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Railways Public Relations Officers’ threaten Dharna on Promotion Norms

Jaipur (JP):  The Indian Railway Public Relations Officials Welfare Society today announced that its members would sit on an indefinite dharna outside the office of the General Manager North Western Railway from Friday.

The society alleged that the Railways had been ignoring their long-pending demand of promotions as per rules.

Promotional avenues for public relations officers were clearly laid down in a gazette notification in 1982, but these “have not been implemented so far due to which we are suffering a lot”, society general secretary Yashwant Kumar told reporters here today.

“We have been raising our demands and submitted several representations to the government in the past 20 years, but the grievances remained unsolved,” he said.

He said representatives from different regions would participate in the dharna.

“Due to the anomaly in promotions, senior PROs have to work under officers junior to them. This is unjustified and the railway board should pay attention to our demand,” Kumar said.

Lack of Railway line hampering supply of additional 300 MT Coal by CIL

New Delhi:  State-owned CIL today said it is unable to tap the potential for supplying 300 million tonnes of additional coal due to the absence of critical rail links for lifting the dry-fuel.

“We have a potential to supply 300 MT of additional coal from some of our collieries but we lack crucial rail infrastructure for transporting it,” Coal India Ltd Chairman and Managing Director S Narsing Rao told.

“Under the circumstances, we are in a position to increase our annual growth to only 30 MT for the next few years,” he said.

If three critical rail links are fast-tracked, the company will ensure 300 MT additional supply to consumers who are facing fuel shortages, he said.

Three rail corridors are: Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura, Jharkhand; Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh; and Barpali-Jharsuguda in IB Valley, Odisha, which are under different phases of development.

CMD’s remarks come at a time when a high-level Inter- Ministerial Committee constituted by the Prime Minister’s Office is addressing the issue of faster implementation of critical railway projects in potential coalfields.

The Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure had also agreed to monitor the progress of the three rail links critical for transporting coal from CIL mines located in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Sources said that difficulties being faced in executing these three projects, entailing Rs 7,500 crore expenditure, relate to forestry and environment clearances besides land acquisition, rehabilitation/resettlement as well as law and order problems.

The government had earlier said that two rail projects, including Tori-Shivpur, are likely to be completed by the end of 2017 and will facilitate coal evacuation besides pushing up production of the fuel.

The demand-supply gap of coal is likely to widen to 185.5 MT in 2016-17. The country had to import a record 135 MT coal last year to meet domestic requirement.

Battling low production, CIL has earmarked Rs 24,500 crore capital expenditure over the next few years mainly to boost capacity and is also looking at spending another Rs 14,500 crore to augment rail infrastructure.

CIL had said last month that it may miss the production target of 482 million tonnes (MT) for the 2013-14 fiscal, ending March 31, by around 5 MT.

CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic production, contributed 452.5 MT of coal in 2012-13 as against the target of 464 MT.

Tamil Nadu should bear half of rail project cost: Kharge

INR 3 Lakh crore required for executing 278 projects, on hand with the railways

The Tamil Nadu government should share 50 per cent of railway project cost for execution, because the Indian Railways cannot sanction sufficient funds for all projects immediately, said Union Minister for Railways, Mallikarjun Kharge.

Addressing a gathering after inspecting a railway bridge being constructed across the Vaigai River near Kunnur on Wednesday, he said the railways had about 278 projects on hand and a sum of Rs.3 lakh crore was required for executing them quickly.

Also it was not possible to sanction funds immediately. Already, 10 States, including Kerala, Karnataka Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, had agreed to contribute.

“We are not asking anything new. The much-delayed Theni-Madurai gauge conversion work would be completed in two or three years if Tamil Nadu shared the cost. Other States had to contribute land also. We have land in Theni and the State’s contribution will suffice. It is neither politics nor power. The DMK or the AIADMK may come and go. Ultimately, it benefits people.”

The project, cleared in 2008-09, was sanctioned Rs.15 crore.

Bodi gauge conversion work

So far, owing to paucity of funds Rs.6 crore had been spent. The 90.41-km-long Bodi gauge conversion work was originally accorded a sum of Rs.164.1 crore in 2008-09 and it was re-worked to Rs.272 crore in 2012. Again, it was revised to Rs.302 crore in 2014.

Hence, the government should come forward to share the cost without any further delay, as price escalation was volatile.

“With Bodi project entering the ‘pink book,’ I can, re-appropriate old projects and sanction Rs.15 crore immediately for construction of bridges. In the next budget, the amount will be doubled. The project will be completed in four years and prove to be beneficial to the upcoming textile park in Andipatti,” he assured.

Work was on to connect Kanyakumari and Kashmir. Track laying work was pending in Uthampur section. After completing it, passengers will be able to travel up to can go to Kashmir directly from Kanyakumari, he added.

Hike in Parking Fee: Passengers stage protest at Mysore Railway Station

Mysore (MYS):  Consequent to the hike in parking fee at the Mysore city railway station, a section of daily commuters and passengers staged a protest on Tuesday accusing the contractor of collecting an exorbitant amount as fee.  While the railway authorities have justified the hike by comparing the prevailing rates in other public places, the commuters are not amused.  One of the daily commuters pointed out that the monthly season ticket between Mysore and Bangalore cost Rs.450 and the parking fee per month worked out to be the same for a two-wheeler. There are thousands of daily commuters on the Mysore-Bangalore section, Mysore-Hassan and Mysore-Chamarajanagar sections and they will be among the worst-affected, as invariably most of them use two-wheelers to commute between the station and their homes.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager K. Anil Kumar justified the hike in parking fee at the city railway station, in a release issued here today.

Parking fee at the city railway station were hiked with effect from February 23. The revised slabs for bicycles, scooters/motorcycles and cars respectively are as follows:

Up to 4 hours: Rs. 2 (bicycles), Rs. 6 (scooters/motorcycles), Rs. 10 (cars); 4 – 8 hours: Rs. 4, Rs. 10 and Rs. 15; 8 – 16 hours: Rs. 6, Rs. 12 and Rs. 20; 16 – 24 hours: Rs. 8, Rs. 15 and Rs. 25

Prior to the revision, parking fee for scooters was Rs. 3 up to four hours, while four wheelers were charged Rs.5 for the same duration; between 4 hours and 8 hours two wheelers were charged Rs. 10 and four wheelers Rs.15, parking fee for 8 to 24 hours for two wheelers was Rs. 12 and Rs. 20 for four wheelers.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager K. Anil Kumar said that while providing parking facilities to passengers was important, they wanted to ensure that available land was put to optimum use. Mr. Anil Kumar said that while determining user charges, issues like area available and area earmarked for parking, existing charges in adjoining areas like the bus stand and other public places, and the present market value of the land earmarked for parking vis-a-vis its earning potential were considered. Justifying the revision, he said a comparison between the user charges at Mysore Railway station and the KSRTC Mofussil bus stand, showed that it was not “unreasonable”.

He said track doubling work on the Mysore-Bangalore section was likely to be completed in the next six to eight months, resulting in more rail services between the cities. Mr. Anil Kumar said a mechanism is in place to monitor the activities of the licensee so that the users are not exploited.

MUD nod awaited for preparing Vizag Metro Rail DPR

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for Vizag Metro Rail will be taken up once the formal consent of the Metro Wing of the Union Urban Transport Ministry is obtained.  The GVMC had sent an initial report, terms of reference, and request for proposal (RFP) to the Ministry, based on which a meeting was held in New Delhi on Monday.

Once an agency is approved, it will take up work based on the earlier traffic density studies made by i-Trans Private Limited.  Working on a low carbon mobility plan, it has identified four routes based on the density of traffic.

“The agency approved for preparing the DPR will take up one of the four corridors, an intensive route in terms of traffic, for the DPR. It is expected that it will take about six months for preparation of the DPR,” Municipal Commissioner M.V. Satyanarayana, who returned from New Delhi after a meeting with key urban transport officials, told reporters on Wednesday.

Once the intensive route is approved, in the second phase, 12 components such as height, land, signals, stations etc. on it will be worked out.

For the DPR, which costs Rs.1.8 crore, half the amount will be borne by the Central government and the remaining by the State government.

Mr. Satyanarayana said the funding prospects for the metro vastly improved after the Telangana Bill was passed by Parliament.

The 20-km metro rail proposed in the first phase is estimated to cost a whopping Rs.5,000 crore.

Conferment of special status on residuary State of Andhra Pradesh vastly improves the funding prospects for the project

Mumbai Platforms: Railways unconvinced if anything above 920mm is safe

Railways rope in Sensors, Lasers, Laptops to analyse the gap between train footboard and platform – rules out raising every platform to 920mm at all the stations

With the number of people losing their limbs and lives after falling into the gap between the train footboard and the platform increasing, the Bombay high court had asked the railways to check the feasibility of raising platform height to 920 mm.  The authorities have finally taken up the task of arresting the menace.

Officials of the Western and Central Railway, along with experts from the Research Design Standards Organisation (RDSO) – the railway’s apex technical authority – carried out a trial using laser-controlled sensors and computers to find a solution to the platform gap problem.  The trial started at 11pm on Tuesday night and went on till 2am on Wednesday. The three-hour long drive, however, gave out a mixed verdict. A section of railway officials clear in their position that raising the height of platforms beyond 900mm or 920mm would be dangerous rather than safe.

The Research, Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO), the suburban railway and an HC-appointed team of citizens undertook trials from Monday that involved the MRVC rakes and the old retro-fitted rakes to ascertain the ideal platform height.

“We decided to take the readings of the lateral and vertical movements of the trains at 70 kmph speed at platforms at 920 mm height,” a senior official said.

Not all platforms on the suburban railway network will be raised to a height of 920 mm. Trial runs with different types of rakes over the past two days have ruled out a blanket increase in height to this level. Ideally, there should be a margin of 150 mm between the footboard of the train and the surface if the height of the platform is up to 840 mm. If the height is allowed to go up to 920 mm, the margin can be maintained at 50 mm if there is no compromise on maintenance of tracks and coaches.

“A rake whose air springs fail should be withdrawn from service as it can push down the coach and lead to collision with the platform,” the official said. “This may lead to the amputation of legs of people standing on the footboard or head injuries due to a fall from the train.”

On Monday, a 30-40 mm gap was observed on Platform No. 6 at Andheri station when MRVC rakes with fully loaded coaches were used. On Tuesday, when older rakes were used, sensors fixed beneath the footboard grazed the surface of the platform at Elphinstone Road. At Charni Road, where work was is in progress to increase the platform height, the platform surface was hit. The height was found to be 970 mm but was to be reduced to 920 mm eventually. “This proves that height can’t go beyond 920 mm,” the official said.

Another official said that the height would definitely be increased beyond 840 mm to prevent mishaps, but it may ultimately vary from 900 mm to 920 mm. “But all platforms cannot have a uniform height of 920 mm because things like the topography and the design of the platform [curvatures] may vary,” the official said.

Box

The trails were carried out with 12-car trains at 70 kmph speed on WR.  MRVC rakes with air springs and old rakes with coil springs, both were used on separate days.  While one unit was fully loaded to super dense crush load capacity with sand bags, one was partially loaded with men, while the last was one was empty.  Unlike rakes MRVC rakes, old Rakes with coil springs get pushed down due to over-loading.  Sensors were fitted beneath the footboard of each coach to measure the gap as the train passes by the platform.

Laser and computer trial

It involved attaching sensors, controlled by lasers, to two coaches of a retrofitted old train.

The 12 sensors, six each around the two coaches, are part of a mechanism where a laser is continuously emitted when the train is in motion. The laser ray hits the base of the platform while the train is on the move and the path travelled by the laser and the time taken gives the reading of the gap between the base of the train and the platform.

These readings, continuously being fed into two computers, were analysed to find out the changes in the gap as the train hurtles towards its destination, moving sideways and vertically along the undulation of the tracks. The train itself was made fit for the journey by filling up some compartments with sands so that some of the coaches achieved a weight of 36 tonnes, the average weight of a coach when it is packed to the brim with commuters.

“This is the most scientific way to do it. The sensors, which can give 100 readings a second, will tell us exactly the measurements of the gap in a dynamic situation, that is when the train is running at a speed of 80 kilometres per hour,” said RK Sharma, additional divisional railway manager, WR.

The journey plan

The plan was to check the few platforms on WR’s suburban route which have been raised to a height of either 920mm or above the stipulated height of 840mm. The train made its journey from Churchgate and on the way checked platform number 1 of Charni Road, Grant Road, Parel, platform numbers 1 and 2 of Elphinstone, platform number 5 of Vile Parle, platform number 4 of Dadar, platform 7 of Andheri station, platform number 5 of Khar and also one at Goregaon station. This, as officials said, was to find out if indeed the city’s platforms can cope with a rise in their heights.

The danger

As the train ran at a speed of 80 kmph between Churchgate and Andheri, the logic of raising the platform height – so predominant in the mind the gap debate currently on – was turned on its head once the train pulled into platform number 7 – the Harbour platform – at Andheri station.

Thanks to the height of the platform being raised to 920mm, there was almost no gap between the floor of the train and the platform. “The problem is that once monsoon sets in, the soil beneath the tracks gets loose which in turns sinks the ballast and the tracks. That reduces the gap further. This is a situation where the base of the train can actually hit the edge of the platform while it is entering it,” said Sharma.

The evidence of the railway’s apprehension was in the form of the crushed metal casing of the sensor attached to the base of the coach. Officials believe the case hit the platform possibly at Elphinstone station. The previous night, the casing once again broke as another trial train made its way past platform number 2 of Charni Road station.

“We found that the platform height there was almost 970mm, which is beyond the stipulated limits, and it hit the side of the train,” aid an official.

The road ahead

Late on Monday night, the railways conducted trial with a new Siemens rake which due to air-spring suspensions has a height that is greater than the older BHEL-make rakes. On Tuesday night, the trial was with an older retrofitted rake with coil spring suspension which tend to compress when the train is crowded. A trial with a long-distance coach would be next.

However, according to officials, the toughest part of the trial would be to see if the platforms can be raised to a height of 1,200mm as some independent experts have said during the course of the trial in the High Court.

“That will require placing plants on several platforms to get the height of the platform to 1,200mm. It will inconvenience people because the platforms with such planks would have to be kept closed for long periods,” said an official.

Report of December 5 hinted new rakes leaving a dangerous gap

The new rakes, both Siemens and the two Bomabrdier rakes being trial-tested currently, have heights that are not in confirmation with rules laid down by the railways Schedule of Dimensions.

The rules say that the height of the platform should be anything between 760mm and 840mm from the top of the rails. Under these rules of safety, the maximum gap between the platform and the floor of the train should be between 342mm and 437mm.

For example, the Siemens rakes have a floor height of almost 1,220 mm whereas the ideal, as per railway rules, should be around 1,187mm to 1197mm from the top of the rails. The new Bombardier rake currently stabled at Virar carshed is a touch worse with a floor at a height of 1,230mm from the top of the railways.

But as is evident, the gap even for platforms with a stipulated height of 760mm, when it comes to new rakes, is as large as 470mm, a gap that railway officials agree is dangrous. Over the past couple of years, both the Western Railway and the Central Railway have been increasing the height of its platforms to get them to 840mm but have now realised that even this isn’t safe enough.

Platform raising chart

WR in 2012-13 raised the heights of 6 platforms at Dadar, Kandivli, Malad, Borivli, Bhayander and Virar.  It currently has 9 platforms in Grant Road, Charni Road, Elphinstone, Lower Parel, Vile Parle and Khar where work is in progress.  Tenders have been awarded for another 20 platforms in Andheri, Jogeshwari, Bhayander, Kandivli, Mumbai Central, Marine Lines, Charni Road, Lower Parel, Mahim, Bandra, Khar and Dadar.

Fleet break-up:
Central Railway: 105 rakes, 40 Siemens, 65 BHEL,
Western Railway: 82 rakes, 65 Siemens, 17 BHEl, 2 Bombardier being tested

Railway Special Judicial Magistrate opts ‘Court on Wheels’

Palghat (PGT):  In a novel initiative, the Railway Special Judicial Magistrate court here converted itself into a mobile court or ‘Court on Wheels’ to take up petty cases from Kozhikode to Mangalore railway stations.

The court functioned in a portion of a first class coach in the Chennai-Mangalore Express from 8 a.m. to 2.30 p.m. on Wednesday. Justice B.M. Assu was in the chair.

As many as 75 cases were considered and fines amounting to Rs.14,500 were also collected. Most of the cases pertained to unauthorised vending, ticketless travel, and causing nuisance in the train. One of the accused, K.K. Basheer of Palluthuruthy, Ernakulam, was sent to jail for two weeks and also fined Rs.500 for causing nuisance and disturbing other passengers.

He was charged with Section 145 (b) [If any person in any railway carriage or upon any part of a railway commits any nuisance or act of indecency or uses abusive or obscene language] of the Indian Railway Act.

Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel attached to the Kozhikode, Palakkad, Mangalore, and Kannur units took part in the initiative.

The court on wheels will be conducted once in every month on different trains from next month onwards.

Kharge to lay Foundation Stone for Divisional Hqrs at Gulbarga on February 28

Work to begin on setting up Railway divisional HQ

Gulbarga (GR): Railway Minister M.Mallikarjun Kharge has said that the work on the proposed establishment of new Divisional Railway Headquarters at Gulbarga will be formally inaugurated on February 28, with the laying of the foundation stone for its administrative office.

In a brief chat with presspersons on the sidelines of the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Rs.180-crore MSME Technology Centre at Shahbad in Chittapur taluk of Gulbarga district on Tuesday, Mr.Kharge said the work would be inaugurated at a function for laying the foundation stone for the proposed Wadi-Gadag new railway line by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and himself on February 28.

To a question, Mr.Kharge said that official orders for establishing the Railway Divisional Headquarters at Gulbarga in Karnataka, Silchar in Assam and Udampur in Jammu and Kashmir would be issued in a day or two.

Taking a dig at his detractors, Mr. Kharge said it was strange that some people take pleasure in criticising even the good work done by the government.“For whatever contributions made in the past nine months as Railway Minster and bringing morerailway projects to Karnataka, worth several thousands of crores, there are people criticising me for bringing so many projects only to Karnataka,” he said.

As a matter of fact, Karnataka had not witnessed such a fast-paced development in Railways in the past and whatever had been done to improve the railway network was for the entire country and not restricted to any single region, he said.

Board to release Orders for creation of New Divisions at Gulbarga, Silchar & Udampur by Feb 28

New Delhi:  Official Orders for establishment of new Railway Divisions at Gulbarga, Silchar and Udampur are likely to be released by the Railway Board in a day or two.

To a question, Union Railway Minister Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge said that relevant files for the proposed creation of new divisional railway headquarters at Gulbarga in Karnataka, Silchar in Assam and Udampur in Jammu and Kashmir are in the movement and Orders from Railway Board would be issued in a day or two.  With this, the much anticipated formation of new railway divisions for the administrative convenience will be met, he said, stating that this decision will also meet the long pending public demands for the new railway divisions.

Scam in Delhi Metro? UK SFO asks CBI to probe bribe to officials

New Delhi: After VVIP helicopters, another bribery scandal is set to explode in the government’s face with the Delhi Metro project under investigation. United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office has written a letter to the Central Bureau of investigation (CBI) flagging off possible irregularities in the awarding of a major contract to transport company Alstom.

The Serious Fraud Office while investigating corruption charges against Alstom – the company which bagged lucrative infrastructure contracts with the Delhi Metro – has stumbled upon details indicating the company allegedly paid bribes worth 3 million pounds to ensure the contract was swung in their favour.

As it’s a letter written by the Serious Fraud Office of the UK, the allegations are being viewed with a degree of credibility. But it’s still a probe in the basic stage. However, the SFO has identified Indian nationals who were alleged beneficiaries of the reported bribe amount.

The SFO in its letter has claimed: Alstom employed a Hong Kong based company Global King Technology Ltd (GKTL) to act as consultants for Delhi Metro. The signature on the agreement with the said company was forged and no services were actually provided. Through the company, Alstom paid 3 million pounds so Indian officials could be paid off and the deal swung in favour of Alstom.

So who are these Indians who allegedly needed to be paid off?

The CBI says it is taking the allegations seriously and is verifying the allegations. Even as Rahul Gandhi prepares to make corruption a major plank in Lok Sabha elections, there are serious questions that may come to haunt the government’s campaign yet again.

Scherzer Span (Pamban Bridge) lived its utility, time to replace it with Modern Technology: Sreedharan

Sreedharan_EPSChennai Egmore (MS):  The 100-year-old Pamban Bridge’s navigational span of 88 metres would have survived the December 1964 cyclone but an expert says that it is time to think of replacing the historic Scherzer Span that has served its life.

Addressing reporters here on Monday after opening a photo exhibition, E Sreedaran, principal advisor of Delhi Metro, said that Scherzer Span, named after William Scherzer who designed the span, has lived its utility and it can be replaced using modern technology.

Sreedharan, who created history by restoring the Pamban Bridge within 46 days after it was destroyed by a cyclone in 1964 said that it is expensive to raise the bridge as it would cost a minimum of Rs.1,000 crore. He said that it is possible to replace the steel girders in Pamban bridge with  concrete ones.

It may be noted here that Sreedharan has been involved in three key projects. These include the Delhi metro project, Konkan Railways and restoration of Pamban bridge. But it is the Pamban bridge restoration in 1964 that is close to his heart. He said the railways initially thought it was not worthwhile to restore the bridge and plans were on to build a road bridge. However, the railways then agreed to restore the bridge and gave a six- month deadline to complete the work. But the then Southern Railway general manager B C Ganguli had other plans and he asked his then executive engineer Sreedharan to finish the work in three months.

“We finished it in 46 days,” says Sreedharan adding that he worked with an excellent team of engineers including labour force from Canada. “It is a divine dispensation that I had the opportunity to restore the bridge,” Sreedharan said.

To a query on whether he prefers Chennai to go in for Monorail or Metro, Sreedharan said that Monorail should serve as a feeder service while the main corridors of the city should be Metro.

Works on 67 km Harihar-Kottur line completed: SWR ready to host passenger trains

Harihar (HRR):  After a 19-year wait, the dream of the people of Kottur and Harihar of getting passenger train services will become a reality soon.

With support from Union Minister for Railways M. Mallikarjun Kharge, the pace of completion of the project picked up and the work on the 67-km stretch has been completed. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) Southern Circle, Bangalore, recently carried out a statutory inspection of the newly laid broad-gauge line section between Kottur and Amaravathi colony and conducted the speed test.

Mr. Kharge had assured at the Hampi Utsav last month that the inauguration of the new rail line would be held in the first week of March.

However, the passenger train services would initially be limited between Kottur and Harihar and the people in Swamihalli, Vyasanakere, Gunda and Hospet would have to wait for some more time to get train facilities. Between Hospet and Kottur, a 20-km stretch from Hospet to Gunda Road has a steep gradient, considered unfeasible for passenger traffic.

Currently, the goods trains are moving from Hospet towards Kottur. Passenger train services would be introduced only after the steep gradient is eased, for which a detailed modification plan that would cost Rs. 42.36 crore has been sent to the Railway Board for approval.

The rail line between Kottur and Harihar is expected to open the gates of development of the backward areas of the district as it would provide a link to the east coast (Visakhapatnam) with west coast (Mangalore port), facilitating transportation of coal, iron ore, fertilizers, agricultural produces, particularly cotton and maize, and steel produced in Bellary and Koppal districts, among other things. Apart from these, the introduction of passenger trains towards Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga was an added advantage.

As part of the uni-gauge system introduced when C.K. Jaffer Sharief was Minister for Railways, passenger train services between Hospet and Kottur were stopped for conversion of the metre-gauge line to broad-gauge.

Mr. Sharief, after flagging off the gauge conversion work in 1995, simultaneously laid the foundation stone for extending the line by 65km from Kottur to Harihar in Davangere district, to fill up the gap and enable the hinterland development. The original cost of laying the new line was estimated at Rs. 65 crore.

Residents of Kottur and members of the Kottur Nagarika Horata Samiti and Kottur-Harihar Rail Horata Kriya Samiti had staged several protest demonstrations demanding early completion of the work and introduction of train services.

They blamed the elected representatives, particularly the MPs and MLAs, for not evincing interest in taking up the matter with the Union government.

Railway Gate opens before time near Kurukshetra, Passenger Train hits tractor-trolley

Shahabad Markanda (SHDM): In a case of gross negligence by railway men on duty, a railway crossing gate was opened before a train passed, resulting in a collision between the train and a tractor trolley, here on Tuesday. Fortunately, no loss of life was reported, but rail traffic on main Delhi track came to a halt for about two hours. About nine trains (five up and four down) were affected due to the mishap.

At about 8.05 am Murri Express had reached Shahabad (Kurukshetra) railway station and left for its destination within three minutes. Even as it reached Jaitpur railway crossing, its gate was opened and a truck and tractor trolley was were allowed to pass. Though the truck managed to cross, the sugarcane-laden tractor trolley was hit by the train.

Though red-faced railway authorities blamed the tractor driver, locals assembled near the crossing asked them why the gate was opened when the train was on track. The villagers also sought an assurance in writing from the embarrassed railway authorities that no action will be taken against the tractor driver.

Meanwhile, surprising everybody, gateman Chiranji Lal said that he was asked to open the gate at 8.05 am, which he did. “We have sealed the log book and other concerned records. An inquiry would reveal who was at fault,” said Madan Singh Minna, station superintendent, Shahabad.

Duvvada Station lacks Railways attention: Passengers Associations urge improvements

Duvvada (DVD): Think of a situation where you await the arrival of a train with heavy luggage on one platform and the announcement comes that the train is coming on a different platform and you have just a few minutes to change platforms.

This is the normal situation in Duvvada Railway Station where the trains have just a two-minute halt.

Duvvada is the interchange point for East Coast Railway (ECoR) and South Central Railway (SCR) and hundreds of long distance passengers, daily commuters and students alight at Duvvada to reach their homes, offices and engineering colleges.

The station handles over 9 lakh passengers annually, raking in earnings of over Rs.5 crore a year.

Hardship

At Duvvada, the passenger trains going towards Visakhapatnam normally come on platform No. 4. However, the up and down goods trains occupy platforms 1, 2 and 3 or the through line forcing the express trains to stop on platforms other than the designated ones causing untold hardship to the passengers.

The loop line to the west of Duvvada Station prevents down trains (going towards Visakhapatnam) from being taken on PF-4 when goods trains stop on the through line (centre line). The passenger trains are being taken on PF-3 forcing passengers to either cross the tracks or take the overbridge at Duvvada Railway Station in Visakhapatnam. Many a time they have to rush at the last minute to another platform to catch a train.

Gajuwaka MLA Chintalapudi Venkataramaiah sent representations to the Member Engineering, Railway Board, General Manager of ECoR and Divisional Railway Manager of Waltair Division seeking extension of loop line towards platform-4 side, as it would allow express trains to be taken on platform-4 even when goods trains are on PF-3 or the through line.

In the present scenario the goods trains block the movement of express trains from taking the loop to reach PF-4.

Passengers waiting on PF-4 are forced to cross the tracks and risk their lives to reach PF-2 or 3 or go up and down the foot-over-bridge and face the prospect of missing their train.

Alighting passengers have to carry heavy luggage up and down the FOB and the plight of physically challenged is worse as there is no ramp type FOB or lift or escalator to reach PF-4 or PF-1 from the island PFs 2 and 3.

DRM Anil Kumar wrote to the MLA in August 2013 that the proposal for extension of the loop line, estimated at Rs.1.8 crore, was sent to the Railway Board for being taken up in 2013-14 but it was not sanctioned by the Board. It would be put up again for the year 2014-15, he added.

5 Kms stretch of Shenoy Nagar-Koyambedu route to open for traffic by 2015 end

Chennai:  The Chennai Metro Rail will begin train services on the five kilometre-stretch between Koyambedu and Shenoy Nagar by the end of 2015 and the entire underground stretch of metro in the city will be completed by the end of 2016.

Operations on the underground stretch will be done phase wise, Chennai Metro Rail general manager (underground construction) and chief general manager Somasundaram told reporters, who took a tour the underground stretch between Shenoy Nagar and Anna Nagar Tower station recently. “In the first phase we will commence operations in the five kilometre- stretch by 2015-end,” he said. Chennai Metro Rail has completed the 1.5 kilometre stretch between Shenoy Nagar and Anna Nagar and the experience of travelling 20 metres below the city in a German locomotive is something new.

“We will be starting work from Anna Tower to Tirumangalam in the next two months. Two tunnel boring machines that have finished work till Anna Tower will be moved to start work towards Tirumangalam,” said V K Singh.

He said that the tunnel would end after the VeeCare Hospital in Tirumangalam and a ramp will be built to connect it to the elevated stretch.

“Nearly 40 per cent work in the underground stretch, including the stations, has been completed,” said Ron Michael, deputy project director for Embeye (General Consultants).

The underground stretch had a lot of challenges despite having the best of technical expertise. According to Ron, the biggest challenge is the mixed terrain. At times, the soil is soft and elsewhere it is rocky. While Metro officials intended to wrap up the 900 metres underground stretch between Nehru Park and Chennai Egmore within six months, it ended up taking 18 months to finish the drilling due to the rocky terrain. “The problem was that we had to replace the cutters every now and then,” said Somasundaram. Singh said Chennai Metro Rail would restore Thiru Vi Ka Park and assured that it would be more beautiful than it was.

Peon returning from South East Central Railway officer’s home dies in accident

Nagpur (NGP): Misuse of official staff for private and personal work at bungalows by railway officials seems to be continuing unabated at both Central Railway and South East Central Railway (SECR) Nagpur divisions. Time and again it was highlighted but the practice goes on unchecked. On Sunday night, an office peon posted with Divisional Personnel Officer (DPO) of SECR was knocked dead by an unidentified car on Sadar police station road around 10.45pm. The victim M Vishwanathan Bhatlu (26) was a native of Thadivalasa village in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. He was returning after work at the official bungalow of HP Tripathi, deputy chief engineer (construction), SECR, near Providence High School, opposite VCA ground.

Though Bhatlu had been with Tripathi for several years working as bungalow peon, eight months ago he got a regular posting as office peon with DPO’s office. Eyebrows are being raised now about how an office peon worked at the bungalow and whether it will be considered as death of employee on official duty. Tripathi told the victim met a tragic end while returning to his servant quarter from his bungalow. “Though posted as a peon, I had not released him. He could continue with me for five years,” said Tripathi.

Tripathi added Bhatlu was a good worker and being a regular employee would get all the benefits a railway employee gets.

When reached Bhatlu’s quarter, his colleagues and friends said the victim used to perform household chores at Tripathi’s bungalow from morning till night. They said he was being exploited. However, Tripathi denied the charge. Relatives of Bhatlu were crestfallen. The victim lay dead on the road for a long time until Sadar police shifted his body to IGGMC. Next day when Bhatlu did not return to work at the bungalow, a search was launched by his relatives.

It was only when a missing complaint was about to be lodged that the SECR came to know about Bhatlu’s death. His body was shifted by his relatives to his native place on Tuesday evening by Dakshin Express. (Courtesy: TOI)

GM ECR inaugurates modular Operation Theatre at Railways Super Specialty Hospital

Patna (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) GM Madhuresh Kumar inaugurated a bacteria free modular operation theatre (OT) in the railways super specialty hospital at Karbigahiya end of Patna Junction on Monday evening. This is the first of its kind in Indian Railways. Director General (health), Railway Board, Dr P S Prasad was also present on the occasion.

Kumar said the new facility would be a boon for the railway employees of all five divisions under the ECR. It is more useful for the patients undergoing heart and advanced orthopedic surgeries, he said, adding that the entire OT is centrally air conditioned.

The GM said railways is committed to providing better medical facilities to its employees and their dependents. The super specialty hospital at Karbigahiya end has been set up with an aim to cater to the needs of the patients suffering from heart and nephrology problems. Both indoor and outdoor facilities are now available at this hospital, he said.

According to Dr Prasad, the modular OT will be useful in the heart transplant surgery also. The OT is not only well equipped, its walls have anti-bacteria painting. The spacious OT has steel floor provision as well to ensure that it remains bacteria free and highly hygienic, he said.

According to ECR CPRO Amitabh Prabhakar, the modular OT is fitted with cameras and monitoring equipment so that a live surgery could be displayed. Besides, the OT is provided with central gas pipeline connection. In fact, the ICU (intensive care unit) and emergency wards have been provided with central gas pipeline connections to benefit indoor patients in emergency, he said.

Coordination Meeting held between GRP and Delhi Police

New Delhi: Matters of coordination amongst the various state units of Government Railway Police (GRP) was among the discussion points today at a meeting of the senior officials of the force along with Delhi Police representatives.

The meeting of senior officials of Delhi Police and GRP of several states and Union Territories was held at the office of the DCP (New Delhi).

Special CP (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra, Joint CP (New Delhi) MK Meena and Special DGP (Railways) Maithli Sharan Gupta took part in the meeting along with top GRP officials from Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Delhi.

Issues of coordination among the various GRPs of nearby states/UTs and exchange of information pertaining to criminals active across state borders were discussed at the meeting.

Officers also discussed the need for swift and prompt response in sensitive cases, effective communication among the control rooms of various GRPs, etc.

DRUCC meeting held at Rajkot

Rajkot (RJT): A meeting of Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee (DRUCC) of Rajkot Division was held at Rajkot on Tuesday.

This committee consists of representatives of Rail users such as various Passenger Organizations, Trade bodies, representative of Member of Parliament and individuals. Meeting was presided by Vinay Babtiwale, Divisional Railway Manager, Rajkot and President of DRUCC. He apprised the committee of various developmental and passenger amenity works carried out in the Division.

During the course of meeting, discussion was held between Railway Officials and members of DRUCC on different issues related to Railways. The members also put forward their valuable suggestions for the improvement of various facilities to be provided to the public.

Their demands include, increase the drinking water facility, waiting room facility, catering stalls at Rajkot Railway station, to attach extra coaches in local trains, increase the safety of passengers in trains, utilization of lie-over coaches, introducing of new train between Rajkot-Junagadh, increasing general coaches in Okha-Mumbai Central Saurashtra Mail among others.

The divisional authorities assured them that their suggestions would be given due consideration while taking up works to improve services and amenities.

Rail Coach Factory at Palakkad: Chandy seeks urgent action by Railways

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has written to Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjun Kharge seeking urgent action to end the delay in starting work on the proposed railway coach factory at Palakkad.

The Chief Minister recalled that the foundation stone for the factory was laid after the State government had transferred 239 acres to the Railways on August 17, 2012. The Railway Board chairman had sought six months time on September 25, 2012 for implementing the project on a private-public participation basis with clearance from the Union Cabinet.

However, there has been no progress with the project even after one-and-a-half years.

Meanwhile, another coach factory announced along with the Palakkad project had started functioning. This has caused much disappointment among people in the State and the Opposition and media have been criticising the Union government and the Railways for not keeping their word. The State government also faces criticism that it is not pressing the Centre for the project.

Railway Stamps Collector draw huge crowds at Bhubaneswar Trade Fair

2oiTM1225Bhubaneswar (BBS): A collection of stamps depicting trains has become an attraction at a trade fair, which is on at Exhibition Ground.

The collection of A. Krishna Rao, 52, a senior section engineer of the East Coast Railway (ECoR), has stamps from 130 countries. It is on display at the fair’s ECoR’s kiosk.

The collection includes stamps from Finland, China, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Brazil. The railway journey through stamps also contains a number of postal stamps depicting the journey of Indian Railways.

“I have been collecting postal stamps for the past 15 years. I have collected the stamps from my friends who have visited foreign countries. Till date, I have spent around Rs 2 lakh on this collection,” said Rao, who is now posted in Visakhapatnam.

Rao also has a big collection of coins from various countries. This collection also includes coins to commemorate various milestones of Indian Railways.

“I have been collecting coins for 35 years now. I have more than 10,000 coins in my collection and the earliest of them is from 1835,” he said.

Besides, a number of photographs depicting the evolution of Indian Railways are on display at the fair organised by the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The exhibition will be on till February 26. “The old photographs will certainly help us knowing the evolution of the railways. I found the photographs of a pair of elephant pushing a compartment and a pair of bullocks pulling another really interesting,” said Paritosh Pradhan, a student.

Apart from this, the ECoR authorities are also exhibiting the model of a bio-toilet to sensitise people about use of eco-friendly technology. Models of a solar lighting system, advanced goods wagon, elimination of level crossings and a toy train are also on display.

“Our basic aim is to reach out to the people and create awareness regarding the achievements of Indian Railways and showcasing new initiatives to make the journey of passengers secure and comfortable,” said a senior railway official.

Residual Andhra demands new Railway Zone

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): A new railway zone for Seemandhra was announced when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill was presented in the Rajya Sabha. It’s high time that the peoples’ representatives of the region took up the cause of achieving the long-pending demand for making Visakhapatnam headquarters of the proposed new railway zone.  A separate railway zone with headquarters in Visakhapatnam, and the addition of Vijayawada and Guntur Divisions, was needed to undo the injustice done to Visakhapatnam region by the ECoR headquarters during the last 10 years, said Uttarandhra Rakshana Vedika (URV) president S.S. Shiva Shankar and KNR Foundation president K. Narasinga Rao.

CONCOR’s Multi-modal Logistic Park at Vizag to be ready for operation by April

Visakhapatnam (VSKP):  Multi-modal logistic park being developed near Visakhapatnam International Airport by Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) with an investment of Rs.370 crore will be ready for commercial operations in two years.

CONCOR Group General Manager R.Dhananjayulu told that they were funding the project through internal accruals. The first phase of the project developed in an area of 10 acres out of 98 acres acquired from Visakhapatnam Port Trust is ready for operation by April.  Warehousing facility with 50,000-square feet of bonded area is getting ready. VPT has allotted 98-acre on a 30-year lease extendable with mutual consent. As it is a marshy area, lot of filling is required. The first phase is being completed at a cost of Rs.16 crore (excluding land cost).

It will be a customs notified area. It is well-connected by road. Rail siding work will be taken up shortly for which in-principle nod is obtained from the Ministry of Railways.  East Coast Railway has been asked to prepare the detailed project report.  Mr. Dhananjayulu said two bridges and four railway lanes would come up as part of the project.  At present, CONCOR is handling 2,000 containers for export and import and 1,000 domestic containers a month.  Once the multi-modal logistic park is completed, it will handle 10,000 containers with facility to scale up to 20,000 containers.

He said the Container Freight Station at Guntur was revived last year. It will be upgraded with an investment of Rs.16 crore to handle cotton seeds, granite, pulses, marble, white cement and China clay.

Mr.Dhananjayulu said CONCOR was contemplating setting up a logistics park similar to the Visakhapatnam at Krishnapatnam port.  “It is at nascent stage. We have already made a proposal to the State Government. Of 130 acres identified for the project, 80 acres belong to the government,” he said.  He said container freight station being operated at Patancheru near Hyderabad for past two years was good business.

RRB Mumbai announce results for Chemical, Metallurgical, Engineering Posts – Check Results

Mumbai:  Railway Recruitment Board Mumbai has published result for the various categories including Chemical and Metallurgical Assistants, Sr.Section Engneer (P.Way) with other Engineers post.

Written exam for the above post was held on 29-07-2012, 09-09-2012 and 16-09-2012. These candidates have been called by the RRB for the verification of original certificates in support of their qualification, age and other proof.

Click here to download the results:  http://www.rrbmumbai.gov.in/newpdf/RRB-Ad_Eng.pdf

Candidates are advised to visit the official site of RRB for any further clarification and information.

RailNews wishes all the best for the successful candidates.

High Speed Rail System & Privatisation move need Clarity and Clear Policy

नई दिल्ली New Delhi:  Indian Railways to undergo major transformation in the next 5 years, from the current move of privatising a section of its passenger traffic to the recent launch of High Speed Rail Corporation by Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, both the developments need to be very closely evaluated, particularly at a juncture when IR is trying hard to strike a balance between populism and the Railways’ fiscal health.

The talk of privatisation in the Railways has gone on for long, though not many efforts had borne fruit in the past. Think-tank opines that there needs to be some greater clarity and a clear policy on privatisation in India’s biggest monolithic public sector undertaking. It must be remembered that only the Railways have an annual budget of their own, outside the general budget.  So long as this route and the Public-Private Partnership model were looked at from the commercial or goods movement angle, or even for the production of coaches and locomotives, there was no problem. Obviously, the Railways cannot keep on investing in new production units. These efforts have succeeded only to a limited extent.

Is that why the Railways have now turned to opening up a segment of passenger traffic to the private sector?  When they speak of high speed corridors and the need to run trains at 160 kmph or even 200 kmph, it naturally means creating new infrastructure that calls for massive investment — which the Indian Railways is not in a position to afford now.

But the decision to offer seven identified high-density traffic corridors to this model is fraught with danger. Take the Mumbai-Ahmedabad or Chennai-Bangalore sectors, for instance.  Any number of trains or flights on these routes are bound to be full. Of course, the rail routes have reached a saturation point and there is need to go in for dedicated, perhaps elevated, high speed corridors.

The country’s experience with the private sector in the transport field has not been too good. Air India remains a standing example of how the public sector was made to lose out to private airlines. Private bus transport stumped the nationalised road transport corporations for a variety of reasons. The seven corridors likely to be offered in Public Private Participation (PPP) mode can surely generate enough profits for the private investor. What do the Railways get from it?  Where is the regulator to look at traffic, tariff, projects, policy, polity and safety on the rails?

The Commissioner of Railway Safety can handle only the track, and nothing more. There needs to be a larger debate on this proposal and, this government, which is nearing the end of its current innings, should not be taking such a major plunge. Having delayed this concept for so many years, nothing will be lost if all these issues are discussed threadbare, and the new government next year can take the right decision with all the inputs. Meanwhile, it would do well to focus on the many major infrastructure projects that are waiting to be implemented.

India to put Mecca-Medina high speed railway on track

Foto+Meca_MedinaTwo of Islam’s holiest cities, Makkah and Medina will now have an Indian connection.

According to government sources, the Indian labour force will be roped in for the Haramain High Speed Railway project — Saudi Arabia’s plan to connect the two cities by high speed trains. The rails for the tracks will also be supplied by Indian companies.

Government sources pointed out the evolution in India-Saudi ties at a time when Saudi Deputy Prime Minister and Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrives here on Wednesday for a three-day visit, his second visit to the country in four years.

Till recently, Saudi Arabia was India’s biggest crude supplier while receiving labour for its construction projects. These two factors have remained constant although there are operational hiccups. Saudi petro giant Aramco turned down India’s request for more extra light crude and withdrew credit facilities for an Indian public sector oil company.

Officials consider Saudi-India cooperation in defence a major development, especially because they have stopped viewing their security and defence ties in binary terms — choosing between India and Pakistan.

The two sides had agreed on a defence MoU when A.K.Antony became the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Riyadh in 2012. New Delhi expects to discuss this further with the Crown Prince who is also the Saudi Defence Minister and is known as a consensus builder in Riyadh’s corridors of power. Officials do not discount the possibility of the MoU being signed during his visit.

For now, India is setting its sights on railways. Apart from the mega contract for L&T for part of work on the Riyadh Metro project, there are other opportunities worth about $100 billion opening up as Saudi Arabia sets in motion a network extension plan for the next 30 years.

Government sources admitted that the Chinese had a head-start in most of the works opening up for international tendering such as heavy haul trains and tracks or high speed trains. But work of this nature is labour intensive and the expectation is Indian companies will be preferred .This is because having worked for decades in the Gulf, workers from the subcontinent are considered socially compatible with the ethos of the region than the Chinese.

There are also signs of Saudi Arabia’s second most influential royal’s visit becoming a catalyst for Riyadh’s participation in LNG or oil refining projects being planned at Dahej, Ennore, Mangalore, Paradip and Kochi.

The investment could come from the flush-with-funds Kingdom Holding Company which has already made investments in Four Seasons Hotel and Citi Bank.

Sreedharan accepts Lucknow Metro Rail Corp’s offer – takes charge as Principal Adviser

sreedharan_070214Lucknow (LKO): Padma Vibhushan E Sreedharan known for successfully executing many mega metro projects of country has given consent to be the principal adviser to the Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC). Contradicting recent media reports, the ‘Metro Man’ gave nod to the proposal just a day after chief minster Akhilesh Yadav approved his appointment.

Madhkar Jetley, the Chief Adviser to externally aided projects department, told that Sreedharan was very much in loop ever since talks about his appointment were rife and he was positive about joining Lucknow metro.

A two corridor metro-rail project with various feeder lines has been proposed inside the city to reduce traffic burden on roads and give convenience to passengers. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has prepared the detailed project report of metro and a special purpose vehicle LMRC has been constituted to execute the project in city. In the first phase, the corridor from Amausi Airport to Munshipulia would be constructed, followed by Charbagh to Vasantkunj.

Final trial round begins for Mumbai’s new suburban rakes

Mumbai: The railway safety wing has begun the final and most crucial round of trials for the prototype of new rakes ordered by the planning agency for the suburban network. The success of the test will pave the way for the introduction of 72 new trains, which will replace some old ones and help the authorities augment services.

The trial for the new rakes, which were ordered by the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) and delivered in October 2013, began on Saturday on Central Railway’s Alternating Current (AC) traction. The trains are being procured under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP)-II.

The prototype coach’s static trial, which included the inspection of the machines inside, has been completed. The next round, which will be held by the Research, Design and Standard Organisation (RDSO), will comprise signal interference, oscillation and emergency brake distance tests, three most crucial tests that a coach is put to before it is used for regular services. While the signal interference test shows a train’s compliance with the signaling system, the oscillation and braking tests demonstrate the running of the train at its maximum speed, in this case, 120km per hour.

“The entire round will be conducted for a month and a report will be sent to the commissioner of railway safety. Once the CRS gives the clearance, the rakes can be pressed into service,” a railway official said.

During the trail, which will be conducted on both empty and loaded coaches, the train will run at varied speed of 80-120 km per hour; the rake will also be manoeuvred through difficult stretches to ensure that it can handle sharp curves and negotiate crossovers.

The prototype of the new rakes was originally scheduled to arrive in the city before March, 2013, but its delivery was delayed owing to problems over approval for its design and other technical issues. The World Bank, which is financing the MUTP-II, are apparently upset about the delay.

Had the rake come in earlier, MRVC official had hoped to complete the trials by January so that the new trains could be launched in March. But that seems unlikely now. An official said, “If the results are good, the first rake can be introduced only in May. All 72 trains will come by June, 2016.” But MRVC MD Rakesh Saksena said, “I would not like to commit to a deadline.” at this stage.”

BEML gains after rolling out final consignment for Delhi Metro project

Bangalore (SBC): BEML rose 2.99% to Rs 210 at 14:38 IST on BSE after the company said it has rolled out 136th Metro Car to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, the final consignment for deployment in the RS-6 Project of Delhi Metro.

The announcement was made after market hours on Friday, 21 February 2014.

Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Sensex was up 83.31 points or 0.4% at 20,784.06.

On BSE, so far 77,000 shares were traded in the counter as against average daily volume of 79,372 shares in the past one quarter.

The stock hit a high of Rs 212 and a low of Rs 201.60 so far during the day. The stock had hit a 52-week high of Rs 264.60 on 22 February 2013. The stock had hit a 52-week low of Rs 126 on 7 August 2013.

The stock had underperformed the market over the past one month till 21 February 2014, sliding 2.95% compared with Sensex’s 2.59% fall. The scrip had, however, outperformed the market in past one quarter, surging 12.9% as against Sensex’s 2.33% rise.

The small-cap company has equity capital of Rs 41.64 crore. Face value per share is Rs 10.

BEML bagged an order worth Rs 923.44 crore from Delhi Metro in March 2011 for the supply of 136 Intermediate Cars for its prestigious RS-6 Project for replacing the existing 4-Car train sets to 6-Car train sets for enhancing passenger carrying capacity.

BEML reported a net profit of Rs 5.51 crore in Q3 December 2013 as against net loss of Rs 63.34 crore in Q3 December 2012. Net sales rose 15.2% to Rs 772.20 crore in Q3 December 2013 over Q3 December 2012.

State-run BEML is engaged in the manufacture of defence products, mining and construction equipment, rail coaches and metro cars.

Karnataka CM to flag off Peenya-Sampige Road stretch of Namma Metro on Friday

Bangalore (SBC):  This weekend will be special for the residents of West and North Bangalore when their dream to ride the Namma Metro will become a reality. The 10-km line of Namma Metro Reaches 3 and 3a, between Peenya Industry and Sampige Road Metro Stations, will be thrown open to the people at 6 a.m. on March 1. Minister for Transport and in-charge of Bangalore city R. Ramalinga Reddy told presspersons here on Monday that Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will formally launch the services on Friday.

Union Ministers M. Mallikarjun Kharge, M. Veerappa Moily, Oscar Fernandes, K.H. Muniyappa and K. Rahman Khan will take part in it.

While the dignitaries will ride the Namma Metro, after flagging off the services, from Rajajinagar Station till Peenya Industry Station and back to Sampige Road Station, the inaugural function will be held at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium. On the occasion, the foundation stone for Namma Metro Phase 2, will also be laid, Mr. Ramalinga Reddy said.

Reach 3b between Peenya Industry and Nagasandra (2.5 km) with three stations will be ready for operation in about four months, the Minister said.

Attractive fares

The maximum fare proposed from end to end is Rs. 23, which is to be approved by the board, said Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola. The minimum fare would, however, be Rs. 10. The maximum fare will still come down if the commuter uses smart cards availing 15 per cent discount (about Rs. 19), which is comparable with fares on ordinary services of Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Rs. 16), and cheaper than BMTC’s AC Suvarna (Rs. 25) and Vajra (Rs. 45).

Mr. Ramalinga Reddy said that BMRCL is in dialogue with BMTC for feeder services. At the same time, a dedicated shuttle service will be available between Sampige Road Station and Majestic from the first day of commercial run, he said.

As against the minimum 45 minutes taken to reach Sampige Road by road from Peenya Industry, one can complete the journey in air-conditioned comfort in 18 minutes by metro train, said D.D. Pahuja, Director (Operations and Rolling Stock). Each three-car train can ferry 975 passengers at a time and 12 trains are ready for operation between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., he said.

TTD Chairman inaugurates FOB and Sub-Way at Tirupati Railway Station

Tirupati (TPTY): The foot over-bridge developed at railway station at an outlay of Rs.98 lakh, which provides direct connectivity to ‘Vishnu Nivasam’, the TTD’s pilgrim accommodation complex, is all set to decongest traffic in the main thoroughfares of the city. Similarly, the pedestrian sub-way from APSRTC bus station to ‘Srinivasam’ complex will also help avoid spill over of passengers (read ‘Tirumala-bound pilgrims’) on the streets.

TTD Chairman K. Bapi Raju and Executive Officer M.G.Gopal formally inaugurated the facilities on Sunday, in the presence of MP Chinta Mohan, MLA B.Karunakar Reddy, TUDA Chairman M.Venkatramana and MLC Y.Srinivasulu Reddy. Mr.Bapi Raju announced to install an escalator in ‘Vishnu Nivasam’ for the benefit of the aged and the infirm.

After performing the puja in Vishnu Nivasam Complex, both the Chairman and EO accompanied by local MLA Sri B Karunakar Reddy and TUDA Chairman Sri M Venkatramana opened the foot over bridge which was built at a cost of Rs.98 lakhs connecting Vishnu Nivasam complex to Tirupati Railway station. Addressing the occasion the Chairman of TTD said, an escalator will also be erected soon in massive Vishnu Nivasam complex for the sake of the aged and physically challenged pilgrims at a cost of Rs.1.32cr. Meanwhile the steel bridge has a walk-way width of 3.3m and height of 7m.

Later the Chairman and other delegates also inaugurated sub-way near Srinivasam complex which was constructed by TTD at a cost of Rs. 1.32cr to facilitate convenient passage of the public from RTC bus station to Srinivasam Complex. Local MP Dr Chinta Mohan and MLC Sri Srinivasulu Reddy also took part in the inauguration of Srinivasam Sub-way which has a width of 3m, a height of 7m and a length of 32m.

(Photo Courtesy: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh)
srinivasam-subway1 srinivasam-subway2 srinivasam-subway foot-over-bridge3 foot-over-bridge2 foot-over-bridge1 foot-over-bridge

Gulbarga Railway Station gets new and improved amenities: Kharge

Gulbarga (GR): Gulbarga Railway Station, which was once the most neglected railway station in the entire State, is now hogging the limelight as the first railway station in the entire State to have the escalators. The two escalators have been installed at a cost of around Rs. 2 crore.  In order to enhance passenger amenities in the Gulbarga Railway station, as per the directions of the Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge, a full-fledged food plaza of the IRCTC has been operating on the first platform.

The Central Railways has taken up the construction of a fourth platform in the Railway station at a cost of Rs. 3.5 crore.

Gulbarga Railway Division Demand

The proposed Gulbarga Railway Division, which is in all likelihood be part of the South Western Railway Zone, would enable the emotional integration of a major portion of the Karnataka with a railway zone in Karnataka. Mr. Kharge said the question of including the proposed railway divisional headquarters in Gulbarga with either South Central or Central or South Western Zone would be taken after completing all the formalities such as identifying railway lines from these three zones in the new division and holding a public hearing later. If Gulbarga Railway Division is merged with the South Western Zone, the Mangalore region, which is a part of the Pallakad Railway Division attached to the Southern Railway and the Railway lines part of the Konkan Railway Corporation which is running in Karnataka would be the only areas of Karnataka that would be out of jurisdictional control of South Western Railway.

Mangalore Railway Division Demand

On the long-pending demand of the people of the Mangalore region for establishing the Railway Division, Mr Kharge said no final decision has been taken now on the establishment of the Railway Division in Mangalore, which was also genuine.

Kharge lays Foundation Stone for Construction of Pit Line at Khanapur

Khanapur (KNP): Minister for Railway Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge laid the foundation stone for construction of the Pit Line at a cost of Rs.10 Crore, which is a maintenance centre, in Khanapur railway station in Bhalki taluk on February 24.

“Due to the lack of a pit line, we could not run the Bidar-Yesvantpur train regularly. The regular service of the train will start by March-April,” he said earlier on 30th December, 2013 while flagging off the Humnabad-Bidar Demu train at Humnabad Railway station.

This will enable officials to make Bidar the originating station for new trains. It will also serve as the change over station for goods trains, according to railway officials.

Addressing the large gathering, Kharge said that the number of Coaches have increased due to introduction of many new trains in Hyderabad Karnataka region in the recent past and necessitated establishing the coach maintenance facilities with pit line, stabling line etc at Khanapur. Further, he stated that being part ofongoing Bidar Gulbarga new railway line, the coach maintenance facility at Khanapur would cater to the trip maintenance requirement of the coaches of this region. 355 Hectares of land in Bidar district and412 Hectares in Gulbarga district have so far been acquired by Railways for the o­ngoing Bidar-Gulbarbga new railway line.Acquisition of an additional land of 62 Hectares in Bidar and Gulbarga districts is under process. Railways had already deposited Rs.33.75 Cr. with the Govt. of Karnataka towards land acquisition and compensation, he added.

P.K. Srivastava, General Manager, while welcoming the gathering, said that taking into account the present and future needs of expansion of rail services in the area, railways has taken up the work of Pit line facility at Khanapur which would accommodate 24 Coach trains and would be constructed at a cost of Rs. 10 Cr. by October, 2014. Dr.N.Dharam Singh, Hon’ble Ex. Chief Minister of Karnataka & MP, Shri Eshwara Khandre, Hon’ble MLC and Shri Rajashekhar Basavaraj Patil, Hon’ble MLA also spoke o­n the occasion.

Salient Features of Coach Maintenance Facilities at Khanapur Junction

1) As Railways is a cost-effective and convenient mode of public transport, demands for introduction of new trains arise continuously. It is necessary to have adequate infrastructural facilities for the maintenance of coaches to enable running of more trains.

2) In the recent past, there has been considerable increase in the passenger/express services in the Hyderabad- Karnataka region. There will be more demands for new services o­nce the Bidar–Gulbarga new Railway line is commissioned.

3) At present, the nearest coach maintenance depot to this area o­n SCR is available at Secunderabad o­nly. Lack of sufficient number of pit lines, stabling lines, sick lines and other maintenance facilities acts as a limiting factor in introducing additional trains to satisfy the public demands.

4) With a view to meet the present and future needs of introducing new trains services, a work for creation of coach maintenance facilities is included as a part of the o­ngoing Bidar-Gulbarga new Railway line project.

5) This new work at Khanapur junction envisages the development of the following facilities:-

  • One pit line for maintenance of 24 coaches at a time with catwalk arrangements o­n both sides of the pit line.
  • One stabling line for keeping the rake till placement in pit line for maintenance or till ready for departure after maintenance.
  • One sick line for placement of sick coaches to undertake required repairs.
  • A covered sick shed enabling to take up major repairs.
  • Office and other service buildings for Mechanical and Electrical Departments.

‘Jyothirlinga’ Tour Package from IRCTC

Madurai (MDU):  The Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) has announced a 14-day pilgrimage package covering the ‘Nava Jyothirlinga’ circuit beginning March 16, 2014, from Madurai via Chennai. The tour includes places such as Mahakaleshwar, Omkareshwar, Somnath, Bhim Shankar, Triambakeshwar, Grushneshwar, Ayundh Nagnath, Parli Vaijinath and Srisailam.

The charter train carrying the tourists would have 4 three-tier AC coaches and eight sleeper-class coaches, separate pantry car to prepare South Indian vegetarian food. Each coach would have a tourist escort, a securityman to safeguard the baggage and a public address system for making announcements. The tour includes hotel accommodation, wherever night stays are planned and the price is from Rs 17,300 onwards

Rail Users’ Association urge setting up of Coach Maintenance Unit at Golden Rock

Ponmalai Golden Rock (GOC):  Rail users’ associations charge that usually the new coaches are first allotted to other zones in the country. After some years, those coaches are transferred here with wear and tear.

P Edward Jeni, secretary of Kanyakumari District Rail Users Associations (KKDRUA), points out the example of the Madurai – Duronto Express train coaches, which are more than 15 years old and were used on the Rajdhani Express earlier.

“Another constraint is the poor maintenance. The coach maintenance unit in Perambur (Chennai) is not able to maintain the coaches as there are no adequate staff,” he said. “This is the right time the railways should establish a coach maintenance unit in Golden Rock, Trichy, to cater the maintenance works of the coaches,” he suggested.

An official at the Golden Rock workshop told that there remained a perennial shortage of coaches in the Indian Railways as new trains were being introduced but there are not enough coach factories to supply them. For instance, 19 trains have been introduced in the new budget, but the availability of coaches would be a huge problem leading to delay in implementation.

However, the good news is that the Rail Coach Factory at Lalganj near Rae Bareli is almost complete while the Palakkad project has been delayed due to some land acquisition problem. “However, once these two factories go on steam, the problem of coach shortage would be surmounted,” the official said. At present, the workshop undertakes repairs of old coaches and at any given time there would be around 80 coaches under repair.

He said that the life of a coach is 25 years and after they are condemned, new coaches must be made available to replace them in equal pace. Moreover, there are no spare coaches available these days because of the huge demand to have new trains, he added.

A senior railway official confided that most of the recent rail accidents in the country occurred because of the rickety, almost-condemnable coaches that lost their wheel alignments with the tracks. These accidents were primarily blamed on the bad condition of coaches that had outlived their utility, but still continued for want of new ones.

Mumbai Monorail: Users drop to 1.12 Lakh in 3rd week

Mumbai: In its third week, monorail saw an 18% dip in the number of passengers compared to the inauguration week. But most passengers continue to be those coming for fun rides.

According to Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) statistics, the number of passengers fell to 1.12 lakh last week (February 16-22) from 1.38 lakh in the inaugural week (February 2-8). There was a drop of 26,000 commuters last week, that is an average dip of nearly 3,714 passengers a day. On Sunday, monorail passengers dropped to 22,000 compared to 26,000 last Sunday and 29,000 a week prior. In the second week, number of monorail trips had gone up to 521 from 512 in the first week, but this, too, saw a decline with 475 trips last week.

Revenues showed a 26% dip with the monorail raking in Rs 10.50 lakh last week compared to Rs 14.24 lakh in the first week and Rs 13.71 lakh in the second. While the third week saw the sale of number of tokens drop by 21,000 since the first week, smartcard sales fell by 80%.

Kochi Metro labourers attacked by goons – metro yard work affected

Five injured workers hospitalised
MTOSCAH162

Five workers engaged in earth filling at Kochi Metro’s upcoming coach maintenance yard at Muttom were hospitalised after a group of people attacked them.

The Aluva police said that a group of people attacked them alleging that dust was emanating from the road leading to the yard whenever lorries carrying mud passed by. A case has been registered and a probe is on. Contractors used to sprinkle water on the road to check dust in the locality. It appears that this was not done on Friday and Saturday following which there was an altercation which led to the assault. No arrest has been made, police said.

A DMRC official said that metro works would get delayed if people took law into their hands. “We restored the road leading to the yard and it is in good condition. Eighty per cent of the work is over and the deadline is March 12. With strikes and agitations delaying work, earth filling might be over only by March end. The issue has been taken up with the District Collector.”

Quarry strike

In the meantime, Metro works suffered for the fifth day in succession because of the ongoing strike by quarry and crusher owners.

“Lack of availability of broken rock and manufactured sand has resulted in over 1,000 workers and machinery idling at work sites and casting yards.

This includes 32 hydraulic rigs deployed between Aluva and Pettah, each of which has a daily rent of around Rs.1 lakh,” DMRC sources said. As a result, contractors are citing their helplessness in completing piling and pillar works on time.

Two railway line projects in J&K awaiting sanction

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir government today said reports on railway projects to connect Jammu to Poonch and Baramulla to Kupwara have been submitted to the Railway Board, but are yet to be sanctioned.

“Reports on railway projects connecting Jammu-Poonch (Jammu region) and Baramulla-Kupwara (Kashmir region), based on a preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey carried out by the Northern Railways Construction Organization, have been submitted to the Railway Board, Union Ministry of Railways,” Minister for Planning and Development Ajay Kumar Sadhotra said while replying to a Calling Attention Notice by Shehnaz Ganai in the Legislative Council today.

“The projects have not yet been sanctioned,” he said.

The minister said these railway lines were very essential for the socio-economic progress and the state government was taking up the matter with the Union government for an early start of these projects.

No adverse effect of Katra rail link on Jammu: Omar

Linking Katra town with the rest of India by rail will not affect the economic prosperity of Jammu city, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said Monday.

Katra is the base town for the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine visited by millions of devotees every year.

Since all pilgrims arrive first in Jammu city before proceeding to Katra, the business community and people of Jammu have expressed apprehension that once a rail link is established between Katra and the rest of India, Jammu will lose as far as its economy is concerned.

“Jammu possesses a novel position in this regard and linking of Katra with railways would have no effect on the trade and economy of Jammu as it is the winter capital of the state and the hub of trade and economy,” Abdullah said at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a ropeway project here.

“All efforts would be made to convert this advantage of the city into economic welfare of the people.”

The chief minister said the launch of the project took a lot of time due to clearance from the Supreme Court, the forest advisory committee, the wildlife board and other environment protection agencies.

He said the establishment of a central university, construction of the fourth bridge over the Tawi river, construction of an artificial lake, a flyover and a golf course and the upgrading of the Jammu airport were significant projects launched by his government.

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