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.

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.

Centre approves Policy for reimbursement of Freight Subsidy for transportation of Fertilisers through Coastal Shipping

NEW DELHI: A policy for reimbursement of freight subsidy for transportation of fertilisers through the coastal shipping route has been approved. Earlier, this financial support was available only for fertiliser movement via railways. The move by the Department of Fertilisers means reduction in freight by about 40 per cent.

“Only movement of subsidised indigenous fertilisers — urea and phosphatic and potassium (P&K) fertilisers — through coastal shipping/inland waterways will be eligible for the payment of freight subsidy at this stage,” the policy said.

In case of single mode or multi-modal transportation of fertilisers, which includes coastal shipping, the freight subsidy will be restricted to the railway charges, or the actual freight incurred, whichever is less.

The proposal for including coastal shipping/inland waterways as modes for fertiliser transportation, as well as the related subsidy, was mooted by the Ministry of Shipping last year.

Experts believe the move will help in significant reduction in cost of transportation, time and is environment friendly.

According to industry figures, about 24.2 million tonnes (mt) of urea and 25 mt of other fertilisers (phosphatic and potassium) were transported in the country in 2017-18. The shipping ministry is estimating movement of about 9-10 million tonnes of fertiliser through coastal and inland waterways a year by 2025, which could save around Rs 900-1,000 crore per annum in freight cost.

This decision would promote transportation of fertilisers through coastal shipping under the ministry’s flagship Sagarmala programme.

Currently, India imports 28 mt of finished fertilisers and raw materials with Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Odisha being the biggest clusters. Soil nutrients constitute about 2 per cent of the total cargo handled at the ports in India.

Coastal shipping and inland waterways currently form around 7 per cent of the total modal mix in India, compared to 10-20 per cent for other emerging markets.

Fertiliser corporations with multiple plant locations across the country seem to have the highest potential to leverage coastal shipping (example Iffco and Rashtriya Ispat Nigam).

Bhaupur-Khurja section of Dedicated Freight Corridor on Allahabad Division to open in Nov 2019

With the shifting of freight trains from the Indian Railways main lines to the DFC route, the network will be decongested, resulting in faster movement of trains across the North Central Railway zone.

ALLAHABAD: Indian Railways network eyes infrastructural boost! In a big development for the dedicated freight corridor (DFC) project, the Bhaupur and Khurja section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) in Uttar Pradesh (UP) will open by the month of November this year, according to a recent PTI report. This will result in the reduction of pressure and congestion on the saturated trunk route of the North Central Railway (NCR) between Kanpur-New Delhi, stated the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation India Limited (DFCCIL).

The DFCCIL is the organisation responsible for implementing the DFC project under the Railway Ministry. With the shifting of freight trains from the Indian Railways main lines to the DFC route, the network will be decongested, resulting in faster movement of trains.

According to the report, the decision to open the stretch was taken in a meeting between the DFCCIL and the NCR zone recently. Both the parties studied a detailed review of every aspect for the targeted project completion. Besides the targets, coordination issues among various executing agencies were also examined and finalised.

According to a statement released by DFCCIL, the DFC corridor will not only help the NCR zone run passenger train services efficiently with enhanced punctuality but will also ensure the availability of more time for the railway track and other asset maintenance. Hence, this will enhance the overall safety in all train operations across the network. Additionally, it will also help in the non-interlocking work of Tundla, which has been long overdue. Tundla is the only main rudimentary yard on the major trunk route from the cities of Kolkata to Delhi which is operated and handled by hand lever arrangement. The entire DFC network will be completed by the year 2021, according to DFCCIL.

Meanwhile, according to an earlier report, the first traction sub-station (TSS) of 63 MVA (mega volt ampere) was charged at Biruni near Tundla on the Khurja-Bhaupur route of the EDFC on May 25. Along with this, a 2 X 25 KV overhead equipment (OHE) from Biruni to Dariyapur with a length of 66 km had been charged. This development was an important milestone for DFC because it would pave the way for the movement of freight trains which are being pulled by the electric locomotives

Debt-saddled China Railway Corp. (CRC) announces Restructure

China-Nepal Railway: Fantasy or Reality?

The world’s toughest rail route, from Kerung in Tibet to Kathmandu, is struggling to get off the ground amid growing fears of debt, earthquakes and benefits bypassing local communities.

KHATMANDU: Tashi Sherpa runs the only teashop in Rasuwa Gadhi on the Nepal-China border, 170 kilometres north of the capital Kathmandu. About 50 metres away, a group of Chinese workers are busy building a bridge that will link the two countries, but none of them has ever come to her teashop.

“A truck brings food every few hours from that large building on the other side [of the border]. The Chinese do two things – eat and work. They eat a lot of meat,” Sherpa said with a big smile.

Hundreds of trucks and jeeps trundle down the bumpy road every day, over a temporary bridge, to carry goods and tourists from China. While they wait to enter Tibet or take passengers to Kathmandu the drivers sip tea and eat snacks in Tashi’s teashop.

The border here only opened after the devastating Nepal earthquake in 2015 led to China closing the badly damaged Kodari route. It is also where the new railway – proposed as part of China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – will enter Nepal from Tibet.

China has built a well-equipped customs and immigration office, which looks like a shopping mall. But the infrastructure on the Nepalese side is a complete mess. In 2017, when visited the area, police officers were checking visitors in a hut with a zinc roof. Two years later, conditions have not improved. “We don’t even have a metal detector, so we have to ask each person to open their luggage and backpacks, and then check manually. A railway is beyond our imagination,” said Dilip Chhetri, the police inspector on duty at the border.

Since tourists visiting Mount Kailash have started to flock through this land route, owners of newly built hotels are expecting more business in the future. The railway will be a further boost, they hope.

The earthquake destroyed Nepal’s local revenue office, but the construction of a multi-storey replacement has been delayed due to a dispute with the contracting company. “How can a country which hasn’t managed to construct a building for its officers in two years construct tunnels through these mountains and run trains? It’s no more than a fantasy,” said Finjo Lopchan, owner of Potala guesthouse in Ghattekhola, one kilometre south of the border.

“To be honest, my head spins when people talk about railways. Look at the roads here. Shameless government,” he added.

How near is Nepal’s BRI railway?

The proposed BRI railway will link Kerung city in southern Tibet to Nepal’s capital Kathmandu, entering the country in Rasuwa district and eventually going on to India. But locals have dubbed the project kagat ko rail (paper railway) and sapana ko rail(dream railway).

People who have suffered for years along bumpy roads in the northern border region of the country laugh at the idea of the railway. “I don’t feel excited when you talk about railways, I feel disappointed. Every day we have to drive along this scary road in our trucks and we hear news time and again about railways. I don’t understand,” said Balaram Rimal, a truck driver who carries goods across the border from Kerung regularly.

China prepared for Nepal a pre-feasibility study of the railway in late 2018. This report suggested it was an extremely hard project, but not impossible. “Technically this will be one of the world’s toughest railways to construct”, said Paribesh Parajuli, the only railway engineer at Nepal’s railway department, who will leave once his short-term consultancy contract expires.

The Chinese study has not been made public despite intense debate over what’s happening. The report lists “six extremes”: including topography, weather, hydrology and tectonics that will make the project hugely challenging, said Parajuli, who shared the findings of the report.

 About 98% of the railway on the Nepal side will be in tunnels and on bridges according to the report, with about five stopovers. Tracks will need to be built on steep terrain, as the railway climbs from an altitude of 1,400 metres in Kathmandu to about 4,000 metres in Tibet.

 The proposed route also cuts through the mountains near a major fault line – where the Indian plate meets the Eurasian plate to form the Himalayas – so the area is very susceptible to earthquakes.

Mitigating these risks means the project will cost far more than normal railways, Parajuli explained.

Underprepared, overwhelmed

In Nepal there are almost no preparations in place. Consultants are currently studying another railway, the east-west railway planned in the southern plains near to India. But the state lacks people capable of reviewing their reports, much less anybody to actually lead the construction of the railways. In the decade since it was set up, Nepal’s railway department is yet to hire a single permanent railway engineer, but it hopes to construct 4,000 kilometres of railways in the next two decades.

A new 34 kilometre railway from the Indian state of Bihar to Nepal is due to start running in a few months, but the government will have to hire a train driver from India and other technicians to operate its first modern rail, according to local media reports.

Where is the money?

Preliminary estimates put the costs of the railway from Kerung to Kathmandu at about 38 billion yuan (USD$5.5 billion), almost equal to Nepal’s total revenue in 2018. The railway would be 170 kilometres long from Tibet to Kathmandu. Although only one third of the total length falls on the Nepal side, it would account for almost half of the costs due to the extreme geology and climate.

Despite these challenges, Nepal’s railway dreams 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. However this does not guarantee any financial support to the project.

Nepal is seeking a grant from China to construct the railway, but China has remained reticent. The Nepal government did not allocate any money for the northern railways in its budget speech in May. But according to officials at Nepal’s infrastructure and transport ministry, a detailed study for the Kerung-Kathmandu railway will cost an estimated – five times the country’s total rail budget for the next year.

Despite this, finance minister Yubaraj Khatiwada has declared the date 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 in such a rush. In 2014, the Qinghai-Tibet railway reached Shigatse in Tibet about 500 kilometres northeast of Nepal’s border. The railway was scheduled to arrive on the border at Kerung by 2020, but the Chinese have pushed that back to 2025, according to recent media reports.

Debt trap fears

At home, there are fears of the potential financial burden to the country if the railway is built. But the government has refuted the possibility that Chinese loans could push the country into a debt trap. “The main thing is how projects are selected, whether they are selected on the basis of possible returns. And what is the pay back plan?” Pradip Gyawali, Nepal’s foreign minister, said in May.

While the minister could not answer questions about what Nepal would export to China by train, the prime minister, KP Oli, has suggested mineral water. But since mineral water is already a multi-billion dollar industry in Tibet, the market is already saturated.

There are serious grounds for concern. While imports from China increased by about 40% in 2018, exports from Nepal 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.

The Chinese ambassador 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 a Nepali newspaper.

However, since the railway proposed by China is almost entirely along tunnels and bridges through remote mountains and misses nearly all the big cities on the Kathmandu-Kerung highway, it is unlikely that local populations will benefit.

Locals and government kept in the dark

Early one morning in the second week of May, 76-year-old Narayan Das Dongol was playing with his granddaughter in Tokha village in the northern corner of Kathmandu valley – a proposed stop on the China-Nepal railway. “In next few years these fields will be filled with concrete houses,” he said. “I heard that the railway is coming this way during a religious meeting, but I haven’t got any information from local authorities.” A decade ago the cost of land per aana (about 32 square metres) was about US$4,000, but now it’s about US$25,000.

Land prices have soared along the highway from Kathmandu to Rasuwa Gadhi over the last few years after China declared the international border entry point in 2017. The railway rumours have played a part.

But there is confusion about the exact route of the railway. Everywhere we went, people had one question for us: “Do you know which way the railway will come?”

As we waited outside the office of the mayor of Bidur – the biggest city in Nuwakot district, 75 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu ­– his driver Lok Bahadur Giri came up and said, “I have heard people say it will be built next to current highway. Is it coming to our city?” The mayor, Sanju Pandit, also thinks the railway may be built along the highway to China where his city serves as a major stopover: “I have heard that the railway will cross this city, but we haven’t been consulted or informed about it at all.”

The route proposed by the Chinese does not in fact align with the existing highway but will cross the mountains through tunnels . “So major cities on the existing highway won’t be even able to see the railway,” said Parajuli, the railway engineer.

What about environmental and biodiversity impacts?

The railway will pass through two national parks – Langtang and Shivapuri. Langtang boasts endangered and vulnerable species like the red panda and snow leopard, while Shivapuri – on the northern side of Kathmandu – is home to over 300 bird species and one third of the country’s total birds. Yet while economic, political and technical issues dominate railway discussions, environmental impacts are not even on the radar.

The growth of illegal wildlife smuggling along the railway route is one concern. The field office of Nepal’s National Park and Wildlife Conservation Department is severely under-resourced. When we visited, one staff member called Lalan Pandit said the police had informed them that there was something suspicious in our truckHe shared an experience from last year: “I was monitoring trucks entering Tibet and one driver was attaching a small bundle on the walls of the trucks and seemed suspicious. As we rushed to the truck the driver jumped into the river. We finally got him back and found that he was trying to smuggle tiger bones.”

It is not possible for the staff to monitor the hundreds of trucks and people crossing the border everyday with current resources, Pandit explained. More than 100 people were arrested in 2016/17 in the country for smuggling wildlife parts, mostly to China.

Park officials in Kathmandu said they have not been consulted about the railway yet, but they are hoping to get involved in the planned feasibility study. “As it is a major infrastructure project there are serious concerns regarding biodiversity and environmental issues so we will engage once the government asks us for permission to conduct further study for the railways,” said Bishnu Prasad Shrestha, spokesperson at the department of national parks and wildlife conservation.

Timeline: Nepal’s BRI railway

2017 – Nepal and China signed a memorandum on Belt and Road cooperation ahead of first Belt and Road Forum.

2018 – Nepal formed 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, visited China and signed 14 bilateral agreements including on railway cooperation.

2018 – China conducted a pre-feasibility study for the cross border railway from Kerung to Kathmandu.

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

2019 – Nepal’s government declared railway construction will start in the next two years during its budget speech, without allocating appropriate budget for a detailed study.

NCR’s Allahabad Division to have Mechanised Cleaning System at 6 Railway Stations

ALLAHABAD: With an aim to provide better and improved facilities, the Allahabad division of the railways has improved the sanitation system at Allahabad and Kanpur stations by introducing mechanised cleaning.

“Special attention is being given to cleanliness under the ‘Swachh Rail Swachh Bharat’ campaign wherein the contract for intensive mechanised cleaning at Aligarh, Tundla, Phaphund, Etawah, Fatehpur and Mirzapur stations of Allahabad division of NCR has been awarded,” Amitabh, Divisional Railway Manager, Allahabad.

Mechanised cleaning system will be implemented by an Allahabad-based company with the railways having contracted for about Rs 30 crores for four years.

Stations will be cleaned by 11 types of machines, including ride on scrubber drier, walk behind automatic scrubber drier, walk behind manual sweeping machine, wet and dry vacuum cleaner, single disc scrubber door/window dry cleaner, back pack dry vacuum cleaner, window vacuum cleaner, hand compression insecticide spray machine, steam cleaner machine and high pressure jet cleaner.

Apart from this, a plastic bottle crusher machine has also been installed at platform number one of Allahabad station.

“Many passengers throw empty plastic bottles at station premises. To fix this a bottle crushing machine has been installed and another would be installed soon at Kanpur Central station,” said the DRM.

Much awaited GE made WDG-6G Diesel Locomotive to begin pre-induction trials

MARHOWRA/SECUNDERABAD: Indian Railways’ much awaited WDG-6G Diesel Locomotive manufactured by General Electric at its Marhowra plant in Bihar is all set to begin trials prior to being inducted for operations in the South-Central Railway.

The 6,000 horsepower diesel locomotive is known to pack a punch thanks to its superior power to weight ratio. It will now be put on Confirmatory Oscillograph Car Run (CDCR) trials in the Vikarabad – Parli section of South Central Railway.

This induction would be part of a greater cooperation between Indian Railways and the General Electric which includes setting up of a diesel locomotive shed in Bihar. In total General Electric will supply 300 such engines to the Indian Railways.

The engine boasts of higher fuel efficiency, lower emission rate and comes fitted with a fully turbocharged and intercooled 16 cylinder V-16 Evolution series engine. It is also set to increase the revenue of Indian Railways due to its higher hauling capacity.

The engine may also become a loco pilot favourite as the cockpit comes fitted with air-conditioning, heating and proper ventilation, a hot plate for cooking and urinals.

DMRC’s Red Line services from Shaheed Sthal towards Dilshad Garden delayed

The Red Line, one of the six lines of the Delhi Metro, connects Rithala in Delhi to Ghaziabad’s Shahid Sthal. The entirely elevated line has 29 stations cover 34.4 kilometres. DMRC later tweeted to say that the services have resumed on the line. The cause of the delay is not known yet as other lines of the Delhi Metro operated normally.

NEW DELHI: Services on the Red Line from Shaheed Sthal towards Dilshad Garden were delayed for a few minutes on Thursday, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said.

“Delay in service from Shaheed Sthal (New Bus Adda) towards Dilshad Garden (Red Line). Normal service on all other lines,” Delhi Metro tweeted.

DMRC later tweeted to say that the services have resumed on the line. The cause of the delay is not known yet as other lines of the Delhi Metro operated normally.

The Red Line, one of the six lines of the Delhi Metro, connects Rithala in Delhi to Ghaziabad’s Shahid Sthal. The entirely elevated line has 29 stations cover 34.4 kilometres.

Jamshedpur on Rails – An Exhibition of Steel Express with pictorial depiction of century-old Tata Steel’s journey

Steel Express with pictorial depictions of Tata Steel’s journey over the last 100 years celebrated. This marks the year-long centenary celebration of Jamshedpur’s formation. एक वर्ष तक जमशेदपुर के इतिहास को स्टील एक्सप्रेस बताएगी कि किस तरह जमशेदपुर पल-पल बदलता रहा।

TATA: Decked up with pictorial depictions of Tata Steel’s journey over the last 100 years, the Steel Express chugged off from Tatanagar station for Howrah on Tuesday, marking the year-long centenary celebration of Jamshedpur’s formation.

The Steel Express that runs between Tatanagar and Howrah, will exhibit the legacy, culture and journey milestones under the theme ‘Jamshedpur on Rails’, a Tata Steel official said.

“This is aimed at helping citizens and railway commuters understand and appreciate the role and significance of Jamshedpur city in the larger fabric of India’s history, and its role in nation building,” the official said.

The city, originally a village called Sakchi, was renamed as Jamshedpur by Lord Chelmsford (Viceroy of India between 1916-21) in 1919 in the honour of Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata, founder of the Tata group. In the same year, the railway station was also rechristened as Tatanagar.

“By connecting two of the most important cities in eastern India, the Steel Express is indeed a lifeline for both citizens and businesses like Tata Steel,” he said.

The train started its maiden journey on April 1, 1970.

“In many ways, this train is an integral part of Jamshedpur. We are delighted to share the story of Jamshedpur through this uniquely branded Steel Express,” the official said.

जमशेदपुर के सौ वर्ष (शताब्दी वर्ष) पूरा होने पर टाटा स्टील ने शहरवासियों को जमशेदपुर के सौ वर्ष के इतिहास का तोहफा दिया है। एक वर्ष तक जमशेदपुर के इतिहास को स्टील एक्सप्रेस बताएगी कि किस तरह जमशेदपुर पल-पल बदलता रहा। इस पूरे इतिहास को स्टील एक्सप्रेस के बाहरी व भीतरी हिस्सों में स्टीकर के माध्यम से दर्शाया गया है। यह बातें चक्रधरपुर मंडल के डीआरएम छत्रसाल सिंह ने कही। उन्होंने कहा कि जिस तरह टाटा स्टील ने इस पहल में दिलचस्पी दिखाई है उसी तरह अन्य औद्योगिक क्षेत्र की कंपनियां भी आगे आये ताकि झारखंड की संस्कृति को भी ट्रेन में स्टीकर के माध्यम से दर्शाया जा सके।

रेलवे की आय में पांच फीसद योगदान टाटा स्टील का

टाटा स्टील टीक्यूएम स्टील बिजनेस प्रेसिडेंट आनंद सेन ने कहा कि रेलवे की आमदनी में सालाना पांच प्रतिशत का योगदान टाटा स्टील का है। उन्होंने कहा कि रेलवे का साथ व सहयोग टाटा स्टील के साथ बना रहे। रेलवे को वार्षिक आय बढ़ाने के विषय में भी सोचना चाहिए। जिस तरह टाटा स्टील ने स्टील एक्सप्रेस में ब्रांडिग की है, ऐसे ही दूसरे ट्रेनों में भी ब्रांडिंग की व्यवस्था रेलवे को करनी चाहिए।

एक नंबर प्लेटफार्म से रवाना हुई ट्रेन

इससे पूर्व जमशेदपुर के शताब्दी वर्ष को लेकर टीक्यूएम स्टील बिजनेस प्रेसिडेंट आनंद सेन, डीआरएम छत्रसाल सिंह, सीनियर डीसीएम मुकेश कुमार पाठक, सीनियर डीओएम भाष्कर, टाटा स्टील के वाइस प्रेसिडेंट चाणक्य चौधरी, अवनीष गुप्ता ने ने संयुक्त रुप से मंगलवार की सुबह 6.15 बजे  उद्घाटन किया। जिसके बाद ट्रेन की रवानगी टाटानगर स्टेशन के प्लेटफार्म नंबर एक से हुई। ट्रेन में खचाखच यात्री सवार थे। उद्घाटन के उपरांत मंच से आनंद सेन व डीआरएम छत्रसाल सिंह ने उपस्थित रेल अधिकारी, टाटा स्टील कर्मचारी व यात्रियों को संबोधित किया। इस मौके पर स्टेशन निदेशक एचके बलमुचू, सीआई एके सिंह, डिप्टी एसएस एसके पति, आरएन मिश्रा, आरपीएफ व जीआरपी के पदाधिकारी उपस्थित थे।

Uttarakhand CM demands speedy completion of Roorkee-Deoband and Tanakpur-Bageshwar Rail lines

DEHRADUN: The Tanakpur-Bageshwar rail line should be approved in the current financial year, requested CM Trivendra Singh Rawat while meeting the Union Railway minister Piyush Goyal. He also requested that a special train be started between Delhi and Haldwani, a Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi train be started between Dehradun and Kathgodam and that the Railway ministry fund the remaining works in the Roorkee-Deoband project.

Rawat said that the proposed Tanakpur-Bageshwar rail line is an important proposed project. Currently, the rail network is present till Tanakpur but this is not the case with Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts in Kumaon which are completely mountainous. The proposed Tanakpur-Bageshwar rail project is very important to expedite social and economic development, develop tourist destinations and fully utilise local resources. He said that the Land acquisition for Deoband-Roorkee rail track is already completed and the project needs to be expedited on priority basis.

As Uttarakhand also shares borders with China and Nepal, this project would also be strategically important. Stating this, Rawat requested Goyal to grant approval to the Tanakpur-Bageshwar project in the current financial year.

He also informed Goyal that there is no direct train service in the morning or afternoon between Dehradun and Kathgodam which is the last railway station in Kumaon region. There is considerable movement of tourists and other travelers between Dehradun and Kumaon but due to lack of train in the morning, they have to wait till the evening. Hence, in public interest either a Shatabdi or Jan Shatabdi train should be started immediately between Dehradun and Haldwani/Kathgodam between 5 and 6 AM.

Considering the number of travelers, the number of trains between Delhi and Haldwani is quite less. A special train should be started between Delhi and Haldwani, which would also benefit the tourists.

Rawat said that in 2018, the Railway ministry had ascertained the cost of Roorkee-Deoband project at Rs 791.39 crore and an agreement was reached for the ministry and state government sharing the cost in 50:50 ratio. This 27.45 kilometre long project would include 94 hectare and 70 hectare area of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand respectively. Construction of this project would save the time of travelers and make traffic convenient. Uttarakhand has made Rs 240 crore contribution to the project so far. Rawat requested Goyal that considering the limited financial resources of the State, the contribution made so far should be considered adequate and that the ministry should finance the remaining cost of the project.

Nayagarh commuters demand express train

KHURDA ROAD: Nayagarh district heard the first sound of train engine two years ago on June 19, 2017. Although it was a matter of joy for netizens here back then, the hopes of improving the rail connectivity has been hanging in a limbo for two years. With just two trains running from Bhubaneswar to Nayagarh, residents here are yet to experience the journey of a passenger train.

Moreover, there is no special train that connects the district. On the other hand, the dreams of an ‘Express Train’ have been left under the clouds of uncertainty.

On the demands from all quarters, the East Coast Railway had extended Kharagpur Special Passenger Train up to Nayagarh July 3, 2018 but the service was discontinued after three months.

Now, only two trains run up to Nayagarh. One train leaves Nayagarh station at 5 am while another departs at 9:20 am. Both trains leave for Puri and take their journey back. Despite repeated demands for a special passenger train, the officials pay no heed, said a local.

Earlier, there were reports that a special train would run from Nayagarh to Paradip. However, it has remained a non-starter. Preliminary enquiries have revealed that the delay was due to tardy pace of electrification of train lines.

History of Khurda-Bolangir line

The Railway Ministry had decided to connect six districts – Khurda, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir with trains decades ago. But the work order was sanctioned in 1993.

The work continued from Khurda to Khurda Road, Begunia and Rajsunakhela. The first train ran from Rajsunakhela to Bolagarh March 20, 2017. Later, on May 11, 2017, a rail engine was introduced on a trial basis after which a 12-bogie passenger train was introduced from Nayagarh to Bolagarh road June 6.

Presently, only two trains connect Nayagarh while uncertainty dogs rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir.

Rs 34.79L revenue

The railways department has collected a revenue of Rs 34.79 lakh in the past two years from the two trains running from Nayagarh to Puri. While Rs 15.23 lakh was received from June 2017-2018, another Rs 77.190 Lakh was added from June 2018-19.

Although the passengers are increasing each year, the apathy of the Railway Ministry in introducing a special train to the district is evident, alleged the locals. Had, rail connectivity been provided to Kandhamal, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir, the revenue would have gone up further, they added.

Ironically, not a single station has been completed in the past two years. As per reports, the department has planned to build seven railway stations – Nayagarh town, Mahipur, Nuagaon, Daspalla, Buguda and Banigochha.

Residents have urged the railway authorities to complete the rail connectivity project at the earliest.

Siemens supplies Propulsion System to Indian Railways

The upgradation of electric locomotives to boost haulage capacity of Indian Railways. The Siemens’ advanced technology aims to save traction energy cost, thereby reducing fuel expenses and carbon emissions.

Western Railway to test push-pull technology in Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi in a week’s time

Long-distance Mumbai-Delhi Duronto Express and Karnavati Express are next in line for trials

Passengers travelling in Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express can expect their travel time to be reduced by 15-20 minutes as Western Railway (WR) is all set to test the push-pull technology on this route. Trials will also be conducted in Mumbai-Delhi Duronto Express and Karnavati Express.

The trials are expected to begin in a week’s time soon after the requisite approvals. A senior official from WR said, “The electrical systems to connect the front and rear locomotive engines have been completed. Now a Joint Speed Certificate (JAC), which will have approvals from the heads of all departments, is in process. Once permissions are in place, trials will begin.”

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi leaves from Mumbai at 6:25 am and reaches Ahmedabad at 12:45 pm. The aim of the trials is to reduce the journey time by around 25 minutes. Similarly, on the Mumbai-Delhi Duronto Express, the time is expected to be reduced by an hour or at least 45 minutes, bringing the running time from 17 hour and 15 minutes to 16 hours and 15 minutes. WR had successfully reduced the travel time on Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani by nearly an hour after the push-pull trials.

In push and pull technology, two locomotive engines are attached — one at the front and the other at the rear. Both these engines are controlled by the loco pilot at the front. The two engines will enhance the speed of the train, especially in the ghat sections, while also reducing the turn-around time of a train at stations when an engine is detached from one end, removed and attached to the other end.

“With engines on both ends, trains don’t have to wait for such a procedure which takes around 30 minutes,” explained an official of WR.

However, despite conducting successful trials on Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani route on WR, the technology is yet to be implemented as the Railway Board is yet to give clearance. “During push-pull tests, each section has to conduct its own oscillation trials and get a go-ahead from the Commissioner of Railway Safety. Between Mumbai-Delhi, there are various zonal railways and the clearance of North-Central Railway is awaited,” explained an official.

Commenting on the planned trials, CPRO/WR Ravinder Bhakar said, “We are trying to reduce travel time on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route, but this technology is more effective in long-distance journeys such as Mumbai-Delhi.”

REMCL announces Tender for 140 MW of Wind-Solar Hybrid Projects

NEW DELHI: The Railway Energy Management Company Limited (REMCL), a joint venture formed between the Indian Railways and RITES Limited, has invited bids to set up 140 MW of interstate transmission system (ISTS)/intrastate transmission system (InSTS)-connected wind-solar hybrid projects.

The wind-solar hybrid projects will be set up under the nodal zonal railways of Gujarat (Western Railway), Karnataka (South Western Railway), and Madhya Pradesh (West Central Railway).

The bid submission deadline is July 23, 2019. The REMCL has set ₹2.70 (~$0.039)/kWh as the upper ceiling tariff for this tender. The projects can be developed anywhere across India, and the zonal railways will enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the successful bidders.

Of the total capacity tendered, 55 MW hybrid capacity will be set up in the state of Gujarat. Of this capacity, 14 MW will be solar while 41 MW will be wind energy projects. In Karnataka, 15 MW of hybrid capacity will be developed comprising 3 MW solar and 12 MW wind energy projects.

In Madhya Pradesh, 70 MW of wind-solar hybrid capacity will be set up comprising 18 MW of solar capacity and 52 MW of wind projects.

According to REMCL, a single bidder must bid for the entire capacity for any of the three zones. Moreover, if an interested bidder wants, they can bid for the entire capacity tendered.

The developers will set up wind-solar hybrid power projects including the transmission network up to the delivery point at its own cost.

All approvals, permits, and clearances required for setting up of the project (along with the connectivity and long-term open access), including those required from the state government and local bodies will be the responsibility of the developer.

The cost of bay construction at the CTU substation will also be borne by the developer. The developers must strictly adhere to the specific wind-solar hybrid power policy of the state where the project is located.

Indian Railways is continuing its efforts to add solar capacity for its electricity requirements. Indian Railway is the single largest consumer of electricity and plans to become a net-zero carbon emitter by 2030. Recently, the Northern Railways invited developers for setting up of 4.715 MW of rooftop installations. This tender consisted of 133 installations of 10 kW (1.33 MW) and 677 installations of 5 kW (3.385 MW), totaling 4.715 MW, which was to be installed on D and E category railway stations.

In March 2019, REMCL tendered 60.17 MW of rooftop solar PV capacity to be set up on the rooftops of offices, buildings, and railway establishments across the zonal railways in India. In January 2019, REMCL had invited bids for setting up of 2 MW of solar projects along the Delhi-Ambala railway track.

SR’s Palakkad Division to get additional Coal Traffic from New Mangalore Port

PALAKKAD: A senior official of the Southern Railway Zone has asked the Palakkad division of the zone to be ready to handle additional coal traffic from New Mangalore Port.

Speaking at the Railway Week celebrations of Southern Railway at Palakkad, S Anantharaman, Principal Chief Operations Manager of Southern Railway, said the launching of Chettinad Mangalore Coal Terminal Pvt Ltd at New Mangalore Port will improve coal loading. He asked the Palakkad division to be ready to handle additional traffic.

It may be mentioned here that the Chettinad group’s director, V Chandramoleeswaran, who was in Mangaluru recently to attend the inauguration of the newly constructed terminal for mechanised handling of coal at berth no 16 of New Mangalore Port, had stated that the fully automated coal terminal is capable of handling 10 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) of common user coal. At present, the port is handling around 4 MTPA of common user coal.

Freight discount

Anantharaman also said that freight customers of Palakkad division can be offered ‘station-to-station’ rate to attract additional traffic by offering freight discount. The division can also offer discount to the freight that are moved in the empty flow directions, he said.

Anantharaman was on a two-day visit to inspect the stations and freight loading and unloading points of Palakkad division.

Speed Restrictions lifted in 3 rail corridors on Thiruvananthapuram Division of SR to improve punctuality of trains

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Southern Railway have withdrawn speed restrictions imposed in three corridors to improve operations and punctuality of trains.

With the easing of the speed curbs imposed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety and the Railway Board, locomotives can now haul trains at 80 kmph on the up and down lines of the Angamaly station, 45 kmph on the 400-metre stretch near Thripunithura, and 80 kmph in 4.3 km along the Changanacherry-Thiruvalla section.

“The speed restrictions prevailing in these corridors were 15 kmph, 20 kmph, and 15 kmph respectively. The easing of the speed restrictions and allowing trains to run at the sanctioned sectional speed have resulted in mail and express trains saving up to half-an-hour and improving punctuality,” Divisional Railway Manager, Thiruvananthapruam, Shirish Kumar Sinha told.

The restrictions had been imposed while laying the tracks or when the track renewal works were undertaken. The speed on the 400-m stretch near Thripunithura in the Kayamkulam- Kottayam- Ernakulam corridor will be enhanced to 60 kmph in two months.

The authorities are upbeat that the punctuality of trains had gone up to 75% and have fixed 80% for December. Trains are running at 100 kmph in the Thiruvananthapuram Central-Kayamkulam corridor and 80 kmph in the Ernakulam-Shoranur and the Thiruvananthapuram Central-Shoranur corridors. The DRM said complaints from commuters on the late running of trains had come down drastically.

“We have identified another 10 speed cautions in the State and attempts are on to remove the restrictions this year itself,” Mr. Sinha said. If the restrictions cannot be withdrawn fully, speed would be enhanced to improve operations.

40% of Electrification on Konkan Railway network completed

MUMBAI/MANGALORE: Going with Indian Railways’ electrification mission, Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd. (KRCL) has sped up electrification of its 700-odd-km route network passing through three States.

Nearly 40% of the electrification work is complete and the remaining will be done by December 2020, according to KRCL chairman and managing director Sanjay Gupta.

The corporation took up electrification and patch-doubling work simultaneously to augment the network capacity in 2017. The electrification work was undertaken in two packages — Roha (Maharashtra) to Verna (Goa) and Verna to Thokur (Karnataka) — at an estimated cost of ₹1,100 crore.

Mr. Gupta said the energy bill of the corporation, at present around ₹300 crore a year, would be reduced to around ₹100 crore plus the cost of capital employed for the project after electrification. KRCL has borrowed funds from State Bank of India and Exim Bank. He further said the project should give positive returns in a few years after KRCL pays off some part of the borrowed capital.

B.B. Nikham, KRCL regional railway manager, Karwar, said electrification between Thokur (near Mangaluru) and Bijoor (off Byndoor) — about 105 km in total — is almost complete and would be finished in a couple of months. Work between Bijoor and Verna (about 200 km) is under way, he said.

Once the electrification is completed, the entire rail network along the western coast of the country will become almost completely electrified, from Thiruvananthapuram to Ahmedabad. Southern Railway has already completed electrification work between Shoranur and Mangaluru Junction, and electrification between Mangaluru Junction and Panambur is in the final stages. The KRCL network branches out at Thokur from the Mangaluru Junction-Panambur line.

Electrification will not only reduce consumption of diesel, thereby reducing environment pollution, but will also enhance efficiency of train operations, thereby augmenting the network capacity.

The KRCL has also taken up construction of 10 stations, including at Innanje and Mirjan in Karnataka, and work on some of the stations has already been completed. It is also constructing eight loop lines along the network. These two projects, along with electrification, is expected to considerably improve the operational efficiency of the corporation.

New signalling system to bring Indian Railways network to world-standards

The modernization of signalling system will include Automatic Train Protection System along with Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication System (MTRC) together with the provision of Electronic Interlocking (indoor) wherever required. The project will be implemented on four sections across the Indian Railways network.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways bets on big signalling upgrade! Aiming to provide safer and faster train travel to its passengers, Indian Railways has taken the big step towards signalling upgradation. The national transporter has signed an MoU with RailTel Enterprises Limited (REL) for the work of modernization of signalling system. The REL is an entirely owned subsidiary firm of RailTel Corporation of India Limited. The modernization of signalling system will include Automatic Train Protection System along with Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication System (MTRC) together with the provision of Electronic Interlocking (indoor) wherever required. The project will be implemented on four sections across the Indian Railways’ network.

According to a press release issued by RailTel, the project of Modern Train control system will be implemented on 165 rail kilometres on South Central Railway’s Renigunta–Yerraguntla section, 145 rail kilometres on East Coast Railway’s Vizianagaram–Palasa section, 155 rail kilometres on North Central Railway’s Jhansi– Bina section and 175 rail kilometres on Central Railway’s Nagpur–Badnera section. All these sections are some of the busiest routes on Indian Railways’ network with heavy traffic.

The pilot project, which is expected to cost around Rs 1,609 crores, is likely to be completed in 2 years. According to RailTel, the Modern Train Control system based on LTE based MTRC is Indian Railways’ one of the most ambitious modernization projects, which envisages upgradation of the signalling system at par with the world standards. After the successful implementation of this project, the national transporter plans to implement the same on other crucial high-density routes of its network.

The release stated that the Automatic Train Protection System and LTE based MRTC will improve safety. Also, it will help to reduce congestion in these rail networks, increase line capacity as well as improve punctuality. Additionally, it will also help to increase the average speed of trains.

According to RailTel, the Modern Train Control System will be as per Open Standard, Interoperable with Multi-vendor support. The MTRC system will be deployed using LTE backbone for communication between drivers, train running staff, control office and guards. Moreover, the system will be used for working of Automatic Train Protection System as well. RailTel also stated that this system will initially be provided on as many as 500 locomotives.

Talking about the project, Kashinath from the Railway Board, said “We need to implement modern train control system to keep pace with modern signalling and communication systems being used all around the world, to ensure safety of the passengers and increase line capacity to match with the challenges of running more trains on existing track.”

Briefing about the project, Puneet Chawla, CMD/RailTel said “We are already on the job and team of REL has already taken inputs, feedback from industry representatives with respect to technology, interfaces, compatibility and interoperability of various sub-systems.”

The MoU was signed by Pradeep M Sikdar, executive director, signal development, railway board, Ministry of railways and AK Sablania, director and chief executive officer of REL in the presence of N Kashinath from railway board and Puneet Chawla, CMD of RailTel.

Railways introduces new seat-wise charter service on Kalka-Shimla route

Currently, the facility of booking of Jhoroka, RA-100 self-propelled coach as well as Rail Motor Car is available on a full charter basis.

SHIMLA: Indian Railways has introduced chartering of the individual seat in Jharoka, RA-100 self-propelled train coach and Rail Motor Car during summer season from 13 June 2019 to 10 September 2019

In a bid to boost tourism on the UNESCO World Heritage Kalka-Shimla rail section, Indian Railways’ Northern Railway zone has introduced chartering of the individual seat in Jharoka, RA-100 self-propelled train coach and Rail Motor Car during summer season from 13 June 2019 to 10 September 2019. From now onwards, passengers will be able to book tickets in these coaches and trains on chartered seat basis. Currently, the facility of booking of Jharoka, RA-100 self-propelled coach as well as Rail Motor Car is available on a full charter basis. Those who are interested can book tickets on chartered seat basis from booking counters at Kalka and Shimla railway stations.

According to a press release issued by Indian Railways, in RA-100 self-propelled coach and Jharoka coach, at most eight passengers can book their tickets. While in Rail Motor Car 12 to 14 passengers can book their tickets. All these services will be operated on a demand basis. Therefore, the services will be available when at least six passengers have booked tickets for RA-100 and Jharoka. In case of Rail Motor Car, only after eight passengers have purchased the ticket, the service is made available within two hours. However, the tickets once purchased cannot be refunded. However, in case of RA-100, Jharoka, if at least six passengers and in case of Rail Motor Car, eight passengers are not available, then railway cannot provide the service and the full fare shall be refunded from ticket counters at Kalka and Shimla railway stations.

Kalka-Shimla rail charter services: Fares and timings

As per the fare structure, total fare of Rs 2,200 is charged for an individual seat in RA-100 and Rs 1,600 is charged for RMC. While a total sum of Rs 3,500 per passenger is charged for Jharokha. As per the timings, for RA-100 and RMC, no services will be available after 1:00 PM from Shimla and Kalka railway stations and en route, it will halt at Barog. The Jharokha service will be available at 8:15 AM with UP Mix passenger train and 8:15 AM with DN Mix passenger and will halt at all stoppages as per UP and DN Mix passenger train, the press release stated.

The railway tickets purchased by passengers for these services are not transferable. At the time of booking, passengers will have to provide original ID proof, a copy of which will be submitted at the time of booking. If the passenger fails to provide the same during the journey, he/she will be treated as without ticket and will be charged as per the rules. In case of advance booking, passengers will be confirmed one day in advance and these services will only run subject to the availability of stock. In case, say for example on a particular date, Jharokha is booked in advance so on that date due to non-availability, the service shall not be available on seat displacement basis. As per the child policy, a child above five years of age would be treated as an adult fare. While a child below five years would be able to travel free of cost but no seat would be given.

Railways to induct country’s most powerful Diesel Loco soon

The locomotive, most powerful among those in use in Indian Railways, is ready to undergo Confirmatory Oscilograph Car Run (CDCR) trials and join the fleet of locomotives of Indian Railways.

NEW DELHI/SECUNDERABAD: The country’s most powerful diesel locomotive, WDG-6G, is set to debut in Indian Railways with South Central Railway (SCR) hosting the trial run.

The locomotive, most powerful among those in use in Indian Railways, is ready to undergo Confirmatory Oscilograph Car Run (CDCR) trials and join the fleet of locomotives of Indian Railways.

“The WDG-6G Diesel Locomotive will be put on trials on the Vikarabad-Parli section of South Central Railway very soon,” the SCR said in a release.

The WDG-6G, a massive-yet-lightest 6,000 horse power (HP) diesel loco in the world, is built by General Electric (GE), Pennsylvania, US.

It is based on GE’s Evolution series and is fitted with a 16 cylinder V-16 Evolution series engine, a four-stroke fully turbocharged and inter-cooled machine, and comes with an electronic fuel injection system for higher fuel efficiency and lower emissions as compared to any other diesel locomotive being used by the Indian Railways.

The driver’s cabin too has been equipped with modern features.

The induction of WDG-6G is the offshoot of an agreement that the Indian Railways has entered into with GE for setting up a new diesel locomotive shed at Marhowra in Bihar.

Modern Train Control System (MTCS) Level-II to be implemented on 175km Nagpur-Badnera section

NAGPUR: The ‘collision-free’ Modern Train Control System (MTCS) level II is set to be implemented within two years on the 175km Nagpur-Badnera section, making it one of the safest in the country. The Rs.475 crore project is a form of European Train Control System (ETCS), which is a globally recognized system of upgraded signalling and communication to improve safety, speed and punctuality.

The modernization project for signalling system, which includes the Automatic Train Protection System with Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based Mobile Train Radio Communication Technology (MTRC) along with electronic interlocking, is part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Indian Railways with RailTel Enterprises Limited (REL) this week.

Apart from Nagpur-Badnera section in Central Railway, the project would be implemented on other stretches too like Renigunta-Yerraguntla (South Central Railway), Vizianagaram-Palasa (East Coast Railway) and Jhansi-Bina section (North Central Railway). All these are among the busiest routes in the nationwide railway networks. The project would be implemented on almost 500 locomotives on the earmarked routes.

The Railway Board is learnt to have taken up the Rs.1,609 crore project to implement the globally acknowledged Indian version of the ETCS (MTCS) to raise the standard of safety of passengers, and increase line capacity with modern signalling and communication system to match international standards.

Maninder Singh Uppal, officiating Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Central Railways, said the latest system is the upgraded version of the already existing one, which would remove any possibility of collision. “Safety, punctuality and speed would be improved. The train would automatically stop if it crosses a red signal and it would also halt in case there is a possibility of head-on or side-on collisions,” said Uppal.

“If the manual application fails, the brake would be immediately applied after signal passing and danger. The speed of the train would also be reduced automatically depending upon the allowed sectional speed,” he said.

Uppal said the speed and punctuality would both be improved by 20-30%. “The railway traffic movement in the highly congested Nagpur-Badnera section would witness a considerable improvement,” said the senior railway official.

Uppal said the speciality of ETCS level-II is that it would ensure continuous monitoring of the train speed vis-à-vis requirements of stoppage and control based on the status of the signal. “The system works and is based on radio communication system between the loco pilots, guards, base stations and from there to the control centre, with the help of optical fibre cable. Any official within a section operating the train would be reachable through communication set,” he said.

Uppal also said the budget (Rs475 cr) has already been vetted, sanctioned and sent to REL by the zonal railway authorities. “The project would mostly involve experts from international stakeholders,” he said.

Railway Board authorities have said that speedy execution of the project is expected as REL is already engaged in collecting, collating and analysing inputs and feedbacks from industry representatives on various aspects of technology, interfaces, compatibility and inter-operability of various sub-systems.

Railways mulls inviting Private Firms to run Trains on some routes; IRCTC to operate two trains on trial basis!

Getting on a private track! Most economists believe that modernisation and commercialisation of the Indian Railways are essential.

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is planning to get private firms onboard to run passenger trains on some low congestion and tourist routes. Bids for the same will be invited in the next 100 days. It may be noted that railways has also proposed to corporatise units manufacturing coaches and other rolling stock. The government is seriously exploring a plan to induct private operators to run passenger trains on low congestion and tourist routes and will invite bids in the next 100 days, a Railway Board document shows.

To begin with, the railways will experiment by offering two trains to its tourism and ticketing arm, IRCTC, to operate. The ticketing and on board services will be provided by IRCTC and the railways will receive a lump sum amount in return. These trains will be run on routes which have “low congestion and connect important tourist spots”, which will be identified by the national transporter. These will run on the routes like Golden Quadrilateral and connecting major cities. The custody of rakes will be transferred to IRCTC, which will pay annual lease charges to the railways financing arm, IRFC.

Subsequently, the railways will float the expression of interests “to identify operators willing to participate in the bidding process for rights to run passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities,” a communication sent by Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav to all members and top officials of railways on Tuesday said.

The letter said that the railways will consult trade unions while finalising the contours of inviting private players to run passenger trains on select routes.

If the pilot project is successful, railways will float expression of interest (EoI) ‘to identify operators willing to participate in the bidding process for rights to passenger day/overnight train sets connecting important cities”. As per the national daily report, the national transporter will consult trade unions before finalising everything and inviting private players.

The railways will also launch a massive campaign urging people to give up the subsidy while booking or purchasing a rail ticket. The passengers will have the option to purchase ticket with or without subsidy.

The proposed campaign asking people to give up railway ticket subsidy will be on the lines of the Ujjwala campaign where people were urged to forgo the subsidy for LPG cylinders. According to the Railways, it recovers only 53% of the cost incurred from passenger transport business.

Among other plans, the railways also proposes to corporatise units manufacturing coaches and other rolling stock. There are seven production units across the country. 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”.

India spent the past five years contemplating ways to set up a holding company for the Indian Railways and make all its public sector undertakings (PSUs) its subsidiaries. This requires several reforms proposed by the NDA regime to take shape, but since the initial step of merging the railways budget with the country’s general budget, the NDA has developed cold feet. At present, the ministry of railways is a separate entity, but most experts believe that India, like most countries, must have a single transport ministry at the Union level. This would bring flexibility and efficiency, commercially and operationally. This step could, however, upset the unions, who see this as a backdoor entry for private players and a threat to their jobs.

Now, a big infrastructure push for dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) is being made, which would allow segregation of slow-moving freight from mail and express trains. The rolling stock and locomotives are being replaced with more efficient and modern versions and administrative reforms-restructuring of the railway board, decentralisation of decision-making-has started taking shape. The new government is in a much better position to push this reform of turning the railways into a PSU, allowing an increase in private investments in this sector.

In the past two decades, reports by panels led by eminent economists and technocrats, like Bibek Debroy, Rakesh Mohan and Sam Pitroda, have pointed to the modernisation and commercialisation of the railways.

In 2013, the challenges faced by China in this sector were identical to India’s, but changes have been slow compared to our neighbour’s progress. In India, the railways is also bound by the social obligations of providing a cheap transportation for the poor.

In 2017, the cabinet approved the formation of a Railway Development Authority to level the playing field for private investors to step in. If the new government wants to encourage private players to own locomotives and run commercially viable passenger and freight travel, the railways is required to make its PSUs its subsidiaries. This is a big task for the new government, but doable.

The 100-day plan

Why

  • Movement of freight (24 km/ hr) and passenger (50 km/ hr) trains among the slowest compared to peer countries
  • Indian freight fares are among the costliest globally, while the passenger fare is the cheapest
  • The railways is unable to increase revenues to match expenditure. The operating ratio has remained above 90 per cent for many years.

How

  • Appointment of a Railway Development Authority will allow price regulation of both freight and passenger trains
  • Setting up of Indian Railways Rolling Stock Company Ltd.
  • Opening up to private investment, to allow ownership and operations of freight terminals
  • More ‘Vande Mataram’ coaches to replace premium trains
  • More DFCs by 2019 end and more bullet trains are expected

Railways Operation Thunder: Pune railway police arrest 8 touts, recover 261 e-tickets

Indian Railway passengers often complain about the unavailability of train tickets while booking on IRCTC website, including tatkal tickets, and tout menace. To rectify the menace, the national transporter conducted raids across the country on the same day.

PUNE: The Pune Railway Police force (RPF) arrested eight persons under the Operation Thunder launched by the Indian Railways to curb illegal ticket bookings.

A statement issued by the Pune RPF stated, “As per the instructions of Railway Protection Force director general, the Operation Thunder drive was started against unauthorised business of e-tickets in Pune division, including Miraj, Tasgaon, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ranjangaon, Shirur and Pune, Pimpri station area, Banergaon, on June 13. Eight persons were arrested with recovery of 261 e-tickets with Rs 4,79,355 and we deactivated 48 fake IDs.”

RPF cyber team was roped in to analyse technical data, reads the statement.

“Operation Thunder is a dedicated effort by the Central Railway RPF in its relentless pursuit of putting an end to ticket black marketing,” said D Vikas, commissioner, Pune RPF.

Central Railway RPF under the instructions of Arun Kumar, director general RPF, launched Operation Thunder to counter the menace of touting of railway tickets.

The national transporter conducted raids across the country on the same day. The crime intelligence branch of RPF in co-ordination with the local RPF raided locations and premises of private travel agencies and passenger reservation system (PRS) centres in five divisions of Central Railway — Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Bhusaval and Nagpur.

At least 32 cases were detected from 21 private travel agencies and 12 PRS centres in Mumbai (Ghatkopar), Navi Mumbai, Thane, Bhiwandi, Dombivali, Nagpur, Nashik, Manmad, Jalgaon, Bhusaval, Akola, Kalaburgi, Shirdi, Solapur, Pune, Chinchwad, Pimpri and Sangli.

A total of 3,515 tickets, including e-tickets, valued at Rs 68,25,499 were seized and 35 people were arrested. The seized tickets included past journey tickets valued at Rs 62,80,891 and future journey tickets valued at Rs 5,44,608.

Pune-Mum rail route to get 100 more CCTVs

A total of 100 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed on the Pune-Mumbai railway route in the landslide prone areas between Lonavla and Karjat.

The decision was taken by the Central Railway Pune Division (CRPD) after a major train accident involving the Sahyadri Express was averted due to the presence of CCTV cameras on Thursday. A landslide, which caused a boulder to fall on the railway track at 8:15pm, delayed the Mumbai-Kolhapur Sahyadri Express for nearly two hours on Thursday night.

The railway staff who monitored the landslide through CCTV cameras, not only alerted higher authorities, but also ensured that power supply to the overhead equipment was switched off and incoming trains were stopped well in time.

Senior railway officials, on the condition of anonymity, said, “The importance of CCTV cameras was realised when a terrifying accident was averted on Thursday night. Taking a note of this incident, we have decided to install another 100 CCTV cameras in a 22km stretch between Lonavla to Monkey hill and further till Karjat. Currently, the 22km stretch has 43 CCTV cameras installed. ”

This will help us keep a strong vigilance over the entire region and alert the respective trains in case of any landslide well in advance, so that the accidents could be averted in time, said officials.

Along with the installation of CCTV cameras, the CRPD will also be using drone technology to map the areas prone to landslides in this 22km stretch. The work of mapping via drones has been outsourced to a private agency.

Meanwhile, railway authorities are also working on installing safety nets at locations prone to landslides.

Goyal holds high-level Review Meeting with Railway officials

NEW DELHI: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has exhorted all the officials of the railway to perform with full dynamism to transform Indian Railways into one of the best Railways in the world. Mr Goyal said this while chairing a high-level review meeting with all General Managers of Zonal Railways, Production Units and Divisional Railway Managers through Video Conferencing in New Delhi yesterday.

The agenda of the meeting was safety performance, punctuality, capacity enhancement and other various developmental projects in the Railways.

During the meeting, Chairman, Railway Board Vinod Kumar Yadav, directed General Managers to enhance their efforts to further improve punctuality and minimize time loss in case of delayed trains.

He also directed all officers to travel in the trains and interact with passengers so the real-time feedback is obtained. Mr Yadav stressed that Zonal Railways should plan safety and infrastructure works in a co-ordinated manner so that the adverse impact on punctuality due to the regulation of trains can be mitigated.

World Bank debars China Railway Construction, two subsidiaries

WASHINGTON D.C.: The World Bank on June 5 announced the nine-month debarment of China Railway Construction Corp., a Chinese, state-owned construction and engineering company, and its wholly owned subsidiaries, China Railway 23rd Bureau Group (CR23) and China Railway Construction Corp. (International) Limited (CRCC International), concerning misconduct under the East-West Highway Corridor Improvement Project in Georgia.

The debarment is part of a settlement agreement with CRCC, CR23, and CRCC International related to misconduct during the procurement process for a highway construction contract. The debarment also extends to CRCC’s 730 controlled affiliates, except for China Railway 20th Bureau Group and its controlled affiliates, which were subject to a separate settlement agreement with the World Bank in 2017.

Some of the goals of the affected project were to reduce road user costs along a highway corridor section in Georgia and to strengthen the capacity of the roads department to manage the road network. According to the facts of the settlement, during the prequalification and bidding process for a highway construction contract, the three named companies prepared and submitted information that misrepresented the personnel and equipment of CR23 and the experience of other entities in its group as CRCC’s. Within the World Bank’s administrative sanctions system, these actions are considered fraudulent practices as defined by World Bank Procurement Guidelines.

Following their nine-month debarment, CRCC, CR23, CRCC International, and their 730 controlled affiliates will be conditionally non-debarred for 24 months. During this period, they will again be eligible to participate in World Bank-financed projects if they comply with their obligations under the settlement agreement. If they do not, the conditional non-debarment will convert to debarment with conditional release.

The settlement provides for a reduced period of debarment considering CRCC, CR23, and CRCC International’s acknowledgement of responsibility, their voluntary remedial and corrective actions, their cooperation with INT, and other mitigating factors. As a condition for release from sanction, the companies and their affiliates commit to enhancing their integrity compliance programs in a manner consistent with the principles set out in the World Bank Group Integrity Compliance Guidelines. The company also commits to continue to fully cooperate with the World Bank Group Integrity Vice Presidency.

DMK demands English as National Language; all other languages as mandatory Mother Tongue itself in respective states

CHENNAI: A row erupted in Tamil Nadu on Friday over a circular of the Southern Railway making English and Hindi mandatory as the languages of communication between divisional control officers and station masters. Southern Railway Hqrs withdrawn the Circular after the DMK took it up with officials, with the Opposition slamming it as another attempt at “imposing” Hindi.

The circular, issued in May and published in a section of media on Friday, had come days after a reported language issue between two Station Masters in Madurai district, leading to two trains running on the same track. Three officials were suspended over the incident.

Calling the move “arrogant”, DMK president M K Stalin alleged that the circular amounted to imposing Hindi and destroying the local language.  They are repeatedly playing with the sentiments of not only in Tamil Nadu, but also in all other non-Hindi speaking states. If such cheap orders are not stopped with immediately, we will put a full stop to them,” said Stalin. “We urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to make necessary amendments by declaring English as the National Language, and other languages such as Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu, Oriya, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Assamee, Punjabi including Hindi as local native language. There is no need to impose Hindi as the Official language, as it will disintegrate India further. Because Hindi is a National Language, the Hindi speaking people are not even learning English, whereas all other non-Hindi speaking citizens in various states are mandated to learn 3 languages. This is causing serious impact in the society,” he said. 

Some people argue that while China, Germany, Japan, Korea, France have respective languages as their official language, why not India. This is very vague argument, since those countries have single language practiced, be it Mandarin, French, Japanese, Korean, German, Italian, across their countries, whereas India has many languages and hence it will not work here in India:, he said. Adding that one of the Station Masters who hail from north India doesn’t even know English, and the other Station Master knows Tamil and English. That was the reason for communication gap between the station master that led to rolling two trains on the same track, leading to a possible head-on collision which was luckly averted,” he said. “Had there been a Globally acceptable language i.e. English, as the National Language, then all Indian citizens would also develop global outlook rather than totally local outlook that which has an impact on its citizens in communicating with other people while moving around in different parts of the country for the sake of employment,” he said.  He urged Ministry of Home Affairs should take a logical, balanced, objective and judicious view on this issue, and make English as India’s National Language; all other languages to remain as mandatory Mother Tongue languages in respective states. This clears the mess,” he said. “Imposing Hindi language will not suit for Indians”, he added.

On the DMK chief’s instructions, party MP Dayanidhi Maran presented a memorandum to Southern Railway General Manager Rahul Jain and Chief Operations Manager S Anantharaman against the circular. The officials assured them of withdrawing the circular “immediate effect”.

Maran later told reporters that the DMK would “make any sacrifice” to prevent what he said was the imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu.

Officials in the Southern Railway clarified that the circular was “purely internal” and issued to avoid any communication problem. The controversy comes close on the heels of the row over the alleged imposition of Hindi in the draft new education policy, which has been revised later.

The DMK had said only the two-language formula should exist in the state. “We had come with the intention of staging a protest if our demand was not heeded to, but they have assured (us of) cancelling the circular and Stalin has ensured a good solution to the matter,” Maran said. “(The) DMK will make any sacrifices to prevent attempts of Hindi imposition.”

PMK founder S Ramadoss and MDMK chief Vaiko also slammed the move. Ramadoss wondered if there was any “gag” on communicating in Tamil among the railway staff and urged that more Tamil-speaking people should be employed in the central department in the state. Even non-Tamil speaking people should be asked to learn the local language, the PMK leader said in a statement. “The circular is an attempt at imposing Hindi, which is condemnable.”

Vaiko warned that attempts at “Hindi imposition” in the railway department would lead to an outrage in the state. “The Centre is aggressively trying to impose Hindi by all means,” he said and recalled the stiff resistance to the Centre’s proposed three-language formula from states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala and West Bengal.

Dravidar Kazhagam leader K Veeramani also criticised the move. Anti-Hindi sentiments had peaked in Tamil Nadu in the 1960s when the DMK then successfully led an anti-Hindi agitation against the imposition of the language, which found great resonance with the public.

Haryana Orbital Rail corridor project to come up from Palwal to Sonipat in SPV mode

130 km railway line to come up under SPV mode from Palwal to Sonipat under the Northern Railway jurisdiction which is expected to cost Rs.1200 Crore. The project will provide direct connectivity (by-passing Delhi) by linking Asaoti (on Delhi-Mathura route) – Patli (on Delhi-Rewari route) – Asaudha (on Delhi-Rohtak route) – Harsana Kalan (on Delhi-Ambala route) by new Broad Gauge railway line and also with DFC network at Pirthala.

CHANDIGARH: Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (HRIDC) is a Joint Venture Company mandated to undertake project development, mobilization of financial resources and implement project primarily in the State of Haryana. It is also authorized to form project specific subsidiary companies (Project SPVs) for implementation of sanctioned projects. It is a 51:49 Joint Venture by the State Government of Haryana and Ministry of Railways under the provisions of Section 2(45) of Company’s Act 2013.

The Government of India launched the Scheme of participative execution of rail infrastructure project through State Specific Join Ventures in 2016 with the objective of meeting aspirations of States for expansion of railway network by identifying bankable railway project. Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (HRIDC), an umbrella Joint Venture Company of Ministry of Railways and Govt. of Haryana (JVC) was accordingly floated to:

  • Develop railway project and establish their bankability on Revenue Sharing format
  • Mobilize resources for the same, and Implement the project on fast track

It is largely a non-budgetary initiative requiring mobilization of resources from the market and private sector participation both through equity and debt route. HRIDC has conceived a number of new Railway Line Construction projects through SPV Structure which are prima-facie bankable.

HRIDCL had recently floated a tender calling expression of interest from the industry for equity participation in project specific SPVs for implementation of the 130 km double line from Palwal to Sonipat under the Northern Railway jurisdiction which is expected to cost Rs.1200 Crore. The project will provide direct connectivity (by-passing Delhi) by linking Asaoti (on Delhi-Mathura route) – Patli (on Delhi-Rewari route) – Asaudha (on Delhi-Rohtak route) – Harsana Kalan (on Delhi-Ambala route) by new Broad Gauge railway line and also with DFC network at Pirthala.

M/s AARVEE Associates had been selected as the Consultant for the project who will advise HRIDCL about the project frame work, eligibility criteria and how to apply for equity participation, invite responses from participants by giving fair, equitable and transparent opportunity so that HRIDCL can select equity partners in project specific SPVs.

Also, a new rail corridor will be parallel to the KMP (Kundli-Manesar-Palwal) Expressway, to ease traffic between Haryana and Delhi.

More Information:

  • The “Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project” will be connecting all major industrial cities of the state and is likely to cost about Rs 4,100 crore.
  • Detailed project report is being prepared by the Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (HRIDC).
  • The project would be completed in 3 years, he added.
  • The proposed rail line would be 130 kms long.
  • It will enable direct rail connectivity between Palwal and Sonipat bypassing Delhi and linking Asaoti (on the Delhi-Mathura route), Patli (on the Delhi-Rewari route), Asaudha (on the Delhi-Rohtak route), and Harsana Kalan (on the Delhi-Ambala route) through a new broad gauge rail line.
  • The corridor is going to be double line electrified with 25 tonne axle load capacity.
  • The project is being developed as a JV (Joint Venture) model and therefore all its stakeholders — Indian Railways, Haryana government, HRIDC, CONCOR, Dedicated Freight Corridor, HSIIDC, Maruti Suzuki, Model Economic Township Limited (formerly Reliance Haryana SEZ Ltd), Allcargo and others — will have to bear its cost.

Assam Rail Infrastructure Development Co Ltd to be formed shortly to fast-track Railway projects

GUWAHATI: The Assam Rail Infrastructure Development Company (ARIDC), a joint venture public limited company in which the State Government and Ministry of Railways will have stake, is expected to be formally incorporated shortly in what is being seen as an attempt to fast-track railway projects in Assam.

The Assam Government and the Railway Ministry signed an agreement (MOU) in October 2018 to form the Joint Venture company (JV Co), which is intended to identify, develop and implement projects for development of railway infrastructure in Assam.

While the Assam Government will have 51% stake in the JVC, the remaining 49% stake will be with the Ministry of Railways.

“The JVC is expected to help in fast-tracking development of rail transport infrastructure in Assam with active participation of the State Government. Projects like the planned elevated four-track railway corridor from Narengi to Kamakhya in Guwahati and creation of a transport hub at Jogighopa are likely to be undertaken within the scope of the JVC,” told a State Government official at Guwahati.

There will be 10 crore equity shares of the face value of Rs 10 in the company. The State Government will subscribe to 5.1 crore shares at Rs 51 crore and the Ministry of Railways will subscribe to 4.9 crore shares at Rs 49 crore.

“There is need for development of rail infrastructure for critical connectivity and capacity enhancement in Assam. The agreement between the two sides has been concluded with a view to identify, develop and implement such projects that are important for critical connectivity and capacity enhancement,” he said. He said that expansion of railway network to backward and remote areas act as a catalyst for economic and industrial development of the area.

“There are a large number of demands to sanction new projects. Due to limited availability of funds, the Railways is not in a position to take up new projects. Accordingly, a public limited company, which will be a joint venture company, in the name of Assam Rail Infrastructure Development Company (ARIDC), with headquarters at Guwahati, will be formed. It will develop, finance and implement viable railway projects and also projects which require gap funding by itself or through a subsidiary or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV),” said the official.

The JVC will undertake surveys, prepare detailed project reports (DPRs) to examine viability of the railway projects and process for sanctioning of the project. It will also look after incorporation and funding of subsidiaries and SPVs for undertaking railway projects.

It is noteworthy that the Ministry of Railways has already entered into joint venture agreements with 11 States, including Gujarat, Odisha and Chhattisgarh and there is plan to enter into agreements with more States as well.

“State joint ventures are formed in the spirit of cooperative federalism. The JVC will generate investment through participation or other stakeholders like banks, financial institutions, ports, mining companies, public sector undertakings, industrial bodies and multi-lateral agencies. It will incorporate projects SPVs to implement identified rail projects,” he said.

एनजीटी आदेशों के कार्यान्वयन के लिए पूसीरे त्वरित कदम उठा रही है

मालीगाँव, 13 जून, 2019 – एनजीटी (नेशनल ग्रीन ट्राइब्यूनल) अपने आर्डर दिनांक 22.01.2019 के तहत भारतीय रेल को स्वच्छता बरकरार रखने के लिए स्टेशन वार एक्शन प्लान तैयार करने के लिए अपने 720 स्टेशनों में से 5 प्रतिशित स्टेशनों को चिन्हित करने को कहा है। बीआईएस द्वारा निर्धारित पर्यावरण मानक आईएसओ-14001 के अनुसार ईको स्मार्ट स्टेशन की सूची में शामिल करने के लिए पू. सी. रेल के गुवाहाटी स्टेशन तथा कटिहार स्टेशन को संबंधित सूची में शामिल किया गया है। गुवाहाटी स्टेशन को आईएसओ-14001 अभिप्रमाणन हासिल हो चुका है। आईएसओ-14001 बीआईएस अभिप्रमाणन की मूल आवश्यकता स्वच्छता का रखरखाव, ठोस अपशिष्टों का पर्याप्त निपटान, पेट बोतल श्रेडर होना, गंदगी रोधक कार्यकलाप, जल प्रबंधन, रेल की पटरी पर मल त्याग से बचना, अतिक्रमणों को हटाना, ऊर्जा प्रबंधन, हरियाली एवं पौधरोपण, जनसाधारण    की टिप्पणियां/शिकायतें इत्यादि ग्रहण करना है।

इस परियोजना के अंतर्गत ज्यादा से ज्यादा स्टेशनों को शामिल किया जाएगा। इस पहले के अनुसार पू. सी. रेल प्राधिकारी रेलवे स्टेशनों पर प्लास्टिक के प्रयोग पर पाबंदी तथा ठोस एवं प्लास्टिक अपशिष्ट प्रबंधन के लिए विभिन्न क्षेत्रों के उपनगरीय स्थानीय निकायों से समन्वय कायम करेंगे। नियमित अंतराल पर जल एवं ऊर्जा ऑडिट किया जाएगा। इसके अलावा, माननीय उच्चतम न्यायालय द्वारा जारी दिशानिर्देशों के अनुसार नुकसान की लागत पुनरुद्धार करने के लिए रेलवे पोलुटर पे सिद्धांत का भी प्रयोग कर सकते हैं। सूचना दिए जाने के बाद भी कचरों को फेंकना जारी रखने वाले व्यक्तियों से संबंधित पुलिस/जीआरपी की मदद से रु. 5000/- का जुर्माना संग्रह करने के लिए रेलवे प्राधिकारी को अधिकृत किया गया है। चरणबद्ध कार्यान्वयन के लिए एक वर्ष के अंदर शेष बचे हुए सभी प्रमुख स्टेशनों के लिए डेटा एवं एक्शन प्लान तैयार करने का कार्य जारी है। इन क्षेत्रों में कचरों से जनसाधारण की स्वास्थ्य को नुकसान होने से बचाने के लिए प्लेटफॉर्मों, रेलवे ट्रैकों, रिहायसी इलाकों को स्वच्छ रखना है। प्लेटफॉर्मों तथा वैगनों की धुलाई से निकलने वाले एफुलेंट को भूजल में प्रवेश करने से रोकना सुनिश्चित करना, परंतु सिंचाई, धुलाई इत्यादि के लिए उसका दोबारा इस्तेमाल करना। जनसाधारण तथा यात्रियों से शिकायतें तथा सुझाव ग्रहण करने के लिए प्रमुख रेलवे स्टशनो के पास निजी वेबसाइट होना चाहिए। एमएसडब्ल्यू नियम, 2016 के मद्देनजर रेलवे चिन्हित स्थानों पर विकेंद्रीयकृत नगरपालिका ठोस अपशिष्ट संयंत्रों की स्थापना भी करेगी। शहर के रखरखाव एवं स्वच्छ बनाए रखने के लिए रेलवे ठोस तथा प्लास्टिक अपशिष्ट प्रबंधन के लिए उपनगरीय स्थानीय निकायों से समन्वय भी करेगी।

Siemens aims to save Traction Energy cost, reduce Fuel expenses and Carbon emissions to Indian Railways

MUMBAI: Siemens is equipping Indian Railways in its initiative to upgrade its electric locomotives from 6000 HP to 9000 HP, the company said on Wednesday.

Siemens is supplying indegenously-made integrated propulsion system and steel tank transformer to the Indian railways that is undergoing a transformation as part of its rail electrification initiative.

“The advanced technology aims to save traction energy cost, thereby reducing fuel expenses and carbon emissions,” the company said in a release. Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW), the state -owned electric locomotive maker has pre-commissioned this 9,000 HP electric locomotive and trial runs will commence soon.

“This important milestone is a step towards fulfilling Indian Railways’ vision of complete electrification, enhanced haulage capability and building high-technology systems in line with the Make in India initiative,” said Tilak Raj Seth, executive vice president of Mobility at Siemens.

Cords Cable Industries gets registered as Approved Vendor for RDSO under Ministry of Railways

NEW DELHI: Cords Cable Industries has received registration for inclusion in the List of RDSO Vendors for Developmental Orders from Research Designs & Standards Organisation (Government of India Ministry of Railways).

This approval enables the company to offer “Underground Railway Jelly Filled Quad Cable for Signalling & Telecom Installations to the Indian Railways and various projects where this approval is mandated including the Dedicated Freight Corridors, and various Metro-Rail projects.

This approval will allow Cords Cable Industries to explore the upcoming vast opportunities provided by various developmental & upgradation project5 of Railways and new Metro projects throughout the country.

Cabinet approves signing of MOU between India and Russia in the field of Railways

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding on the cooperation between Research Designs and Standards Organisation, under the Ministry of Railways, India and Railway Research Institute, Russia and Research and Design Institute for Information Technology, Signalling and Telecommunication on Railway Transport, Russia.

The MoU will facilitate exchange of information, expert meetings, seminars, technical visits and implementation of jointly agreed cooperation projects.

The MoU was signed in April, 2019 and the two countries signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) agreement during November 2018.

While the MoU was signed with the Russian transportation ministry for the development of cooperation in transport education, the MoC between the two counties was reached with the Joint Stock Company “Russian Railways” (RZD) for technical cooperation.

The India-Russia instruments are aimed at providing a platform for Indian Railways to interact and share the latest developments and knowledge in the railway sector.

They are also expected to facilitate the exchange of technical experts, reports and technical documents, training and seminars. Workshops focusing on specific technology areas and other interactions for knowledge sharing also form a part of the memoranda.

Indian Railway Ministry has signed such documents with various counties. The identified areas of cooperation include high-speed rail, speed raising of existing routes, development of world-class stations, heavy haul operations and modernization of rail infrastructure etc.

The cooperation is achieved through an exchange of information on developments in areas of railway technology and operations, knowledge sharing, technical visits, training, seminars and workshops in areas of mutual interest.

The MoU will envisage cooperation in the priority areas for the development of transport education. This would enable the preparation of specific proposals in this area including their implementation within the framework of the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission on Trade-Economic, Scientific-Technical and Cultural Cooperation.

The MoC will enable technical cooperation in various fields, including the upgradation of the Nagpur- Secunderabad section; implementation of a Single Traffic Control Center to manage mixed traffic at the regional level.

Pr.COM/SR advises DRMs to cash in on anticipated traffic growth in lieu of CMCTPL facility at New Mangalore Port

MANGALURU: Palakkad division of Southern Railway should strive to cash in on the anticipated growth in traffic that the launch of Chettinad Mangaluru Coal Terminal Project Pvt Ltd (CMCTPL) at New Mangalore Port will bring. The terminal will improve the coal loading at NMPT, S Anantharaman, Principal Chief Operations Manager (PCOM), Southern Railway said as part of the railway week celebrations of Southern Railway at Palakkad.

Anantharaman, who honoured officers and staff of Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram divisions for their exemplary service as part of the celebration on Wednesday, reminded them that the private coal siding coming up at New Mangalore Port is expected to be operational by next month and implored Palakkad division to be ready to handle the additional traffic. He also advised to explore new possibilities to enhance freight loading in the division.

The division can offer its freight customers station-to-station rate to attract additional traffic by offering freight discount. Division can also offer discount to freight that are moved in the empty flow direction, which is towards Vijayawada and on Konkan route, Anantharaman said, while stressing on the need for speedy unloading and prompt release of wagons. He asked divisional officers to hold meeting with FCI authorities in this regard.

Anantharaman was on a two day visit to inspect the stations and freight loading/unloading points of Palakkad division. Pratap Singh Shami, divisional railway manager, Palakkad division, Arulanandam Moses, secretary to principal chief operations manager, L Ashok Kumar, senior divisional operations manager, Palakkad division, Jerin G Anand, senior divisional commercial manager, other divisional officers and staff were present.

Demand from Railways will stay strong, says Jagdish Prasad Chowdhary, Executive Chairman, Titagarh Wagons Ltd.

KOLKATA: The demand for railway wagons has gone up in the last six months and it will continue to be strong, helped by metro and the dedicated freight corridors, said Titagarh Wagons executive chairman Jagdish Prasad Chowdhary in a telephonic interview with RailNews. He also spoke the order book, Cimmco’s offer for sale and his expectations from the upcoming Budget.

What are your expectations for the railway sector from the Union Budget 2019?

I feel the Budget will bring an improvement in the infrastructure sector. Although, the railway sector was quite ignored for past three-four years. But huge demand has propped up in the last six months, mainly after Piyush Goyal took charge of the railway ministry. This demand will continue in future as well. The advancement of metro railways will also boost demand. Secondly, our company is also into shipbuilding and I feel there will be a very good demand in the segment. The defence demand, under Make in India, will also help us a lot. So we hope that the Budget is going to be a good one. But at the same time, I would like to attract the government’s attention to certain things. We don’t receive any input credit in the segment. I hope the government will look at it. Apart from this, I hope the government will announce a Budget to support its pragmatic policies. Improved infrastructure will improve the economy.

Are you expecting any specific announcement related to wagon procurement? Update us on your expansion strategy and the capex needed for it?

It is difficult to tell how much capex will be needed as it is dependent on overall budgetary provisions. In addition, the ongoing demand for railway wagons has increased production in the last two-three months. Despite this, there is an increase in consumer demand and that is why I think that it will lead to good demand and it will be maintained, but it is difficult to quantify it.

Titagarh Wagons had recently secured a big order from Italy. How will it benefit the company? Tell us about the order book.

Our order book is quite good now due to the last order that was placed with us. Our parent company, Titagarh Wagons, has an order book of Rs 2,200 crore and Titagarh Cimmco has an order book of Rs 800 crore. Apart from this, our Italian order book stands around Rs 2,000-2,500 crore.

The government has plans to strengthen the Eastern and the Western corridors by doubling freight capacity. Are you expecting any orders?

Several wagons being developed by us, Titagarh Wagons, will move to the dedicated freight corridor. It will be very helpful. In fact, improvement in railway transportation will boost its demand, which in turn, will also improve profitability. It will also decrease the fund shortage issues of Railways.

Have the legacy order issues related to the acquisition of Italy-based Firema Trasporti SpA in 2015 ended? if yes, update us on the kind of turnaround or its contribution to your company?

The legacy orders can be termed as a part of the purchasing price. You will be happy to know that our legacy orders have been completed. The company’s performance this year has been better than the previous year and I hope that it will get better in future. Besides, we have also received an order of Rs 1,700 crore from Catania Railway. Based on the same, we have started quoting for future tenders as well. Looking at everything, it seems that the Italian unit will perform well. However, we have faced certain problems in the French unit and that’s why we have to go for an overhaul of the local management of the unit. In fact, we along with the government, have designed a restructuring scheme and the French government will be helping us in it and I hope that the scheme will be approved.

What are your views on the OFS of Cimmco?

The Board of Directors met on Cimmco and decided to approach the government and the Securities and Exchange Board of India, asking it to allow Cimmco’s merger in Titagarh as the two companies share good synergies with each other. Interestingly, we will avoid duplication in it. Cimmco will be concentrated in specialised wagons, defence products, locomotive shells. On the other hand, we are building ships, wagons and defence work at Titagarh. Division of the work will help us in increasing our efficiency.

Full steam ahead for Nepal-China Railway project through Himalayas

KHATMANDU: The much talked about Nepal-China railway line project has picked up pace as Beijing announced funding for a detailed feasibility study of the project, which many critics say reflects China’s strong strategic and geopolitical engagement with the small Himalayan nation.

The $2.5 billion trans-Himalayan railway from Nepal’s capital Kathmandu to Kerung on the Chinese side of the border will then link to the Tibetan plateau, travelling along some of the highest passes in the world. The joint project is considered extremely challenging due to the rugged topography of the Himalayas.

The Chinese government has included the cross-border railway line as a project to be supported under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

In the first phase, the railway line will link Kerung to Kathmandu and in the planned second phase it will extend to Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha in the southern Terai region near the India border.

Nepal’s Finance Ministry has allocated a $18 million grant from the Chinese government to prepare a detailed feasibility study of the project, Director-General of Department of Railways, Balram Mishra.

“The study will begin from the next fiscal year,” he said, adding that the study was expected to be completed within a year and a half. After that, the total construction period will be seven years.

“Even preparing the detailed project report is an extreme task,” he said.

The BRI, unveiled by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013 and seen as a modern Silk Road, aims to connect China with Asia, Europe and beyond through large-scale infrastructure projects.

The Nepal-China railway line, which seeks to penetrate the massive South Asian market via Nepal, is one of the most ambitious and difficult projects the two countries have worked on.

Nepal believes that completion of the project will enhance its connectivity with its northern neighbour, bringing an end to the landlocked country’s dependence on India for trade.

According to a pre-feasibility report, the Kathmandu-Kerung railway line will span 72 km with 98.5 per cent of the section consisting of bridges and tunnels. The line’s initial cost has been estimated at $2.5 billion.

Dr Posh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman of South Asian NGO consortium South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment, said that given the current size of Nepal’s economy of $30 billion and its resources, the project is “very big” to be able to afford.

“We need connectivity with China to increase trade, but still roadways are viable options,” he said.

Nepal’s total trade share with China is only 15 per cent and investing nearly $3 billion to build the railway is a big risk, he added.

“Nepal might fall into a debt trap if the project is built taking (out a) loan,” he said, adding that the needs of the railway project could be reviewed after a decade.

China is also funding an international airport, highways, hydro power plants and a cement factory in Nepal.

SCR gets Non-fare Revenue target of Rs.33 Crore for 2019-20

SECUNDERABAD: The top-brass of South Central Railway (SCR) has urged advertising and publicity agencies to come up with innovative ways to exploit the untapped potential of Indian Railways in the field of commercial publicity.

“The SCR has received a non-fare revenue target of Rs33 crore from the Railway Board for the current financial year (2019-20). In the latest meeting with business partners , SCR general manager Gajanan Mallya apprised the advertising and publicity agencies about the huge space available for commercial publicity in order to increase the non-fare revenue,” Chief Public Relations Officer of SCR Ch Rakesh said.

As per official data, as many as 734 express and passenger category trains of SCR run with 100% occupancy every day. The zone has around 160 important stations, 24 MMTS stations and 121 MMTS services besides, a wagon fleet of 19,900 wagons, 288 closed circuit rakes consisting of 16,000 wagons and 1,265 locomotives.

“Based on representations made by business partners, senior railway officials have been asked to plan and coordinate in creating avenues of publicity and achieving the Rs33 crore non-fare revenue target fixed for the current financial year,” Rakesh said.

Earlier, K Siva Prasad, principal chief commercial manager of SCR, elaborated on the new and innovative ideas and concepts being envisaged by Indian Railways in the field of advertising on railway premises such as circulating area, platforms and trains where millions of passengers come across.

“The meeting themed on non-fare revenue generation also focussed on provision of facilities like on-demand content for entertainment and education. The business partners were apprised about various changes in the procedures of awarding publicity to facilitate the advertisers,” a SCR official said.

Notably, the SCR had registered the highest-ever freight loading of 122.5 million tonne during the 2018-19 financial year — 19% more as compared to the previous year. Earnings from freight transportation have crossed the Rs10, 000 crore-mark for the first time.

Sakleshpur-Bengaluru train ride to be smoother this monsoon

Weak trees that could collapse on the tracks, interrupting train services, are being removed as a precautionary measure, the officer reveals.

MYSORE: Travelling by train via Sakleshpur in Hassan to Bengaluru and Mangaluru should be smoother this monsoon as the South Western Railway (SWR) has taken various precautionary measures such as removing loose boulders and pruning tree branches to offer uninterrupted service on the route.

Frequent landslides in the ghat section of Sakleshpur during the last monsoon had brought trains to a halt on the route for days, greatly inconveniencing passengers. Unwilling to take chances this year, the South Western Railway is removing loose boulders at 20 locations and carrying out benching work for stability of the slopes at other spots, according to a railway official.

It is also taking protective measures such as netting to arrest the falling of boulders on to the tracks and pruning tree branches  alongside them  in the ghat section of Sakleshpur leading to the Subramanya station.

Weak trees that could collapse on the tracks, interrupting train services, are being removed as a precautionary measure, the officer reveals.

Also, patrolling has been intensified along the 55-km ghat route in Sakleshpur to look out for landslides and boulders rolling on to the tracks. Watchmen too have been stationed at 25 points in the ghat to alert the railways about any impending disaster, according to him.

In other measures, the SWR has  invited tenders to keep excavators on standby in the ghat section to help it clear debris, if any, owing to landslides during the monsoon.

ICF starts rolling-out rakes for full trainsets

This is to avoid exposing new coaches to the vagaries of weather while they are parked in yards. The first two rakes comprising 22 coaches each were sent to South Western Railway.

PERAMBUR: The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) here has started rolling out full trains (all rakes) instead of manufacturing coaches which were delivered in installments. Zonal Railways across the country can now place orders for all the rakes required for a train rather than the coaches alone.

After reports of brand new Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches worth several crores of rupees getting damaged due to theft of fittings or weather conditions, senior officials decided to manufacture train rakes in their full composition.

The first two – comprising 22 coaches each, including two two-tier AC and six three-tier AC coaches, were sent to the South Western Railway for the Mysore-Varanasi-Mysore Express trains.

These rakes were put into operation within a week. We are sending spare coaches for these trains so that an old coach is not attached in the event of any requirement. Earlier, we used to manufacture coaches and park them along yards in Chennai Division. Weeks or months later, zones across the country took piecemeal delivery. By then the brand new coaches gathered dust and got damaged due to various reasons, including creepers and rodents,” a senior ICF official said on Wednesday.

Saying that the new method of delivering coaches was a step forward, the official said that zonal railways would now place order for trains and not coaches. “The newly manufactured rakes can be put to operation and maintenance without any delay. For instance, if the order is for Chennai-New Delhi-Chennai Tamil Nadu Express, we know the composition of that train and will manufacture the coaches accordingly.”

The ICF, which is the largest manufacturer of railway coaches in the world, hopes to roll out a record 4,000 LHB coaches this fiscal. The Indian Railways had taken a policy decision to do away with the conventional ICF design coaches (painted in blue) and replace them with LHB coaches built with German technology.

Violent jerks

Asked about violent jerks on the running trains, a senior official in the Southern Railway said that couplers used for the LHB rakes were actually meant for goods wagons and hence the jerks. “We are trying to replace the couplers with balance draft gears that might minimise the jerks though it would not be possible to eliminate them completely. Long-term solution would be to revert to the Research Designs and Standards Organisation for correcting the design aspects,” the official added.

Railways giving final touches to mini ICPs, rail-based Ro-Ro service to decongest road traffic in Bangladesh border

Final touches being given to bus service to Myanmar, Ro-Ro service to Bangladesh

NEW DELHI: Two weeks after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office for the second term, the Centre is giving final touches to a host of new initiatives – mini ICPs (Integrated check post), rail-based Ro-Ro service to decongest road traffic in Bangladesh border and bus service between Myanmar and Manipur – to improve connectivity with Eastern neighbours.

Trade and connectivity

It was anticipated that the new government will focus its attention on trade and connectivity with BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) and BIMSTEC nations (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan). There is now an enhanced focus on coordination between different Departments to ensure efficient implementation of projects.

While NITI Aayog is leading on the planning part, the recently formed Logistics Department under the Commerce Ministry is ensuring that different arms of the government do not work in silos.

This is expected to improve the efficiency of various trade facilitation projects, as in Jogbani where the Land Ports Authority under home ministry is building ICP on Indian side, while the Ministry of External Affairs is funding a mirror ICP on Nepalese side and the Railways is connecting the two countries.

Innovative solutions

A better coordination is bringing some innovative solutions. For example, the Railways proposed starting a service between Kolkata and the largest land border with Bangladesh at Petrapole-Benpole to allow loaded trucks to roll in and roll out (Ro-Ro).

The Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) is preparing an online platform so that Indian trucks can book parking spaces at the ICP Petrapole in advance.

The aim is to reduce road congestion on the 70-km stretch from Kolkata to Petrapole and end the local extortion racket at the border town of Bongaon.

An in-principle decision has been taken to upgrade 10 Land Customs stations — which barely see movement of goods due to lack of facilities — on Bangladesh and Myanmar border into mini ICPs enabling both trade and passenger movements.

This is over and above the existing ICPs (Moreh in Maniur, Petrapole in Wet Bengal and Akhaura in Tripura) and upcoming ICPs (Sutarkhandi in Assam, Sabroom in Tripura and Dawki in Meghalaya).

The proposed list for upgrade includes border gates at Nampong (Arunachal Pradesh) and Zokhawthar (Mizoram) with Myanmar. The Zokhawthar border has potential to connect India sponsored Trilateral Highway (from India to Thailand) bypassing Manipur.

On Bangladesh border, Mahendraganj (Meghalaya), Sheila Bazar (Meghalaya) and Srimantapur and Raghnabazar in Tripura are proposed to be mini ICPs.

While the list will be finalised after a detailed study, the government is looking for a suitable location to open a trade point between Nagaland and Myanmar. Nagaland does not have any trade facility.

Meanwhile, officials of India and Myanmar met last week to start a bus service between Mandalay (Myanmar) and Imphal (Manipur). To ensure quick launch and avoid the long negotiations for protocol movement, the two governments are looking to start synchronised services.

“Better coordination between ministries will help the north-eastern States the most,” an official said. Though different ministries are mandated to allocate 10 per cent of the budget to North-east; funds often remain unutilised due to lack of coordination.

No knowledge about Aizawl-Hmawngbuchhuah Railway line: says Mizoram Govt

In 2013-2014, railways ministry granted permission to conduct survey for extension of Railway line between Sairang and Hmawngbuchhuah, TJ Lalnuntluanga informs House

AIZAWL: The Mizoram government has no knowledge about the work done on the proposed construction of railroad from Sairang near here to Hmawngbuchhuah village in Lawngtlai district bordering Myanmar, the assembly was informed on Wednesday.

Replying to a question from Lalduhoma of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), Transport Minister T J Lalnuntluanga said the 272 kilometre long railroad project was being taken up by the Ministry of Railways and it did not provide any information to the Mizoram government about the action taken or the progresses made.

“It was learnt that the preliminary engineering level traffic survey was completed,” he said adding that the state government was kept in the dark on the progresses made by the railways.

The only rail link Mizoram has is at the Mizoram-Assam border town of Bairabi. The 51 kilometre long broad gauge railroad between Bairabi to Sairang is under construction.

Hilly terrain, covered with dense forest, the railway route here has to traverse through a number of deep gorges and over several rivers flowing at low ground levels. While the high mountains are penetrated by constructing tunnels, the deep river gorges between the mountain ridges are connected by tall bridges.

It is a part of Northeast Frontier Railway zone of Indian Railways. The Bairabi-Sairang rail link will require construction of 204 bridges, 24 tunnels and four stations. In August 2015, Indian Railway completed a survey for a possible new route extension from Sairang to Hmawngbuchhuah on Mizoram’s southern tip on the border of Myanmar where at nearby Zochachhuah ‘Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project (KMMTTP) road enters Myanmar. Indian Railway has already converted the current 84 km rail line from Katakhal (Assam) to Bairabi 2 km inside Mizoram.

Passenger services started on this line on 27 May 2016 by formal inauguration of Silchar Bairabi Passenger Train service. Its further 51.38 km Bairabi Sairang Railway extension from Bairabi to Sairang (20 km north of Aizwal) in Mizoram is under construction, with target completion date of March 2019 as per status update in March 2016.

Bairabi-Sairang Railway that would connect Aizwal to the railway network or the Jiribam-Imphal line. Mizoram-Assam border town Bairabi is the lone railhead linking Mizoram with the rest of the country by Railways. M/S BPC Consultant India Pvt. Ltd. has been entrusted by N.F Railway, Silchar to conduct plate load test and geo-technical investigation at minor bridges location to find out bearing capacity of soil in connection with construction of New BG Railway line from Bairabi to Sairang. Bairabi-Sairang Railway that would connect Aizwal to the railway network or the Jiribam-Imphal line would ensure railway connectivity to these respective state capitals before the end of the decade.

Conducting DGPS Survey/Total Station Survey and Geotechnical Investigation from Bhairabi to Sairang (almost 51 Kms). DGPS and Total station survey was carried out as a part of topographical survey along the the entire project stretch.

The work involved study and evaluate the stratigraphy of the said project locations and to obtain Geotechnical parameters of the subsurface formations for design and construction of foundation for the proposed minor bridges location.

Construction in this region already started in scattered manner, as a result of which the company had to face several challenges during redesigning the new alignment without demolishing the portions (especially the bridges) already constructed.

Member-Traffic reviews Measures to enhance Revenue of WR & CR, take stock of various issues

MUMBAI: A meeting was presided over by Shri Girish Pillai – Member Traffic of Railway Board at the Conference Hall of W. Rly Headquarters Office at Churchgate on 10th June, 2019 which was attended by the traffic officers of both Western and Central Railway. The core purpose of the meeting was to convert the vision of Minister of Railways to meet the challenges faced by the Railways and garner more revenue for the organization.

According to a press release issued by Shri Ravinder Bhakar – Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railway, out of the overall revenue of Indian Railways, 64% is spent on salary of staff and 15% on fuel. Hence Member Traffic, Shri Pillai emphasized the need to increase the overall earnings. Last year Indian Railways have achieved 1221 MT in freight. Shri Pillai stated that this year a target of 1266 MT has been fixed and the same dedication and zeal has to be maintained by WR and CR to achieve the current set target. Member Traffic advised both WR and CR to take all possible steps to surpass the earnings achieved in the previous year. He also emphasized on publicizing various freight incentive schemes, wagon investment schemes and in particular General Purpose Wagon Investment Scheme, introduced for the benefit of customers.

It is worth mentioning that Indian Railways is committed to carry more and more passengers and provide best amenity and comfort for passengers in train and at stations. Shri V. K. Tripathi – Additional General Manager of W.Rly, Shri Shailendra Kumar – Principal Chief Operations Manager of W. Rly, Shri R. K. Lal – Principal Chief Commercial Manager of W. Rly, Smt Ity Pandey – Chief Commercial Manager (FM) W. Rly, alongwith other senior traffic officers of W. Rly & C. Rly were also present in the meeting.

GRP counsels children who placed Iron Bars on railway tracks

PUNE: The government railway police (GRP), Pune, has counselled 10 children who had placed iron rods on railway tracks in Pune and adjoining districts in the past 20 days just for “fun”.

Accidents were averted as the train loco pilots spotted the rods and they were removed from tracks, officials said.

The Central Railways’ (CR) authorities found long iron bars placed on railway tracks at Satara, Talegaon Dabhade, Kolhapur district, and on Pune–Solapur tracks.

Police said that the accidents were averted due to the presence of mind shown by the loco pilots.

The CR authorities discussed the issue with the GRP officials and police who then launched a hunt for the suspects. It is not yet clear if the suspects were playing mischief or it was a deliberate attempt to derail the high-speed trains.

During the course of investigation, police realised that the children staying in nearby areas were placing rods on tracks for “fun”.

Police took them to the nearby railway stations and arranged counselling sessions for them. The officials also requested their parents to keep a watch on them.

GRP inspector held for robbing trader of Rs.8 Lakh

MEERUT/AGRA: An inspector posted at Government Railway Police (GRP)’s Special Operation Group (SOG) has been arrested by Saharanpur police for his role in a loot that took place in Saharanpur in early hours of Monday. In the sensational robbery, six criminals, three of them in police uniform, took away Rs 8.34 lakh from a wheat trader and threatened him.

Inspector Lalit Kumar Tyagi, who hails from Karaunda Chaudhar of Bijnor district, was formerly SHO of Agra Fort, Agra Cantt and Raja Ki Mandi GRP stations. He is currently heading the emergency control room of GRP’s Agra division as well as its zeharkhurani cell. The other two in police uniform have been identified as GRP constables, Rinku Singh and Shayar Beg, posted in surveillance cell of GRP Agra division, who are both on the run.

On Tuesday evening, Saharanpur police brought inspector Tyagi along with two accomplices, Bashir Khan and Subhash Sharma, to Saharanpur. Cops recovered Rs 4.94 lakh from them while the rest of the amount is with the two absconding cops and one Chotu who drove the vehicle used in the crime.

Saharanpur SSP Dinesh Kumar P said, “In the early hours of Monday, six men, three of them in police uniform, robbed wheat trader Mohd Akhtar at his house in village Umahi under Nangal police station of Saharanpur. They took away Rs 8.34 lakh and even tried to abduct Akhtar but he somehow jumped out of the vehicle and shouted for help. When people started gathering, the attackers fled in an un-numbered vehicle.”

In police complaint, Akhtar named Bashir Khan as the main person behind the heist. “During investigation, it came to light that Khan was a man of criminal antecedents and he instigated Agra-based cops to participate in the loot. We constituted several teams to investigate the matter,” the SSP said.

According to SP (rural) Vidya Sagar Mishra, who headed the surveillance team, “The three cops in uniform were spotted in a CCTV footage of toll plaza in Muzaffarnagar district. The trail eventually led us to Agra.”

According to sources at GRP Agra division, “Inspector Tyagi was picked up by Saharanpur police from Raja Ki Mandi of Lohamandi police jurisdiction on Monday night around 11 pm. He was caught after surveillance team of Saharanpur police tracked a mobile phone number which belonged to the accused cop.”

Senior superintendent of police, GRP’s Agra division, Abhishek Yadav said, “The three cops were on duty as the police records show; but, they left for Saharanpur without informing anyone, along with their service weapons. A preliminary inquiry is being conducted under CO, GRP Agra, and soon the departmental inquiry, too, would be setup. Meanwhile, all the three cops have been suspended. GRP Agra division will fully cooperate with Saharanpur police in the arrest the two absconding constables.”

Patna GRP catches snatcher in action, seizes ornaments worth Lakhs

The GRP also recovered ornaments of silver and gold, cash, ATMcards and other valuables worth lakhs of rupees from the nabbed snatcher on Wednesday.

PATNA: Stepping up drive against theft of belongings in trains, the Patna Government Railway Police (GRP) caught a purse-snatcher red-handed while snatching purse from a woman passenger.

The GRP also recovered ornaments of silver and gold, cash, ATM cards and other valuables worth lakhs of rupees from the nabbed snatcher on Wednesday.

According to Patna Superintendent of Rail Police (SRP), Sujeet Kumar, the snatcher Mohammad Niyaz Shah, 35, was nabbed when he snatched the purse from a woman passenger in one of the bogies of Garib Rath in Patna Rail Police limits.

“The GRP cops chased him and caught him after surrounding him from all sides. He has been staying in a room of Fulwarisharif based private hotel”, Kumar said, adding that cash Rs 25000 besides ornaments and other items was recovered from a room of a hotel in which he had checked in recently.

The snatcher is a resident of Bhojpur district and involved in such crimes for a long time in different areas of railways jurisdiction.

The Patna GRP will pray in the court for permission to take him on remand soon.

Berhampur GRP foils dacoity bid in Konark Express

BERHAMPUR: The Brahmapur Government Railway Police (GRP) on Sunday night busted a dacoit gang and arrested six members, including its kingpin.

Among the accused five are natives of Bihar and one belongs to Khordha. The arrestees were identified as Rahula Mandal (44),  Chintu Kumar Chatu Sa (27), Mukesh Saha ( 44) , Raban Kumar (20) of Munger in Bihar and  Ananta Behera (31) of Khurdha.

Police have seized three knives, Rs.30,000 cash, and train tickets from Brahmapur to Bhubaneswar and chili powder from their possession.

The GRP got information that some youths were loitering suspiciously at late night in the platform of Brahmapur Railway Station. Immediately, a police team conducteda raid and nabbed the accused, said GRP IIC Sukanta Bhoi.

During interrogation the arrestees confessed that they were planning to commit dacoity in the Mumbai- Bhubaneswar Konark Express. On Monday they were forwarded to court. Police are investigating whether the gang is involved in similar crimes in the past.

Training for Kerala GRP personnel under way in Tiruchi

First-of-its-kind exercise in Southern Railway zone

Thiruchchrappalli: Enhancing better coordination with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to ensure security of passengers and sensitising field staff to various aspects of railway functioning are the twin aims of an ongoing familiarisation training programme organised for Kerala Government Railway Police (GRP) here.

The programme began at RPF Zonal Training Centre in Khajamalai on the direction of the Railway Board, New Delhi. Similar sessions are being carried across the country by RPF.

Forty-eight GRP personnel, including a woman Head Constable, from Kerala are attending the six-day training programme in Tiruchi, the first-of-its-kind in Southern Railway zone, senior RPF officers told.

A detailed training module has been prepared by RPF for indoor sessions. The day begins at the crack of dawn with yoga class, followed by physical training, and indoor sessions on various topics. A team of RPF instructors attached with the Zonal Training Centre are conducting the classes. Railway instructors from different departments have also been holding sessions, said the officers.

The need to conduct the orientation programme has been felt as many GRP personnel get transferred to Railway Police from different local police stations. Hence, it is important for them to know the working of the railways and the RPF and their role, said the officers.

Since the RPF and GRP are both involved in ensuring security of rail passengers, the aim of the programme is to enhance coordination between the two forces, said a senior officer.

Plans are afoot to conduct a similar course for GRP personnel of Tamil Nadu in the near future, the officer added.

Gold thief caught red-handed by GRP at Bangalore Railway Station

The Government Railway Police (GRP) have recovered nearly 148 gm of gold worth Rs 3.62 lakh from a 32-year-old habitual offender Prasad Pusalapati.

BENGALURU: The Government Railway Police (GRP) have recovered nearly 148 gm of gold worth Rs 3.62 lakh from a 32-year-old habitual offender Prasad Pusalapati. He has been sent to judicial custody now.

According to Satyappa, Cantonment Railway Station Inspector, who nabbed the accused, “The individual is a habitual offender. We caught him redhanded at K R Puram railway station, when he was pickpocketing passengers on board the Arakkonam Passenger on Monday.” Permission was sought from court to take him into custody. “Prasad confessed that he had stolen 147.9 gm gold from passengers in five separate incidents. The gold has been recovered from him,” he added.

Pusalapati is a habitual offender and was arrested in 2016 by the GRP.

Central Railway blames GRP for fake TC ‘mess’

MUMBAI: The Central Railway (CR) has crossed swords with the Government Railway Police (GRP) over fake ticket checkers (TCs). Nine fake TCs were caught in the first five months of this year, as compared to seven in all of 2018. The increase, believes the CR, is owing to the GRP’s failure to track down the prime racketeers.

Most of the fake TCs caught this year were exposed by the ticketing staff themselves or by suspicious passengers. On May 21, Swapnil Bohite, 28, was nabbed by on-board ticket checking staff while travelling on Punjab Mail with a fake ID card. After being handed over to the Kalyan GRP, Bohite a man had handed him the ID card after persuading him that he could scoring a free journey by posing as a TC.

“This indicated that there is a bigger racket involved,” said a CR official. “If only the GRP investigates such cases thoroughly, can people running these rackets be booked.”

Another official said it took a letter from the CR 10 days after Bohite’s arrest to get the GRP to delve further into his claim. After the prodding, the GRP subsequently traced an agent, Anwar Amboli, who procured fake ID cards from a man in Jalgaon- identified only as Farook-and sold them to people in different parts of the country. But when a GRP team reached Jalgaon, it found that Farook had died. “The local police told us that police officials from several states had arrived looking for him,” said a GRP official.

On the delay in tracking down Farook, “We have jurisdiction only over railway premises. Most of the times, the sale of such ID cards takes place in city limits. It takes the case out of our preview.”

In another case, Pooja Rautuu, 23, was nabbed by a TC as she checked tickers from passengers of Pragati Express at Dadar station. Rautuu was found with an ID card that identified her as a ticket checking staff from the commercial department but reporting to the vigilance team. After being handed over to the GRP, she said she was given the card from a person identified as Shivaji Pawar, who had simply told her that she had been appointed as a TC.

Prasad Pandre, senior GRP inspector, said Pawar was traced to Pune. “He was dismissed from service from the railways. He had sold the card to Pooja after taking money from her brother on the pretext of getting her a job.”

Officials from the railways’ commercial department pointed out that in view of the increase in the number of cases of fake TCs, a QR code has been developed which will allow passengers to procure all details of ticketing staff. “It is also a way to ensure that our staff is not roughed up by commuters doubting their credentials,” said an official.

On the CR’s charge of a lax attitude towards the fake TC menace, Ravindra Sengaokar, the GRP commissioner who took charge recently, said his officials will look into all cases closely. “We will ensure that none of the culprits go scot-free.”

NFR initiates measures to curb unauthorised vending

MALIGAON: Unscrupulous hawkers and unauthorised vendors cause inconvenience to bona-fide passengers which has become a deep-rooted malaise over Indian Railways. Indian Railway is vigilant against such unauthorised vendors and last year approximately 2.2 lakhs such offenders were arrested all over the country. Up to April this year alone, 62 thousand such offenders were booked under relevant provisions in section 144 of Railway Act, 1989.

Ministry of Railways has now decided to step up actions against such unauthorised vendors and instructed all zonal railways to take all possible preventive measures. A set of guidelines has been issued so that this menace can be eradicated completely.

As the first step, major sections and trains affected with these activities are being identified and a close watch is being kept on trains having no pantry cars. Railway Protection Force personnel in zonal railways are asked to go for surprise checks on the identified sections and trains in close coordination with the Commercial Department. It has also been decided to dismantle all unauthorised kitchens in and around the stations limits or along the tracks to stop the source supply of items for vending. At the same time, it has been decided to issue Identity Cards to authorised vendors. Steps are being taken to co-ordinate services provided by registered vendors to the passengers and their grievances are being paid attention. As an incentive, railway officers and other employees will be rewarded for initiating steps in stopping unauthorised vending. Staffs up to the lowest level are also being sensitized and motivated to prevent unauthorised vending.

Western Railway initiates various measures in view of Cyclone ‘VAYU’

MUMBAI/AHMEDABAD: Considering the alertness for ‘VAYU’ cyclone over Gujarat, various safety and security precautions for train passengers are being taken by Western Railway for the prone areas under the jurisdiction of WR i.e. Veraval, Okha, Porbandar, Bhavnagar, Bhuj and Gandhidham. The following measures are being undertaken:-

1) All the passenger and Mail/Exp trains to these stations are being short terminated/cancelled after 18.00 hrs of 12.06.19 to morning of 14.06.19.

2) The coaching stock presently available at depots and station yards at coastal areas are being shifted to safe places.

3) Special trains with six to ten coaches each will be formed, to be kept in ready condition at nearest safe location to be moved in emergency conditions.

4) WR HQ office and Divisions have been instructed for better coordination with state authorities for passenger convenience.

5) Round the clock manning of Emergency control office at HQ and at Divisional level by Officers of concerned departments for immediate relief arrangement.

6) WR to run one Special train each from Gandhidham, Bhavnagar Para, Porbandar, Veraval and Okha to evacuate all persons from respective areas.

7) All Railway authorities at concerned divisions and HQs including Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd (DFCCIL) and Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) have been instructed to provide adequate man power, material alongwith required machinery like JCBs, tree cutters, water tanks, tractors, generators etc and to be in readiness for any assistance as and when needed. These authorities have also been instructed to maintain constant communication with respective field officials to ensure necessary immediate action.

8) Detailed notification regarding cancellation/short termination/diversion etc will be issued shortly.

First Electric Loco Freight train chugs on Villupuram-Cuddalore Port stretch

TIRUCHCHIRAPPALLI: For the first time an electric locomotive hauled freight train has been operated in the Villupuram – Cuddalore Port Junction energised section more than two months after the stretch was authorised by the Commissioner of Railway Safety for introduction of passenger and goods traffic.

The freight train transporting rice to Thanjavur from Villupuram was hauled by an electric loco up to Cuddalore Port Junction from where it was hauled by a diesel locomotive since the remaining stretch from Cuddalore to Thanjavur via Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam was yet to be electrified. The Villupuram – Cuddalore single line broad gauge stretch was the first portion to be electrified in the mainline section from Villupuram to Thanjavur via Cuddalore, Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai and Kumbakonam.

The Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL), a Government of India enterprise under the Ministry of Railway has been entrusted with the task of executing the electrification project in the 228-km mainline section from Villupuram to Thanjavur which serves as an alternate route to Chennai from Tiruchi and to Tiruchi from Chennai.

The RVNL took up the electrification work in the Villupuram – Cuddalore Port Junction stretch completing it in March this year which was followed by mandatory inspection by the Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, Bengaluru. The Commissioner of Railway Safety authorised the newly electrified stretch for introduction of passenger and freight trains on March 25 subject to series of stipulations laid down by him after inspecting the energised stretch.

Senior RVNL and Tiruchi Railway Divisional officials said the first electric locomotive hauled freight train with 42 wagons transporting rice was operated on Sunday from Villupuram to Cuddalore Port Junction. The electric loco was detached at Cuddalore Port Junction and a diesel loco was attached with the freight wagons to continue with its onward journey up to Thanjavur, said the officials.

An RVNL official said the foundation works and mast erection as part of the ongoing overhead electrification project in the remaining stretches from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai and beyond was apace. Simultaneously, the RVNL would also electrify the 38-km stretch from Mayiladuthurai to Tiruvarur via Peralam, Punthottam and Nannilam as part of this project being executed at a cost exceeding ₹ 300 crore. The RVNL’s plan is to complete the stretch from Cuddalore to Mayiladuthurai in 2020 and the last portion from Mayiladuthurai to Thanjavur by 2021, said the official.

Land acquisition for Jeypore-Malkangiri Railway line to be expedited: MP/Nabarangpur

MALKANGIRI: Newly-elected Nabarangpur MP Ramesh Chandra Majhi on Tuesday said fast-tracking the land acquisition process for the much-awaited 130-km Jeypore-Malkangiri railway line would top his agenda.

“As soon as the land is acquired, Ministry of Railway will take over and both the State and the Centre will monitor the project’s pace,” Majhi said.

Speaking to RailNews, the MP delineated his development agenda for the region and said a holistic approach will be adopted for the region’s growth plan.

In a two-day-long visit to Malkangiri – part of his Parliamentary constituency – post his election to the Lok Sabha, Majhi toured different pockets in the district and interacted with the people on various issues.

He also visited the Maoist-affected Badpada and Janbai villages in the tribal-dominated ‘Swabhiman Anchal’ for interaction with villagers.

Majhi met the Commandant of Border Security Force AK Arya at Chitrakonda to take stock of the commencement of work on 11/33 KV line at Badpada which would improve the electricity scenario in the area.

“Commandant Arya has requested to set up a Jio mobile tower in the area and I plan to take up the issue with other officials soon,” Majhi said and explained that this would be significant for security issues. Provision for better mobile and internet connectivity to the people of Malkangiri will also be taken up, he said.

48km Railway Line from Ludhiana to Dhuri to have Double Track

LUDHIANA: Keeping a tab on the increasing rush of trains on the Ludhiana-Dhuri lane, Northern Railway has started the project of laying double-lane tracks on the Ludhiana-Dhuri railway route to cater to the rush of trains in near future and make travelling for passengers more convenient.

The announcement of the much-needed project was done by the previous divisional railway manager of Ferozepur division Vivek Kumar after looking at the status of train rush on the same route, which led to inconvenience to frequent travellers. The railway authorities had started its development project by removing the encroachments along the railway tracks passing through the Dhuri railway route for creating space for another railway track.

Providing information on this, Ludhiana station director Abhinav Singla said, “The Northern Railway authorities know about the increase in rush of trains on Dhuri railway route in the coming years. So, the project of laying down the double tracks was under way on the same route.”

“There are two major development projects which fall under the jurisdiction of Ferozepur division – one is laying of double tracks on Dhuri lane and the second one is Mullanpur-Ludhiana railway track project. These will be completed by the December this year. The higher authorities did not disclose the estimated cost of the development project but it was a costlier project worth crore of rupees. The double-lane track will be laid on 60km of the Dhuri-Ludhiana railway track,” station director said.

Sources in the railway department said that, “Two months back the higher authorities of the Northern Railway board had visited the Ludhiana railway station to carry out inspection of the electrification work of the Ludhiana-Dhuri railway route and give a green signal to the electrical department officials to run electric engine on that route to save time and money.”

“At that time, the higher authorities of the railways had claimed that it was taking every possible step for the betterment of passengers as they had started the service of electric engine on Ludhiana-Dhuri stretch with a view to running high-speed trains on that route in the coming years.” They further added that, “The railways had made the announcements at that time that they would run the train which would have electric engine. In the next few years, the railway will run electric train across the border areas of Punjab to make passenger travelling more convenient,” sources said.

Railway fencing on Dhuri line caught up in politics

After political interference, the railway staff was forced to stop digging a trench between the road and the railway tracks (Dhuri Railway line) here today. The Railways has planned to install fencing alongside the tracks to prevent mishaps.

The railway officials have claimed that fencing is required to stop illegal crossing of tracks and misuse of railway land for unauthorised parking and sabzi mandi.

As digging work started in the morning, a number of local residents, supported by politicians, reached there to oppose railway action. Lok Insaaf Party (LIP) chief and MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains also reached the spot, and allegedly opposed digging work. Later, Congress leader Kamaljeet Singh Karwal visited area and asked the officials not to dig the trench.

An official said the Railways had got encroachments along the tracks removed sometime ago. The railway officials, along with the government railway police (GRP), had gone to the site for the installation of fencing, but some leaders forced them to stop digging work, he said.

Senior Section Engineer of Railway Anil Meena said: “People used to cross the tracks in an illegal manner while others had encroached on land along the tracks for setting up a subzi mandi and a parking. To prevent mishaps, we have to install fencing there.” He said MLA Simarjeet Singh Bains and Congress leader Kamaljeet Singh Karwal opposed digging work today. “The trench was being dug close to the road as wires had been laid along the tracks. If we had dug a trench close to the tracks, any damage to the underground wires could have led to disruption in rail services. We will conduct meetings with the leaders tomorrow and let them understand the situation,” he said.

Monitoring Committee to review progress of Bhanupali-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project

The Chief Secretary said that the construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project is the priority of the state government and all efforts are being ensured to complete the project as early as possible.

SHIMLA: Himachal Pradesh Chief Secretary BK Agarwal held a review meeting with Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, an enterprise of Government of India, to review Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project on Tuesday.

The Chief Secretary said that the construction of Bhanupalli-Bilaspur-Beri New Rail Line Project is the priority of the state government and all efforts are being ensured to complete the project as early as possible. He said that a monitoring committee under his chairmanship would be constituted to monitor the progress of the project every three months.

Agarwal said that the acquisition of land falling in Himachal Pradesh in the first phase of the project has been done and a compensation of Rs 40 crore has been disbursed to the affected families.

He said that the process of acquisition of land in six more villages has been completed and compensation will be disbursed shortly. Chief Project Manager Rail Vikas Nigam Limited Rajeev Soni (Indian Railway Service of Engineers) said that forest clearance up to 20 km has been accorded by the Government of India.

He requested that the forest clearance and land acquisition beyond 20 km should be expedited. He added that the contract for the construction of tunnels up to 20 km has already been awarded and tenders for the construction of bridges would also be awarded within a week.

Railways give red signal to Tejas Coach production to ramp up Train-19

NEW DELHI: India’s first fastest train – the Tejas Express – which runs between Mumbai and Goa – is about to get terminated. The Indian Railways have decided to stop production of Tejas Express. The Railways plan to upgrade their technology with Distributed Power Rolling Stock (DPRS) which is apparently better than the current one. Sources said Tejas Express will be replaced by Train 19.

Sources said that this is being done so that they can replace it with much better technology used across the world. “We have asked all the production units to stop manufacturing of Tejas Express. We are migrating to DPRS,” confirmed Rajesh Agrawal, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board.

The officials said that the technology used in Tejas Express will be replaced with DPRS which is being tried in Train 19. This is one step further to Train 18 – Vande Bharat Express – which will have sleeper coaches. “The DPRS will allow faster acceleration and deceleration. It will happen within 1-2 minutes. At present, it takes 12-15 minutes for the same. It will save time, fuel and power,” Agrawal said.

There are only two Tejas Express trains in the country – the Mumbai-Goa and Chennai-Madurai. The production of the third one is on hold. Speed wise, Tejas Express, which uses LHB coaches, had touched 180-200 kmph during trial runs. This is the same as Train 18.

The tickets of Tejas Express is available during weekdays barring weekends. This semi high-speed train departs CSMT at 5 am and reaches Karmali at 1.30pm. On the Chennai-Madurai route too there have been complaints of clogged toilets, broken windows and LCD sets etc.

There have been cases in the past where the LCDs and entertainment units inside Tejas Express were damaged. The manufacture of Tejas Express coaches is 10-15% more than a normal LHB coach used for Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express.

The railways are also working on speeds of Rajdhani Express using DPRS, which will save journey time by two hours. Train 18 or Vande Bharat Express is a flagship train of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Track

  • There are only two Tejas Express trains in the country – the Mumbai-Goa and Chennai-Madurai.
  • The technology used in Tejas Express will be replaced with DPRS
  • The Rail ministry had said that nearly 130 Train 18/19s would be manufactured in the near future