CRS to inspect newly converted BG line between Ratlam-Fatehabad on 24 Feb

Passenger Train traffic to begin early this March

Ratlam (RTM):  The much awaited Ratlam- Fatehabad broad gauge rail traffic may begin from early next month. Commissioner, Railway Safety ( CRS), will start inspection of the gauge conversion of 84 km route from February 24.

Ratlam- Fatehabad gauge conversion, which started 14 months ago, is almost completed. Western Railway, Ratlam Division, PRO Pradeep Sharma informed that CRS Padam Singh Baghel and his technical team will start a three- day inspection of the converted broad gauge track from February 24. The CRS have a special train equipped with special instruments to check the security aspects of the rail track, signaling system and other works.

Baghel is expected to issue clearance certificate soon after the completion of the inspection, said the PRO. There after the division will seek the permission from the Railway Board to open the track for train movements. The board will decide the date of opening of the track for the train movements. Most probably the track will be opened for train movements early next month, he added.

For the gauge conversion of the Ratlam- Fatehabad section, the railway took the block of the section for only six months – from January 1 to June 30, 2013. But the conversion work is completed now, making the project delayed by eight months.

Next Fatehabad- Indore gauge conversion

Fatehabad- Ratlam gauge conversion is not going to benefit the rail passengers of the city, until the Fatehabad- Indore MG section is converted. The railway may start Fatehabad- Indore gauge conversion after March 5 and train movements on this section will be blocked during the work. Gauge conversion of this section will be a boon for passengers of this route.

Trains coming from Khandwa side will be terminated at Indore station during the gauge conversion. Ratlam- Fatehabad DMU After the gauge conversion the passengers of the Ratlam- Fatehabad section will be able to travel to and fro on this section through DMU train. Railway minister Mallikarjun Khadge had announced a DMU train on this section in the recent rail budget.

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BEST gives up plot to MRVC for extension of Harbour line

Mumbai: A roadblock in extending the Harbour line network from Andheri to Goregaon station was cleared after the BEST handed over a portion of its land at Jogeshwari to the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

Thousands of commuters, who travel from CST to the western suburbs daily, will benefit from the extension of Harbour line services from Andheri to Goregaon.

Currently, suburban trains run on the Harbour line network from CST to Andheri (via Bandra). One train plies to Borivli, but it switches at Andheri from Harbour to the WR track.

“The 104sqm plot owned by the undertaking was a hindrance to the project as it came in the way of laying new tracks,” said a BEST source. BEST General Manager Om Prakash Gupta brought a proposal before the transport undertaking’s panel seeking clearance for handing over the plot for the railway project.

“The committee has cleared the proposal and we have paved the way for the extension of Andheri-Goregaon Harbour line,” said Gupta. “The work on extending the network was being undertaken by the MRVC under the MUTP-II scheme,” he added.

The project will provide much needed relief to commuters as they will get direct access from Goregaon to CST and also Panvel (using the Harbour network) in future. “Sources in MRVC said that the Harbour line extension is proposed by providing additional pair of lines on the West side of existing slow corridor (WR). “This, however, requires acquisition of land and this is being done through the district collector’s office,” a source said.

“The plot of land belonging to the BEST along the railway boundary was required for the project urgently. Since the land is transferred the work of laying tracks will be expedited,” said an MRVC source.

Coal blocks lying idle due to lack of Rail link for coal evacuation

ET Manufaturing SummitState-miner Coal India (CIL) has three to four fully developed large-size coal blocks ready for production lying idle for lack of railway linkages for coal evacuation.

The news, given by a representative of the thermal power sector hit by fuel shortages, comes in the backdrop of coal block de-allocations being undertaken by the coal ministry. “Recently, the Coal India chairman told me that they have 3-4 large-size coal blocks that have been fully developed and are ready to produce, but they have no linkage with the railways for evacuation of coal,” Lajpat Srivastav, CEO Hindustan Power Projects, said here Thursday at the ET Power Focus Summit.

Warning that the country was looking at coal shortage to the tune of 160-170 million tonnes beyond 2015-16, Srivastav said: “A high-powered committee was supposed to be looking into the coal evacuation issue.”

A high-level inter-ministerial committee was constituted during the second quarter by the Prime Minister’s Office to consider faster implementation of critical railway projects in potential coalfields.

The coal ministry said at the time that three critical rail links were being fast-tracked to ensure transportation of coal from CIL mines in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The projects are likely to be completed by the end of 2017.

Coal India Chairman S. Narsing Rao has said that the three coalfields require only about 300 km of rail connectivity to provide at least 300 million tonnes of additional coal production per year.

Railway Board floats participatory model document: Member Engineering

New Delhi: Railway Board have circulated a document on a participatory model and revived the concept of non-governmental railways means the stakeholders can have their own lines, said Subodh Jain, Member – Engineering, Railway Board.

“Today, Indian Railways don’t have the structured technology mission and structured programme, we need to bring down the unit cost of transportation system. Also, we are working in the field of locomotive that will come in next two years- the model called locomotive high powered fuel efficient,” said Jain.

While addressing the conference Jain highlighted current constraints included capacity constraints due to under investment in Infrastructure, unable to capture growth in transport demand, cross subsidization of passenger traffic and perhaps only system functioning without subsidy and results in freight traffic moving to road which causes the inefficient use of energy, higher environmental cost, higher ratio of freight cost to GDP.

To bring down the unit cost of transportation includes modern rolling stock, higher speed & higher axle loads, mechanised maintenance practices, Jain added.

For improvement in passenger train’s speed & comfort, improved the signalling, improved rolling stock and increased safety, reduction of level crossings, Instrumentation of track and vehicles and train protection and warning system (TPWS), added Jain.

IRFC Overseas Bond issue subscribed six times

Mumbai:  Indian Railway Finance Corporation has raised $500 million or about Rs.3,100 crore through privately placed bonds with institutional investors in US, Europe and Asia. They are offering a coupon of 3.917% for five-year maturity.

“The issue was fully subscribed on Wednesday itself,” a senior IRFC official told on conditions of anonymity. “We will buy currency hedge over a period of time but not today itself. Rupee should be more stable after the general election. We stand to gain in case of any rupee appreciation.”

Bonds can be traded in the secondary market and will be listed in the Singapore Stock Exchange. The coupon has been derived at after adding 245 basis points over and above the five-year US Treasury bill which was trading at about 1.47%.

The company has headroom to raise $1,000 million or 1 billion under the external commercial borrowing route as mandated by the government. Earlier in December, 2013; the company had raised $400 million. These bonds do not have any call or put option. IRFC will repay its liability at a fixed rate in bullet mode that is in one-shot at the end of five years.

Three rating companies namely Moody’s, S&P and Fitch have rated the issuance with Baa3, BBB- and BBB- grades respectively. These offshore bonds are called Regulation S where they may not be necessarily offered and sold within US.

ANZ, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and The Royal Bank of Scotland are some of the investment bankers for the issue and were the book running lead managers. Listing of the bonds will be on Singapore’s SGX exchange.  Majority of subscription has come from fund managers while banks and insurance players too have invested.

“The issue evinced good amount of interest among investors. We received an order book for $3 billion. We rejected the rest above the issue limit,” said an investment banker who did not wish to be identified.

IRCTC launches E-wallet scheme to make the payment process faster

New Delhi: An E-wallet scheme has been launched by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking of the Ministry of Railways, to make the payment process fast and to reduce transaction failures due to bank payment related problems.

Under this scheme, users can deposit money in advance with IRCTC which can be used as a payment option along with other payment options available on the IRCTC website for paying money at the time of booking tickets. This scheme is available for PAN verified users only.

Names of all passengers booked on a fully waitlisted e-ticket are dropped at the time of preparation of reservation charts and fare is refunded automatically.

There is no difference between e-tickets booked through E-wallet scheme or those booked through other payment options available on the website,

This was stated by the Minister of State for Railways, Mr Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

Newly sanctioned Chamarajanagar-Bangalore passenger train to run from March

Chamarajanagar (CMNR): Commuters traveling on Mysore-Bangalore route have reasons to cheer. An additional train to operate between Chamarajnagar and Bangalore has been sanctioned in the supplementary budget. What’s more, the new train which might be operationalised next month . The train to Varanasi will not be on the tracks before the end of this financial year and the Mysore division of the South Western Railway could start its operation in July.

Chamarajnagar MP R Dhruvanarayan, who had requested the minister to introduce Chamarajnagar-Bangalore train, has his way as the new train was approved during a discussion on rail budget in Rajya Sabha. Dhruvanarayan is seeking early morning train to connect Chamarajnagar to the IT city to help the commuters from the border district. The MP said he has asked the railway officials to operate the new train during morning hours.

Sources told that the newly sanctioned train can be operationalised within few weeks as the Mysore division has to make local arrangements. The existing trains operating between Mysore and Bangalore can be utilized to start the operations between Chamarajnagar and Bangalore by extending them, they explained pointing at the extension of Mysore-Tirupathi train to Chamarajnagar some time back. “However, we need additional coaches to operate the Mysore-Varanasi train. The Railway Board sanctions the additional coaches periodically,” they stated.

The new training between Chamarajnagar and Bangalore will assist the travelers on Mysore- Bangalore route adding to the traffic. Over 50,000 passengers are traveling on Mysore-Bangalore line with some 30,000 passengers taking outbound trains from the city towards Bangalore. The number of outbound passengers from Mysore has doubled in five years owing to number of trains and their frequency. The railway ministry has also sanctioned direct train from Chikmagalur to Bangalore following request by Udupi-Chikmagalur MP Jayaprakash Hegde. This train is also likely to be operationalised from March.

Chamarajnagar-Bangalore line

Meanwhile, the works to build direct link between Bangalore and Chamarajnagar is likely to start next week. The state government, which has agreed to share the cost of the project, is expected to clear it at Thursday’s cabinet meeting, sources stated. Though Kharge was expected to launch the works this week, the state government’s delay to clear the grants has delayed it. As the calendar of events for the Lok Sabha polls is expected to be announced in second week of March, the MP is planning to get the groundwork this month end, sources stated.

Works will be launched to build 142 kms new railway line connecting Kollegal, Malavalli and Kanakapura. This is the Phase I of the 260 kms Bangalore-Satyamangalam line. A year back, the Karnataka government pledged to share the cost after which the project was announced in the rail budget on February 26, 2013. This follows completion of the survey for the new line in 2006. It was estimated to cost Rs 1,100 crore, which is now expected to cost Rs 2,000 crore.

Mumbai Suburban Railway needs INR 52000 Crore to keep running

Mumbai: The world’s densest Mumbai Suburban system the one in which 7.5 million Mumbaikars travel cattle class every day requirements approximately INR 52,000 crore till 2031 to sustain itself and make your commute slightly less horrendous than what it is today.

The INR 52,000-crore estimate is expenditure on projects between 2011 and 2031. The bad news: the mega projects envisaged under this, also known as the Mumbai Urban Transport Project phase 3, should have started in 2011. Unfortunately, 4 years down the line, the MUTP-III is still trapped in the files of the railway ministry. Neither the babus running the ministry nor the state government has shown even a cursory interest in freeing it for your benefit.

A railway official said, “It is the worst phase for the railways currently. Projects under MUTP-I are over, some MUTP-II projects have started. But it is the third phase, which will take the city’s suburban system to the next level.”

The railways cites item 3.3 (g) of the Indian Railway Vision 2020, which former railway minister Mamata Bannerjee had placed before Parliament in 2010. It says “partnership with state authorities will be necessary for the development of suburban rail systems”.

A senior railway official said, the word ‘partnership’ is what is causing the problem, say officials. “For the railways it means ‘finances’ whereas for the government it means providing all the ‘support’, a loose word, needed to build a rail line something that we officially call the ‘State Support Agreement.”

The result: projects that should have begun by now if they were to make commuters’ lives a bit easy by the end of this decade have collapsed.

The INR 10,000-crore Virar-Vasai-Diva-Panvel suburban line is an example. While the railways wants it to be built on the back of taxes levied by local area bodies through which the rail route would go, the government is still to bite the bullet.

The INR 20,000-crore Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar elevated corridor plan has collapsed. Only it needs to be officially announced that the project’s been scrapped. Other projects like the CST-Panvel and CST-Kalyan elevated corridors too might go the same way.

Railways’ require INR 2000 Crore to upgrade/replace Old Tracks to carry more Cargo

New Delhi: The Railways’ move to upgrade its network to carry more cargo is expected to create additional capacity of about 15-16 million tonne a year, without investing in more wagons.

At present, about 35,000 route km that cover about 70 per cent of rail lines engaged in carrying freight allow for higher carrying capacity, according to a Railway Ministry source.

“Through this proposal, freight users will pay the same charges per tonne. But, they can move more cargo per train. Also, for the Railways, the load per wagon will increase only by about two tonnes, as these routes currently permit two tonne less loads per wagon,” said an official.

However, the move will require an incremental investment of about Rs.2,000 crore to replace old tracks and upgrades, said another Railway Ministry official.

Wagons can carry a load of pre-defined capacity plus nine tonnes, with a leeway to load one more tonne without any overload penalty across the entire railway network, according to the interim budget. In the Indian Railways network, the average load carried per wagon is about 62 tonne, though some wagons carry up to 67 tonne .

A capacity creation of 15 million tonne will account for about 30 per cent of the 50 million tonne incremental loading that the railways aim to move in the next fiscal. In 2014-15, the railways has set a target to move 1,101 million tonne of cargo. To carry higher load per wagon, the Railways needs to invest in wagons, improving the rail tracks and bridges.

Incidentally, the pace of wagon acquisition has slowed in the last few years with each wagon being able to carry higher load at one end, and the loading growth slowing down on the back of an economic slowdown.

Market Borrowings

This is also reflected in the lower amounts market borrowings proposed for the next year — ₹12,800 crore from about ₹14,000 crore — for procuring rolling stock including wagons, locomotives and coaches. However, railway officials maintain that they will revise the borrowing target upwards if required.

More than 20000 People killed on Railway tracks in 2013

New Delhi: Nearly 20,000 people were killed on rail tracks across the country in 2013, Lok Sabha was informed today.

While 19,997 persons died on tracks, 1,63,645 were prosecuted for trespassing last year, Minister of State for Railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in a written reply.

Railways realised Rs.3.64 crores as fines from people for trespassing on rail lines.

Chowdhury said railways have decided to eliminate all unmanned level crossings gradullay by closing some of the crossings and by constructing road over bridges (ROB) and road under bridges (RUB).

He said passengers awareness programmes are being organised about the fatalities of crossing rail tracks.

He also said regular announcements are made through public address systems at important railway stations urging the passengers to use foot-over bridges and to avoid crossing the railway tracks.

Gujarat put MEGA on fast track – issues tender to appoint General Engineering Consultants

Ahmedabad (ADI):  The Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Limited has floated a global tender to appoint General Engineering Consultant (GEC) for implementation of phase-1 of the project.

The expected cost of for the project would be around Rs.400 crore, which will be used for design review, system integration, assisting in procurement, construction supervision, project management, contract administration, interface management and assistance in testing and commissioning of various systems.

The Phase-1 includes North South Corridor (Motera to APMC) and East West Corridor (Thaltej Gam to Vastral) in Ahmedabad of Gandhinagar – Ahmedabad Metro Rail Project.

“The appointment of GEC will enable MEGA to rope in subject expertise from domestic as well as global metro rail industry, which will be helpful to MEGA to put the Metro Rail Project on the fast track,” an official statement said on Thursday.

KCCI demands tax relief to traders hit by Kochi Metro works

Kochi:  The Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry  (KCCI) has said that the state government should give relief to the business establishments affected by the construction of the Kochi Metro Rail by waiving them various taxes, electricity and water fares.

E P George, chairman of the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said on Wednesday that the entire business community supported the demand raised by the CPM Ernakulam district committee in this regard.

Hundreds of establishments functioning on  either sides of the stretch from Aluva to Pettah, where the Metro Rail work was in progress, were in deep trouble as business has plunged owing to the construction activities and the low volume of passenger traffic, the CPM district committee had stated the other day. It said the Corporation, the municipalities of Aluva and Kalamassery and the Choornikkara panchayat should extend relief to the businessmen in trade licence charge, land tax and other taxes with retrospective effect, the statement said.

The contractors are not obeying the traffic regulations on either side of the road. It sought the immediate intervention of district administration, the state government and the local self-government bodies.

GRP firing mishap: Inquiry committee constituted on the death of Head Constable

Nagpur (NGP): Government Railway Police (GRP) have constituted an inquiry committee to probe into the firing mishap which claimed life of a head constable at the Ajni headquarters on Wednesday. The GRP have also asked its personnel to participate in a refresher session on how to deal with firearms.

Head constable Rajesh Bagdikar had sustained a bullet injury in his stomach after constable Eknath Lahutkar accidentally fired from a 9mm pistol. The Ajni police had booked Lahutkar for causing death of Bagdikar due to negligence. Lahutkar too was injured as the bullet had pierced through his left palm.

Railway Cops hunt for man who stole Escalator Plates at Kalyan

Kalyan Jn (KYN):  Teams from three agencies are looking for the miscreant who made away with the plates worth Rs 1.3 lakh from inside the Kalyan railway station.

Three police agencies are looking for a miscreant who stole the floor plates from the newly installed escalator at the Kalyan railway station.

Embarrassed railway officials have taken the matter so seriously that Central Railway’s top security boss AK Singh on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting of Railway Protection Force officers, demanding an explanation for the incident and asking them to find the culprit at the earliest.

Apart from the RPF team, teams of the railway police’s own Crime Intelligence Branch and Kalyan city police are also investigating the case.

“A case has been registered under Section 3 of Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act,” said Alok Bohra, senior divisional security commissioner. “The estimated cost is around Rs 1.3 lakh. We have formed teams under Assistant Security Commissioner-Mulund and staff from Kalyan RPF and have also alerted the city police from Kalyan. We will nab the offender and make the recovery soon.”

Early morning on February 4, station officials noticed that the metal floor plate of the escalator on platform number one was missing. Officials, who were convinced that the theft must have occurred between 2 am and 4 am when there is no one on the platforms, alerted the RPF.

RPF sources said their informers told them they saw a man hanging around the spot, trying to loosen the plates on two occasions. The plates are firmly embedded to the ground, but are not fastened with bolts.

“The plates come off with a firm push if you insert a metal rod in the gap,” said an RPF officer. “The accused seems to have loosened the plates in two different attempts. He then seems to have come back and carried the plates away.”

Railway officials had to shut down the escalator for a day before new plates were installed. A CR official said the incident has raised concerns as the railway is in the process of installing escalators in all suburban railway stations. “That someone can so easily make off with the plates has become a huge concern for us,” said an officer.

RPF officials, who said the escalator fell out of their CCTV coverage area, have asked railway officials to install collapsible gates around the place for added safety.

Kalyan station, which sees 2.5 lakh commuters daily, will soon get a second escalator on the other end of the same platform. Dadar, Thane, Kalyan and Dombivli are the other stations that have escalators, which are functional between 6 am and 10 pm. For the first few weeks, officials had stationed two minders for each escalator, which has since come down to one.

A V Purohit takes charge of Sr.DME at Rajkot Railway division

Rajkot (RJT): Mr.A.V.Purohit has taken over the charge of the post of Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer (Sr.DME) at Rajkot Division of Western Railway.

According to sources, he started his career in Railways in 1990 as a Junior Engineer in Mechanical Department and got promoted as Assistant Mechanical Engineer in 1996. He has rich experience of working on various posts at other Divisions such as Ahemdabad, Ajmer and Vadodara. In recognition to his outstanding performance, he has been awarded General Manager Award from GM Western Railway in the year 2012.

Prior to his appointment as Sr.DME-Rajkot, he was holding to the post of Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer (Coaching) at Head Quarter-Churchgate. He has succeeded Shri N.T.Bhirud who has been transferred to Deputy Chief Mechanical Engineer (Running) at Head Quarter-Churchgate.

Prize Distribution Ceremony of Sports Meet Organized by RWWCO

New Delhi:  As part of its annual activities the Railway Women’s Welfare Central Organization (RWWCO) organized a Sports Meet for the children of staff and officers working in Railway Board, RITES, IRCON, COFMOW, CRIS, IRWO, CONCOR, DFCCIL, RVNL, etc. last week at the Karnail Singh Stadium, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by Smt.Kanta Kumar, President, RWWCO and nearly 250 children participated in the events.  Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board was the Chief Guest and gave away certificates, prizes & souvenirs to winning children.

RWWCO is the apex body of the chain of women’s welfare organisations spread over all Indian Railways engaged in the task of welfare of railwaymen and their families through various need-based socio/welfare activities. The organization started its activities in 1962 after Indo-China War, and while the primary concern of the Organisation is the welfare of Railway employees and their families, it has always risen to the call of the society and the nation- be it environmental awareness, family welfare drives, disturbances on the borders or the natural calamities. It is one of the fore-runner voluntary Organisations in the country today.

Budget allocated for Indian Railways Institute of Financial Management at Secunderabad

Secunderabad (SC): A proposal to set up Indian Railway Institute of Financial Management (IRIFM) at Secunderabad was included in the Railway Budget 2013-14 at a cost of Rs.19.26 crore.

The objectives of setting up this Centralized Training Institute include imparting necessary structured and professional training to the officers of Indian Railways Accounts Service and other officers of Accounts Department. These officers are responsible for professional management of finances and accounts and the Institute will enable them acquire knowledge and skill to better face and emerging challenges and tap opportunities for strengthening the finances of Indian Railways.

Subject to availability of funds, it is proposed to make this Institute functional by the end of 2016.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Kochi Metro works hit as unidentified men reportedly stopping trucks bringing raw materials

Kochi: A severe shortage of broken rocks and manufactured sand has nearly brought construction work on Kochi metro rail project to a halt.

“Unidentified people” have been reportedly stopping trucks bringing raw materials for the Metro Rail works soon after quarry owners and crusher operators called for an indefinite strike on Monday.

“We used to work on 15 piles a day; now it has come down to one,” said a senior official of the Kochi Metro Rail Limited on Wednesday. He said one of the trucks that was bringing m-sand for the metro works was forced to empty the load at Pulinchuvadu, near Aluva, on Tuesday. Some people were trying to scare drivers off, he said.

But the groups that are spearheading the strike have denied adopting strong-arm tactics.

Zulfkier Ali, the secretary of All Kerala Quarry and Crusher Operators’ Association, which is among the three organisations that has given the call for an indefinite strike, denied blocking transport of raw materials.

Former Aluva MLA M.A. Yusuf, the district president of the association, too denied any such tactics on the part of the striking quarry and crusher owners. He said the entire lot of quarry owners and crusher operators in the State would join the strike on Thursday if the talks with Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty failed.

Mr. Yusuf said quarry business in the State faced serious troubles following the move to implement the Kasturirangan report in the Western Ghats. However, the more immediate cause for the ire of the quarry operators is the hike in sales tax on granite, metal and m-sand.

Mr. Ali claimed that the State Budget had recommended a hike of 14.5 per cent tax on quarry products, which was about 300 per cent rise from the present level.

A spokesman for Kerala Builders’ Association said the recommended hike in tax on quarry products would ultimate hit home buyers. He said the hike was recommended at a time when the construction industry was still reeling under a general economic recession.

Railways pensioners, staff await ‘upgraded’ medical facilities

Ludhiana (LDH): The pensioners and employees of the Northern Railways have been facing a lot of inconvenience due to the absence of medical specialists at the Sub-Divisional Hospital within the Railway Station Complex of the city.

Originally a health unit, the facility was upgraded in 2011, following which a new building and operation theaters were constructed. The Railway Board, however, did not sanction the posts of medical specialist. The pensioners and employees, therefore, are left with no option but to go to private hospitals.

As the Railway Board still considers the hospital a health unit, limited funds are allocated to it. There are a total of six sanctioned posts of doctor for the hospital, but three are lying vacant.

Sher Singh, chairman of the Northern Railways Pensioners’ Welfare Association, said, “There are more than 36,000 persons, including 4,000 pensioners, employees and their dependents, who have been suffering due to the lack of facilities at the hospital. We had struggled a lot to get the health unit upgraded, but due to the negligence of senior officials, the status of the hospital is still the same.”

Dr Chetna Kapoor, Senior Divisional Medical Officer and in-charge of the hospital, said, “The Railway Board did not sanction the Sub-Divisional Hospital; so, it is still a health unit. We have a good operation theatre, but it can’t become functional till the Railway Board sanctions more staff. We have all the medical facilities which are required in a health unit.”

31 Member Parliamentary Panel suggest CRS functions to be Autonomous

The committee suggested restructuring of CRS on priority and greater coordination between the two ministries to address the shortcomings of the existing system

New Delhi:  A parliamentary committee has blamed both Railway and Civil Aviation ministries for not taking steps for effective working of Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) and suggested enactment of a law to make it an empowered autonomous body.

CRS, under the administrative control of Civil Aviation Ministry, investigates rail accidents.

In its latest report, the Standing Committee on Transport held both the ministries responsible for the present poor state of affairs of CRS.

The committee suggested restructuring of CRS on priority and greater coordination between the two ministries to address the shortcomings of the existing system.

The 31-member panel headed by CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury has advised Railways to be careful in dealing with CRS so that its efficiency is not jeopardized.

The committee has recommended for having a separate legislation for creating an empowered autonomous body as CRS could prove to be an effective solution to address shortcomings in it.

However, the panel has observed that Railways was not in favour of a separate legislation although Civil Aviation Ministry did not express any reservation about this.

The committee emphasised upon the need to draw up clear demarcation of functioning of Railway and Civil Aviation ministries in the working of CRS.

The committee noted that both the ministries are not able to arrive at a consensus on the issues of rules making and fixing of minimum requirements.

The committee has recommended that the matter may be placed before the Cabinet Secretary to take a view on the matter.

While recommending increase in the number of CRS, the committee sought that the difficulties faced by CRS in conducting accident investigation should be adequately addressed by both the ministries.

The committee said it found that Civil Aviation Ministry puts directly or indirectly blame for all the ills in CRS on Railway Ministry, though it is of the view that restructuring and expansion of CRS is their responsibility.

Tiruchi Rail Museum: Visitors to get nostalgic from April 2014

A toy train would be introduced inside the premises for children

A view of the newly inaugurated rail museum in Tiruchi.

Tiruchirappalli (TPJ):  Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra on Tuesday inaugurated the rail museum building constructed near the Tiruchi Junction.

Mr. Misra went around the new building and offered some suggestions to the divisional railway officials.

The museum building has been constructed on an area of over 9,000 square feet at a cost of over Rs. 1 crore. The Railway Board had sanctioned funds for setting up the museum at Tiruchi.

Public access

Although the new building has been opened, the museum is expected to be thrown open to public in April to coincide with summer holidays, said railway officials.

A toy train would be operated within the sprawling museum premises for children visiting the museum.

The museum would be opened to public after laying the toy train track, completion of landscaping, and placing glass cupboards to display the artefacts and objects used by the railway during the British rule.

The museum will showcase the rich heritage of the erstwhile South Indian Railway (SIR), the landmark railway construction work executed during the colonial era, rare photographs, and documents providing insights into the developments that took place in different periods.

Exhibits would be displayed both indoor and outdoor to capture the attention of the public.

This includes old lamps, clocks, and other equipment used by the SIR.The old gazettes, railway manuals, books, and articles preserved at present in the Heritage Hall situated within the Divisional Railway Manager’s office would be kept at the museum.

Kottayam-Alappuzha doubling work: Delay shoots up cost from Rs.530 Cr to Rs.1100 Cr

Kottayam (KTYM):  Inordinate delay in doubling railway track through Kottayam and Alappuzha has doubled the cost from Rs. 530 crore in 2005 to approximately Rs. 1,100 crore now.

In 2013-’14, the railway allotted only Rs. 117 crore for track doubling in Kerala. Though no funds were earmarked in the recent interim Railway Budget for doubling works, it is expected that funds will be allocated in proportion to the previous year’s allocation. Officials are resting their hope on the full-fledged budget expected in June.

Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Southern Railway Dani Thomas said already-sanctioned doubling works in Kottayam and Alappuzha can be completed by 2017 if the railway gave Rs 400 crore each in 2014 and 2015 and Rs 300 crore in 2016.

Kottayam Doubling:

Doubling the track in the 114-km-long Ernakulam-Kottayam-Kayankulam sector would cost a total of Rs 600 crore as per current estimate. This would reduce travel time between Ernakulam and Kayankulam by around an hour.

At present, only a total of 36 km has been doubled on Ernakulam-Mulanthuruthy and Chenganur-Kayankulam portions. Another 11 km in the Mulanthuruthy-Piravom stretch will be doubled within a few months.

Mr. Thomas said the 13-km-long Piravom-Kurupunthara and the 27-km-long Chingavanam-Chengannur stretches can be doubled by 2015 if the railway allocates sufficient funds. “The 27-km-long Chingavanam-Kurupunthara stretch can be completed by 2016 if there is steady flow of funds.”

In Kottayam, State government has handed over to Railway just 10 hectares of the 40 hectares of land needed for doubling track, while the promised 10 hectares was handed over in Pathanamtitta.

On how double track will be a boon to Kerala, Mr Thomas said it will pave the way for introduction of more short- and long-distance trains in Kerala, since the existing single-track portions are saturated.

Moreover, double track is a pre requisite for introducing block signalling that can considerably speed up trains. Doubling will also enable extension of the proposed Thiruvananthapuram- Chengannur suburban rail corridor up to Ernakulam. The Ernakulam-Shornur sector already has double track.

ECR GM lays stone for New Railway Colony in Patna

Patna Jn (PNBE): ECR GM Madhuresh Kumar on Wednesday laid the stone of a railway colony, ‘Madhu Rail Vihar’, at Lakhanibigha in Khagaul. This project, estimated to cost Rs 75 crore, will be completed in 18 months. Altogether 244 railway quarters will be built in the colony.

Kumar said the railways would construct 210 Type-II, 24 Type-III and ten Type-IV quarters on the 8-acre plot, which is located at a distance of about 350 metres from the Danapur DRM’s office. The railways has given contract to a Noida-based private company to complete the project, he said.

According to the GM, one unit of quarters would be completed by August 15 this year. However, efforts would be made to complete the entire project latest by March next year. While 30% of the land would be utilized for building quarters, the rest of the land would be developed for park, roads and green area in the colony, he said.

The Danapur railway division, one of the oldest divisions of Indian Railway, is the biggest one in ECR. The number of railway employees is too large here. Besides, most of the senior railway officials who are posted at the ECR headquarters at Hajipur have also retained railway bungalows at Khagaul. Most of the old railway quarters are in dilapidated condition. As such, the railways is facing shortage of accommodation for the officials and employees of Danapur division.

Chief Administrative Officer L M Jha, Principal Chief Engineer Jitendra Kumar, Chief Engineer (Project) Narendra Kumar, Chief Personnel Officer K V Nagaich, Danapur DRM N K Gupta and Secretary to GM V Misra were also present on the occasion.

Namma Metro gets Green signal to run metro service from Peenya to Sampige Road

With the metro, the 9.9 km Peenya to Sampige Road stretch can be covered in 18 minutes. File Photo: K. Murali Kumar

With safety check complete, Namma Metro awaits government nod to commence operations – the 9.9 km stretch can be covered in 18 minutes

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) has issued safety authorisation to BMRCL to commission the Peenya Industry-Sampige Road Metro Station line.

While it would take anywhere between 45 minutes and 75 minutes to cover this stretch by road, by the Metro the journey can be completed in about 18 minutes.

CMRS S.K. Mittal told that he has permitted maximum speed of 80 km per hour on the section subject to speed limits at curves.Asked whether he had recommended any improvement regarding civil or technical infrastructure, Mr. Mittal said he had made certain minor observations, which BMRCL has to comply with before commencing operations. Otherwise, everything is fine, he added.BMRCL Director (Rolling Stock and Operation) D.D. Pahuja said the Corporation received the authorisation on Tuesday evening and brought the matter to the notice of the government on Wednesday morning. “Now, it is for the government to take a call on the date for commencing operations,” he said. But for some civil works in a few stations, BMRCL is prepared to commence operations. He said the existing facilities are adequate to operate three-car trains on the section and that pending works would be completed at the earliest.

The 9.9 km stretch has 10 stations. The Corporation expects at least 70,000 passengers to make use of the route every day. Fares are being finalised and would be published soon, he said.

The BMRCL had commenced passenger operations between M G Road and Byappanahalli (6.7 km) in October 2011.

Beware of Rise in Cases of Pickpocketing in Delhi Metro trains

New Delhi:  Government on Wednesday said a spurt of more than 450 per cent has been registered in cases of pickpocketing in Delhi Metro trains in 2013 as compared to previous years. In a written reply, Minister of State for Home Mullappally Ramachandran informed the Rajya Sabha that 653 cases of pickpocketing were reported in Delhi Metro in 2013 as against 141 and 133 cases in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

Out of the total 653 cases reported last year, only 86 were worked out in which 89 men and 12 women were arrested. The alarming trend seems to be continuing in 2014; as many as 101 such cases have been reported this year in January alone. Police managed to work out only 11 cases so far in which 12 men have been arrested, the minister said.

Although, police has taken various steps like random presence in Metro trains, patrolling at Metro stations for detection and prevention of crimes and targeted checking of suspicious persons, cases of pickpocketing seems to be on the rise.

Delhi Police has arrested several people in the last couple of months including members of a ‘blade-maar gang’ which slash commuter’s bags and pockets using a blade and decamp with their valuables. Of late, there were reports that some women pickpockets were also active in Delhi Metro trains. In the last three years, as many as 33 women and 218 pickpockets have been arrested from Metro trains, the minister said.

Train to play a key Character Role in upcoming Tamil Film

There have been times when cinema has used non-humans as characters. Birds, animals, cars and even trains have all played key roles in films.

Kannan’s Oru Oorla Rendu Raja (Two Kings In One Country) in Tamil – to soon go on the floors – will have a train as one of its characters. The director has hired a platform in Mayiladuthurai (earlier known as Mayavaram) railway station and a train for his movie.

Kannan said the train would be a “character”.

Of course, this will not be the first time that a film is going to have a non-human essaying a character. One of India’s most renowned auteurs, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, once said that a movie “is not just an actor’s performance. He is only one of the several elements…I take care to include animals or birds or even insects in my films. Man becomes truly complete only with the interplay of life forms around him, including plants and trees. This is what makes him one with Nature”.

True to this, “the street cat that strolls on the roof in Swayamvaram (One’s Own Choice), the naughty tuskers, and the black cow that chases Sankarankutty out of the shop veranda into lashing rain in Kodiyettam (The Ascent), different kinds of dogs and the hen that lays eggs in the attic in Anantaram (Monologue), the cranes, the crows, parrots, mynahs and a host of other birds, and the fish in the temple pond in Vidheyan (The Servile) are a few of these non-human actors which have made my movies richer with their presence and histrionics”.

Even more incredible was Adoor’s decision to make a palm tree a character in Nizhalkkuthu (Shadow Kill), set in pre-independence India and during Gandhi’s Quit India Movement. It talks about a hangman in the princely State of Travancore (now part of Kerala) and his guilt-ridden existence.

There have been many others in Indian cinema who have used non-humans with great effect. Elephants and dogs have essayed major roles. The stone figures of gods and goddesses have replicated men and women with heroes and heroines talking to them, complaining to them – as if they were human beings.

Trains have been great leitmotifs in cinema – and they have been wonderful Cupids. Remember that song in Professor with Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana jumping in and out of the slow moving toy train as it chugs through the Ghoom Loop, near Darjeeling (Mein chali, mein chali…). Remember Rajesh Khanna in a Jeep with Sharmila Tagore in a train in Aradhana with the evergreen number, Mere sapno ki rani…. And some of you will certainly have not forgotten one of Mani Ratnam’s best works, Alaipayuthey (Waves, which was remade in Hindi as Saathiya with Rani Mukherjee and Vivek Oberoi) starring Madhavan and Shalini. Here the train acts as Cupid.

So, the train in Kannan’s Oru Oorla Rendu Raja may well be an engaging part of the narrative.

And trains have, since time immemorial, been so romantic. They have helped men and women meet, helped them to begin a love story. Nobody can forget David Lean’s great classic, Brief Encounter – where Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson fall in love in a rail station with the story playing out against the whistle of the engines and the clanging sound of the bogies till the affair disappears in the smoke of the locomotives.

Sometimes, an estranged man-woman relationship is repaired in a train station as we saw in Kora Kagaz with Vijay Anand and Jaya Bahaduri romantically reconciling with each other in a waiting room.

So, it will be interesting to see how Kannan will use the train to weave his tale of two kings in (maybe) one train.

Light Rail Transit System proposed for Pune to connect Hinjewadi, Talawade

Pune (PUNE): Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday said the state government was contemplating Light Rail Transit (LRT) system connecting Hinjewadi IT Park and Talawade MIDC Technology Park to resolve traffic problems faced by professionals.

Speaking after inaugurating Mahatma Phule Cultural Hall in Wanowrie, Chavan said the government was keen to resolve traffic issues in the city and LRT was part of the solution to mitigate such problems. Talking to reporters at Talawade MIDC later, Chavan said, “The proposal for light rail system is in its initial stage and the state government is checking the feasibility of the project. We are willing to take forward this project. The government is not considering metro rail on this line because of technical problems.”

He stressed on the Pune metro plan, which has so far failed to take off. “Considering the traffic problems in Pune city, the state and the Centre has approved metro project and the work on actual implementation will start,” he said, adding that the state government will make all efforts to facilitate work on ring road.

Chavan said that the state government was open for discussions on biodiversity parks (BDPs). “The decision to protect the BDPs was taken only after consultations and discussions with various stake holders. Now, if someone wants to discuss the issue, we are ready to consider their views,” he said.

The CM also discussed the toll collection issue, which has turned into a contentious subject following state-wide agitations and the government subsequently announcing a new toll policy. The CM said, “The Maharashtra government has already announced that the state will have a new toll policy and a new system where a common pass would be used by commuters. The concept of e-pass will make a difference.”

Chavan said the state continues to lead when it comes to foreign investment. “Of the total foreign investment India has got in the last few years, about 38% of it has come to Maharashtra. It is a reflection that Maharashtra continues to be one of the most developed states in the country,” Chavan said.

Broad Gauge Rupayan Sangram Committees of Assam submit Memorandum to MOSR

Hailakandi (HKD): The Silchar-Lumding Broad Gauge Rupayan Sangram Committee and Broad Gauge Rupayan Sangram Committee of Tripura demanded immediate completion of the ongoing gauge conversion works of Lumding-Silchar, Arunachal-Jiribum, Badarpur-Kumarghat-Agartala and Silchar to Bairabi.

A two-member delegation comprising Sushil Paul of Silchar-Lumding Broad Gauge Rupayan Sangram Committee and Malin Deb Barman of Broad Gauge Rupayan Sangram Committee of Tripura met Union Minister of State for Railways Adhir Choudhury on Tuesday in New Delhi and submitted a memorandum addressed to the Union Railways Minister M Mallikarjun Kharge demanding early completion of the gauge conversion work.

Pointing out in the memorandum that the Silchar-Lumding gauge conversion national project was initiated by the Union Ministry of Railways in 1996-97 with a promise to complete it within 2010, the organisations expressed displeasure that hardly 60% of work has been completed after the lapse of 18 years.

In the meantime, many dates were announced with regards to the completion of the project.

The memorandum added that the entire northeastern region has remained backward even after 67 years of Independence; giving rise to a sense of neglect and thereby giving birth to a number of separatist and secessionist forces. For the inclusive growth of the region and to assuage the feeling of neglect among the people of the region it is of paramount importance to initiate developmental projects. The memorandum stressed the need of giving importance to the development of railways on a priority basis.

The organisations pointed out that the railway projects could soon become the lifeline for the States of Tripura, Mizoram, a part of Manipur and the three districts of Barak Valley. At present, the entire region is dependent on the dilapidated Jowai road which passes through Meghalaya.

There is a strong feeling among the people of this region that the 215-km-long Lumding-Badarpur BG line could not be completed even after the lapse of 18 years only due to the utter negligence of the Railways authorities.

The memorandum also hinted at the possible nexus of the transport lobby and high officials of railways causing the unexplainable delay in completion of the project. Reasons like insurgency problems, difficult hilly terrain, etc., are not at all tenable, as the 740-km-long Goa-Konkon railway project was completed within a period of seven-and-a-half years confronting much more difficult challenges compared to this project, the memorandum stated.

The memorandum also mentioned of a series of agitation from October to pressurize the Railways authorities to complete the Lumding-Badarpur section within the stipulated period. At the current pace of progress, it is highly unlikely that the project will be completed within the stipulated period.

The organisations also demanded early completion of other projects in the region, like the Bogibeel Bridge over River Brahmaputra, extension of broad gauge lines from Agartala to Sabroom, Silchar to Kolasib via Virengtee, Bairabi to Sareng, Guwahati to Burnihat, Rangapara to Arunachal Pradesh, etc. Works on all these projects are halted due to non-availability of funds.

Fire extinguishers in all Kolkata Metro coaches by end March: GM

KOLKATA: Fire extinguishers will be installed in all Metro coaches by the end of March, General Manager Rajeev Bhargava told on Wednesday. This is one of the several measures that the Metro is taking to improve safety for commuters. All air-conditioned rakes being operated by the Metro are also being fitted with the Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) that won’t allow motormen to overshoot red signals or run trains at speeds higher than the stipulated time.

“We started fitting the AC rakes with the TPWS from January 31. Till now, 12 rakes have been fitted with the system. The last rake will get the system by Thursday. On an average, it took us less than two days to install the system in a rake. This will enhance safety and bring down sole dependence on human activity to a large extent. Even if a motorman makes an error in judgement, the system will ensure that the train is safe,” Bhargava said.

The TPWS is directly linked to the signaling system. It watches out for signals. In case there is a caution (a yellow light) and the motorman fails to slow down on time, the brakes will automatically work to bring down the speed of the train. If the signal is red, the TPWS will halt the train at once just in case the motorman fails to react on time. In other words, the system will see to it that the motorman never overshoots a signal.

“We floated a tender for fire extinguishers. Within the next few days we hope to finalize the agency that will supply the fire extinguishers. By the end of March, all coaches will have fire extinguishers,” the general manager said.

According to Bhargava, Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) through Global System for Mobile Communication for Railways (GSM-R) technology will be implemented by March 31. This will allow train crew to communicate directly with stations and control rooms through the railways’ own mobile network. It will allow motormen to send emergency messages immediately. Spare capacity will be leased out to mobile service providers to increase Sundry earnings.

CCTV Surveillance & Monitoring: Maharashtra Home Dept slams WR to Beef up Security

Mumbai:  The Maharastra state Home Department has hauled Western Railway over the coals like never before, just stopping short of issuing a red alert. Why? Because the issue at stake is the safety and security of passengers and visitors at railway stations across the state in the wake of possible terror attacks. In short, millions of lives are in danger.

Apart from the installation of high-definition CCTV cameras, the home department has raised a host of issues related to passenger safety as well as better functioning of the Government Railway Police (GRP).

is in possession of some letters shot off by the top brass of the CID, crime and railways as well as State Home Secretary SK Nanda to Western Railway officials between August and October.

The contents of these communications suggest that the home department is not at all happy with the lukewarm response they got from WR to improve the situation, which directly affects the functioning of GRP and making it difficult to handle crimes on rail stations as well as on trains.

According to the first letter sent by Ashish Bhatia, who was Additional Director-General of Police, CID, Crime and Railways, in August 2013, GRP officials were facing problems while doing duty. A line in that letter read: “Time and again, the problems faced by GRP are discussed at various meetings and letters. But, the situation has remained the same.” This missive was sent to RC Agrawal, the General Manager of Western Railway, on August 6, 2013.

In his three-page letter, Bhatia raised several points that called for immediate attention of the railway authorities. The most important point was, of course, the location of GRP stations. According to him, GRP stations should be located on platforms so that police personnel can reach the crime scene easily. Bhatia, however, claimed that many GRP stations were situated outside the stations. “Railway being a soft target of any terrorist outfit, police stations have to be situated on the platforms,” he insisted.

Two other important suggestions included installation of 51 HD CCTV cameras and 18 scanner machines at the Ahmedabad railway station to keep watch on every movement. He also asked the railway officials to pay immediate attention to building a boundary wall on uninhabited stretches leading to stations to block the unauthorised entry and exit of criminals.

Taking the matter ahead, Nanda wrote a letter to Vinay Mittal, chairman of the Railway Board, on October 30, last year. He, too, issued a reminder about installing CCTV cameras at stations. Nanda pointed out about the GRP station at Vadodara station. According to him, platform 1 was the ideal place for a GRP station. “Instead, a food plaza is coming up there while the police station takes a back seat,” read the letter.

After these communications, a joint meeting was held on November 26, 2013, between top WR officials and state home department to implement the action plan. The agenda included a comprehensive plan to improve security at railway stations as well as providing basic amenities to GRP, such as barracks for night stay after patrolling and renovation of old police stations.

According to Jitendra Kumar Jayant, senior public relations officer of Western Railway in Ahmedabad, many of the suggestions had already been accepted while some would take time. “We have already finalised the installation of 51 HD CCTV cameras in and around Kalupur station. However, the installation of body scanners will take time. We are also planning to build a permanent concrete wall around the station,” he said.

Suburban trains partially cancelled on Thursday and Saturday on Chennai-Gudur section

Chennai (MAS): A few suburban trains will be partially cancelled on Chennai Central-Gudur section on Thursday and Saturday due to line block for engineering work at Tada yard.

Train 42407 Moore Market Complex (MMC) – Sulurpeta EMU local leaving MMC at 7.30am, train 42409 MMC – Sulurpeta EMU local leaving MMC at 8.30am, train 42406 Sulurpeta – MMC EMU local leaving Sulurpeta at 9.45am and train 42408 Sulurpeta – MMC EMU local leaving Sulurpeta at 11.10am will be partially cancelled between Tada-Sullurpeta on Thursday.

Train 42411 MMC-Sulurpeta EMU local leaving MMC at 9.55am and train 42412 Sulurpeta – MMC EMU local leaving Sulurpeta at 1.30pm will be partially cancelled on Saturday, according to release from the railways.

Station Ticket Booking Sewaks at ‘E’ Category Railway Staitons

With a view to facilitate Station Managers/Assistant Station Managers to concentrate better on train operations and also to facilitate passengers to get tickets, it has been decided to appoint Station Ticket Booking Sewaks (STBS) at ‘E’ category station as a pilot project for one year only. Station Ticket Booking Sewaks (STBS) shall be appointed at those identified ‘E’ category stations where no suitable candidate is found as Jan Sadharan Ticket Booking Seqk (JTBS) and the Railway concerned feels the necessity for appointment of ticketing agents at such stations.

As per categorization based on the passenger earnings for the year 2011-12, the number of ‘E’ category stations is 4158. At present, tickets at ‘E’ category stations are being sold through Station Masters/Assistant Station Masters/Booking Clerks.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

Reliance Jio at Loggerheads with Railways over right-of-way fee

Master jio logo-ver-CMYKNew Delhi:  Reliance Jio has filed a petition with the Delhi High Court against the fee collected by the Railways for giving right of way to lay optical fibre cable. According to Reliance Jio, the Railways was charging a high fee from telecom companies.

Right of way is required for telecom companies to lay optical cable under state-owned land. In this case, Reliance Jio had approached the Railways seeking permission to lay cable across stretches of land owned by the Railways.

According to an industry source, Reliance Jio had to seek legal recourse after discussions failed to arrive at mutually acceptable fee.

Reliance Jio is laying the optic fibre communcation network as part of its plans to launch 4G technology based broadband services. According to an internal Government note seen, Reliance Jio has told the court that the fee fixed by the Railways was discriminatory.

Currently M/s RailTel Corporation of India Limited – a Teleco PSU under Ministry of Railways enjoys free right of way along the Railway areas as per the MOU signed between Railways and RailTel. RailTel pays performance based dividend to Railways annually.

First train with Electric Loco flagged off on the Newly Electrified Secunderabad-Wadi Section

Secunderabad (SC): The South Central Railway crossed another milestone in track electrification on Tuesday when the first passenger train, hauled by an electric locomotive, ran from Secunderabad to Wadi on Tuesday, marking the commissioning of the electrification of 161-km-long Lingampalli-Wadi section of the Secunderabad-Mumbai line.

The train was flagged off by SCR General Manager PK Srivastava other senior officials. At present, 41 percent, ie 2,375 route km out of 5,810 route kom, on SCR has been electrified. Electrification of the Guntakal-Wadi section is in progress and work on the Guntur-Guntakal section will be taken up shortly.

The electrification of the Secunderabad-Wadi section was completed in four phases. The 27-km-long Secunderabad-Lingampalli stretch had been electrified earlier as a part of the MMTS project. Later, work on the Lingampalli-Vikarabad (50 km), Vikarabad-Tandur (41 km) and Tandur to Wadi (70 km) sections was completed.

The commissioner for railway safety has given his clearance after conducting inspection and trial run recently, facilitating the commencement of train operations with electric locomotives. Passenger and goods trains, if hauled by electric locomotives, can run faster leading to saving of valuable time and fossil fuels. It offers pollution-free and faster transportation. Freight traffic, mainly of coal, cement and clinker will become easier now in the section.

This prestigious project has been executed by the Secunderabad unit of the Allahabad-headquartered Central Organisation for Railway Electrification at a cost of Rs 204 crore.

At present, South Central Railway has got 41% of its route kms electrified i.e. 2375 route kms, out of a total of 5810 route kms. In addition, electrification works o­n another major section from Guntakal to Wadi are under active progress and works o­n Guntur to Guntakal route will also be taken up shortly.

Running the trains o­n electric traction yields several operational and economic benefits. An extended network of electrified Railway lines will enable seamless running of trains over long distances without any need for loco change from electric to diesel and vice-versa. It reduces the travel time benefiting the passengers and freight customers. Due to lesser detentions, average speed of the goods trains and passenger trains increases, which in turn improves availability of crew. Electric traction offers pollution-free transportation and considerable fuel economy, which is socio-economically beneficial.

P.K.Srivastava, General Manager/SCR complemented the team of SCR’s officers for the commendable achievement of electrifying the Secunderabad-Wadi Section.

Golden Rock Railway Workshop bags order for 1,000 container wagons

First rake of 45 container wagons of 2011 order to be dispatched

Ponmalai Golden Rock (GRC):  The railway workshop at Golden Rock here has bagged a fresh order for manufacture of 1,000 container wagons valued at Rs. 365 crore from the Container Corporation of India (CONCOR).

A letter of intent for the production of bogie low container (BLC) wagons was issued by the CONCOR, a Government of India undertaking, recently.

An agreement would soon be signed by Southern Railway top officials and the CONCOR, workshop authorities here said.

Engaged in a myriad of activities, the workshop is already manufacturing 1,000 BLC wagons, costing Rs. 291 crore, following an order it received from the CONCOR in 2011. The first rake of 45 container wagons of the 2011 order would be dispatched on Tuesday.

The BLC wagons are meant for transportation of ISO containers. The wagons have been provided with automatic twist lock to keep the container intact with wagons. An airbrake system with automatic load sensing device has also been provided.

The workshop, which started producing wagons from 1962, has manufactured more than 35,000 wagons of 53 varieties. Production work for CONCOR started in 2003. The capacity, facility, quality and timely deliver of wagons enabled the workshop in receiving orders from the CONCOR continuously.

The workshop has manufactured 3,820 container wagons worth Rs. 850 crore so far.

In addition to producing container wagons, the workshop, over 80 years old, is also involved in the manufacture of oil-fired steam locomotives for the Nilgiri Mountain Railway and stainless steel wagons besides carrying out periodic overhaul of diesel locomotives and passenger coaches.

Palani-Tiruchendur train service via Madurai flagged off

Trial run between Palani and Pollachi within two months

LINKING TEMPLE TOWNS:S.R.Jayadurai, MP, flagging off the new train service in Tiruchendur on Sunday.— Photo: N. RajeshTiruchendur (TCN):  Trial run on the newly laid broad gauge track between Palani and Pollachi would be conducted within two months, Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan said on Sunday. Flagging off the new passenger train (No.056769) to Tiruchendur at Palani railway station, as announced in the Railway Budget 2013 -14, he said the Commissioner for Rail Safety would inspect the new track.

Commissioning of signal system was at the final stage, and the work was in progress in the Pollachi section, he said. After the gauge conversion work was completed, Dindigul-Palani passenger train was introduced in 2011, and Palani-Chennai express train was launched in 2013.

The Palani-Tiruchendur train would cover four of the six abodes of Lord Muruga (arupadai veedu). The government was keen on improving infrastructure facilities for the benefit of pilgrims visiting the temple. Laying of separate walkers’ path between Dindigul and Palani was under way, Mr.Vasan noted.

The members of Passengers’ Association said office-goers expressed their happiness over the train timings. “The train that departs at 9.15 a.m. will be of no use to us. Now, we have three services in the morning and two services in the evening,” they added.

The passenger train will leave Palani station at 7.20 a.m., reach Dindigul at 8.45 a.m. and leave the station at 8.50 a.m.

The train which will arrive at Tiruchendur at 4 p.m. will stop at Chathirapatti, Oddanchatram, Akkaraipatti, Dindigul, Ambathurai, Kodai Road, Sholavandan, Madurai, Tirupparankundram, Tirumangalam, Virudhunagar, Sattur, Kovilpatti, Kadambur, Vanchi Maniyachchi, Naraikinaru, Talaiyuthu, Tirunelveli, Palayamkottai, Seydunganallur, Thathankulam, Srivaikundam, Alwathirunagari, Nazareth, Kachchanavilai, Kurumbur, Arumuganeri and Kayalpattinam.

In the return direction, the train (No.056770) will leave Tiruchendur at 10 a.m. and reach Palani at 7.20 p.m. It arrives at Dindigul at 5.35 p.m. and leaves the station at 5.40 p.m. The fare from Tiruchendur to Palani is Rs.60.

Tuticorin MP S.R. Jayadurai flagged off Tiruchendur–Palani passenger train at Tiruchendur at 10.40 a.m.

MUD Officials creates tussle over appointment of Sreedharan as Advisor to Lucknow Metro

Some in the Union Urban Ministry are seeking a re-think on E. Sreedharan’s appointment as Chief Adviser to Lucknow Metro

A tussle is brewing between the Union Urban Development Ministry and the Uttar Pradesh Government over the appointment of E. Sreedharan as chief adviser for the Lucknow metro rail project.

According to a source, an advisor to the Uttar Pradesh government was instrumental in roping in Dr. Sreedharan, but the move is being strongly contested by some senior officials in the Ministry. There are some concerns that have been expressed over the appointment, especially after his stint with the Kochi Metro has come in for criticism.  Though an announcement has been made, there is a demand from some sections in the Ministry for a re-think on the appointment,said a source.

However many IASs from the UP Government argue that the tussle was more created by the Kochi Metro’s former Managing Director Mr.Tom Jose against Sreedharan and it require no debate on the outstanding contributions Mr.E.Sreedharan made to the Metro Rail revolution in India.  It is learnt that Akhilesh is also keen to have Sreedharan as Chief Advisor to Lucknow Metro Railway.