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Mock drill held near Tirunelveli on train accidents

Move to check preparedness of railway personnel

mock drillMadurai (MDU):  The Madurai Division of Southern Railway conducted the annual mock drill at Thaazhaiyooththu near here on Tuesday to check the preparedness of its men in case of a train accident, rescue of victims and speedy restoration of rail traffic in the affected section.

Over 100 personnel including medical and paramedical staff and a 140-tonne crane, ‘Pandyan,’ brought from Madurai for this exercise, were involved in the drill under the supervision of A.K. Rastogi, Divisional Railway Manager, Madurai.

After a discarded coach was mechanically derailed by a Cowans Sheldon crane, imported from England, the rescue team swung into operation.

While the mechanics of the rescue team cut open the roof and side portions of the derailed coach with sophisticated gadgets powered by the portable generators, the medical team shifted the ‘injured’ to the nearby hospitals after administering first-aid.

Bodies of the ‘deceased’ were sent to the hospital for a post-mortem.

During an informal chat with the reporters, Mr. Rastogi, supervising the ‘rescue operation,’ said the ‘golden rules of rescue operation’ such as commencing the rescue operation as early as possible by mobilising men and material at the accident site, evacuation of the injured to the hospital, removal of derailed coaches, restoration of traffic in the affected section, informing the victims’ relatives about the mishap and bringing them to the site / hospital for identifying the victims were checked during this exercise.

“All the departments concerned reacted to the accident in a commendable manner,” said Mr. Rastogi, who selected the Thaazhaiyooththu railway station with a sprawling yard for this exercise due to its proximity to Tirunelveli Railway Junction, from where the Breakdown Special was sent to the ‘accident site.’

SCR open Reservation Counter at Air Force Academy, Dundigal

Hyderabad: To facilitate the personnel of Air Force Academy as well as other civilian residents in the nearby areas, a Railway Reservation Counter was inaugurated recently at the Annaram Gate of Air Force Academy, Dundigal by Air Marshal RG Burli, Vayusena Medal, Commandant of the Academy.The reservation counter is located at a convenient place for easily accessible to all the civilians, according to a press release.

Ayodhya Nagar post office gets Nagpur’s first railway ticketing counter

Nagpur (NGP): Five years after it was announced in the rail budget, the city’s first railway reservation counter to function from post office opened in Ayodhya Nagar in Sakkardara area on Wednesday. The counter will function between 8am and 2pm. It was commissioned by South East Central Railway (SECR) Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Alok Kansal. Nagpur post master general (PMG) Vandita Kaul was also present.

The facility will go a long way in benefiting residents of South and East Nagpur areas who used to come to reservation counters at either main station or Ajni. SECR has reservation counters at Motibagh and Itwari. Railway reservation facility through post-offices was first announced in 2009 by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.

Earlier, Central Railway had proposed five counters at GPO, Shankar Nagar, Hingna MIDC and Kamal Talkies Chowk post offices. However, the proposal was dropped by the railway headquarters in view of city already having sufficient number of railway’s own counters. “Our focus is on post-offices in rural areas and accordingly we have opened counters in Shahapur and Sarni in MP. Two more are proposed in Betul and Bhaisdehi in MP,” said Central Railway PRO PD Patil.

Patil said in Nagpur there are 17 reservation counters besides 12 authorized rail travel service agents (RTSA). “Though we have kept all options open, there is greater need for such counters at post-offices in rural parts where people have to come a long way to book tickets,” he added.

However, Patil failed to explain rush of passengers at the counters. ZRUCC member Basant Shukla said the rush was due to closure of 50% counters at main station and Ajni. More counters were needed looking into the increasing number passengers and trains, he said.

Central Railway sources countered this saying more counters were not needed in view of increasing number of e-tickets. Of every 100 tickets sold , 45 were e-tickets and their number is growing. “You need to justify counters through ticket sales, which is just 110 daily at each counter at Nagpur and Ajni. It should be over 200,” said an official.

Kochi Metro: Hundred land owners accept package of compensation

Kochi:  Land acquisition for widening the Vyttila-Pettah Road into four-lane has got an impetus with around 100 land owners accepting the compensation package of Rs. 21 lakh per cent.

The compensation amount will be handed over within three months, so that Kochi Metro’s civil works can commence in the three-km-long road.

The compensation for land at junctions and a few other places will be fixed in the coming weeks, it was decided at a district-level purchase committee meeting held here on Monday evening.

On the PWD being unable to assess the compensation for buildings that will be demolished for the metro, it was decided to hand over the task to KITCO.

“The PWD has been asked to give a letter citing that it does not have the manpower for the purpose.”

On Tuesday evening, a review meeting was held to assess the progress of land acquisition in the Aluva-MG Road-Pettah metro corridor. Only 31 of the 40 hectares of land required for Kochi Metro’s viaduct and stations has been acquired so far, despite repeated revision of deadlines.

Metro officials sought speeding up of the land acquisition process, since DMRC is unable to begin civil works in roads and areas which have not been widened.

A senior revenue official said that though many owners handed over their lands for the metro, they were not paid compensation because of delay in file works. All pending dues will be cleared within three months, while people who gave their land for metro’s coach repair yard in Muttom will be compensated by April 15.

On delay in widening the narrow portions of the road obstructing movement of vehicles from Deshabhimani Junction up to Ernakulam North bridge, sources said that the matter would be taken up in right earnest with land owners.

KMRL’s managing director Elias George and District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam were among those who participated in the meeting.

DMRC had recently sought constitution of a dedicated land acquisition authority for Kochi Metro with special powers, since the process almost stalled despite repeated extension of deadlines.

Four Corridors identified for Vizag Mass Rapid Transit

PROPOSED_MRT_CORRIDORVisakhapatnam (VSKP): A project proposal submitted by the GVMC to the Ministry of Urban Transport for Metro Rail project has identified four corridors for mass rapid transit (MRT).

The four are on the National Highway from Maddilapalem to NAD Junction (10 km); from the railway station to Gajuwaka via Scindia (14.73 km), Tagarapuvalasa to Hanumanthavaka on the highway (14 km) and NAD Junction to Gajuwaka (8.5 km).

After the proposal was submitted by the GVMC last month, the Urban Transport Department gave in-principle approval for going ahead with feasibility studies and DPR. The GVMC now has to select consultants for it.

The GVMC has proposed to take up feasibility study on the four corridors and to finalise one metro corridor for a length of 25 km in the first phase to prepare a detailed project report at a cost of Rs.1.6 crore. The cost is footed equally by the State and Central Governments.

Municipal Commissioner M V Satyanarayana said on Monday the Central Government promised to foot 90 per cent of the cost of projects in Seemandhra as a part of the bifurcation package and Metro would qualify for such funding. Recently, the Chief Secretary had asked for details of the Metro project.

The four corridors have been identified based on a detailed study under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that prepared Low Carbon Mobility Plan with comprehensive mobility plan and suggesting integrated transport solutions.

The plan says that that future central business districts (CBDs) will be in Gajuwaka, Pendurti and Madhurawada and transport axes will be along these growth corridors.

Earlier, in 2009 the Swedish Institute for Public Administration has conducted a review of Urban Transport Sector and suggested a plan for integrated urban transport solutions. It estimated that travel demand would increase from two million motorised trips per day to almost four million trips by 2021. As of now the city has two Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) on Pendurti and Simhachalam corridors. Experts are of the view that depending on the population and spread the city requires a support transport for mass rapid transit systems to provide last mile connectivity.

APL Logistics VASCOR Auto gears up for Rail Biz – Invests in High-capacity Rakes

Kolkata (KOA): APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive today announced it has placed orders with Kolkata-based freight car maker Texmaco Rail & Engineering for three rail rakes.

Each rail rake – equipped with 27 wagons – is capable of carrying more than 300 vehicles. The delivery of the first rake is expected in three months, with the remaining two rakes to follow in subsequent months. This investment by the Delhi-based joint venture between APL Logistics and VASCOR comes after securing commitments from global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use of its AutoLinxSM solution, which is expected to be operational by mid-2014.

“The investment in the rakes is significant as it allows us to move closer to offering our customers in India another innovative solution in finished vehicle distribution,” said Bill Villalon, APL Logistics’ Senior Vice President of Automotive and Chairman of the joint venture. “We are looking forward to operationalising AutoLinxSM and helping our customers address supply chain complexities, adding further value to their businesses.”

AutoLinxSM is an innovative rail-based solution for more reliable, damage-free and cost-efficient distribution of finished vehicles across India. The solution features fully covered, double-decker rail wagons with adjustable middle decks and lock mechanisms. The complete door-to-door service will include collection of finished vehicles from OEMs plants, vehicle loading and unloading at terminals, long distance rail haulage, and last mile delivery. Complementary state-of-the-art systems with tracking and inventory management will also allow OEMs complete visibility of their finished vehicles.

APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive was the first international third party logistics provider to obtain in September last year the Automobile Freight Train Operator (AFTO) licence administered by Indian Railways. The AFTO licence provides an opportunity for logistics service providers to invest in rail transport and to market railway services, such as AutoLinxSM, to end users in the Indian automotive sector. With the AFTO licence, logistics service providers can help to facilitate bulk movement of automotive traffic by rail from the production hubs to consumer centres, as well as ports for export.

India is growing rapidly as a major global automotive manufacturer. By 2020[1], India is expected to be the world’s third-largest automotive industry, with an 8 percent share in the global passenger vehicle market.

The APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive joint venture draws upon and combines the international supply chain management expertise of two industry leaders. APL Logistics has extensive experience in auto parts logistics and already has intermodal rail capabilities in India. VASCOR is a long-standing logistics partner to global auto-makers and has industry-leading expertise in finished vehicle logistics. The joint venture works closely with OEMs in India to offer specialised supply chain solutions.

DRM-Mumbai Central Division grilled by ZRUCC members

Surat (ST):  Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Western Railway Shailendra Kumar had to face a volley of questions from members of Zonal Railway Users Consultative Committee (ZRUCC) during his inspection visit at Surat railway station on Tuesday.

There is menace of touts at passenger reservation centres in the Diamond City. A strong representation was made to the DRM for taking strict action against those involved in black-marketing of railway tickets, sources said. The DRM refused to meet the media persons.

Rakesh Shah, member, ZURCC, told, “Touts get official protection. Many potters are not lifting baggages, but are involved in black-marketing of train tickets. Passengers in the Diamond City are being looted as touts are earning anything between Rs 200 to Rs 500 per ticket. But when they are caught, touts manage to get away by paying a meager fine.”

The DRM had visited Surat railway station two years ago also and had promised several infrastructural measures to increase passenger-friendly services at the railway platform. However, tens of thousands of passengers arriving at the railway station still have to suffer poor condition of roads, non-functional LCD screens showing the current reservation status of long distance trains, unhygienic food stalls, lack of drinking water facility and filthy toilets among other things, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Railway Protection Force (RPF) has demanded cancellation of licence of more than a dozen potters, who are involved in black-marketing of tickets.

A senior RPF officer said, “Two days ago, some potters had beaten up an RPF jawan at the railway platform. They also offer their badges to the touts for money.”

Kalpesh Barot, member of ZURCC, said, “Surat is the world’s fourth fastest growing city, but a visit to the railway station tells the whole story. Passengers are not safe at the ticket reservation centres as they are threatened by the touts.”

56 Bi-weekly Special Trains between Yeshvantpur and Miraj

Yeswanthpur (YPR), Bangalore: Railways have decided to run 56 bi-weekly special trains between Yesvantpur and Miraj to clear the extra rush of passengers during summer holidays.

Railway spokesperson said, “Train No.06517 Special will leave Yesvantpur at 20.40 hrs on every Monday and Thursday from 31.03.2014 to 30.06.2014 (28 trips) and will reach Miraj at 10.15 hrs next day.”

Train No.06518 Special will leave Miraj at 16.45 hrs on every Tuesday and Friday from 01.04.2014 to 01.07.2014 (28 trips) and will arrive Yesvantpur at 06.20 hrs next day. The train will have halts Tumkur, Arsikere, Davangere, Hubli, Dharwar, Belgaum, Ghatarabha and Kudachi.

Delhi Metro to appoint Claims Commissioner within eight weeks

Delhi Metro LogoNew Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Tuesday informed the high court that it will appoint a claims commissioner within eight weeks so that people don’t have to run around for compensation.

Justice Manmohan disposed of the plea seeking appointment of a claims commissioner. HC was hearing the plea of a woman who lost her son in an accident when he was climbing down the escalator at a Metro station and is seeking Rs 10 lakh in damages. The court told the petitioner to approach the claims commissioner after the appointment.

The court said the appointment should preferably be done within eight weeks, after the ministry of urban development said that the proposal to appoint a DMRC official as a claims commissioner has been forwarded to the appointments committee of the cabinet (ACC). The appointments committee will take a decision within eight to ten weeks.

Asiya Begum had moved the court saying the DMRC rejected her application last March, arguing it was not DMRC’s fault that led to her son’s death but he died due to his own negligence.

Khan Mohammad, 25, was travelling on the Metro on Dec 11, 2011. While climbing down the escalator, he lost his footing and fell down, leading to his death, the plea filed in court said.

“It is the duty of the Metro authorities to have arranged adequate staff to prevent any mishaps at the stations in which they failed, and there being no proper medical support available, Khan died. It is the authority’s duty to compensate for the same,” the plea said.

On February 18, the court had pulled up DMRC or its “dereliction of duty” in not appointing a claims commissioner, as required by law. It had expressed displeasure over DMRC “shirking” its responsibility under the statute to appoint such a forum for addressing the pleas of accident victims and had given it three weeks time to make the appointment.

Railways set to achieve revised freight loading target

Indian Railways have carried 953.05 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during April-February period this year

Indian Railways have carried 953.05 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during April-February period this year. The freight carried shows an increase of 41.63 million tonnes compared to last year. The revised loading target has been set at 1052 million tonne for the 2013-14 fiscal.

The Railways generated Rs. 84379.49 crore of revenue earnings from the freight traffic compared to Rs. 76420.59 crore during the same period last year, registering a growth of 10%.

Mongolia to build Narrow Gauge Railway across Mongolia-China border

Mongolia announced it would build an international-standard narrow gauge railroad across its border with China to transport minerals from the Mongolia’s Gashuun Sukhait border crossing to China’s Ganqimaodu border crossing, local media reported.

At a regular Cabinet meeting held on March 21, Mongolian officials decided to permit Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, a state-owned mining company and the largest coal supplier, to co-invest with China’s top coal producer Shenhua Group and form Gashuun Sukhait Railway LLC to build the railway connecting the two countries’ border crossings.

According to joint venture shareholding agreement, Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi will own 17% of the venture’s stakes and have the same share of investment. In total, US$500,000 will be invested in the initial phase of construction.

The move will lead more of the fossil fuel to be imported into China from the landlocked resource-rich neighbor, which boasts inferred coal resources of around 173.3 billion tonnes and proven reserves are 23.5 billion tonnes. The biggest basin Tavan Tolgoi coal reserves reaches 6.5 billion tonnes, 1/3 of which is coking coal.

It’s calculated that more than 85% of Mongolian exports to China are coking coal, reaching 15.44 million tonnes in 2013, accounting 20.5% of China’s total coking coal imports.

Mongolia has planned to export 1 billion tonnes of coal to China in the next 20 years, Tuvdenorj Naran, executive director of the Mongolia coal Association, said at the fourth global coking coal summit held in Taiyuan, Shanxi province last week.

Chhattisgarh Rly Vendors Association submits Memorandum to DRM, Labour Commissioner

Chattisgarh Railway Vendors Assn MemoRaipur (R): The Chhattisgarh Railway Vendors Association, under the leadership of the City District Congress Committee president, Vikas Upadhyay, submitted a memorandum on Tuesday listing their demands to the senior DCM, DRM and Central Labour Commissioner.

In the memorandum, the Association has listed the problems of the vendors and demanded action on it. Upadhyay said that the Chhattisgarh Railway Commission Vendors Association is a registered body under the Chhattisgarh Cooperative Society Act 1960 and its members have been working at the Raipur Railway station since 1960.

He said that the Supreme Court, on the petition presented by the All India Railway Canteen Service Union, in its decision taken in September 1987, had ordered that all the bearers and vendors should be taken into the service of the Indian Railways. However, before taking them into service, the Railways in 1992 had given the canteen and other works of Raipur Railway Station on contract to M/s RK Agrawal, after calling tender.

At that time, the Chhattisgarh Railway Commission Vendors Association had filed a suit with III appellant judge class-2, in which the judge gave sanction to M/s RK Agrawal to take the vendors on work under it. Thereafter, all the vendors of the association have been working under the M/s Agrawal (Sunshine Caterers Pvt Ltd). Upadhyay said that recently the Railways have given the contract of the canteen at the Raipur Railway Station to Ahmedabad-based company Hakim Chand and Sons.

With this contract, about 25 vendors working at the Railway canteen since last 22 years would totally be rendered jobless. In the agreement made between the new contractor and the railways, the railways did not make it compulsory for the contractor to take the old employees in its service. Because of the wrong policies of the Railways, the future of the labourers, who were working in the canteen, is in dark, he added.

RPSF comes to the aid of TN Police in Fortifying Security in the run up to the Polls

TPJrailwaypoliceTiruchirappalli (TPJ): Personnel of the Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) have been deployed in Tiruchi, Perambalur and Ariyalur districts to assist the police and revenue officials in conducting checks in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

Of the RPSF personnel sent for security duty in central districts a few days ago, 16 men have been placed with Tiruchi city police, 83 with Tiruchi district police, 35 personnel with Perambalur police, and 56 with Ariyalur district police.

RPSF personnel have been posted at the check posts falling within the Tiruchi city limits to assist local police in checking vehicles and belongings of occupants.

They have been deployed at different check posts, including Karumandapam, Airport, Srirangam and Vayalur road check posts.

In neighbouring Ariyalur district, the personnel have been attached with the Flying Squad and Static Surveillance Teams under the District Collector.

Another group has been attached with the local police who have been carrying out surprise checks at different locations in the district to thwart illegal transportation of money and gift articles, sources said.

In Tiruchi district, the RPSF personnel have been attached with the Flying Squad and Static Surveillance Teams in all the sub divisions. In Perambalur, they have been posted at the check posts.

Highest priority accorded to Safety in Nilgiri Mountain Railway ops: Alok Johri

No proposal to increase coaches of mountain railway

Ketti (KXT):  In maintaining the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the highest priority is being accorded to safety, said Alok Johri, Member Mechanical, Railway Board.

Trials were still being conducted on the fourth oil-fired steam locomotive which was brought here recently from the Golden Rock Workshop in Trichy, he told reporters at Ketti on Monday.

The conventional coal fired locomotives had to be replaced with furnace-oil fired engines as it was not possible to ensure a steady supply of high quality coal in small quantities.

There was no proposal to increase the number of coaches, he said. Since some parts of the line were traditional elephant crossing areas, all aspects including the likelihood of train-elephant collisions had to be carefully considered before exploring the possibility of increasing the number of services.

Mr. Johri said that considering the enormous heritage value, the mountain railway should be preserved with some modern amenities.

At the national level, the focus was on providing faster and safer trains.

High speed trains had been introduced in some places like the Konkan route and the Mysore-Bangalore and Delhi-Jaipur sectors, he said. Ways were being evolved to make unmanned level crossings safer. Thrust was on preventing fire accidents and providing escape routes.

Furnace oil is used as the main fuel for the oil firing system of the new steam loco

Alokjohri inauguralThe fourth oil-fired steam locomotive meant for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway (NMR) rolled out of the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here on 6th March adding one more steam engine to the existing NMR fleet. The ‘X’ class metre gauge locomotive manufactured at a cost of around Rs. 4.79 crore is all set to chug on the 20-km Mettupalayam- Coonoor hilly terrain.

Comprising over 3,400 components, the brand new steam loco weighing nearly 50 tonnes can run at a maximum speed of 30 kilometres per hour on the plain and 15 kilometre per hour on the gradient.

The Tiruchi workshop, which was entrusted with the task of manufacturing four oil-fired steam locos for the NMR, declared as a world heritage railway system, had despatched three locos between February 2011 and March 2013.

The fourth loco was flagged off by Alok Johri, Member (Mechanical), Railway Board, New Delhi, at a function organised on the workshop premises here on 6th March.

The need for new locos to run on the NMR section was felt as the old locos imported from Switzerland years ago developed problems leading to frequent service failures.

As efforts to import steam locos failed due to limited number of sources and prohibitive costs, the Railway Board assigned the Tiruchi workshop with the task of manufacturing four oil-fired steam locos and sanctioned Rs. 40 crore for this purpose.

Furnace oil is used as the main fuel for the oil firing system of the new steam loco with its codal life being 40 years.

The workshop undertook manufacture of 600 components in-house to speed up the loco manufacture.

Southern Railway to hold Photo Exhibition at Chennai Central station

Chennai (MAS): Southern Railway will hold a three-day exhibition of photographs at Chennai Central railway station from Wednesday to mark 160 years of railways in India.

The exhibition will be held at the new concourse area of the station, near Higginbotham’s book store. It will be inaugurated by Divisional Railway Manager at 8.30am on Wednesday.

The photos will depict evolution, history, heritage and several interesting facts about railways in India

Waltair Division to hold Rail Sports Mela from April 1

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): East Coast Railway Waltair Division’s mega sports event, the month-long seventh annual inter-departmental Sports Mela is all set to commence on April 1.

Railway employees from different wings participate in 11 events while there are six events for women employees. Divisional Railway Manager and president of Waltair Division’s EC Railway Sports Association Anil Kumar released a poster on the Sports Mela along with Sports Officer of the Division and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager M. Yelvender Yadav. General Secretary of ECoRSA B. Appanna Reddy, Sports Advisor Nageswara Rao and Assistant General Secretary A.P.V.N.V.R. Murthy were present.

Competitions will be held in football, volleyball, athletics, weightlifting, table tennis, kabaddi, badminton, ball badminton, chess, carrom and cricket for men and carrom, musical chairs, lemon and spoon race, hitting the wicket, speed walking and shotput for women employees.

Undergraduate student used Software skills to corner IRCTC Rail tickets in bulk

Mumbai:  A recent anti-tout operation conducted by Central Railway’s RPF for 20 days resulted in 12 arrests and revealed a chink in the armour of IRCTC’s ticket booking portal.

The most intriguing of the arrests, however, was that of an 18-year-old computer science undergraduate student from Somaiya College, who was apprehended on March 5. Using his skills and sophisticated software, he allegedly managed to expedite online ticket booking procedures and thereby book multiple tickets at one go that were then sold for higher prices.

RPF officials said that Krishna Vishwakarma, a resident of Ghatkopar, used a laptop to book the tickets which were sold from various sources, including Gupta Tours and Travels at Bandra.

“He, along with his brother Ajay and cousin Pushpendra, were arrested with 136 confirmed e-tickets worth Rs 3.61 lakh, following the arrest of two other persons on March 4 who had with them 37 confirmed e-tickets costing around Rs 1.09 lakh,” said an official. “They led us to Vishwakarma.”

During his five-day remand in custody, Vishwakarma revealed that his father earlier ran an IRCTC authorized agency at Ghatkopar, and that it was from there that he had learnt the nitty gritties of the ticket booking system.

“He explained that by using certain software and his skills he could ‘jump ahead’ of everyone trying to book tickets online at 8 am. That helped him corner several confirmed tickets at one go,” said Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Alok Bohra.

“We have now involved IT experts as well as the cyber cell to understand more about the software, as well as the modus operandi he used,” Bohra said, adding that an investigation into the case is underway.

Bohra said that all the 12 accused, including Jitendra Gupta, owner of Gupta Tours, were booked under Section 143 of the Railways Act for conducting the business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets without authorization.

Meanwhile, an RPF official voiced the need for a separate team of RPF staff specially trained in IT, who can quickly crack such cases as touts were using the latest technologies and people were ready to pay tidy sums for confirmed tickets during peak season.

The official also said it was high time IRCTC made its website secure by designing a tamperproof ticket booking application to prevent such illegal activities. “It has already been conveyed to IRCTC and they have assured us that steps are being taken,” the official said.

CMRL to seek JICA funds for phase II of Metro

Chennai चेन्नई (MAS): Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) plans to approach Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding Phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail project. Once the State government grants final approval for the alignment of three corridors of Phase II, CMRL will seek financial assistance from JICA, senior officials said. In this phase, corridors will connect Madhavaram and Light House (17 km), Koyambedu and Injambakkam (27 km) and Madhavaram and Perumbakkam (32 km).

“There will be a meeting in April with the officials of the State government where the alignment for Phase II will be discussed. We will approach JICA after this,” an official of CMRL said. JICA funds nearly 59 per cent of Phase I of the project, the Centre 20 per cent and the State government, the remaining cost. Phase I is being developed at a cost of Rs. 14,600 crore.

Phase II is expected to cost around Rs. 36,000 crore. It will criss-cross the city for 76 km, entirely underground, and will take at least 10 years to complete. The construction cost is estimated to be around Rs.500 crore per km, officials said.

Investigation into Titwala Derailment reveals 27 Rakes on CR working past 30 year life

Mumbai:  Investigation into the Titwala derailment incident has revealed that 27 rakes on the Central Railway (CR) are past their 30-year lifetime and were due to be phased out in 2011. They were, instead overhauled the same year and pushed to operate for an additional five years.

These trains are Direct Current (DC) trains that operate on 1,500 kV and are a part of the 40 DC rakes currently used on the main line, Harbour and trans-Harbour. This revelation comes days after the derailment of a Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) rake from a train that was CST-bound and derailed between Titwala and Ambivali on Thursday afternoon, in which 17-year-old Dhaval Lodhya died and 14 other were injured.

An official, on condition of anonymity, revealed, “The train that derailed had BHEL rakes, but it is true that the DC trains have been overhauled past their expiry date and put into use due to a lack of rakes. Nonetheless, the trains are safe.”

Additionally, the derailed train’s coupler that had torn apart between the sixth and seventh coach, was working at 70 per cent strength as a pre-existing crack is suspected to have weakened it by 30 per cent.

“The couplers of trains are usually not replaced, they are the same ones that came with the rake when it was manufactured; there maybe some changes made when a maintenance overhaul is done, but the original coupler stays intact,” said an official. The DC trains are using the coupler dating back to 1981.

When asked about the 27 rakes that need to be phased out, CR DRM Mukesh Nigam said, “Yes, the trains have been overhauled and are working past their 30-year life, but in an overhaul, even minute details are given attention and only then a safety certificate is given, so they are completely safe; just that they might break down a lot more than other rakes. We won’t run them unless we are absolutely sure about their safety.”

RPF new recruits reluctant to work in Mumbai

Mumbai:  In the last few days, the WR Railway Protection Force (RPF) has added several new recruits to the suburban section of its Mumbai division.

The important thing however is that a majority of these new recruits were reluctant to be inducted into the Mumbai division. They cited extreme occupational stress and higher costs of living in the city as reasons.

Of the new recruits, nearly 100 jawans of constable rank were inducted by disbanding the Special Railway Protection Force (SRPF) fleet that has 76 jawans working in groups at important railway stations. Twenty-one constables were inducted by promoting ancillary staff through written exams.

One of the newly-minted jawans on condition of anonymity said, “In this city, you are always on the radar of senior officers, the press and the public. You don’t get time for yourself and family.”

Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of the Mumbai division of RPF, Rajendra Roopnawar admitted that most of the jawans were reluctant to take up posts here. “Yes, this is true that almost every one of these jawans, did not wish to work in Mumbai because travelling and cost of living is very much high in the city,” he said. “During the interview itself, these guys wished to be posted in other divisions of Mumbai but since we have a disciplined force, when asked to be in Mumbai only, they agreed immediately.”

With 40 per cent vacancy in the suburban section of Mumbai, the headquarters preferred to induct these 96 jawans into the suburban section, Mr Roopnawar said.

Western Railway Motormen stage protest, want Assistants during their commute

wr motormenMumbai:  A motley group of motormen from the unrecognised Western Railway Motormen’s Association (WRMA) demonstrated at Churchgate demanding that they be given assistants during their commute to ensure greater safety.

The issue of safety has come to the fore after the railway board recently issued a circular. The circular stated that motormen guilty of jumping signals — called Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) — be dismissed from service. SPAD is possibly the most dangerous of mistakes during the running of a train. Officials said with local trains running at a distance of a kilometre apart every three to four minutes, an SPAD in Mumbai can be disastrous.

WR is already looking at several such cases. The last dismissal was on December 30, 2013 after motormen JK Sahu jumped a signal at Borivli on June 19 last year. However, Sahu was reinstated on a technical consideration after an agitation by WRMA during the visit of railway minister Mallikarjun Kharge to Mumbai on January 23 this year.

Three long-distance loco pilots have already been dismissed from service over the past one year for similar offence.

WR officials on Monday said that the demonstration had no effect on the running of local trains and that delays faced by passengers in the afternoon were normal operational ones. “The appointment of Assistant Motormen is an issue concerning the railway board and nothing can be done about it at the local level,” said a senior WR official.

Chennai Metro to seek JICA funds for Phase-II Metro

Chennai:  Chennai Metro Rail (CMRL) plans to approach Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for funding Phase II of the Chennai Metro Rail project. Once the State government grants final approval for the alignment of three corridors of Phase II, CMRL will seek financial assistance from JICA, senior officials said. In this phase, corridors will connect Madhavaram and Light House (17 km), Koyambedu and Injambakkam (27 km) and Madhavaram and Perumbakkam (32 km).

“There will be a meeting in April with the officials of the State government where the alignment for Phase II will be discussed. We will approach JICA after this,” an official of CMRL said. JICA funds nearly 59 per cent of Phase I of the project, the Centre 20 per cent and the State government, the remaining cost. Phase I is being developed at a cost of Rs. 14,600 crore.

Phase II is expected to cost around Rs. 36,000 crore. It will criss-cross the city for 76 km, entirely underground, and will take at least 10 years to complete. The construction cost is estimated to be around Rs. 500 crore per km, officials said.

Lashkar Express train passes station without halting, brought back

Timarni (TBN):  In a freak incident on Sunday, the Lashkar Express, which runs weekly between Itarsi and Harda, passed by the Timarni railway station near Harda without taking the scheduled halt.

There was a commotion among the passengers at the Timarni station. The station master assured the passengers that it would be brought back.

Accordingly, the driver was contacted and the train came back to the station after it had travelled four km further.

Mumbai Gap Traps: Brave Student saves man who fell into gap trap

Brave student saves man who fell into gap trapMumbai:  A 24-year-old information technology student saved the life of a man who fell into the gap between the platform and the footboard of a Churchgate-bound local train on Sunday afternoon.

The man’s left leg, however was crushed under the train, as were a few toes of his right leg. Debashish Shetty (28) was admitted to a private orthopaedic hospital in Vasai by Morris Fernandes, the student.

The labourer laid on the tracks for 20 minutes until a stretcher was arranged,as there was a paucity of hamaals to fetch the stretcher. Shetty, originally from Cuttack, Orissa, is construction labourer. On noon on Sunday, he was boarding a Churchgate local at Vasai Road station. Because of the rush, he was unable to get in, but as the local started to depart, Shetty slipped and fell into the gap.

Fernandes, a resident of Vasai (W), had just alighted and was walking up the stairs when he saw a huge crowd on platform 3. Fernandes, who studies at G G College,Vasai, and works part-time at a call centre in Saki Naka, said the crowd simply watched as the man gasped for breath on the tracks. “I immediately called the railway police and asked for a stretcher,” said Fernandes. “But to my shock, I had to wait a whole 20 minutes for a stretcher. I was told there was shortage of porters who lift victims of train accidents since it was a Sunday,” Fernandes added.

Dr Yogendra Ravi, an orthopaedic surgeon, said Shetty suffered severe blood and that there was no way his foot could be re-attached.

Police Inspector Anil Mane of the Vasai railway police said, “On Sundays, WR reduces the number of trains and therefore there is overcrowding in the remaining ones. It is possible that the victim found it difficult to get into the train because of this.”

The victim’s family have been informed and are expected to reach Vasai on Tuesday.

Pune Municipal Corp sits on proposal for second Railway Station at Hadapsar

A year ago, Pune railway division sent PMC a proposal for expanding Hadapsar station by reserving adjacent land

HadapsarHadapsar, Pune:  It has been a year since railway officials from Pune division sent a proposal to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) demanding reservation of land next to Hadapsar station so that a few of the train services could be shifted there, but nothing has happened till date claimed a few senior railway officials.Railway officials said they manage about 140 long-distance trains form the Pune railway station daily, which takes a toll on other services.

After undertaking a survey to find a suitable second operational point, officials zeroed in on Hadapsar station, and sent a land reservation proposal to the PMC. But in the past year, only discussions have taken place.

“Our officials surveyed Hadapsar station and found it to be suitable for shifting some of the operations from Pune station. In the proposal, we requested the PMC to reserve the land surrounding the station for transport facilities.

Also, the entry and exit points to the station need widening so that passengers get adequate space while accessing and leaving the station,” said Pune division railway manager Suneet Sharma.

“The proposal is yet to be approved by the PMC. Once sanctioned, we’ll start extending the platform and move a few of our services to Hadapsar.”

There are two platforms that can accommodate 12 coaches each, and a single foot-over bridge (FOB) connecting them. The station is located on the Mundhwa-Kharadi bypass road and has a single approach road. While one side of the station is surrounded by industries and a vast expanse of open space, the other is encroached upon by slums. Daily, 16 passenger trains (8 up and 8 down) pass through the station for Solapur, Manmad, Baramati and Daund.

There is no security guard or Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel deployed at the station. During emergencies, an RPF constable is called from Loni railway station or Mundhwa police station. The staff comprises eight from operational section, three commercial workers and two housekeepers.

One of the staffers said, “In the absence of security guards, and easily accessible restrooms, local urchins have converted the station into a night shelter. So we keep the toilets locked during daytime and give the keys only when passengers ask for them. The station is huge and we need more people to keep it clean.”

Work of increasing the height of platform #2 is currently underway, alongside construction of a toilet for physically challenged commuters. Railway passenger Sambhaji Gosavi said, “There is only one shed at the station. The seating capacity needs to be increased too.”

Vipul Alekar, another commuter, said, “To board a long-distance train, we go all the way to Pune. If some trains are shifted here, it will benefit those residing in Hadapsar, Mundhwa, NIBM, Kondhwa, Kharadi and other nearby areas.”

Indian Railways carry 953.05 million tonnes of Freight during April-Feb, 2014

Indian Railways have carried 953.05 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during 1st April 2013 to 28th February 2014. The freight carried shows an increase of 41.63 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 911.44 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year.

During the month of February 2014, the revenue earning freight traffic carried by Indian Railways was 86.93 million tonnes. There is an increase of 3.32 million tonnes over the actual freight traffic of 83.61 million tonnes carried by the Indian Railways during the same period last year.

Submit number of registered labourers working in Namma Metro: HC tells BMRCL

Bangalore (SBC):  The Karnataka High Court on Monday asked the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) to submit the number of labourers, employed for the Namma Metro project, who are registered as per the law as on March 31, 2014 for availing welfare benefits as per the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna issued the direction while hearing a public interest litigation petition pertaining to poor working conditions of the engaged by contractors, who are entrusted with construction of different phases of the project.

During the hearing, the counsel for BMRCL told the court that out of 4,481 labourers, 92 per cent have been registered as per the law or were in the process of being registered as on January 31.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labour submitted reports on inspection of construction sites of various contractors as directed by the court earlier.

While adjourning the hearing, the Bench also asked the contractors to provide details on implementation of welfare schemes provided under various labour laws with respect to the labourers engaged by them.

WR motormen threaten Stir from April 1

Mumbai:  Western Railway motormen have threatened to go on an indefinite agitation from April 1 if authorities fail to depute assistant motormen on suburban trains to prevent incidents like Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD). They have also demanded dilution of punishments against motormen who jump signals.

WR motormen on Monday held a dharna at Churchgate station, urging the administration to accept their demands. A motorman said, “A motorman should be accompanied by an assistant to prevent such incidents. Also, the authorities should not initiate process of removal of service against motormen who jump signals in case where there are no casualties or damages caused to property.”

if the accident does not lead of any injury

He further said, “There have been six incident of SPAD in as many months. This is because the guard has been absolved of the responsibility of verifying the signal. There is too much stress on the motorman as WR run around 1350 services at a frequency of 3 minutes.”

MMRCL to issue tenders for Line-3 by July 2014

Mumbai:  “Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) will issue detailed tenders for Phase-3 Metro by July 2014 and award the contract to the successful bidder by October 2014. The construction for the ambitious project of 32.5 Km long Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground metro corridor is likely to commence from January 2015.

“Pre-qualification bids for the first underground metro in the country’s financial capital have evoked good response from all the consortiums showing great interest in Mumbai’s first underground metro. Presently we feel that the detailed tenders can be issued by July 2014″, said Mr.Sanjay Sethi, Managing Director, MMRCL and Additional Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA. The MMRCL is also confident of awarding contract by October, 2014 for the project to be undertaken on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis.

“We have tied up the funding for this project from Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Government of India and Government of Maharashtra through MMRDA”, said Mr.Sethi.

JICA will be funding 57% of the total project cost of Rs.23,136 crore. “The Government of India and Government of Maharashtra-through MMRDA will be bear the rest of the cost. The GoI will be provide 50% of Central Taxes as Sub-debt while the balance 50% shall be borne by the State Government. The GoM may also get a few exemptions from various local taxes – details of which are being worked out at present”, informed Mr. Sethi.

He further added that Rs.777 crore will also be borne by the Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), since the metro will pass through the MIAL areas.

Arunachal Pradesh just a small stop away from national rail link

Itanagar:  Taba Chake, a 22-year-old BA student at Itanagar’s Dera Natung College, has never travelled by train. “In fact I had not even seen one so close,” he said, as he touched coaches of a Light Goods Special that arrived here on Thursday last week.

As the train remained parked at the Naharlagun station for the day, others like Habam Tabe (26), Dobum Raja (19), Chukhu Paji (29), and Tamo Kame (30) kept rushing in and out of its nine coaches. The Light Goods Special was just an inspection train. However, for Arunachal that has long been waiting for a rail link, that was the first concrete indication that the link was just a step away. Naharlagun is just 10 km from Arunachal capital Itanagar. A tiny, 1.26-km stretch in Bhalukpong in East Kameng district, built back in 1989, is all that the state has by way of railway so far.

Commissioning is expected to take place after the elections given the code of conduct. Arunachal will see simultaneous general and Assembly polls. Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.

The lack of connectivity is a major issue in the sensitive state which shares a long boundary with China. China has already extended its railway network to Xigaze, close to Sikkim, and is also understood to have drawn up plans to bring one railhead to the border just across Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.

Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by PM Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.

The lack of connectivity is a major issue in the sensitive state which shares a long boundary with China. China has already extended its railway network to Xigaze, close to Sikkim, and is also understood to have drawn up plans to bring one railhead to the border just across Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.

Vijayawada has potential to be developed into a Logistics Hub

Vijayawada (BZA): The intense debate over which city is best suited to be capital of Andhra Pradesh (AP) should invariably draw one’s attention to Vijayawada’s potential to be developed into a ‘logistics hub’ in the event of some other place being chosen to be the new capital.

The well-established network of roads, railways and airport at Gannavaram are considered distinct advantages for Vijayawada to be developed on a par with other major Indian cities.

Besides this, the Machilipatnam port is just about 60 kilometer away and development of National Waterway-4 connecting Kakinada and Puducherry in which the Vijayawada stretches of river Krishna and Buckingham canal form a crucial link, gives the city greater importance.

It is a known fact that National Highways 16 (Chennai-Kolkata), 65 (Pune-Machilipatnam) pass through the city and National Highway (NH)-214 that links Pamarru to Katthipudi in East Godavari district is just 40 km away. The city has been a major junction for lorry operations for several decades with thousands of vehicles carrying goods through the length and breadth of the country every day.

Coming to railways, Vijayawada station is the largest junction in South India with over 300 express, passenger and freight trains passing through it every day. It has a very bright chance of being made headquarters of the planned South East Coast Railway (SECoR) Zone located as it is on Chennai-Howrah and Chennai-Delhi lines.

The expansion of Gannavaram airport at an estimated cost of INR 200 crore is bound to give a fillip to growth of not only the city but the entire south coastal A.P.  The destinations served by this mid-sized airport are Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi and some private airline firms have plans to operate flights to more Indian cities. Coupled with this, Air Costa, the first private Airliner company set up at Vijayawada, it is all likely that Vijayawada-Guntur region is rightly positioned for formation of a new capital for the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, post bifurcation of Telangana.

SCR gears up to move Para Military Forces in large number for Election Duty

Secunderabad (SC):  Indian Railways plays a vital role in smooth conduct of General Elections by way of moving the security personnel for election duty across the length and breadth of the country. As per the indication of Election Commission and Ministry of Home Affairs, about 80,000 para military force personnel need to be transported by Rail, which requires about 1200 coaches for running of around 60 special trains. In addition, special coaches will also be attached extra o­n regular trains and some of the existing coaches will be earmarked o­n various trains for exclusive occupation of forces.

For the ensuing General Elections in the months of April – May, 2014, SCR is in readiness to handle large scale movement of Para military forces by trains o­n and across the Zone. Officers and staff from Operating, Mechanical and Electrical departments have been nominated to function as nodal officers at Zonal and Divisional levels to closely monitor the movement of the election special trains. Requisite arrangements for providing catering services to the personnel from various security forces o­n these special trains have also been made in association with Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation(IRCTC).

South Central Railway has earmarked 63 coaches exclusively for operating election specials. These are grouped into three rakes of 21 coaches each with Sleeper and AC class accommodation for movement of personnel from Central Police Forces (CPF), State Armed Police Forces (SAPF) and Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) to different destinations. Out of these 3 rakes, o­ne rake has already been pressed into service and the remaining rakes are kept ready at Vijayawada for movement at short notice. The election special trains will be scheduled as per the requirement communicated by the Election Commission and the Ministry of Home Affairs in co-ordination with Railway Board from time to time.

SCR ran the first election special train o­n 19th March, 2014 from Hyderabad to Coimbatore. This special train carried personnel from Andhra Pradesh Special Armed Police Force from Hyderabad, Warangal and Vijayawada to Tamil Nadu. In addition, seven coaches were earmarked o­n different trains for movement of personnel from Central Police Forces and Railway Protection Special Force to different areas in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa States.

Several summer special train services have already been announced o­n SCR to take care of the summer passenger rush in the months of April and May. Election specials will also need to be run during the same period. In this connection, Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway directed the officials concerned to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to run these special trains smoothly in close co-ordination with various agencies involved in the movement of security personnel o­n election duty.

Delhi University to study on how Railways have benefited Kashmiris

DU undergrads’ plan to help hone research skills with practical examples 

A team of ten students of different academic disciplines from Delhi University and three professors have started preparatory work to track the socio-economic benefits of trains after they were introduced in the Kashmir valley.

Basheerat, a first-year Physics (Honours) student who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, has already done the pilot survey. A ground trip has been planned for later but right now, the students are using social media to connect to stakeholders.

“The aim of the project, which is funded by Delhi University, is to initiate research skills in students in the pre-graduation levels by exposing them to practical examples.

Also, the research could influence policy initiatives in the Railways and Government,” said Sangeeta Dhal, principal investigator of the project, who teaches political science in Kalindi College, Delhi University. Dhal is open to collaborating with teams from Jammu and Srinagar University. The train in Kashmir has been a hit with the locals. After the Pir Panjal tunnel was opened up in June 2013 – the all-weather rail link connected Banihal in Jammu with the Kashmir valley – daily passenger traffic on the train has jumped 48 per cent in the last one year.

Cheaper option

“Average passenger traffic a day this year is 12,464, against 8,403 in 2012-13,” Nand Lal, Chief Controller, Northern Railway, Badgam, (a junction in the Kashmir rail network), told.

Not only does the train provide a cheaper and faster travel option over roads to many Kashmiris, but is also the most preferred when the highway between Jammu and Kashmir closes due to snowfall or landslides.

The entire 135-km train trip between Baramullah and Banihal takes only about half the time (2 hours 50 minutes) as the road journey and costs about a tenth (₹30 for a ticket against ₹400 by road), said Lal. The project team has a mentor in J.K. Singh, Chief Project Manager, Northern Railway, Jammu and Kashmir. The study is titled, ‘Evaluating the socio-economic and political consequences in Kashmir valley: A study of railway network as a game changer in Badgam district since 2008’.

The research team has already started generating considerable interest. “Last month, at our inter-college fest, we showcased the project with a model of a train coming out of the Pir Panjal tunnel.

The response was really good. Officials from defence, railways and many others who have either spent time in Kashmir or have witnessed the rail link become operational have offered to help us,” said Isha Arora, a second-year English (Honours) student.

Train Stopover may be Scrapped if Not Utilized, cautions Railway Yatri Sangha

Udupi (UD): Railway Yatri Sangha president R L Dias has reminded the train commuters of a new railway facility for the people of Udupi and around.

The Hindu brethren intending to visit the holy places of Hardwar and Hrishikesh have to depend on only one train, the weekly Kochuveli-Dehradun service. Pilgrims going to these two holy places, have to get down at Hardwar railway station, which is 51 kms from Dehradun.

This train was begun five years ago. It leaves Mangalore junction (earlier called Kankanady) railway station. The next stop after Mangalore was only Madgaon.

The Udupi Railway Yatri Sangha had been making all efforts to get a stop to this train at Udupi for the last 4-5 years. Pilgrims from Udupi heading for these holy places, had to go all the way to Mangalore Junction to catch the train.

Similarly the Sikh brethren employed or settled here, in order to visit their holy Golden temple at Amritsar faced the same problem with no stop at Udupi for the weekly 12487 Kochuveli-Amritsar train.

The Yatri Sangha’s efforts over the past 4-5 years have borne fruit in that these two trains have been given stops in Udupi with effect from March 5, 2014.

This timings are as shown below:

Kochuveli-Dehradun

  1. No. 12287 – Udupi – Fri 9.50 am, Nizamuddin Sun. 10.40 am, Haridwar Sun. 3.35 pm
  2. No. 12288 – Haridwar – Mon. 7.15 am, Nizamudin Mon. 1.15 am Udupi Wed 1.12 mid night.

Kochuveli-Amritsar

  1. No. 12483 – Udupi Wed 9.50 pm Nizamudin Fri 10.40 pm, New Delhi Fri 11.05 am Amritsar Fri 7.45 pm
  2. No. 12484 – Amritsar Sun 5.55 am New Delhi Sun 1.25 pm Udupi Tues 1.12 midnight.

The stop given now is a temporary, experimental step for 3 months. These stops not only help the pilgrims, but also are useful to people going to New Delhi on government and other business.

In case people of Udupi fail to respond to make proper use of this facility, there is every risk of the cancellation of the stops by the railway authorities.

Hence the Sangha has requested the people of Udupi to avail themselves of this facility.

Mumbai Metro to get speed certificate this week

Mumbai:  Indian Railway’s research arm RDSO is likely to issue ‘speed certificate’ to the much-awaited Mumbai Metro this week, sources said. This will now pave the way for the operator Reliance Infra obtaining safety certificate from the Railways, they said. “The process of issuing speed certificate for the Mumbai Metro is almost over.

The trial report is nearly ready and we may give the clearance to the operator of Mumbai Metro One as early as this week,” sources at the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) told PTI. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the operator Reliance Infra have been saying that the metro services will be thrown open to the public this month-end.

Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) is a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure, French firm Veolia Transport and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). While Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infra, which is the execution agency, owns a 69 per cent stake in the project, the state-run MMRDA and Veolia hold 26 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

The RDSO is a statutory technical body, which certifies rail system for safety based on international standards. After carrying out the oscillation and emergency braking distance trials under the monitoring of the RDSO, the MMRDA is now undertaking proper trial runs on the entire first phase of the 11.4-km long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section of the Mumbai Metro for the last couple of days.

Once the speed clearance is in place, MMOPL will have to apply to the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety for the safety certificate, they said, adding the final go ahead for the commencement of services will come from the Railway Board. The speed clearance is granted after testing the stability and load, vibration, comfort factor on the tracks, alignment between tracks and train wheels during the trial runs of the train.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the first phase of the Mumbai Metro in June 2006. According to the initial plans, the stretch was to start operations from 2009. The joint venture’s failure to launch the services on time has reportedly resulted in the project cost shooting up by about 84 per cent to Rs 4,351 crore from the originally planned Rs 2,356 crore. The consortium has been claiming that there is a cost escalation of Rs 1,935 crore over and above the original cost of Rs 2,356 crore.

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya sends notice to Central Railway

Mumbai: A legal notice has been sent to General Manager of Central Railway, Sunil Kumar Sood, by former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya two days after the derailment at Titwala claimed the life of 19-year old Dhaval Lodhya and injured 14 others.

In the notice, Somaiya has accused the Railways for the absence of health and safety support systems and disaster management plans.

According to Jay Lodhya, friend of Dhaval, who was present at the spot, the ambulance reached the spot an hour later.

Despite several requests, they were denied help by the people present and the Railway Police Force personnel alike.

Now you can book your own coach in Delhi Metro

Delhi: New Delhi: Tourists, foreign travellers and government or private school children, NGOs running schools for differently able children can book coaches for metro tours for anything between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, under its Policy on Reservation of Car(s)/Train, allows tour operators, any government or private agency, or an individual on behalf of a group or school to book cars or trains from any station of the metro network including the Airport Express line.

The booking tariff consists of fares for the number of passengers and facilitation charges toward offering special facilities to the group, consisting of not less than 45 passengers up to 150 passengers.

Only the coach of the longest train consisting of 8 coaches can be booked for a group.

DMRC does not charge facilitation charges from government schools and NGOs running special schools.

These facilitation charges, in addition to the applicable fares, consist of Rs 50,000 for one coach on Line 1, 2, 3/4, Rs 30,000 for Line 5 and Rs 40,000 for the Airport Express line.

These fares also get escalated at the rate of 10 per cent from April 1 of each financial year.
However, if the originating and terminating stations are on different lines the booking on multiple lines will be treated as multiple car booking.

Some special facilities offered by DMRC are viewing the Metro Museum, textiles, handicraft exhibition at nominal charges, free parking facilities at the station for the group, welcome message or special announcement for the group besides presenting mementos to travellers. One member of the DMRC will also be present with them to guide them through the journey.

Gul Panag hits out at Pawan Kumar Bansal, questions CBI clean chit in rail scam

Gul PanagChandigarh (CDG): Launching a scathing attack on former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal over cash-for-post scam, AAP candidate and former Miss India Gul Panag today questioned the clean chit given by CBI in the case to her rival from Chandigarh seat and said he cannot simply brush aside the alleged involvement of his nephew in the scam.

“A man who has to resign from his Ministerial post (Railways) due to a corruption scandal, a man whose nephew is still in jail is talking of having got the clean chit,” the 35-year-old Bollywood actress told PTI.

Panag, daughter of a retired Army officer, said the former Railway Minister has to decide whether he was complicit or incompetent to know what was going on in his ministry.

“It’s like this. If I am in a scandal where you found somebody guilty, either I am complicit or I am incompetent. I am incompetent if I don’t know what is going on in my ministry. So, I think Mr Bansal has to decide what is he, complicit or incompetent,” she said.

When asked about four-time Chandigarh MP Bansal’s statement that the charge sheet in the case has not named him, she said, “I am sure he has a clean chit, he has been given clean chit by CBI under his own government.”

“Individually, I have the highest respect for him. He is a man who is of my father’s age. He was a class fellow of my father. He is a man with incredible political acumen and incredible experience. But I think it’s time for him to step forward and tell us if is he complicit in this (case) or is he incompetent that he does not know what was going on in his own Ministry,” she said.

Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and nine others, arrested in the Rs.10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, will face trial with a special court in Delhi framing charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against them recently.

Bansal has been arrayed as a prosecution witness by the CBI in its charge sheet filed last year.

Apart from Panag, who writes her full name as Gulkirat Kaur Panag and Bansal, prominent among those who are pitted against them include BJP’s actor-turned-politician Kirron Kher and BSP’s Jannat Jahan.

Panag said that corruption is an issue which affects everyone and her party’s fight is to root it out from the society.

Panag said that people of this country are seeking a change and AAP is trying to provide them with a viable alternative.

Launching an attack on the parties with “Right wing agenda” she said, “On the other extreme there is such a Right wing agenda, it frightens me as somebody who is a minority, as somebody who has been at the receiving end of religious persecution still hasn’t seen justice.”

“I am not saying these parties will not reform, I am sure they will, time will make them reform. Today, they all have made corruption their agenda suddenly, why? There is public pressure, there are pressure groups, so eventually system will get cleaned up – 50 years, 60 years down the line, there may be no need for AAP by then. The idea is to force change,” said Panag, who has a masters in Political Science.

Makum-Saikhowa Railpath Suraksha Samity demands Makum-Saikhowa section as a ’Heritage Line’

Makum Jn (MJN): Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) Railpath Suraksha Samity (MSRSS) has raised a strong demand for the declaration of Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) railway line which is a part of historic Dibru-Sdiya Railway Line, as a ’Heritage Line’. The MSRSS adopted a resolution in its executive body in this regard and placed it in the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) meeting held recently. This was stated by MSRSS in a release.

The Assam Railway and Trading Company (AR&T Co) had laid the 95-km-long Assam’s first railway track from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat in 1881. But, in the devastating earthquake in 1950, the track along with Saikhowaghat railway station suffered heavy damages. Consequently, the rail service was confined upto Dangari railway station, 8 km from Saikhowaghat.

In the post-independence period, no government took the initiative to restore the track upto Saikhowaghat. Towards the end of the year 2000, as a result of continuous and strong demand of MSRSS and the public, a 30-km Makum-Dangari section of the track under Tinsukia railway division was converted to broad-gauge. Though the conversion work was completed in December, 2001, the rail traffic was initiated on the track from October 30, 2002. Since then, only one passenger train (Dangari Passenger) has been plying from Tinsukia to Dangari once daily except Sundays.

In the pre-independence period and even after the independence also, train services were there from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat. But now it is confined between Tinsukia and Dangari. MSRSS has been demanding since its inception to extend the track from Dangari to Saikhowahat. It submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, the president and secretary of North-East MPs Forum and all the MPs from north-eastern States in this regard. As a result, in the Rail Budget 2012, the proposal of this extension project was sent to the Planning Commission of India. In spite of this, nothing could be seen about this project in the Rail Budgets of 2013 and 2014. This is one of the examples of Centre’s utter negligence towards the North East and specially to the historic railway track.

However, responding to the demand of MSRSS, the divisional railway manager of Tinsukia railway division, Aneet Dulat has promised to introduce a passenger reservation system (PRS) at Doomdooma. If it is materialised, the rail users of this region will be benefited.

The only passenger train running between Tinsukia and Dangari (55911 Up and 55912 Down) will be rescheduled and it will run from New Tinsukia Jn instead of Old Tinsukia station. The new schedule of the train will be prepared in such a way that it can connect its passengers will also avail the far-distant mail and express trains from New Tinsukia Jn. It is also expected that from 2015, a new system of rail traffic called diesel multiple unit (DMU) will be introduced under the Tinsukia railway division. For this, construction of infrastructure has been going or in full swing at old Tinsukia station.

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