel prices have been hiked, how far is it justifiable for the Centre, to revise the price of Railway fares?” she asked.
Kochi: The Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) shed at Kollam , which was set to be commissioned this week by the Railways has been further delayed.
The shed which was completed months ago was expected to be inaugurated by Minister of State for Railways Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy on October 8.
However, the resignation of Kotla, an MP from Karnool in Andhra Pradesh protesting against the creation of a separate Telangana state has put the project commissioning on hold.
According to a spokesperson of the Railways at the Southern Railways Headquarters in Chennai, they received a message stating that the commissioning of the shed will be postponed since they have not yet decided on who will launch the project in place of the Minister of State.
“The project has not been cancelled from the agenda, but was merely postponed. We expect to commission the shed at the earliest,” the spokesperson added.
During his visit to the state from October 8 to 10, the minister was expected to inaugurate the escalators at the Calicut railway station. After this, he was to inaugurate the manning of an LC gate at Alappuzha, one of the final LCs in the state which is to be manned. Now, that the MoS won’t be arriving, these projects will be inaugurated at a later date.
Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agarwal said that the work on the shed at Kollam was completed six months ago. He added that the delay in inaugurating the shed, along with the sanctioning of additional staff, was the only reason why the launch of the shed was being stalled.
Once the shed is commissioned, all MEMU trains plying within the division could undergo maintenance at the shed itself without having to be hauled to Palakkad every week.
According to sources, it was planned to sent the number of trained crew from Chennai to Kollam once the shed was inaugurated. The Railways has to bear an additional monthly expense of nearly `6 lakh on this account. The shuttling of a single rake to Palakkad was `50,000.
Apart from this, the railway passengers will be able to benefit from the commisioning of the MEMU shed because the MEMU services can be operated every day.
Kochi: The proposal of the railways to set up an AC loco maintenance shed in Ernakulam has kicked up a row with railway employees alleging that the move is political in nature.
According to officials, the railways has set aside `20 crore for setting up the AC loco shed on the Ernakulam junction premises.
A letter has been forwarded by the General Manager of the Southern Railways to the Railway Board for approval.
The decision to set up the AC loco shed was taken as most of the trains in the Thiruvananthapuram division ran on electric engines, the officials said. However, the railway employees allege that the move to set up the AC loco shed and in turn transfer the diesel loco shed from Kerala to Tamil Nadu or Karnataka was political.
They said the move was a huge blow to the 350 employees currently working in the diesel loco shed, which is Kerala’s only diesel engine maintenance facility.
Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) divisional president P Unnikrishnan said since the repair and maintenance work of diesel locos is different from electric engines, it is also highly unlikely that these employees will be reinstated.
“We are not against the construction of a new AC loco shed here. However, if there is any move to shift the diesel shed to a different place, the management should take us into confidence. There is a huge possibility that the employees will be transferred to other locations, i.e., to other states where the diesel shed will be relocated. We demand that the management either withdraw the move or hold talks with us in this regard to allay the fears of the employees,” Unnikrishnan said.
The SRMU will observe black day on Monday and is gearing up for a statewide agitation in the coming days.
Railway officials here said there were possibilities to set up the AC loco shed without disturbing the diesel loco shed.
“However, we have not been given any briefing regarding this because the proposal is in the initial stages,” Ernakulam area manager P L Ashok Kumar said.
Authorities yet to respond to long-pending pleas from passengers
The long-pending plea of the people of Koyilandy to develop the railway station in their locality is yet to evoke any favourable response from Southern Railway authorities.
The station is used by nearly 3,000 passengers daily.
The foremost demand is for a reservation counter that functions round-the-clock.
Currently, the counter is manned by a ticket counter clerk. Staff shortage has cut short the reservation counter service to four hours.
In the absence of a full-fledged reservation counter, most of the long-distance passengers have to travel to Vadakara and Kozhikode stations for booking their tickets.
“Hundreds of passengers to North Indian States struggle from the lack of a reservation counter here. They have to travel a long way to make their reservations,” says P. Gangadharan, a native of Koyilandy. “Many a time, they lose the chance of reservation because of the delay in booking,” he says.
The shortage of staff is also a pressing issue, as the ticket counter clerk on duty is often compelled to jump from one seat to the other to attend to the long queue of people.
Another demand that is pending is the need for a footbridge.
Such a facility will greatly benefit passengers, including the physically challenged and senior citizens.
Stop for trains
Stops for long-distance trains, including the West Coast, Netravati, Yeswanthpur, and Chennai Special Super Fast, has come up as a separate demand.
As of now, people from Koyilandy are compelled to board the train from Kozhikode or Vadakara stations to reach distant locations.
According to Koyilandy MLA K. Dasan, the railway station caters to an estimated population of 1.24 lakh in the city and the suburbs of Koyilandy.
The station also serves people from the nearby panchayats including Chemanchery, Chengottukavu. Arikkulam, Keezhariyur, Moodadi, Ulliyeri, Balussery, Panangad, Naduvannur, Unnikulam, Payyoli, Thikkodi, and Thurayur.
Mr. Dasan, who recently submitted a memorandum to the Southern Railway authorities on the issue, says that there are more than 16 higher secondary and technical schools in the area, in addition to 17 other nationalised and scheduled banks. Taking all such aspects into consideration, development of the station is imperative, he says.
Farmers too will benefit from the development of the station, as hill products including rubber, ginger, pepper and other vegetables are being transported largely to the market in trains, he adds.
Jaipur: Luxury train ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ began its season’s maiden journey from Safdarjung railway station in the national capital with 26 passengers on board.
The train would travel through Jodhpur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and then enter Agra for the tourists to visit Taj Mahal. Apart from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, the train would travel through Varanasi back to Delhi.
Proving to be a perfect example of travelling extravaganza, this train offers a travel experience that attracts tourists from far and wide. With interiors furnished with details that remind one of the bygone era of splendor and magnificence, this train contains all items of luxury such as ‘spa’, ‘gym’ among others.
The 22 luxury cabins are named after the royal palaces of Rajasthan such as Hawa Mahal, Kishore Mahal, Padmini Mahal, among others.
Categorised into deluxe and super deluxe saloons, the cabins are equipped with wi-fi internet, satellite television, channel music system and temperature controller.
The royal luxury train, designed to satisfy the growing demand of luxury train travelling, has a capacity of 82 passengers on board.
The per night tariff is: $1,600 (super deluxe), $590 (deluxe twin sharing), $825 (deluxe single occupancy), 50 percent of charges for children between five and 12 years, and 10 percent of cost for kids below five years.
The train is scheduled to start off from Delhi every Sunday between October and April.
Thiruvananthapuram: God’s Own Country plans to set up a suburban railway system along the lines of Mumbai’s network and it has asked the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to help it in this regard.
The Kerala government has hired the services of MRVC to prepare a detailed project report for a suburban service it plans to operate from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, northwards to Chengannur and Haripad, a distance of 126 km.
The route length is comparable to the Churchgate-Dahanu or CST-Khopoli routes. It is estimated that the project would cost about Rs3,500 crore at current prices and is to be funded by the state and the railway ministry.
This decision was taken by the Kerala Cabinet following an elaborate presentation MRVC made to the chief minister Oommen Chandy and a group of state officials recently. Shashi Tharoor, member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram and some state ministers also attended the meeting.
The MRVC team was led by managing director Rakesh Saksena. The corporation will earn about Rs11 crore for this project report.
MRVC officials said that their agency was the obvious choice as it has been overseeing the modernisation of the Mumbai suburban rail system under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The agency is awaiting a written order from the Kerala government for this work.
There is already a rail line on the Thiruvananthapuram-Haripad section that has 25 stations. Railway officials say that the more than 80 level crossings on the route would be a tough hurdle to negotiate.
The state has set up a steering committee with the chief secretary as chairman to deal with these matters. Southern Railway and MRVC officials are also on this committee.
Kerala has a number of international airports, but its railway system has not developed to cope with the increase in traffic. Large stretches of the rail network are single lines and not electrified. The state has felt the need for a suburban system to carry a growing number of daily officegoers on the western stretch.
On the fast track
Kerala plans to upgrade the route from Thiruvananthapuram to Chengannur and Haripad.
The route length is comparable to the Churchgate-Dahanu or CST-Khopoli lines.
Mumbai: In few days time Mumbai train commuters will see new trains on the Central and Western Railways. From the old yellow and red trains to the new purple and white swanky trains, Mumbai’s railways popularily known as the local trains have seen a great change in their look in the past two decades. Now, the new trains are set to be pink in colour to hide the paan stains. The new Mumbai train are currently in ICF, Chennai and will be in the city soon. The all-new local trains are expected to arrive in the city between October 8 and 10 and will then go into a three-month-long series of trials before it is inducted into the suburban system. The train can reach speeds of 130 kilometres per hour and will sport what is internationally called the straight sidewall concept. Coaches in India, including the suburban ones in Mumbai, are bell-shaped. The straight sidewall concept, one that has adorned trains abroad for years now, is expected to make the train faster, thanks to better aerodynamics. The train’s sides are straighter than the ‘bell’ shape that is distinctive of Indian trains. The train will be powered by the Bombardier transportation electrical system and not the Siemens one that powers current locals. The train will have blue handles and train seats look more comfortable. Here’s a sneek peak at the new train: