Railways to conduct Final Location Survey for Dharwad-Kittur-Belgaum Railway line

BELGAUM: A direct railway line between Belgaum and Dharwad could soon be a reality with the railway ministry submitting a proposal to the Planning Commission to this effect. To implement this work, the Final Location Survey for Dharwad-Kittur-Belagavi (90Km) is now included in the Budget 2019-20.

At present, the train journey from Belgaum to Hubli via Londa takes nearly four hours, whereas it takes just two hours by bus.

Belgaum Member of Parliament Suresh Angadi said that all efforts are being made to get approval for the project in the fourthcoming railway budget. This is also brought to the notice of minister of state for Railways KH Muniyappa who too has assured to look into the long pending issue of Belgaum people, added Angadi.

He also said that the state government is ready to give its 50 per cent share for constructing direct railway line to Dharwad. The direct railway line from Belgaum to Dharwad will be very helpful to people especially to students and working class people who regularly travel between the two cities. All the MPs and MLAs have brought pressure to Railway minister who too assured our long pending request.

At present, Belgaum trains goes via Londa, which takes nearly three and half hours to reach Dharwad which is nearly 120km from Belgaum. If a direct line is constructed then it will go via Kittur, just parallel to the bus route and hence will reach in just one and a half hours and nearly 50km distance can be cut down.

Suresh Angadi was instrumental in getting the work approved, in order to fulfill the public demand. Now Survey for Final Location for the proposed new railway line alignment has been sanctioned. In a review meeting held recently on 01.08.2019 in which Shri Suresh Angadi, Hon’ble Minister of State of Railways decided that the work shall be taken up immediately. Final Location Survey is assigned to Rail Infrastructure Development Company (Karnataka) Limited (K-RIDE) which can quickly complete the survey with State Government support. The survey will start after work is awarded and the agency is fixed.

Hon’ble MoSR has indicated that the progress of the survey work will be reviewed every fortnight and whole work shall be completed in 2 months.

The proposed new railway line passes through Dharwad, Kittur, and Hirebagewadi to reach Belagavi. The distance between Belagavi and Dharwad will reduce by 31 Kms once this new line is laid. This will benefit the public of Dharwad and Belagavi, making the journey between these two smart cities easier and quicker. It will also enable the people of Belagavi to reach Bengaluru, the capital city of State of Karnataka directly.

DMRC commneces Drone Survey on the proposed Patna Metro Rail routes

PATNA: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has started work on Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s dream project Patna Metro Rail project. For the first time on the day of Sri Krishna Janmashtami on Friday, the work of this project has been started from drone survey work.

The team of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has started drone survey work of the alignment of both the corridors of the Patna metro. Significantly, the land will be marked for the metro route only on the basis of drone survey.

DMRC appointed as Consultant

In the board meeting of Patna Metro Rail Corporation Limited (PMRCL), it has been decided to give the construction work of both the corridors of the metro to DMRC. It has been sent to the cabinet for approval. DMRC has to complete the work in five years, so from today, it is going to start a drone survey of both corridors. This work is to be completed between 23 August and 15 October 2019.

Approval received from PAC

The State Public Account Committee (PAC) has approved PMRC’s decision to construct the Patna Metro rail project through DMRC. After approval by the committee headed by the Development Commissioner, now only the cabinet approval has to be taken on this proposal.

According to sources from the city development department, the PMRC’s decision is likely to be approved in the next cabinet meeting. The government plans to start operating metro rail in Patna by 2024. At the meeting of Patna Metro Rail Corporation (PMRC) on August 7, it was decided to give the responsibility of construction to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Physical Survey Work Started

Patna Metro Rail Corporation has started physical survey of both corridors of Patna Metro. The PMRC team surveyed the route from Danapur to Etbarpur and Patna Junction to ISBT. The status of the two corridors is being studied by a team of officers under the leadership of Patna Metro Rail Corporation general manager Vijayashil Kashyap.

The team inquired about the availability of land at Etabarpur and ISBT. Construction of depot for Patna Metro is proposed at both these places. The PMRC team will conduct an aerial survey after the physical survey.

The physical survey and aerial survey report will be submitted to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

Chardham Rail line project will be completed in ten years

NEW DELHI: Millions of pilgrims going to Char Dham Yatra are getting very soon in connection with the railway connectivity. The entire route plan has been prepared by Indian Railway for the Chardham Yatra. 10 years later, the pilgrims will be able to travel Chardham through the train.

The final survey of this ambitious project of the Central Government has been completed. 50,000crore rupees will be spent on the project. The Central Government has started this ambitious project to connect Chardhams of Uttarakhand to the rail network.

Railway Vikas Nigam Limited has completed the final survey of this project. Omprakash Malgudi, Project Manager, Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) said that the final survey was done by the Turkish company Yuksel Proje.

327 km long rail line will be built in this project

A 327-kilometer long rail line will be set up to connect the Chardham which will cost about 50 thousand crore rupees. Railway plans to connect the Chardham with railway lines within ten years. According to the survey done by the Railways, 153 km long rail line will be laid by Doiwala to connect Gangotri and Yamunotri. While 174-kilometer long line for BadrinathKedarnath from Karnaprayag will be laid. At present, work is being done to lay 127 km of the railway line from Rishikesh to Karnprayag.

50,000 crore rupees will be spent on the project

Omprakash Malgudi, Project Manager, Railway Vikas Nigam Limited, said that 21 crore rupees spent on the final survey of Doiwala-Gangotri-Yamunotri Route and Rs.22 crore spent on the survey of Karnprayag-Badri-Kedar railway line. 50,000 crore rupees will be spent for linking the Chardhams to the rail network. It will take ten years to lay the rail line. Within two years of getting approval from the railway ministry, the work of laying the rail line will begin.

Stations between Rishikesh to Badrinath:

Rishikesh, Shivpuri, Byasi, Devprayag, Maletha, Srinagar, Dhari, Rudraprayag, Gholtir, Gauchar, Karnprayag, Saaikot, Tripak, Tartoli, Joshimath.

Stations between Karnprayag to Kedarnath:

Karnprayag, Sivai, Saaikot, Bairath, Chopta, Makkumath, Sonprayag.

Station between Doiwala to Gangotri-Yamunotri:

Doiwala, Sangatiyawala, Shardhawala, Aampata, Marod, Kandisaur, Chinyalisaur, Dunda, Atali (Uttarkashi), Ladari, Maneri.

Note: There will be a separate train to Yamunotri from Atali.

“After the Reiki survey, the final survey work has now been completed. The survey was done through ear board electromagnetic technique. It will take about ten years to lay the rail line and 50,000 crore rupees will be spent on the project”. – Omprakash Malgudi, Project Manager RVNL

Chardham Railway is our first project in India: Yuksel Proje:

“The project, located in the mountainous state of Uttarakhand, North of India”, comprises the preliminary design of four different railway lines having 327 km in total length. Name of the project “Chardham” means four temples in Hindi and this railway line will connect to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath Temples which are 4 holy temples of Hinduism. The temples are located in Himalayas having approximately 3300 m above sea level. With Chardham Railway Project, Indian authorities are aiming to launch a safer travel period to these touristic and holy places visited by tourist from abroad as Hindu people,” said the representative of Yuksel Proje.

Saudi Arabia awards SR1.9bn transport project to Turkey’s Yuksel

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has awarded Turkish construction giant Yuksel the SR1.9 billion ($506.6 million) Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, which includes construction of 34 stations, 1,353 community bus stops and six pedestrian bridges in Riyadh.

The project will also serve as feeder lines for the metro stations being built in the capital and its suburbs to ease traffic congestion.

This was disclosed by Yuksel Chairman and CEO Emin Sazak, who gave Arab News an overview of the BRT project with a special reference to the company’s presence in the Gulf, its ongoing projects in the Middle East and Turkey, and its innovative technology and engineering know-how.

He said the BRT project, promoted and financed by Ar-Riyadh Development Authority (ADA), will mark the completion of the city’s transport infrastructure plan.

The new lines, along with the new transport information management system included in the overall project, will improve accessibility to public transport. “Every element of the BRT project is contributing to a more efficient, more sustainable and greener transport future for Riyadh,” he said.

“I salute the vision of the Saudi government led by King Salman, who has been the main force behind the development of the Kingdom, particularly Riyadh, since the days of his governorship.”

The project will include the much-needed bus terminals, passenger hubs, parking facilities and maintenance depots, he added.

“It’s a challenging project for which we’ll deploy 4,500 workers at the peak level,” he said. “Well-planned and delivered BRT systems with clean buses can provide metro-quality service at a fraction of the cost. This will generate an enormous shift from private cars to public transportation in Riyadh.”

He said: “BRT is only a starting point for collaboration. We hope to go beyond the transport sector and continue our collaboration with different entities, including Saudi Aramco, in supporting the sustainable development of the Kingdom within the framework of the Vision 2030.”

Yuksel has, so far, completed 39 projects in the Kingdom worth SR8.12 billion, he added. “We’ve been working closely with the state-owned Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC) for the last 30 years.”

Yuksel’s projects in the Kingdom include universities and hospitals. “We’re active in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and we were very active in Libya until 2011, when the insurgency started,” he said, adding that 20-40 percent of Yuksel’s annual revenue comes from the Kingdom.
Sazak, who is a member of the European International Contractors group, said Yuksel is eyeing more projects in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.

“We started working in the Kingdom way back in 1983,” he said. “Our technical capabilities, on-time performance, manpower strength and delivery of projects in the stipulated timeframe have impressed our valuable clients not only in Saudi Arabia but across the globe.”

Yuksel is a market leader in the construction of dams, marine structures, transport systems and industrial projects worldwide, he added.
The company has finished three odam projects for the Saudi government. One of them, Baysh Dam, is in the Baysh Valley, 113km from Jazan city. Constructed for flood control and irrigation of farmland, its total reservoir capacity is 192 million cubic meters.

The second is Damad Dam near Jazan. “The objective of building this dam is to protect people from flash floods and storing rainwater for drinking and agriculture,” said Sazak.

The third dam is in the Muwani Valley, 27km east of Khulays town and 100km northeast of Jeddah. Yuksel is also at the forefront of major private sector projects in the Kingdom. It competed for the first stretch of the Abu Bakr Siddique Road Development Project in Riyadh this year. It has also implemented projects for King Abdulaziz University (KAU), King Faisal University (KFU), Madinah-Yanbu Desalination & Power Plant and Jubail Desalination Plant, among others.

“We have almost 3,000 people, including 300 Saudis, on our payroll,” Sazak said. “Yuksel has plans to hire more Saudis, as we’re committed to train and employ Saudi nationals in as many positions as we can,” as part of its commitment to nationalize the workforce within the framework of Vision 2030.

Yuksel is awaiting an invitation for specific projects that Aramco will announce over the coming months and years, he said. “We’ll go for bigger projects. If a project is too small, we won’t be able to involve ourselves and show our capabilities.”

Saudi Aramco signed a deal with 18 Turkish companies, including Yuksel, to enable them to bid for projects. “Yuksel is looking forward to working with Aramco,” Sazak said, adding that the company is doing well in the Middle East. “We’re about to finish a $460 million road project in Qatar,” he said, adding that Yuksel is part of the Qatar Metro System. “We’ve finished some projects in the UAE as well,” he said, also citing major projects in Turkey.

Yüksel Proje bags 406km-long Ankara-Sivas High-Speed Line

“The Ankara-Sivas high-speed line will be a double-track electrified and signalled line operating at speeds of 300km/h.”

ANKARA: The 406km-long Ankara-Sivas high-speed line is being developed by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) between Ankara and Sivas in Turkey. The new line will be the second longest railway line after the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed line upon completion.

Ankara-Sivas rail line is an important part of the Turkish Government’s Edirne-Kars railway corridor plan, connecting Europe with the Middle East. Turkey currently has 1,213km of high-speed railway lines, which the government aims to expand to 3,500km by 2023.

The railway line is being developed with an estimated investment of $1.5bn and will reduce travel time between Ankara and Sivas from 12 hours to just two hours. It is expected to be completed by late 2019 and will be operational by 2020.

Details of Ankara-Sivas high-speed line

The Ankara-Sivas high-speed line will be a double-track electrified and signalled line operating at speeds of 300km/h. It will have nine stations and run on a standard gauge of 1,435mm. Trains operating on the line will have a seating capacity of 516.

The project includes the construction of 49 tunnels totalling 66.2km in length, with the longest tunnel being 5.12km long. It will also have 52 viaducts totalling 28km in length, with the longest being 2.21km long. The line will also have 216 overpasses and underpasses.

The Ankara-Sivas line will be connected to the existing Sivas-Erzincan, Erzincan-Erzurum-Kars rapid lines of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project. It will use European rail traffic management system (ERTMS) technology comprising European train control system (ETCS) levels 1 and 2.

Construction of Ankara-Sivas high-speed line

Construction of the Ankara-Sivas high-speed line is being undertaken in two phases. The first phase includes the construction of the 253km-long Yerkoy-Sivas section, while the second phase construction encompasses the 153km-long section between Kayas / Ankara and Yerkoy.

The project utilised C60 concrete along with a movable scaffolding system to construct four of the tallest viaducts of the line. One viaduct spanning 90m was constructed using the M1-90-S movable scaffolding system. Another viaduct spanning 55m was constructed using the M55-S movable scaffolding system.

Use of movable scaffolding systems halved the concrete and reinforcement required for construction. It also reduced pier dimensions, piles, and foundations required to support the superstructure and made the deck more slender.

The transition areas between the open track and bridges, tunnels, and high-speed turnouts will require high maintenance during the operations phase. A total of 65,000 sleeper pads and 125,000m² ballast and side mats are being installed in order to minimise maintenance required in these areas.

Details of the Yerkoy-Sivas section

The Yerkoy-Sivas section will include six stations namely Yerkoy, Yozgat, Sorgan, Akdag Madeni, Yildizeli, and Sivas. The section includes the construction of nine tunnels totalling 14.8km in length, nine viaducts with a combined length of 4.62km, as well as seven bridges, 30 overpasses, 51 underpasses, and 203 culverts.

The section will operate on 25kV AC power, which will be fed by four traction electrical substations. The section will also include a fully equipped traffic control station in Sivas.

Contractors involved

The joint venture of China Major Bridge, Cengiz, Mapa, Limak, and Kolin was awarded the contract for the construction of the Yerkoy-Sivas section of the project.

Yapi Merkezi has been contracted for the electrification of the Yerkoy-Sivas section, while Inserail and Pfisterer provided detailed engineering for the electrification of the section.

Construction of the section between Kayaş and Kırıkkale is being carried out by YÜKSEL and SÖĞÜT. The section includes infrastructure development and construction of six viaducts and five tunnels.

Austria-based company Getzner Werkstoffe received the contract to provide elastic bearings for vibration protection in November 2018.

Berd provided the movable scaffolding system for the construction of four viaducts of the railway line. Dogus Construction is the main bridge contractor, while its deck subcontractor is Kappa.

Other contractors involved in the Ankara-Sivas high-speed line include Siemens, Botek, Yapiray, ALTINOK, and YDA Construction Industry and Trade.

Chandigarh-Baddi Rail line gets special status

CHANDIGARH: To speed up the land acquisition process for the Chandigarh-Baddi railway line, Union railway ministry has accorded it the status of ‘special railway project’, said northern railway general manager (GM) T P Singh on Saturday.

GM Singh said he held a meeting with the construction office on Saturday at Chandigarh railway station, to review the projects of the region, including the Chandigarh-Baddi line. According to him, the new status meant that whenever land is to be acquired for the project, paper work for notification and such will be directly issued by railways, instead of waiting for the government clearance.

The Chandigarh-Baddi project, estimated to cost Rs 1,540 crore, has three shareholders — Railways, Haryana and Himachal Pardesh governments. It’s 28km stretch, of which 25km lies in Haryana and three in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal has already given its share of Rs 45 crore for the land acquisition, but Haryana is yet to acquire land for the project.

According to sources in the railways, Chandigarh-Baddi project was planned in 2007 but is yet to start because of Haryana. But with the special project status, railway can now begin the land acquisition process itself, said the sources, adding that the status also lets off railways from having to conduct social impact survey for the land acquisition.

A dedicated railway link for Baddi was a long-pending demand of the industrialists of the area. The rail connectivity would benefit more than 4,000 industrialists and would also solve the problem of traffic congestion in Pinjore and Baddi road. At present, approximately more than 500 containers go out of Baddi every month by road.

In 2009, project ran into trouble when it was found out that the land required for the project has been earmarked for a mega housing project, Prideasia, a joint venture between Parsvnath Builders and the Chandigarh Administration.

ADB approves $160m Loan to support Sri Lanka Railway modernisation

COLOMBO: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a $160m loan to support a railway modernisation and efficiency improvement programme in Sri Lanka.

The loan amount will be allocated to the Railway Efficiency Improvement Project, which includes various schemes to improve operations, safety and technical capacity of Sri Lanka’s railway system.

It includes replacing the antiquated telecommunications system to enable two-way communications with train drivers and reduce train delays.

The project also includes financing a new operations headquarters and train control centre, providing necessary equipment for rolling stock and rail track maintenance, and steps to improve operational safety.

Implementing a modern multi-channel ticketing system is also part of the modernisation programme.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka is expected to upgrade its technical training centre and carry out detailed feasibility studies for future railway projects.

Overall, the Railway Efficiency Improvement Project will cost $192m, with the Government of Sri Lanka contributing $32m.

ADB transport specialist Johan Georget said: “There is a need to improve public transportation in Sri Lanka to serve a growing population, expected to reach 25 million by 2050.

“An improved railway system will help promote the development of services and industries across Sri Lanka, as well as put the railway as a viable transportation mode of choice for the people.”

Every year, Sri Lanka Railways transports around 2 million tonnes of goods and 136.7 million passengers.

Last month, IRCON International signed an agreement to upgrade a 130km-long railway line in Sri Lanka. The line stretches from Maho town in the Northwestern Province to Omanthai in the Northern Province.

The Sri Lanka Railway Department (more commonly known as Sri Lanka Railways (SLR)) is Sri Lanka’s railway owner and primary operator. As part of the Sri Lankan government, it is overseen by the Ministry of Transport. Founded in 1858 as the Ceylon Government Railway, it operates the nation’s rail and links the capital, Colombo, with other population centres and tourist destinations. The Sri Lankan rail network is 1,508 km (937 mi) of 5 ft 6 in (1,676 mm) broad gauge. Some of its routes are scenic, with the Main Line passing (or crossing) waterfalls, mountains, tea estates, pine forests, bridges and peak stations.

Mission 2022: Indian Railways eyes 100% Electrification for faster trains, cost reduction

While the average speed of trains will increase, the Indian Railways will also save on the operational cost.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has set a target of going for 100% electrification by the end of 2022. With this, the Indian Railways aims at doing away with all diesel locomotives and ensuring reduction in operating cost of trains.

Once 100% electrification is enabled across the railway network, the pollution emanating from trains is likely to go down considerably.

Apart from this, the average speed of trains operating in the country will also increase after all routes go for electrification. The operating cost of trains will also be reduced at a large scale, with the saving on diesel prices.

The initial steps in this regard have already been initiated by the Indian Railways.

The Railway Board has already directed all zones to start the preparations for the same. They have been asked to stop using 31-year-old diesel locomotives in phases.

Northern Railway will be the first to go ahead in this regard.

According to sources in the Indian Railways, once a diesel engine is in use for 25-30 years, its efficiency gets reduced considerably. Also, the cost incurred in maintenance of such engines is huge.

The government has been taking major steps to ensure modernisation and development of railways in India. Sources had earlier told Zee News that the Ministry of Railways might invite global players to manufacture new train sets in the country.

Sources said that companies from China, Germany and the United States may participate in the bidding process to manufacture train sets. However, the train sets to be manufactured via global tendering process will lay emphasis on make in India and employment generation.

Among the various plans of the government is also one to ease travelling for passengers of general compartments. The Indian Railways has tested a biometric system which, once implemented, would allow passengers in the general compartments to gain a seat on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Parsvnath gets Rs.1200 crore from RLDA; to use it to lower debt

NEW DELHI: Realty firm Parsvnath Ltd has received Rs 1,200 crore from Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) as per a court order in a dispute related to a project in New Delhi, and said that the amount will be utilised to reduce debt.

Last month, the Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal of the RLDA challenging a Delhi High Court order directing it to pay Rs 1,034 crore to Parsvnath Ltd in a dispute over a project in the national capital.

“We have received Rs 1,200 crore from RLDA and the money is being utilised to clear debt of IL&FS and redemption of NCDs (non-convertible debentures) and OCDs (Optionally Convertible Debentures),” Parsvnath Chairman Pradeep Jain told PTI.

In 2010, Parsvnath through an auction had bought about 37 acre land located at Sarai Rohilla-Kishanganj area in the national capital from the RLDA for about Rs 1,650 crore.

Parsvnath had in 2011, formed a joint venture with Red Fort Capital to execute this project. The JV firm was named Parsvnath Rail Land Project Pvt Ltd (PRLPPL).

Later in May 2013, a development agreement was executed between the RLDA and the PRLPPL.

Parsvnath had paid over Rs 1,150 crore against the purchase of this land parcel, on which it proposed to develop luxury housing, commercial areas, railway housing, railway service building, hospital/school and other amenities in this project.

However, Parsvnath had in February 2016, terminated its development agreement with the RLDA due to a title dispute.

Then, PRLPPL went into arbitration process to settle the issue.

As per the arbitral award, the claim of Rs 1,034.53 crore made by the company and PRLPPL was upheld. Payment of this amount was directed to be made by the RLDA along with 4 per cent interest per annum from July 15, 2015 till the date of payment.

Later, a division bench of the Delhi High Court dismissed the RLDA plea, which had challenged a single judge bench order that upheld the arbitral award of Rs 1,034 crore in favour of the real estate major.

The RLDA then moved the apex court which also dismissed the appeal on July 8, this year.

“We see no reason to interfere with the impugned order of the High Court. The Special Leave Petition is, accordingly, dismissed,” a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Hemant Gupta had said last month.

Talgo and Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) to cooperate on Rolling Stock projects in Egypt

MADRID: Spanish train manufacturer Talgo has signed a framework agreement with Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI) to improve rolling stock across all rail segments in Egypt.

As per the agreement, the Spanish train manufacturer will collaborate with Semaf, the railway equipment subsidiary of AOI, to explore options for the joint manufacturing of rolling stock.

The partners will produce rolling stock for different operating segments, including long-distance rail services.

Talgo CEO Jose Maria Oriol Fabra and SEMAF Factory chairman Esmail Nagdy signed the agreement at the Talgo headquarters in Madrid.

The latest agreement follows Egyptian National Railways (ENR) awarding a €158m contract to Talgo for six inter-city train sets through an open competitive process in April.

The contract involves the delivery of six Talgo trainsets, each comprising a diesel-electric locomotive, a technical car or power car and 14 passenger cars.

It also includes integral maintenance of the vehicles for a minimum of eight years.

Once delivered, the trains will be used to provide services on the main route of the country, connecting Alexandria, the Egyptian capital Cairo and the southern city of Aswan.

Recently, Talgo commissioned very high-speed trains for the Haramain railway in Saudi Arabia.

The $7.87bn Haramain Railway high-speed line connects Mecca and Medina with Jeddah and King Abdullah Economic City.

The line spans 450km and is expected to transport 60 million passengers a year.

Furthermore, the line is set to connect to a new terminal at Jeddah airport, which is the main point of entry for Hajj pilgrims.

Maha CM Fadnavis unveils the Rolling Stock model for Mumbai Metro Line-3

This line will be called Aqua line and the exterior & interior of the trains suits the theme.

MUMBAI: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has today unveiled the Rolling Stock (Coaches) model for Mumbai Metro line 3 in presence of Mrs. Ashwini Bhinde, Managing Director and other senior officials of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation. This line will be called Aqua line and the exterior & interior of the trains suits the theme.

MMRC will procure total 31 trains of eight coaches to be manufactured by Joint Venture of Alstom India and Alstom SA under the “Make in India” initiative at Alstom’s facility located in Sri City, Andhra Pradesh.

The MMRC (Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation) has awarded the contract for designing and manufacturing of rolling stock to Alstom Transport India Limited. The design is inspired by the vital flow of water, as the sea captures a special place in the city. This line will offer a fast, efficient and sustainable mode of travel for the citizens of Mumbai.

The Aqua green colour of Mumbai Metro line 3 rolling stock represents water & the sea waves which are an integral part of Mumbai & further signifies the freshness and speed of the waves as well as of this city which never sleeps and is always on move. The soothing beige color signifies comfort.

Titagarh Firema wins Pune Metro Rolling Stock contract to supply aluminium-bodied coaches

M/s Titagarh Firema has been awarded contract worth Rs.1125 Crore by Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation (Maha Metro) to supply 102 aluminium-bodied metro cars for the first phase of the metro network in the Indian city of Pune. They are lighter, energy efficient and have better aesthetics than steel coaches. The ultra-modern Aluminium coaches will be manufactured for the first time in India.

PUNE: In what is touted as a game changer for Indian Metro rail projects, the Pune Metro is set to get ultra-modern, state-of-the-art aluminium-bodied coaches.

The first phase of the network was approved by the Cabinet in December 2016 and comprises of 11.5km north-south Line-1 from Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation areas to Swargate and the 14.7km east-west Line-2 from Vanaz to Ramwadi. Both lines are due to open in 2021.

Thus far, Metros in the country have used stainless steel-bodied coaches.

A consortium formed by Kolkata-based wagon manufacturer Titagarh Wagons with its wholly-owned subsidiary Titagarh Firema SPA recently won the international bid to supply 102 aluminium coaches to the Pune Metro project. The Maharashtra Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. (Maha Metro) had issued a tender for “design, manufacture, supply, testing, commissioning of passenger rolling stock (electrical multiple units) and training of personnel”.

This will be the first time that aluminium-bodied coaches, which are said to be lighter in weight, more energy efficient and have better aesthetics, will be manufactured in India, Dr. Brijesh Dixit, managing director of Maha Metro, said.

“The company will manufacture 25% of the coaches at their plant in Italy and 75% will be produced and commissioned at the Maha Metro coach manufacturing plant in Nagpur,” Dr. Dixit said. He said the Pune Metro project had crossed “another important milestone” with this order for coach procurement.

Officials from the Pune Metro project said that initially, the trains will consist of three coaches, which will subsequently be converted into six as per requirement. They said these coaches would be fully air-conditioned with humidity control, provided with digital route and station display and international standard interiors.

“The coaches will have 100% CCTV camera coverage. [Passengers with disabilities] will be able to travel seamlessly to/from the station entry to the train with specially earmarked places for wheelchairs. Mobile and laptop charging facility will also be provided on board,” a spokesperson with the project said.

The coaches are to be ergonomically and aerodynamically designed, with the coach exterior reflecting the history and cultural heritage of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad. They will have a maximum speed of 95 kmph and the capacity to accommodate more than 925 passengers.

“They are energy efficient and will be equipped with a regenerative braking system. They will also be capable of operating in driverless mode,” Dr. Dixit said.

Pune Metro will begin operating with coaches being used by Maha Metro in Nagpur, and will be augmented as and when the new coaches join the fleet.

The ₹11,420 crore- Pune Metro rail system has been projected by Centre and the State government as a panacea to Pune’s traffic woes. In December 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for the project, just ahead of the elections to the Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporations.

An especially vital section in the project — comprising three lines with a total length of 54.58 km — is the elevated 23.3-km Line 3, which will bridge the city’s bustling Information Technology quarter in Hinjewadi with Shivajinagar.

Odisha lawyers demand 240km Berhampur-Sambalpur Railway line

Lawyers from Ganjam, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur districts and various members of the Bharat Bikash Parishad, along with several social organisations, intellectuals and political leaders met at Bhanjanagar to press for construction of Berhampur-Sambalpur railway line, besides establishment of a Railway Division at Brahmapur, instead of the proposed one at Rayagada.

BERHAMPUR: Lawyers from Ganjam, Kandhamal, Boudh and Sambalpur districts met at Bhanjanagar on Saturday to press for construction of Berhampur Sambalpur railway line.

The lawyers and members of over 10 bar associations of the four districts strongly advocated for the construction of the railway line in the meeting which was presided over by Bhajanagar Bar Association president Abhimanyu Gouda.

They said Kandhamal, which is located between Ganjam and Sambalpur districts, does not have railway connectivity and this has hampered its development. The lawyers said Berhampur-Sambalpur railway line is yet to see the light of the day and this exposes the apathy of Centre and State towards Sambalpur and Ganjam districts.

The Centre had accorded permission to East Coast Railway (ECoR) to conduct a survey for laying the railway line in 2010-11. Though ECoR had submitted a 212-page survey report to the Ministry of Railways, the project is yet to be entered in the Pink Book of the Railways.

As per the survey report, the 240 km railway, to be built at a cost of Rs 5,000, will connect the four parliamentary constituencies of Berhampur, Aska, Kandhamal and Sambalpur. As many as 16 new railway stations will be constructed between Sambalpur and Berhampur and the line will pass through five tunnels, 38 big bridges and 184 medium and small bridges.

The lawyers said Niti Aayog had stressed connecting backward districts across the country through railways.

Notably, there is allocation of Rs 2,957 crore for the 240 km railway line, where five tunnels, 38 big bridges, 148 small bridges and 18 stations would be constructed. The stations are Jagannathpur, Kukudakhandi, Hinjilicut, Aska, Khandarabali, Basudevpur, Bhanjanagar, Mujaguda, Baden, Chakada, Jagarpada, Phulbani, Lakarapalu, Sunamunda, Mundapada, Boudh, Kadaligada and Redhakhol.

The Parishad demanded that the Central and the State Governments allocate adequate funds for the construction of the stations.

They opined that the demand for a the Railway Division in Brahmapur is justified as the city is a commercial hub of southern Odisha.

Among others, Parishad president Surendra Panigrahi, BJP district president Kanhu Charan Patra, district Congress working president Pitabasa Panda, Ganjam Bar Association former president Mohan Singari, Ganjam Chamber of Commerce former secretary Santosh Sahu, Manav Adhikar Surakhya Manch convenor Abani Gayaa and Sanjaya Kumar Majhi were present.

Centre urged to hasten Gunupur-Therubali Railway line

BHUBANESWAR: Sanction of Rs 935 crore for Gunupur-Therubali railway line in the Central Budget (2017-18) for the railway sector has given the much-needed push for the long-pending project. But it has stopped mid-way, dashing people’s hopes.

The 79-km stretch has been pending for long and repeated demands by the people of South Odisha to the state and Centre have been falling on deaf ears.

Locals of Rayagada district were cock-a-hoop after the project was sanctioned. Unfortunately, the construction of the railway project has been abandoned mid-way.

The matter came to light when Koraput MP Saptagiri Ulaka raised a question on the issue of Gunupur-Therubali railway line during the Parliament session July 2, 2019.

Ulaka, in his question, asked the railway ministry as to why the railway line construction was left half-way, though funds had been sanctioned for the project.

Railways replied that the department needs more funds for the completion of the project. It further said if the state government provides land free of charge for lying railway track, including 50% financial help for the track, it will help complete the construction of the rail project.

Locals have expressed their resentment over the issue and said the Centre should accord importance to the project and the political leaders should take up this matter.

As per sources, for the past 47 years, locals have been demanding a railway line from Gunpur to Therubali and Rs 935 crore was sanctioned for the railway project in 2017-18. But the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Railways said the project needed Rs 302.02 crore more for its completion.

The railway line passes through Kujendri, Penakam, Deula, Ramanaguda and Bankali. Eight mega bridges, 113 small bridges, one over-bridge and 56 level crossings will be constructed under Gunpur-Therubali railway line. For all these 559-hectare more land is required, railways authorities said.

The project will help boost the revenue of the region. The railway line will help in the all-round economic growth and a distance of at least 150 km will be reduced from Damanjodi to Angul to Bhubaneswar.

Kerala Cabinet defers decision on 531.45-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-High Speed Rail line

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Cabinet on Wednesday postponed its decision on granting approval for the alignment of the proposed 531.45-km semi-high-speed railway line from Kochuveli, near Thiruvananthapuram, to Kasaragod.

The alignment for the third and fourth rail lines mooted in the feasibility report by the Paris-based engineering and consulting group Systra came up before the Cabinet as an agenda item after the Chief Minister cleared the proposed alignment recently.

The approval was deferred as it has been decided to make available a sketch of the alignment and feasibility report to all Ministers, official sources told.

The Public Works Department, the administrative department, and Kerala Railway Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), the special purpose vehicle for executing ‘viable’ projects on a cost-sharing basis between the State and Railways, have commenced steps to make available the sketch and report as directed. The alignment will come up at the next Cabinet.

The alignment mooted is away from the existing rail line on the 300-km Kochuveli-Shoranur section and parallel to the line from Thirunavaya to Kasaragod with rail bypasses at Vadakara and Thalaserry.

The alignment proposed by Systra is through thinly populated areas.

J&K Admin to review works on Katra-Banihal section of Udhampur-Baramulla Railway Line

The sanction is accorded to the constitution of the committees in order to review the progress of work on the construction of Katra-Banihal section of the Udhampur-Baramulla railway link. The committees will be responsible for the resolution of all pending issues which are obstructing the progress of work on the Katra-Banihal section

JAMMU: Northern Railways Udhampur-Baramulla rail line: In a much-needed boost to the challenging railway project, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has formed two district level committees to review work on the construction of the Katra-Banihal section of the Jammu-Udhampur-Baramulla railway line. This prestigious railway project will connect the Kashmir Valley to the rest of the country.

According to a recent PTI report, an order issued by the General Administration Department stated that the sanction is accorded to the constitution of the committees in order to review the progress of work on the construction of Katra-Banihal section of the Udhampur-Baramulla railway link.

According to the report, the administration has formed two committees, one each for the Ramban and Reasi districts with the respective deputy commissioners of the districts, who will be designated as the Chairman of the committees. The functions of the committees are as follows:

  • The committees will be responsible for the resolution of all pending issues which are obstructing the progress of work on the Katra-Banihal section
  • The committee will also review the progress of work and resolve any issue which may further obstruct the progress of work, as per the order.
  • The committees have been asked to meet once every week and ensure that there is no hindrance or stoppage of construction work on the Katra-Banihal railway line.

The Jammu-Udhampur-Baramulla railway line is Indian Railways’ biggest construction project of a mountain railway. According to the official website of the Northern Railways’ Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla rail link, the railway line passes through the Young Himalayas and has various legs and sections, which are divided on the basis of phases of construction.

The 325 km long railway project is said to be the most expensive stretch out of all railway lines in the country. With an aim to provide a safe, alternative and reliable transportation system in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, some sections of the line have been built and been made operational, while others are scheduled to be constructed for starting passenger services.

CCEA approves construction of 107.76 km Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur Railway line

New Railway line b/w Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur to provide energy security, improved exports!

VAIBHAVWADI: The Government of India has approved construction of a railway line between Vaibhavwadi and Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra.

The project received approval from the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

The 107.76km-long rail line will be built by Construction Organization of Central Railway at an estimated cost of Rs.34.39bn ($485.02m).

The proposed route will pass through the districts of Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, connecting the Kolhapur railway station on the Pune-Kolhapur section with Vaibhavwadi Railway Station on the Roha-Madgaon section.

Once complete, the rail route will benefit several power plants in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka by facilitating thermal coal transportation.

The Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur rail route will also benefit the districts of Belgaum, Hubli, Hospet, Bellary, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Latur, Parliand Solapur by offering better connectivity to western ports.

Additionally, it will offer an additional and shorter alternative route for freight trains operating on existing Vaibhavwadi-Roha-Pune and Miraj-Pune-Panvel-Pen routes.

Vijaydurg port, Gulbarga, Adilabad and other industrial clusters in the region will be able to utilise the Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur line for better connectivity with the west coast.

The project is expected to be completed by 2023-2024.

Last month, the government approved two rail projects in Uttar Pradesh and one in Assam to boost railway connectivity.

These three projects have a combined value of Rs.60.11bn ($872.5m).

This fiscal year, the government has allocated Rs.658.37bn ($9.62bn) in the union budget to Indian Railways. The allocation will be used to build new lines, as well as for maintenance and signalling upgrades.

New Railway line b/w Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur to provide energy security, improved exports

The recently approved plan of Ministry of Railways to construct the new line between Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur, which is now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus, will provide opportunities for industrial development, together with providing energy security, improved exports and enhanced connectivity.

The 108 km long line will be built at an estimated cost of Rs 3,439 crore and will be completed by 2023-24. This will be executed by Construction Organisation of Central Railway.

The proposed alignment from Vaibhavwadi to Kolhapur (now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus) passes through the districts of Kolhapur, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg of Maharashtra state. The proposed alignment would link Kolhapur railway station (now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus) on the existing Pune-Kolhapur section of Central Railway with Vaibhavwadi Railway Station on the existing Roha-Madgaon section of Konkan Railway, official sources here said.

The proposed link would reduce the distances for thermal coal transportation for a number of power plants in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

There will also be reduction in distance and time taken for freight trains running on the existing Vaibhavwadi-Roha-Pune route and Miraj-Pune-Panvel-Pen route if the same is routed via the Vaibhavwadi–Kolhapur (now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus) project line. This project will also generate employment direct during construction for about 26 lakh mandays, an official communique said.

The addition of Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur (now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus) is expected to directly benefit the districts of Belgaum, Ballari, Bijapur, Gulbarga, Latur, & Solapur and create a shorter evacuation route to western ports as there is a lack of Rail connectivity between Central and Konkan regions leads to longer supply routes for power plants in the Northern Karnataka and Southern Maharashtra region which affects supply coming from ports like Mumbai, JNPT, Krishnapatnam and New Mangalore due to longer rail route of Ratnagiri-Panvel-Pune route.

Kolhapur cluster, as part of western Maharashtra, has a vibrant industrial belt which consists of manufacturing based industries, auto parts and ancillary, sugar manufacturing, textiles, edible oil processing factories. With the increased industrial development in and nearby area of west coast, imports are going to increase in future.

Also, with the proposal of world class infrastructure coming up at Jaigad and Vijaydurg on the west coast, the district would be benefitting immensely. Thus, with the advent of the Vaibhavwadi-Kolhapur (now Shri Chhatrapati Shahumaharaj Terminus) line and the upcoming Vijaydurg port, Gulbarga, Adilabad and the nearby industrial clusters will be able to exploit the closeness to west coast.

No efforts to broaden the Narrow Gauge Kangra Rail line in 70 years!

PALAMPUR: The Kangra rail line, which plays a significant role in the economy of the region, is in bad shape. Thanks to the apathy of the Railways, which made no efforts in the past 70 years to convert the 120-km rail track into a broad gauge line.

The British had laid the track in 1932, linking all important and religious towns of Kangra and part of Mandi district. It is stated that the main object to lay the track was to carry heavy equipment for the installation of first-ever hydro powerhouse at Jogindernagar.

Unfortunately, the Railways has not added even a single brick to the track all these years. A number of plans was drawn up to convert the narrow gauge line into a broad gauge line, but all remained confined to files. The same century-old and outdated engines and coaches have been plying on the track. The authorities could not even introduce the regular first-class compartment here.

At present, seven trains ply on the route daily, covering 33 stations and passing through important places like Nurpur, Jwali, Jwalamukhi, Kangra, Nagrota Bagwan, Chamunda, Palampur, Baijnath and Jogindernagar, which are also the major tourists attractions.

The condition of the rail track between Pathankot and Jogindernagar has gone from bad to worse in the past 10 years as the authorities have no funds to repair the same. Several small and big bridges are in bad shape. The retaining walls on the track have developed cracks. Logs of the rail line have already lived their life, but no efforts were made to replace the same, which could result in a tragedy. Residential quarters and railway station buildings are also crying for repair.


Track was laid in 1932

  • Kangra is situated at the foothills of the Himalayas. It attracts lakhs of tourists every year. If the rail services are improved and better amenities provided to passengers, the tourists would start travelling by train.
  • The British had laid the track in 1932, linking all important and religious towns of Kangra and part of Mandi district. It is stated that the main object to lay the track was to carry heavy equipment for the installation of first-ever hydro powerhouse in Jogindernagar.
  • 7 trains ply on the route daily
  • 33 stations are covered, including major tourists attractions

7th PC: Railway Ministry detects huge flaw in salaries. Pay of these employees now set to be raised

Good news for loco pilot employees in Indian Railways. The Ministry of Railways has detected a huge flaw in salaries being paid to a section of its employees that will benefit all the loco pilots who were promoted to Chief Loco Inspectors before January 1, 2016 under 7th Pay Commission.

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Railways has detected a huge flaw in salary being paid to a section of its employees. The move will benefit all the loco pilots who were promoted to chief loco inspectors before January 1, 2016.

The Ministry had recently detected that all these loco pilots were getting lower salary than even those junior officers who joined Indian Railways after the said date, despite being promoted to chief loco inspectors.

The Railway Board has explained the reason behind this anomaly. This, the board says, happened as while the junior staff got benefit from the 7th Central Pay Commission (CPC), their seniors remained untouched by it. The salary of the seniors will now be increased, reportedly, by thousands of rupees.

Under the 7th Pay Commission, the salary of the Loco Inspector was fixed at Rs 74000/month while that of the Chief Loco Inspector was fixed at Rs 78000/month. The salary of Loco Pilot Mail/Express, meanwhile, was fixed at Rs 74000/month while basic pay of a loco pilot passenger/motorman was Rs 65000/month.

The development comes just days after the Ministry gave ‘festive cheer’ to another section of employees, i.e, those working at its workshops and production units. Accepting recommendations of the 7th CPC, the Ministry announced that it was doubling the incentive bonus of the said employees.

The 7th CPC was constituted in February 2014 to review the principles and structure of emoluments of all central government civilian employees including the defence forces. It submitted its report to the government in November 2015.

Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company Ltd eyed by Indian Railways to be World’s Biggest!

NEW DELHI: A leading business daily earlier informed of the aggressive action plan of Indian Railways to bring all of the entity’s rolling stock, locomotive and wheels manufacturing units under a single entity, the Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company (IRRC). This is as the national’s economic situation does not permits huge-order spending and thus corporatization of Indian Railways is eyed.

The concept of IRRC is based around the model similar to China’s CRRC Corporation Limited. And with the development we may see the emergence of the world’s biggest rolling stock companies, beating giants such as Siemens, Bombardier, GE, etc. Also, in its 100-day action plan, there have been calls made to privatise the carrier and some private entities place their interest to run and operate trains on some select route. Nonetheless, to clear the concerns of the trade union, Goyal reiterated that corporatization of some of the units is being sought after and there is no question of privatization.

इस वजह से फंस गई हथुआ-भटनी रेललाइन परियोजना, ऊहापोह में जिला प्रशासन

गोरखपुर – पूर्व रेलमंत्री लाल प्रसाद यादव का ड्रीम प्रोजेक्ट हथुआ-भटनी रेललाइन परियोजना भूमि अधिग्रहण कानून की पेंचीदगी में फंस गया है। किसानों की नजर जिला प्रशासन की तरफ से उठाए जाने वाले कदम पर टिकी है। किसानों की मानें तो 2013 के नए भूमि अर्जन कानून के मुताबिक अभिलेखीय कब्जा के पांच वर्ष के भीतर भूमि पर भौतिक कब्जा व मुआवजा तय करना चाहिए था लेकिन प्रशासन ने ऐसा नहीं किया। ऐसी स्थिति में परियोजना की कार्यवाहियां व्यपगत (लैप्स) हो गई हैं।

परियोजना एक नजर में

2005-06 में स्वीकृत हुई। भूमि अधिग्रहण कानून 1894 के अनुसार भूमि अधिग्रहण की कार्रवाई शुरू हुई। चार अगस्त 2009 को धारा 4(1) की अधिसूचना, 22 अगस्त 2009 को गजट का प्रकाशन, सात सितंबर 2009 को दो समाचार पत्रों में प्रकाशन किया गया। 24 सितंबर 2009 को धारा 4 (1) व 22 दिसंबर 2010 को धारा 6(1) की सार्वजनिक सूचना हुई। धारा नौ के अंतर्गत 18 जनवरी 2011 से 24 जनवरी 2011 तक सुनवाई की गई। 20 दिसंबर 2012 को जिला प्रशासन ने अभिलेखीय कब्जा दे दिया।

क्या कहता है नया कानून

भूमि अर्जन कानून 2013 की धारा 24(1) के मुताबिक भूमि अर्जन अधिनियम 1894 के अधीन यदि भूमि अर्जन की कार्यवाहियां शुरू की गई है व धारा 11 के अधीन अधिनिर्णय इस अधिनियम के प्रारंभ के पांच वर्ष या उससे अधिक वर्ष पूर्व किया गया है, कितु भूमि का भौतिक कब्जा नहीं लिया गया है या प्रतिकर मुआवजा का संदाय नहीं किया गया है। वहां उक्त कार्यवाहियों के बारे में यह समझा जाएगा कि वे लैप्स हो गई हैं। यदि सरकार चाहे तो इस अधिनियम के उपबंधों के अनुसार ऐसी भूमि अर्जन की कार्यवाहियां नए सिरे से शुरू करेंगी।

शासन से मांगा मार्गदर्शन

देवरिया के उप भूमि अधिकारी सतीश कुमार का कहना है कि सभी कार्यवाही दो वर्ष में पूरे किए जाने चाहिए थे लेकिन कार्यवाही 10 वर्ष बाद भी पूरे नहीं हो पाए। इसलिए शासन से मार्गदर्शन मांगा गया है।

TDRPA urges PM to revive Dahanu-Nashik Railway line

THANE: Thane District Rail Passengers Association(TDRPA) urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the Dahanu-Nashik railway line demand for which is pending for a very long time.

Addressing a news conference here on Saturday the founder of the Association Om Prakash Sharma told the media here that a memorandum, detailing the once proposed rail link, has been sent to the Prime Minister with a request to consider and revive it.

He said that the demand for the rail link was not a new one and in fact the first demand was made in 1952 by the then MP and then repeatedly the representatives of the region have been making the same demand.

Meanwhile, some years back the survey for the proposed railway line with 13 stations was carried out but later the entire project was shelved as not feasible and still remains so.

This railway link would help in upliftment of the lives of the lakhs of tribals in the district of Palghar, Thane and Nashik and would also avert the exodus of the tribals in search of jobs elsewhere, Mr Sharma pointed.

He said it would also go a long way in arresting the cases of malnutrition deaths and child deaths which haunts the districts and add to the tourism in Jawhar and Suryamal besides pilgrimage to Nashik district and Trimbakeshwar.

He urged the Prime Minister to give serious thought to the demand of the lakhs of tribals and said that all party MPs even raised the issue in the house several times.

Once completed, this rail link would be a befitting tribute to late Prime Minister AB Vajpayee, who during his visit to Jawhar on April 01, 2004, declared that he was in favor of this rail link.

The copy of the memorandum has also been sent to the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Mr Sharma added.

Kolkata’s East-West Metro promises a Safer Journey, thanks to Pushback Doors, Mirrors, Screen Gates

KOLKATA: The safety index of Kolkata’s state-of-the-art trains on the East-West Metro route will be much higher compared to that on the 35-year-old north-south corridor.

To begin with, convex mirrors recommended by the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety (CMRS) during his probe into Saturday’s accident at Park Street station, are being installed at six East-West Metro stations on the 5km Salt Lake stretch. On Tuesday, convex mirrors were being installed on the edge of the platforms at Central Park station.

During his probe, commissioner of Metro railway safety, Janak Kumar Garg, recommended these mirrors for the north-south line. The mirror at the edge of platform will help the driver see what is happening outside the coaches behind him.

The standard gap between the door leaves of the East-West Metro rake is 15mm, beyond which the train will stop. The north-south rake, in which Sajal Kanjilal’s fingers got stuck, apparently has an obstruction gap higher than 15mm. Unlike the north-south trains, the ones on East-West route will have ‘intelligent sensitive edge’ on doors. This technology reacts to dragging incidents on the platform to prevent accidents.

The doors have a feature called ‘pushback system’ to let a commuter inside the coach increase the gap up to 30mm (beyond the 15mm permissible limit) in case of emergencies.

“If the north-south Metro is equipped with such a system, it will considerably reduce delays and increase safety,” an expert said. He said the East-West Metro doors are so technologically advanced that a situation like Saturday won’t happen. “A commuter must cross the platform screen gates (PSG) installed in the East-West Metro stations,” he added.

The CMRS has also asked Kolkata Metro authorities to install upgraded emergency talk-back units in the north-south section. The East-West Metro coaches have an extremely efficient talk-back system. Each East-West Metro station is equipped with 37 IP-based CCTV cameras that will be connected on board as the rake moves at 80kmph. The third rail current connector, through which electricity is transmitted, is far more advanced and safer, said an official. “Moreover, every station has an emergency stop plunger (ESP) so that a passenger can switch off the power in case of exigency,” he added.

Trial runs on Delhi Metro Grey Line between Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor likely to open by Sept

DMRC has started trial runs across the corridor. Delhi Metro Grey Line is the first metro corridor which will take the Delhi metro network to the rural sections of Najafgarh.

NEW DELHI: Big news for Delhi Metro commuters as the much-awaited corridor in one of the most congested areas of the national capital is going to open soon! The Delhi Metro Grey Line, which is the 4.295 km long Dwarka-Najafgarh corridor has been targeted for completion by the month of September this year. According to a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson who spoke to RailNews, DMRC has started trial runs across the corridor. Delhi Metro Grey Line is the first metro corridor which will take the Delhi metro network to the rural sections of Najafgarh.

According to the spokesperson, during the trial runs, the interaction of the Delhi Metro trains with physical infringements or the civil structure will be checked so as to ensure that there is no physical blockage during the movement of the metro train on the track. Additionally, the signalling trials for the metro trains are also expected to begin in the next few days.

Delhi Metro Grey Line: Route, stations

  • The Delhi Metro Grey Line section between Dwarka-Najafgarh comprises of three stations, namely: Dwarka, Nangli and Najafgarh
  • Out of these, Dwarka and Nangli stations are elevated stations while Najafgarh is an underground station.
  • The section has been targeted for completion by the month of September, 2019.
  • The existing Dwarka metro station will be connected to the new station through an 80-metre passage linking the old station on Delhi Metro Blue Line to the new corridor. In order to accommodate the increased traffic of the area, an additional parking area will also be provided outside the metro station, which will adhere to the multi-modal integration (MMI) model.
  • The Najafgarh metro station will be the first train depot on the Delhi Metro network to have both standard and broad gauges. As compared to the broad gauge, the standard gauge is considered much more advanced, because it enables a low turning radius of trains.

Delhi Metro Grey Line extension:

  • The Delhi Metro Grey Line Dwarka-Najafgarh section will be further extended by another 1.18 kilometres till Dhansa Stand station, which is slated for completion by the month of December 2020.
  • DMRC earlier informed that the Dhansa Stand metro station has been designed as a four-level underground structure where the platform will be at the bottom at a depth of 21 metres, followed by a concourse and then an entire floor for parking above it. The roof will be at the ground level.
  • This parking space will have ramps on two sides, to facilitate the entry and exit of vehicles, while the station will have two entry and exit facilities to connect the parking lot with the surface above and the platform below.
  • The parking lot will span across 200 metres in length and 32 metres in width having a total area of about 64,000 square metres and will have a parking facility for over 130 cars. At this station, there will also be a facility for property development activities at the ground level at a later stage.
  • This parking facility as considered to be a major design improvement as no other metro station has any such facility. It is also seen as an infrastructural boost for the local residents as the adjoining areas of Najafgarh are highly congested with limited parking space.

Indian Railways may acquire ready-made Trains, Coaches, EMUs from Private Players

The Indian Railways is planning to purchase readymade trains, coaches, train sets, Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) from private manufacturers.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is one of the few government-owned enterprises which is incurring losses year-after-year. On the other hand, the state-run air carrier Air India is also running into losses following the heightened competition amid the domestic aviation sector. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government, in its first term from 2014 to 2019, deliberately pushed Air India divestment programme but it didn’t turn out as expected.

In the second term, the government is keenly looking forward to restarting the Air India disinvestment process and reduce the losses of Indian Railways. The induction of private players in railways, and inviting investment from the industry are some of the possibilities which are being expected in from the Indian Railways. The Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has recently said that the ministry is looking forward to inviting investments for the new technology and railway lines.

The Indian Railways is planning to purchase readymade trains, coaches, train sets, Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) from private manufacturers instead of buying them from the state-run production units including Chennai-based Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Kapurthala-situated Rail Coach Factory (RCF) and Raebareli-established Modern Coach Factory (MCF).

As of now, the aforementioned manufacturing facilities have produced the coaches of luxury to high-speed trains including Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express, Duronto Express, Tejas Express, Gatimaan Express and the recently-inducted Vande Bharat Express (Train 18).

The idea buying the readymade trains and coaches was proposed in a meeting held in New Delhi in which Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State of Railways Suresh C. Angadi were present, the report added. The move to procure the train sets and coaches from private players is likely to put a little strain on business models of the government-owned train production facilities, while, on the other hand, the Indian Railways can bring up the latest technology available in the world on the world’s busiest and largest railway network.

According to a PTI report, the Tejas Express train on the Delhi-Lucknow route is likely to become the first train which is to be operated by private entities. The move to invite private players to operate and manage Indian Railways train has been done well in advance as against government’s 100-day plan.

Facing favouritism charges, Railways introduces fresh Tender System for Train-18

Officials said the manufacturing process for the third Train 18 set, or Vande Bharat Express, would go on now with the new tendering process in place.

NEW DELHI: With the production of the third Train 18 unit virtually stopped over allegations of favouritism in the tendering process of the first train set, the railways Tuesday said it has introduced a new system for giving all bidders a level playing field and ensuring transparency.

Officials said the manufacturing process for the third Train 18 set, or Vande Bharat Express, would go on now with the new tendering process in place.

Earlier, stung by allegations of favouritism in the tendering process for manufacturing the first Train 18 set, which was rolled out earlier this year, the Integral Coach Factory had scrapped all existing tenders for the third rake.

A second Train 18 set is ready and is likely to be launched next month on the Delhi-Katra route.

Officials said the new tendering process gives vendors three months to apply for bids instead of the present three weeks.

It makes it mandatory for the production units to follow Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow, which functions as a technical adviser and consultant to the railways, specifications while issuing a tender, which was not followed by the ICF during manufacturing of first Train 18 set.

“This will bring in more transparency and also give all parties a level playing field,” an official said.

The first rake of Train 18 was manufactured in a record time of just 18 months at a cost of about Rs 97 crore.

However, the ministry received around 25 complaints from vendors and multinational companies that a domestic private firm was allegedly favoured in the procurement process for electrical equipment for the train set.

During the bidding process for the first rake, 18 companies were in the fray for supplying electrical equipment. Eight of these firms were Indian.

However, only one consortium could make it on the last day of the tender submission, February 6, 2018, due to “certain pre-bidding conditions”, sources said, though they did not elaborate.

This led to the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) red-flagging the process. And the manufacturing of the third train virtually stopped with a vigilance enquiry at the Integral Coach Factory underway.

Not just the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, but the Modern Coach Factory, Rae Bareli, also cancelled all tenders pertaining to Vande Bharat Express type of rakes, suburban trains such as Electric Multiple Units (EMU), Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMU) and Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) as well.

An official said, “We want to offer a level playing field to all suppliers to participate in the making of these trains which will not only have high quality but (will be produced with) much greater transparency.”

The Railway Board in a recent meeting with top officials and leading manufacturers of propulsion systems discussed the new timelines to invite wider participation, another official said.

“The Board met train set manufacturers and informed them that train sets could only be procured from them if the demand exceeds the manufacturing capacity of railways’ production units,” the senior ministry official said.

The ICF has been sanctioned to manufacture 40 Vande Bharat train sets over the next three years – 10 in 2019-20 and 15 each in the next two years.

Budget 2019: Railway Stocks see mixed reaction; Texmao Rail, RVNL, Titagarh Wagons down!

Reacting to Budget announcement, shares of Titagarh Wagons, Texmao Rail & Engineering, Texmaco Infrastructure, Hind Rectifiers slipped into negative terrain!

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman might have presented a reformist Union Budget 2019-20, but it failed to impress investors at Dalal Street, especially for the railway-linked stocks, which slipped into negative terrain post the announcement.

Shares of seven companies operating in the railways-related sector saw mixed trend at 11:56 IST on BSE after Finance Minister allowed larger participation of private sector through public-private partnerships in passenger and freight services.

Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Sensex was down by 112.46 points, or 0.28% to 39,795.60.

Railway stocks saw mixed trend. Container Corporation of India (up 0.33%), BEML (up 0.22%) and NELCO (up 0.17%) rose. Hind Rectifiers (down 1.93%), Texmaco Rail & Engineering (down 1.24%) and Titagarh Wagons (down 0.24%) declined.

While presenting Union Budget 2019-20 in parliament today, 5 July 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Indian Railways is set to allow larger participation of the private sector through public-private partnerships (PPPs) in passenger and freight services.

The railway infrastructure needs investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030. PPPs will unleash development in the railways sector, the Finance Minister said. The development targets of the Indian railways cannot be met by the public sector alone, calling for larger participation of the private sector, Nirmala Sitharaman said. The ministry also called for allowing private players to operate passenger trains on important routes in the country and open up rolling stock manufacturing to the private sector, she added. Finance Minister further said a public-private partnership will make services better. “Railway infra would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030; PPP to be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services,” she said. However, the Sitharaman did not announce any addition to the railway capital expenditure.

Reacting to Budget announcement, shares of Titagarh Wagons, the second largest freight wagon manufacturer in India, were trading lower at Rs 61.20, down 0.33 per cent, on the Bombay Stock Exchange. Texmao Rail & Engineering declined 2.27 per cent to Rs 66.90 in intra-day trade. Texmaco Infrastructure were marginally up at Rs 50, while Hind Rectifiers tumbled 3.23 per cent to Rs 126 on the BSE.

Among other rail-related stocks, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) share price was down 0.11 per cent at Rs 1,569.85 per share. The newly listed state-controlled company Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) were also trading in negative terrain, down 0.88 per cent at Rs 28.05 apiece.

Meanwhile, the BSE benchmark Sensex was trading at 39854.7, down by 53.36 points or by 0.13 per cent.

A good run, but watch out for profitability

The change!

The Centre, in an ambitious move, has estimated an investment of 50 lakh-crore till 2030 for developing railway infrastructure. The Finance Minister also emphasised on the need for public-private partnerships to hasten sanctioned works.

For FY20, the budgeted capital outlay of the Railways has been raised to about 1.6 lakh-crore, an increase of 9 per cent from a year ago.

The background

In 2015, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu envisioned transforming the Railways by proposing an investment plan of 8,56,020 crore for five years with emphasis on areas including gauge conversion, network expansion (including electrification), purchase of rolling stock and development of metro rail.

However, the key beneficiary of the Railways’ growth, the wagon industry, has seen inflow of bulk orders only over the past one year. By all accounts, the Railways has released orders for 11,790 wagons in FY19, out of the overall 22,000 required. The order for the remaining 9,000 wagons is expected to be released in FY20.

Despite the order inflow, the profitability of wagon companies remain a concern due to raising input costs and predatory pricing in bids. The Railways, too, continues with its efforts to improve the operating ratio, which measures operational expenditure against revenues. A high operating ratio (lower, the better), at an average of 94 per cent (FY11-12 to FY17-2018), has lead to lower internal accruals for the Railways, making it dependent on budgetary and off-budgetary sources of funds to meet its capital expenditure.

The verdict

Increased capital allocation by the Railways towards capacity creation raised the demand for wagons in the previous fiscal and boosted the top-lines of rail-wagon and coach manufacturers such as BEML, Titagarh Wagons, and Texmaco Rail and Engineering. But the stock performance of most of these firms haven’t been impressive in the past one year on the back of poor profitability.

Though Titagarh’s and the State-run BEML’s revenues grew 9 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, in FY19, their net profits fell 14 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively. Texmaco has been the outlier as its revenue and net profit grew 79 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively. Kernex Microsystems, manufacturer of railway safety equipment, continues to be a loss-making entity.

For FY20, the budgeted amount for rolling stock has almost quadrupled to 6,114 crore. The prospects of the wagon industry look optimistic with higher allocation, progress of dedicated freight corridors, focus on PPPs and expansion of metro network. However, profitability of these companies has to be closely watched periodically.

Procurement of steel for railway lines would also give boost to the top-lines of steel-makers such as SAIL and JSPL.

Budget 2019: Indian Railways to focus on Suburban Networks; boost for Rapid Rail and Metro

The national transporter will be encouraged to invest more on suburban railway system through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) structures like Rapid Regional Transport System (RRTS).

NEW DELHI: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’S first budget of the Modi 2.0 government in the parliament that was presented yesterday had laid major emphasis on the SPV structures and PPP models. In Union Budget 2019 speech, several big announcements were made by the minister, promising to give a major boost to the country’s infrastructure sector. As the suburban train services of Indian Railways are a major regional connectivity booster for big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and smaller cities, the national transporter will be encouraged to invest more on suburban railway system through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) structures like Rapid Regional Transport System (RRTS) proposed on the Delhi-Meerut route, Sitharaman said in the parliament.

In Railway Budget 2019, which is a part of the Union Budget, Finance Minister also proposed to enhance the metro-railway initiatives. The minister said that this will be done by encouraging more Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives and ensuring completion of sanctioned works while supporting Transit Oriented Development in a bid to ensure commercial activity around transit hubs. The Delhi Metro network, one of the most popular in the country has been given a grant of Rs 414.70 crore.

The Finance Minister also mentioned that to take Indian Railways to another level, the PPP model will be introduced for faster development, rolling stock production and for delivery of freight. Further to this, Sitharaman also claimed that the railways is in the process of completing the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project. Once the DFC project is complete, it will free up some of the existing railways’ network for the smooth operation of passenger trains. In addition to this, the minister said that the development of inland waterways will also help in reducing the pressure on the national transporter.

While speaking on Metro Rail connectivity in India, Sitharaman said that during the financial year 2018-19, new Metro Rail projects for a total route length of 300 kms have been approved. Moreover, during 2019, nearly 210 kms metro lines have been operationalized. With this, a total of 657 kms of Metro Rail network has become functional across the country, she said.

No govt had courage to allocate Rs 50 lakh cr to Railways in Budget: Goyal

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented her first budget of the Modi 2.0 government in the parliament. In Union Budget 2019 speech, several big announcements were made by the minister, promising to give a major boost to the country’s infrastructure sector. As the suburban train services of Indian Railways are a major regional connectivity booster for big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and smaller cities, the national transporter will be encouraged to invest more on suburban railway system through Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) structures like Rapid Regional Transport System (RRTS) proposed on the Delhi-Meerut route, Sitharaman said in the parliament today.

In Railway Budget 2019, which is a part of the Union Budget, Finance Minister also proposed to enhance the metro-railway initiatives. The minister said that this will be done by encouraging more Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives and ensuring completion of sanctioned works while supporting Transit Oriented Development in a bid to ensure commercial activity around transit hubs. The Delhi Metro network, one of the most popular in the country has been given a grant of Rs 414.70 crore.

The Finance Minister also mentioned that to take Indian Railways to another level, the PPP model will be introduced for faster development, rolling stock production and for delivery of freight. Further to this, Sitharaman also claimed that the railways is in the process of completing the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project. Once the DFC project is complete, it will free up some of the existing railways’ network for the smooth operation of passenger trains. In addition to this, the minister said that the development of inland waterways will also help in reducing the pressure on the national transporter.

While speaking on Metro Rail connectivity in India, Sitharaman said that during the financial year 2018-19, new Metro Rail projects for a total route length of 300 kms have been approved. Moreover, during 2019, nearly 210 kms metro lines have been operationalized. With this, a total of 657 kms of Metro Rail network has become functional across the country, she said.

Budget 2019 allocations – Railways gets the Top Billing

NEW DELHI: Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s first full-time female finance minister, delieverd her maiden budget speech today. Amid hits and misses with regard to schemes and taxation, Sitharaman managed to touch upon a wide spectrum of sectors and policies attached to them.

Pre-Budget speculations about the allocation of funds to different departments was a hot topic of discussion for industry experts. As the D-Day draws to a close, we take a look at the top 10 sectoral budgetary allocations, placing them alongside their allocations for the past 5 years. Railways, the highest of the lot, was allocated Rs 3,57,576 crore, 10.51% higher than its allocation in 2018-19 which stood at Rs 3,23,558 crore. Defence came next with an allocation of Rs 305,296 cr, up by 6.9% as compared to last year’s Rs 285,423 crore.

For the financial year 2019-20, capital expenditure for Indian Railways has been pegged at Rs 1,60,176 crore. The amount is 20% higher than that of the previous year. According to Finance Minister, the infrastructure of Indian Railways would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018-2030. The capital expenditure for 2019-20 has been pegged at Rs 1,60,176 crore, which is 20% higher than the previous year. The minister also proposed the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model for faster development and completion of rail tracks, rolling stock production and delivery of passenger freight services in her Union Budget speech 2019.

Take a look at top 10 things in this year’s Railway Budget 2019:

  1. Indian Railways will invest more in suburban railway systems through Special Purpose Vehicle structures like RRTS (Rapid Regional Transport System) proposed on the Delhi-Meerut route.
  2. Complete elimination of unmanned level crossings on Broad Gauge network has been achieved in 2018-19. Now, the national transporter is aiming to eliminate all 2,568 manned level crossings, present on Golden quadrilateral and diagonal routes in mission mode by building ROBs/RUBs.
  3. The electrification of Indian Railways’ broad gauge network will be done by 2021-22. In 2019-20, 7000 route kilometres has been targeted for electrification. Also, for 2019-20, the target of new lines, doubling/tripling, gauge conversion, etc. is 3750 kilometres as against 3596 kms in the last financial year.
  4. The two Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) are targeted to be completed by 2021 in phases. The Rewari-Palanpur section on Western DFC and the Khurja-Bhaupur section on Eastern DFC are targeted for completion this year.
  5. The Finance Minister claimed that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project is progressing well and is scheduled for completion by the year 2023.
  6. In a bid to enhance safety, create additional capacity and increase train efficiency, the Railway Budget 2019 also talked about introducing an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system using a mix of European Train Control System as well as an indigenously developed system.
  7. Indian Railways has launched a massive programme for modernization of railway stations, making railway travel a pleasant and satisfying experience for passengers. The railways has also introduced fully indigenous semi high-speed Train 18 under ‘Make in India’.
  8. Indian Railways is providing free WiFi at all railway stations (excluding halt stations) in a bid to improve rail travel experience and bridge the digital divide between urban and rural India. So far, the facility has been provided at 1,603 stations and the remaining 4,882 stations are targeted for the provision by 31 August 2019.
  9. Indian Railways to provide CCTV cameras at all stations (excluding halt stations) as well as in trains to enhance the safety of passengers. So far, CCTV cameras have been provided at 455 railway stations and the balance stations are targeted by 2020-21. Similarly, CCTV cameras have been provided at 1,203 coaches and the rest of the passenger carrying coaches are targeted by 2021-22.
  10. The Railway Budget 2019 said to launch a scheme of Integrated Skill Development, where all 13 lakh railway employees will be given a foundational training. The programme will focus on 3Cs- Customer, Cost, and Work Culture. The employees who demonstrate high learning agility, as well as greater skill mastery, shall be offered an Advanced Program.

Budget 2019: FM promises Pvt Investment boost to Railways for Infra Devpt, allocates Rs.28,000 Crore on PPP Model

An amount of Rs 1.59 lakh crore has been allocated to the Railways which is 15 per cent higher than the allocation in the revised budget of 2018-19 which was Rs 1.48 lakh crore.

NEW DELHI: Encouragement to private investment in the Railways for infrastructure development was the biggest takeaway from the first Union budget presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. An amount of Rs 1.59 lakh crore has been allocated to the Railways which is 15 per cent higher than the allocation in the revised budget of 2018-19 which was Rs 1.48 lakh crore.

In her speech on Friday, Sitharaman highlighted the need for large-scale investments in the Railways for infrastructure development even as she said the government would not be able to increase the outlays substantially. Hence, she proposed to encourage the public-private partnership (PPP) and allocated Rs 28,100 crore for the same. The allocation was Rs 27,000 crore and Rs 22,116 crore in the previous two budgets.

A dedicated freight corridor is one of the ambitious projects being undertaken by the Narendra Modi government. Sitharaman said infrastructure development would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 which can be done through the PPP model.

An amount of Rs 1,750 crore was allotted for signaling and telecommunication to ensure faster movement of passenger trains. Another Rs 2,700 crore was allotted for gauge conversion and doubling of the tracks with an increase of 12 per cent as compared to the revised budget of 2018-19.

Funds worth Rs 7,255 crore was allotted for construction of new lines. In a relief for passengers, no new fare hike was announced, even as the government decided to focus on green energy.

The conversion of a diesel locomotive to an electric one was a recent development in that front.

As part of the station beautification programme, the Metropolitan Transportation Project was allotted Rs 1,600 crore, double the allocation of the 2017-18 budget with an emphasis on suburban network development.

By year-end, a 210-km metro network will be added to the 657-km network operational across the country, the finance minister said. Earlier, the railway budget used to be presented separately. However, the Modi government merged it with the Union budget in 2016.

Budget 2019: FM makes 200% hike in allocation of budget for passenger amenities

The allocation for rail passenger comfort this fiscal has gone up to3,422.57 crore from 1,657 crore in the Budget presented last year. Indication of the sharp rise was given in the interim Budget where the allocation for passenger amenities jumped by 50%.

NEW DELHIThe government has allocated more than 3,000 crore for rail passenger amenities in the 2019-2020 Budget, an around 200 per cent rise from the last fiscal.

The allocation for rail passenger comfort this fiscal has gone up to 3,422.57 crore from 1,657 crore in the Budget presented last year by then finance minister Arun Jaitley. In the 2017-2018 financial year, the budgetary allocation for railway passenger amenities was 1,100.90 crore.

Indication of the sharp rise was given in the interim Budget where the allocation for passenger amenities jumped by 50 per cent from the amount allocated in 2018-2019.

To improve the quality of travel and services, the government will build world-class modern train sets, including more ‘Train 18s’ and ‘Train 20’ which are the next level of such train sets and consists of sleeper coaches. It is expected to be rolled out in 2020.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said his aim is to produce 100 such train sets, which will replace the Shatabdi and Rajdhani express trains in the near future.

Redevelopment of 600 major railway stations has also been taken up which will improve passenger amenities at stations and turn them into world-class facilities with Wi-Fi, drinking water facilities, upgraded waiting rooms, television sets, passenger information kiosks and other such facilities.

Railways will also launch a massive programme of station modernisation to make train travel pleasant and satisfying for the common citizens. It will also provide Wi-Fi at all stations excluding halt stations to improve train travel experience and bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban citizens.

Till now this facility has been provided at 1,603 stations and rest 4,882 stations are targeted for provision by August 31, 2019 under the ambitious 100-day programme of the government.

Railways has also planned to provide CCTV Surveillance System at all stations (excluding halt stations) and in trains by using state-of-the art video surveillance technology to enhance safety of passengers. CCTV surveillance system at 455 railway stations have been provided and rest of the stations are targeted by 2020-21.

Similarly, 1,203 coaches were equipped with CCTV surveillance system and rest passenger coaches are targeted by 2021-22.

Budget 2019: Massive Railway Station modernisation program to be launched this year: Nirmala Sitharaman

Finance Minister said railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 and PPP will be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services.

NEW DELHI: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on July 5 laid out the broad contours of a plan to modernise Indian Railways within the next three years, including completion of the much-delayed dedicated freight corridor project.

“I propose to enhance metro railway initiative by encouraging more PPP model initiatives. Railways to be encouraged to invest more in suburban railways through SPV structures such as Rapid Regional Transport System,” she said in her Union Budget 2019 address in the Parliament.

She said railway infrastructure would need an investment of Rs 50 lakh crore between 2018 and 2030 and PPP will be used to unleash faster development and delivery of passenger freight services.

Last year, the Union Cabinet had approved a proposal for the complete electrification of Indian Railways in the next four years, reducing dependence on imported fossil fuel and saving revenue for the national carrier.

The move will cost the government Rs 12,134 crore.

Indian Railways is one of the largest rail networks in the world with 67,368km of tracks and 22,550 trains that carry 22.24 million passengers and 3.04 million tonnes of freight every day.

Currently, around two-third of freight and more than half of passenger traffic in Indian Railways are ferried by electric traction (engines). However, electric traction accounts for just 37 percent of the total energy expenses of Indian Railways.

The overall capital expenditure programme of Indian Railways is Rs 1,58,658 crore.

Once the project is completed, Indian Railways may become the largest electrified rail network in the world. It will help save foreign exchange, reduce pollution and make railways faster and safer.

Indian Railways to acquire Tech to build Aluminium Coaches capable of supporting Speeds up to 250 Kmph

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways has initiated action to acquire the necessary technology required to build aluminium body coaches in its railway factory as per a written reply by Piyush Goyal in the Indian Parliament.

The railways is also planning on operating trains using modern LHB coaches by default as opposed to the conventional ICF ones.

In case of aluminium body coaches, these coaches are capable of running on speeds up to 250 kmph and are also more cost effective.

Railways plans on building 500 such coaches in the Modern Coach Factory Raebareli. Currently Railways manufactures stainless steel LHB coaches, hence it requires to float a global tender to seek transfer of technology to produce their aluminium counterparts.

Unlike stainless steel, aluminium coaches are not prone to corrosion hence require less maintenance. The coaches are also lighter in comparison and save 3 tonne worth of material per coach.

The coaches can also be commissioned into service much longer (40 years) as opposed to the life cycle of 20-35 years for LHB coaches and 25 years for ICF coaches.

Indian Railways is also planning on eventually exporting the aluminium coaches in the future.

Trans-Himalayan Railway – which way will the Tibet-Nepal Railway go?

Feasibility report suggests drilling a train tunnel under the Himalaya, not along the river!

KHATMANDU: Till not too long ago, a trans-Himalayan railway sounded like science fiction. Now, with the proposed 100km long tunnel under Langtang National park, it sounds even more futuristic.

The rapid strides China has taken in extending its national railway network makes drilling under the world’s highest mountains seem no longer technically impossible, but is it economically viable?

A pre-feasibility study of a railway into Nepal from Tibet carried out by a Chinese team in 2018 suggests that it would be an engineering feat and very expensive, but not an impossible task.

“Technically this will be one of the world’s toughest railways to construct,” says Paribesh Parajuli, an engineer at Nepal’s Department of Railways, who was educated in China and is a consultant for the study.

Despite Nepali politicians making wild promises about the imminent arrival of a Tibet train and ensuing public anticipation, because of the technical and cost factors the Chinese have sought to dampen some of the enthusiasm.

The feasibility study has not yet been made public, but is said to list ‘six extremes’ that will be challenging: topography, weather, hydrology, tectonics, and cost.

And despite speculation that the railway alignment will follow the Bhote Kosi River across the Himalaya to Nuwakot, the study actually lays out a much more adventurous course under Langtang National Park, below Gosainkunda and Shivapuri National Park to enter Kathmandu Valley at Tokha. Stations will be located at bridge points where the tunnels emerge at Langtang Khola and Pati Bhanjyang.

The gradient required to descend from 4,000m on the Tibetan Plateau to 1,400m above Kathmandu is so steep that engineers have proposed drilling through the mountains with 98% of the tracks on the Nepal side inside tunnels.

Says Parajuli: “If the railroad follows the proposed tunnel route under the mountains, the towns along the existing highway to Rasuwa will not even be seeing trains.”

Although drilling under the mountains will minimise environmental impact in two national parks, the tunnels will traverse the Main Central Thrust faultline of the Himalaya. Mitigating earthquake risk will push the total cost even higher than a normal tunnel project.

Preliminary estimates put the cost of just the 170km Kerung to Kathmandu section of the railway at 38 billion yuan ($5.5 billion). Even though only 30% of the length from Menbu to Kathmandu is in Nepal, it will account for almost half the cost of the project because of the required tunneling.

Despite these challenges, Nepal’s railway dream moved closer to reality after the project was listed as one of the 64 to be considered under China’s BRI during the second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in April.

Nepal is now seeking a grant from China to construct the railway, but Beijing is reticent, hence recent comments by Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi urging Nepalis not to jump the gun.

The Nepal government has not allocated any money for the Tibet railway in this year’s budget. But officials at Nepal’s Infrastructure and Transport ministry say just a detailed engineering study for the Kerung-Kathmandu section of the railway will cost an estimated five times the Nepal’s total railway budget for next year.

Even so, Finance Minister Yubaraj Khatiwada seems upbeat. He has even announced the date of the start of construction: “We will complete the detailed project report and feasibility study and start construction work on the Kerung-Kathmandu railway in the next two years.”

The Chinese do not seem to be in such a rush. The Qinghai-Tibet railway reached Xigatse in Tibet in 2014. At the pace of construction, it was scheduled to arrive on the border in Kerung by 2020, but the Chinese have reportedly pushed that back to 2025.

Both the Chinese and Nepal governments have denied that loan financing for the project will push Nepal into a debt trap, as the Americans have been warning.

“The main thing is how projects are selected, whether that is done on the possible rate of return, and the pay back plan,” says Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali.

While the minister could not answer questions about what Nepal would export to China by train, Prime Minister K P Oli once speculated it could be mineral water, for which he was widely ridiculed. Mineral water is already a multi-billion dollar industry in Tibet, so it would be like coals to Newcastle.

Economic analysts say the railway makes sense only if Nepal can fill the wagons with its goods for the return trip. While imports from China increased by about 40% in 2018, exports from Nepal to China fell by 30%, with the country’s trade deficit reaching about US$12 billion last year – equal to nearly half of the country’s total GDP.

Ambassador Hou has tried to allay fears. “The BRI is not a ‘debt trap’ that some countries may fall into, but an ‘economic pie’ that benefits the local population,” she wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Nagarik newspaper.

The real question is not just who will pay for the railway, but also whether it will pay for itself. The tunnel alignment will push up costs, and because it misses all major urban areas along the way like Trisuli and Syabrubesi, it is unlikely to benefit local populations.

Narayan Das Dongol, 76, plays with his granddaughter in Tokha village on the northern rim of Kathmandu Valley. His house will be near the proposed terminal of the Kerung-Kathmandu railway, and he has heard rumours about a train coming. There is still confusion about the exact route the tracks will take, but land prices here have already soared six-fold to Rs3 million for a 32 sq m patch in anticipation.

In Bidur of Nuwakot, Mayor Sanju Pandit insists the train should go through his town, adding: “I have heard that the railway will cross our town, but we have not been consulted or informed about it at all.”

One worry is that regular cargo trains between China and Nepal will increase wildlife trafficking not just of endangered species from Nepal, but also India. Nepal would be even more of a transit for contraband like tiger skins, rhinos horns, pangolins, sandalwood.

On the Nepal side, there are zero preparations in place for the Tibet railroad, but even the proposed east-west Tarai railway does not seem to be going anywhere. In the decade since it was set up, Nepal’s Department of Railways has yet to hire a fulltime railway engineer.

The new 34km railway from Bihar to Nepal is supposed to start operations next month with a hired train and driver from India. But you cannot fault Nepal for dreaming big: the government plans to construct 4,000km of railways in the next two decades.

Timeline: Nepal’s BRI railway

2017 – Nepal and China sign MoU on the BRI in Beijing.

2018 – Nepal forms two committees headed by the foreign secretary and finance secretary to propose projects for China to fund under BRI.

2018 – Nepal’s prime minister, K.P Oli, visits China and signs on 14 projects including in cooperation in railways.

2018 – Pre-feasibility study for the Kerung- Kathmandu rail by a Chinese team.

2019 – The Nepal-China railway listed as part of the Trans-Himalayan connectivity network at the second BRI Forum in Beijing in April.

2019 – In budget speech, government declares construction will start in two years without allocating appropriate budget for a detailed study.

Autokast Ltd to produce Bogies for Indian Railways

Kerala Finance Minister Isaac says the state owned PSU is poised to make profit for first time!

COCHIN: Autokast Ltd., which bagged a tender for supplying bogies to North Western Railway, will open a new chapter in the industrial development of the State.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac on Thursday said that Autokast, a ferrous foundry manufacturing unit in the public sector at S.N. Puram, near Cherthala, was poised to make profit for the first time.

“Autokast, once listed for privatisation by the UDF government, has won a tender for supplying bogies to North Western Railway. For the first time, the company is poised to make profits. The Left agenda stands for the protection of the public sector,” Dr. Isaac said.

Established in 1984

The unit was established in 1984. It employs 370 permanent and 180 temporary staff. The order for manufacturing bogies will give a new lease of life to the struggling Autokast, which is finding it difficult to give salary and allowances to its employees.

Earlier this year, the Lucknow-based Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of the Union Ministry of Railways has accorded Class ‘A’ Foundry status to Autokast. Following this, the company participated in a bidding process and bagged the tender for constructing Casnub bogies for goods trains.

Already, the prototype of the Casnub bogies had been manufactured in Autokast and subjected to quality tests of the RDSO. In the initial years, Autokast plans to manufacture at least 5% of the bogies needed and will step up the production in the coming years.

The present LDF government has injected money into the company, which helped it to modernise the unit.

About Autokast

Established in 1984, Autokast Ltd is fully equipped to manufacture all kinds of Ferrous Castings weighing from 20 kg to 8000 Kg single piece. The present annual production capacity is 6000 Metric Tons. Autokast produces and markets different grades of Grey Iron and SG Iron Castings for the domestic and international markets. In fact Autokast can produce Quality Castings in all grades of Grey Iron and SG Iron. An expansion proposal to include Steel Castings is on the anvil.

Range of Alloys manufactured at present include FG-200 to FG-300, SG-400/12, SG-500/7, GGG.40.3 grade, Grey Iron With 2% Nickel.

An ISO 9001-2008 Company Autokast has different production lines each of which caters to different market segments.

Fire incidents rise in Railways: Economic Survey

The train collisions have come down to zero in 2018-19, however, the Economic Survey says incidents of fire in trains increased.

NEW DELHI: The train collisions have come down to zero in 2018-19, however, the Economic Survey says incidents of fire in trains increased. The Economic Survey says the incidents of derailment have come down from 78 in 2016-17 to 46 in the last financial year. The incidents of train collision have come down to zero in the year 2018-19. However, the fire incidents in trains have increased to six in 2018-19 as compared to one in 2016-17, it added.

The total accidents also came down from 104 in 2016-17 to 59 in 2018-19 including derailments, manned and unmanned level crossings.

The railways initiated a major electrification programme for electrifying 100% of its broad gauge network, it said adding that the move will reduce the nation’s dependence on imported diesel oil.

As on April 1, 2019, “Indian Railways has 35,488 Route Kilometre (RKM) of network commissioned on electric traction which constitutes 51.85% of total network and carries 64.50% of freight and 53.70% of coaching traffic.”

The pace of electrification is accelerated and a total of 38,000 RKM has been identified for electrification by 2021.

The revenue-earning freight loading, excluding loading by Konkan Railways, during 2017-18 was at 1159.55 million tonnes (MT), as against 1106.15 MT during 2016-17, registering an increase of 4.83%.

In 2018-19, the Railways carried 1221.39 MT of revenue-earning freight, showing an increase of 61.84 MT over the freight traffic of 2017-18.

“There is an increase of 2.09% in the number of passengers carried by IR (Indian Railways) during 2017-18 as compared to 2016-17 and 0.64% increase in 2018-19 as compared to 2017-18,” the Survey said.

Ajay Devgan’s NY Cinemas opens Railways-themed Multiplex in Ratlam

Actor-producer Ajay Devgn, under his venture NY Cinemas, has launched a thematic multiplex in Ratlam. It has railways-inspired interiors. The two-screen multiplex has a screen with a capacity of 460 seats, and has railways-inspired interiors which will transport visitors to different ages of the train and how it has evolved in both India and cinema.

RATLAM: Actor-producer Ajay Devgn, under his venture NY Cinemas, has launched a thematic multiplex in Ratlam. It has railways-inspired interiors.

“We are dedicating this Ratlam multiplex as an ode to the iconic railway network of the country through the years of Indian cinema. We are glad to introduce this thematic movie watching experience with an exclusive concept powered by advanced technological solutions to our audience,” Ajay said in a statement.

The two-screen multiplex has a screen with a capacity of 460 seats, and has railways-inspired interiors which will transport visitors to different ages of the train and how it has evolved in both India and cinema.

NY Cinemas CEO Rajeev Sharma said: “Indian movies are all about their varied themes and taking this further we are introducing cinemas which provide an overall experience. We are proud to present this thematic multiplex catering to all the needs of the audience. With our constant endeavour for innovation, we look forward to welcome movie lovers in Ratlam and are confident that our audience will love the complete experience.”

The idea behind the chain is to create a unique, concept-driven multiplex theatre design. It currently has screens operational in Bhuj, Hapur, Ghazipur, Rae Bareli and Surendranagar.

CCI conduct raids at French firm Mersen’s two offices in Bengaluru and Hyderabad over parts supplied to Railways

The Competition Commission of India conducted raids at French firm Mersen’s two offices in Bengaluru and at the offices of Assam Carbon Products in Hyderabad. The raids involve pricing of carbon brushes, used in electric motors.

HYDERABAD: India’s antitrust body on Thursday raided the local unit of French firm Mersen SA and an Indian company over allegations they colluded on prices of equipment supplied to Indian Railways, two sources told Reuters.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) conducted raids at Mersen’s two offices in Bengaluru and at the offices of Assam Carbon Products in Hyderabad and Kolkata, one of the sources said.

The raids mark only the fifth such search operation in CCI’s 10-year history. They can only be conducted with approval from a judge.

The raids followed a review of a complaint by the Railways which alleged the two companies had colluded over pricing of carbon brushes before submitting their bids. Such brushes are used in electric motors.

“Both of them were fixing prices, they did bid rigging to inflate prices,” said one of the sources who is aware of the allegations made by the Indian Railways.

“Mersen is fully cooperating with the Indian authorities. As the investigation is ongoing, Mersen will not further comment,” Mersen said in an emailed statement.

Repeated calls to the offices of Assam Carbon Products went unanswered. Indian Railways and the CCI did not respond to requests for immediate comment.

Shares of Mersen – a specialist in electrical power and advanced materials with a market capitalisation of 685 million euros – were down more than two percent in early trading on the Paris bourse on Friday.

About 30 antitrust officials were involved in searches at the offices of the two firms which began on Thursday and are likely to continue for about 24 hours, one said source. Some company executives were also questioned.

The CCI has conducted a number of raids involving global corporations since last year. In March, it raided units of global commodities trader Glencore. Earlier it conducted raids at the offices of global brewers such as Carlsberg and Anheuser Busch InBev. Both of those investigations are still ongoing.

South Central Railway commissions longest Electrified Tunnel between Cherlapalli-Rapuru section

On the newly commissioned line, the travel time gets reduced to about 5 hours!

SECUNDERABAD: South Central Railway has commissioned the longest electrified tunnel, measuring 6.6 Kms between Cherlapalli and Rapuru stations and is part of the recently completed Obulavaripalli – Venkatachalam new railway line.

The tunnel has been completed in a record time of 43 months.

Two freight trains have successfully run on 25th June, 2019 marking the full-scale Operation of the newly built electrified railway line between the two stations, thereby opening up viable rail connectivity between Krishnapatnam Port and its hinterland for Goods train services, South Central Railway (SCR) said in a statement.

Completion of this tunnel has enabled Railways to start freight operations on this important railway line, which has reduced the distance between Krishnapatnam Port and hinterland areas by 60 kms. At present, the average travel time taken by goods train from Krishnapatnam Port to Obulavaripalli is 10 hrs. On the newly commissioned line, the travel time gets reduced to about 5 hours, which will result in a saving of travel time by 5 hours, it added.

The construction of this tunnel paved the way to operate freight trains in Obulavaripalli – Venkatachalam – Krishnapatnam Port new railway line for a distance of 113 Kms. The section is now notified for commercial freight operations as well.

Salient Features of Tunnel

  • Located between Cherlopalli to Rapuru stations and constructed in shape of ‘Horse Shoe’.
  • New Australian Tunneling Method(NATM) is used and the cost incurred is Rs.460 crores
  • Length of the tunnel is 6, 660 mts and is in straight alignment.
  • The height of tunnel (rail level to roof) is 6.5 meters and the minimum height of contact wire is maintained at 5.2 meters.
  • Ballast less Track is constructed with Bi-block sleepers and VOSSLOH fittings
  • Full length lining is provided with 300 mm thickness
  • Two nos. of traction power supply substations are provided near Cherlopalli and near Adurupalli with necessary switching stations in between.
  • OHE maintenance depot is provided at Rapuru along with tower-car shed.
  • LED lighting provided at 10 m intervals inside the tunnel
  • Conventional OHE has been provided with a maximum span of 36 m and maximum tension length of 1206 m. Brackets for supporting OHE have been fixed on wall mounted type plate fittings, which are fixed to the tunnel lining concrete.
  • Spring type Auto Tensioning Device (ATD) of South Korean make is adopted in place of conventional type ATD for maintaining necessary tension in OHE wires, for the first time in SCR.
  • Fail safe earthing arrangements are provided for safety of personnel working in tunnel.
  • This longest electrified tunnel is pivotal in the new railway line between Venkatachalam and Obulavaripalli and is a game changer in the freight operations of the zone.
  • This new line facilitates direct & viable connectivity between South Coast and West Coast and enhances the freight basket of South Central Railway.

Gajanan Mallya, General Manager, SCR said that it is a matter of pride for the zone to have such remarkable structure. The newly constructed railway line is also helpful for decongestion of traffic on Vijayawada – Gudur Main line.

IR owes over Rs.1,000 Crore in Diesel Bills; Rs.1,384 Crore being processed for payments currently

Piyush Goyal said the payment of fuel bills was a continuous process, and the bills keep coming “periodically” and were also cleared in the same manner. In 3-4 years, we won’t need diesel, said Railway Minister in written response to RailNews queries.

NEW DELHI: The national transporter owes oil companies more than Rs 1,000 crore in diesel bills, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal told . Replying to a question, Goyal said the payment of fuel bills was a continuous process, and the bills keep coming “periodically” and were also cleared in the same manner.

The Union minister said bills amounting to Rs 1,384 crore were being processed for payment currently. It owes Indian Oil Rs 1,037 crore, Bharat Petroleum Rs 154 crore, Hindustan Petroleum Rs 61.53 crore, Reliance Industries Rs 115.60 crore and Nayara Energy Rs 15.96 crore.

Goyal said the national transporter did not owe anything for electric traction. The minister said it was difficult to work out the impact of the increase in diesel prices on the railways as the cost of the fuel had risen and decreased multiple times. He said the railways had earmarked Rs 22,179 crore for diesel traction in budget estimate 2019-2020.

In a written response, the Minister answered to the following queries of RailNews through email:-

How will the diesel price hike impact the Railways?

When prices were up, we cut duty on fuel. International prices and dollar rates are down now. However, infrastructure is the need of the hour, and if we have to do a bit to finance for that, I don’t think the people of India will mind.

We are moving so rapidly to electrification that in 3-4 years we will not have any need for diesel.

How do you rate the success of the PPP model in the logistics sector?

A lot of investment has taken place in roads and airports through the PPP model.

In railways, the model hasn’t been used much, but we are starting now. Catering and cleanliness have been outsourced. Now, we are going for it on a much bigger scale.

We have to plan investments worth 50-lakh crore. Companies will come in only when the planning gets done.

Where do you plan to invest the amount?

The 50-lakh-crore investments discussed in the Budget have a lot of dimensions. We have to examine the precise requirements such as where do we need more dedicated freight corridors, more semi-high-speed or high-speed trains, and double, triple or quadruple tracks. We are doing studies on these.

What, according to you has this Budget addressed?

It is a very balanced Budget. There has been no compromise on fiscal prudence. The FM has made sure that all the pain points have been addressed, be it NBFCs, HFCs, real estate or start-ups.

38.91% Land Acquisition done for Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train project: Railway Minister

Indian Railways has acquired 537 hectare of land out of the total 1380 hectare needed for the bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

MUMBAI: Indian Railways has acquired 537 hectare of land out of the total 1380 hectare needed for the bullet train project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, the Parliament was told on Wednesday.

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the land acquisition for the High Speed Rail Project also known as Bullet Train Project is currently underway.

“National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL), a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) has been set up to execute the Project. Land acquisition for the project is under progress and so far, out of total 1380 hectare of land required, 537 hectare has been acquired,” he said.

Goyal also said that out of the total estimated cost of Rs 1,08,000 crore, Rs 2,860 crore has been utilised by NHSRCL for undertaking various works on the project till date. The project is targeted for completion in December, 2023 to start bullet train operation.

Konkan Railways to install water ATMs in all stations

MUMBAI: Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) to install water ATMs (water vending machines) in all railway stations in its network.

The KRCL has awarded the contract to JanaJal, a Delhi based water-services company, to install 61 water vending machines in 59 railway stations of Konkan Railway network covering Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.

“JanaJal will install 61 water vending machines in Konkan railway network and it is expected to serve 7.5 million commuters daily besides catering to local communities residing in the area,” Parag Agarwal, CMD of JanaJal said.

“Installation of the entire cluster of 61 water ATMs will be completed over a period of five months. JanaJal will use alternate superior technologies for water treatment that will minimise the wastage of water to less than 5 %,” he said in a statement.

“The daily consumption covering all the railway stations is expected to reach approximately 1 lakh litres in due course and will help eliminate as many as single-use plastic bottles from the environment”, he said.

JanaJal till date has similar projects in Maharashtra through 101 installations with Central Railways, Western Railways and Harbour Line, besides nearly 100 installed water ATMs at various Police Stations in Mumbai, the company said.

Syria, Iran defy sanctions by planning Railway line from Tehran to Mediterranean!

BEIRUT, LEBANON – Iran is preparing to begin construction on a large railway that links their capital city of Tehran to the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, the Director of Syrian Railways Najib Al-Fares said on Wednesday.

According to Fares, the new railway will promote regional trade between Syria, Iraq, and Iran.

The new project is expected to be funded by the Iranian government, with support from both Syria and Iraq.

The Director of the Iraqi Railway Company, Jawad Kazim, said that Iraq had previously signed contracts to implement projects with Iranian companies, but most were delayed.

For Syria, the new railway system is expected to help ease their economic issues that have derived from the U.S.-led sanctions on the Levantine nation.

While this should be beneficial for all parties, this new railway system will face heavy criticism from the U.S. and its allies, most notably Israel.

Israel has paid close attention to the Iranian developments in Syria and has often acted when they suspect weapons are being transported across borders.

The U.S. likely opposes the Syrian Arab Army’s (SAA) control over the border city of Albukamal in Deir Ezzor because it allows Iran to build a land bridge along the international highway.

Palwal-Sonipat Rail Line to connect Gurgaon, Faridabad with other districts of Haryana

Railway Board approves 130-km Palwal-Sonipat Railway Line. The project would be undertaken by Haryana Rail Development Corp Ltd. The Orbital Rail Corridor project will ease pressure on the congested transport network of Delhi and help in reducing pollution in the national capital. The project would connect Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabhgarh and Manesar with all the districts of Haryana.

NEW DELHIThe board of directors of Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corp Ltd (HRIDC) has approved the detailed project report of the Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project, a new double rail line of about 130 km from Palwal to Sonipat, it was announced on Saturday.

The HRIDC is the joint venture company of the Railway Ministry and the state government.

The project will provide direct rail connectivity (bypassing Delhi) to all the routes originating from Delhi and passing through Haryana.

This will also give connectivity to a dedicated freight corridor network at Pirthala. This rail corridor will have stations at New Palwal, Silani, Sohna, Dhulawat, Jasaur Kheri, Kharkhoda, Tarakpur and finally connect the Delhi-Ambala line at Harsana Kalan.

A government statement said this project would give a boost to develop an economic corridor along the KMP Expressway from Palwal to Sonipat and will also help in the development of the proposed Panchgram townships.

It will provide direct rail connectivity for Gurugram, Faridabad, Ballabhgarh, Palwal, Manesar and Farukhnagar with all the districts of Haryana.

It will also ease pressure on the congested transport network of Delhi and help in reducing pollution in the national capital.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar made an announcement for completing this 130 km new rail line project on a fast track basis in February.

Tripartite meeting of Iran, Iraq, Syria on Railways cooperation held

Shalamcheh-Basra railway project to be implemented in Autumn said Iranian Deputy Road Minister Kheirollah Khademi in a joint meeting between heads of the railways of Iran, Iraq and Syria in Tehran on Monday.

TEHRAN: The tripartite meeting of Iran, Iraq and Syria was held on Monday morning at the Headquarter Railways of The Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran for discussing expansion of transportation cooperation among the three countries.

According to the Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (known as RAI) Saied Rasouli, development of rail transport, increasing transit, development of exports and imports, and implementation of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway were among the topics discussed in the meeting.

In the meeting, Rasouli expressed Iran’s readiness for starting the construction operations of Shalamcheh-Basra railway, urging the Iraqi side to determine and introduce a representative company.

On the sidelines of the event, Rasouli told the press that a comprehensive tripartite document on rail transportation cooperation among the three countries was presented at the meeting, which was mainly focused on connecting the three sides through Shalamcheh-Basra railway.

The official further noted that establishing a railway link and creating transit corridors between the three countries are called for by high-ranking officials from all three sides.

In order to complete the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad route, the 17-kilometer Khorramshahr-Shalamcheh railway project was completed in 2011 to connect the Iranian railways to Iraq, however the Shalamcheh-Basra part is still unfinished and Iran is waiting for the Iraqi side to take necessary measures in this regard.

As reported, during the meeting, Iran and Iraq agreed on commencing the construction operations of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway project within the next three months.
Islamic Republic of Iran’s Mostazafan Foundation is going to fund the project as the Iranian party of the agreement.

Iran has close political and economic ties with both Iraq and Syria and the economic relations among the three nations have significantly developed in the past few years.

Motorola wins Israel Railways communications contract

JERUSALEM: Motorola Solutions has won a contract to supply Israel Railways with up to 3 000 push-to-talk over cellular  mobile devices equipped with its WAVE group communication service, and to operate and maintain the network for three years. Hot Mobile will act as the mobile network carrier.

There is an option to extend the maintenance element of the contract to five years.

The system is intended to support operational communications across the ISR network, including offices, yards and depots, replacing the current Mirs integrated digital enhanced network platform.

Announcing the contract on June 24, Motorola said WAVE would eliminate the barriers between devices, networks and locations, allowing users with radios, smartphones, tablets and laptops to communicate seamlessly and share voice, text, photos and video with individuals or  groups.

Laos, Thailand to expand Railway line into Lao capital Vientiane

VIENTIANE: Laos and Thailand have agreed to start Phase-II of the construction of the Laos-Thailand railway, which will link the existing suburban station to central Vientiane.

The Department of Railways under the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project with Thailand’s Sermsanguan Construction Co., Ltd on last Friday in Vientiane. The 7.5 km expansion is expected to be completed at the end of 2021, said the Tuesday report.

The MoU was signed by the Director General of the Lao Department of Railways, Sengthavisay Malivanh, and the Project Manager of Sermsanguan Construction, Pongsak Roopkaew, and witnessed by Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport Bounchanh Sinthavong.

Under the agreement, Sermsanguan Construction will take 27 months to complete the work.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Project Manager for the Laos-Thailand railway Phase II Hinphet Lakhonevong said that the project was financed by a loan from Thailand’s Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA).

Thailand has provided more than 994 million baht (about 32 million U.S. dollars), of which 30 percent is in the form of a grant and 70 percent is a low-interest loan. Laos currently has only 3.5 km of railway linking the capital to Thailand’s Nong Khai province via the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge. When the expansion is complete, the track will be 11 km long.

Authorities said that when the railway project is finished and operational, it will result in a significant increase in passenger numbers and tourist arrivals. The railway will provide a shorter route into central Vientiane than travelling by road.

The Railway Management Division said work on Phase II of the railway also includes construction of a container yard, dormitories for staff, and a rail operations office, as well as improvements to signals.

Doubling Works to cause Train delays for 5 more years in SWR

South Western Railways has doubled and commissioned 222 km of railway line in 2017-18 and this year, it has plans to double more than 250 kms of track.

HUBBALLI: Delay of trains in the jurisdiction of South Western Railway (SWR) will continue for another four to five years as the doubling works are underway in all three divisions.

SWR General Manager Ajay Kumar Singh has advised the public to look for alternative modes of transport, including private vehicles, to avoid inconvenience during this period.

“We are doing our best. The delays will continue for the next four-five years. People need to have (leisure) time in their pocket while travelling in trains as delay is bound to happen due to doubling. We are not delaying the train services intentionally,” he said.

Speaking after releasing the new time table of the South Regional Railways, which includes SWR, Southern Railway, South Central Railway and Konkan Railway at his office in Hubballi on Monday, he said last year (2017-18), SWR has doubled and commissioned 222 km of railway line and this year, it has plans to double more than 250 kms of railway line.

“SWR has doubled and commissioned the maximum number of railway route in India last year,” he said. The railways of America, Russia and other countries may be better, but in India, SWR is the best. Doubling of railway lines is expected to improve train carrying capacity of the route by one-and-half times.

New trains

Singh said, in 2017-18, SWR had introduced 20 new trains including two Janashatabdi express, two (double-decker) Uday Express, four Humsafar Express, six weekly express trains, two tri-weekly express trains, two daily express trains and two rail buses. He said SWR was successful in increasing the speeds of 31 trains, between five minutes and 75 minutes.

He said based on the request of various organisations and the public, timings of 112 trains had been revised for the convenience of passengers. This includes 82 express trains and 30 passenger trains. The details of the time change have been uploaded online. The new train timings came into effect on July 1.

He put the onus of starting new trains on members of Parliament. “If there is a political will and pressure from the elected representatives, we will start new trains,” he said and added that, at present, all the railway lines in SWR were carrying more than 100% of their capacity.

Singh said that Union government was considering the entry of private players in railway service. They are contemplating to allow private players to run trains on selected routes. This is expected to bring improvement in the railways, like it did in aviation sector.

He said currently the passenger trains, even if they are running at their full capacity, are inuring 50% loss to railways as for many years there has been no increase in fares.

“Railways is doing charity by running passenger trains and goods trains are donating their profit to run passenger trains at subsidised fares, which is why goods trains are given more priority than passenger trains,” he said.

Railways speeds up 261 trains under ‘Mission Raftaar’

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways on Monday said that it has speeded up 261 trains, by up to 110 minutes, over different zones as part of its Mission Raftaar to provide faster travel to passengers and this will be reflected in the new time table in effect from July 1.

A senior railway ministry official said that ‘Mission Raftaar’ was announced in the Railway Budget 2016-17 and envisages a target of doubling average speed of freight trains and increasing the average speed of all non-suburban passenger trains by 25 kmph in the next five years.

“Forty-nine new trains, which have already been introduced, have been added in the new time table. These are one Vande Bharat Express train, 34 Humsafar Express trains, 11 Antyodaya Express trains, two Tejas Express trains and one Uday Express train,” the official said.

The Indian Railways has also maximised the use of rolling stock.

“A review of the lie-over periods of rakes at different destinations revealed that rakes of some of the trains were idling at the terminals.

“Some of these have now been utilized for providing 40 new services, extension of 21 services and increase the frequency of 8 services. All these have been incorporated in the new time table,” the official said.

The transporter has replaced 141 short distance passenger trains, especially having reversal en route, by Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMUs) and Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMUs) in 2018-2019, thereby increasing the overall mobility of the system.

The movement of 27 pairs of trains has been rationalized through adjacent/satellite terminals to obviate the need for reversal of locomotives.

Emphasising passengers’ comfort and safety, a total of 411 pairs of important long distance trains are now running with Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches by utilizing 465 rakes.

MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary meets GM/Northern Railway, discusses projects

JALANDHAR: Member of Parliament (MP) Santokh Singh Chaudhary today met General Manager (North), Indian Railways, TP Singh, and raked up various issues pertaining to his constituency, including railway overbridge (RoB) at the Chogitti-Ladhewali railway crossing and various projects under the Smart City project.

Expressing concern over the inconvenience caused to people due to the delay in the construction of ROBs at the Chogitti-Ladhewali railway crossing, Chaudhary demanded an immediate beginning of the works on these projects.

“The GM assured me beginning of the ROB in the current financial year,” Chaudhary said, revealing that the proposal for construction of the ROB has been accorded on the cost sharing basis, but could not have been initiated so far.

The MP said he also discussed the ROBs projects at Phillaur, Goraya and Dokoha railway crossings and the GM assured that he would discuss these with the Chief Secretary of Punjab and look into the issues soon.

Chaudhary said he also demanded extension of the Ludhiana Shatabdi up to Nakodar, Lohia and Shahkot of Jalandhar district, so that it could facilitate devotees, who would come for the celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, in November this year.

Chaudhary further demanded the halt of the proposed Super Fast Vande Bharat Express train (New Delhi to Katra) at Jalandhar, which is so far expected to have halts only at Ambala, Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi. “A large number of devotees from my parliamentary constituency of Jalandhar visit the Vaishno Devi shrine every year. However, since the train would not have a stop at the Jalandhar Cantt station, residents of my constituency would not be able to avail the services of Vande Bharat Express,” the MP mentioned in the written submission to the GM (North).

The GM said he would discuss these issues at an appropriate level, so that they could be addressed at the earliest.

“I also discussed issues of projects pertaining to railways under the Smart City project, including much- needed second entry of the City railway station and installation of Smart elevators on the station,” Chaudhary said, adding that the GM had fixed a meeting of railway officials in the city for July 26, so that the project could be given a final shape.

Railways, SAIL to spar over Rails quality after study flags Safety issues

Indian Railways tracks by SAIL not fit for 160 kmph passengers trains operations; says US University study. According to the report, the existing track structure in India, having 880 mega pascal (MPa) tensile strength, is “not adequate” for 25-tonne axle load operations.

NEW DELHI: A study has said the rails Steel Authority of India (SAIL) provides to the Indian Railways are of lower quality and not suitable to run 25-tonne axle load wagons, dealing a huge blow to an ambitious plan of the Railways to move 70 per cent of its freight traffic on higher axle load wagons by 2019-20.

The finding of the University of Illinois study, which was commissioned by the railways ministry, is likely to lead to a tussle between SAIL and its largest customer, the Railways, as sources indicate that the state-run steel major is unlikely to immediately shift to a top-grade steel.

Even as the ministries of railways and steel are at loggerheads over the volume and quality of rails being supplied by SAIL — the issue is now before the Cabinet secretary — a study by a technical institute at the University of Illinois has showed that the current tracks manufactured by the PSU are not suitable for the 25-tonne axle load freight operations the transporter wishes to upgrade to beyond 50 kmph.

Also, these rails are not suitable for high-speed (160 kmph) passengers operations.

In fact, the study also shows that the current tracks are not suitable to run freight trains of lower 22.9 tonne axle load, which are currently used by the railways beyond 60 kmph.

SAIL has an exclusive contract to supply rails to the transporter.

The Cabinet secretary, as directed by the Prime Minister’s Office, will be soon holding a meeting of the parties involved to sort the issue. The railways in its 100-day agenda has decided to move to high-speed in at least the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata routes.

The report has observed, “As a point of comparison, the IR’s 880 Mpa rail is of lower strength than even the standard grade used in the US. As such, given the importance of rail as an asset from both the safety and reliability point of view of IR’s operation of both passenger and freight trains on the same infrastructure (rails), TTT recommends the use of higher strength rails.”

The study was commissioned by the railways (IR) to check the findings of the Research Designs & Standards Organisation, a part of the railways, which has recommended use of 1,080 Mpa rails.

The findings of the Transportation Technology Transfer Technical Report have already been presented to steel ministry officials.
Emails sent to SAIL and the ministries of railways and steel remained unanswered.

A source, requesting not to be named, clarified the plants of SAIL in Bhilai were built to service the railways only and they produce 880 Mpa rails as that is the requirement given by IR. “SAIL has research and development teams which develop new grades. If IR sends a request for higher grade, the firm will be able to upgrade, but that cannot happen overnight,” said the source.

The technical report, however, has recommended to “consider use of 1,080 Mpa rail. The existing IR track structure having a rail section, of 60 kg/m and 880 Mpa tensile strength, is not adequate for 25 tonne axle load operations. Given the current estimates of rail stresses, the use of 1,080 Mpa rail with a minimum rail strength in the range of 880 Mpa provides better coverage against a combination of rail stresses and the potential for rail failures compared with 880 Mpa rail.

“Additionally, the incremental strength increase from 880 Mpa will have disproportionately positive impact on 1,080 Mpa rail’s service life. This specification and procurement decision should be considered in terms of the life cycle cost, but the benefits are likely to justify its worth”.

The tracks used now by IR are not unsafe for both passenger and freight movement albeit at low speeds. However, this dampens the ambition of reducing travel time on the network.

The railways has a meagre 35% share of the freight traffic due to abysmally low speeds of trains moving at an average of 25 kmph. “This leads to inordinate delays. In fact, there is a demand to run freight trains of 22.9 axle load at 75 kmph, but railways cannot allow it,” said a government source.

The other tussle that SAIL and IR are engaged in is adequate supply of rails. Despite the railways requiring 14-17 lakh tonne every year to upgrade its existing tracks and build new ones, supply from SAIL has fallen short. In the last financial year, SAIL supplied 9.85 lakh tonne.

The transporter has floated global tenders twice to procure rails from abroad, but both the attempts failed as the specifications required by the railways were not available, in the process slowing down the process of track renewals — putting in question the passenger safety.

Railways to procure 24 Bullet Trainsets from Japanese companies

The estimated cost of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project is Rs 1.08 lakh crore, out of which 81% cost will be funded through the loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: India’s first Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail Project is on track. Railway minister Piyush Goyal recently said in Rajya Sabha that Railways has planned to procure 24 trainsets from Japanese companies through tendering process for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) and Japanese side, in order to promote ‘Make in India’, sic out of above 24 trainsets are presently planned for assembling in India, for which location is planned to be decided by the Japanese supplier.

It is to be noted that the estimated total cost of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project including the cost of rolling stock, is Rs 1,08,000 crore, out of which 81 per cent cost will be funded through the loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The project is targeted to be completed by the year 2023.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train will have multiple features for the convenience, comfort and safety features of the passengers. According to National High-Speed Rail Corporation Ltd (NHSRCL), who is responsible for the implementation the high-speed rail project in India, the train will have multi-purpose rooms installed in them which will cater to the requirements of feeding mothers and sick persons.

These rooms will have facilities like folding beds, baggage racks and mirrors and Shinkansen technology is being used for for this bullet train corridor project.

It is worth mentioning that NHSRCL this year, floated a tender for the first undersea tunnel which will be part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor. The 21 Km underground corridor will be constructed from BKC to Kalyan Shilphata in Maharashtra. Bids have been invited for the undersea tunnel, seven kilometre stretch of which will be constructed under the sea bed.

As per the tender the construction work is supposed to be completed in 3.5 years. Japan’s Kawasaki Geological Engineering along with engineers of NHSRCL, RITES Ltd. conducted a geotechnical investigation for the tunnel last year.

Nod for elevated Central Railway line between Thane and Diva

MUMBAI: The fifth and sixth railway lines between Thane and Diva, which have been in the making for nearly a decade, has got a boost with the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) allowing construction of an 1.4km elevated section near the Mumbra creek. The railway bridge will be constructed over the Mumbra bypass road, which connects Thane to Navi Mumbai, and a 500m portion of it will run along the Ulhas river.

The two Central Railway lines when completed will help segregate outstation and suburban train operations between Kurla and Kalyan.

The MCZMA clearance was required as 37 mangrove trees need to be cut and also because of the flyover’s proximity to Ulhas river. The Bombay high court has already approved cutting of mangroves “in public interest”. The MCZMA, while forwarding the project proposal to the State Environment Impact Appraisal Authority, has placed conditions on the bridge construction such as no debris dumping in Coastal Regulation Zone and on the beach. Also, no chemical manufacturing or processing will be allowed on the spot and five times the destroyed mangroves need to be replanted.

The plan to add the two lines—fifth and sixth—on Central Railway was proposed in 2000 but work finally started only in 2009. The work was chiefly obstructed due to encroachments and squatters refusing to vacate. Also, according to the initial plans, a tunnel was to be constructed through Parsik Hills near Mumbra to make way for these lines. However, it was observed that the boring work could harm an existing 150-year-old railway tunnel and hence, the plan was dropped.

“In case of damage to the 150-year-old tunnel, the entire suburban and long-distance operations on Central Railway would have been disrupted. Hence, it was decided to build an elevated line for this section,” said a railway officer.

The project is a joint venture between Indian Railways and the state while it is being executed by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

Officials said that the elevated line is already under construction and would be completed by December 2019. “Thereafter, it would be connected to the railway yards at Thane and Diva. While the target is to commission the fifth and sixth lines by March 2020, it may actually happen in December 2020,” said an MRVC official. The project has been delayed by 12 years and its cost has shot up from Rs 130 crore to over Rs 400 crore.

Japanese team reviews progress of Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR Corridor works; inspects HSR Training Institute

VADODARA: A high-level delegation led by Masashi Adachi, parliamentary vice minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism from Japan visited the city on Saturday to check the progress of the prestigious Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.

The vice minister visited the proposed site of the High Speed Rail Training Institute (HSRTI) located near the National Academy of Indian Railways (NAIR) and Vadodara railway station where the train’s station will be set up.

Talking to media persons, Adachi, said he was satisfied with the progress of the project. At HSRTI, he went through a presentation made by Pradeep Ahirkar, chief project manager of the National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, the implementing arm of the project.

He also visited the site where the training tracks to train manpower for the project have been laid apart from the site of the hostel building.

At the proposed location for the station on platform number six of the existing Vadodara railway station, he reviewed the progress of works. Also, he visited the site of the bridge between platform number six and seven where longest span of the network – 220m – would be constructed. He took keen interest in understanding the launching scheme of the bridge girders.

Geokno (GMR Group) wins bid for Aerial LiDAR Survey of 531-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi-HSR Line

Geokno India secured bid pertaining to prestigious 531-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-HSR for the Aerial LiDAR Survey. KRDCL (a JV between Ministry of Railways and State Govt.) had recently floated the tender for Helicopter/Aircraft based Aerial LiDAR Survey on the proposed Semi-HSR corridor.

HYDERABAD: M/s Geokno India Pvt Ltd (an IIT-Kanpur spin off, with GMR Group as a major stake holder) had won the tender for conducting the Helicopter based Aerial LiDAR Survey of the proposed 531 km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi High Speed Rail Corridor.

The tender for the aerial LiDAR survey on the proposed alignment of the project published by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) had undergone multiple technical and pre-qualification criteria, and M/s Geokno India Pvt Ltd (an IIT-Kanpur spin off, eventually taken over by GMR Group) had successfully won the bid in the open tender process for conducting the Helicopter based Aerial LiDAR Survey over the proposed route. As part of the job, Geokno would be undertaking the job using LiDAR technology (Aerial mode) for the Survey of the entire section to retrieve the complete Digital Elevation Model, Digital Terrain Model, Digital Surface Model, L-Sections, C-Sections, contour, topographical mapping, vegetation mapping under the forest regions, hydrographic/sonar/bathemetric surveys wherever required and submit the processed Geographical Data to Railways for engineering design of the entire length and lateral construction activity. It may be pertinent here to note that M/s Geokno had also earlier bagged and successfully completed the aerial LiDAR Survey for the 510 Km Ahmedabad-Mumbai Bullet Train corridor.

The proposed 531-km semi-high-speed railway line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to improve connectivity, reduce congestion in the State’s road network and make travel hassle-free has been found ‘feasible and financially viable’. Also, dedicated railway lines to Thiruvananthapuram International Airport and Cochin International Airport with railway stations for inter-modal transport have been found feasible. Kerala State Govt. approached JICA for ₹34,000-cr. loan for the project to be executed by State and Railways. The government has expedited steps for the 531.45-km semi-high-speed rail line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod, found the project to be ‘feasible and economically viable’, had sought aid from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and prepared a detailed project report (DPR) for the ₹56,443-crore project. The government has approached the country office of the JICA through the Department of Economic Affairs to secure ₹34,000 crore as loan for the project to be executed on cost-sharing basis by the State and Railways.  Systra, the General Consultant for the KRDCL, has suggested in its feasibility report that the State and Railways mobilise ₹10,000 crore each. The State, in addition, will have to bear the cost of acquiring 1,226 hectares in 11 districts.

As per the feasibility report, the internal rate of return (IRR) is 5.6% and 8.1% for 30 and 50 years respectively. Semi High Speed trains will move at 130-180 km per hour to cover the north-south rail corridor from Kochuveli to Kasaragod in four hours. Air-conditioned train sets on the lines of the newly introduced Train 18 have been proposed. The semi-high-speed trains will halt at 10 stations — Kochuveli, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod. The third and fourth railway lines, traversing through 11 districts, except Alappuzha, Idukki and Wayanad, will be away from the existing railway line in the 300-km Thiruvananthapuram-Shoranur section. From Thirunavaya to Kasaragod, it will be parallel to the existing rail line with railway bypasses at Vadakara and Thalaserry.

Meanwhile Ministry of Railways through its PSU – Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd is planning to take up the doubling of the Mumbai-Mangalore section in line with Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-HSR so that the connectivity between Thiruvananthapuram to Mumbai and then to Ahmedabad can prove to be highly beneficial to the passengers commuting from Thiruvananthapuram, the Southern most part of the country to the Western most part of India i.e. Ahmedabad. This semi-HSR doubling project will have extensive benefit not only for passengers, but Konkan Railway can also declare the existing line as the dedicated Freight line integrating it with the Western DFC so that the connectivity for freight/cargo traffic can become seemless from Delhi to Mangalore and Thiruvananthapuram.

The alignment fixed has been proposed through thinly populated areas to lessen displacement of people and only 1,200 hectares will have to be acquired. In cities, the option of elevated lines has been mooted. For viaducts, 15 metres and for formation, 21 to 25 metres had been proposed.Alignment has been proposed for laying railway line to the premier airport of the State and to Cochin International Airport. Final location survey will have to be done as land from Railways and the Cochin airport (CIAL) is needed for laying the line and constructing station.

Though the rail line proposed is for a 200 km per hour speed, the trains will run at a maximum of 180 km per hour. The train sets with nine cars will be initially introduced and later will be extended to 12 and 15 cars. The coaches will be made of aluminium.

“It will be a green project tapping solar energy. As much as 21% of road traffic is to be shifted to rail and economic savings had been worked out to be 1.8 lakh metric tonnes of carbon,” sources said.

The LiDAR Survey will involve carrying out a data capturing for detailed Topographic Survey along the alignment for 300m width on each side of the Central Line of the proposed corridor showing all civil assets and infrastruture and other ground features. The processing of the data will be for 100m width i.e. 50m either sides of the CL of the alignment. For addtional requirements of processing raw data already captured due to change in alignment during alignment design, addtional areas will be processed covering all other outputs in CAD format. The bids for carrying out soil investigation will be floated soon.

Application of Aerial LiDAR Technology in Indian Railways – a Case Study on Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR Corridor Project

Dr. Bharat Lohani, Professor (on leave), IIT-Kanpur, and Director, GeoKno India Pvt Ltd (a GMR Group Co.)

Dr. Bharat Lohani is Professor (currently on leave) from IIT-Kanpur. His research involves use of high resolution remotely sensed data, especially LiDAR data, for 3D modelling, visualization and various other applications. He is also using GIS for innovative applications and in the following specific areas:- 3D Laser imaging and LCS measurement, Methodology development for motion correction and error analysis in laser scanning, Propagation modelling using high resolution LiDAR data (flood, sound, GPS signal), Mapping of buildings, specifically urban and those of historical significance, using terrestrial laser, Laser scanning of complex structures, Development of LiDAR simulator-airborne and space-borne, GIS for optimized land consolidation in agriculture, Landmark based advanced navigation under GIS environment.

Dr. Lohani has Professional Affiliations at Institution of Surveyors, India, Indian Society for Remote Sensing, Institution of Engineers, India. Dr. Lohani has won various prestigious awards at the national and international levels, such as:

  • ISRS National Award for Geospatial Excellence 2012, Presented on 4th December 2013 during ISG-ISRS Annual Symposium at Vishakhapatnam
  • Best paper award at INCA Congress 2012, Dehradun for paper “Flash LiDAR based surveillance system”.
  • Best ISBA Start up in ICT category in 2011 for Geokno India Pvt Ltd, being incubated at IIT Kanpur and founded and mentored by me.
  • Silver award for Limulator2.0 for standing second in CATCON-5 during XXI ISPRS Congress, Beijing 3-11 July 2008.
  • Best Poster Award at ISPRS conference on Optical 3D measurement techniques, 9 – 13 July 2007, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr. Lohani has several publications to his credit viz.

  • Goel Salil and Lohani Bharat (2014), A Motion Correction Technique for Laser Scanning of Moving Objects, IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, Vol:11, PP:225-228
  • Ghosh S and Lohani B (2013), Mining LiDAR data with spatial clustering algorithms, International Journal of Remote Sensing, Vol 34-14, PP: 5119-5135.
  • Dashora A, Lohani B (2013), Turning mechanisms for airborne LiDAR and photographic data acquisition, Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, Vol: 7(1), 073488.
  • Dashora A, Lohani B and Deb K ( 2013), Two-Step Procedure of Optimization for Flight Planning Problem for Airborne LiDAR Data Acquisition, International Journal of Mathematical Modelling and Numerical Optimisation.
  • Yadav M, Goel S, Singh A K, and Lohani B (2013), Mobile mapping system using laser scanner, GPS and IMU, ISRS.

Application of Aerial LiDAR Technology in Indian Railways – a Case Study on 509 Km Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR Corridor Project

NEW DELHI: Engineering Survey is among the most important activities during pre-feasibility and Detailed Project Report (DPR) stage, as ground levels and terrain profile are fundamental inputs for accurate Earthwork calculation and design of the project components. Hence, fast, accurate and comprehensive topographic data are the primary requirement for successful project execution. Absence of good quality topographic data or delay in obtaining these data results in problems at various stages of project, for example, procurement/contract, project planning, project execution, operation and maintenance.

This article introduces Airborne LiDAR Technology and its use in Railways, which has now become standard around the world. LiDAR gives direct measurement in the form of (x, y, z) co-ordinates of innumerable points on the ground thus capturing the geometry of all objects and terrain precisely. LiDAR data are being used in multiple applications which require topographic information of the terrain. Considering comprehensive capture of ground and objects by LiDAR, the data captured can be used in multiple applications related to Railways thus eliminating the need of multiple different surveys in field.  Besides DPR preparation, LiDAR data are also being used for the development of GIS based asset management system for Railways.

Project Background

The 509 Km Mumbai – Ahmedabad High Speed Rail corridor is the India’s first high speed rail corridor which connects the financial capital & Ahmedabad. So for India doesn’t have any railways classified as High Speed Rail, which has operational speeds in excess of 200 km/h. Now India has experienced the Semi-High Speed Trains “Vande Bharat Express,” flagged off for an inaugural run by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, on 15 February 2019, with its commercial run started from 17 February 2019 onwards. The train has Maximum speed of 180 km/h (110 mph) and replaced Shatabdi Express and Gatimaan expresses which connects Delhi & Agra traveling at a speed of 160 km/h.

In order to achieve better commuter experience in the country, the Prime Minister has envisaged for execution of High Speed Rail lines and eventually incorporated National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) as a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam limited. India and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), a joint venture consisting of Japan International Consultants for Transportation Corporation Ltd and NIPPON KOEI Corporation Ltd, signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to implement & technically assist the Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSR. NHSRCL has associated with RITES to complete the feasibility study to propose the alignment & carry out the planning for the establishment of HSRC. A joint feasibility study has been conducted by JICA & RITES. Final alignment has been proposed to Railway Ministry according to the feasible study report.

RITES called for an open tender to conduct the Aerial LiDAR Survey along the center line of proposed alignment of Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSRC on QCBS two packet system. Across India, Top GeoSpatial companies were participated in the open tender process. Among them, Geokno India Private Limited, a GMR Group Company has satisfied all the qualification criteria’s as mentioned by the RFP issued by the RITES Limited. Upon evaluation, M/S Geokno India Private Limited has been awarded to carry out the survey along the center line of proposed alignment of Mumbai – Ahmedabad HSRC. Aerial LiDAR Survey complemented with Aerial Digital Photography has been carried out for the proposed alignment of center line. Ground Control network was established with reference to the existing control points provided by RITES. For HSR alignment, 150 m wide corridor on both sides of the proposed center line has been covered with Aerial LiDAR. For River / Stream crossings, 1 km wide corridor perpendicular to the proposed center line on both sides has been covered with Echo Sounder, Total Station & DGPS.

Project Area

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed rail corridor is a high-speed rail corridor project of connecting the cities of Mumbai, Maharashtra and Ahmedabad, Gujarat in India. It will be India’s first high-speed rail line. The alignment of the HSRL will pass through 3 districts (Mumbai, Thane and Palghar) in Maharashtra and 8 districts (Valsad, Navsari, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Kheda and Ahmedabad) in Gujarat. The proposed alignment also passes through a small area section falling in the UT of Dadra. Schematic map of alignment along with details have been provided below:

Working Principle of LiDAR Technology

A LiDAR sensor measures the range from an aircraft to a point on the ground by using the time of flight of a laser pulse transmitted. The range measured is converted into the co-ordinates of the point hit by laser pulse using on-board GNSS receiver and IMU sensor (Figure 1). As LiDAR sensor scans the ground underneath, the coordinates of millions of points on the ground are generated every second.

Continuous operation of a GNSS Base Station on the ground is essential during LiDAR sensing for supplying corrections to the onboard GNSS, thus determining the position of onboard GNSS accurately. A digital camera is also flown with LiDAR sensor to capture high resolution images of the terrain. The net result is a large number (tens of billions) of points with their known co-ordinates along with colored images of the area flown. Unlike other technologies, LiDAR provides the coordinates directly and is also able to see under forest canopies.

In general, an Airborne LiDAR can collect over 5,00,000 pulses in a second with 5-15 cm absolute accuracy in vertical and 10 to 20 cm absolute accuracy in horizontal. LiDAR captures coordinates of everything present on the ground, thus creating a 3D replica (like photocopy) of the terrain. The coordinates are generated for all objects, viz., Buildings, Roads, High Voltage transmission lines, Bunds, Bridges, Culverts, Canals, Railway Tracks, Trees, Bushes, Hedges, Water bodies, Railway Stations and Yards, Poles, Overhead transmission lines, Boundary walls etc.

Advantages of LiDAR Technology

Traditionally, Railways has been employing conventional surveying technologies, like Electronic Total Station (ETS) Survey, GNSS Equipment Survey (Static, Kinematic (RTK, PPK)), Satellite Imagery based survey and recently Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or Drone Survey. Therefore, it is appropriate to compare these technologies with the LiDAR technology for assessing the advantages of the latter. Table 1 clearly demonstrates the suitability of airborne LiDAR technology over other methods when comparison is done with respect to several important parameters, listed on first column. The green color indicates advantageous position of technology while red indicates opposite.

A very significant advantage of LiDAR, unlike other technologies, is that LiDAR travels through the gaps in tree canopy and measures the coordinates of the ground under tree canopy. In addition, LiDAR provides the coordinates of several points on tree canopy thus leading to the determination of the height and biomass volume of tree.

For planning and design for railway lines which pass through heavy forest, like in North-East States, Himalayan Region, Jammu & Kashmir, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Western and Eastern Ghats etc. where other methods of survey fail, LiDAR can provide very good solution. Interestingly, LiDAR also maps objects as thin and inaccessible as transmission lines thus generating necessary information for design work of new electrical installations or overhead transmission lines during widening of existing railway lines.

LiDAR Data Products and Their Use for Railways

The objects identified on LiDAR point clouds generally can be classified into ground, vegetation (high, medium, low), buildings, water, transmission lines.  Different derivatives can be generated which are used in Final Location Survey (FLS) and Detailed Project Report (DPR) purposes.

Digital Surface Model (DSM), defined as the 3D model of the ground including all objects like buildings, trees, towers etc., can be easily generated using first-return LiDAR data. This is useful for Railways for analysis of alignment and identifying the obstructions, e.g. houses, trees.

Digital Elevation Model(DEM) is generated by using only those LiDAR coordinates which are on the ground. LiDAR is the only technology which can provide accurate DEM. All other features other than ground are removed from the classified pointcloud data thus resulting in accurate Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Contours are generated up to 30 cm Contour Interval (CI) or better using the classified ground points.

LiDAR DEM and simultaneously captured images are used to produce accurate Orthophotographs at 5 cm to 15 cm resolution, as per need. An orthophoto is like a map in geometry while a photo in visual appearance. This is highly useful to interpret ground details and carry out measurement without going to ground.

Various features, e.g., Buildings, Roads, High Voltage transmission lines, Bunds, Bridges, Culverts, Canals, Railway Tracks, Railway Marshalling Yards, Trees, Bushes, Hedges, Water bodies, Railway Stations and Platforms, Poles, Overhead Transmission lines, Railway Traction & OHE, Boundary walls etc., as required for a project can be extracted using LiDAR point cloud and orthophotograph to generate maps up to the scales of 1:2500. These features then can be represented in any GIS or CAD format for their further use in project planning and execution.

Case Study: Aerial LiDAR Survey for 509 Km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor

High Speed Rail Corridor Limited (HSRCL) through its consultant RITES chose LiDAR technology for mapping entire corridor. Their selection was based on the need of accurate, fast and comprehensive data. One additional reason for choosing aerial survey was that it does not affect the local populace and the work can be completed unhindered. The availability of complete 3D replica of the ground in the office computer, through LiDAR survey, is also advantageous to project designers as they can focus on design instead of wasting time in repeated field visits for verification, as happens if survey data are not accurate and complete. HSRCL entrusted the responsibility of LiDAR survey to Geokno India Pvt. Ltd. which is a spin off from IIT Kanpur and is now a subsidiary of GMR group.

Instrument Employed

Geokno employed Lite Mapper 7800 system which consists of Airborne Laser Scanner RIEGL- LMS Q 780, Phase-1 100 MP Digital aerial camera, IMU and GNSS Systems. This system makes use of a laser source, Multiple-Time-Around (MTA) processing, echo digitization and waveform analysis. This combination allows the operation at varying flight altitude and is ideally suited for aerial survey of complex terrain. The rotary wing aircraft Eurocopter was employed for flying these sensors over the project area. Dual frequency (L1 and L2)-multi-channel GNSS equipment were used for generating data at 1-second epochs.  The aerial platform and LiDAR sensors deployed are shown in Figure 8 and Figure 9.

Field Work

Initially, a reconnaissance survey was carried out to understand the nature of the project area which helped in further planning and designing of the project. Necessary clearances/permissions for flying over the AOI were obtained from the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), Ministry of Defense (MoD), Government of India, and other concerned agencies to undertake Aerial LiDAR Survey. This was followed by flight planning which ensured that the designated flight paths cover entire study area including enough cross flight lines to eliminate shadowing and allow for proper quality control. Proper Flight line overlaps were planned to ensure that there are no data gaps between the usable portions of the swaths.

Data were captured with reference to GNSS Ground control network established along the HSR corridor. RITES provided Ground Control Points (GCP) of the existing network (300 points) which are situated about 1.5 km to 3 km from center line of the alignment. GNSS Survey was used for establishing additional GCPs to achieve the desired accuracy. Levelling survey using Double Tertiary (DT) method was carried out for about 1200 km thus providing height from SOI vertical datum to all GCPs.

LiDAR Technology for surveying the new Railway lines which is one of the most advanced technologies used by Railways

For LiDAR data pre-processing and quality control purposes 81 Master Control Points (MCPs), 233 Secondary Control Points (SCPs) and 103 of LiDAR Target Points (TP) were established. TPs were established on flat surfaces and marked by paint so the same were clearly visible from aerial LiDAR platform. The horizontal accuracy GNSS work was of the order of 1:100,000. To provide corrections to onboard GNSS during data collection, base stations consisting of two GNSS Equipment were established, providing redundancy and flexibility of capture. These base stations were so established that the aerial platform was always within 25 km from these. The project extent required establishment of 13 such base stations. LiDAR data and photographs were captured for 100 m on both sides of alignment.  This width should be more for complex terrain where chances of shifting of corridor in later stages is higher.

Data Processing

The first return points and the points on the ground, on interpolation, resulted in DSM and DEM, respectively. The images captured were processed along with DEM to result in ground level Orthophoto. Features were extracted from LiDAR Point cloud while taking visual information from Orthophotographs and classified as per the ASPRS Standards and RFP Specifications into Ground, Buildings, Road, Vegetation (High, Medium and Low), Transmission Lines, Water Bodies. The extracted features were layerized with scheme and symbology provided by the client. Topographic Maps were produced at 1: 2500 scale. Profile Sections and Cross sections were prepared as per client approved layout for 283 locations using LiDAR data captured.

Quality Control of LiDAR Data

LiDAR points were compared with independently surveyed GCPs. Methods as per international standards were employed for this purpose. The LiDAR data were found to have an RMSE of 4 cm (9 cm at 95% Confidence Level) in Elevation against the RFP specification of 10 cm. Further, the horizontal accuracy of LiDAR data was 6.45 cm as RMSE (i.e. 11cm at 95% Confidence Level) against the RFP specification of 15 cm. In addition, the DEM generated was also subject to accuracy analysis by comparing the height of corresponding points in ground and was found within specifications.

Deliverables Produced for Use in High Speed Rail Corridor (HSRC) Project

The final project deliverables for HSR project included the following:

  • Raw and Classified Point Clouds with less than 10 cm and 15 cm vertical and horizontal accuracies
  • DEM and DSM at 0.5 m grid size with 10 cm vertical accuracy in GeoTIFF file format
  • RGB and Intensity Image at 10 cm GSD
  • Orthophotos at 10 cm GSD
  • Three-dimensional topographic survey drawing including contours (0.5 m Contour Interval) at a scale of 1:2500
  • Longitudinal sections at 500 m and Cross Sections at 20 m intervals.

Benefit of LiDAR Technology for Ahmedabad-Mumbai High Speed Rail Corridor Project

The LiDAR project is now completed, and all data have been handed over to RITES and HSRCL, who are using these data in their design and planning. RITES and HSRCL have found LiDAR data highly useful for HSR project. A few important use cases are:

  1. LiDAR survey was done without attracting the attention of local populace thus avoiding any conflict with locals.
  2. LiDAR survey has provided 3D digital twin of the entire corridor. This is highly useful for design and planning team as in case of any confusion regarding terrain one can easily verify it using LiDAR and image data in the office thus avoiding repeated visits to field, as in case of conventional surveys.
  3. As only single instrument and party was utilized for entire project there is uniform data quality and accuracy across entire project.
  4. Data for complex and inaccessible areas are also available with the same precision and reliability as in simpler areas.
  5. One-time LiDAR survey has been able to eliminate the need of multiple surveys for this project, for example tree count survey, building plan survey, land plan survey, contour survey, as all these can be mapped correctly and with high reliability on LiDAR data.

Conclusion

Indian Railways is faced with a special challenges now – more and more new projects are coming in very difficult terrain and/or require extremely good quality of data and most importantly have to be completed fast.  Relying on traditional or non-appropriate technologies for FLS survey would lead to inaccuracies or delays.  Airborne LiDAR survey along with digital images provide a solution to cater to this need.  The use of LiDAR technology has been demonstrated around the world and also in India in railway projects.  LiDAR survey not only produces data for FLS purpose but also proves very useful in several other areas like environmental clearance.  Considering the advantages of LiDAR over traditional survey methods and the need of fast and accurate project completion the future will witness more application of LiDAR survey in Railways.

Sultanpur Lodhi Railway Station to get new look ahead of Guru’s 550th birth anniversary

FIROZPUR: Ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, railway authorities have decided to give a new look to Sultanpur Lodhi railway station which is expected to serve 30 lakh pilgrims to the city to participate in the historic event. The railways will put up 13 arcs, symbolic of ‘Tera Tera’.

Disclosing this to the media persons, Rajesh Aggarwal, divisional rail manager (DRM), Ferozepur Division said, “For the 550th birth anniversary celebrations at Sultanpur Lodhi, pilgrims in lakhs are expected to arrive in the town. Trains being a convenient means of transportation, we have expanded all the required facilities provided at the railway station, said Aggarwal.

Sultanpur Lodhi has historically and religiously important as Guru Nanak Dev lived here for 14 years. It is here that he got married to Bibi Sulakhni and later attained enlightenment at the end of 15th century. The town is dotted with gurdwaras, commemorating events from his life.

Since the approach to the Sultanpur Lodhi is through two railway crossings, the railway authorities have decided to convert both of them as railway underpass for uninterrupted flow of traffic during the celebration days, said DRM. They will also construct high-level platform number 2 and foot-over-bridge to connect both the platforms for the convenience of the passengers, said Aggarwal.

The DRM said, the station will also be given an architectural face-lift with 13 arcs, symbolic to the belief of ‘Tera Tera’ of Guru Nanak Dev. The new railway station will be ready by the end of October, well before the celebrations. DRM also shared the sketches of the station’s impending face-lift with the media.

Notably, ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of the first Sikh Guru and founder of the Sikh religion Guru Nanak Dev, the Centre and state government has decided to undertake a series of commemorative activities across India and aboard. The Punjab government plans to take 900 acre on rent from farmers to set up three tent cities of 100-acre each for the convenience of the pilgrims. A commemorative coin and postage stamps will also be released by the postal department. Doordarshan will arrange live telecast of programmes on Guru Nanak and the Gurbani.

South Eastern Railway to equip functional Railway Sidings with advanced PWBS

SER to equip all 6 functional Railway Sidings of KMC with PWBS-RLS facilities to improve rake movement.

CHAKRADHARPUR: Chakradharpur Division of the South Eastern Railway (SER), which handles bulk iron ore dispatch from mining belts in Odisha and Jharkhand, has decided to equip all its rapid loading system (RLS) railway sidings with the advanced pre-weighment bin system (PWBS).

The fresh move envisages to substantially enhance availability and mobility of railway rakes cutting down rake detention time.

Till June 15, two each RLS railway sidings of Tata at Noamundi (Jharkhand) and Joda in Keonjhar (Odisha) have been equipped with PWBS.

The move came after Kolkata-based SER general manager PK Mishra and Chakradharpur Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Chhatrasal Singh closely analysed the reasons for unnecessary detention of rakes during a visit to one of the RLS sidings recently.

Senior divisional commercial manager Manish Pathak said Chakradharpur Division is the first to introduce this system in iron ore sector of Indian Railways.

In the earlier practice of weighing on motion weigh bridge (MWB), a train rake used to move at a speed of 10 km on the MWB and if there was overloading, the rake had to be returned for adjustment.

This used to inevitably detain the loaded and other rakes in the queue for 90-120 minutes. But the PWBS works on load cells hydraulically with computer command system, he added.

Pathak said a loading siding without PWBS if handles 10 rakes in a day, then it inevitably lose above 13 hours in rake detention.

But with the PWBS, two more rakes could be adjusted. The new initiative has improved rake availability with turnaround time in loading-release-loading cycle.

In near future, remaining RLS loading sidings would be equipped with the PWBS. The Indian Railways also plans to integrate PWBS-RLS sidings with Freight Operation and Information System (FOIS) under its Mission Raftaar, he added.

SER sources said in next phase, all six functional railway sidings of KMC would be equipped with PWBS-RLS facilities to improve rake movement.

East Coast Railway suffers Rs 600 crore loss due to Cyclone Fani

This was revealed at the review meeting chaired by Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board Rajesh Agrawal.

BHUBANESWAR: Though East Coast Railway has suffered a total loss of Rs 600 crore due to cyclone Fani, but it is all set to create a new record by loading 200 million tonne of freight in 2019-20 financial year, a senior railway official said Saturday.

This was revealed at the review meeting chaired by Railway Board member (Rolling Stock) Rajesh Agrawal. “ECoR will be the first Railway Zone ever to load more than 200 million tonnes in any year,” said Agrawal.

The announcement was made by Agrawal in the presence of ECoR General Manager Vidya Bhushan and Additional General Manager Sudhir Kumar in the meeting. He complimented all members of East Coast Railway for being the highest loading Railway zone in Indian Railways.

Stating that ECoR has suffered a total loss of Rs 600 crore during Cyclone Fani, the official said Rs 400 crore is in the form of damages and Rs 200 crore is in the form of loss in earning capacity. “East Coast Railway has asked for a special financial package to help in restoration works,” the official said.

The ECoR authorities informed the meeting that the station building at Puri will be fit and ready in all respects soon. “The entire station will be ready to receive all special trains during the Rath Jatra period. A total of 194 special trains will run to Puri during the annual festival. Target has been set to beautify and upgrade Puri station by July 1,” the officials said.

Currently, the ECoR is having 15 rakes of Linke Hoffmann Bush (LHB) coaches, the most modern coach. This will go up to 30, the railway officials informed.

This apart, the ECoR area will soon have a special type of wagons to carry four-wheeler automobiles and two-wheelers from far off production places to this area which immensely benefit the local automobile dealers.

The workshop at Mancheswar will be upgraded and will now have facilities to handle the maintenance of LHB coaches also, ECoR officials said. Phase-II of MEMU Shed at Khurda Road is sanctioned.

This will help in converting all passenger trains in this area to MEMU coaches. In the future, all passenger trains will be having MEMU coaches. It will improve the punctuality of trains, the meeting resolved.

While mechanised laundry at Puri and Bhubaneswar is likely to be functional very soon in the next three months, the quick watering facilities for coaches will help in better water supply and availability of water in passenger coaches.

More number of wagons will be given to East Coast Railway so that local industries and coal producers and power plants are benefited, the meeting decided.

East Coast Railway has introduced VENTURI system of odour-less bio-toilets. All coaches will have VENTURI system in all trains run by East Coast Railway. However, 96% of coaches of East Coast Railway has bio-toilets fitted. The remaining four per cent will be fitted very soon.

The new technology of ‘Head On Generation’ (HOG) will replace conventional power cars in trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi and others. This will give additional space to attach more coaches, thereby giving scope for more seats for passengers, they said.

Chakradharpur Division of SER cementing brand on wheels, Dalmia Cements, SER partner for Freight Trains

CHAKRADHARPUR: The Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER) has implemented its latest initiative Branding on Wheels, which it hopes will be a revenue-spinner, on a freight train. The Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited and the South Eastern Railway (SER) have jointly inaugurated a unique freight train here on Saturday.

The train is the first-time initiative rolled out by the SER for the private sector where companies can avail of branded freight train rakes for their own captive locations bringing efficiency within the network and ensuring business continuity.

The railways on Saturday entered into a Rs 1.5-crore contract with Dalmia Bharat Cement to display the latter’s advertisements on the exterior of the freight train, said Manish Pathak, Sr.DCM of Chakradharpur Division and spokesperson. “It’s a five-year contract worth Rs 1.5 crore where we are displaying the brand on the exteriors of 300 wagons of five rakes. This display on the freight train will give wide publicity to the brand across the country. It is an innovative mobile advertisement, which is part of our Branding on Wheels initiative,” he said.

This comes on the heels of a similar branding initiative on the popular Steel Superfast Express running between Tatanagar and Howrah to mark the centenary celebrations of the naming of the steel city under the theme Jamshedpur on Rails. Here, Tata Steel was the SER’s client.

Pathak said they were hoping these mobile advertisements generate both buzz and revenues. “Apart from generating (NFR) non-fare revenues, these initiatives will benefit the railways and the brands, be it Tata Steel or Dalmia Bharat Cement. We are exploring similar tie-ups with other business houses,” he said.

The DCBL and the SER have agreed for running five such fright trains. The first train was delivered to the DCBL on Saturday following its inauguration in the presence of Chakradharpur DRM Chhatrasal Singh, Chief Freight Transportation Manager Varinder Kumar, Cheif Commercial Manager Mohammad Owais, Dalmia Cement, Manufacturing (East) Executive Director Sunil Gupta. The rest of the freight rakes are expected to be completed by July 2019.

“We are extremely excited to roll out this initiative for the first time in partnership with the private sector. We are happy that Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited came out proactively and was the first to partner with us,” said DRM Singh.

“The Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Limited’s tie-up with the Railways is unique and we expect this to go a long way in addressing cement manufacturers’ long time problem of meeting production deadlines and transportation challenges due to limited train rakes,” said Gupta.

India keen on delivering 20 Locomotives to Bangladesh

DHAKA: India is positive about Bangladesh’s proposal seeking 20 railway engines from them, according to a delegation led by the Ministry of Railways that held meetings with their Indian counterparts last week.

“We went there [New Delhi] to do ground work and found them very positive about our proposal,” said a member of the delegation, wishing not to be named.

Manoj Kumar Srivastava, ED-Traffic Transportation (Freight) at Railway Board/New Delhi led the Indian side during the meetings held on Wednesday and Thursday 20th June.

Monjur-Ul-Alam Chowdhury, Joint Director (Mechanical), Rashida Sultana Ghani, Joint Director (Operation), and Kali Kanta Ghosh, Deputy Director (Marketing) were in the Bangladesh delegation led by Joint Secretary Rafiqul Islam.

The Bangladesh Railway (BR) would now send a formal proposal to India through diplomatic channel, said Mofazzel Hossain, secretary at the Ministry of Railways.

The terms and conditions — whether Bangladesh would hire or get as courtesy the locomotives — were yet to be fixed, he said.

The BR sent a proposal to the railways ministry in April to “hire” or “get as courtesy” 20 railway engines from India until the first batch of 70 locomotives that Bangladesh bought from the US and South Korea starts arriving late next year.

With 72 percent locomotives of BR already crossing their economic life, the government considers hiring locomotives from India to help the railway overcome the crisis.

The BR suggested hiring 10 metre gauge (MG) and as many broad gauge (BG) locomotives. Bangladesh has never hired any locomotive from any country before.

Although India had phased out MG locomotives, during the visit, the Bangladesh delegation found that some were still being used and looked similar to the ones available in Bangladesh, said the delegation member.

“In case India agrees to release those, river route has to be taken because there is no inter-border track for MG locomotives between the neighbouring countries.

“Now our technical hands will finalise the specification of the locomotives and BR will send a formal proposal to the ministry in this regard,” he said.

About terms and conditions, he told this correspondent, “If we want to get the locomotives as courtesy, the matter needs to be settled by top-level officials of both counties.”

In return, India might propose Bangladesh to boost up operation of inter-border freight trains, he added.

According to the BR, it has 178 MG locomotives, of which 139 have crossed their 20-year economic life. And of its 90 BG locomotives, 55 have crossed economic life.

“If the situation and laws permit, we will hire 20 locomotives from India for two years,” Mofazzel Hossain told this newspaper in April.

Meeting on CONCOR’s Inland Container Depot at Kadakola near Nanjangud remains inconclusive

MYSORE: The two-hour long meeting convened yesterday at DC Office to resolve the issue over the inland container yard of Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) at Kadakola near Nanjangud remained inconclusive with some farmers insisting on jobs in Railways and higher compensation for the land they parted with for the Rs. 102-crore project.

The farmers persisted with their demand for a permanent job at the depot for a member of their families while the district administration offered employment in private factories. With neither party willing to compromise, the meeting was brought to a premature end when a large number of disgruntled farmers walked out. This was the fourth such meeting with farmers over the project which is yet to take off as talks with farmers have remained inconclusive.

55 acres acquired

The District Administration had called for the meeting with the farmers of Nanjangud Taluk’s Tandavapura as Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) had acquired 55 acres of land in Survey Numbers 480-517 in 2011, 2012 and 2013 from 54 farmers. These 55 acres was allotted to Container Corporation of India to set up inland container depots for the Railways.

Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G. Sankar said that the government cannot assure them of jobs in the Railways or CCI as there are many impediments to provide them jobs. However, he assured them that the District Administration would take the responsibility of providing jobs in any of the private companies like ITC, Asian Paints or Pepsi.

The farmers refused to budge from their stand and said that they would agree to part with the lands only if one member in each family was assured of a Government job and not in private companies as there was no job guarantee. Even though MP Pratap Simha and MLA Dr. Yathindra Siddharamaiah tried to pacify them the farmers were adamant in their stand.

The Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) acquired the land and subsequently compensated the farmers. However, monetary compensation alone did not satisfy the farmers, who demanded jobs.

Lack of technical knowledge

CONCOR, however, was unwilling to accept the demand citing lack of qualification and technical knowledge among the youngsters in the village to work at the depot. One of the farmers M. Mahadev said that KIADB had acquired huge tracts of land in the area and kept them as land banks. But their lands were all agricultural and irrigated lands. According to the KIADB Act itself such lands cannot be acquired and even the Land Acquisition Act also states this, he said.

“You are telling us that you cannot assure us of a job in the Railways or CCI as there is no provision because many of us are not qualified and apart from this the rules do not mandate to provide jobs for us. But when it comes to acquiring agricultural and irrigated lands you bypass the rules and acquire our lands. Does it mean that there is one rule applicable to us and another to you,” he caustically asked the bureaucrats and elected representatives.

Efforts futile

Both Simha and Yathindra made efforts to persuade the farmers to settle the issue since all 54 farmers will get jobs in private sector units in and around Nanjangud since rules do not permit to provide jobs to land losers in Concor. “If we are not offered permanent jobs, we will be forced to move the Court,” Mahadev cautioned.

Farmer Srinivas said after years of effort, Varuna Canal was brought to their area and hence farmers were able to cultivate their lands. Now, they were forced to part with the irrigated lands and even the compensation paid is not adequate. Hence there must be a review to pay them more compensation.

Pratap Simha said, “It is a Rs. 102 crore-worth project and once it is completed, it will help in the overall development of the region. A commercial complex will be constructed, and infrastructure in the area will witness drastic improvement. Consequently, locals will benefit directly and indirectly. In fact, we will sign an agreement with the private factories stipulating that members of farmers’ families provided employment will not be terminated from service pending closure of the company.”

Another meeting

Farmers who are demanding jobs in the Railways do not have the necessary skills or proper educational qualifications and hence they would be given training and provided jobs in any of the private companies in the Nanjangud Industrial area. The demand of the farmers for a revision in compensation cannot also be considered as the lands were acquired between 2011 and 2013, he added.

The DC said whoever has not agreed to the offer will be called again and efforts will be made to convince them. “There is no question of force. The issues will be sorted out amicably,” he added.

MOSR holds meeting onboard train, inspects various Railway Stations enroute!

HUBBALLI/BELAGAVI: Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi had had a hectic weekend in Belagavi and Hubballi and some towns in between.

Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi had had a hectic weekend in Belagavi and Hubballi and some towns in between. He travelled to Hubballi with senior officials by train and held a meeting onboard. He stopped at all stations in-between to receive requests and complaints from travellers and associations.

He began his day by inspecting the overbridge at the Kapileshwar temple. He asked railway officials to provide a subway or a lift for the benefit of pedestrians. Only vehicles are allowed to use the overbridge now.

At the railway station, he advised the officials to create a museum or heritage room on the platform no 1 to showcase the rich history of Belagavi. Officials told him that work on the new station building with a second entry would begin soon.

He spent a few minutes in the engine room and spoke to the loco pilots. Later, he carried out the window trailing inspection and held a three-hour-long meeting with officials sitting in the last bogie with French windows that provided a view of the train tracks.

Several issues were discussed during the meeting. He asked officials to grow gardens on empty land to prevent encroachments and avoid creation of slums and give the gardens to institutions, including Indian Air Force, for maintenance.

When he urged South Western Railway General Manager Ajay Kumar Singh to give priority to goods transport, the officer replied that it was being given top priority and it had grown by around 20 % over the last year. The Minister asked officials to speed up doubling and electrification works in the Londa-Miraj section. Mr. Singh told the Minister that the Railways had drawn up plans to double the entire track between Hubballi and Bengaluru.

He asked them to shift the goods shed and container depot to Sambra and set up a coaching depot near the railway station. When Mr. Angadi asked Mr. Singh to start a new train between Belagavi and Goa, Mr. Singh requested him to seek a sanction of a new rake from the Railway Board.

In Alnavar, he agreed to a demand for a pedestrian overbridge between platforms. Passengers thanked him for restarting the train between Hubballi and Belagavi and requested that the Vasco-Howrah train stopped at Alnavar. Some passengers complained that officials in the railway station were not responsive. They kept the telephone off the hook to avoid calls, one passenger said. Another said that a station master wasted his time playing video games during office hours.

The Minister also spoke to passengers at Londa and received some requests. He later held a works review meeting with officers of South Western Railway at Rail Soudha in Hubballi. He gave directions to open the Kottur-Hosapete line and the Alnavar-Ambewadi line for passenger traffic at the earliest.

He travelled to Hubballi with senior officials by train and held a meeting onboard. He stopped at all stations in-between to receive requests and complaints from travellers and associations.  Officers B.B. Singh, Additional General Manager, Rajesh Mohan, Divisional Railway Manager, B.G. Mallya, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer, and others were present.

He began his day by inspecting the overbridge at the Kapileshwar temple. He asked railway officials to provide a subway or a lift for the benefit of pedestrians. Only vehicles are allowed to use the overbridge now.

At the railway station, he advised the officials to create a museum or heritage room on the platform no 1 to showcase the rich history of Belagavi. Officials told him that work on the new station building with a second entry would begin soon.

He spent a few minutes in the engine room and spoke to the loco pilots. Later, he carried out the window trailing inspection and held a three-hour-long meeting with officials sitting in the last bogie with French windows that provided a view of the train tracks.

Several issues were discussed during the meeting. He asked officials to grow gardens on empty land to prevent encroachments and avoid creation of slums and give the gardens to institutions, including Indian Air Force, for maintenance.

When he urged South Western Railway General Manager Ajay Kumar Singh to give priority to goods transport, the officer replied that it was being given top priority and it had grown by around 20 % over the last year. The Minister asked officials to speed up doubling and electrification works in the Londa-Miraj section. Mr. Singh told the Minister that the Railways had drawn up plans to double the entire track between Hubballi and Bengaluru.

He asked them to shift the goods shed and container depot to Sambra and set up a coaching depot near the railway station. When Mr. Angadi asked Mr. Singh to start a new train between Belagavi and Goa, Mr. Singh requested him to seek a sanction of a new rake from the Railway Board.

In Alnavar, he agreed to a demand for a pedestrian overbridge between platforms. Passengers thanked him for restarting the train between Hubballi and Belagavi and requested that the Vasco-Howrah train stopped at Alnavar. Some passengers complained that officials in the railway station were not responsive. They kept the telephone off the hook to avoid calls, one passenger said. Another said that a station master wasted his time playing video games during office hours.

The Minister also spoke to passengers at Londa and received some requests. He later held a works review meeting with officers of South Western Railway at Rail Soudha in Hubballi. He gave directions to open the Kottur-Hosapete line and the Alnavar-Ambewadi line for passenger traffic at the earliest.

Officers B.B. Singh, Additional General Manager, Rajesh Mohan, Divisional Railway Manager, B.G. Mallya, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer, and others were present.

MoEFCC Panel wants Under-passes at every 500m on Wadsa-Gadchiroli Rail Line

NGAPUR: The regional empowered committee (REC) of the MoEFCC has recommended underpasses at every 500 metres in forest patches between the proposed Wadsa-Gadchiroli railway line which needs diversion of 83 hectares land.

“We recommended additional box culverts or underpasses at every 500 metres inside the forest need to be constructed as per the design approved by Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, for wildlife movement,” said REC member Suresh Chopne. The minutes of the REC meeting were released recently.

The South East Central Railway (SECR), Nagpur, is executing the Rs800 crore project to construct new 52.86km broad gauge line between Wadsa-Gadchiroli ostensibly to transport iron ore and minerals from Gadchiroli and Chhattisgarh in the future. The project is being implemented on PPP basis and Maharashtra government has agreed to share 50% cost.

Though the REC has given in-principle approval to the project, there are hiccups over taking mitigation measures. Of the 83 hectares dense forest, some 4km passes through tiger-bearing areas.

Chopne said the REC decided working permission will be granted only after funds for taking up mitigation measures as suggested by the committee of WII and NTCA are deposited by the user agency.

Among the other recommended mitigation steps include maximum speed of trains while approaching and passing through forest area shall be 40 kmph during night and 50 kmph during day time. “We have also asked the SECR to remove two stations from forest patches which will bring down the proposed forest diversion area,” he said.

However, senior SECR officials said the REC itself has desired that a study will be carried out by a joint team of WII and NTCA to suggest mitigation measures. The suggestion of WII-NTCA will be binding on SECR. The forest department is coordinating the joint inspection schedule.

“We are ready to take mitigation measures and increase the span of bridges. We are also not averse to 500 metre underpasses in forested patches but many odd conditions are being put forward. If REC or WII-NTCA is not satisfied by our mitigation steps and proposes to go for elevated viaduct on piers it will lead to cost escalation making the project infeasible,” SECR officials said.

Based on REC suggestion, a one-man NTCA team consisting of Hemant Kamdi from regional office here had already conducted a site visit on January 22, 2019 and observed that mitigation measures should be taken as per the WII guidelines on ‘Eco-friendly measures to mitigate impacts of linear infrastructure on wildlife’ approved by the MoEFCC.

According to forest sources, the NTCA team suggested transplantation of trees instead of felling, underpasses for reptile species, besides 5% of the project cost to mitigate negative impact of the project and forming monitoring committee to oversee whether mitigation steps are as per WII green infrastructure guidelines.

As per WII’s eco-friendly mitigation guideline document the user agencies need to follow hierarchy of mitigation steps where avoidance is the best option. It also suggests considering not only engineering aspects like underpasses but speed and traffic control and integrate options of light and sound barriers, camouflaging and landscaping.Wadsa deputy conservator (DyCF) Niranjan Vivrekar said, “We have sought undertakings from the railways on mitigation steps and other set of conditions. Once we receive it the proposal will be forwarded to PCCF office.”

WII GUIDELINES SAY …

Follow hierarchy of mitigation measures given in the guidelines where avoidance is best option

  • Consider not only engineering option like underpasses but regulatory mechanism like speed and traffic control
  • Follow design, dimension for large carnivore and herbivore and as per the available corridor patch size. Thumb rule is of 5 metres clear height and 300m/km span coverage
  • Integrate options for movement of reptiles, birds and arboreal mammals
  • Integrate options of light and sound barriers, camouflaging, landscaping.

Proposal for separate Chamarajanagar-Bengaluru Rail line via Kollegal-Malavalli-Kanakapura remains in cold storage

BENGALURU: The South Western Railways (SWR) has decided to extend some of the Bengaluru-Mysuru trains to Chamarajanagar to cater to the demands of those residing in these areas. However, the proposal to build a separate Chamarajanagar-Bengaluru railway line via Kollegal, Malavalli and Kanakapura remains in cold storage.

In order to facilitate easy movement of trains, platform number 5 and 6 of Mysuru Central Railways station will be linked to the Chamarajanagar line. SWR has cleared paper work and work is expected to begin in July. It was supposed to begin in 2016, but was later put on hold. Once it is over, trains coming from Bengaluru will be extended to Chamarajanagar .

Hemanth Kumar, a regular commuter, told “Extending some more trains to Chamarajanagar, which come from Bengaluru, will be helpful for the passengers. However, the people here want the work on Malavalli line to begin, as it would connect Chamarajanagar with Kanakapura and Kollegal. Hope SWR will take up this project at the earliest.”

The proposed railway line got approval during the UPA government, however, it has remained on paper. A survey for the line was done in 2006 and the estimated cost back then was Rs 1,382 crore. However, in the last budget it got a meagre funding of Rs 10 crore.

“This project has entered the railway department’s ‘Pink Book’. Once the Rail Budget is passed, ‘Pink Book’ becomes the authority to start preliminary works related to the project. But the allocation of expenditure on various heads of accounts for the project has been delayed. The main reason is because the state government has not shown much interest. The new move to extend some trains to Chamarajanagar will be helpful to passengers,” said Yogendra, railway activist.

A railways source told  that though the state government had agreed to provide land free of cost and bear 50 per cent of the expenditure, they have not shown any interest to develop the project. Taking into account cost escalation, Rs 2,500 crore will be required to complete the project.

Thane-Diva rail line set to miss deadline, may be ready by 2020

Eleven years on, the work remains incomplete. A senior MRVC officer said, “There were so many obstacles in the project and we had to change the alignment as the lines were passing through a tunnel. Besides this, most of the time was spent in removing 400 to 450 illegal structures.”

MUMBAI: The fifth and sixth railway line between Thane and Diva that will segregate express trains and local services on the Central Railway (CR) is likely to miss its September deadline and be ready in 2020. Since the project started in 2008, the estimated cost has escalated nearly four times from Rs 130 crore to Rs 500 crore.

In 2008, the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) had started working on the fifth and sixth line between Thane and Diva. The project was planned under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-2 (MUTP-2) in which the 9.9-km railway line was supposed to be built between Thane and Diva railway stations.

Eleven years on, the work remains incomplete. A senior MRVC officer said, “There were so many obstacles in the project and we had to change the alignment as the lines were passing through a tunnel. Besides this, most of the time was spent in removing 400 to 450 illegal structures. Rehabilitation of project affected families also took a lot of time. We also faced political interference in the the land acquisition issue. Now, everything is solved and work is on the fast track.”

MRVC MD R S Khurana told that almost all the civil work on the fifth and sixth line has been completed. Work on the track is underway and is likely to be completed in the next three months. He said that by the end of this year, electrification — in which the track and overhead wires will be connected to Thane and Kalwa yards — will be completed.

Central Railway Yatri Sangh president Subhash Gupta said, “When work on the line was started, it was a great move but the delay led to the waste of hundreds of crores of public money. The government should speed up the project and make a rule for completing projects on time.”

A senior CR officer said, “The fifth and sixth line is supposed to run between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Thane and Diva to Kalyan. Once the line is operational, the segregation of express trains and local trains will help CR add at least 100 local services on the main line, which will give relief to lakhs of commuters. It will also increase punctuality of local services beyond the Thane railway station.”

Electrification of Indian Railways with an Expenditure of Rs.27000 crore: Piyush Goyal tells Andhra MPs

SECUNDERABAD: Indian Railways has planned to electrify the balance Broad Gauge routes of Indian Railways including the state of Andhra Pradesh. A total of Rs. 27000 cr is expected to be incurred towards Electrification of the balance Broad Gauge routes of Indian Railways. The following Rail routes falling fully/partially in the state of Andhra Pradesh have been sanctioned for Electrification.

  • Pagidipalli – Nallapadu section with 285 Route Kilometers
  • Guntakal – Bellary – Hospet including Tornagallu – Ranjitpura branch line section with 138 Route Kilometers
  • Manmad – Mudkhed – Dhone (excluding Umdangar – Mahboobnagar) section with 783 Route Kilometers
  • Chikjajur – Bellary section with 184 Route Kilometers
  • Dharmavaram – Pakala section with 228 Route Kilometers
  • Nandyal – Yerraguntla section with 123 Route Kilometers
  • Naupada – Gunupur section with 90 Route Kilometers
  • Tenali – Repalle section with 34 Route Kilometers
  • Electrification of 1865 Route Kilometers has been taken up in the state of Andhra Pradesh

Electrification of Gadwal – Dhone (100 Route Kilometers) railway line is passing through Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. It is part of Electrification of Manmad – Mudkhed – Dhone (excluding Umdangar – Mahboobnagar) 783 Route Kilometers electrification project sanctioned at a cost of Rs. 664.50 crore.

This information was given by the Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry,  Piyush Goyal in a written reply to a question of Hon’ble Member  T.G.Venkatesh, in Rajya Sabha yesterday.

Types of Rail Welding Methods for Ordinary Rail and Crane Rails: Agico Rail

With the increasing speed of railway, more and more rails are connected by rail welding technology. Rail welding technology can be applied to ordinary rails, and can also be applied to high-speed seamless rails, special rails such as crane rails are also very suitable. Traditional railway tracks use fish plate to connect sections of rails. There will be joints of different sizes between rails, so that rails cannot be connected into a continuous whole. When the train passes through the joint of the rails, it will produce a large vibration, which will easily cause the loosening of the fixing fish bolts. Because there is no gap between the two sections of rails connected together by rail welding technology, they have become a whole, so there will be no loosening between the rails. In the daily work of railway connection, there are four ways of rail welding, they are flash butt rail welding, gas pressure welding rail, thermite rail welding and electric arc welding railroad.

When flash butt rail welding method is used to weld a rail, the first step is to place the two rail heads opposite each other. Connect the power supply to make the cross sections of the rails close to each other and reach local contact. And these contact points are heated by resistance heat (to produce a flash), so that the end faces are all melted. When a predetermined temperature is reached within a certain depth range, then quickly apply the forging force to complete the rail welding.

Advantages of flash butt rail welding

Flash butt rail welding has the characteristics of high automation, stable process and excellent welding quality. The welded joint of the rail is compact forged structure, the joint toughness is good, the mechanical properties are close to the steel base metal, and the production efficiency is high. It is mainly used for factory rail welding or base rail welding, and partly for unit steel rail welding.

Disadvantages of flash butt rail welding

The flash butt rail welding machine is expensive, the one-time investment is large, the equipment is complicated, and it needs to be equipped with high-power power supply and diesel generator set. The welding process parameters are more and the adjustment is cumbersome. At the same time, the rail burns bad seriously during the flash welding process, and single rail is consumed 25.1-50mm by each joint part.

Gas Pressure Welding Rail Method

Gas pressure welding rail is to use the heat energy generated by the gaseous fuel to heat the end of the rail to be in a molten state or a plastic state, and then apply a certain upsetting pressure to complete the rail welding.

Advantages of gas pressure welding rail

The one-time investment is lower for gas pressure welding rail, the welding time is shorter, the welding quality is better, and the welded joints are also compact forged structures. It mainly used for on-site joint welding. The steel rail burning loss is less, about 30mm shorter on average.

Disadvantages of gas pressure welding rail

The gas pressure welding requirements of the joint section are very strict during welding. The welding process is affected by many human factors, and the joint quality fluctuates greatly and is difficult to control.

Thermite Rail Welding for Rail Connection

Thermite rail welding is to use aluminum and iron oxide (including additives) to arise redox reaction at a certain temperature. The high-temperature liquid metal forms and is sent into a special mold, the two welded rail ends will get melted to achieve the connection.

Advantages of the thermite welding railroad

The thermite welding railroad has the characteristics of simple equipment, convenient operation, low production cost, no upsetting process, good appearance of joints and short lock-up time. The thermite welding railroad method is especially suitable for broken steel rail repair, on-site joint welding on railway frog section of seamless railway line ball and heavy transportation tasks.

Disadvantages of the thermite welding railroad

The thermite welding railroad has low strength, low quality, high breakage rate, poor overall performance. The welding part of the thermite welding railroad is the weakest link in seamless lines.

Electric Arc Welding Railroad

Electric arc welding railroad is to use welding rod or welding wire to melt steel rail by the arc heat generated on end faces and fill the joint gap and forced their ends to get the needed form with copper stopper. After cooling, it will form to be a welded joint. It is a melting welding method.

Advantages of electric arc welding railroad

With suitable welding rod and wire composition, the electric arc welding railroad joint part can obtain bainite structure with excellent performance. The comprehensive performance of welded rail joint part can reach the level of base metal, and the tensile strength and wear resistance sometimes exceed steel base material.

Disadvantages of electric arc welding railroad

At present, the electric arc welding railroad method has been less widely used, and the welding process and technical level are strict.

AGICO Railway can provide you with reasonable rail welding solutions, rail welding technical support and a variety of rail welding equipment. In addition to rail welding machine, we also produce various standard types of steel rails and rail fasteners. Welcome to send enquiry to us for details.

Stunning! Valsad Railway Station completely revamped

Now, several facilities have been introduced such as modern waiting rooms, proper parking areas, better toilet facilities, newly built ticket booking office along with green initiatives like rainwater harvesting and vertical garden.

MUMBAI: Indian Railways has revamped the Valsad railway station in Mumbai! As part of the station beautification and redevelopment initiative of Piyush Goyal-led Indian Railways, the Western Railway (WR) zone has completely redeveloped the 95-year-old station building and circulating area of the Valsad station. According to a press release issued by WR, the redevelopment project was aimed at not only upgrading the station but also to improve the passenger amenities which the railway station lacked for a very long time.

Several problems plagued the Valsad station such as narrow platforms, inadequate space for queuing at the ticket booking counters and the concourse hall and overcrowded circulating area due to unplanned management. Apart from these, other crucial problems like waiting halls without any amenities and the absence of planned parking space were some of the major issues. As the station building of Valsad is almost a century old, the façade of the building had lost its aesthetic appeal as well, Indian Railways claimed.

The Valsad station is an important station on the Virar-Surat section of the division and the daily footfall of passengers is found to be approximately 26,000 since almost all passengers as well as Mail/Express trains halt at the station. Now, several facilities have been introduced such as modern waiting rooms, proper parking areas, better toilet facilities, newly built ticket booking office along with green initiatives like rainwater harvesting and vertical garden.

Some of the specific redevelopment activities carried out by Western Railways for the station are as follows:

  • The old building facade of the building, which becomes the face of the station has been given a new stone masonry look.
  • For the beautification of the station building and circulating area, new green patches have been developed
  • The old ladies, gents, air-conditioned waiting hall and senior officials’ offices have been given a new modern upgrade with the help of texture paint and fixing the wall murals.
  • Kota stone has been made use of as well as flame cutting granite work on the home platform has been done.
  • The construction of the boundary wall, painting, fixing the stainless steel grills as well as fixation of wall mural along the station platform has been done.
  • The provision of the 3D pattern granite flooring as well as the painting work on the ceiling of the concourse hall has been done.
  • As facilities for differently-abled or Divyangjan, new passenger reservation system (PRS) and unreserved ticketing system (UTS) booking building with all modern facilities has been opened.
  • The construction of the underground drainage system has been done by fixing the precast drain and the sewerage system has been improved by laying an underground pipeline
  • The circulating area has been redeveloped by making separate lanes for the entry and exit, separate VIP lane, a green patch and a vertical garden. A parking space has been made with separate provisions for 2 wheelers, 3 wheelers and 4 wheelers.

Railways to fill non-officer vacancies with ex-servicemen; says Railway Minister. No RRB for SECoR/Vizag!

Railway Board circular permits all zones to hire ex-servicemen in grades 1 to 7 for a period of 2 years. No separate RRB for South Coast Railway Zone as of now: says Rail Ministry

MUMBAI: In a bid to enhance safety of ageing bridges and tracks and ensure their timely upkeep, the Indian Railways is all set to fill non-officer vacancies in the ‘safety categories’ with ex-servicemen. These vacancies are for the posts of khalasis (helpers and gangmen) and junior engineers, in the lower pay grades of 1 to 7. The move follows a written directive from the Railway Board to all railway zones, permitting them to directly hire ex-servicemen with two-year contracts.

The recruitment in the Indian Railways is conventionally carried out through Railway Recruitment Board (RRB) and Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC). However, the process was found to be too slow, resulting in a huge number of vacancies, causing shortage of manpower and hampering maintenance work. Currently, the Railways have 1.5 lakh vacant posts across various safety categories.

While Central Railway has 980 vacancies in grades of 1 to 7 (people who manually work on the ground), 35 to 40 per cent of the 144 posts are vacant in the bridges department of WR. Though CR is talking to the RRC for filling its posts, WR has approached the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare to look for people with competencies required for “bridge organisation, track machine organisation and other similar technical safety categories”.

After the Gokhale bridge collapse in Andheri last year, WR had hastened to promote employees to fill some technician and supervisory posts, leaving a gaping need for khalasis and junior engineers. Now with this new option of hiring ex-servicemen, it has identified 450 posts to be filled. Soon after being recruited, ex-servicemen will be sent on a month-long training to understand the working and maintenance work of the tracks before being inducted.

A WR official, however, said the ex-servicemen welfare board has expressed some reservation against personnel being hired for the lower posts of khalasis. They have also opposed the short-term contractual agreement, as, according to the circular, the railways will end the contracts as and when vacancies get filled through RRB and RRC. Most officials from different railway zones, however, agree that ex-servicemen would bring a rich experience of working in hilly and difficult terrains, apart from being regimented and disciplined.

“These are crucial, safety-related job works for maintaining bridges and tracks. We are looking at all possible ways to fill up these vacancies as soon as possible. We have submitted our requirement to the welfare board and are now awaiting their response,” said CPRO/WR.

No separate RRB for South Coast Railway Zone as of now: Rail Ministry

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Friday ruled out a separate recruitment board or divisional headquarters for now for the newly created South Coast Railway Zone, stating that all issues regarding it will be addressed in due course.

Responding to a question in Rajya Sabha, Goyal said that there are 21 Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) across the country for catering to the recruitment requirements of various categories of Group ‘C’ posts of zonal railways.

“Visakhapatnam area is catered adequately by RRB/Secunderabad,” he said.

Goyal had announced the formation of the new railway zone, SCoR with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters in February this year comprising Vijaywada, Guntur and Guntakal rail divisions, besides a section of the Waltair rail division.

Goyal also said that it was not a convention that the place having zonal headquarter must also have a divisional headquarter.

Giving examples of zonal headquarters of Northeast Frontier Railway (Maligaon), South Eastern Railway (Kolkata), East Coastal Railway (Bhubaneswar), North Eastern Railway (Gorakhpur) and East Central Railway (Hajipur), he said that these do not have respective Divisional Headquarters.

“The decision of the Ministry of Railways, for setting up a new Zone with headquarter at Visakhapatnam, has been taken after due consideration taking all relevant factors into account. All administrative issues arising out of this reorganization will be dealt with in due course in order to ensure smooth functioning of the new zone,” he said.

The new zone is expected to be operational in a year’s time, officials said.

Railways to operate Bio-toilets on the Parassala-Kasaragod Rail Corridor to meet Green norms

2,573 coaches in State to have the facility by June 30!

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A green train corridor from Parassala in the south to Kasaragod in the north is on the anvil with Railways switching over to bio-toilets in 2,573 coaches of passenger, mail, and express trains running through the State.

Only 18 of the 2,000 coaches with the Thriuvananthapuram railway division and nine of the 573 coaches in the adjoining Palakkad division need to be retrofitted with bio-toilets. “This work will be completed next week as the target fixed for switching over to bio-toilets is June 30,” Shirish Kumar Sinha, Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapuram, said.

By then, 80% to 90% mail and express trains running through the State will have bio-toilets. The remaining rakes of mail and express trains plying in the State are held by the Central Railway and North East Frontier Railway and steps are on to retrofit bio-toilets in them too.

Bio-toilets will eliminate discharge of human waste along the railway tracks and keep railway premises clean. The Railway Ministry has advanced its earlier plan to fit bio-toilets in its entire fleet from 2021-2022 to 2019.

Human waste is collected in a tank fitted beneath the lavatories and converted into methane and water with the help of bacteria, thereby avoiding spillage along the tracks.

Passengers had complained about the bio-toilets introduced initially, and Railways have come up with vacuum bio-toilets with dewatering system, as in aeroplanes. The vacuum toilets, which cost around ₹2.5 lakh per unit, is odour-free, will cut down on water usage by 1/20th, and have much fewer chances of getting blocked. With Railways outsourcing cleaning in key railway stations, the toilets in the trains can also be cleaned en route.

With zero discharge on the railway tracks, the life of the tracks will go up.

“Track renewal will come down drastically and Railways can save money. Corrosion due to spilling of human waste on the railway track was a problem faced by Railways in the State,” Mr. Sinha said.

Railway Unions protest bid to privatize Railway properties

VADODARA: Railway unions up the ante against railway ministry’s proposed move to commercialize and outsource railway properties. On Friday, the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) called for a divisional council meeting in Vadodara, where more than 300 railway employees gathered to oppose the move.

“The workers are shocked to read Railway Board’s June 4 letter, forcing 70 divisions of zonal railways to surrender one old colony located in commercial active areas. They have been asked to entrust these to the Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) for re-development and commercial exploitation of these land parcels,” said WRMS general secretary J G Mahurkar, who is also vice president of the National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR).

“The overall concept is to sell railway colonies without providing its inhabitants any rehabilitation facilities. How can the railway employees vacate their quarters suddenly when no alternate arrangement has been made for them by the railway ministry?” he questioned.

He said Indian Railways has been serving the country ever since the first passenger train ran between Bombay and Thane in April 16, 1853. “The performance of railway men, amid bad working conditions because of shortage of staff in all categories and violation of rest rules, is commendable,” Mahurkar said.

“The railway ministry is also trying to rope in private operators to run passenger and mail and express trains which are being offered to Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) who do not possess any knowledge of train operation nor concern for passengers’ safety,” he alleged.

The unions urged the railway ministry “to bury the hatchet of privatization and outsourcing and save the country from chaotic conditions.”

Capitals of Assam, Arunachal, Tripura connected by Broad Gauge: MOSR

GUWAHATI: The capitals of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura have been connected by broad gauge rail network and the government plans to connect all state capitals of North Eastern states by 2020 except Sikkim, the Rajya Sabha was informed Friday.

In the case of Sikkim, a new line work has been sanctioned up to Rangpo in the first phase, he said.

Replying to a question if the target of connecting state capitals of North Eastern States by 2020 would be met, Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi Channabasappa said the speed of execution is good, though completion of projects is related to availability of land.

The House was also informed that the average annual expenditure in new line/gauge conversion/doubling infrastructure projects during 2014-19 was Rs 25,894 crore per year as against Rs 11,527 crore per year during 2009-14, up around 125 per cent.

The average allotment per year for North Eastern states was Rs 2,121 crore per year from 2009-14. However, it increased 161 per cent to Rs 5,531 crore per year for this region during 2014-19.

Replying to a question on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), Minister of Rural Development Narendra Singh Tomar said the budget allocation under the scheme were on an increasing trend. The budget has increased to Rs 61,830.09 crore during 2018-19 from Rs 48,220.26 crore during 2016-17.

He also assured members that there would be no shortage of funds for the scheme.

The central government has been notifying wage rates from 2011-12 onwards. Wage rates differ from state to state.

Vande Bharat Express running at Full Occupancy; Manufacturing Cost to be Recovered in One Year

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways’ flagship Vande Bharat Express is running on full occupancy and authorities hope to recover the manufacturing cost in just 12 to 15 months.

The current earnings of the premium train stand at Rs 7 crore per month which is aided by the fact that all the available seats are being booked by passengers. As per Railways Board member Rajesh Agarwal, Indian Railways is confident of recovering the sunk manufacturing cost of Rs 100 crore in around a year, thanks to the high demand.

The revenue is also aided by the fact that no concession is allowed on the train and the fare bracket is marginally higher as compared to other premium trains. Agarwal also speculated that the semi-high speed train is also attracted passengers who earlier avoided travelling by trains.

Currently, the Vande Bharat Express connects New Delhi and Varanasi for five days per week. Integral Coach Factory (ICF) is already reported to have delivered the second Train-18 rake to the Indian Railways.

Lucknow Charbagh Railway station to be remodelled to de-congest rail traffic in Lucknow

Lucknow Charbagh: The state capital of Uttar Pradesh would be in the focus of Indian railways with different projects, particularly to de-congest the rail traffic by investing over several thousand crores, being rolled out.

The historic Charbagh railway station would be remodeled to be one of the best stations of northern India while couple of satellite stations would come up to de-congest the passengers and trains by giving world class facilities.

The re-modeling of the Charbagh station has started and in a phased manner it would be built. In the first phase railways will spend around Rs 550 crore which will include underground parking, budget hotels and other facilities.

Indian Railways is in the process of launching various projects in Lucknow and other places to decongest rail traffic by investing several hundred crore rupees in the projects.

Railway officials are likely to make a presentation before Union Defence Minister and Member of Parliament from Lucknow, Rajnath Singh, on the projects to be launched in Lucknow on Saturday.

Charbagh railway station would be remodelled to make it one of the best railway stations of northern India while a couple of satellite stations would come up to decongest rail and passenger traffic by providing world class facilities.

Besides Charbagh, the Northern Railway has taken up projects to construct rail terminals at Transport Nagar, Alamnagar and Utretia stations. Besides, Gomti Nagar model station is also being constructed at a faster pace now.

Meanwhile, Divisional Railway Manager (Lucknow) of Northern Railways, Sanjay Tripathi, said in Lucknow on Friday that there were several projects underway in Lucknow to provide better passenger facilities and decongest Charbagh station in the coming days .

“The construction of a terminal at Transport Nagar has started along with a washing line and other facilities which will be the centre point on connection of a rail bypass from Alamnagar to Utretia. We are doubling the track on this bypass so that some trains can be originated from these stations,” he said.

Tripathi said that Charbagh railway station was also being remodelled without interfering with its historical architect. The plan includes expansion of seven more platforms, budget hotels, both side entry and international class facilities.

The DRM also said that the third and fourth tracks connecting Barabanki was under construction while construction of Gomti Nagar model station was being expedited.

Prototype MEMU Train arrives in Mumbai for trials from ICF/Perambur

The Rs 26-crore worth train, after completion of the trials, will operate on the Northern railway in accordance with the railway ministry’s plan. The prototype MEMU train has features similar to Train18 or Vande Bharat Express. All electrics on the train is situated on the under slung, that would allow accommodation of additional passengers.

MUMBAI: An advanced Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) prototype constructed by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai has arrived in the city for trials.

The Rs 26-crore worth train, after completion of the trials, will operate on the Northern railway in accordance with the railway ministry’s plan. After successful trials, similar MEMU train is likely to be introduced for intercity journey on routes including Mumbai-Pune and Mumbai-Nashik after approval from ministry of railways.

The prototype MEMU train has features similar to Train18 or Vande Bharat Express. All electrics on the train is situated on the under slung, that would allow accommodation of additional passengers. The train has eight compartments which are vestibule and have emergency talk back button, emergency push button, closed circuit televisions (CCTV) and global position system (GPS) based on passenger information system.

The train, which has a maximum attaining speed of 130 kmph, has been parked in Kalwa railway car shed of the Central Railway and will soon undergo trails by the Research Design Standard Organisation (RDSO). Presently, the operational MEMU trains operate with a maximum speed of 110 kmph.

Emergency Braking Distance (EBD) and oscillation trials of the prototype train will be conducted by the RDSO team on the Central Railway. The RDSO after trials will certify the maximum operating speed of the train which will then require Commissioner of Railway Safety(CRS) approval.

“The trials which will be done on the Central Railway route is chosen by RDSO as the tracks have curvatures and gradients that can test the trains braking system,” said a senior central railway official.

Further, the prototype of AC local train with electrics provided in the underslung is currently undergoing the RDSO trial at the Kurla railway car shed on the Central Railway. The train will be inducted on the Western Railway after successful trails.

Ministry of railways plan on to operate advanced mainline electric multiple unit (MEMU) trains on the two inter-city routes.

Jharkhand CS reviews DFCC works in the State

Dedicated freight corridor to ensure ease of business!

RANCHI: Chief Secretary Dr DK Tiwari today reviewed the pending cases of railway projects in Jharkhand and gave necessary directions to the officers of concerned departments. In relation to the land given to Railways till now, for the schemes of rail extension in the State, he said that they have been giving land to many central institutions and organizations. It should also be assessed as to what is the actual condition of its use.

He instructed the Revenue and Land Reforms Secretary to make a database of the present situation of the use of land given to the railway and other institutions.

He also asked to mention in the database how much land has been given so far and how much of it has been used.

The CS said that the dedicated freight corridors are the railways, which are set for freight only. Dedicated freight corridors are being set up in India so that the supply of goods can easily be made between industries. Revenue Secretary KK Soan said that till now 90 per cent of the land in four districts has been given to the Railways according to the requirement of the Dedicated Freight Corridor. The process of giving the rest of the land to the railway will complete within a month.

On behalf of the Forest Department, it was informed that necessary action is being taken for the use of forest land. The CS instructed to take all the action online. Energy Secretary Vandana Dadel gave detailed explanation of the work of installation of the Electrical tower. The CS directed to complete the remaining work in stipulated time.

Revenue Secretary KK Soan, Transport Secretary Pravin Toppo, Energy Secretary Vandana Dadel, Special Secretary Forest Department AK Rastogi and others were present in the meeting.

Munnar-Mattupetty Monorail Train service to be revived

THODUPUZHA: The tourism department is all set to restart the Munnar – Mattupetty monorail service which was stalled 95 years ago. The authorities plan to run the service in the model of the renowned Himalayan train service in Darjeeling. The old railway lines that pass through Tata’s tea estate are 35 kilometres long. Five kilometres of these lines would be renewed in the initial stage. If the project succeeds, the old railway lines would be completely renewed. The tourism authorities said that the Tata Company has promised to allot the land.

This is one of the most prestigious projects undertaken by the tourism department. Minister Kadakampally Surendran said that the renewed railways would draw more number of tourists to the hill station. The officials of the railway development corporation and the tourism department would reach Munnar to discuss about the feasibility of the project. The budget of the project and the following procedures would be decided after this group has tabled their report.

Himalayan railway in UNESCO’s world heritage list

The Darjeeling-Himalayan train service runs between New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal and Darjeeling. The narrow gauge steam engine service is popularly known as the toy train for its colourful and compact bogies. There are 17 stops for the train in the 87 kilometres long route. It is often hailed as one of most amazing train journeys in the world. The UNESCO has declared this toy train service as a world heritage site.

It was the British who built the Munnar-Mattupetty monorail lines. It was the easiest way to transport tea and other products to Mattupetty. From 1908 onwards, the train began to run on steam. However, the railway lines were destroyed in the massive landslides and floods in 1924. The old railway station now functions as the head quarters of the Kannan Devan Tea Plantation Company. The wheel of the train that used to run then is exhibited in the museum here.

Cargo volumes across major Ports flat in May 2019

MUMBAI: Cargo volume across major ports was flat in May 2019 YoY (+5.7% in Apr’19; +3% in FY19; as per Indian Ports Association) on subdued POL* volume (down 1%; 36% share) and thermal coal volume (down 11%; 15% share) and flat coking coal volume (8% share).

Cargo volume across major ports was flat in May 2019 YoY (+5.7% in Apr’19; +3% in FY19; as per Indian Ports Association) on subdued POL* volume (down 1%; 36% share) and thermal coal volume (down 11%; 15% share) and flat coking coal volume (8% share).

However, iron ore volume rebounded (+27% aided by lower base; 8% share) and container volume grew 9% (22% share). Among containers, JNPT tonnage vol grew 6% YoY (+3%/ 7% in April’19/ FY19) and non-JNPT tonnage vol was up healthy 12% YoY (+8%/ 10% in April’19/ FY19). Railway cargo volume grew 3% YoY (+3%/ 5% in April’19/ FY19) on similar rise in coal, while iron ore volume was up strong 18% YoY. Container volume grew 7% YoY on healthy Exim volume growth (10% YoY), while domestic volume declined 4% YoY.

Kribhco operates container trains and manages ICDs and PFTs across Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. CONCOR to commence coastal movement on India’s east coast and Bangladesh; operates 2 coastal ships. Truck rentals declined 1-1.5% in May ’19 (11-15% decline since Nov’18) on slowdown in factory output which led to oversupply of cargo vehicles in open freight market.

Railways’ board places additional Rs 2,600-crore order for 9,468 wagons (backlog of 25,000 wagons).Vizhinjam port project delayed (expected time line for phase I completion was Dec’19). Global 3PL player Kerry Logistics Network started offering services in India under Kerry Indev Express brand. Services include express logistics solutions, international freight forwarding, warehousing and distribution solutions. Phase I will include 200 service centres and fleet of vehicles.

ADSEZ is shifting gears to accelerate growth led by (a) port/ terminal expansion into southeast Asia and (b) opening up newer growth avenues in logistics and enhancing client stickiness by offering end-to-end solutions. We expect core EBITDA to post 14% CAGR over FY19-22 (volume CAGR at 13%). CONCOR has ensured assured pricing to customers (no more rejigs) in FY20 (post increasing prices by 4-5% from Apr’19), as it will benefit from Railways’ assured rail freight pricing (in lieu of advance payment).

NALCO floats tender for Exterior Vinyl wrapping on 3 Rakes of Rajdhani Expresses

BHUBANESWAR: National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) – a navratna CPSE under Ministry of Mines, Govt of India, is planning to go ahead with vinyl wrapping in rail coaches as part of company’s brand building exercise.

In this context, NALCO floated an online tender (RFP Document No.TNCC-014 /2019 Dated: 14.06.2019) seeking participation from vendors to carry out, vinyl wrapping in three rakes of Rajdhani Express. The work job involves exterior vinyl wrapping inclusive of supply, printing and pasting new vinyl graphics in 03 rakes of New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express.

The selected vendor will carry out the printing as per the approved designs and subsequently paste the new vinyl graphics in the exteriors of rail coaches. The area of application on coaches shall be the exterior side panels (excluding windows). Details are available in the RDSO drawing CG-10076. The graphic film to be used for exterior coaches shall not cause any damage to the painted surface of the coaches. The approved designs will be provided by NALCO once vendor is finalised. For the details specifications of fleet graphic films for the exterior of the coaches, the contractor is required to adhere to RDSO’s specifications as per RDSO/2010/CG-08. The broad technical requirement of the vinyl Film as per RDSO/2010/CG-08 is as follows:

  • Base Film will be cast PVC film having thickness not more than 50 microns. Plasticizers and other additives materials must not emerge or exude. The film shall not include any materials having harmful effect on painted surfaces, human beings and environment. The film should be of either M/s 3M or Avery Dennision make. Manufacturers Supplier Invoice to be submitted.
  • The film shall be white in colour with whiteness index of 100 to 90 as per test method ASTM E 313.
  • Thickness: The nominal thickness of the unprinted film including adhesive shall be between 0.070mm to 0.090mm. The test procedure for measuring thickness is ASTM D 3652.
  • Film shall be printed with digital printing technology with eco-friendly low emission solvent links. UV resistant and latex printed.
  • The graphic has to be printed with printing resolution of the minimum of 720 dpi by 1440 dpi (Dots/inch).
  • Edge sealing is required on the edges of the vinyl to give protection against peeling off of the graphic film and preventing damages of the graphic film against vandalism.
  • The edge sealing material shall be clear acrylic/alkyd/PU resin applied on all the overlap joints of the film and end edges of the film with at least 10 mm footprint covering 5 mm on both the exposed edges. A slight change is expected in the gloss value at the joints where edge sealer is applied depending on the viewing angle. The edge sealer should become water resistant within four hours of application.
  • Over Laminate: The surface of the graphic films shall be over laminated in an appropriate way in order to guarantee the resistance against operating stress and weather, acids, alkalis, salt solutions, scratch and tear from foreign objects. The graphics film should have an over laminate supplied by the same manufacturer of the graphics film. The over laminate should be a PVC film with attractive gloss finish and should be UV stabilized, which is to be tested to ASTM G 152 for protection against deterioration and fading.

Characteristics of finished Graphics prior to application

  • Thickness: The film thickness shall be not more than 0.150mm +/- 15%, with sealing and print colour. The test procedure for measuring thickness is ASTM D 36S2.
  • Gloss Value: The minimum gloss value shall be 70 achieved at 60 degree measured by gloss meter as per ASTM D 523, Gloss value retention after two years should not be less than 30 at 60 degree measured by gloss meter as per ASTM D523.
  • Durability & Weathering Resistance: The Graphic Films shall be durable & resistant to weathering for at least three years in permanent outdoor- exposure. No kind of detachment, cracks, bubbles or similar effects shall occur during the applied state. The supplier shall submit proof of test from reputed independent laboratory (Govt. Accredited of accelerated weathering, UV and environmental exposure as per ASTM G 152 using xenon arc/QUV panel machines at 0.63 nanometres UV A lamps with 4 hour condensation and 4 hour UV exposure for min of 250 hrs. Post cycle specular glass value, delta E color change; visual discoloration has to be reported. The colour change should not be more than delta E=3, measured by approved photo spectro density meter (The instrument measures colour value).
  • Flammability: The graphic film should fall under min. class B when tested as per UIC-564-2OR Appendix 12.
  • Temperature Resistance: The film shall be resistant to temperature between -10 degree C and +100 degree C without any visible changes such as detachment cracks, bubble formation and colour changes. This property is to be tested as per clause of RDSO specification.
  • Dimensional Stability: The shrinkage of the graphic film after application shall not exceed 0.2%. This is to be tested as per clause of RDSO specification.
  • Resistance to Detergents: The graphic films shaft should be resistant to detergents used by the Indian Railways for exterior cleaning of the coaches. The surface of the sealed film shaft not softens and the colour and the adhesive power shaft not change. The same applies to surface softening and to all kind of detachments (waves, bubbles etc.) this should be tested as per clause of RDSO specification.
  • Wash and attrition Resistance: The graphic films shall not suffer any visible color and gloss changes, detachments, cracks, bubbles etc. During external coach washing in accordance with IR field practices. Furthermore the films shall not expand. The graphic films along with over laminate shaft not show any visible colour and gloss changes when tested as per ASTM D 1044 using cleaning solution as per clause of RDSO specification.
  • Removal of films: The time taken for removal of previous graphic & application of new graphic film should not be more than eight hours per coach. The removal of the applied film should not be tedious. The removal should be done using a hot air blower but the temperature should not exceed 70 degree C. In case any film or adhesive residue is observed after removal the residue should be possible to remove by use of ISO propyl alcohol and lint free cloth without any surface damage. Printing shall be as per approved design containing relevant information of the coaches.

APPLICATIONS OF GRAPHICS:

  • Applications of Graphics have to be done using recommended application tools as mentioned by the manufacturer of the graphic film. The applicator has to show experience/training certificate of doing similar application on any moving vehicle by the manufacturer of the graphic film.
  • Application of the graphic film has to be done on the surface without using any soap solution and water. (Dry application for faster application and also to protect the paint of the coach). The surface should be rubbed down by means of grade 220 emery paper and cleaned with a soft cloth before application of fleet graphic film.
  • The application tool should be a nylon moulded squeeze with low friction sleeve, which will prevent scratches on the graphics, and a nylon rivet brush with wooden handle to apply graphics on the rivets.
  • Application of The contractor will have all the responsibility of their Labour’s stay like shelter, food, etc.
  • The contractor will have to arrange sufficient nos. of skilled labour, no shortage will be tolerated.
  • The contractor will carry out Vinyl pasting and wrapping work with complete edge sealing, tamper proofing and with speed resistant coating.
  • In case during the contract period, the vinyl is torn/damaged beyond reasonable control, then the contractor should attended immediately at coaching depot so that the coaches do not give shabby looks at any time. For this purpose, additional payment (if agreed by NALCO) shall be made based on per/sqf rate to the contractor as per the contract.
  • In case of displays needs repairing and replacing due to wear and tear during the warranty period, the contractor should take up the work at his own cost. The contractor shall realign, re-adjust or shift the displays whenever called upon by the competent authority of NALCO to do so at his own cost without claiming any compensation.
  • The gloss & sheen of the original PU paint of the coaches shall be intact even after the removal of the vinyl wraps by the contractor.

On completion of the contract period, it will be the duty of the contractor to remove the complete existing vinyl wrapping and will dispose the removed vinyl wrapping at a proper place outside the Railway area as per applicable laws.

In case of removal of vinyl film /residual adhesive film is required within the warranty period because of manufacturing / application / printing defects; the contractor will arrange to get the film replaced immediately at no extra cost to NALCO.

The removal should in no way damage the painted surface of the coach. On completion of the contract the coaches should be returned in the same conditions as it was handed over initially.

COMPOSITION OF THE BHUBANESWAR DELHI RAJDHANI EXPRESS

Bhubaneswar – Delhi Rajdhani express comprises of three racks (03 trains). Each rack of Bhubaneswar – Delhi Rajdhani express normally comprises of the following 17 coaches:-

  • 01 no. 1st AC (with exterior both side panel area: approximately 808 sq ft.
  • 02 nos 2ndAC (with exterior both side panel area per coach: approximately 799 sq ft.
  • 11 nos 3rd AC (with exterior both side panel area per coach: approximately 799 sq ft.
  • 01 no Pantry car (with exterior both side panel area per coach: approximately 851 sq ft.
  • 02 nos Guard cum Generator Van (exterior both side panel area/coach: approximately 698 sqft.

The approximate exterior both side panel per rack (train) would be 13442 sq ft and the total exterior area coverage for 03 racks (trains) of Bhubaneswar – Delhi Rajdhani express would be 40326 sqft. Besides, as suggested by Railways, there are another 09 additional spare coaches that are kept as standby to use as and when maintenance issue arises. In addition to wrapping in 51 coaches of 03 rakes, provision may have to be kept for vinyl wrapping of 9 more coaches if required (about 7,191 Square feet).

GENERAL PRINCIPLE FOR WORK

  • All the coaches of the train will be handed over to the contractor for carrying out vinyl wrapping work. The contractor shall be responsible for the safety and security of the equipment’s during the execution of the work.
  • NALCO may at its discretion reduce/increase the quantities at the time of award of the work.
  • The Contractor will ensure that highest quality of work is carried out of all the coaches and will also be responsible that no substandard work is permitted. He will have to personally inspect all the materials received from suppliers and also supervise the work on the said coaches.
  • To supervise the execution of the work done to ensure that executing the work is carry out the same in a sound and satisfactory manner duly conforming to the designs, specifications, workmanship and according to the agreed time schedule, periodical visits to the site as per requirements to monitor progress of work. Contractor shall send periodical reports about the progress of work, quality and related matters.
  • It shall be the responsibility of the Contractor to carry out the work in accordance with approved design and specifications and ensure that the materials used and workmanship are of top quality.
  • For constant supervision of the work, the Contractor shall appoint experienced technical supervisor and required supporting staff at site right at the start of the work.
  • The Contractor will not, without the written sanction of NALCO, make any major deviation in the plans or estimates. For any deviated items approved by NALCO, the rates analysis will be furnished by the Contractor for scrutiny and approval.
  • The total vinyl wrapped surface Area will be under one years warranty for fading, discoloration, formation of bubbles, surface imperfection and peeling out, opening of joints, opening of edges, after completion of work.
  • Payment will be made on the basis of actual surface area of work executed. However, the total surface area calculated for the purpose of purchase order i.e for 03 rakes of Bhubaneswar – Delhi Rajdhani Express is approximately 40326 sq. Ft.
  • Besides, if required the contractor may be asked to execute the vinyl wrapping of 09 additional spare coaches ((about 7,191 square feet) that are kept as standby to use as and when maintenance issue arises.
  • The tenderer should be ready with Minimum of 10% spare quantity of total vinyl wrapped surface area and the same to be maintained for the period throughout the year of warranty period which may be used for replacement whenever required due to defects arising during warranty.
  • The coaches would be given in consultation with East Coast Railways based on the availability of the racks and preferably given in lots of 5 or 6 at a time.
  • The printed vinyl would contain individual coach names, IRCTC coach nos., NALCO Logo, and content/design approved by NALCO.

INSPECTION OF THE WORK:

  • Before uploading the bids, the Bidders should conduct a detailed study of the work i.e existing condition of the coaches of the proposed train/surface condition/level of coaches, location of work etc. The job would be carried out on the air-conditioned coaches at Bhubaneswar Station areas.
  • The bidder will have to explore the sources for its material supplies, work force, tool and plant and other requirements like electrical supply, water supply, ladders, raised platform etc. as NALCO will not provide any of these facilities.
  • The bidder should check the working conditions at site and for permission for temporary shed at site to house labour and materials. The power supply/ DG set arrangement will have to be managed by the bidders at his own cost.

Tender can be downloaded from  www.e-procure.gov.in or www.nalcoindia.com for details.

Railway Board takes decision on Railway Line to Majuli after Survey Reports

GUWAHATI: The Railway Board will take the final decision on executing the project on rail connectivity to Majuli after examining the ongoing survey reports.

While the Railway Board is expecting to receive the survey report on the rail line connecting Gogamukh-Dhakuakhana-Kamalabari-Garmur-Jorhat from NF Railway by September this year, the board has already received the survey report on rail connectivity between Harmuti and Majuli.

Additional Member (Works) of Railway Board Mukesh Kumar Gupta in a recent letter to former MP from Tezpur Ram Prasad Sarmah informed that a survey for the new line from Gogamukh-Dhakuakhana-Kamalabari-Garmur-Jorhat (100 km) was sanctioned in the Union Budget for the year 2017-18. He said another survey for a new railway line from Harmuti to the island via Bihpuria (38km) was sanctioned on February 21, 2017. “A survey route from Harmuti, Bihpuria, Majuli and Kamalabari is covered in the twin surveys,” Gupta said.

Gupta sent the letter to Sarmah on June 12, 2019 in response to the latter’s letter on February 4, 2019 requesting rail connectivity from Harmoti to Kamalabari via Bihupuria in Assam.

In 2016, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal urged the Ministry of Railways to construct a railway bridge connecting Majuli from Dhakuakhana in Upper Assam to expose the largest riverine island of the world and epicenter of neo-Vaishnavite culture to the whole world.

Railway Board drawing up plan to restructure and rightsize Indian Railways

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is drawing up a plan to restructure and rightsize the mammoth organisation.

The restructuring exercise, beginning with the Railway Board, seeks to ensure better efficiency while avoiding cross-departmental frictions, said an official. “We want to put the right people in the right place to improve efficiencies of the Indian Railways. This will ensure better HR practices in the organisation,” the official said.

Rightsizing is among the priority areas of the 100-day action plan approved by railway minister Piyush Goyal. The ministry is looking at bringing in criterion such as strong delivery, performance and leadership qualities for positions such as DRMs, GMs and Board Members.

“This will reduce cross-departmental friction by doing away with silos and making people talk both horizontally and vertically across the organisation. That is the main aim,” said another official.

The restructuring would be followed largely on the recommendations made by the Bibek Debroy Committee on Indian Railways, said the official. “We will make a detailed report and follow the recommendations of the committee, but with some modifications. It is not sacrosanct,” the official said.

The committee had in its report presented in 2015 said the centralised structure and departmentalisation of the Indian Railways was adversely affecting the railways’ work culture and narrowing its approach to department-specific goals.

About ‘rightsizing’, one official said there are too many people doing the same job at present in the Railways. “We may look at reshuffling people to departments that need more workforce,” the official said. This assumes significance as the ministry charts a plan to ‘corporatise’ various verticals of the national transporter, essentially adopting best practices of the corporate sector for improving efficiency.

The ministry also has plans to undertake the technological revamp of the working of the Indian Railways.

Noida Metro Aqua Line goes Innovative! Movie Shootings, Food Courts, Shopping Franchises at Stations soon!

As a new 10-km long corridor between Delhi Metro Blue Line’s Botanical Garden and Noida Metro Aqua Line’s Sector 142 station is being proposed, the corporation is exploring fare and non-fare options to generate revenue. The corporation is also exploring various options including utilizing the Noida Metro Aqua Line space in order to garner revenue, which will also lead to increased ridership.

NOIDA: Noida Metro Aqua Line goes innovative! In a bid to generate non-fare revenue, the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) is offering space for film shootings. As a new 10-km long corridor between Delhi Metro Blue Line’s Botanical Garden and Noida Metro Aqua Line’s Sector 142 station is being proposed, the corporation is exploring fare and non-fare options to generate revenue. NMRC Executive Director PD Upadhyay was quoted saying that compared to other stations, a few metro stations have reported lower ridership. The corporation is also exploring various options including utilizing the Noida Metro Aqua Line space in order to garner revenue, which will also lead to increased ridership.

The NMRC is also planning to lease out spaces to shopping franchises, coaching centres, food courts, and others. A policy has been formed to invite film shootings for various sequences as the spacious metro stations can provide a good setting. Additionally, the corporation will allow people to host theme-based events on the Noida Metro premises, like those highlighting women empowerment, Upadhyay said.

According to the report, the foot overbridge between Aqua Line’s Sector 51 and Blue Line’s Sector 52 is yet to be constructed and the Noida Authority has already released tenders. Currently, the NMRC provides e-rickshaws and feeder buses to ease last-mile connectivity.

An NMRC official was quoted saying that Noida Metro has hit the 20,000 ridership mark and there has been a steady increase in ridership. The NMRC is also planning a corridor between Botanical Garden and Greater Noida, which has been already been approved by the Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority to further provide seamless connectivity. However, both- the foot overbridge as well as the new proposed line could take up to three years for operations.

Meanwhile, four nodal points have been identified for which bus routes have been made functional. The NMRC is also in conversation with RWAs and residents to further improve last-mile connectivity, Upadhyay added.

Skip Bullet Train, Go for The Pod: IIT-M’s Hyperloop Design Enters SpaceX Finals

Avishkar Hyperloop, the student team from IIT Madras, is one of the Top 21 teams and the only Asian team to enter the finals of SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition scheduled for July 21, 2019.
Avishkar Hyperloop Team with their Hyperloop Pod, which was unveiled on June 14, 2019.

CHENNAI: Back in 2013, Elon Musk, the legendary tech entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX, described the hyperloop in these words:

“Short of figuring out real teleportation, which would, of course, be awesome (someone, please do this) the only option for super fast travel is to build a tube over or under the ground that contains a special environment.”

While the focus of SpaceX as an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company remains intact, in June 2015, it announced the Hyperloop Pod Competition.

According to SpaceX, the objective of the competition is to “support the development of functional prototypes and encourage innovation by challenging student teams to design and build the best high-speed pod.”

Since its announcement in 2015, SpaceX has conducted three such competitions in January 2017, August 2017, and July 2018.

According to a recent press release, “It is one of the Top 21 teams out of 1600+ teams participating globally and the only Asian team to enter the finals of SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition scheduled for July 21, 2019.”

What is the hyperloop?

Hyperloop is the fifth mode of transportation, a high-speed train that travels in a near-vacuum tube. The reduced air resistance allows the capsule inside the tube to reach speeds of more than 1000 km/h, which is faster than your average flights.

“The basic idea Elon Musk put out was that any vehicle that is moving on the ground has to face wheel friction and air resistance. If you’re able to eliminate both, then all you have to do is push the vehicle initially, accelerate it up to a certain velocity, and without an engine, it will continue to operate at the same velocity because nothing is stopping it. For conventional vehicles on the ground, an engine is necessary to propel it all the way. Here, it’s sufficient if you can push the vehicle with some kind of propulsion, reach whatever velocity you want, and it will continue to move at high speeds,” says Dr SR Chakravarthy, Faculty Advisor, Avishkar Hyperloop, and Professor, Department of Aerospace Engineering, IIT Madras, in a conversation.

Depending on the amount of acceleration the people can withstand within the pod and the countermeasures that are put in place, this action of propulsion only happens for a short while.

Touching velocities of 1000 km/hr, the hyperloop will significantly reduce travel time.

“According to our calculations, you can target speeds of 1,000 km/hour from Chennai to Bengaluru (350km). We can probably cover this distance in less than 20 minutes, of which the acceleration time shouldn’t take more than a minute or two and correspondingly the deceleration. We have to make sure that the occupants do not feel these forces. That can be done by constructing seats mounted on a frame that can slide inside like the way they do with high-speed lifts or elevators. These seats have dampers or inertial systems which will counter the g-force for the humans occupying the pod,” informs Dr Chakravarthy.

Similarly, Chennai to Delhi will take approximately one and a half hours. The tube is basically like a railway line. Infrastructure cost will include setting up the tube and evacuating (making it airless) it. Once you evacuate it, all you have to do is maintain the vacuum.

IIT Madras’ Avishkar Hyperloop Team working on their Hyperloop Pod.

“We have made calculations for what is economically viable from Chennai to Mumbai, via Bengaluru because that’s a pretty heavy traffic corridor. Say, you have a pod akin to a minibus (15 metres long and 3 metres wide) that carries about 42 passengers at a time. According to our calculations, if you run a pod every 7.5 minutes, you can carry twice the number of passengers that are currently travelling on all train AC compartments and flights across these cities. We figured that the ticket price of travelling between Chennai and Bengaluru would amount to Rs 1500,” says Dr Chakravarthy.

For high-speed trains, the railway track has to be extremely aligned so that it does not have instability problems, shaking left to right.

Currently, once our trains pick up speed, passengers shake. Although those problems are minimised in high-speed rail by having very precise tracks, it’s a whole another ball game for the hyperloop.

“Here, what happens is that you try to eliminate the wheel friction by causing magnetic levitation. The vehicle does not come into contact with the rail line continuously. It has a guide rail, which causes repulsion due to magnetic levitation so that you can levitate against the rail. Additionally, the spring-loaded wheels can very gently nudge the vehicle to go along the rail so that it doesn’t deviate from it. So, the tube doesn’t have to have exact dimensions, and that means the engineering isn’t too difficult,” he informs.

“The primary factor in deciding the winner is the top speed achieved by the Hyperloop Pod in the run in the 1-mile long vacuum tube, installed at the SpaceX headquarters. Before it enters the tube, the design has to go through a lot of checks and scrutiny based on its feasibility, manufacturing possibility and its safety aspects,” said Suyash Singh, Student Team Head of Avishkar Hyperloop, speaking about the Hyperloop Pod Competition to the media.

The electric propulsion employs BLDC (brushless DC electric motor) motors. Their pod spans about three metres in length and weighs around 120 kgs.

The competition itself happens in three stages.

First, you submit an expression of interest for participating, and you get down-selected based on various criteria like funding, technical details, etc.

The judges at SpaceX should be satisfied that you have thought out the details of all aspects. That’s a preliminary proposal you have to submit sometime in September.

You eventually get selected for submitting a detailed design document, which entails rigorous design calculations and simulations right down to the nuts and bolts. Once you submit this document, the SpaceX team evaluates it and down selects a bunch of people, inviting them to make the entire pod.

Following which, you have to raise money, spend it and make the pod. Eventually, you take the pod to the SpaceX facility in Hawthorne, California, and their team inspects the pods, looks at safety aspects, and all the other details. Once they’re satisfied, they will allow you to go on what’s called a Pod Run, which is the final step of the competition.

Avishkar Hyperloop was formed in 2017, and this is the team’s second crack at the competition. In their first attempt, they were one among 1200 teams who had submitted their preliminary proposal.

However, where they fell short was in the next round where they had to submit a detailed design document, which did not get past the scrutiny of SpaceX judges.

Despite their disappointment, Avishkar Hyperloop went through the entire process again this year. Unlike last time, they were much better prepared, and perhaps, that’s why they became one among 21 teams selected for pod development. They are the only team from Asia to have qualified.

“This time, we asked the student team a bunch of questions, requested them to make a few modifications and went through a very rigorous detailed review driven by fellow professors. We submitted a detailed design document in January 2019, we submitted, and in February, we got to know that we’ve been selected for the pod run,” says Dr Chakravarthy.

Since their selection, it’s been a frantic few months, with a lot of work done like fundraising. The team had a weekly schedule of expenditure on different parts/components which they had to buy, integrate and test.

It took nearly four months to construct the pod, and by this week, they will be ready to package and ship it to the US. A team of 30 people will be travelling for the pod run competition which will happen on July 21.

IIT Madras’ Avishkar Hyperloop Team working on their Hyperloop Pod.

“The team started the design by brainstorming on how the pod would be built, beginning with vehicle kinematics and dynamics, motors, power system and braking, stability, and finally designing the CFRP (carbon fibre) chassis and structures,” says the press release.

What Elon Musk did not specify is what propulsion system teams should use for giving the initial push, and that’s what determines how the competition will play out.

Musk started something called the Boring Company that comes up with cost-effective ways of boring tunnels underground for creating new traffic lanes as well as hyperloop.

But SpaceX is mainly focussing on their rockets. Instead, he has set up this competition, and a couple of winners in the past have spawned startups. Virgin Atlantic acquired one of them, and today it’s called Virgin Hyperloop One. In fact, Hyperloop One set up a student-level competition in India to find out what is the most economically viable hyperloop route, and that’s where they came up with the Chennai-Bangalore-Mumbai via Pune route.

Enter Avishkar Hyperloop, the student team from IIT Madras, which has built the first-ever self-propelled, completely autonomous Hyperloop Pod in India.

“One problem with this competition is the site of the pod run in the SpaceX facility, which is a one-mile tube of a specific dimension. You have to accelerate, reach a steady stage, brake, and come to a complete stop at the end. Thus, most of the advanced technologies required for the actual hyperloop may not win you the competition because of the time it takes to accelerate. Take the linear induction motor, for example, which makes the pod heavy.

Based on the dimensions of the tube, there are restrictions on what you can do with the pod. There is potential for damage when you set up the propulsion. One mile is a very short distance, so it’s all about how fast the pod can cover that distance,” says a team member.

For the team from IIT-Madras, the objective is to take the hyperloop technology forward beyond what the competition permits so that they can first implement it on a smaller scale in India, before scaling it up further.

“We have to develop an evacuated tube facility soon, increasing the length, besides setting up the magnetic levitation and linear induction motor for the pod’s propulsion. Of course, there is also the aspect of growing the pod and tube in size and diameter, so that we can actually start looking at dimensions where we can show the transportation of goods, to begin with, and then move onto people. That will take a little more time. Initially, we are interested in going long distances, like a 0.5 km for starters at the campus level,” says Dr Chakravarthy.

Hyperloop Pod Competition tube

Leaping beyond bullet trains

Hyperloop offers us the opportunity to leapfrog high-speed trains. Countries like China and Japan have invested heavily in high-speed trains, and developed robust systems in the past few decades. India is also trying to do the same, but are playing catch up.

“Bullet trains can go up to 350 km/hr, while the hyperloop can facilitate velocities of up to 1000 km/hr. It’s an intensive infrastructure building process for bullet trains that will take five to ten years. During this time, we can work on this nascent technology and develop indigenous capabilities for putting out something that is practical. We get a chance to leapfrog beyond the initial investments we had to do on the bullet train. Avishkar Hyperloop’s tagline is ‘leap over loop.’ We want to actually leap straight into hyperloop instead of the bullet train. The hyperloop is equivalent to the high-speed fibre optic internet, opening the possibilities mass rapid transit across longer distances,” says Dr Chakravarthy.

For a populous country like India, the hyperloop is increasingly looking like the way forward, and IIT Madras is at the forefront of this technology. Beyond the competition, the institution is looking at other partners from around the country to take India into the future.

(Courtesy: Gayatri Mishra)

Parsvnath Developers announces reaffirmation in Credit Ratings of subsidiary Parsvnath Rail Land Projects Pvt Ltd

NEW DELHI: Parsvnath Developers announced that Brickwork Ratings India (Brickwork) has re-affirmed the rating ‘BWR B’ with change in outlook to ‘Credit Watch with Developing Implications’, assigned to Rs.360 crore Secured Non-Convertible Debentures (Series A) and Rs.244.39 crore Secured Non-Convertible Debentures (Series B) of Parsvnath Rail Land Project, a subsidiary company of the Company.

Pursuant to Regulation 55 of the SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 (Listing Regulations), it is hereby informed that Brickwork Ratings India Pvt. Ltd. (Brickwork) has re-affirmed the rating ‘BWR B’ with change in outlook from Credit Watch with Positive Implication to Credit Watch with Developing Implications (Reaffirmation), assigned to Rs.360 Crores Secured Non-Convertible Debentures (Series A) and Rs.244.39 Crores Secured Non-Convertible Debentures (Series B) of the Company.

A copy of Rating Rationale issued by Brickwork is attached herewith, for your information and records.

Big shoutout for Indian Railways! Delhi-Mumbai in just 10 hours!

Railway Ministry plans to send the proposal to upgrade infrastructure on New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes to the CCEA. In the next four years, you can hope to reach Mumbai from Delhi in just 10 hours boarding a superfast train. Similarly, the journey from Delhi to Howrah could be completed in just 12 hours.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways to reduce Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah travel time by 5 hours! Two of the busiest routes on the Indian Railways network – Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai – are set for a massive infrastructure upgrade in the coming years, with speeds being raised to 160 kmph on the important routes. According to a 100-day roadmap drawn by Indian Railways on PM Narendra Modi’s instructions, the train travel time on the above-mentioned routes will come down by 5 hours. The 100-day plan document of the Railway Board, envisages an investment of around Rs 14,000 crore for this massive project.

Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah trains: Travel in just 10-12 hours!

Piyush Goyal-led Railway Ministry plans to send the proposal to upgrade infrastructure on New Delhi-Howrah and New Delhi-Mumbai routes to the Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs for approval. The project, once complete, will reduce the train travel time between New Delhi-Howrah to 12 hours from the existing 17 hours. The train journey time between New Delhi-Mumbai may come down to as low as 10 hours from the present 15.5 hours.

According to the national transporter’s estimates, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah routes account for nearly 30% of passenger traffic and 20% of freight traffic. While the upgradation of railway infrastructure on the New Delhi-Howrah route (1,525 kilometres) will entail an expenditure of Rs 6,684 crore, the New Delhi-Mumbai project (1,483 kilometres) will require Rs 6,806 crore.

The document states that the ambitious project will be undertaken in a fixed time, fixed cost EPC contract basis over a time span of 4 years from the date of approval. The national transporter is of the view that this format will help reduce delays and cost overrun while also ensuring better coordination and economies of scale.

Indian Railways has been upgrading its rolling stock and one of the biggest technological leaps for it was the introduction of the self-propelled Vande Bharat Express on the Delhi-Varanasi route. Banking on the success of the Train 18 project, Indian Railways is now looking to manufacture Train 19, which will be a Rajdhani Express-style sleeper variant of the Vande Bharat Express. Train 19 is being planned for the Delhi-Mumbai route with the hope of bringing travel time down.

Even as it brings its rolling stock up to world-standards, railway experts have time and again stressed on the need to invest in rail infrastructure such as tracks, signalling and fencing so that the average speed of trains on the Golden Quadrilateral can be increased. The identification of the Delhi-Mumbai, Delhi-Howrah routes for the 160 kmph upgrade is an important step in that direction.

Rajdhani, now the fastest train

The railways has set the target to increase the maximum speed of trains on these routes to 160 kmph to cut down the travel time between the national capital and financial capital by five hours and save five-and-half-hours’ journey time between Delhi and Kolkata. The fastest trains now (Rajdhani) can run at maximum speed of 130 kmph.

Project Cost

This is among the clutch of proposals that the railways has finalised as a part of its 100-day agenda under the second edition of the Narendra Modi government. The railways estimates to spend about Rs 13,500 crore in shoring up the national transporter’s infrastructure over the next four years.

Shoring up Infrastructure

According to a circular issued by Railway Board chairman, VK Yadav, enhancing the track infrastructure on these two busy routes is necessary as they account for nearly 30% of passenger and 20% of total freight traffic on the rail network.

Implementation

Officials were instructed to initiate immediate action to start implementing the plans by August 31 and the ministry has sent the proposals to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Sources said Yadav shared the details of the targets including the plan to bring in private players to run passenger trains on select routes at a meeting of Group of Secretaries on infrastructure.

Railways will open up the passenger segment for private entities and the plan to launch a mega campaign to pursue people to give up the concessions that they can avail while buying tickets.

Other Proposals

Other targets includes obtaining cabinet approval for a digital corridor for railways with provision of 10 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band for railways which would enable it to increase trains’ carrying capacity due to increase speed potential, improve operation during fog and improved security.

Other proposals include providing wifi at all 6,485 railway stations, starting a pilot for an advanced signalling system; jump starting the process redevelopment of 50 railways stations and restructuring of the railway board.

IISc-incubated startup LabToMarket promises cost-effective Safety for Railways with AI tech

Railways is emerging as a hub of innovation for service providers. As India’s largest employer goes digital, it’s beginning to acquire huge scale in a new dimension — data. The IR plans to spend upwards of Rs.9 lakh crore to digitise operations, but IISc-incubated startup LabToMarket showcases Indian tech that can do it at a tenth of the cost!
  • At a glance
  • Startup: LabToMarket
  • Founders: Sudhir Kumar Sinha and Sreenivasa Rao Ganapa
  • Founded: 2016
  • Funding: Self-funded – Rs 1 crore
  • Revenues: Pre-revenue, expected to kick in FY2019

BANGALORE: For anyone who has travelled by train in India, it is an experience unlike anything else. The romance of the clacking of wheels along the steel track and the whizzing countryside aside, the Indian Railways transports billions of passengers every year, and on any given day, there are more than 12,000 trains plying on the tracks.

While most things about train journeys spell rustic, pretty much the same can be said for the technology that India’s largest employer uses. The railway’s 70,000-km network, covering thousands of stations, is still mostly operated by the station master, who controls the movement of trains into stations.

There is also very little technology involved in the maintenance of tracks. Even today, the railways uses the services of ‘gang men’ – track workers who are trained by ear to figure out fractures in rails by knocking on them. While these men are experts at their jobs, this is clearly not the most effective way to check tracks as there is always room for human error.

Sudhir Kumar Sinha and Sreenivasa Rao Ganapa’s startup LabtoMarket aims to change this reliance on humans, with technology to take over manual tasks and reduce the scope for errors. Lab to Market Innovations Private Limited is seed funded by Indian Institute of Science (IISc).

After three years of untiring efforts, Lab to Market have started now seeing the fruitful results and getting confidence that it would contribute to improve the safety and efficiency of the trains through 4.0 Industrial Revolution Railway Technologies/Solutions.

The two have spent the last three years building algorithms with IoT to predict the rate of failure of railway tracks so as to allow for prompt corrective action. The IISc-incubated startup has also created an entire digital transformation stack for the railways, where platforms where a train arrives and other lines can be managed through tablets, and station masters can automate entry and exit of trains. This information can be used for future analytics to improve how railways functions. “These are complex algorithms that we are building and have implemented in a couple of places. We will go live by the end of the year,” says Sudhir.

In the beginning

A decade ago, Sreenivasa was running two startups for railway recruitment which he managed to scale up, and was with the Indian Railway Services prior to becoming an entrepreneur. He worked in various capacities for the railways, and was Joint Director and head of the Southern Region /Signalling and Communications Division of RDSO, Indian Railways. He realised that the railways was a plethora of business opportunities.

“While I built and sold a railway recruitment company, I also realised that the railways has been using technology that is largely global. That’s when I decided it was time to act,” says Sreenivasa.

After selling his startup, Sreenivasa met old friend Sudhir, who was thinking of starting up a company that would take ideas conceived in the lab to the market.

Sudhir was a faculty at the of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for over 30 years, and retired from the Centre for Electronics Design and Technology in 2011. His main areas of interest were power electronics, fault-tolerant and safety-critical systems and embedded systems. So, when Sreenivasa expressed interest in starting up in 2016, they both decided to focus on the railways by combining their business and technology acumen.

The business

Last year, the Indian Railways announced it would spend Rs 10,000 crore on technology upgrades. However, at present, most digital technology contracts only go to large global firms like Alstom and Thales.

Sudhir and Sreenivasa began work on IoT technology and a digital transformation stack for the railways. They invested Rs 1 crore of their own money, and have two pilots at present. One of their products measures rail fractures, while the other helps a station master and his team manage the control room for incoming and outgoing trains in a station with tablets. The current method allows information flow, but it is semi-digital. One can see the control room in this video and the amount of paper used. “We want to ensure the entire system goes digital,” says Sudhir.

Founders of Lab to Market, Professor Sinha and Rao Ganapa

The railways recently announced it will spend on homegrown ERP technology to track railway purchases, and have a single platform for all divisions.

To get revenue, Sudhir and Sreenivasa, however, chose to first approach private cargo rail network operators before the Indian Railways. The private rail network in India is 8,500 km long, and is operated by big names such as the Adani Group and Reliance Industries, who pay rent to the railways for using the network.

“We have taken the products to the private sector because for them time is money,” says Sudhir. Companies face transportation delays every month due to fractured rail lines or stoppage delays, and companies can lose up to Rs 50 crore annually. LabToMarket seeks to save this money with analytics and IoT. It charges for outcomes, and also an annual maintenance fee. A private cargo fleet spends around Rs 20 crore to maintain five rail lines, while Lab To Market can help in its maintenance for Rs 3 crore.

“IISc is taking ideas that were projects and experiments commercial. But the LTM team is filled with experience, and they have the background to go pan-India and even global,” says C. S. Murali, Chairman of IISc-SID.

LabToMarket is still in the pre-revenue stage.

When it comes to starting up, Sudhir and Sreenivasa show that age is only a number – and if these men have their way, there will be no more ‘gang men’ making predictions on track safety.

Indian Railways operates at a staggering scale in every fathomable dimension. It moves 23 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of freight every day, deploying more than 12,000 trains across 115,000 km and some 7,000 stations. But as the country’s largest employer starts digitising parts of its services operations, it’s beginning to acquire huge scale in an emerging dimension — data. The network gathers some 100 terabytes of consumer data annually (one terabyte is sufficient to store 500-1,000 movies). Its passenger booking platform has 25 million users, who make some 800,000 daily transactions. This kind of digital scale is making the railways ecosystem a fertile ground for entrepreneurs, innovators and those looking to deploy and test technologies at a large scale. And while the railways has made a good start in collaborating with third parties, a lot more needs to be done before companies can build a seamless experience in bookings, payments and other services on top of the railways data pipeline.

(Courtesy: Vishal Krishna from YourStory.com)

Bombardier wins additional order for 40 MOVIA metro cars from Delhi Metro

New order will bring the number of MOVIA vehicles in the Delhi Metro fleet to 816, making it one of the largest Bombardier metro fleets in the world

NEW DELHI: Mobility technology leader Bombardier Transportation has won a new contract to supply an additional 40 BOMBARDIER MOVIA metro cars to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC). The new cars will increase DMRC’s existing fleet of MOVIA metro cars from 776 to 816 to make it one of Bombardier’s largest metro fleets in the world.

Bombardier Transportation and Delhi Metro teams at the contract signing.

Sudhir Rao, Managing Director, India, Bombardier Transportation said, “Since 2007, in partnership with Delhi Metro, we have been supporting Delhi National Capital Region’s ambitious expansion plan and we are proud to move safely around two million people every day in India’s capital city with our trains and signaling solutions.”  He added, “These additional trains will bring additional capacity to Delhi Metro’s rail network and they will be delivered from our state-of-the-art manufacturing sites in Vadodara.”

The high degree of localisation at both the Savli and Maneja sites is in line with Delhi Metro’s indigenous procurement plan that encourages local manufacturing and the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ program by delivering rail vehicles, products and solutions that are developed locally, for both Indian and foreign markets. Bombardier is one of Delhi Metro’s largest rollingstock suppliers and with over 120 km of line in operation for Delhi Metro’s Lines 5, 6 and 7, is also their largest signalling solutions contractor. Recently, Bombardier commissioned the last major section on Delhi’s first fully automated metro Line 7 with its advanced BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 communications-based train control solution to support safe and reliable automatic train operations.

The new modern, high-capacity MOVIA metro vehicles for Delhi Metro integrate some of the world’s most advanced mobility technologies such as the BOMBARDIER MITRAC propulsion and control system and the BOMBARDIER FLEXX Metro 3000 bogies, an extremely robust and reliable design specifically adapted to suit Delhi’s infrastructure. These new vehicles will accommodate up to 740 more passengers and once configured into eight-car trainsets, will carry as many as 2,960 passengers providing much-needed capacity increases on three of Delhi’s main metro lines.

After more than five decades of investment in India, Bombardier Transportation employs around 2,200 people at its sites in India. This includes the railway vehicle manufacturing site and bogie assembly hall at Savli near Vadodara, Gujarat and a propulsion system manufacturing facility at Maneja, near Vadodara, Gujarat. There is also a Rail Control Solutions Centre for project delivery, product engineering and Information Services hub near Gurugram Delhi NCR, a Traffic Control and Management System (TCMS) Centre in Vadodara, and an Engineering Centre in Hyderabad. In addition to Delhi, Bombardier has been supporting the Mumbai rail ecosystem since 2002, by delivering and maintaining the Traffic Management system (TMS) for Western and Central Railways and around 100 trains of 12 cars each are equipped with Bombardier’s MITRAC propulsion systems moving safely 7.8 million people who travel daily on Mumbai suburban rail network.

Bombardier, MOVIA, MITRAC, FLEXX and CITYFLO are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.

Free WiFi ‘RailWire’ at 6,485 Railway Stations in next 100 days under Digital India drive!

Railways claims that RailTel’s RailWire services will be rolled out to provide free internet connectivity across nation.

NEW DELHI: If all goes to plans and promises, Internet will soon be like water at railway stations across the country. The Indian Railways has set itself a target — providing free WiFi at 6,485 railway stations in the next 100 days.

While they have already completed installing WiFi services at 1,603 stations, authorities claim that the balance 4,882 stations will be completed within this stipulated time frame. Previously, Google had launched a similar project that provides free WiFi across 400 railway stations in the country.

Currently, on the Western and Central Railways, 260 railway stations, which includes a majority of Mumbai suburban stations, already have this facility. In the coming days, 245 stations on CR and 281 stations on WR will also have WiFi facilities.

Railways’ Reach
  • 4,882 – Stations where work is still pending
  • 1,603 – Installations already complete
  • 400 stations – in India that use Google’s free WiFi services
  • 50 Mbps – promised speed of the WiFi services
  • 30 minutes – of free access after first login
  • 260 – Stations on WR and CR that already have the free WiFi
  • 245 – CR stations in line to get the service
  • 281 – WR stations set aside to get the facilities
  • 32L – Mumbai commuters who used free WiFi in Dec 2018
  • 725 TB – Data used by Mumbai comuters in Dec 2018

A railway official said, “The IR’s subsidiary RailTel, in a tie-up with Tata Trust, is providing the WiFi under the name RailWire. It focuses on broadband and VPN services to provide free internet connectivity. Only the halt stations where passengers are far and few in between, will not have this facility.”

As per the system, the user will be automatically directed to the RailWire homepage, where they will have to enter their mobile number to get the OTP, which would be sent thereafter. Once the OTP authentication is done, they can use the free WiFi network at a speed of 50 Mbps for up to 30 minutes per day.

To get an estimate of data usage in Mumbai, the Railways measured the consumption in December 2018 and found that 32 lakh people consumed close to 725 TB of data.

Interestingly, the railway officials accept that most of these people use the WiFi for free download of movies, serials, and even adult content. Many of them also reportedly sit along the railway station premises — either on the FOBs, ticket counters or platforms — to avail this facility.

Meanwhile, the railways have also proposed a Digital Railway Corridor that will have 10 Mhz spectrum in 700 Mhz band. This will be used to improve the safety of the running trains and enhance passengers’ interface with railwaymen.

Indian Railways set to hive-off Production Units in corporatisation drive

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is coming up with a plan to hive off its production units and associated workshops into a new government-owned entity—Indian Railway Rolling Stock Company Ltd (IRRSCL). The move is part of an overall strategy to corporatise the functioning of the organisation.

The Ministry of Railways is expected to hold consultations with the unions soon on this and a Cabinet note is likely to be floated within the first 100 days of the government . The new entity is proposed to drive the technology partnership and modernisation initiatives of the seven production units under the Ministry of Railways.

The proposal says that the production units, including associate workshops, will be hived off into a government-owned new entity “Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company”. Each production unit with a Chief Executive Officer will function as an individual profit centre, report to the board or chairman-cum-managing director of the new entity.

The railways will immediately start consultations with unions and come up with a Cabinet note for approval for at least one production unit to begin with, and it might be the Modern Coach factory in Rae Bareli.

The report further mentioned that railways has also proposed to corporatise units manufacturing coaches. According to the proposal, the production units, including associate workshops, will be hived off into a new government-owned entity “Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company”.

IR’s 100-day plan

The Indian Railways has prepared 11 proposals under its 100-day plan, with instructions to initiate immediate action to implement them by August 31.

The railways plans to bring down by five hours the travel time between the busy Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes with an investment of about Rs 14,000 crore in infrastructure over the next four years.

This is one of the 11 proposals prepared by the railways in its 100-day plan, with instructions to initiate immediate action to implement them by August 31.

The two routes account for 30 per cent of passenger and 20 per cent of freight traffic.

Presently, the fastest train on the Delhi-Howrah route takes 17 hours to complete the journey while on the Delhi-Mumbai route the quickest train takes 15.5 hours. The proposal is to reduce the travel time to 12 hours and 10 hours respectively.

The proposal is being sent to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs for approval.

According to the proposal document, the railways has set a target to ramp up the speed of the trains on these routes from the present 130 kmph to 160 kmph.

The document, a part of the 100 day-plan being prepared by union ministries on the direction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, lays down the vision for the national transporter for the next three months.

It states that within the next 100 days approval should be obtained for projects to raise to 160 kmph the speed of the New Delhi-Howrah route (1,525 KM) at a cost of Rs 6,684 crore and the New Delhi-Mumbai route (1,483 km) at Rs 6,806 crore.

The project is proposed to be implemented within four years from the date of approval.

The document also lists 10 other targets for the railways which need to be initiated within the next 100 days. One of them is the railways’ version of the “give it up” scheme which was introduced by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal for encouraging people to give up their subsidies on train tickets.

Many senior citizens had in fact given up their subsidies on travel tickets.

The railways plans to launch a massive awareness campaign which would run across media platforms and inside running trains to encourage people to give up their subsidy voluntarily.

The 100-day plan also includes railways’ earlier proposal of handing over certain routes to private players.

It has been proposed in the document to invite private operators to run two of its trains and also some routes which have low congestion and connect important tourist spots can be offered to them through Request for Proposal (RFP) and a Request for Quote (RFQ) within the next 100 days.

The document has also proposed that within the next 100 days, cabinet approval be obtained for digital corridor for railways with provision of 10 MHz spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band for railways which would enable it to increase trains carrying capacity due to increase speed potential, improve operation during fog and improved security.

Other 100-day proposals include: wi-fi at all 6,485 railway stations including 4,882 balance station in the next 100 days; obtain approval for elimination by 2023 of 2,568 level crossings on golden quadrilateral diagonals with assured 100 per cent funding of Rs 50,000 crore from the government; an advanced signalling system; redevelopment of 50 railways stations in 100 days and restructuring of railway board and technological revamp.

Blue Star spurts after receiving MMRCL order

MUMBAI: Blue Star rose 4.04% to Rs 785 at 13:14 IST on the BSE after the company said it was awarded a single largest order from Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation. Blue Star Wednesday said it has bagged a contract from MMRC for the tunnel ventilation system and environmental control system works for the section BKC to Mumbai Central on its Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ, metro-3 corridor.

The scope of work includes design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning along with other associated work, an official statement said.

A week ago, media reports suggested that the airconditioner-maker, which forayed into the water purifier business in 2016, has set a target revenue of Rs 120 crore from it during this financial year. The announcement was made during market hours today, 19 June 2019.

Meanwhile, the S&P BSE Sensex was up by 121 points, or 0.31% to 39,167.34. On the BSE, 2066 shares were traded in the counter so far compared with average daily volumes of 3008 shares in the past two weeks. The stock had hit a high of Rs 797.50 and a low of Rs 760 so far during the day. It hit a 52-week high of Rs 825 on 6 June 2019 and a 52-week low of Rs 507.30 on 23 October 2018.

Blue Star announced that Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRCL) has issued a letter of intent dated 18 June 2019 to the company for design, manufacture, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of tunnel ventilation and air conditioning system. The order is approximately valued at Rs 253 crore, subject to the definitive agreements to be executed between the company and MMRCL.

On a consolidated basis, Blue Star’s net profit rose 198.5% to Rs 82.13 crore on a 18.5% rise in the net sales to Rs 1595.84 crore in Q4 March 2019 over Q4 March 2018.

Blue Star is India’s leading air conditioning and commercial refrigeration company. The company reported a 19 per cent year-on-year (YoY) growth in consolidated revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2019.

Huawei releases Solution for synergy in Rail Communications

STOCKHOLM: At the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 in Stockholm yesterday, Huawei and its partner, Tianjin 712 Communication & Broadcasting Co Ltd (TCB 712), jointly released the LTE-Railway (LTE-R) Solution for next-generation Rail Wireless communications.

The solution, which is being deployed in China, enables high-speed, reliable and intelligent communications to ensure safety and efficiency for rail passengers, said a release yesterday.

The rapid development of high-speed rail has made it a fast, safe and comfortable mode of transport for many people. The cornerstone of a safe and reliable rail operation is ensuring information synergy between passengers, trains and infrastructure. With the development of autonomous driving, intelligent trains and smart stations, this demands higher-speed and more intelligent wireless communications technologies. The LTE-R Solution was developed to address these needs and enable fully connected railways.

The LTE-R Solution supports 5G-oriented evolution and interconnectivity with GSM-R. The solution’s advanced features include multiple trunking services such as Mission Critical Push-to-Talk (MCPTT) voice, video and data, and leveraging one LTE-R network to enable train control, train dispatching, passenger information system (PIS), CCTV and other rail services. Together with 5G, the solution will enable a future of intelligent railways where all things are connected.

During the launch of LTE-R Solution at the Huawei Global Rail Summit, Eman Liu, president of the global transportation business unit of Huawei Enterprise Business Group, highlighted Huawei’s deep expertise in the rail sector. The company has over 20 years of experience in rail industry communications, serving over 120,000 kilometres of railways and more than 100 urban tracks in the world.

 At the same time, Huawei remains committed to continuously investing and innovating in wireless communications private network technology for the rail industry to meet rail customers’ evolving needs, he said.

ADB provides $750 Million single non-sovereign Loan to Indian Railways for transitioning to Electric Power

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) has signed an agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the electrification of railway tracks.

This initiative is part of a broad modernization program that will help India’s railway sector transition to electric power and away from dependence on fossil fuels, ADB said in a media statement.

ADB has said it will provide $750 million (₹52.20 billion) in long-term financing, the largest single non-sovereign loan ever committed by the ADB.

Concurrently with the loan agreement signing, risk participation agreements have also been signed with private risk participants for the project. IRFC, an entity owned by the government of India, will use the proceeds from the loan to install electric traction equipment along approximately 3,378 kilometers of existing railway lines, which will enable the migration of passenger and freight traffic from diesel to electric traction. The electrification assets will be leased to Indian Railways under a long-term lease agreement.

“This is a flagship project demonstrating ADB’s strategy of supporting key state-owned enterprises in strategic sectors. It also reflects a major push by the private sector operations of the ADB into transport infrastructure, and particularly railways, a sub-sector in which traditionally such operations have not contributed a great deal,” said Diwakar Gupta, ADB’s vice-president for private sector operations and public-private partnerships.

The government of India has placed significant emphasis on investing in infrastructure and has developed a 5-year program with $132 billion capital expenditure for the modernization of Indian Railways. The program comprises network expansion and decongestion; enhancement of safety and passenger amenities; development of dedicated freight corridors; station redevelopment; and procurement of rolling stock and other related assets. The electrification of railway tracks is part of this master plan, which is critical for the movement of goods and people within the country, the release informed.

IRFC was set up in 1986 as the financing arm of Indian Railways for mobilizing funds from domestic and international capital markets. It is fully owned by the government and is registered as a non-banking finance company.

Indian Railways is going green in a big way and plans to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had announced last year. Indian Railways is the single largest consumer of electricity in the country, with an approximate 2% share of national energy consumption.

Indian Railways is also floating tenders for the development of Wind/Solar power projects that will expand the company’s footprint in the Indian solar sector.