Maha MPs demand additional trains, doubling of tracks

पुणे Pune: The Members of Parliament (MPs) from seven Lok Sabha constituencies in western and central Maharashtra and Marathwada demanded for augmentation of rail infrastructure, doubling of tracks and additional trains ahead of the forthcoming railway budget.

The MPs put forth their wish lists at a meeting conducted in the presence of general manager of central railway S K Sood here at divisional railway office. MPs from Baramati, Ahmednagar, Latur, Mhada, Satara, Sangli and Shirdi submitted memorandums to the general manager.

The MPs said that the railway authorities should improve infrastructure and complete pending projects within a set time frame. They said that the existing trains were not enough to cater the increasing passenger volume and the administration needs to run more trains with better frequencies.

Leading demands included doubling of Pune-Kolhapur, Daund-Manmad and Daund-Solapur tracks and running of trains between Pune-Latur and Pune-Kolhapur.

Dilip Gandhi of Ahmednagar asked about the progress of previous works and the status on survey of Kalyan-Ahmednagar line, Ahmednagar-Beed-Parali line and stoppages of Maharashtra express at Rahuri and Shrigonda.

Latur MP Sunil Gaikwad demanded for Latur-Pune Express and doubling of Daund-Solapur line and provision of more passenger amenities at Latur station. Sadashiv Lokhande MP from Shirdi wanted the doubling of Daund-Manmad section because of the Kumbh Mela.

Baramati MP Supriya Sule said that administration should show leniency when removing encroachment on railway land at Daund. Mhada MP Vijaysinh Mohite Patil demanded for speedy work on Lonand-Phaltan new line, bridge at Wathar and Kurudwadi wagaon repairing unit.

Sartara MP Udayanraje Bhosale pushed for frequent communication between MPs and the railway administration. He expressed a need for Karad-Chiplun track to connect western Maharashtra to Konkan railway besides doubling of Pune-Kolhapur and modernization of Satara station. Sanjay Patil of Sangli constituency demanded for improvements at Miraj, Sangli and Kirloskarwadi Stations and extension of line Latur-Parli.

Railway Minister to flag off four new trains today in Bangalore

बेंगलुरू Bangalore (SBC): Four new trains will be flagged off from Bengaluru City station on Thursday by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu. The trains will begin their inaugural run between 2.20 pm and 2.30 pm.

Timings and Stoppages

Tatanagar—Yeshwantpur Weekly Premium Express (18111/18112): The train will leave Tatanagar on Thursdays at 6.35 pm and reach Yeshwantpur on Saturdays at 7.30 pm. It will also stop at Rourkela, Vijayanagaram, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Secunderabad, Raichur, Mantralayam Road, Guntakal, Ballari, Chitradurga, Birur, Arsikere, Tumakuru and Chikbanavara. It will leave Yeshwantpur on Sundays at 10 am and reach Tatanagar on Tuesdays at 12.35 pm.

Patna—Bengaluru Weekly Premium Express (22353/22354): It will leave Patna on Thursdays at 11.30 pm and reach Cantonment at 6.55 pm on Saturdays. It will stop at Cheoki, Jabalpur, Nagpur, Vijayawada and Chennai Central. It will leave Cantonment on Sundays at 3.30 pm and reach Patna on Tuesdays at 9.45 am.

Kamakhya—Bengaluru Weekly Premium Express (22503/22504): It will leave Kamakhya (Guwahati) at 8.30 pm on Tuesdays and reach Cantonment at 9.15 pm on Thursdays. It will stop over at New Jalpaiguri, Howrah, Bhuvaneshwar, Vijayawada and Chennai Central. It will leave Cantonment on Fridays at 10.15 am and arrive at Kamakhya on Sundays at 11.25 am.

Yeshwantpur—Katra Weekly Premium Express (22679/22680): The train will leave Yeshwantpur on Saturdays at 11.30 am and reach Katra at 7.45 pm on Mondays. The train will stop at Ballari, Secunderabad, Nagpur, Jhansi and New Delhi. It will leave Katra at 6.30 am on Tuesdays and reach Yeshwantpur at 3 pm on Thursdays.

Konkan Raiwlay to install Solar Plant at Ratnagiri

मडगांव Margao (MAO): The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) has decided to install a solar plant at Ratnagiri as part of its recently-formulated ‘energy policy’. The policy resolved to employ solar and wind aero-generators wherever possible.

The proposed 350 KW-capacity solar photo voltaic plant, which will be connected to the state grid, shall generate about 3.8 lakh units of energy per year – sufficient to meet entire energy requirement of Ratnagiri railway station and railway office, chief public relations officer of the KRCL Vaishali Patange told.

The project will cost 3.6 crore and shall be completed within six months. The plant is expected to result in a saving of about 42 lakh per annum for the railways.

There are also plans to increase the generation capacity of the plant to 1 MW in future. The excess power generated shall be fed back to the state grid, she said.

“KRCL has already initiated a number of endeavours for energy conservation, like providing solar and wind system at select stations and level crossing gates, LED light fittings for tunnel lighting – a first in the country, replacing conventional tubelights by T5 type energy-efficient fittings, usage of energy savers, and completely phasing out incandescent light bulbs,” Patange said.

“The Konkan region is endowed with rich natural scenic beauty and it is the mission of KRCL to develop eco-friendly railway transport infrastructure with due stress on conservation of the environment. Prime minister Narendra Modi and railways minister Suresh Prabhu have stressed on harnessing solar energy and promoting use of green energy. This has been duly reflected in the Konkan Railway’s energy policy,” Patange said.

In yet another step towards environment conservation and waste management, KRCL recently installed an organic waste composting machine at its residential colony at Seawoods, Navi Mumbai, which will enable it to manage by itself all the organic and green waste being produced in the colony. Depending upon the results, Konkan Railway plans to install the system at the major stations on its route and its residential colonies along its route, Patange added.

Toy train engine derail near Tung on the Kurseong-Darjeeling stretch

दार्जिलिंग Darjeeling (DJRZ): A Darjeeling Himalayan Railway engine derailed near Tung this morning, making it the third toy train locomotive to skid off the tracks in the past three days.

No one was injured in today’s accident.

On January 26, a tourist from Calcutta died when the toy train from Siliguri to Gayabari in Kurseong subdivision hurtled downhill. The deceased, Moly Pal, 51, had jumped off the moving train to save herself.

Yesterday, the engine of an empty train derailed near Tung, 30km from here, on the Kurseong-Darjeeling stretch.

The diesel locomotive that jumped tracks today, also on the Kurseong-Darjeeling route, around 7.45am was pulling three empty coaches.

“The loco did derail but there were no passengers in the train. A train on the same route had derailed yesterday,” said a DHR source.

The Kurseong-Darjeeling train leaves Kurseong at 7am and is scheduled to reach Darjeeling station at 9.40am.

The evening train from Darjeeling leaves at 4pm and reaches Kurseong around 6pm.

Most tourists who put up in Darjeeling avoid the early morning and evening trips and prefer the Darjeeling-Ghum-Darjeeling DHR rides instead. Local people avoid toy trains as vehicles take nearly half the time to cover the same distance.

S.Lahiri, the Chief Public Relations Officer of the Northeast Frontier Railway, said: “We are investigating the incident. Every derailment in the country is investigated and it will take a few days before the reports come.”

Although DHR records were not found immediately, toy train derailment is not uncommon. Between 2008-2009, there have been as many as five derailments in a single month, sources said. Major accidents have not been reported. Sources in the DHR said toy trains travel at an average speed of 15-20kmph in the hills.

“There are seven-eight staff members in the trains always. In most cases, they are able to put the coaches back on the tracks. Generally, the passengers just hear a thud,” said a source in the DHR.

On January 26, a toy train carrying more than 50 tourists hurtled down a slope in Kurseong killing a lady.

A Siliguri-based businessman had turned the emergency brake as several passengers and a guard jumped off the moving train. Three others were injured in the accident.

Yesterday, a railway official had said the wheels had slipped on the tracks.

“There was some slipping of wheels on the tracks when the train was travelling downhill. This happens when brakes are applied forcefully in a moving train.. An inquiry committee will investigate the incident,” A.K. Sharma, divisional manager (Katihar division) of the Northeast Frontier Railway, has said.

A DHR coach weighs around 5 tonnes and the engine weighs around 17 tonnes.

Today, Lahiri said the number of derailments have come down over the past few years. “The (hilly) terrain is difficult but after every derailment, we take corrective measures. Over the years, such incidents have come down,” he said. “We conduct maintenance regularly, which also includes preventive maintenance. Moreover, every (damaged) part of the DHR is replaceable.”

The DHR is running since 1881 and was accorded the world heritage status by Unesco in 1999.

Diesel engines were introduced around 20 years ago.

DHR sources said replacement of wooden sleepers with concrete ones between 2002-2006 have brought down the number of derailments.

Railway employee allegedly assaulted and raped by colleagues in NE

बोंगईगांव Bongaigaon (BNGN): An NF Railway employee was allegedly assaulted by a colleague and raped by another in Assam’s Bongaigaon district on January 24.

The woman, 35, a resident of Dima Hasao district, had joined Northeast Frontier Railway as Grade III technician on ground of compensation after her husband, a track man in the department, died in an accident in 2006.

Her first posting was at Lumding, 84km from her native place. In December last year, she was shifted to New Bongaigaon railway workshop, 337km from Lumding,

The victim stays alone in her official quarters most of the time as her son (17) and daughter (15), stay with relatives and cannot visit her frequently. The accused, Arjun Kumar Das of Pandu in Guwahati and Babul Singha of Lumding, had joined the workshop as Grade III technicians along with 82 others last year. Both of them sometimes visited the victim in her quarters, 3km from the workshop.

The victim said Babul entered her quarters suddenly around 6pm on January 24 and assaulted her after picking up a quarrel. When she tried to contact other staff of the workshop, he warned her against informing anyone and left. Half-an-hour later, Das came to her quarters, stripped and raped her and took a nude photo of her on his mobile phone before leaving.

The woman could, however, lodge an FIR with Dangtol police outpost in New Bongaigaon only yesterday, given the preoccupation of police with Republic Day celebrations.

The police registered a case (49/2015) under Sections 498/294/376(B)/506/34 of the IPC and took her to the court of the CJM in Bongaigaon to record her statement.

Today, they took her to Bongaigaon civil hospital for a medical test as the lady doctor was not available yesterday, the officer-in-charge of the police outpost, Nidanul Islam, said. The findings of the test are yet to be known. The woman could not be contacted. The police are also tightlipped. Both Babul and Arjun are absconding.

The New Bongaigaon workshop branch of NF Railway Employees’ Union and the local Mazdoor Union have demanded the arrest of and punishment to the culprits.

RPF Cops ‘throw’ 25 year old woman out of moving train, dies

वाराणसी Varanasi (BSB): A 25-year-old woman belonging to Virbhum district of West Bengal died after some Railway Protection Force (RPF) constables allegedly threw her out of the SLR bogie of Durgiana Express train near platform no. 5 of Cantonment railway station on Tuesday night.

The GRP registered an FIR (Crime number: 55/15) under sections 304 and 384 of IPC against unidentified RPF personnel on Wednesday and constable S K Dubey of the force was taken into custody after an identification parade. Another identification parade is expected to be held on Thursday morning. Victim Rita Pal’s brother Jaideep Pal also suffered injuries in this incident. Circle Officer (GRP Allahabad) O P Singh was rushed to Varanasi to investigate the case.

According to reports, Rita along with her 18-month-old daughter Kajal, uncle Manik Pal and brother Jaideep Pal were going to Kanpur to meet husband Parvesh Pal. They boarded the SLR coach of Durgiana Express train from Asansol on Tuesday.

“When the train reached platform no. 5 of Cantonment railway station of Varanasi, one RPF constable entered our bogie and collected Rs 50 from us. Later, another constable, who was carrying a walkie-talkie and a notepad, also entered the bogie. In the name of checking tickets, he pushed me and my uncle out of the bogie and started threatening us,” Jaideep alleged.

“As the train started moving, I, my uncle and the constable boarded the same bogie again. After some time, the same constable again started pushing us out of the train as a result of which Rita fell from the train and suffered serious injuries,” Jaideep alleged.

Jaideep also suffered injuries in the incident. Later, when the train stopped for a few minutes, Jaideep and Manik Pal came out of the train along with Kajal while both the RPF constables fled from the scene. Personnel of the GRP (Cantonment) rushed them to DDU district hospital where Rita succumbed to her injuries in the night.

CO (GRP Allahabad) OP Singh and inspector GRP Mughalsarai Ratan Singh Yadav were rushed to probe into the matter. When Yadav reached the hospital to record the statement of Jaideep, some RPF officials also followed him. These RPF officials allegedly tried to confuse Jaideep by repeatedly asking irrelevant questions. They also proposed to hold parade of RPF constables in civil dress. But, Jaideep said that he could identify the guilty cops if they are paraded in their uniform only.

Singh said, “Initial investigation hints at the involvement of RPF constables in the incident. Later, the RPF constables will be paraded before the complainants in proper uniform as per the prescribed norms and no guilty cop will be spared.”

Bedbugs welcome MLA on train, Railways left red-faced

मुंबई Mumbai: Bedbugs in a Solapur train headed for Mumbai forced the railway administration to scurry for cover after former home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s daughter and Congress MLA Praniti Shinde complained about their presence in her coach on Monday. Shinde did not lodge an official complaint, though.

As soon as Shinde boarded Siddeshwar Express’s H1 coach at Solapur on January 26, she noticed bedbugs on the seat. A senior railway official from Mumbai said, “We too received a message about the MLA’s complaint. As soon as the train arrived in Mumbai, we sent a team to the coach but were unable to find any bugs.”

A thorough check could not be undertaken as the same train leaves as Udyan Express for Bangalore and its passengers had already boarded.

The official further said, “The Solapur divison will carry out fogging of the coach with pesticides once the train reaches that station.”

According to norms, fogging of AC coaches and pantry cars is done every 15 days and of non-AC coaches once every month.

For the fogging exercise, a coach is treated with pesticides and its windows and doors shut for 24 hours. There are times, though, when the process gets shortened by a few hours.

The official said complaints of bedbugs are rarer than those of cockroaches and rodents, which enter coaches in search of food. Bugs, on the other hand, he said, are carried into compartments by passengers themselves through their bags and bed sheets. It is difficult to spot them too, because they hide inside blankets, curtains or edge of seats.

Shinde, who represents the Solapur assembly constituency, was unwilling to comment on the issue. When media texted her for a confirmation of the incident, she replied, “Hello! There are bigger issues that need to be dealt with… I don’t think such a ridiculous small issue should gain attention (even if I had raised it). We need to address larger problems… Don’t you think?”

Railway activists, though, say elected representatives must openly air their opinion in such matters. Subhash Gupta of divisional rail user consultative committee said, “Let’s face it. VIP culture exists in the country. If an important politician like Shinde raises such issues, howsoever small it may be to her liking, it makes a huge difference. The railway administration will start carrying out cleaning operations properly.”

Central Railway general manager S K Sood said, “To tide over the problem of bedbugs, we will use the methyl bromide process to clean the blankets. If the problem does not get resolved, we will undertake fumigation of the entire coach with methyl bromide. However, for this process, the coach will have to be isolated for three days against 24 hours as per the existing procedure.”

Methyl bromide is used to fumigate timber, farm products, containers and food stuff. It is effective in controlling insects at all stages, from egg to the adult stage because of its penetrating ability, rapid action and high toxicity to a broad spectrum of insects and pests.

IIT-Roorkee to assist in development of Metro Rail system in four cities of Uttarakhand

देहरादून Dehradun (DDN): Metro trains would run in the four cities of the state of Uttarakhand, covering the entire Kumbh area. The state government has started sincere efforts to make a concrete plan to introduce the Metro Train network as well as the smart city plan in the state seeking assistance from the IIT-Roorkee.

Uttarakhand Chief Secretary, N.Ravishanker had a discussion with the director of the IIT Rookree Prof. Pradept Banerjee and other scientists of the institute to evolve a plan in this regard. During his visit to the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Rookree, the CS highlighted the need of the institute in the development of the state.

He also said that in view of the Haridwar Kumbh, four cities have been identified which are to be linked with the Metro Train network in Rookree, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun. This would be done in consultation and help with IIT Rookree.

The IIT Rookree is working as Center for Urban Design and Development for state government.

Besides developing the Metro train network, said the Chief Secretary, smart cities would also be developed across the state. “Focus would be on such a technique which would be completely human free and cheap,” said Ravishanker, adding that emphasis would also be laid on making a plan which would ensure conservation of environment, of the Himalayan region, in the state.

A plan would also be made to develop and conserve the historical places with the help of the scientists of IIT Roorkee.

Technical help and assistance would be taken from the scientists of Civil, Architecture, Computer Science and Electronics department.

Chinese Railway OEMs eye Overseas projects

बीजिंग Beijing: Chinese rail companies are set to continue their overseas expansion in 2015 following their victory in sealing a contract with Sri Lanka, as they eye construction contracts with Mexico and the Gulf nations.

Mexico on Jan. 14 unveiled its plan of reopening the bidding process for its first high-speed rail project, which was previously won by a consortium led by China Railway Construction last year but was later cancelled.

Although the company put all its cards on the table during the previous bidding process, an official with China Railway Construction said that it still has an edge over other countries in terms of technology and costs.

If the new round of bidding is conducted in a fair, reasonable, and transparent manner, then Chinese companies still have a chance to win the contract, the official said.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei said on Jan. 15 that the Chinese government encourages local companies to take part in the Mexican high-speed rail project and has called on the Mexican government to ensure an environment for fair competition.

Mexico plans to reveal the official bidding terms on Jan. 29. The companies will be given until July 14 to submit their offer, with the winner to be announced on July 31, the newspaper noted.

China Machinery was awarded a contract by the Sri Lankan government in early January to build a rail link between Matara and Beliatta in the southern part of the South Asian nation.

This is the first rail line to be built in Sri Lanka in nearly 90 years and will connect the area to the Hambantota Port built by other Chinese companies.

Other possible overseas railway projects that Chinese companies can take part in are those opening up in the six Persian Gulf nations, which make up the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the newspaper said.

The prospect emerged following a recent meeting on rail transportation conducted by the GCC members–Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar–where Oman’s transport minister disclosed that US$200 billion will be spent on rail transportation projects.

Liu Bin, a researcher at the Comprehensive Transport Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said that the GCC countries are wealthy enough to build high-speed railways, and there is a good outlook for Chinese companies to take part in those projects.

Eros International Media tie up with RailTel to provide Streaming Services to Rail Passengers

eros-logoनई दिल्ली New Delhi: Railway passengers would soon have access to movies, television content, music videos and audio tracks as RailTel and media group Eros International have come together for providing entertainment services to travellers.

Eros International Media announced that ErosNow, the Company’s demand entertainment platform has tied up with RailTel Corporation of India (RailTel), a PSU under the Ministry of Railways, for ErosNow streaming services which has been launched through broadband for railway passengers. Eros Now and RailTel tie-up for video streaming services from Eros will be launched on latter’s broadband, the media and entertainment firm said.

The broadband streaming services would enable passengers at railway stations across the country to download and view their favourite entertainment content from Eros Now on their phone.

Commenting on the development, ErosNow CEO Rishika Lulla Singh said: “We are happy to partner with RailTel in this endeavour to provide Wi-Fi facilities to the common man which has increasingly become a necessity. The association will further amplify the reach of ErosNow in providing the best in entertainment to a wider range of consumers”.

RailTelRailTel has launched high-speed Wi-Fi network on key railway stations and passengers will be informed about this exclusive service on arrival at stations. The wifi service was successfully launched at New Delhi and Bangalore stations recently for providing high speed internet to passengers with plans to provide the facility to 75 major category railway stations in India and in trains too very soon.

The broadband streaming will enable RailTel’s large customer base to view their favourite content from Eros’ library of films and music on multiple devices like smart-TVs, PCs, laptops, tablets and mobiles.

Established in 2012, Eros Now is a video on demand portal of the Eros Group. It offers thousands of new and catalogue movies from Eros as well as other major Bollywood studios, a large section of premium TV content as well as thousands of music videos and audio tracks.

RailTel Corporation of India is a PSU under the Ministry of Railway which focuses on providing broadband and VPN services.

South Central Railway felicitates outstanding Sportspersons

1सिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC): Shri P.K. Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway and Chief Patron/South Central Railway Sports Association (SCRSA) felicitated SCR’s sportspersons including international and national stars and Arjuna Awardees at a glittering function organized at Railway Officers Club, Secunderabad on 27th January, 2015. The felicitation function titled as ‘Surmaiyee Khel Ratnon Sang’, saw the presence of stalwarts like Shri Pullela Gopichand, former Badminton player and Coach, Shri Mukesh Kumar, former Hockey player and Shri Shyam Sundar Rao, former Volleyball player and coach. Shri S.K. Agarwal, Addl. General Manager/SCR, Shri Gajanan Mallya, President/SCRSA & Sr. Deputy General Manager/SCR, Shri Rakesh Aron, Vice President/SCRSA & Divisional Railway Manager/Hyderabad Division and Shri K. Sivaprasad, General Secretary/SCRSA & Chief Engineer (Construction)/SCR were also present.

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Shri P.K.Srivastava, addressing the railway sports fraternity called upon them to make continuous efforts to excel in their arena and bring glory to the Nation and Railways in particular. He expressed his happiness and applauded Ms. P.V. Sindhu, badminton player and Ms. Mithali Raj, captain of Indian Women cricket team for being conferred with the coveted Padma Shri award recently. The General Manager expressed his appreciation to all sportspersons for taking the SCR Zone to the top rankings in various national level sporting events amongst all Zones on Indian Railways. On this occasion, Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM/SCR along with other dignitaries released a brochure on SCRSA, detailing the sportspersons credentials and infrastructure facilities on the Zone.

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Shri Pullela Gopichand, speaking on the occasion said that SCR has always been doing commendable work in promoting all forms of sport by providing employment to sportspersons and upgrading the sports infrastructure on regular basis. He called upon the railway sportspersons to strive hard and do justice to their job as well as sporting activities. Shri Mukesh Kumar, exhorted the sportspersons to excel continuously, without just banking on the laurels achieved so far. Shri Gajanan Mallya, President/SCRSA & Sr. Deputy General Manager/SCR, presented a detailed report on the achievements of SCRSA and the plans to strengthen the sports infrastructure on the Zone. Shri S.K. Agarwal, AGM/SCR also spoke.

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Later, Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM/SCR felicitated Arjuna Awardees, Ms. P.V. Sindhu (Badminton), Shri P.V. Ramana (Volleyball), Shri V. Ravikanth Reddy (Volleyball), Ms. Mithali Raj (Cricket), Ms. J.J. Shobha (Athletics), Ms V. Tejaswini Bai (Kabaddi) and Ms. Mamatha (Kabaddi). The General Manager also felicitated the SCR sportspersons and coaches for their participation in international and national events.

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Chengalpet-Villupuram track doubling to complete by March

चेंगलपट्टू Chengalpattu (CGL): The railway will complete doubling of tracks between Chengalpattu and Villupuram by March this year, Southern Railway general manager Rakesh Misra has said.

The Southern Railway has completed 4.3km of quadrupling of Ennore – Athipattu line, which is part of the Chennai Beach – Athipattu fourth line project.

” We have also completed 63km of gauge conversion works between Palani – Pollachi and doubling between Ariyalur – Kallakudi Palanganatham (25 km) and Tindivanam – Perani (19km),” he said while speaking at a Republic Day function here on Monday.

He said the railways has introduced direct suburban services between Tiruvallur and Velachery to benefit suburban passengers.

“Two additional platforms have been commissioned at Tambaram railway station. One more platform at Chennai Beach will be commissioned by March this year which will improve punctuality on the Chennai Beach – Tambaram section. Works for fifth and sixth lines between Chennai Central – Basin Bridge stations has been started”, he said.

Misra said railway electrification works have been completed in Virudhunagar – Tirunelveli and Villupuram – Katpadi sections and now trains are running on electric traction from Chennai till Tirunelveli.

He claimed that Southern Railway became the first zonal railway to complete installation of Integrated Security Systems (ISS).

“We have implemented ISS in 14 railway stations. In addition, to enhance the security of our esteemed passengers, 242 mail/express trains, including suburban trains, are escorted daily with 456 RPF staff”.

He said that remaining budget announced trains will be introduced in this financial year itself, leaving no backlog for the next year.

Southern Railway had run 304 special trains till December, apart from augmenting capacity by additional 5440 coaches in regular trains. Also, 36 coaches were added to various trains during the current year.

“Southern Railway has maintained the punctuality performance at 93%,” he said.

GRP all set for surveillance at Railway stations with the help of Smart Phone

अहमदाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI): Imagine a situation where a government railway police officer with the help of a smart phone can monitor movements at the various platforms of Kalupur railway station. Well this is not science fiction, but actually happening at Kalupur station which is now armed with IP-based CCTV cameras which have become operational.

Now, an officer on duty need not visit the control room for monitoring, they can excess the closed circuit television camera on their mobile phones or even laptops.

The officials said that apart from monitoring suspicious activities, they also monitor the passenger movement and keep an eye on the general coaches of the important trains.

CCTV cameras are very helpful in arresting illegal seat encroachment by the coolies.

Cops and officials are able to see live footage from CCTV cameras installed at various platforms.

“To ensure safety of people, we have decided to personally monitor live footage from closed circuit television cameras installed at various platforms,” said a senior officer from the railways. The railway officials said apart from the railways officials and even the officials of the signals are accessing the CCTV footages.

Indian Railways sees rise in Freight earnings and Traffic

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: It is reported that frequent revisions in freight rates and a moderate revival in bulk commodities transport have caused a 12.1% increase in the Railways’ earnings through freight, to INR 77,161 crore in the first 3 quarters of the current fiscal.

The Railways recorded 10% growth during the same period of last year. This year’s rise has come despite there being only a 5% increase in freight volumes.

Freight earnings had a 65% share in the Railways total earnings of INR 144,167 crore in FY14.

The share of freight in total earnings rose to 67% in April-December 2014, as economic activity started to pick up. The Rail Budget, presented in June last year, had budgeted 64% for the full year.

Mr Suresh Prabhu, Railway Minister of India, said that “2/3 of our revenue comes from freight. So we are focusing on the dedicated freight corridors.”

The national transporter’s freight traffic has grown by a little over 4% annually in recent years, to 1,051 million tonne in FY14. The increase in the current fiscal so far has been 5%, to 808 million tonne.

Freight rates were raised by 5.8% in April 2013, 1.7% in October 2013 and 6.5% in June 2014. A congestion surcharge of 10% is also being levied on all goods traffic, including containers originating from ports, since November 2014.

Rail services hit on Jeypore-Koraput line as Freight Train derails near Chindiri

कोरापुट Koraput (KRPU): Train services in Koraput district were disrupted after a goods train derailed on Wednesday afternoon. According to reports, some wagons of a goods train derailed near Chindiri in Jeypore-Koraput route as a result of which train services in upline and downline routes were disrupted. After the incidents, senior Railway officials rushed to the spot and started emergency work to restore train services in the route.

Delay in fund release stalls work on Kalaburagi-Bidar railway line

The share of the State govt. is Rs. 422.075 crore.

बंगलुरू Bangalore (SBC): The inordinate delay on the part of the State government to release its share of cost appears to be the main reason for the delay in completing the 11-year-old Kalaburagi-Bidar new railway line, which would open up new vistas of development for this underdeveloped region as well as reduce the travelling time and distance between Bengaluru and New Delhi.

The Kalaburagi-Bidar new railway line was one of the earliest cost-sharing projects taken up in the State. The revised cost of the project was Rs. 845.15 crore.

The share of the State government was Rs. 422.075 crore and the share of the Railways was Rs. 422.075 crore.

The delay on the part of the State government to acquire the land required for construction of the new railway line, particularly in Kalaburagi district and the non-release of State’s share of funds is cited as the reasons for the delay in completing the project.

Sources in the South Central Railway told that while the Railways had already spent Rs. 404 crore out of the its share, the State government had so far released only Rs. 290 crore.

Another Rs. 132.075 crore had to be released by the government this year. Sources said that the work of the Kalaburagi-Bidar railway track was carried out on a fast track mode and the delay on the part of the State had held up the payment of dues to contractors.

The Ministry of Railways had provided a budgetary grant of Rs. 100 crore for the project for the year 2014-15 and the State government had released Rs. 60 crore to the project this year and “the entire amount of both the budgetary allocation and the State government’s share had been spent”.

Sources said that if there was no further delay in release of funds on the part of the State government and if the remaining funds required to complete the project are provided in the Railway Budget, the project, which was started way back in 2003, for laying a new railway line of 110.40 km in lenght, including a tunnel of 1.7 km near Margutti in Kalaburagi district, would be completed by December, 2016.


  • The revised cost of the Kalaburagi-Bidar new railway line is Rs. 845.15 crore

  • If there is no more delay, the project will be completed by December 2016


ICF to produce over 360 LHB rail coaches in 2015-16

पेरम्बूर Perambur (PER): Integral Coach Factory (ICF) plans to produce 67 stainless steel state-of-the-art Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) high speed coaches this year and follow it up with another 300 in 2015-16, a top company official has said.

The production unit of Indian Railways manufacturing passenger coaches had for the first time produced three variants of LHB EOG shells during 2013-14, its General Manager Ashok K Agarwal said.

ICF produced a total of 1,662 general coaches last fiscal, registering its largest production in a financial year, he said, adding that the organisation has produced more than 49,000 coaches since its inception.

Referring to the green initiatives of the unit, he said ICF has rolled out one rake of environment friendly CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), DEMU (Diesel Electric Multiple Unit).

In a significant step towards adopting green fuel, the Railway Minister had launched this ICF built CNG train by flagging off the train on the Rewari-Rohtak section of Northern Railway on January 14 this year, he added.

Railway seeks Rs.20,000 Crore to eliminate Unmanned Level Crossings

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Rattled by frequent accidents at unmanned level crossings, Railways has sought Rs 20,000 crore from the Finance Ministry to eliminate all such crossings.

Twelve members of a family including four children, were killed and three others injured when the vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a train at an unmanned level crossing in Sarsod village of Hisar in Haryana yesterday.

At present, there are 30,348 railway level crossings in the country of which 11,563 are unmanned. According to Railway Ministry data, unmanned crossings are responsible for the maximum number of train accidents, around 40 per cent.

Despite its stated policy of eliminating all unmanned level crossings progressively, cash-strapped Railways is not been able to put its act together to do away with these accident-prone spots resulting in frequent loss of lives on rail tracks.

However, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has seriously taken up the issue and has sought an action plan to deal with it, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the plan.

The official said it has been decided to seek Rs 20,000 crore from the Finance Ministry exclusively for eliminating all unmanned level crossings in five years.

The route of premier trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto will be given priority for eliminating such crossings.

It costs about Rs 1 crore annually to convert an unmanned crossing to a manned one. While Rs 60 lakh is required to set up the infrastructure and employing three gatemen at a gate, it costs about Rs 40 lakh a year for the maintenance and other expenditure for the job.

The official said accidents at level crossings happen primarily because the road users do not respect the right of way of Railways.

Railways has deployed “gate mitras” at certain unmanned crossings which have considerable volume of traffic.

There are about 2500 “gate mitras” deployed at vulnerable rail crossings to educate road users to use the crossings safely.

Ministry has already approached the ISRO to develop a system within the one km radius of an unmanned crossing at the time of approaching train as a short term measure.

Bengal, Railways clash in must-win Ranji Trophy match

कोलकाता Kolkata (KOAA): With time running out fast for both the teams, Bengal and Railways will face off tomorrow in a must-win match to keep themselves in contention for quarters of the Ranji Trophy cricket tournament.

Bengal will stick to their ploy of three-spin attack but more than the team combination it’s the innocuous Eden surface that hardly assisted the bowlers which may give the team think-tank some reasons to worry.

Hyderabad Metro Rail works going on at brisk pace, CS holds STF meet

हेदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): Chief Secretary Dr. Rajiv Sharma conducted Special Task Force Meeting (STF) meeting on Tuesday and reviewed the progress of Hyderabad Metro Rail project.

Hyderabad Metro Rail MD NVS Reddy made a detailed presentation on the Action Taken Report (ATR) on the decisions of Chief Secretary of STF meeting held on January 20. He informed that so far 1730 foundations (45 km), 1640 pillars (43 km) and 34 km of viaduct have been completed.

The Chief Secretary reviewed the status of 219 private properties and 85 Government vested Municipal (GVM) properties in the three Metro corridors. He fixed targets for each property and instructed Commissioner GHMC, Collectors of Hyderabad and RR districts to complete acquisition and take possession of all the above properties by mid March 2015.

Dr Rajiv Sharma desired that since Traffic Block Charges for construction of Rail Over Bridges (ROBs) are now waived by Ministry of Railways with the intervention of the Chief Minister, the remaining issue of handing over of affected railway properties is to be taken up by MD, HMR with General Manager, S.C. Railway.

The Chief Secretary desired that in Nagole-Mettuguda stretch which is getting completed, all the ground level works such as improving the carriage way, sidewalks and junctions in this stretch are to be taken up on priority by GMHC and HMR. Within the Metro station area roads, HMR will carry out the works and beyond the station area, GHMC will improve the roads.

While reviewing the security plan for Metro Rail depots and stations, the Chief Secretary instructed to explore the feasibility of entrusting the State Government portion of the security responsibility to the State Special Protection Force (SPF) of Telangana. He also advised Home Secretary to convene a meeting with all the stake holders and come up with a detailed proposal by next STF.

Special Chief Secretary, Industries & Commerce K. Pradeep Chandra, Principal Secretary, MA&UD M.G. Gopal; Special Officer & Commissioner, GHMC Somesh Kumar; DG, TSSPF Tejdeep Kaur Menon; Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad M. Mahendar Reddy; MD, HMWS&SB Jagadeeshwar; Secretary , Endowments B. Venkateshwara Rao; Addl. CP (Traffic) K. Jitender; Collector, Hyderabad K. Nirmala; Collector, RR District Mr. M. Raghunandan Rao; CEO&MD, LTMRHL V.B. Gadgil and other senior officials and engineers of all utility organizations of Government of Telangana, HMR and LTMRHL have participated in the meeting.

APL Logistics buys out partner HIPE Transportation in India Rail Freight JV

मुंबई Mumbai:  APL Logistics Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Singapore based container shipping company Neptune Orient Lines, has acquired the 24% stake held by its JV partner, HIPE Transportation Infrastructure Ventures, in India Infrastructure & Logistics Private Limited for a consideration of $10 Mn (c.R60 Cr).

With this IILPL, operator of freight rail train services in the country, has become a wholly owned subsidiary of APL. The all cash deal was funded through NOL Groups’s internal accrual.

The JV formed with Hindustan Infrastructure Projects and Engineering (HIPE), offers container rail freight service connecting New Delhi and Mumbai. The services are offered under the the APL IndiaLinx brand. The JV formally received a Category 1 licence to run freight trains in India for 20 years, extendable by another 10 years, in March 2006.

Based on the unaudited consolidated accounts of IILPL, the net asset value of IILPL as at the end of the 3rd quarter of 2014 was approximately $17.7 Mn and the EBITDA of IILPL for the 12 months ended September 2014 was approximately $4.3 Mn.

APL Logistics also operates Delhi-based APL Logistics VASCOR Automotive, a JV between APL Logistics and VASCOR, which offers AutoLinx, a door-to-door service covering the entire supply chain for from assembly line to distribution center to dealership floor. AutoLinx, launched in November currently runs fortnightly between Chennai and New Delhi.

The parent, shipping and logistics company Neptune comprised of two major divisions – APL Logistics, a global freight management and logistics business, and a separate container shipping business named APL, was previously looking at selling of its APL Logistics division to garner more than $750 Mn.

The company had also appointed bankers for the same. APL Logistics accounts for 18% of the groups turnover.

Hindustan Infrastructure Projects & Engineering (HIPE) is the Infrastructure Development venture of Jupiter Capital, having a diverse business portfolio across sectors including roads, highways and bridges, ports, marine engineering and construction, railways, utilities, petroleum and natural gas, transportation and logistics, realty and facility management, hospitality and tourism and other ongoing projects.

Environment Ministry recommends Diversion of Forest Land for Railway project

Green Light for Rail Line in Tiger Terrain

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: While the country is hailing the increase in tiger numbers, an Environment Ministry committee has recommended diversion of forest land for a Railways project passing through a key tiger habitat in the Kanha-Pench corridor in Madhya Pradesh, even though it had rejected it twice before.

The project seeks diversion of 75 hectares of forest land in favour of the South East Central Railways for Gondia-Jabalpur gauge conversion project. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of MoEF recommended the project with some precautionary measures, while it had earlier rejected the same saying the corridor was one of the most crucial wildlife corridors in Central India and gauge broadening would result in irreversible damage to it. The final call would be taken by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, but that is just a formality.

The project first came for FAC assessment in 2010 when the Ministry constituted a committee under National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) director Rajesh Gopal. Based on the committee’s recommendation, the FAC rejected the project. It was again rejected in 2013 on the same ground.

The committee had said that Madhya Pradesh had already built a road parallel to the railway line, right within the Pench-Kanha corridor. The Madhya Pradesh government again approached the MoEF in 2014, asking the Ministry to reconsider the project. NTCA was again asked to give their comments on reconsideration of the project by MoEF. The NTCA did a joint inspection with the Railway authorities.

“The proposed project cut across the vital Kanha-Pench corridor. This corridor is essential for the long term survival of the tiger as it permits gene flow in a meta population framework in the Central Indian landscapes. This corridor is already disturbed due o NH7 and other state highways. The proposed gauge conversion entrails severing of this corridor in three parts,” the NTCA said in a joint report. Unconvinced to reject the project for the third time, the FAC this time recommended the project with some conditions ranging from restriction of speed limit in sensitive sections to a cap on train density.

Traction Motor Plant in Vidisha, Wagon Workshop at Vizag in the offing

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The railways is firming up plans to set up a traction motor factory in Vidisha in Bhopal Division of West Central Raiwlay and a Wagon Workshop in Visakhapatnam with an aim of stepping up its manufacturing activities in line with the ‘Make in India’ campaign.

The national transporter, which is now passing through a sluggish phase, is also finalising a joint venture mechanism for implementation of projects involving state governments and other external agencies.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu is likely to include the traction motor factory in the Vidisha Lok Sabha constituency of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Madhya Pradesh, wagon workshop in Vishakhapatnam and the joint venture mechanism for rail project execution in the Railway Budget 2015-16, official sources said.

Prabhu, who is keen to make a turnaround in the railways, is likely to focus on his plan for generating additional revenue for the cash-strapped national transporter in his maiden Rail Budget. Utilisation of empty wagons and increased revenues from advertisement are also to be proposed in the Rail Budget being finalised by the ministry.

Since many rail projects are languishing for years for lack of funds, Prabhu will be seeking the states’ active participation to complete them.

The railways need nearly Rs 5 lakh crore to complete all sanctioned projects for which the Rail Budget will have proposals for mobilising additional resources including private investment, FDI and private-public partnership.

At present, there are 362 major ongoing railway projects across the country having a throw-forward of Rs 1.82 lakh crore and 113 out of the 362 are new line, gauge conversion and doubling projects which have been included in railway budgets during 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Though traction motor is currently being made in a limited way at Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW) in West Bengal, the proposed factory in Vidisha will be exclusively manufacturing it for the railways.

The Railways needs about 5,000 traction motor in a year while CLW makes only a very small number and as a result most of the demand is met from the market.

Besides traction motor, the proposed Vidisha factory will manufacture traction alternator. Modalities are being worked out for the proposed factory in Vidisha and a workshop in Vishakhapatnam, the sources added.

Railways rubbishes APP’s allegations in Coal rake allocation

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Rubbishing the APP’s (Association of Power Producers) allegation of discrimination in coal rake allocation, the railway ministry has put the blame on Coal India Ltd (CIL) and the Ministry of Coal for the fuel crisis. A lower than promised supply of coal by CIL and the coal ministry’s inability to coordinate with the railways are the main issues, it said.

During the peak season (December-March), demand for transportation from various sectors, including imported coal, picks up. “To address the issue Indian Railways is loading 20 additional rakes of imported coal daily compared to last year,” a railway ministry spokesperson said.

However, loading by CIL during the April-November, 2014 period was much less than the agreed quantity, even though adequate railway wagons were available. “Ministry of railways have been highlighting this issue and requesting the ministry of coal and CIL to ensure more loading of coal during other months,” the spokesperson said.

According to railways, CIL’s inability to supply adequate coal to the respective independent power producers (IPPs) might have led to a fall in actual supply in FY15.

The APP had complained to railway minister Suresh Prabhu, alleging that Indian Railways is discriminating “against IPPs in placement of (coal) rakes”. The association also indicated that the lack of coordination between CIL and railways is leading to coal shortage for the IPPs in the country.

The supply of rakes for the power sector is monitored regularly by a committee comprising coal, railways and power ministry officials.

Denying the APP’s claim of favouring PSU power producers, the railways said, “It has planned to supply rakes on priority for critical power houses.” And it has been successful to bring down losses for the critical power plants and reduced their numbers to 13 from 30 earlier.

“In spite of heavy fog in north region, which totally crippled operations, railway has been able to ensure adequate supply to critical power producers”, the railways said.

The power producers who have coal stock for running four or lesser days is considered ‘critical

Tiruchi Division outsource Housekeeping of Category A and B class Railway stations

Visitors having a look at the weapons on display at the railway ground in Tiruchi on Monday in connection with the Republic Day celebrations

Visitors having a look at the weapons on display at the railway ground in Tiruchi on Monday in connection with the Republic Day celebrations

तिरूचि Tiruchi (TRY): Housekeeping of “A” and “B” class stations in Tiruchi railway division has been outsourced, Divisional Railway Manager Manjula Rangarajan said on Monday.

Noting that cleanliness was a focus area of the railway, Ms. Rangarajan said the railway had increased the imprest with station masters substantially to enable them to maintain the station premises clean.

Speaking at the Republic Day celebrations organised by the Tiruchi Division here, Ms. Manjula said the Tiruchi division’s freight earnings witnessed a marginal decrease in the last nine months this year as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The division earned Rs. 300.94 crore from freight business in the last nine months of the current year against Rs. 301.23 crore earned in the corresponding period of last year, with the marginal decrease being -0.10 per cent.

However, earnings in the passenger front showed an increase of 18.33 per cent with the earnings being Rs. 197.26 crore during the last nine months of the current fiscal as compared to Rs. 166.70 crore earned during the corresponding period of last year.

Stating that safety in train operations was a priority to the railway, she said the division witnessed substantial reduction in the number of yard derailments this year.

The Divisional Railway Manager highlighted some of the tasks accomplished by the division this financial year.

Proposed law to make road vehicle driver responsible for checking railway level crossings

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Considering high number of crashes and fatalities at unmanned railway crossings, the proposed Road Transport and Safety Bill makes it mandatory for every driver to stop the vehicle and check whether any train is approaching before crossing the tracks. Those violating the norm would attract a fine of Rs 5,000 or two weeks’ imprisonment or both.

On Monday, 12 lives were lost when a passenger train hit a van that was crossing a railway track in Hisar. “The section of ‘Duty of the driver to take certain precautions at unguarded railway level crossings’ has been incorporated to discipline the errant drivers. While there is a joint plan of road and railway ministries to get rid of unmanned crossings and build over bridges or underpasses, every driver has to be cautious while driving on such stretches,” said a road ministry official.

As per the new section in the proposed law, every driver has to stop at unmanned railway level crossing and shall be responsible to send the conductor, cleaner, attendant or any other person in the vehicle up to the level crossing and ensure that no train or trolley is approaching from either side. It specifies if the vehicle does not have a conductor or cleaner or attendant, the driver shall get down and check himself before crossing the track.

There are about 11,500 unmanned railway crossings across the country and according to reports, crashes at level crossings are the biggest killer, accounting for 66% of fatalities in train crashes.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, 1,318 people were killed in rail-road crashes in 2013 in comparison to 1,808 in 2012.

South Western Railway’s earnings go up, says official

19 p.c. increase in originating passenger earnings

हुबली Hubli (UBL): South Western Railway (SWR) has registered an increase of 19 per cent in originating passenger earnings and a 12 per cent increase in freight earnings.

Delivering the Republic Day speech at Railway Sports Ground here on Monday, SWR general manager Pradeep Kumar Saxena said that the SWR had carried 146 million passengers till December, registering an increase of 1 per cent and earning Rs. 1,352 crore.

In the same period, it carried 27.63 million tonnes of freight, registering an increase of 7 per cent, and earned Rs. 2,401 crore.

“We have also generated an operating surplus of Rs. 344 crore,” he said.

Mr. Saxena said that during the current fiscal, 45 unmanned level crossings had been eliminated. “SWR is continuously strengthening the security apparatus at stations and in trains to ensure safe travel for the passengers. An adequate number of personnel have been deployed on escort duty in 91 trainswith special emphasis to take care of ladies’ compartment. Closed circuit cameras have been installed at 11 major stations , he said.

Focus on amenities

Elaborating about the focus given to improving passenger amenities, he said that a subway connecting platforms 1 to 2 and 3 in Hubballi railway station had been extended to platforms 4 and 5. The work was in the final stages. Divisional Railway Manager of Hubballi Division of SWR Sanjeev Mittal said that the division had registered an increase of 18.94 per cent and 13.81 per cent in the originating passenger earnings and freight earnings respectively.

The division had maintained an overall punctuality of 97 per cent in train timings, converted 114 unmanned level crossings into ‘manned’ with ‘gate-mitras’ and constructed 10 limited height subways to eliminate level crossings.


  • Freight earnings have gone up by 12 p.c., says general manager Pradeep Kumar Saxena

  • ‘The operating surplus of Rs. 344 crore’


Ion Exchange India to set-up first Public-Private RailNeet Plant soon

मुंबई Mumbai: Ion Exchange Ltd of Mumbai has set up bottled drinking water plant under public-private-partnership basis at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh for Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). The plant with a capacity of 72,000 litres per day involved an investment of Rs10 crore. IRCTC has provided land for the project and would offtake the entire production of the plant for sale at railway stations and on trains under its Rail Neer brand.

Ensuing Rail Budget: No laundry of announcements; To talk about Railways’ Growth!

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: While there is tremendous anticipation for the next Union budget, the conversation on railway budget is relatively muted. By the time newspapers will be flush with opinion pieces on railways, the bureaucrats at Rail Bhawan will be giving final touches to the year’s budget.

The prime minister has already announced that the next Union budget will be full of new ideas with measurable deliverables. Likewise, the rail budget too should talk of ideas and not present a laundry list of announcements. The expected surge in growth and its heterogeneous spatial distribution will trigger massive internal migration of men and material.

Railways has the opportunity to shape and facilitate such migration, in the process becoming a tool for growth itself. To start, the forthcoming rail budget needs to identify the problems and take giant steps—nothing less will do—towards reversing the widely documented decline of the railway sector.

The first and topmost concern with railways is the institutional disregard for certain factors that go into the making of the technology-intensive industry that it is. Take research and development (R&D) for instance. There is a near-complete absence of a research ecosystem. Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) which serves as a technical advisor and consultant to the Indian Railways hardly has any permanent cadre of scientists and officers to carry out cutting edge R&D work. Think about safety. A high level safety review committee (2012) chaired by Anil Kakodkar records the growing number of casualties even as the number of consequential train accidents is going down owing to increased severity of the accidents.The institutional disregard for the concept of safety is quite evident as accidents of minor nature, near misses, and casualties due to trespassing of railway tracks are not even recorded.

The second concern with the railways has been the slow pace of technology adoption. The coaches traditionally made on Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design are not safe at increasing speeds. These coaches have to be replaced by Link Hoffman Busch (LHB) design coaches. The speed of replacement leaves a lot to be desired. The story repeats itself whether one talks of electrification of railway lines or adoption of new signalling systems.

The third bottleneck, and one of the greatest to any systemic enhancement, is the organizational structure of Indian Railways. The Railway Board performs the three-in-one role of policy framer, operator and regulator at the same time. The management is top heavy— zonal railways and divisional railways are not empowered enough to use funds and assets available to them in the manner they think appropriate. A high level railway restructuring committee chaired by Bibek Debroy is closely looking at this issue (Full disclosure: I am currently assisting Partha Mukhopadhyay who is a member of this committee).

The fourth and most well-known impediment in better performance output of railways is political interference. In order to satisfy various constituencies, railway ministers kept introducing new trains and coaches without commensurate upgrade of back-end infrastructure. Between 1993 and 2011, the wholesale price index rose by 295% and the fares of sleeper class and second class travel rose just by 144% and 106% respectively. The encroachment of railway property—not an uncommon sight—has not been adequately dealt with, apprehending political backlash. Railway has been viewed as an instrument to square the circle of patron-client relationship of Indian politics.

Suresh Prabhu, the new railway minister, has till now made all the right noises. Let us hope that he recognizes the sole constituency he has to satisfy is the future of Indian Railways and no other. (Author: Kunal Singh)

Kunal Singh is a research associate at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

Railways showcase Bullet Train on Rajpath

Bullet-Trainनई दिल्ली New Delhi: A replica of “Bullet train” mounted on the Railway tableau drew applause from the crowd as the national transporter showcased the ambitious high speed train project on Rajpath today.  Railways presented a special tableau with the theme “Indian Railways – on fast track to the future” at the Republic Day parade.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flashed a victory sign when the tableau depicting the design of the proposed high speed train rolled out.

suresh_prabhu_vsign_650

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flashing the Victory Sign to Team Railways Tableau at the Republic Day function of India held at Rajpath, New Delhi

Railways presented a special tableau with the theme “Indian Railways – on fast track to the future” at the Republic Day parade. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu flashed a victory sign when the tableau depicting the design of the proposed high speed train rolled out.

Railways have undertaken feasibility study for running a high speed train, known as Bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

The Rs. 63,000 crore project is proposed to be executed in PPP model with technology and funds from private participation.

CMRS inspects Jaipur Metro’s rolling stocks

Jaipur (JP): The Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) Chetan Bakshi inspected Jaipur Metro rolling stocks on Sunday and gave satisfactory remarks. With this, it is expected the project is inching closer to commercial run and expected to be operated in March end.

Project director Ashwani Saxena said, “As per the mandatory norms, CMRS approval is necessary. The rolling stocks were inspected today and now the JMRC will receive the recommendations and approval of the CMRS. We have also requested him to carry out inspection of the corridor in February-end or March first week.”

The JMRC was targeting to complete its pending work of four stations by December 31 and expecting the commercial run by March 2015. However, it still appears a herculean task as at present major works at Ram Nagar, Civil Lines, Railway Station and Sindhi Camp stations are still pending.

It was informed that JMRC has already started the service run in which everyone from station masters of nine stations, signaling staff and train operators are on duty. The exercise is to acclimatize the staff with the operation of the railways. Others, including customer care executives, are also on duty during the service run.

The much-delayed Jaipur Metro project is just a step closer towards being operational. So far, the Jaipur Metro has cleared the speed test and obtained the mandatory certification. Recently, the railway’s research arm, RDSO had issued necessary approvals for city’s first Metro corridor between Mansarovar and Chandpole. A top speed of 80 km per hour has been set for the Metro, which is expected to roll out soon, officials said.

The average speed of the Jaipur Metro on the 9.25 km route will be 32 km per hour. “Metro trains will not be allowed to cross 42 km per hour at curves. With a maximum speed of 80 km per hour, the Metro will be able to achieve the desired speed as expected by the JMRC,” the official added.

Jaipur: The commissioner of metro railway safety (CMRS) Chetan Bakshi inspected Jaipur metro rolling stocks on Sunday and gave satisfactory remarks. With this, it is expected the project is inching closer to commercial run and expected to be operated in March end .

Project director Ashwani Saxena said, “As per the mandatory norms , CMRS approval is necessary . The rolling stocks were inspected today and now the JMRC will receive the recommendations and approval of the CMRS . We have also requested him to carry out inspection of the corridor in February-end or March first week.”

The JMRC was targeting to complete its pending work of four stations by December 31 and expecting the commercial run by March 2015. However, it still appears a herculean task as at present major works at Ram Nagar, Civil Lines, Railway Station and Sindhi Camp stations are still pending.

It was informed that the JMRC has already started the service run in which everyone from station masters of nine stations, signaling staff and train operators are on duty. The exercise is to acclimatize the staff with the operation of the railways. Others, including customer care executives, are also on duty during the service run.

The much-delayed Jaipur metro project is just a step closer towards being operational. So far, the Jaipur metro has cleared the speed test and obtained the mandatory certification. Recently, the railway’s research arm, RDSO had issued necessary approvals for city’s first metro corridor between Mansarovar and Chandpole. A top speed of 80 km per hour has been set for the metro, which is expected to roll out soon, officials said.

The average speed of the Jaipur Metro on the 9.25 km route will be 32 km per hour. “Metro trains will not be allowed to cross 42 km per hour at curves. With a maximum speed of 80 km per hour, the metro will be able to achieve the desired speed as expected by the JMRC,” the official added.

Madurai Division’s earnings rise on improved passenger amenities

मदुरै Madurai (MDU): The Madurai Railway Division has posted Rs 526.94 crore earnings in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, in comparison with the total earnings of Rs 386.11 crore in the last fiscal, divisional railway manager A K Rastogi said on Monday.

Speaking after unfurling the national flag during the Republic Day celebrations at the divisional office here, Rastogi said the division has earned Rs 308.04 crore in passenger traffic against the total Rs 252.08 crore in the last fiscal.

“New sections, new trains, special trains, augmentations of coaches and new initiatives have helped achieve positive growth in passenger earnings,” he said.

The division has spent around Rs 6 crore for providing passenger amenities at various stations.

Emergency medical care centres, similar to the one at the Madurai railway station, are being set up at important railway stations.

Station improvement works like extension of platforms, raising of seven platforms, provision of platform shelters, additional toilets, drinking water facility, improvements to the circulating area of stations, construction of retiring rooms, foot overbridges, waiting halls, parking and modern toilets are being provided at various stations.

Hyderabad Metro project to transform Hyderabad into a true Global City

We are building a different metro rail system which nobody in the world is building and Hyderabad Metro Rail is not just a simple metro but an effort to transform Hyderabad into a people-friendly green city.  This is world’s largest Mass Transit project in Public Private Participation (PPP) mode and is set to transform Hyderabad into a true Global city

हेदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): We are building a different metro rail system which nobody in the world is building and Hyderabad Metro Rail is not just a simple metro but an effort to transform Hyderabad into a people-friendly green city”, said Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) Managing Director N.V.S. Reddy.

Addressing officers and staff at the Republic Day function at Metro Rail Bhavan on Monday after unfurling the National Flag, he said that the upcoming project will transform Hyderabad into a global city and play a key the role in the betterment of the citizens’ lives.

He explained the importance of metro rail to solve the traffic problems in the capital and also pointed out that “everybody is keenly watching the progress of Hyderabad Metro Rail project, which is the world’s largest mass transit project in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode”.

He goaded the employees of HMR to display total commitment towards the project which will showcase the country’s technological excellence. Md. Ziauddin, CGM & Chief Engineer, HMR, Munna Kumar, Chief Engineer Railways, K. Lakshman, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer, other senior engineers and officers of HMR participated in the celebrations.

Realigning Metro to cost Telangana Rs 800 crore

The realignment of Metro Rail at three locations in the city, as sought by the Telangana state government, will not lead to as heavy a financial burden as is being claimed by project developer L&T, said Hyderabad Metro Rail officials.

While L&T has been claiming that the realignment will impose an additional burden of nearly Rs 2,000 crore, HMR officials have submitted a report to the government that it would only be about Rs 800 crore.

HMR officials opined that that this could not be termed as an “additional burden” since the government had agreed to pay compensation of about Rs 400 crore to property owners in the old city for demolition in the old alignment.

However, with the implementation of the new Land Acquisition Act, the compensation had doubled to Rs 800 crore and the same money could be utilised to bear the additional financial burden on account of the realignment.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is keen on realigning the Metro at Sultan Bazaar to save heritage markets, nearly Assembly building to save the T-martyrs’ memorial and in the Old City to save religious structures.

He had even made an announcement to this effect in the Legislative Assembly and also held series of discussions with L&T officials on the issue.

HMR managing director Mr N.V.S. Reddy had submitted a report to the government explaining the financial implications if Metro was re-routed.

He had stated that the Metro route would increase by 3.2 km on Corridor-II due to realignment in the Old city but only a few properties would be needed to be acquired, against the 960 properties earlier.

First Public Private Rail Neer Plant in Amethi set to quench passenger thirst soon

The Rs 10-cr unit set up in Amethi by Ion Exchange has a capacity of 72k litres/day

अमेठी Amethi (AME): The first public-private partnership (PPP) initiative in bottled drinking water has taken shape at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, with a Rail Neer plant set for commissioning.

The plant was set up by Ion Exchange as a PPP project launched by the United Progressive Alliance government.

Rail Neer is the bottled water brand of Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). Though the Indian Railways-promoted IRCTC chose Amethi, the Rs.10-crore plant will be commissioned by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu.

A senior official said the project cost did not include the expenditure on land, which was provided by IRCTC. “The private company had to invest in the development of the site, plant and machinery. It will also be responsible for operation and maintenance,” he said.

Besides land, IRCTC has provided an assured offtake of the entire production of the plant.

The plant has a capacity of 72,000 litres a day. IRCTC will buy the bottled water for sale at railway stations and on trains.

Though the railways has not been able to attract much private investment and has virtually no private partnerships in plants or workshops, IRCTC is on track to set up more plants under the PPP mode. Besides the Amethi unit, the corporation intended to set up 10 more Rail Neer plants, contracts for which were at various stages of being awarded, said the official. After award of contract and land allotment, it takes two to three years to set up a plant with similar capacity.

IRCTC produces 610,000 litres of bottled water every day at its four plants in Nangloi, Danapur, Palur and Ambernath, against the daily requirement of 2.5 million litres.

The contract for PPP projects, valid for 15 years, was placed after companies offered a margin to IRCTC on every bottle. The margin offered was such that the price IRCTC charged from the retailer should not be more than Rs 10 a bottle.

“The company offering the highest margin is given the contract. The PPP model helps IRCTC earn this margin without making any investment in the plant itself,” said the official.

After buying from Ion Exchange, IRCTC will sell the bottles to retailers at Rs 10. Retailers are free to make a profit above this price.

The Mumbai-based Ion Exchange has seven plants, including one in the United Arab Emirates. The Amethi unit will be its first in a tie-up with the Indian Railways.

Theme of Railways Republic Day Tableau: Indian Railways–On A Fast Track To The Future

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: For this year’s Republic Day Parade, the Indian Railways presents a special tableau with the theme “Indian Railways – On a Fast Track to the Future”. The tableau showcases a high speed train- design of which is based on existing high speed trains of the world. Being the most economical means of transport, Indian Railways caters to the need of common man.

The Indian Railways’ progress in bringing about transformative changes in the sector through high speed trains, station infrastructure and passenger terminals and women empowerment has been presented in the tableau.

Indian Railways promotes gender equality. The tableau endeavours to show that women are empowered in the Railways. They are now being selected for jobs for which only males were considered earlier. Women are increasingly being employed as train drivers, station masters, technical fitters, guards and in the Railway Protection Force (RPF).

Delhi Metro to partially curtail Train Services on January 25-26

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro services will be partially curtailed on January 26 as part of security arrangements for Republic Day, an official statement said on Friday.

Additionally, all Metro parking lots will remain closed from 6 am on January 25 until 2 pm on January 26.

According to a Delhi Metro statement, while the entry and exit at the Central Secretariat and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations will remain closed from 6 am to 12 pm, the entry and exit at Patel Chowk and Race Course stations will be closed from 8.45 am to 12 pm

“Central Secretariat station will only be used for interchange of passengers between Line 2 (HUDA City Centre to Jahangirpuri) and Line 6 (Mandi House to Badarpur),” the statement said.

The Mandi House and Pragati Maidan Metro stations will also be closed for public for one hour between 10.45 am and 11.45 am.

“From 10.45 am up to 11.45 am, trains will run in three short loops on the corridors between Noida City Centre to Indraprastha, Vaishali to Yamuna Bank and Dwarka Sector 21 to Barakhamba Road stations on Line 3 (Dwarka Sector 21 – Noida City Centre) and Line 4 (Vaishali to Yamuna Bank),” the statement said.

Delhi Metro’s website unveiled with new features, additional attractions

नई दिल्ली New Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) official website – www.delhimetrorail.com, was relaunched today with many new user friendly features as well as additional attractions for the convenience of the commuters.

DMRC’s Managing Director, Dr. Mangu Singh formally unveiled the new revamped website today in the presence of senior officials from Delhi Metro.

A ‘passenger information’ section has been introduced on the home page of the new site, where the commuters will be able to get all the necessary information pertaining to Metro operations. A dynamic ‘journey planner and fares’ link has been provided here, through which the commuters can easily find out the fare, route, intervening stations, interchange points and travel time between any two stations on the network.

Another new feature is the availability of ‘first’ and ‘last’ train timings from all stations on the network. Earlier, only the ‘first’ and ‘last’ train timings of respective corridors were available, but now the ‘first’ and ‘last’ train timings from each station can be checked by the commuters.

Now the commuters will also be able to check the details about the availability of ATMs at Metro stations. They can get details about the availability of ATMs at each station and simultaneously can also select the name of the bank from a drop down menu and find out which stations have ATMs from the particular bank.

All other relevant information such as network map, parking facilities, feeder bus routes, Airport Express line details, Lost and found facility, Metro Police stations details etc have also been provided. This section also has dedicated links detailing facilities available for women as well as the differently abled commuters.

The new revamped website also is compatible for browsing on both tablets and smart phones. Its home page has been redesigned with a new look with large photographs and easy to browse links. A commuter survey has been put up on the home page so that commuters can easily give their feedback about their travel experience. Micro sites on DMRC’s training institute as well as the Metro Museum are also attached with the site.

The website has now emerged as one of the primary sources of information for people planning to travel by the Delhi Metro, therefore, a decision to revamp the site was taken. The websites of other Metro systems such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and London were thoroughly studied to elevate the Delhi Metro website to international standards.

Approximately, 11 lakh hits were received by the Delhi Metro website during the month of December, 2014. Apart from India, users from many other countries such as USA, Spain, UK, Singapore, UAE, Germany, Canada, Australia and Japan also visited the site.