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Normal rail traffic restored at Gorakhpur Junction

Gorakhpur: Normal rail traffic at the Gorakhpur Junction, which was affected due to the re-modelling work being carried out here, was restored today.

Due to re-modelling of Gorakhpur Junction’s yard, several trains had been either cancelled, short-terminated or diverted since September 25.

The train services resumed this morning on the route, General Manager NER K K Atal said.

However, some re-modelling work will continue for the next two days, officials said.

Archealogy Booty: 1st Century Gold Coins & Human Skulls unearthed in London Crossrail project work

London:  Engineers working on a rail project in London are wearing two hats these days—those of construction worker and archaeologist – after discovering about 20 ancient skulls and gold coins in the sediment of a historic river channel deep beneath the city.

Tunnelers discovered the Roman skulls, along with Roman pottery, gold coins while building a utilities tunnel underneath the Liverpool Street station site for Crossrail, the project developers announced.

And because the skulls are up to six meters (just shy of 20 feet) below ground, the archaeology work is being left to the construction workers for safety reasons.

“This is an unexpected and fascinating discovery that reveals another piece in the jigsaw of London’s history,” said lead archaeologist Jay Carver.

Clusters of Skulls

This isn’t the first discovery of skulls in the River Walbrook bed, Carter notes. Early historians suggest they are those of people killed during the Boudicca rebellion against the Romans, he said.

Throughout London’s history, Roman skulls have been found along the Thames tributary, and many speculated that they belong to those decapitated by Queen Boudicca’s rebels in the 1st Century AD.

However, the skulls are now believed to be from a Roman burial site 50 meters up the river from the Liverpool Street station worksite.

“Their location in the Roman layer indicates they were possibly washed down river during the Roman period,” Carver says.

The skulls were located in clusters, suggesting that they had been washed out of the burial ground and caught in a bend in the river.

The skulls were found below the Bedlam burial ground established in the 16th century. Three thousand skeletons will be removed from the location next year during an archaeological excavation.

The workers also found wooden medieval structures thought to be from the walls of the Bedlam burial ground.

The Museum of London Archaeology, contracted by Crossrail’s, will analyze the discovery in hopes of learning more about the age, sex and diet of the people.

Since the Crossrail project started in 2009, more than 10,000 archaelogy items have been discovered across 40 construction sites. The findings represent more than 55 million years of London’s history, according to Crossrail Limited.

About Crossrail

Crossrail is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and is delivering the UK’s largest archaeology program.

Funding for Crossrail totals £14.8 billion (about $23.9 billion USD). The route will pass through 38 stations, increasing London’s rail-based transport network capacity by 10 percent.

Crossrail Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London; Crossrail is jointly sponsored by the Department for Transport and Transport for London.

Crossrail is scheduled to open in central London in 2018.

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Real Estate near Ghaziabad Metro Track to witness Boom!

Ghaziabad:  Owners of properties along the metro rail track in Ghaziabad have been allowed to increase their plot coverage or add additional floors, an official of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) said Monday.

Authority’s Vice Chairman Santosh Kumar Yadav said the GDA board has passed a proposal to enhance the floor area ratio (FAR) from the existing 33 percent to 66 percent along the over two-km-long metro track from Anand Vihar in Delhi to Vaishali in Ghaziabad.

The proposal is expected to bring in an additional revenue of about Rs.150 crore to the GDA, the official said.

The board passed 15 proposals in all.

To sell its properties at high premium, the GDA passed a proposal for introduction of a two-bid system in its auction. Bidders will now have to qualify in the technical bid before entering into the financial bid, the official said.

Railways pay Rs.5.00 Lakhs to alleged Rape Victim

New Delhi: The Railway Board has paid Rs.5.00 Lakh compensation to an alleged victim of rape by a constable of Railway Protection Force at New Delhi Railway Station in September last year after the National Human Rights Commission rejected its contention that it was not liable in the case.

“A reluctant Railway Board has finally paid Rs.5 Lakh as monetary relief to the victim of rape by a Constable of Railway Protection Force at New Delhi Railway Station. The incident happened on the night of September 4, 2012,” an NHRC statement said today.

Earlier, in response to the notice of the Commission, the Railway Board had informed that it was not liable to pay compensation to the victim as the constable was not on duty when he committed the crime.

However, it said that a case under Section 376/506/34 IPC, GRP, Delhi was registered on the September 5, 2012 against the constable.

He was arrested the same day, sent to jail and had been dismissed from service with immediate effect.

The Commission did not accept the contention of the Railway Board that it was not liable to pay compensation to the victim and observed that the International Tourist Bureau is apparently an office of the Indian Railways, located on the premises of the New Delhi Railway Station.

Subsequently, the Commission issued a notice to the Railway Board asking why monetary relief should not be paid to the victim.

In response, the Railway Board reiterated its earlier stand and said that the victim should not be paid relief as she was not having a journey/platform ticket at the time of the incident. Also she was not a passenger and the case may not come in the ambit of Railway Claims Tribunal for payment of compensation.

Criminal case has been registered against the culprits and the accused constable, who had been dismissed from the service, was still in the judicial custody. It said the case being sub-judice, the Commission should keep making recommendation pending till its finalisation by the court.

Setting aside the contention of the Railway Board, the NHRC said that the victim, who suffered grievous harm, was certainly entitled to relief for violation of her human rights

The Commission observed that it had issued a notice in the matter under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, which empowers it to make recommendations in case of violation of human rights.

Also, a recommendation on violation of human rights can be made by the Commission irrespective of conclusion of the trial of the case.

In response, the Railway Board paid Rs 5 Lakh as monetary relief to the victim and also sent the proof of payment.

The Commission had registered the case on the basis of a complaint filed by a human rights activist.

Mumbai-Goa Mandovi Express derailment: Konkan Railway remains affected

1899387Ratnagiri:  A major tragedy was averted after Konkan Railway’s Mumbai-Goa Mandovi Express derailed on Sunday afternoon.
Konkan Railway will remain affected till the restoration work is completed on the single-line track.National trains passing the route will also remain affected. Railway police said that the driver of the speeding train spotted a track fracture on time and braked the train, averting a major crash.1899624Initial reports said there were no injures.  The locomotive and the first coach of the train went off the track near Khed station after the incident. The derailed Mandovi Express had advanced WDP-4 diesel-electric locomotive that has aircraft-like sound. It took the brunt of the fall.

“The derailment of the locomotive and the brake van of CST-Madgaon Mandovi Express between Diwankhavati and Khed stations occurred at 12:30 pm. On this account, only one train, namely Sawantwadi-Diva passenger train, has been terminated at Ratnagiri and there is no cancellation of any services. However, the trains may be running late due to this and the public may call 022-27561721, 27561723, 27561725 for information,” Said KR senior spokesperson Vaishali Patange.

“There is no injury or casualty. Our officials had rushed to the spot of derailment for expeditious restoration of the traffic. The work is going on in full swing and the engineers and the staff are working on a war footing,” she said.

The commissioner of railway safety was apprised of the incident and an inquiry has been instituted, officials said. “The inconvenience caused to the public is deeply regretted,” a senior official added.

2014 Lok Sabha Elections: UPA speed up Projects in Important Constituencies

While 2014 Lok Sabha Elections are apt approaching, UPA tries to speed up projects in VIP constituencies

Railways on Thursday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with steel ministry’s public sector unit, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), to fast-track the wheel factory project in Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Raebareli.

Ministers from both participating ministries, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge and Steel Minister Benipersad Verma, were present to oversee the signing ceremony. The Rs 960-crore forged wheel factory was announced in the current budget and within a short period, railways arranged the resources. The state government has already provided 40 acres of land in Raebareli. RINL will invest the entire cost under assured off-take for around 26 years.

Only 10 days ago, Sonia Gandhi had laid the foundation stone for Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) coach factory in Bhiwara to strengthen her confidant and a state heavyweight C P Joshi. The foundation laying programme was to be organised sometime in October, but keeping in view the assembly elections in Rajasthan, it was advanced.

The Rs.1000-crore MEMU project is in partnership with the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). The project took off during Joshi’s brief tenure in the ministry and an MoU was signed without delay.

However, the Rs.600 crore rail coach factory in Palakkad in Kerala was pushed behind. The CPM government gave 400 acres of land in 2009 on the condition that it would be a joint venture of railways with a government PSU.

Correct Yourself, Curtail Your Own Expenses instead of betraying Common Man – Jaya on Rail Fare Hike

Chennai: Describing the revision of railway fares as unjustifiable, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha today said the latest proposal would put an additional financial burden of about Rs.1,150 crore on the people and demanded its immediate ‘rollback’.  “For the next six months about Rs.1,150 crore financial burden has been placed on people through the revision of railway fares. Through this, low and middle income groups will suffer more. I strongly condemn the proposal to increase the fares and urge the Centre for its rollback”, she said in a release.  Instead of throwing the burden on common man, Railways should first correct its own system, curtail undue spend on various unnecessary overheads, reduce corruption to extend support to common man, she said.  She further added “Railways cannot betray this way everytime without correcting its own house and it should not forget the socio-economic role it plays in the country.  If this trend continues, it (Railways) stand to loose the credibility in public interface”.

The Railways has decided to increase the passenger fare and freight tariff by about two per cent from today to offset the financial burden arising out of increased input cost.

Referring to the earlier practice of revising fuel prices every six months, she said the Union Government has subsequently led (the oil marketing companies) to revise it every month.

Similarly, the practice of hiking railway fares every two years has been revised to every six months, she said, adding, “this is a blatant betrayal of the common man”.

She alleged that if the UPA government had prevented various scams like the 2G Spectrum Scam, Coal Scam, Railway Scams and Commonwealth Games scam, revising fuel prices for every month may have been “avoided”, citing the fact that Railways is one of the most corrupt organisation in India as per CVC reports.  She also said that there is no proper watch-dog for Railway finances leading to large scale corruption in the Railway Board, Zonal and Divisional set up and urged strong need to safeguard Railway finances.

“At a time when the price of essential commodities are increasing and fuel prices have been hiked, how far is it justifiable for the Centre, to revise the price of Railway fares?” she asked.

Inauguration of Kollam MEMU shed to be further delayed

Kochi: The Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) shed at Kollam , which was set to be commissioned this week by the Railways has been further delayed.

The shed which was completed months ago was expected to be inaugurated by Minister of State for Railways Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy on October 8.

However, the resignation of Kotla, an MP from Karnool in Andhra Pradesh protesting against the creation of a separate Telangana state has put the project commissioning on hold.

According to a spokesperson of the Railways at the Southern Railways Headquarters in Chennai, they received a message stating that the commissioning of the shed will be postponed since they have not yet decided on who will launch the project in place of the Minister of State.

“The project has not been cancelled from the agenda, but was merely postponed. We expect to commission the shed at the earliest,” the spokesperson added.

During his visit to the state from October 8 to 10, the minister was expected to inaugurate the escalators at the Calicut railway station. After this, he was to inaugurate the manning of an LC gate at Alappuzha, one of the final LCs in the state which is to be manned. Now, that the MoS won’t be arriving, these projects will be inaugurated at a later date.

Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agarwal said that the work on the shed at Kollam was completed six months ago. He added that the delay in inaugurating the shed, along with the sanctioning of additional staff, was the only reason why the launch of the shed was being stalled.

Once the shed is commissioned, all MEMU trains plying within the division could undergo maintenance at the shed itself without having to be hauled to Palakkad every week.

According to sources, it was planned to sent the number of trained crew from Chennai to Kollam once the shed was inaugurated. The Railways has to bear an additional monthly expense of nearly `6 lakh on this account. The shuttling of a single rake to Palakkad was `50,000.

Apart from this, the railway passengers will be able to benefit from the commisioning of the MEMU shed because the MEMU services can be operated every day.

Railways Staff fear proposal to set up AC Loco Maintenance Shed may cost their jobs

Kochi:  The proposal of the railways to set up an AC loco maintenance shed in Ernakulam has kicked up a row with railway employees alleging that the move is political in nature.

According to officials, the railways has set aside `20 crore for setting up the AC loco shed on the Ernakulam junction premises.

A letter has been forwarded by the General Manager of the Southern Railways to the Railway Board for approval.

The decision to set up the AC loco shed was taken as most of the trains in the Thiruvananthapuram division ran on electric engines, the officials said. However, the railway employees allege that the move to set up the AC loco shed and in turn transfer the diesel loco shed from Kerala to Tamil Nadu or Karnataka was political.

They said the move was a huge blow to the 350 employees currently working in the diesel loco shed, which is Kerala’s only diesel engine maintenance facility.

Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU) divisional president P Unnikrishnan said since the repair and maintenance work of diesel locos is different from electric engines, it is also highly unlikely that these employees will be reinstated.

“We are not against the construction of a new AC loco shed here. However, if there is any move to shift the diesel shed to a different place, the management should take us into confidence. There is a huge possibility that the employees will be transferred to other locations, i.e., to other states where the diesel shed will be relocated. We demand that the management either withdraw the move or hold talks with us in this regard to allay the fears of the employees,” Unnikrishnan said.

The SRMU will observe black day on Monday and is gearing up for a statewide agitation in the coming days.

Railway officials here said there were possibilities to set up the AC loco shed without disturbing the diesel loco shed.

“However, we have not been given any briefing regarding this because the proposal is in the initial stages,” Ernakulam area manager P L Ashok Kumar said.

Quilandy waits for better facilities at railway station

Authorities yet to respond to long-pending pleas from passengers

The long-pending plea of the people of Koyilandy to develop the railway station in their locality is yet to evoke any favourable response from Southern Railway authorities.

The station is used by nearly 3,000 passengers daily.

The foremost demand is for a reservation counter that functions round-the-clock.

Currently, the counter is manned by a ticket counter clerk. Staff shortage has cut short the reservation counter service to four hours.

In the absence of a full-fledged reservation counter, most of the long-distance passengers have to travel to Vadakara and Kozhikode stations for booking their tickets.

“Hundreds of passengers to North Indian States struggle from the lack of a reservation counter here. They have to travel a long way to make their reservations,” says P. Gangadharan, a native of Koyilandy. “Many a time, they lose the chance of reservation because of the delay in booking,” he says.

The shortage of staff is also a pressing issue, as the ticket counter clerk on duty is often compelled to jump from one seat to the other to attend to the long queue of people.

Another demand that is pending is the need for a footbridge.

Such a facility will greatly benefit passengers, including the physically challenged and senior citizens.

Stop for trains

Stops for long-distance trains, including the West Coast, Netravati, Yeswanthpur, and Chennai Special Super Fast, has come up as a separate demand.

As of now, people from Koyilandy are compelled to board the train from Kozhikode or Vadakara stations to reach distant locations.

According to Koyilandy MLA K. Dasan, the railway station caters to an estimated population of 1.24 lakh in the city and the suburbs of Koyilandy.

The station also serves people from the nearby panchayats including Chemanchery, Chengottukavu. Arikkulam, Keezhariyur, Moodadi, Ulliyeri, Balussery, Panangad, Naduvannur, Unnikulam, Payyoli, Thikkodi, and Thurayur.

Mr. Dasan, who recently submitted a memorandum to the Southern Railway authorities on the issue, says that there are more than 16 higher secondary and technical schools in the area, in addition to 17 other nationalised and scheduled banks. Taking all such aspects into consideration, development of the station is imperative, he says.

Farmers too will benefit from the development of the station, as hill products including rubber, ginger, pepper and other vegetables are being transported largely to the market in trains, he adds.

Glimpses of “Royal Rajasthan on Wheels” Maiden Journey

Jaipur: Luxury train ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ began its season’s maiden journey from Safdarjung railway station in the national capital with 26 passengers on board.

The train would travel through Jodhpur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and then enter Agra for the tourists to visit Taj Mahal. Apart from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, the train would travel through Varanasi back to Delhi.

Proving to be a perfect example of travelling extravaganza, this train offers a travel experience that attracts tourists from far and wide. With interiors furnished with details that remind one of the bygone era of splendor and magnificence, this train contains all items of luxury such as ‘spa’, ‘gym’ among others.

The 22 luxury cabins are named after the royal palaces of Rajasthan such as Hawa Mahal, Kishore Mahal, Padmini Mahal, among others.

Categorised into deluxe and super deluxe saloons, the cabins are equipped with wi-fi internet, satellite television, channel music system and temperature controller.

The royal luxury train, designed to satisfy the growing demand of luxury train travelling, has a capacity of 82 passengers on board.

The per night tariff is: $1,600 (super deluxe), $590 (deluxe twin sharing), $825 (deluxe single occupancy), 50 percent of charges for children between five and 12 years, and 10 percent of cost for kids below five years.

The train is scheduled to start off from Delhi every Sunday between October and April.
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Kerala seek help of Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation for its own Suburban Local Network

Thiruvananthapuram:  God’s Own Country plans to set up a suburban railway system along the lines of Mumbai’s network and it has asked the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) to help it in this regard.

The Kerala government has hired the services of MRVC to prepare a detailed project report for a suburban service it plans to operate from the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, northwards to Chengannur and Haripad, a distance of 126 km.

The route length is comparable to the Churchgate-Dahanu or CST-Khopoli routes. It is estimated that the project would cost about Rs3,500 crore at current prices and is to be funded by the state and the railway ministry.

This decision was taken by the Kerala Cabinet following an elaborate presentation MRVC made to the chief minister Oommen Chandy and a group of state officials recently. Shashi Tharoor, member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram and some state ministers also attended the meeting.

The MRVC team was led by managing director Rakesh Saksena. The corporation will earn about Rs11 crore for this project report.

MRVC officials said that their agency was the obvious choice as it has been overseeing the modernisation of the Mumbai suburban rail system under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project. The agency is awaiting a written order from the Kerala government for this work.

There is already a rail line on the Thiruvananthapuram-Haripad section that has 25 stations. Railway officials say that the more than 80 level crossings on the route would be a tough hurdle to negotiate.

The state has set up a steering committee with the chief secretary as chairman to deal with these matters. Southern Railway and MRVC officials are also on this committee.

Kerala has a number of international airports, but its railway system has not developed to cope with the increase in traffic. Large stretches of the rail network are single lines and not electrified. The state has felt the need for a suburban system to carry a growing number of daily officegoers on the western stretch.

On the fast track

Kerala plans to upgrade the route from Thiruvananthapuram to Chengannur and Haripad.
The route length is comparable to the Churchgate-Dahanu or CST-Khopoli lines.

Mumbai Train Commuters will see New Trains shortly

Mumbai:  In few days time Mumbai train commuters will see new trains on the Central and Western Railways. From the old yellow and red trains to the new purple and white swanky trains, Mumbai’s railways popularily known as the local trains have seen a great change in their look in the past two decades.  Now, the new trains are set to be pink in colour to hide the paan stains. The new Mumbai train are currently in ICF, Chennai and will be in the city soon.  The all-new local trains are expected to arrive in the city between October 8 and 10 and will then go into a three-month-long series of trials before it is inducted into the suburban system.  The train can reach speeds of 130 kilometres per hour and will sport what is internationally called the straight sidewall concept. Coaches in India, including the suburban ones in Mumbai, are bell-shaped.  The straight sidewall concept, one that has adorned trains abroad for years now, is expected to make the train faster, thanks to better aerodynamics.  The train’s sides are straighter than the ‘bell’ shape that is distinctive of Indian trains.  The train will be powered by the Bombardier transportation electrical system and not the Siemens one that powers current locals. The train will have blue handles and train seats look more comfortable.  Here’s a sneek peak at the new train:





Seven N.F.Rly staff working for Jiribam-Tupul Railway Line injured in blast

Rail_20131007Jiribam: At least seven workers M/s Coastal Projects Limited – a company engaged in laying of Jiribam-Tupul Railway Line in Manipur’s Tamenglong district were injured, two of them seriously, when an explosive meant to dynamite rocks went off inside a workers’ camp Sunday.

The country-made dynamite kept at the camp exploded around 6:10 a.m. when workers were preparing to leave for work, reports said. The workers are engaged in tunneling of tunnel no. 8 portal P-1 of the Jiribam-Imphal railway line at Kambiron under Nungba police station.

All the seven injured workers were shifted to a hospital in Silchar, Assam after being administered first-aid by a Northern Frontier Railways (NFR) medical officer. The condition of two of the injured was stated to be critical.

This is the second time that such an incident has taken place at the site of the Jiribam-Tupul railway line. On September 29, a country-made bomb exploded there, leaving at least four workers wounded. However, officials of the company engaged in the tunneling work told the police that the bomb was planted by suspected militants that day.

Coastal Project Limited is engaged in construction of tunnels as part of the railway project and it is currently engaged in construction of tunnel no 4 near Kambiron.

Just beside the work site, labourers of the company have a camp.

It was inside the camp that a deafening blast took place at around 6.30.The blast left two labourers with critical injuries while five others sustained minor injuries.

While the other victims were given first aid at Jiribam CHC, Md Azaduddin (31) so /o Md Abdul Hamid of Karimganj, Assam and Md Sajul Islam (23) s/o Riyajul Islam of Rongpur Part 4, Silchar who sustained critical injuries were referred to Silchar Medical College .

According to one of the victims, a similar blast took place about 12 days ago although there were no casualties.

Citing the repeated bomb attacks within the labourers’ camp, he decried that there is no security arrangement for the company.

He said that all the labourers are afraid to work there any longer.

There have been instances where hill based UG groups demanded money from companies engaged in the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal railway project besides taking labourers hostage for ransom.

This year itself, four labourers of Coastal Project Limited were taken hostage by a Kuki UG group for several days and the labourers were released in Barak area along NH 37 only after paying ransom money.

Following the incident, many labourers left the railway work and went away.

Most of them have not returned till date.

With the strength of labourers thus reduced, it has become a major factor for delaying the project.

On the other hand, hill based civil organisations have been disrupting the railway work every now and then while pursuing any of their demands from the Government, said the injured victim.

Talking about State security provided to com- panies engaged in the railway project, one company official expressed dissatisfaction with the present security arrangement.

The camp where the labourers have been staying is not given any security cover.

Any UG group can sneak in any time and go away unharmed after doing whatever they wish.

The companies do not feel secure on account of Mani- pur’s weak internal security arrangement.

Because of all these disturbances, the completion target has been repeatedly extended.

Completion target for the railway project according to the latest extension is 2016 .

There would be 34 tunnels in the Jiribam-Imphal railway line but only four tunnels have been constructed so far.

Moreover, Jiribam-Imphal railway would have the largest number of bridges in the country including seven major bridges, 107 medium or small bridges and three over-bridges, said the official.

Two Nuclear Submarine Engineers found dead on Railway tracks in Visakhapatnam

elv8sk7uVisakhapatnam: Bodies of two defence personnel were found under suspicious circumstances on the railway tracks falling under the Pendurty railway station of East Coast Railways (ECoR) here on Sunday morning.

On being informed by railway trackmen, Government Railway Police (GRP) at Visakhapatnam railway station immediately reached the spot. Following enquiries, one of the deceased was identified as KK Josh, 34, Chief Engine Eoom Artificer (CERA) at Shipbuilding Centre, a unit of Ministry of Defence at the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) premises here. The other was identified as Abhish Shivam, 33, a Chief Engineer working at INS Arihant, India’s first nuclear-powered submarine.

While Josh, a resident of Kakani Nagar near the airport, was a native of Kozhikode, Shivam belonged to Ernakulam district in Kerala and was living at the Navy quarters at Dolphins Hills. Both of them were posted in the city three years ago.

The GRP team along with a dog squad and fingerprint team scouted the area around the tracks and collected clues. While GRP cops maintained that a case was registered and awaiting the postmortem report from King George Hospital, relatives of the deceased and the leaders of Kerala Kala Samiti (KKS) alleged that the deaths appeared to be under suspicious circumstances and demanded that the police immediately launch a high-scale probe into the incident.

GRP circle inspector A Parthasaradhi told that they had not seen any suspicious marks on the bodies of the two near the railway tracks. “As on Sunday, we filed a case and sent the bodies for postmortem at KGH. We have to wait for the report before making any statement,” Parthasaradhi said.

Relatives and locals, however, raised suspicion over the incident, pointing out that there were no visible injuries on the bodies to show that they had come under a passing train. Suspicion was also raised that the two had been attacked elsewhere and their bodies thrown near the tracks.

GRP officials said there were no suspicious marks on the bodies. But the victims’ kin said there were no visible injuries to show they had been run over by a train.

Peelamedu junction still awaits integrated UTS

CB19_TICKET_COUNTER_897414gCoimbatore: The wait for integrated Unreserved Ticketing System (iUTS) at Peelamedu railway station is long overdue and even though more than a year has passed since the proposal was sent to the railway board it is yet to materialise. An IUTS is a facility where passengers can book reserved as well as unreserved tickets at the same counter. When Coimbatore MP P R Natarajan represented the issue to the Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra, the railway official said that the proposal has been sent to the railway board on July 26, 2012 and added that they are awaiting sanction from the board.

As the Coimbatore junction and Coimbatore North junction is landlocked, Peelamedu junction is touted to be developed into a major station in the future. “Developing this station and establishing facilities like iUTS will help decongest the Coimbatore junction and the railway authorities should consider this,” Divisional Railway Users’ Consultative Committee member R Raveendran said. Pointing out that there are several educational institutions in Peelamedu, he said it is the most populated area in the city.

Peelamedu station is presently an ‘E’ category station located between Erode-Coimbatore-Podanur section of Salem railway division. Along with setting up of IUTS facility, rail activists also demand the provision of additional facilities. In response, officials say that the annual passenger earnings at this station is Rs.20.51lakh and additional facilities will be considered subject to increase in passenger traffic. “Unless facilities such as IUTS and the rerouting of more trains via Peelamedu junction are provided there cannot be any increase in passenger traffic,” Raveendran said.

As information technology parks and hospitals are also located in the vicinity of Peelamedu junction, developing Peelamedu junction with more facilities is expected to benefit a large number of students, IT park employees and patients apart from the general public. On the rerouting of more trains via Peelamedu junction, Rakesh Misra in a communication to Coimbatore MP P R Natarajan said that provision for stoppage of mail and express trains is a policy matter of the railway board.

Presently, five trains, Chennai Egmore-Mangalore express, Erode-Coimbatore passenger, Salem-Coimbatore passenger, Tiruchi-Palakkad town passenger and Nagercoil-Coimbatore passenger stop at the Peelamedu junction. Passengers demand that at least incoming express trains such as Blue Mountain, Intercity, Cheran and Kovai express should stop at Peelamedu junction as this will help decongest Coimbatore junction.

About 17,000 visit 160 Years of Indian Railways Photo Exhibition at Patna

PATNA: About 17,000 people have visited Bharatiya Nritya Kala Mandir so far to have a look at the photo exhibition put up by East Central Railway (ECR) to mark the 160 years of Indian Railways. The exhibition is a repository of rare photographs of Railways right from 1853 to the present time. There are about 250 photographs at this exhibition which will conclude on Monday.

A visit to the photo exhibition gives an idea of how the Indian Railways has been progressing since its first run on April 16, 1853, between Bori Bundar (Mumbai) and Thane. There was a time when shunting engine was hardly available to haul passenger train rake or goods train in the yard. Railways had then adopted a novel idea to keep elephants on the payrolls of railways and they were used in place of locomotives to push the coach or a rake in the yard for shunting purpose. The rare photographs in black and white in which elephants are shown pushing rake or coach attracted attention of the visitors, especially schoolchildren who were visiting the photo exhibition almost everyday.

The youth and children throng the exhibition to view the rare photos of ‘refugee special train’ during partition of India in 1947. People was shown sitting on the roofs of the train which came from Pakistan to Amritsar and Ambala during partition.

The exhibition show is a thrill for the visitors who found it highly informative and educative. Railways has been a mode of transport for every section of the society during pre and post independence era. Rare photographs of Mahatma Gandhi, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, Nizam of Hyderabad, Lord Linlithgow, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Satyajit Ray, Rajiv Gandhi and many others were the cynosure of all eyes. A rare photograph of Patna Junction in 1939 is also displayed.

Various models of locomotives right from 1853, coaches of passenger trains including the modern LHB coaches, the biggest railway yard of Mughalsarai, upcoming Patna-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge over the Ganga, Harnaut coach maintenance workshop, Chhapra wheel factory, saloon of Darbhanga Maharaj, 1906 tunnel in Maharashtra, flood situation at Patna Junction, 1920 passenger engine, steam engine bearing National anthem, models of Victoria Terminus, old Delhi and Madras stations in 1873 are other highlights of the railway photo exhibition, said ECR CPRO Amitabh Prabhakar.

Amenities go off-track at Trichy Railway Junction

As passengers grapple with the problems, officials look the other way

The Southern Railway, a couple of years ago, introduced the novel facility of “Electronic Fare Repeater Display System” at the reserved and unreserved ticket booking counters in Tiruchi Railway Junction.

Under this system, the people can see for themselves the entries being made by the ticketing clerks such as train number, date of journey, boarding, and alighting stations, current status of the ticket and fare on the display board. If any mistake had crept in while the booking staff made the entry, the buyer could alert the official before the ticket was printed. They could keep the fare ready without enquiring for the same with the booking staff.

This facility enabled the people verify the ticket details even while it was being processed.

Earlier, people noticed mistakes only after the ticket was issued across the counter. The ticket had to be re-processed for correcting any mistake that had taken place. The facility was introduced in five computerised passenger reservation system counters and an equal number of unreserved ticketing system counters at Tiruchi Junction. It reduced the pressure on the booking staff.

This facility lasted only a few months and was done away with, much to the shock of the travelling public. Now, even the electronic display boards have been removed.

The Southern Railway had planned to introduce this facility in the reservation counters of 17 other stations – Tiruchi Fort, Tiruverumbur, Srirangam, Ariyalur, Vriddhachalam, Villuppuram, Puducherry, Tiruvannamalai, Vellore Cantonment, Salem Town, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Tirupathiripuliyur, and Chidambaram in a phased manner.

Railway sources said the system was dispensed with because of the huge maintenance cost. This was not the only facility to be withdrawn after introduction of the same with much fanfare.

In 2008, the railways commissioned reverse osmosis plants for supply of purified drinking water, and it proved a boon for passengers. While two plants were established on platform 1, the main platform, one each had been set up on island platforms 2, 3, 4 and 5. Each can treat 1,000 litres of water per hour and 20,000 litres per day. The railway administration spent Rs. 5 lakh for each “membrane-based water purification” plant. Each plant has an overhead tank to store 1,000 litres of treated water. No manpower was required to switch on and off the plants.

The provision of potable drinking water free of cost was widely welcomed by all sections of society and even there was a plea to step up the capacity of the plant to meet the increased demand.

Now, the RO plants are not functioning and the reason given is technical snag and the maintenance cost.

Thanks to sponsors, the railways had installed three platform ticket vending machines and a coin exchange machine, both at the main entrance of Tiruchi Junction, which considerably reduced crowding at the current ticket issuing counters. Since the sponsors did not come forward to get the machines repaired when they developed snags, all the machines were removed.

Touch screen facilities at the main entrance, VIP entrance, Kallukuzhi entrance, and at the PRS centre were used by the passengers to a big extent. While this facility is missing from Kallukuzhi entrance, the one at the main entrance has developed snag.

The main grouse of the passengers against the railways is the non-functioning of the coach indication boards in all the platforms except platform number one. With all the trains originating and passing via Tiruchi are lengthy with 24 coaches and the long distance trains stopping only for a few minutes, coach indication boards are a must, says M. Khaleelur Rahman, a businessman of Palakkarai.

If the Railways could not revive the coach indication boards immediately, it should adopt the old system of displaying the coach position at a central point of the platform, he says.

The second sleeper class waiting hall has been closed recently and the upper class waiting hall has been converted into reserved passengers waiting hall.

Railway sources say that since even common people, apart from the travelling public, were misusing the sleeper class waiting hall, the railways has decided to close it for the time being. It has planned to give a facelift to it and outsource the maintenance of the same to provide better facilities to the passengers.

Tiruchi Junction is a major railway station and handles 120 express and passenger trains and passenger traffic of about 50,000 people a day. More trains have been introduced via Tiruchi junction in the recent past. With the divisional headquarters just a stone’s throw away from the junction, the railways should accord priority for the creation of various facilities and maintaining them properly, says M. Theresnathan, president, Tiruchi District Consumer Movement.

However, the well-maintained pay and use air conditioned waiting hall at a nominal fee of Rs. 10 for two hours and the facilities at basic amenities complex, including an air-conditioned waiting hall, provide more than the needed comfort to the travelling public.

Stone Pelting: Palakkad Railway Division barely guarded

rahultrainPalakkad:  As Preethamol, 23, a nurse, lay groggy after a surgery of  her left eye in the hospital, the railway police still are clueless about the attackers who threw stones at  the train she was travelling in.

This is the second such incident reported in the Palakkad railway division after another passenger suffered a serious head injury in a similar attack near Madhukara last week. The officials, however, are finding it difficult  to work out a strategy to curb the menace due to  the shortage of security staff.

There are only 276 Railway Protection Force personnel for security duty in the division having 578 route kilometre area spread over Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Similarly, the number of policemen deputed by the Kerala police to manage the six railway police stations from Thrissur to Kasargod is also insufficient with just 250-odd men to manage six railway police stations under it.

Of the total police staff, 40 per cent of the staff are often given other duties, making available only 50 per cent of them  for security duty at the stations and on trains,’’  pointed out a senior railway official in Palakkad.

According to him, the shortfall of security officials began with bifurcation of Palakkad divion a few years back when a  number of the RPF personnel were shifted to the Salem division while Palakkad is yet to be compensated for this loss.

While the rules provide for at least four RPF personnel, including women officers, on patrol duty in each of the trains, we have limited this service to the major trains running night-time,’’  he added.

China joins race to build Madhepura Loco Factory for supply of Locos to IR

Bid for two tenders worth Rs 35,000 crore over 11-year period

New Delhi:  Two Chinese firms — CSR Corporation and CNR Corporation — have created a flutter by bidding for a share of the Indian Railways’ locomotive market.

Both these have bid for setting up two locomotive factories — electric and diesel — in India to supply about 1,800 locomotives to the Railways over 11 years. These two tenders are valued at about Rs 35,000 crore over a 10-11-year period, according to industry estimates.

Now, all eyes are on whether the Chinese firms qualify technically to submit financial bids for the project, as that may set the stage for a more competitive price bids, say sector experts.

Traditionally, American and European firms have been key suppliers of high-tech products in locomotives for the Indian Railways. For the proposed electric locomotive factory to be set up at Madhepura, Bihar, apart from the two Chinese firms, bidders include American firm GE Global, and European firms Bombardier, Siemens and Alstom. Similarly, for the diesel locomotive factory in Marhowra, Bihar, bidders include American firms GE, EMD, apart from CSR and CNR.

Indian Railways is one of the largest markets globally. For EMD, India is one of the top markets after North America, William P Ainsworth, President and CEO, Electro-Motive Diesel and Progress Rail Services, told.

“Traditionally, European firms have been key suppliers in electric-traction-based rail technology while American firms have had strength in diesel-traction.

“They developed such strength based on the geographical requirement. Europe has a high-speed passenger network, which runs on electric traction. The US, Canada have large rail freight networks, used for heavy cargo movement that use diesel,” said Niraj Kumar, former Director-General, Indian Railways.

That said, the Chinese firms have also become large players by virtue of a large domestic market in China and are looking for business in other markets. “The rail equipment localisation plan of Chinese Railways was linked to the number of locomotives bought from the Western loco suppliers,” said Kumar.

“CNR has 28 per cent share in electric locomotive and 13 per cent in diesel locomotive globally, according to data of German consulting firm SCI. We have supplied diesel locomotives to countries such as New Zealand, Malaysia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Angola and Cuba,” Yang Xiongjing, Division Chief-Comprehensive Department, CNR Import and Export Corporation, told Business Line.

Now, for the two loco factory tenders, even though the Railways has not yet short-listed the firms, experts agree that the Chinese participation will lead to strong pricing pressure.

“There will surely be greater pricing competition if the Chinese firms were to participate. Though the company that wins the project will have to operate in India with Indian workers, the back-office costs of Chinese firms are bound to be lower,” said Kumar.

World’s Largest Platform inaugurated by GM/NER at Gorakhpur

5199_gorakhpur-1GORAKHPUR: The Gorakhpur railway station became the proud owner world’s longest home platform on Sunday after GM/NER, KK Atal inaugurated the remodelled Gorakhpur Yard.

The remodelling work was completed on war-footing within the scheduled time. With the inauguration of the remodelled yard, Gorakhpur now has a platform measuring 1366.33 metres with ramp and 11355.40 metres without it. With this achievement, the NER has also secured a place in the Limca Book of Records. The certificate for the same would be issued soon. The achievement of the Gorakhpur station would also be incorporated in the Guinness Book of World Records. The postal department too is likely to release a special cover to mark the achievement.

7675_train_3After inaugurating the newly installed route relay interlocking system, the GM also flagged off 12555 Gorakhdham Express (Gorakhpur to Hisar). Later, talking to reporters, Atal, said, “I congratulate the people of Gorakhpur on getting the privilege of world’s longest railway platform in the city. I also appreciate the cooperation of the people of Gorakhpur as more than half of the work was completed within 11 days. I also appreciate the dedication of rail employees and officers who worked day and night for to ensure completion of work within the time limit.”

7675_train_4On the occasion, the GM announced award of Rs 1 lakh each for the construction department, signal construction department and Lucknow division and an award of Rs 50,000 for the headquarters.

Chief operating manager, RV Singh, chief signal and telecommunication engineer, HK Agarwal, chief administrative officer, Onkar Singh, chief signal telecommunication engineer, HK Agarwal, DRM Lucknow, Anoop Kumar, ADRM (Lucknow), Chief Engineer (Construction), O.N.Verma, Chief Signal and Telecommunication Engineer (Construction) S.N.Sah, SDGM P.N.Rai, CCM Arvind Kumar, CPRO Alok Kumar Singh, Secretary to GM, Amit Singh along with other senior railway officials were also present at the inaugural ceremony.

IRCTC registers over Rs.700 Crore Earnings

NEW DELHI: Three years after it lost most of its captive railways’ catering business, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has bounced back with over Rs 700-crore earnings, driven by a focus on expanding businesses like catering for corporate clients such as HCL, Samsung and the Jaypee group, tour packages and e-ticketing.

“We were already serving some ministries but after the new policy, we expanded to other ministries and government offices. We were also in the process of setting up a state-of-the art kitchen (currently operating at a capacity of 10,000 meals per day) and this is serving our corporate clients in the Noida and Greater Noida area,” said Rakesh Tandon, CMD of IRCTC, adding that he would also like to expand business to Gurgaon, but the response so far has been tepid.

IRCTC has kept product cost low to break into the market and is aiming at volumes growth to reach break-even. “We expect to break-even in another 2 years,” said Tandon.

In June 2010, the railway ministry announced a new catering policy, taking away IRCTC’s primary job of catering on trains, resulting in a loss of Rs 400 crore railway catering revenue. IRCTC, which did very little non-railway catering before that, decided to serve corporate clients in 2012.

Its non-railway catering business has grown to Rs 34 crore from Rs 3 crore in the last two years. IRCTC’s railway catering business is currently around Rs 230 crore. Also, railways has now allowed IRCTC to serve on all newlylaunched trains.

The loss of catering services meant the overhead costs got distributed to every other product.

Incessant rains hit train traffic at Allahabad Railway station

ALLAHABAD: Incessant rain severely affected the movement of trains at Allahabad railway station. With the railway yard heavily waterlogged and signal failure reported early in the day, several trains were delayed.

The problem was worse on platform number 1 and 2 of the railway junction where the movement of severak New Delhi-bound trains was affected. The trains which arrived late at the station included Kalka Mail and North East Express. Due to the non-functioning of signals for a certain period, train traffic was handled through log books until the signal failure was rectified.

FLASH News! Konkan Railway route restored

Mumbai:  The Konkan Railway that has been hit by a derailment is fully restored by 10.00 p.m. (Sunday).

The derailment of the locomotive and the brake van of Train No.10103 CST-Madgaon Mandovi Express between Diwankhavati and Khed stations occurred at 12:30 pm. On this account, only one train, namely 50106 Sawantwadi-Diva passenger train, has been regulated at Ratnagiri and there is no cancellation of any services. However, the trains were running late due to this, Vaishali Patange, Chief Public Relations Officer of Konkan Railway said.

“There is no injury or casualty. The officers and staff from Corporate Office and Ratnagiri region have rushed to the spot of derailment for expeditious restoration of the traffic. The work went on in full swing and the engineers and the staff worked to restore the line on a war footing and the route is now cleared for traffic,” she added.

“Commissioner of Railway Safety has also been apprised of the incident and as desired a senior administrative grade level inquiry into the incident has been ordered,” she added.

Konkan Railway to run Mangalore-Ahmedabad ‘Special Superfast Train’ to handle Diwali rush

MARGAO: Konkan railway corporation ( KRC) has decided to introduce a winter special AC superfast train between Ahmedabad and Mangalore junction from October 16 to November 28.

“In order to manage the extra rush of passengers during the ensuing Diwali festival, it is decided to run the AC superfast train between Ahmedabad and Mangalore junction,” said Baban Ghatge, KRC’s senior manager, public relations.

The train will have 15 coaches – one AC first class, two AC two-tiers, nine AC three-tiers and two sleeper class, said Ghatge.

Train no. 09420 Ahmedabad – Mangalore JN will leave Ahmedabad every Wednesday (October 16, 23, 30 and November 6,13, 20, 27) at 4.35pm and will arrive at Mangalore Jn on Thursdays at 7.40pm.

Train no. 09419 Mangalore JN – Ahmedabad train will leave Mangalore every Thursday (October 17, 24, 31 and November 7, 14, 21 and 28 at 10.30pm and will arrive at Ahmedabad on Saturdays at 12.15 am.

These trains will halt at Roha, Khed, Chiplun, Sangameshwar, Ratnagiri, Kankavli, Kudal, Pernem, Tivim, Karmali, Margao, Karwar, Kumta, Murdeshwar, Bhatkal, Kundapura, Udupi, Surathkal and Thokur Stations.

“Passengers are requested to note that timings will be changed with effect from November 1,” Ghatge said.

Samaikhyandra Strike cripples train services in A.P.

06_apscr_jpg_1609223fTrain services on South Central Railway were crippled as power supply was switched off from early on Sunday with the electricity employees joining the indefinite strike protesting against the Union Cabinet’s decision to bifurcate the State.

Between 6 a.m. and 7.30 a.m. virtually every station was running on emergency power amid eports that express and passenger trains were coming to a grinding halt, especially on the Vijayawada-Gudur-Renigunta section. Railway officials said they were stopping movement of goods trains and cancelling passenger trains, in order to ensure movement of express trains.

Earlier, problems were experienced by Ongole, Venkatagiri and Tenali stations and it took a while before officials swung into action, drawing power from adjacent locations. “We are accorded top priority as far as electricity supply from the grid is concerned. So when supply is affected to one particular station, we have mechanisms in place with which we draw energy from the next station,” said K. Sambasiva Rao, Chief Public Relations Officer, SCR.

“We are gearing up to run diesel locomotives on high-speed trains and we have ensured that all our reservoirs of diesel are full,” he added.

Meanwhile, a Central Control Room was set up at Rail Nilayam here, the SCR’s headquarters, with senior officers manning it by turns. Also, at the divisional level, similar control rooms were functioning. Senior officers of the SCR’s Electrical department are working closely with their counterparts at Vidyut Soudha, the headquarters of the APTransco.

Kochi Metro realignment plans at south RoB in a mess

Sources with the DMRC brushed aside the plan for the realignment of Metro Rail at South ROB, which has further diminished the chances of the reconstruction of the bridge.

Kochi: The chances for the reconstruction of the Ernakulam South Rail Overbridge (ROB) as a preparatory work of the Kochi Metro Rail are bleak as the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the implementing agency of the project, is yet to receive the official communication in this regard. Though the demand for widening the South ROB has been under discussion for some time, the authorities concerned have not taken any step to take the project forward so far. Sources with the DMRC also brushed aside the plan for the realignment of Metro Rail at South ROB, which has further diminished the chances of the reconstruction of the bridge.

“So far, the DMRC has no plans of reconstructing the bridge. Our first priority is the completion of Kochi Metro Rail within the scheduled time,” sources said. Regarding the realignment of South ROB, the DMRC has no plans to deviate from the actual plan.

However, while constructing the viaducts at the landing portions of the South ROB at Manorama junction, nearly 2.5 metres of the road will not be of any use for traffic. So the landing portion will be widened.

“An additional three metre width will be provided on both the landing stretches of the bridge so as to avoid any traffic bottleneck. However, the portion at centre of the ROB will be untouched,” sources said.

Meanwhile,the Corporation authorities and experts are of the opinion that this is the right time to commence the reconstruction of the South ROB, as it will be difficult to carry out the work once the Kochi Metro Rail is commissioned.

After the viaducts of the Kochi Metro are constructed, it will be difficult to demolish and reconstruct the bridge, since the viaducts at Manorama junction would be constructed close to the bridge.

Meanwhile, the Corporation authorities are supporting a realignment plan for the Kochi Metro at South ROB to help in reconstruction of the bridge and to prevent land acquisition at the northern side of the ROB.

As per the plan, the Metro Rail track will cross the Ernakulam South Railway station to reach the ROB from Karshaka Road.

There are several buildings at the northern side of the ROB, of which many are commercial establishments. Since the pillars are to be erected from under the bridge, the Ernakulam South ROB needs to be widened and reconstructed. But the reconstruction of the bridge has not been included in the preparatory work of the project.

Meanwhile, experts said that if not through KMRL and DMRC, the work of the bridge can be handed over to agencies like Kerala Road Fund Board or Kerala Roads and Bridges Development Corporation.

Pune Metro rail plan should integrate other transport modes: DMRC

PUNE: The detailed project report for Pune metro rail has emphasized on the need for traffic integration as it would help offer maximum advantage to commuters.

The report, prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, states: “Various modes of transport need to be integrated in a way that each mode supplements the other. A large number of metro rail users will come to and depart from various stations by various modes of transport including public transport buses, autorickshaws or taxis, and by their personal vehicles. Therefore integration facilities need to be provided at stations to ensure quick and convenient transfers.”

Facilities at metro stations have been planned for not only road-based transport modes such as buses, autorickshaws and private vehicles, but also for providing easy access to pedestrians. The integration facilities at metro stations include approach roads to stations, circulation facilities for passengers as well as vehicles including buses, and pedestrian ways. Parking for private vehicles has been proposed close to the station entrances.

Incidentally, a computer model employed for traffic demand projections also provides a breakup of the load (pedestrians, buses, hired vehicles and private vehicles) that will be faced at metro stations. According to the report, the vehicular movement has been further broken up into hired and private vehicles on station-to-station basis. This has been done by assessing the socio-economic profile of the catchment areas and the distance likely to be travelled by commuters before and after using the metro rail. Inter-change with railways has been considered. For transferring passengers efficiently from roads to platforms and vice versa, station planning has been based on established principles of pedestrian flow and arranged to minimize unnecessary walking distances and cross-flows between incoming and outgoing passengers. Facilities for handling passengers include stairs, escalators, lifts and ticket gates required to process the peak traffic from roads to platforms and vice versa. These facilities, the report says must also enable evacuation of the station under emergency conditions, within a set safe time limit.

Prashant Inamdar of Pedestrians First, a group working on issues concerning pedestrians and sustainable transport says the feeder systems are of much significance as it will have an impact on the utilization of the metro services. “Making provision for parking of vehicles at stations is very important, because if there are no parking facilities, people will prefer to use their vehicle for their entire trip from house to the destination point. The metro rail is only a link. People will have to use different modes – either by walk, or use feeder buses, use bicycles or reach the station by autorickshaws or use their own vehicles. If people do not find it convenient to use any of these modes to reach the metro station, it will affect the utilization of the metro,” he said. Inamdar said that the only big question is that as the metro between Vanaz and Ramwadi passes through highly congested areas of the city, it would be a challenge for authorities to provide parking facilities, and pedestrian access at stations.

Jugal Rathi of the PMP Pravasi Manch, a major bus commuters group said planning for the feeder services and seamless transport integration should begin now. “In Mumbai, the bus services and suburban rail services complement each other. In the same way, the civic authorities cannot neglect city bus services, pedestrian access and amenities for bus passengers. The metro will become a liability, if the civic authorities neglect the feeder services,” Rathi said.

Kochi corporation moves to draft parking policy

KOCHI: When the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) started the civil works for Kochi Metro along the main roads in the city, the police was forced to ban parking on the barricaded stretches to facilitate traffic movement through congested roads. But enforcing traffic regulations has become a tall task for both the Metro agency and police, who have failed to identify specific locations for motorists to park their vehicles.

With the police declaring road sides along the construction site as no parking zones, those who come down for shopping and other activities on MG Road and other areas on the Kaloor-Palarivattom stretch are forced to park vehicles on bylanes.

The Kochi corporation’s lackadaisical approach in drafting and implementing a parking policy before launching the Metro’s construction work has created the chaotic situation.

The formulation of parking policy is one of the conditions laid out in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). “The corporation is aware of the urgency in implementing the parking policy. In the coming week, we plan to proceed with the drafting process,” said town planning committee chairman K J Sohan.

It is also pointed out that the corporation should immediately take steps to shift bus bays located close to Metro sites. Measures should be taken to introduce more JNNURM buses through the city roads to bring down the use of private vehicles. “All these issues will be discussed at the meeting that will be convened by mayor Tony Chammany on Saturday. It will also decide on the authority or department who will be responsible for fixing these issues,” added Sohan.

Pune based Urban Planners rubbish DMRC proposal for FSI along Pune Metro routes

PUNE: Veteran urban planning expert Shirish Patel on Saturday rubbished the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal of four Floor Space Index (FSI) along Pune metro routes.

“This is not workable at all. They (planners) must have proposed the number (4 FSI) without looking at the consequences. I have never seen this anywhere in world. They have proposed a random number and not applied their mind to the real problem,” said Patel while speaking on the topic “Use and abuse of FSI”, at the College of Engineering, Pune, on Saturday. The lecture series was organized by the Institute of Town Planners, Pune chapter, to celebrate 100 years of formation of the state town planning department.

The DMRC has proposed four FSI on either side of metro corridors so that greater population densification through vertical development of residential and commercial properties could be achieved. Also, the mass transport project will be economically viable by generating the all-important funds, stated the DMRC report.

“I am sure that at some point they (planners) will realize that this is not going to work,” said Patel who asked the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) if it has any idea how many residential complexes will come up and if the city really needs them.

Patel, who is based in Mumbai, said population density should be taken into consideration first. “The FSI is a secondary issue because it basically depends on income levels of families that are going to utilize them. Four FSI is possible in Malabar Hill area but not in Dharavi. The FSI should be allowed according to the capacity of people to buy it.

Very rich people can afford high FSI,” said Patel who along with architect Charles Correa had conceptualized the idea of Navi Mumbai.

As of now, the PMC allows 1 FSI in old city areas, including Peth areas, which is stretched to 1.5 or even 2 by purchasing Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), which is a compensation granted to a property owner whose land is acquired by the PMC to develop a civic amenity.

Janwani, a social initiative of the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA), in its recent report on Pune metro had raised the same point. It suggested that the options other than a steep FSI hike should be explored. The MCCIA suggested that it can be done through auction and judicious deployment of FSI.

What is FSI?

The FSI is the ratio of total floor area of a building to the size of the plot which indicates the maximum construction allowed on a plot. If the FSI is one and the plot size is 1,000 sq ft, the maximum construction allowed on that plot will be 1,000 sq ft.

Why 4 FSI is not feasible

The draft Development Plan (DP) earmarks a metro influence zone with an area of 32.95 sq km having 500m on both sides of the metro corridors.

The proposed land use (PLU) for residential use is 30%. So, 30% of metro influence zone would mean 10 sq km. An FSI of 4 will result in built up area of 40 sq km, or 400 lakh sq m.

This would generate eight lakh houses accommodating a population of 40 lakh, considering each tenement measures 50 sq m.

Considering a population of 32.50 lakh, the housing requirement of Pune city is 6.5 lakh units.
Thus, the tenements generated from this sale of FSI would be much higher than required.

Rapid Metro Gurgaon lines to be inspected by Commissioner, Rail Safety

GURGAON: The Rapid Metro authorities have claimed that the Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has accepted their application to conduct the mandatory inspection before the line can be opened for public use. They said a series of meeting between the CMRS office and the Rapid Metro are underway. The Rapid Metro is expecting his visit any day.

Meanwhile, the authorities are conducting trial runs from 6am to 12 midnight everyday and appear to be satisfied with the trial runs. In early August, the Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) team from Lucknow had given their approval for the high oscillation trial and had submitted their report to the CMRS.

Meanwhile, senior officials from the Hooda government jumped the gun and announced that the commercial operations will begin from October 2, even though the CMRS was yet to inspect the line. The Rapid Metro authorities were forced to do some quick damage control and therefore, are now unwilling to comment on when the operations will eventually begin.

“From our side, we are fully prepared. We are waiting for the CMRS to visit and inspect the line. We are not sure when the inspection will take place and therefore, we are not in a position to comment by when the commercial run will start. All we can say is that we are all set to launch the moment we receive the CMRS go-ahead,” said a Rapid Metro spokesperson.

However, according to a source, before the CMRS actually comes to the site and inspects the line, he might ask his deputies to inspect it and submit a report.

The network has already missed many deadlines. It was supposed to open in March. Even now, whenever it opens, only five out of the six metro stations will be operational as one of them is still under construction.

Railways only liability is to provide a shroud for unclaimed bodies

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court’s concern for unclaimed bodies found on rail tracks and public places evoked a rather uninspiring response from the railways, which said its responsibility ended after making provision for a cloth to wrap the body.

Senior advocate SP Singh informed a bench of justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde that the disposal of unclaimed bodies detected in railway areas was the responsibility of Government Railway Police (GRP), the operational cost of which was borne 50:50 by the Centre and states.

Interestingly, Singh said the Railway Protection Force (RPF), which functions under the ministry of railways, supplements the efforts of the states in providing security to passengers and protects railway property.

On unclaimed bodies found in railway areas, the counsel said, “GRP initiates necessary action for disposal of unidentified bodies after fulfilling requisite legal formalities like ‘panchnama’ and photographing the body. Being the service provider, railways bears the expenditure incurred by GRP on covering and removal of dead bodies from railway premises.”

Referring to a March 12 order, the railways informed the court that “at present, Rs 1,000 (or actual expenditure whichever is less) has been fixed as the rate of payment to GRP for providing a shroud at the time of removal of any dead body found in railway premises”.

This response came on a PIL filed by Vikas Chandra Guddu Baba, who had alleged that unclaimed bodies were dumped into rivers by the authorities in the absence of proper guidelines.

In its response to the PIL, the railways said, “Responsibility of the railways is restricted to ensure passing of information about detection of unclaimed dead body immediately to GRP and to reimburse the expenditure incurred by the GRP in providing shrouds to cover dead bodies up to a maximum of Rs 1,000.”

However, the bench was unimpressed by the railways’ affidavit and told the counsel to take instructions from the home ministry for possible uniform guidelines for various authorities in decent disposal of unidentified and unclaimed bodies found in public places. It posted the PIL for further hearing on October 21.

Southern Railways to add more coaches to Mangalore-Puducherry train

Southern Railway’s Mangalore-Puducherry weekly express, running via Salem and Erode, will be temporarily augmented with one more 3-tier AC and seven more sleeper class coaches.

The train would have 21 coaches after augmentation. This temporary augmentation will be till November 28 from Puducherry, and till November 29 from Mangalore Central, a press release by the Palakkad division of Southern Railways said.

According to another press release, one extra AC 3-tier coach has been added to the train nos. 12133/12134 CST Mumbai–Mangalore Junction-CST Mumbai Express.

This coach would be attached till November 15 from CST Mumbai, and till November 16 from Mangalore Junction.

This arrangement is purely on temporary basis to clear the extra rush of passengers, the release added.

Diwali Gift: Special Trains from Jaipur to Asansol and Ahmedabad

Jaipur: The festival of Diwali is not far and the Railways already thought of gifting the people ahead of the festival by running three special trains on route from Jaipur to Asansol. The addition of these trains have not only saved commuters from waiting for long hours in the queue but also provided relief. The trains would ply from Asansol to Jaipur and back to Asansol on a weekly basis. There are weekly trains from Ahmedabad to Jaipur and back to Ahmedabad. Another train would be seen on the tracks of Ahmedabad to Lucknow and back to Ahmedabad on a weekly basis.

The train from Jaipur to Asansol was flagged off on Saturday at eight in the morning.

As per information released by the Ministry of Railways, the train from Jaipur to Asansol was flagged off on October 5 will continue to ply on an weekly basis till November 30. The train would start from Jaipur at 8 am on every Saturday and would reach Asansol the next day at 9.25 am. The train from Asansol to Jaipur would start on Friday at 9 am from Asansol and reach Jaipur at 6.30 am. The schedule will be followed till November 29.

The train would stop at Dhanbad, Koderma, Gaya, Dehri on Sone, Sasaram, Mughalsarai, Allahabad, Kanpur, Tundla, Agra Fort, Bandikui, Dausa, and Gandhi Nagar stations.

The timings of the Ahmedabad-Jaipur-Ahmedabad weekly trains are a special train from Ahmedabad to Jaipur from October 18 to November 29 with the train starting from Ahmedabad, every Friday, at 4.30 pm and reach Jaipur on the next day at 6.35 am. The train from Jaipur would start from October 19 at 8 am and reach Ahmedabad at 7.35 pm the next day. This schedule is expected to continue till November 30. The train would cross Sabarmati, Mehsana, Palanpur, Abu Road, Sirohi Road, Falna, Rani, Marwad junction, Byavar, Ajmer, Kishangarh, and Fulehra stations.

The special train that would ply on Ahmedabad-Lucknow-Ahmedabad route would be scheduled from October 14 to November 25 as: Special weekly train would start from Ahmedabad on every Monday at 11.35 am and reach the next day at Jaipur at 11.20 am, at Lucknow at 2.30 pm. The train from Lucknow to Ahmedabad would be scheduled on a weekly basis from October 16 to November 27 with train from Lucknow starting at 2.30 pm and reaching Jaipur at 6.35 pm, and on Thursday to Ahmedabad at 7.15 pm. This train would stop at Sabarmati, Mehsana, Palanpur, Abu Road, Falna, Marwar Junction, Ajmer, Kishangarh, Jaipur, Gandhi Nagar, Dausa, Bandikui, Bharatpur, Achnera, Mathura Junction, Mathura Chhavni, Haathras city, Kaasganj, Gunjdudwada, Farukkabad, Kanauj, Kanpur, and Anwarganj stations.

Royal Rajasthan on Wheels set to chug from October 6

Udaipur: The luxury train, ‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ started by Rajasthan Tourism in conjunction with Indian Railways will start on its journey from Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi  on October 6. There will be 26 passengers on board the train as compared to the actual limit, which is 82.

During its journey of seven nights or eight days, the train would start on its royal journey from New Delhi and travel through Jodhpur, Chittorgarh, Udaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and then enter Agra for the tourists to visit Taj Mahal. Apart from Agra in Uttar Pradesh, the train would travel through Varanasi back to Delhi.

Proving to be a perfect example of travelling extravaganza, this train offers a travel experience that attracts tourists from far and wide. With interiors furnished with details that remind one of the bygone era of splendor and magnificence, this train contains all items of luxury such as ‘spa’, ‘gym’ among others.

The royal luxury train, designed to satisfy the growing demand of luxury train travelling, has a capacity of 82 passengers on board and its fare is 5775 $ per person and its cost per person per suite is estimated to be 11,200 $.

Member (Engineering) inspects Jaipur Metro

jaipur-MetJAIPUR: Member (Engineering), Railway Board and ex-Officio Secretary to Union Government Mr.Subodh Jain inspected Jaipur Metro on Saturday.

At the sites, Jain inspected the track, electrification and the signals. But his major thrust was on the safety and the technical aspects of Metro sites.

Railway board project advisor Pradeep Kumar and Jaipur Metro chairman & managing director Nihal Chand along with the officials from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation were also present. They briefed Jain about the safety measures taken in the project.

Jain also took a ride on a train from Mansarovar to Shyam Nagar. Along with that, he inspected the elevated route and track signals. At Mansarovar station, he checked the automatic fare collection system and safety arrangements. He also inspected the Mansarovar to Chand Pole route.

After the day-long inspection, Jain said that railway issues clearance to Metro projects after ensuring proper safety and checking the technical systems. The railway board has issued almost all clearances to Jaipur Metro, he added.

He also talked about the scheduled oscillation trials by Research Design and Standard Organization (RDSO), a research wing of the railway board in November and said that on the basis of RDSO recommendations, more clearances for Jaipur Metro will be issued.

“This trial is a legal necessity before the train opens for passengers,” said Jain. During the trial, the RDSO will inspect the vibration on the tracks while the train is in motion. He also pointed out that compared to other metros, the width of the train here is less and hence safer on sharp curves. There is no reason for the train to get unstable on sharp curves, he said.

Indian Railway’s guard H Kumar soon-to-be the Producer and Director of Bollywood Films

1899145From being a struggling actor to a soon-to-be producer and director, Indian Railway’s guard H Kumar talks about his life and struggles aboard the Borivli slow.

In the middle of the photo shoot at Churchgate station, when H Kumar happily poses for us with a hoarding of Phata Poster Nikla Hero as the backdrop, a commuter rushes past, gets into a train and yells, “Kumar sahab hamare hero hain.” I smile at him, but H Kumar, is still in character, holding his pose and expression. It’s probably something he learnt in his three month-long acting workshop in 1984, in which veteran actor Pankaj Kapur would teach the class and at times bring along his then 4-year-old son Shahid, the lead actor in the film, the poster of which Kumar stands against.

“I’m no Dilip Kumar or Amitabh Bachchan. I didn’t ‘struggle’ in the conventional sense. I didn’t sleep on the roads or outside film studios; nor did I go hungry for days,” H Kumar tells me seconds after we enter his office, a rather lonely guard’s cabin at the end of the 8.33pm Churchgate-Borivli slow local.

He rises from his high chair and stands at the door when the train is about to arrive at Marine Lines station, takes a quick look at the platform and continues, “My father passed away when I was very young. He was only 50. I had four sisters and a brother to take care of, I couldn’t afford to simply struggle on the streets. I took up this job after my father in 1988. He was also in the railways. I would fend for my entire family.” That didn’t mean he had to give up his childhood dream of becoming an actor.

For the first five years of his job as a guard in his hometown Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, Kumar would often visit Mumbai with his photographs to get a break in Bollywood. “I had already acted in a small budget film in 1986. It was called Daaku Bijlee and was made by a Hyderabadi pilot, who was interested in making films,” he says, signaling to the motorman in the front of the train to start moving away from Charni Road station.

Kumar would visit studios and producers for a role and they would always ask him to leave his photographs behind and promised to call if they had a role for him. No one, of course, ever called.

But that never worried him because he had a great job. He would travel in an air-conditioned coach to Mumbai, stay in a luxurious railway guesthouse in Mumbai Central and eat good food.

In 1993, he thought he was too far away from his dream and asked for a transfer to Mumbai.

“Mumbai mein do hi cheez chalti hain, ek local train, jo main chalata hoon aur ek kismat jo main aazmaane aa gaya (Only two things work in Mumbai; the local train and destiny, which I came to pursue).” Since then, he only managed to get small roles in a few unsuccessful Bollywood films and a couple of regional films, the most notable one being the role of an inspector in the 1998 Dharmendra starer Kalicharan, that didn’t do as well as the one Subhash Ghai directed in 1976.

Three decades and almost no success later, Kumar has neither given up on the industry nor is he a bitter man. “Why should I be bitter? The railway has given me a 1000 sq ft apartment in Bandra, I get free travel, my medical expenses are taken care off, my salary is Rs70,000 and I have 10 years of service still to go, I am not overworked, my children study in good schools and I’m soon going to make my own film,” he says, while walking across the compartment to look at the train arriving at Mumbai Central station.

Five years ago, Kumar registered his production house — Kumar Sippy Films and became a member of the India Motion Picture Producers’ Association. In November, he will start shooting for his first film as a director and producer Tu Hi Mera Pyaar, which he says is “loosely inspired” from the 1979 Mithun Chakraborty film Tarana that was made by Rajshri Productions. It’s a simple concept — a city boy from a well-to-do family falls in love with a good looking girl from the Banjara community that travel across the country and camps in tents. He hands me a CD and says, “This (the CD) has the songs of my film. Kumar Sanu, Alka Yagnik and Sadhana Sargam are the singers. The music directors are Ketan-Suman, they are new.” Who are the actors, I ask. “I am considering Jackky Bhagnani. Govinda’s nephew Vinay Anand, who has done well for himself in Bhojpuri films, is also a good option,” he says. “Ladka khoobsurat hai, accha dancer bhi hai, apne budget ke hisab se theek hai,” he adds.

The budget for the film is Rs1 crore, some of the money is his own, some his friends have invested and a lot of it has come from one Abhay Veer Solanki, who Kumar says, belongs to a royal family from Bharatpur, Rajasthan.

After the train leaves Lower Parel station, I ask him if the prospect of the film failing at the box office scares him and he quickly dismisses the possibility. “I know A to Z of this industry. There is no way I am going to incur a loss. I’ll easily convert the Rs1 crore we are investing into Rs2 crore from the distribution, audio, video, satellite and oversees rights,” he says with an unnerving

As I stand at the door looking at my destination fast approaching, he asks me the only question of the night, “Don’t you ever want to become an actor?” No, I tell him, I always wanted to be a writer.

“Write for me someday,” he says, signaling the motorman to leave the platform and waving at me, once again lonely in his cabin inside a crowded train on a monsoon night.

Safety works give KRCL smooth run in monsoon

MARGAO: The multi-crore, geo-safety works undertaken in phases by the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) to stabilize the cuttings and slopes along its rail route from Roha in Maharashtra to Mangalore in Karnataka are nearing completion. But the results are already, pleasantly, showing.

Save for a minor landslide that caused a large boulder to fall onto the tracks near the Adavali station in Ratnagiri, disrupting traffic for only a couple of hours, the recent monsoon season has been trouble-free for the KRC, say its officials.

The rains, in past seasons, have been a time for delayed and even disrupted rail travel, with minor and major landslides commonplace.

Towards putting an end to this annual monsoon nightmare, the KRCL has incurred, since its inception, an expenditure of nearly Rs.300 Crore, says Baban Ghatge, senior public relations manager, KRCL.

Of this, 26crore has been spent just on various geo-tech safety works along the route in the current year. Railway sources say another 200crore has been earmarked for undertaking permanent measures during the next three years.

Ghatge explains that the works undertaken include earthwork for flattening of cutting slope and provision of berms, catchwater drain lining, reinforced cement concrete retaining walls, gabion walls, concreting, rock bolting, soil nailing, micro-piling, etc.

“The emphasis on safety works this time was on stabilizing cuttings and tunnels and improvement of track in order to ensure safe passage for trains,” he says.

Sources say 340crore has been earmarked for undertaking permanent measures in tunnels and cuttings for a five-year period from 2011-12 to 2015-16.

KRCL chief public relations officer, Siddeshwar Telugu told that earth stabilization works have been completed in 87 cuttings along the Maharashtra-Karnataka route so far.

“The incidences of boulder fall/soil slips have been reduced considerably on completion of flattening of deep-cutting slopes, rock bolting/shotcreting of tunnels, construction of lined catchwater drains etc,” says Siddeshwar.

Pointing out that ground settlement (sinking of earth) at Nivsar station near Ratnagiri had turned out to be a bottleneck for the smooth running of train traffic, he says the problem was tackled by providing a diversion line at Nivsar station yard before the monsoon of 2011.

“Thereafter, there has been no unusual occurrence of ground settlement and traffic has been running uninterrupted,” he says with a smile.

Pomendi cutting in Ratnagiri region with the depth of cutting (excavation) exceeding more than 45 m, was another problem zone for the KRCL.

Railway sources say that as per the recommendations of the expert committees constituted for the purpose, various geo-tech safety works were carried out.

These included widening of the deep-cutting slopes by providing berms, concrete-lined catchwater drains, berm water drains, cross drains, side drains, retaining wall, grass plantation to help preventing soil erosion, etc, for making the slopes stable.

Approximately three lakh cu m of earthwork was executed and approximately 1,200 cu m of concrete lining done in the region to prevent any unusual landslide, say sources. The positive effect is already there to see.

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