Jharsuguda-Barapali Rail line may start Operations by June 2016

Kolkata (KOAA): After nearly a decade long wait the 53.5-km Jharsuguda-Barapali rail link in Odisha is expected to be operational in June 2016. Financed by Coal India Ltd (CIL), the rail link will help evacuate fuel from the vast Ib-valley reserves in Sundergarh district.

Originally scheduled for completion in 2009, the project has undergone nearly four-fold cost escalation to approximately ₹2,200 crore. The delay was caused primarily due to land acquisition and green hurdles.

The CIL sources say the rail link will improve coal availability by 20 million tonnes (mt) per annum. In the longer run, the project may help increase coal production by nearly 80 mtpa by helping monetise idle reserves such as Siarmal (50 mtpa), Kuldah (15 mtpa), Garjandhal (10 mtpa), Vasundhara West (8 mtpa) and others.

Major achievement

Jharsuguda-Barapali is part of a total of 323 km track network proposed by the former UPA government to boost coal availability by nearly 300 mt a year.

While the UPA could achieve reasonable progress on Odisha link, other two projects Tori-Shibpur-Hazaribagh (91 km) in Jharkhand and Bhupdeopur-Raigarh-Mand (180 km) in Chhattisgarh, were in early stage of implementation when the Manmohan Singh government was voted out of power in May 2014.

The Narendra Modi government is now pushing for implementation of these rail links through joint venture route (CIL 64 per cent, railways 26 per cent and State government 10 per cent). However, as per latest estimates, even the truncated Tori-Shibpur link is not expected to be operational before 2017. Bhupdeopur-Raigarh-Mand is still in early stages of implementation. The Centre is now pushing CIL to take up a host of such projects through the JV route. These include doubling of the track capacity of the Jharsuguda-Barapali rail link and doubling of the existing link from Jharsuguda to Sambalpur.

Viability of JVs

However, there are question marks over the viability of the JVs as it would primarily benefit railways through higher freight revenues at the cost of CIL’s capital expenditure.

The State contribution is limited in offering land. The contribution of railways is largely limited to technical support.

Lack of financial commitment from Railways is also dogging the CIL plan to buy own wagons. An inter-ministerial committee is now looking at the issue.

Flywheel Technology based Energy Recovery System generates DMU fuel savings

flywheel techA flywheel-based energy recovery system could reduce fuel consumption on DMUs by up 10%, according to the findings of a research project carried out by Ricardo, Artemis Intelligent Power, and Bombardier.

The DDFlyTrain project sought to demonstrate the feasibility, operational fuel and energy savings, and economic investment case for the use of high-speed flywheel energy storage on DMUs. The hybrid solution is based on Ricardo’s TorqStor high-speed flywheel energy storage system and Artemis’ Digital Displacement hydraulic pump-motor transmission.

The project was launched in 2013 and was led by Artemis with funding from Innovate UK and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB). After extensive simulation based on field service data, DDflyTrain designed and produced a proof-of-concept test rig to demonstrate the viability and performance of the technology. An initial integration exercise to incorporate the hardware and software into a Bombardier Turbostar DMU has also been completed.

flywheel techWhen starting, the efficiency of a typical DMU transmission, which uses a torque converter, can be as low as 30%. According to Ricardo, a significant improvement in fuel consumption is possible if energy normally dissipated through braking can be reused to augment acceleration from a standing start during the period of poor transmission.

DDFlyTrain calculates that with a fuel saving of around 10%, a return-on-investment in the flywheel system should be possible within five years.

Ricardo says the technology could also have applications on dc electrified lines in southern England, where network power capacity constraints can place restrictions on the number of trains allowed to operate in some areas. Here the use of flywheels could reduce current demand on the power grid as a train starts, thereby increasing the effective capacity of the electrification system.

Survey of Gajuwaka locality to include under Metro Rail corridor delays DPR by DMRC: GVMC Commissioner

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Its good news to the residents of Gajuwaka, which is the industrial region of the city, as Vizag Metro Rail authorities have started surveying the area to include it in the proposed Metro Rail for Vizag.

The delay in submitting the Detailed Project Report (DPR), for the Vizag  metro is attributed to the ongoing survey being done on  Gajuwaka region. There was criticism from various quarters that state government was focusing more on Vijayawada metro as its DPR was first submitted to the chief minister, N Chandrababu Naidu in April itself whereas Vizag metro plan preparation has been still underway.
Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been tasked to prepare DPRs for both Vizag and Vijayawada metros.  And Metro Man, E Sreedharan has been appointed as the advisor to both the metro rail projects. Now it is learnt that the DPR is expected to be completed by this month and submitted to the state government in July. State government’s metro rail projects advisor, E Sreedharan also visited Vizag in the last week of May to check the progress of the ongoing studies. During his visit, it was hinted that DPR will be read by June 15.
As the related surveys and studies have begun late and the length of Vizag metro is 10kms more than that of Vijaya-wada, the DPR preparation has been delayed. All studies regarding Vizag Metro Rail Project such as Topographic, Environ-ment Impact Assessment, Social Impact Assessment and Traffic studies have been completed. Only geo-technical survey has to be completed which is under process.
“We have almost completed all the studies and surveys related to Vizag metro rail. Meanwhile on the requests of the local public representatives, Mr Sreedharan, during his last visit, wanted the agencies involved in the DPR preparation also to survey Gajuwaka to include it, which is going on. Due to the last minute inclusion there is delay in DPR submission. DMRC is hopeful of submitting the DPR by this month end. Its up to the government to decide whether to connect Gajuwaka or not but we are surveying the area and including it in the DPR,” said a senior official of GVMC, who is privy of Vizag Metro Rail DPR preparation told this correspondent.

Maharashtra CM ask DMRC officials to revise the DPR of the four upcoming Metro corridors in Mumbai

Mumbai: Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials to revise the detailed project report of the four upcoming Metro corridors in Mumbai, said U P S Madan, metropolitan commissioner.

Fadnavis met DMRC officials on Wednesday to take stock of the Andheri (E)-Dahisar (E), Andheri (W)-Dahisar (W), Bandra-Mankhurd and Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane Metro corridors.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has also decided to carry out work on Metro-II and Metro-IV (Charkop-Dahisar-Bandra-Mankhurd) corridors in three phases. This means, work will first begin on the Andheri (W)-Dahisar (W) stretch and then the Bandra-Mankhurd stretch. For now, the Andheri (W)-Bandra (W) stretch has been kept on hold.

Also, these will be elevated corridors instead of underground. The decision to build elevated Metro-II and Metro-IV corridors was taken after it was found that these were faster and easier to construct compared to an underground one. Also, while building an elevated Metro corridor, traffic movement would not be as severely affected as when constructing an underground one.

MMRDA hopes that the DPR upgrades are done soon so that the work can begin in the next 12 months. The agency plans to have a total 130-km of Metro corridor by 2020, including 33.5-km-long Metro-III (Colaba-Bandra-Seepz) underground network.

The Metro-III corridor is facing hurdles due to opposition from citizen groups against the car depot in Aarey Colony and rehabilitation of project-affected people in the Kalbadevi-Girgaum belt. A panel set up to find alternative locations for the depot is expected to submit its report in a week.

Railway Minister to flag-off DEMU service in Angamaly-Piravom corridor on Sunday

Ernakulam (ERS): The Railway’s modern 1400 High Horse Power Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rakes aimed at solving the commuting problems of short distance commuters will start operating services in Ernakulam district from June 21.

Union Minister for Railways, Suresh Prabhu will flag-off the DEMU services in the Angamaly-Ernakulam-Tripunithura-Piravom corridor at a function to be organised in Ernakulam on Sunday.

Details of the services were finalised at a meeting held in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday, chaired by Minister for Power and Railways Aryadan Mohammed. “A diesel-powered rake (train) is on its way to Ernakulam for Sunday’s inauguration. An eight-coach mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) train will take over from Monday and operate on all days except Sundays,” Divisional Railway Manager Sunil Bajpai told.

The rake will be taken to the Kollam MEMU shed for maintenance on Sundays. The fare will be affordable, as in existing inter-district MEMU services. There would be no AC coaches for now, he said. The main railway stations in the present corridor are Angamaly, Aluva, Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Junction, Tripunithura and Piravom.

DEMU service tvc divnThe train will operate from 6 a.m. to 8.30 p.m. It will operate eight daily trips, with Ernakulam Junction as the terminal station. . The decision of the railways to introduce DEMU follows the high patronage for the DEMU rakes introduced by Southern Railway in the Salem-Vridhachalam-Salem sector from last month.

The “push-pull’’ type rake to be deployed will consist of eight coaches-two Driving Power Coaches on both ends and six passenger coaches and can carry up to 1,300 passengers. The coaches are inter-connected with vestibules and the commuters can move from one end to another end of the rake.

The passenger cars will have a capacity of 312-96 sitting and 216 standing-as against 90 in the conventional day coaches. In the two driving power cars, the capacity will be 138. Another passenger-friendly feature of these DEMU rakes are the presence of toilet at one end of each passenger car.

Mr. Bajpai said the train service could be operated using existing infrastructure in the Angamaly-Piravom corridor.

“The MEMU will be substituted by a diesel electrical multiple unit (DEMU) once Harbour Terminus railway station in Wellington Island and Old Railway Station located behind Kerala High Court, to where rail route has not been electrified, are renovated. Extending the intra-district service to the two stations is awaiting Southern Railway’s approval,” he said.

Thursday’s meeting also discussed renovation of the two stations, repairing rails, signals and allied equipment and the need for rehabilitating people living on Railway premises. The others who participated include Additional DRM P. Mahesh; Senior Divisional Operations Manager P. L. Asok Kumar; Minister for Excise and Ports K. Babu; K.V. Thomas, MP; MLAs from the district; Mayor Tony Chammany, Chairman of Kochi Corporation’s Town Planning Standing Committee K.J. Sohan, an avid votary of suburban-rail corridor with Ernakulam as the base; GCDA Chairman N. Venugopal and senior officials of Cochin Port Trust and the Navy.

Railway officials also said tenders had been awarded for Thirunettur railway overbridge for which the State would give Rs. 9 crore and Rs. 3 crore would be made available from MP’s fund. The plan for Vathuruthy railway overbridge has been approved and Navy and Port Trust clearances received.

The State government also sanctioned Rs.2 crore for augmenting waiting room amenities at Ernakulam Junction and Town railway stations.

CCTV Cameras soon in select Suburban and Special/Premium trains under SWR

Bangalore: Suburban and special/premium trains under the South Western Railway are likely to have Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras soon as part of a larger plan of the railways to ensure safety of women and check crimes in trains.

The proposal on installing CCTV cameras, which had been pending for long, has been cleared. But it’s unclear when the cameras will actually be installed in trains under the SWR. Sanjiv Agarwal, Division Railway Manager, Bengaluru, said that they were yet to receive information about which trains under the SWR would be equipped with CCTV cameras. “Suburban trains are most likely to have the cameras first, followed by special/premier trains,” he added.

CCTV cameras were first installed in trains under the Northern and Southern railway zones as a pilot project. The railway budget for 2015-16 mentioned installing CCTV cameras in suburban and premier trains like Shatabdi, Rajdhani, etc.

Nirbhaya Fund 

According to railway officials, since the prime objective of installing CCTV cameras is to make women feel safer, the Nirbhaya Fund would be utilised for the purpose. Nirbhaya Fund was set up to spend on issues of women’s safety, following the Delhi gang rape of 2012.

The new system will help keep tabs on miscreants harassing women passengers in trains. The railways registered the highest number of molestation cases on running trains in 2013-2014. There were also incidents of assault on women in railway compartments. Surveillance cameras would be installed in select coaches and personnel of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) would monitor them. CCTV cameras at railways stations are monitored by RPF personnel.

But the big question is, will the move achieve its intended objective? That’s difficult to say, according to Sudha S, who travels frequently from her hometown Bhopal to Bengaluru where she lives.

She feels the move may not act as a deterrent to molesters. “CCTV cameras may record men molesting women in trains or thieves decamping with passengers’ valuables. But will that result in the security personnel catching the offenders in trains?

The railways should first deploy enough security personnel, only then can the cameras help,” she reasoned.

Western Railways chips-off Platform to save man stuck underneath train

Mumbai: In a bizarre event that railway officials in the city are saying might be a first, the edges of a platform had to be chipped off to pull out a passenger who had slipped through the gap of a train and had got stuck. Due to quick thinking and action by Western Railway authorities a 26 year old male passenger had a miraculous escape after falling in the gap between the train and platform at Bandra station on Thursday evening.

The incident happened when the Minesh Nahar tried to board a Dadar-Dahanu Mainline Multiple Electrical Unit (MEMU) train at Bandra station around 5 pm.

minesh at bandra pfA WR official said, “Minesh tried to board the train as soon as it was pulling out of the station. Minesh could not land his feet in the compartment. Instead, he managed to land his feet on the ladder unsuccessfully. He soon got drawn in the gap between the platform and the train.”

The width of MEMU compartment is 10 meters as against 12 meter for Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) for suburban train.

As soon as he fell, there was commotion and someone also pulled the alarm chain. Passengers on the platform alerted the guard to stop the train. The train too was brought to halt immediately as it had not gained speed.

WR’s divisional railway manager Shailendra Kumar said, “The youth was slightly stocky in sezie and hence people could not pull him out. Fortunately, he was in good health and was able to communicate even though he was caught in awkward situation. We immediately rushed the personnel in the Accident Relief Train deployed at Bandra Terminus and called the engineering personnel at the station. The fire brigade too was alerted.”

The officials at the station noticed that his body part below the waist had not suffered any injury. Soon, instruction were given to chip of the end of the platform so that room can be created to the pull him.

After one hour, Minesh was pulled out of the gap but with no sever injury. He only complained of numbness in the legs but WR authorities rushed him to Bhabha hospital were he was declared fit.

Since the train could not move from the platform, fast corridor services towards virar were diverted via slow corridor. This led to cancellation of 15 trains and delay in departure of some long distance trains.

Railway Minister to inaugurate Swanky Passenger Facilitation Centre at Bangalore Railway Station on Saturday

However the new facility at such an important and sensitive location at the Bangalore City Railway Station does not have the CCTV Surveillance Cameras installed, leave alone the RPF Security Help Desk

swanky SBC stationBangalore (SBC): A swanky, spacious passenger facilitation centre is all set to be declared open for the public at the City railway station this weekend. Built at a cost of Rs.5.5 crore over the last five years, the oval-shaped building is located at the second entry side of the station (Platform 8 entry). It will have nine ticket-booking counters with eight of them catering to passengers booking general tickets. Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will formally inaugurate the Centre on Saturday.

Sanjiv Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Bengaluru Division said the new facility would help passengers of the long-distance trains that depart from platforms 5 to 10 purchase tickets with ease.

“When the eight-lane, signal-free corridor comes up at Okalipuram, we expect a huge surge of passengers from the second entry side,” he said. The existing eight counters for unreserved tickets located at this entry would be shut down as soon as the new facility is started, he added. “A branch of the food court Hallimane will come up at this spot,” he added. A pay-and-use toilet, cloak room, catering stalls and an enquiry counter will be located in the ground floor, the DRM said.

Car Parking

Additional DRM Sunanda Arul said a parking lot has been constructed in the basement and 50 cars can be parked here at any given time. “The building is quite spacious with each floor running into 16,000 sq feet,” she said.

Each day, 105 trains (Passenger as well as Express) arrive at the City Station and an equal number depart from here, she added.

Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Dr Anup Dayanand Sadhu said the facility will decongest the existing ticket booking counters on the second entry side. “Anywhere between 38,000 and 40,000 unreserved tickets are booked every day. When it rains, passengers struggle to book open tickets at the existing counters on the second entry as it is not sheltered,” Sadhu said.

India takes steps aimed at building ‘One Rail’ link from Chabahar Port/Iran going towards Afghanistan & Central Asia

Rail-Rail link with border control rules for SAARC Nations means intensifed resource flow

New Delhi: If China has its One Belt-One Road (Obor), India could have its One Road-One Rail (OROR). Last month India took an important step aimed at building the ‘One Rail’ link from the Iranian port of Chabahar going inland towards Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Earlier this week on Monday, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a motor vehicles pact that could, in the first instance, ease road transportation across the eastern edges of the subcontinent, eventually linking in to roads in Myanmar and Thailand and onward to the Pacific.The only missing link is the land access across Pakistan. If Pakistan wishes to also benefit from this trans-Asian rail-road link, cutting across the Gangetic plain, then it should help convert the BBIN motor vehicles agreement into the already-penned South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) motor vehicles agreement, a document waiting to be signed.Pakistan chooses not to, merely to deny India land access to Afghanistan and beyond. That is why the rail project in Iran is important.Iran’s new leadership shares with South Asian and South-east Asian leaders the view that connectivity is key to both intra-regional trade and to regional economic development. At their last summit, the leaders of the Saarc and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) adopted joint statements that emphasised the importance of ‘connectivity’.

It is the first C, connectivity, that Asia needs in order to promote the other C, cooperation. BBIN leaders have agreed to place equal emphasis on all forms of connectivity, including digital. But the first step is building road connectivity.

Interestingly, the portfolio of Bangladesh’s minister for roads is ‘minister of road transport and bridges’. His Indian counterpart’s title is ‘minister of road transport, highways and shipping’ and that of the Nepalese minister is ‘minister of physical infrastructure and transport’.

Infrastructure, highways, bridges, shipping all get connected facilitating the movement of goods and people. The missing minister at the BBIN gathering was the minister of railways. The joint statement adopted by BBIN’s road ministers on June 15 recalls the commitment of Saarc leaders to “deepen regional integration for peace, stability and prosperity in South Asia by intensifying cooperation inter alia in trade, investment, finance, energy, security, infrastructure, connectivity and culture”.

The Saarc leaders had agreed at their last summit to enhance regional connectivity “in a seamless manner” through building and upgrading roads, railways, waterways, energy grids, communication and air links, to “ensure smooth cross-border flow of goods, services, capital, technology and people”.

If BBIN can upgrade their road, rail and port infrastructure and link these to Asean’s, the integration of the Indian subcontinent with Indochina would be enhanced. Turning West, better land linkages to ports in Gujarat and then rail and road links from Chabahar inwards into Central Asia, would link the subcontinent to the Eurasian region.

Taken together, these two initiatives of this past month would be India’s Oror response to China’s Obor. The only difference is that China has pots of money to fund its infrastructure proposals. India has some money, but not enough. That is where Japan can and should step in.

The BBIN initiative was, in fact, aided by the Asian Development Bank’s South Asian Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (Sasec) programme and is the product of the Sasec road connectivity programme. Japan should also step in to fund India’s road-rail projects in Iran. After all, the Oror project can link Iran to coasts along the Pacific, enabling Japan to use a parallel land-based route to energy rich West and Central Asia, and reduce its vital dependence on the Indo-Pacific route.A word of caution. The ‘seamless’ integration that Saarc leaders conceptualised requires not just good infrastructure but also an efficient administration, trade facilitation systems and simple procedures. At the end of the day, bureaucracy can ruin all plans if the systems that facilitate movement of goods, services, capital and people are not rational, simple and transparent.Already, sceptics in BBIN capitals have expressed concern about the ability of their respective bureaucracies to translate the enthusiasm of their leaders into efficient systems.So, even as BBIN invest in the creation of infrastructure, they must move quickly to improve the efficiency of their border controls and procedures. The BBIN can learn from the countries of the European Union that have created efficient systems in this regard. On this score, the Asean nations are no better than the BBIN given mutual suspicions within the region and the difficulties associated with intra-regional movement of goods and people.

On the western side, it is reasonable to assume that Pakistan will take a long time before opening up its borders to the free movement of vehicles and goods going from India to Iran and Central Asia. Hence, the importance of the India-Iran agreement on Chabahar and the Indian government’s decision to speed up port, road and rail infrastructure development there. Quietly, but surely, India has launched its own Oror.

(Courtesy: Sanjaya Baru. The writer is Honorary Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi)

Russia to engage with India for development of High-speed Railway Network

India and Russia are in talks for its high-speed train network plans in India after the latter showed interest for a tie-up, a top railway official said here. Vladimir Yakunin, president of Russian Railways , said they were keen to tie up with Indian Railways for the planned high-speed rail links, as the country has expertise in this area.

Yakunin, who was talking to journalists on the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, said that India and Russia had a relationship in technological matters, both defence and civilian, and this is likely to continue in the future.

He said earlier he had himself held discussion at top level with Indian politicians and officials on improving the signalling and safety infrastructure in India, so that the accidents happening on the Indian Railways network could be avoided.

Yakunin told that the Russian Railways had some of the most advanced systems in place in these two areas, “but for some reason, there was no finalisation even after several rounds of talks two years ago”.

Yakunin, who has led the Russian Railways for the last 10 years, said discussions with Indian officials took place recently for a high-speed rail project in India, and “hopefully, something concrete should emerge soon”.

He said Russia already has several high-speed rail links and has plans to set up over 4,000 km of lines which can run trains at 400 km an hour. In addition, around 7,000 km of fast lines would be built that will be capable of running trains at 140 km to 200 km per hour.

Russian Railways is spread over 85,000 km and has 1.3 million employees. It carries around one billion passengers a year and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight, fourth highest in the world behind the US, China and India.

Indian Railways carry 182.71 Million Tonnes of Freight During April-May 2015

New Delhi: Indian Railways Carry 182.71 Million Tonnes of Freight During April-May 2015. Railways have carried 182.72 million Tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during 1st April to 31st May, 2015. The freight carried shows an increase of 2.20 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 180.52 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 1.22 percent.

During the month of May, 2015, the revenue earning freight traffic carried by Indian Railways was 92.91 million tonnes. There is an increase of 1.19 million tonnes over the actual freight traffic of 91.72 million tonnes carried by the Indian Railways during the same period last year, showing an increase of 1.30 percent.

Railwaymen to perform yoga on Sunday

New Delhi: Railways, which has made yoga mandatory at all its training centres, has sought the participation of employees at a session to be held at Rail Bhawan here under the guidance of an expert on June 21.

According to a Railway Ministry circular, all employees including officials of the Ministry have been asked to attend an hour’s yoga session starting at 10 am on Sunday morning in accordance with the spirit of the International Day of Yoga.

However, the participation in this is voluntary, it said.

Railways had earlier made yoga mandatory at all its 295 training centres across the country and plans to cover all its employees by 2020.

“Steps are being taken for providing mandatory yoga training at all railway training centres to cover all employees by 2019-20,” Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar has said.

Railways has about 295 training centres for imparting training to its officers, loco pilots, guards, technicians and other services’ employees across the country.

As per the action plan, now yoga has become compulsory as part of training for which instructors are being hired.

Railways have issued instructions to all our zonal headquarters, divisions, field units and centres to be part of the yoga camp on June 21.

Railway Protection Force personnel rescues a Septuagenarian

Secunderabad: Passengers witnessed anxious moments when a septuagenarian women found locked between the platform and the train. This incident happened on 16th June 2015 at Secunderabad Station when Smt. Nirmala Korada aged 71 carrying heavy luggage was boarding the Train No.12760 Charminar Express, she accidentally slipped and fell in the gap between the platform and the train.

RPF ASI Dawood
Relieved Smt Nirmala Korada speaking to her family members after the incident. Also seen is Mr MD Dawood ASI RPF

MD Dawood, Assistant Sub Inspector Railway Protection Force, Secunderabad and the Head Constable saw the women in danger and immediately pulled her out and rescued. She sustained minor injuries on her right leg. RPF staff tendered first aid to the victim. The rescued passenger and others on the platform appreciated the RPF staff for extending timely helping hand.

Indian Railways expresses regret over inconvenience to passengers in Itarsi accident

New Delhi: Railway Board PRO Anil Saxena on Thursday expressed regret over the inconvenience caused to the passengers in the recent train accident at Itarsi railway station, saying that senior officials of Bhopal division and Jabalpur zone and all other teams are fighting round the clock to normalise the situation at the earliest by restoring the signalling system and point and switch system.

“It is a case of major disruption and I would like to appeal through the media that passengers should check the status of their trains before embarking on their journeys either through our website or through National Train Enquiry System. They will receive information as to where the train has been diverted and whether it has been cancelled or short-terminated. All teams have been fighting round the clock to normalise the situation at the earliest so that signalling system can be restored, including the restoration of the point and switch system for smooth movement of trains. But since this is a case of major disruption, this may take time. We regret the inconvenience caused and appeal to all passengers to check before travelling,” Saxena told ANI here.

“At railway junction Itarsi, the Route Relay Interlocking chamber caught fire. Our signalling system and changing point of switch got destroyed. The Railways have sent an order for investigation. Itarsi is an important railway junction and the movement of a lot of trains have been affected. Almost 143 trains have been affected since yesterday. Out of that we have cancelled 72 trains, diverted 61 trains…The routes that have been affected are Mumbai-Bhopal, Mumbai-Allahabad-Jabalpur, Bhopal-Nagpur. We are taking time in releasing one train at a time from Itarsi junction. But since the movement of all trains are not possible, that is why we are diverting some trains. We are trying our best to normalise the traffic,” he added.

In the wee hours of the morning, yesterday, a fire broke out in the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) room at Itarsi Railway Junction in Madhya Pradesh.

The fire was extinguished by use of Fire Tenders.

Inspection of the Signalling Relay Room, after the fire was extinguished, has indicated extensive damage to Operation Panel, Indication Panel and all wiring.

A considerable number of relays have also been badly damaged.

Signalling Relay Room system is a system by which all the signals and the crossings which are used for changing of routes at junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices.

As a result, complete train operation at Itarsi station has been disrupted leading to severe detention to trains passing across Itarsi station.

Itarsi Station is the critical junction station on Bombay-Bhopal, Bhopal-Nagpur and Bombay-Jabalpur-Allahabad route.

This junction station deals with about 75 pairs of express passenger trains every day and about 25 goods trains each way.

Divisional Officers have already reached site and General Manager of the Railway is also proceeding.

Member Traffic of Railway Board, along with senior signalling, and Operating officials are also proceeding for the site.

Whereas the full extent of the damage is being assessed, detentions to trains would take place as all the operations are now being done manually instead of through electrical devices.

The trains on the section are being cleared one-by-one. Certain number of trains have been diverted through alternate routes and certain trains may have to be cancelled for the next one or two days.

The passengers are being advised to check the status of trains before the start of the journey.

Refunds are being arranged for passengers of cancelled or diverted trains.

AP State Cabinet accord Approval for Rs.6823 Crore Vijayawada Metro Rail project

Vijayawada: The Andhra Pradesh State Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Rs.6,823-crore Vijayawada Metro Rail project.

Briefing media after the Cabinet meeting, I & PR Minister Palle Raghunatha Reddy said the DPR submitted to the government was given the go-ahead. He said it would be completed by 2019. The metro would have capacity for 764 passengers and cover a distance of 26.3 km in two corridors during the Phase-I. The first corridor of Phase-I would be from Pandit Nehru Bus Station to Penamaluru and would cost Rs.2,587 crore, while the second corridor would be up to Gannavaram airport from PNBS involving an estimated expenditure of Rs. 3,148 crore. He said 31.02 hectares of government land would be required for the project.

The Centre and the State would be contributing Rs.866 crore each, while a loan of Rs.3,600 crore would be taken from Japan International Cooperation Agency.


  • The Rs. 6,823-crore project is expected to be completed by 2019
  • With a capacity for 764 passengers, it will cover 26.3 km in two corridors
  • The Rs. 6,823-crore project is expected to be completed by 2019

Lite Bite Foods ties up with IRCTC to offer delicacies in Indian Railways

Mumbai: Lite Bite Foods, one of the largest F&B retail company in the country, has tied up with IRCTC (The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation) to offer scrumptious and high quality cuisines at a budget price to commuters travelling by Indian Railways. The services will be offered at New Delhi, Nizamudddin, Old Delhi and Delhi Cantt. railway stations. The tie up is a part of IRCTC’s endeavour to offer varied cusiness to passengers to choose from its newly launched e-catering service. Railway passengers can now relish the delicious north Indian thali by Street Foods by Punjab Grill.

A passenger can order either by logging on to IRCTC’s E-Catering website or through IRCTC’s toll-free number 1800-1034-139 and 0120-2383892-99 or an SMS to 139 giving details of their PNR and seat number.

Rohit Aggarwal, director, Lite Bite Foods said, “We are delighted to tie up with Indian Railways, we look forward to cater passengers across the country with best of our delicacies. Every passenger can now opt for his/her favourite cuisine, who earlier preferred to munch chips and biscuits than buying food on the train.”  Sharad Sachdeva, CEO, Lite Bite Foods added, “We also plan to extend the service to more stations gradually and introduce kiosks of Lite Bite Foods’ core brands (Punjab Grill, Baker Street, Asia 7) at various railway stations.”

IRCTC has recently identified 1,144 more trains for extension of its e-catering service, which allows passengers to get the food of their choice from leading food chains delivered to their seat via online or SMS booking.

With this tie up, Lite Bite Foods has expanded its presence and entered the railways, the company was earlier awarded the food and beverage concessions at Mumbai Airport and New Delhi Airport and has set up Street Food by Punjab Grill, Baker Street and also operates various other brands at the airports such as – Pizza Hut, KFC, Krispy Kreme and 4700 BC.

Railway Minister strongly advocates Automatic Sharing of Tax Information to all Nations at G20

Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Minister for Railways
Suresh Prabhu, Minister for Railways, Govt. of India

New Delhi: India has strongly argued for widening the agenda for sharing of information on tax issues and has called for holding a round table on infrastructure to deepen investment in this critical sector. Railway minister Suresh Prabhu, India’s sherpa for the G20 meeting, raised several issues to highlight the concerns of emerging economies.

In an interview on the sidelines of the G20 Sherpas meeting in the Turkish resort town of Bodrum, Prabhu details the agenda ahead for the G20 to lift inclusive growth globally. Excepts:

What were the key issues that you raised?

India is chairing the emerging economies group. Before the G20, we meet informally as a group so that we can more or less have a similar position.We expressed our concerns and one of the issues that we have talked about is trade. We are seeing a worrying phenomenon globally, that the share of global trade is declining.

We need to find out the reasons, structural or otherwise, which are contributing to it. It has been agreed that we will look into it. For India, it is a great opportunity because we are growing at 7.5% without global trade growing.

What has been the movement on anti-corruption and tax issues?

This is something which has been our very strong stand.The prime minister took it up in Australia. I had also taken it up. We are repeating that. There are two things.One is BEPS (Base Erosion and Price Shifting). It is a tax evasion if not a black money issue. Two, automatic sharing of information, which has significantly changed the way global black money is generated.Today , unless you have a treaty, you don’t get information. Even if you have a treaty, they say you must show criminality then only you can get information. This automatic sharing of information which G20 has agreed…I requested that this be extended to all countries of the world so that we can have something like a UN mandate. Every country will be sharing, so, automatically , the concept of tax haven will disappear. We should try to make it a universal convention like we have so many other conventions.

What was the discussion on infrastructure?

I had said in December that what we should do is to organize a round table. See, there is a very unique phenomenon.On one hand, there is so much of liquidity. Global economy is not expanding but there is so much of liquidity globally . At the same time, one of the rea sons why global economy is not expanding is that demand is not there and that too in developed countries. We said why not create demand by investing in infrastructure. Some countries said we should try to find bankable projects but we said what is bankability . If you take 30 years time frame, bankability will always be there. We have said there could be a number of roundtables to bring all the stakeholders in infrastructure -investors, countries like India which has projects where matchmaking would be possible.

Was there any discussion on skills?

Thanks to India, G20 has taken an initiative called G20 skills.So if you can link the need, for example in Japan, there is a need for nurses as people are getting old. If you can link need with availability, then we can train our nurses here for Japan but Japan will have to change rules of migration. We are very keen on employment.India has been saying that for quality youth, jobs should be created. But India has reservations which I strongly put forward that there should not be any monitoring because the G20 is saying that we will monitor it. There is no proper database about it, no proper method, so unless you develop those methodologies transparently , there is no point.

Railway Minister rules out Privatization of Indian Railways

SureshBodrum, Turkey: Railway minister Suresh Prabhu has ruled out privatization of the state-run transporter and has said that the government was already taking measures to improve the capabilities of the network.

A government-appointed panel headed by Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy had suggested radical revamp of the state-run behemoth and backed the idea of private sector participation in some areas of the network. It also called for scrapping of the separate railway budget.

Rail unions have rejected the report and have said they will resort to agitation if the recommendations are accepted by the government.

“I don’t know where is the question of privatization. Many of the things that the Bibek Debroy committee report has said we are already implementing it. For example, in my budget speech, I talked about accounting reforms. Then we talked about regulator, it is part of the report. Delegation, which the report has talked, we have already delegated power the day I became minister,” Prabhu told on the sidelines of the G20 Sherpas meeting.

“They are talking about giving autonomy to zones. We signed MoU’s with two zones well before the report,” he said.

Prabhu said the government had not yet examined the report but added that a few things that the Debroy panel had suggested were already being implemented as they were “good practices”.

On the issue of funds for the railways, the minister said there were adequate funds. “Whatever money we need is available to us,” Prabhu said.

The minister has undertaken several measures to revamp the financial health of the railways and raise the level of investment to modernize the network. State-run agencies have pledged funds to revamp the railways while the government has said it is exploring ways to attract funds from global pension funds and other entities to fast track projects.

Following Notice from NHRC, Railways deploy Armed personnel in night trains passing through Odisha

New Delhi: Following a notice from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Railway Board has informed the Commission that armed personnel of railway protection force (RPF) and government railway police (GRP) are being deployed in all passenger trains passing through Odisha at night.

The railway board’s measures have come in the wake of the looting and attack on passengers travelling in Puri-Khurda train by dacoits at Malatipatpur between Sakhigopal and Delanaga stations in January.

At least 14 passengers were attacked and robbed in the moving train, the complaints of which were not received by the general police at Kanasa.

Advocate and social activist Nishikant Mishra had approached the NHRC in an application alleging that due to absence of security personnel in trains at night, the passengers were facing such nuisances regularly. Mishra had alleged that the armed dacoits had boarded the ill-fated train at Puri.

Pursuant to the NHRC notice, the railway SP at Cuttack had submitted a report before the Commission admitting the fact.

The railway SP had also informed that the dacoits were arrested soon and the stolen articles and cash were recovered from them.

Kerala Monorail Corp to be renamed as Kerala Rapid Transit Corp Ltd.

Kochi: The 13th board meeting of Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd. (KMCL), chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy here on Wednesday, decided to convene the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the special purpose vehicle later this month to ratify the corrected balance sheet and audit by the CAG. Principal Adviser to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) E. Sreedharan, the brain behind the light metro project, was not present at the meeting as he was indisposed.

The approval of the AGM is needed to submit the corrected balance sheet and CAG audit report to the Registrar of Companies, along with the application to rename KMCL as Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd. (KRTL), in view of the switchover from monorail to Light Metro in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

An error in the audited statement of accounts of KMCL had stalled a decision taken last year to rename the company as KRTL. The Registrar of Companies had returned the balance sheet submitted along with the application. The KMCL Managing Director explained to the board the error in the balance sheet, the delay caused in renaming the KMCL to KRTL, and the ratification needed of the AGM for the corrected balance sheet.

The board also asked the government to expedite the clearance to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the DMRC and pending with the Cabinet since October 24, 2014. The board gave its consent for the takeover of the land belonging to M/s De Mendez near the CRPF camp at Pallippuram for the Light Metro depot.

KMCL vice-chairman and Minister for Public Works V. K. Ebrahim Kunju; Minister for Industries and IT P.K. Kunhalikutty; Minister for Health V. S. Sivakumar; Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, K. M. Abraham; Secretary, PWD, A.P.M. Mohmmaed Hanish; Chief Operating Officer, Kerala Road Fund Board P. C. Harikesh; and KMCL Managing Director. P.I. Sheikh Pareeth attended.

Application for changing SPV’s name to be submitted

Railway Systems in India has turned into a tech-savvy, customer-friendly, Finally!

The Railway system in India is on a major innovations spree. From promising cleaner coaches and toilets to offering some serious dining variety, here’s how the government is making travelling by train cool again.

Clean-My-Coach App:

Fewer cockroaches onboard is always a good thing, we think. Long-distance train travelling is about to get more hygienic with this newly launched app which promises to get train coaches (and soiled toilets) cleaned in under 15 minutes. The app will allow travellers to file complaints online, which will be routed to the on-board housekeeping staff for quick remedying.

RISSTA App:

RISSTA (Railway interactive Security Solution for Travelers Assistance) – An Android mobile application for security of MMTS passengers of twin cities (Secunderabad & Hyderabad) was launched on 4th June, 2015. The utility of this App by MMTS passengers met with many positive results. On 9.6.2015 at 09.01 hrs. help button of RISSTA App was activated by a passenger named Shri Anil, Cell No. 9866123593 travelling in General Coach of Tr.No. 47176 (Lingampally-Falaknuma MMTS) when the train was passing Hi-Tech City Railway Station. Immediately, a message was automatically conveyed to next 3 MMTS stations. At Bharathnagar MMTS Railway station Sri. K.S.Naidu, Home Guard of RPF rushed to the passenger. The passenger made complaint that some persons are staying at doorways obstructing free movement of passengers while boarding / detraining. The persons standing at doorways were cleared at 09.05 hrs and the complainant sent a feedback through RISSTA App that “Escort attended at Bharathnagar”In yet another incident, on 11.6.2015 at 18.11 hrs. help button of RISSTA App was activated by a passenger by name Shri Arun, Cell No. 9059638854, travelling in General Coach of Tr.No. 47163 (Falaknuma-Lingampally MMTS) while the train was passing Borabonda MMTS Railway station. Immediately, a message was conveyed to next 3 MMTS stations i.e Hi-tech City, Hafizpet and Chandanagar. At Hafizpet Railway station Shri.Ch.Sathya, Home Guard, rushed to the passenger. The passenger made complaint that some persons are standing at doorways obstructing free movement of passengers while boarding/detraining. The persons standing at doorways were cleared at 18.20 hrs. and the complainant sent a feedback via message that “Thanks. Your staff attended the train at Hafizpet”.

Google Maps App:

Google Transit, a feature in Google Maps, helps in planning public transport trips efficiently, and is available through Google Maps app on any Android or iOS device, as well as on the desktop. So, for example if you are traveling from Delhi to Hyderabad to visit your relatives. just open Google Maps on Android or iOS or your desktop PC and type the destination address. Google Transit will intelligently tell you, whether you should take a Metro or a bus to nearest Railway Station. It will also tell you the earliest and best train schedule for traveling to Hyderabad. And, it will let you know which kind of public transport to take after your reach Hyderabad to reach your destination. In short, it will give you full directions from point A to point B, across various transportation means including buses, Metro’s and Railways.

UTS On Mobile App for Android, Windows to buy tickets

Fulfilling yet another commitment of the Railway Budget 2015-16, the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu launched Mobile Application for Paperless Unreserved Ticketing through video conferencing on Egmore–Tambaram Suburban Section of Chennai, at a function here today. This is a pilot project covering 15 stations in Southern Railway and will be extended to entire country in phases. Referring his Railway Budget announcement, the Railway Minister said that for the passenger, the Indian Railways is committed to ‘Operation Five Minutes’ – that is, purchase of an unreserved ticket within five minutes and today’s launching of Paperless Unreserved Mobile Ticket is the first step in this area. He said that it will allow the passenger to buy a ticket on the move and allow him or her to board the train with the ticket secured on his or her mobile phone, without any need for printing the ticket. Shri Suresh Prabhu commended all the members of CRIS to develop the Paperless Unreserved Ticketing Mobile Application and hoped for speedy implementation of other IT projects in the pipeline. The railway Minister said that the innovative ideas are always welcome and said that he has set up ‘Kayakalp’ Council which will consider innovative ideas for the betterment of Indian Railways.

Metro Mitra:

Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 24th April 2015 to jointly work for the development of a comprehensive Mobile Application for Transport information in Bangalore for the use of general public. The Mobile application will provide information about Metro routes, timings, fare and facilities like parking places, retail outlets and other amenities available in Metro stations. The application is also envisaged to include information about bus transport for multimodal trip planning for the urban commuters.

Cash on delivery:

Launched in Feburary this year, the railways introduced their ‘cash on delivery’ service exclusively for online ticketing, aimed at those passengers without access to net-banking facilities, a debit or credit card. Democracy lives, y’all.

Food catering by McDonald’s:

You can leave the theplas at home. In a January 2015 announcement, the gorvernment set new guidelines permitting all express and mail trains (that provide pantry car services) to start catering coronary-inducing ‘ready-to-eat’ meals from McDonald’s and Delhi’s cult favourite Nirula’s as add-on options.

Free WiFi:

Free WiFi will no longer be limited to luxury tourist trains. The Indian Railways, giving priority to express trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto, is set to provide WiFi facilities to over 400 railway stations (in the initial phase). Kick-starting this initiative was Bangalore Railway Station in October last year, with Ahmedabad following suit in January. Plans are on to extend free WiFi internet facility to at least a dozen long-distance trains and major city stations in the country.

Convert waitlisted train tickets to airline tickets:

Buy a train ticket and fly? The IRCTC has tied-up with budget airline carrier GoAir, offering passengers the option to get their waitlisted train tickets converted to airline tickets. At a competitive fare, of course. Over 100 passengers have used this service since it launched last month. That’s 100 people who were smarter than you…

4 Key Rail Links to the Border areas in the Himalayan region face economic challenge

New Delhi: An ambitious plan to start work on militarily crucial strategic railway lines in the upper reaches of Himalayas now faces funding issues. Four critical railway lines that will connect the international border in the Himalayan range to the Indian hinterland and allow quick troop movement face an uncertain future due to paucity of funds. The case is now before Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The lines are likely to cost a staggering Rs 200,000 crore – over $ 30 billion – and comprise around 80 per cent of the total defence budget of 2014-15. But these four lines are the most critical of the 14 planned to help rapid troop movement to the border. The construction is expected to take at least eight years.

Sources told that the Cabinet meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was presented with suggestions on alternative methods for funding, including some form of private participation and equity participation from states that would benefit from enhanced tourism in these remote Himalayan regions.

Himalayan rail plansUnlike China – which has already constructed high-speed railways connecting the 3,448 km Line of Actual Control to the hinterland – this will be India’s first foray to connect the upper Himalayas with the plains.

The lines include the approximately 500-km Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh line, and a nearly 400-km one connecting Missamari in North Assam to the Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.

The two others are the 250-km line connecting North Lakhimpur to Silapathar in Arunachal Pradesh and the 300-km line connecting Rupai in southeastern Assam to Teju, Passighat and Murkongselek in Arunachal Pradesh.

Money will be an issue but it should be sorted, said the source while explaining the quantum. The estimates will rise as boring tunnels in the Himalayas has never been easy and geological formations can prove to be tricky as it has happened in the case of the Jammu-Srinagar railway line.

The existing estimate is just 20 per cent less than this fiscal’s Defence budget of Rs 2,46,727 crore that is 12 per cent of the total government expenditure.

The railway lines will need funding over the next eight to 10 years which is expected to be the gestation period of the project.

This will be the first foray of India in the upper Himalayas to build strategic railway lines. This will enable rapid deployment of troops, especially the newly created Mountain Strike Corps mandated to face China. The most important railway lines will connect Leh in Jammu and Kashmir and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh with the mainland India. Both these are at the Line of Actual control (LAC), the de facto border with China.

The other two routes will connect one of the remotest parts of Arunachal Pradesh and facilitate easier military movement between other northeastern states and Arunachal Pradesh.

The Tawang line is most significant, considering the strategic importance of the area which is also a major Indian military base. At present, there is no crossing over the Brahmaputra from Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram forcing the troop movement by a circuitous road route.

For north India, the rail link to Leh will be crucial. The pre-feasibility report pegs the entire 498-km all-weather broad gauge Bilaspur-Manali-Leh railway line to be the costliest of the four lines.

A British era 181-km narrow gauge line exists between Pathankot in Punjab and Joginder Nagar in Himachal Pradesh. It can be converted into broad gauge. The conversion is expected to cost Rs 3,300 crore.

The rail line to Leh is expected to pass through Upshi in Ladakh providing further bifurcation to important conflict points at Demchok and Chumar in southeastern Ladakh.

Suburban Services on Trans-harbour line suspended as Track Relaying Train machine brakes down

Mumbai: Services on the Trans harbour line corridor has been suspended after a Track Relaying Train (TRT) machine broke down on Thursday morning.

Trans harbour services operate between Thane and Panvel. The trains services were suspended since 5.40 am.

Central Railway spokesperson said, “TRT machine broke down between Thane and Airoli stations. Trans harbour line passengers are permitted to travel via harbour line by interchanging trains at Kurla to travel to Navi Mumbai and vice versa.

He further said that services between Thane-Vashi may resume by 9 am but CR is running shuttle services between Nerul to Panvel until Trans harbour line is restored.

A large number of commuters from Thane- Karjat-Kasara belt, Mulund, Nahur and Bhandup stations use Trans harbour corridor to travel to Navi Mumbai.

Since services have been suspended on Trans harbour overcrowding has been reported on CR’s main line corridor as commuters are traveling to and from Navi Mumbai-Panvel by interchanging trains at Kurla.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu orders inquiry into Itarsi Station fire

New Delhi: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered a probe into the fire incident at the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) cabin at Itarsi station in Madhya Pradesh which has severely hit Bhopal, Nagpur and Allahabad-bound rail traffic.

The fire broke out at 6 am in the RRI cabin at the station, which is one of the biggest railway junctions in the country. Fire tenders could douse the flames only by 9 am.

The fire inflicted huge damage to the operation room, indication panel and wiring system. As a result, complete train operation at Itarsi station has been disrupted, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Mr Prabhu, who is away in Turkey to attend the G-20 meeting, tweeted:
RM tweets

RRI is a system by which all the signals and the points/crossings which are used for changing of routes at junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices.

Divisional officers have already reached the site and Railway Board Member (Traffic) Ajay Shukla along with senior signaling and operating officials has also left for the spot, the official said.

He said while full extent of the damage is being assessed, detentions of trains would take place as all the operations are now being done manually instead of through electrical devices.

The trains on the section are being cleared one-by-one. A number of trains have been diverted through alternate routes and some trains may have to be cancelled for next one or two days.

Railways have advised passengers to check status of trains before start of the journey. Refunds are being arranged for passengers of cancelled/diverted trains.

Chennai Metro Rail goes into huddle, issues fresh Safety Norms

Chennai (MAS): Senior officers of metro rail went into a huddle and issued a fresh set of guidelines to contractors soon after a motorist, L Giridharan, was killed after a steel girder fell on him.

“No work was on when the accident occurred. We are investigating how it happened,” said an official. “In the meanwhile, we are reinforcing guidelines like the need to have nets, barricades, signages and others,” he added. A senior official said contractors were following the guidelines set by safety consultants. “Workers have been given training to work at a height and awareness programmes are being conducted at periodic intervals. Safety culture followed by each contractor is being monitored. Still, human error is causing accidents. The aim is to prevent such mishaps.”

An assessment of safety standards at worksites conducted by a general consultant says the overall performance in relation to target achievement and incident occurrences is good. But it also “recognised that the need for further improvement is necessary with emphasis on planned risk managed operations without reliance on luck.”

Building the metro rail network is taking a toll on the city’s infrastructure and safety though its record has been comparatively better when compared to other cities during construction. Cracked buildings, caving roads, falling scaffoldings, and uneven roads are some of things the city has had to bear. “We have been very careful to prevent accidents,” said an official. Building overhead stations has been a big challenge as they are built across busy arterial roads with minimum space. “Nets have been placed under all stations to prevent things from falling down,” said the official. Strong action is being taken against the contractor for violation of safety rules.

In spite of the checks, motorists have seen drums and concrete blocks falling down on to the road from elevated station work sites.

Dadar locals not opposed to Mumbai Metro-3: Maharashtra CM

Mumbai: Stating that residents of Dadar are not opposed to the Metro project, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said that the locals from Dadar (West) have shown readiness for rehabilitation at an alternative place. He added that he will get the survey done for exploring whether rehabilitation is possible on the same place or a new one.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) had issued notices to the residents on June 4 to vacate their buildings to enable the Metro-3 work to start.

A delegation of project affected persons in the 33.5km Metro-3 corridor connecting the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz line had met the chief minister on Tuesday. Fadnavis made it clear that the government would not consider cancelling the Metro-3 project at any cost. The delegation was led by minister for industries Subhash Desai and MLA Sada Sarwankar.

While replying to a question on this issue during his press conference after the cabinet meeting, the chief minister said that the residents met him with Desai and MLA Sarwankar. He informed that the residents are not opposed to project and they have shown readiness for the rehabilitation at a suitable place. Fadnavis informed that the delegation also suggested an alternative spot for rehabilitation of these residents.

Fadnavis informed that he has assured the delegation that he would explore the possibility for rehabilitating them at the same place. He said that he would also get a survey done for the alternative spot suggested by the residents.

Metro is for migrants: Raj

Voicing his opposition to the displacement of people, MNS chief Raj Thackeray charged that the Metro was being constructed for people who migrated to the city, but Maharashtrians would have to bear the brunt. He supported the Dadar residents who stand to be displaced because of the project. Raj alleged that these projects were being implemented in areas like Girgaum and Dadar where the number of Maharashtrians was large. He added that this was a ploy to sever Mumbai from Maharashtra. He called on the Shiv Sena, which shared power in the state government, to scrap the project instead of agitating against it.

Goods Wagon Derails on KK Line

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The movement of trains was disrupted on the Kothavalasa-Kirandul line of Waltair division of East Coast Railway, after a goods train derailed near Karakavalasa near Borra railway station on Wednesday.

The wheels of the front wagon of the Kirandul-bound goods train derailed near Karakavalasa, about 85 km from Visakhapatnam. Following the accident, the Visakhapatnam-Kirandul-Visakhapatnam passenger train was cancelled Wednesday.

The derailment also disrupted several goods trains on the KK line. The officials said that track restoration works have been initiated.

China keen on Kunming-Kolkata Highspeed Rail to give boost to Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Multimodel Corridor

Kunming: China is keen to establish a high speed rail link between Kunming and Kolkata as part of its efforts to revive the ancient silk route, traversing through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The proposal, which found a mention at the recently held Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) meet here, seeks to give a boost to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) multi-model corridor project initiated by China.

New Silk Rail Route“We are in favour of it. The high speed corridor would help the economies of Myanmar and Bangladesh as well, apart from connecting Asia’s giants i.e. China and India” said Li Ji Ming, Vice Secretary of Yunnan provincial government while indicating funding from multilateral bodies such as Asian Development Bank.

The 2800 kilometer rail route could be a critical component for the BCIM corridor that seeks cross border trade and flow of people.

China has pledged $40 billion for the silk route, having a trade potential of USD 132 billion. China has been endeavouring for a revival of the silk route with a visionary plan to establish wide ranging connectivity from Kunming to Kolkata.

Yunnan enjoys crucial geographical location, involving in GMS and BCIM regional cooperation. It is one of the major provinces engaged in construction of China-Indo-China peninsula economic corridor and BCIM economic corridor.

As part of efforts to strengthen connectivity, Ming said Shandong Airlines would start flight services between Kunming and New Delhi from next month.

Currently Kunming, capital of Southwest China’s Yunnan province, is only connected to Kolkata.

Talking to reporters following the just concluded China south Asia trade fair here, Ming sought “active participation” from India in taking ahead the BCIM and China-India peninsula corridor projects.

“We are glad to know that after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed office, the look east policy has substantially moved ahead. We hope we can join our efforts together. We are big partners and influential in the region,” he said.

Talking about the expo, Ming hoped there would be more representation from India in next edition in comparison to just 10 companies this year.

The inauguration of the fair was attended by Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh last week.

“We need more Indian companies participation as there is a vibrant private sector,” Ming said.

He also talked about an Indian night event organised on the sidelines to promote economic and cultural ties between India and China.

Talking about the entertainment sector in particular, he favoured screening of more and more Indian films in Chinese theaters and joint collaboration in movie making.

The recent release of Aamir Khan starer PK has been a hit in China, Ming, who plans to catch the movie soon, said.

Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation

The Bangladesh–China–India–Myanmar Forum for Regional Cooperation (BCIM) is a sub-regional organisation of Asian nations aimed at greater integration of trade and investment between the four countries. The Bangladesh China India Myanmar Economic Corridor is an initiative conceptualised for significant gains through sub-regional economic cooperation within the BCIM. The multi-modal corridor will be the first expressway between India and China and will pass through Myanmar and Bangladesh.

These advantages are envisaged to accrue from greater market access for goods, services and energy, elimination of non-tariff barriers, better trade facilitation, investment in infrastructure development, joint exploration and development of mineral, water, and other natural resources, development of value and supply chains based on comparative advantages, by translating comparative advantages into competitive advantages, and through closer people to people contact.

The proposed corridor will cover 1.65 million square kilometres, encompassing an estimated 440 million people in China’s Yunnan Province, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Bihar in Northern India through the combination of road, rail, water and air linkages in the region. This interconnectedness would facilitate the cross-border flow of people and goods, minimize overland trade obstacles, ensure greater market access and increase multilateral trade.

Historical Background

The concept of economic cooperation within the BCIM region was first developed by Professor Rehman Sobhan who advocated that multi-modal transport connectivity and supported by other initiatives and infrastructure development could significantly reduce transaction costs, stimulate trade and investment and consequently accelerate growth and poverty alleviation in this region.

Professor Sobhan’s pioneering ideas would eventually lead to the development of the platform in the 1990s which came to be known as the ‘Kunming Initiative’. The first meeting of the Initiative was convened in 1999 in Kunming; presided by a number of representative organisations such as The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) from Bangladesh, Centre for Policy Research (CPR) from India and Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences in Kunming, China; from the Myanmar side it was the Ministry of Trade which represented the country.

The ‘Kunming Initiative’ evolved into the BCIM Forum for Regional Cooperation during its first with the objective to create a platform where major stakeholders could meet and discuss issues in the context of promoting economic growth and trade in the BCIM region; identify specific sectors and projects which would promote greater collaboration amongst the BCIM nations; and strengthen cooperation and institutional arrangements among the concerned key players and stakeholders to deepen BCIM ties.

Over the years, the Kunming initiative developed into what came to be popularly known as the BCIM Forum. Successive BCIM Forums were held annually making a seminal contribution in raising awareness about the potential benefits accruing from the BCIM cooperation. BCIM cooperation also started to feature in intergovernmental discussions, at highest political levels, as was recounted above. The initial vision of the Kunming initiative was to gradually steer the endeavour from an essentially civil society (Track II) to an intergovernmental (Track I) one where political buy-in and intergovernmental ownership would be key to realising the vision and the objectives of the initiative.

Current State of Affairs

One of the most recent developments to the BCIM came to fruition during the meeting between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2013. Li’s visit marked the first time high-ranking officials had discussed the trade corridor. Furthermore, earlier in the year, the first ever BCIM car rally was held between Kolkata and Kunming via Dhaka to highlight road connectivity in the four countries.

On December 18, 2013, the four nations drew up a long discussed plan, emphasising the need to quickly improve physical connectivity in the region, over two days of talks in the south-western Chinese city of Kunming— the provincial capital of Yunnan, which borders Myanmar— on Wednesday and Thursday. This marked the formal endorsement on the BCIM-EC by the four nations, whereby it was agreed that the corridor will run from Kunming to Kolkata, linking Mandalay in Myanmaras well as Dhaka and Chittagong in Bangladesh.

Benefits of the Corridor

The economic advantages of the BCIM trade corridor are considerable, most notably: access to numerous markets in Southeast Asia, improvement of transportation infrastructure and creation of industrial zones.

The construction of industrial zones will have a twofold benefit. Firstly, it will lead to industrial transfer boosting industries such as processing, manufacturing and commerce logistics. Secondly, as labour costs rise in China, labour-intensive industries such as textile and agro processing will eventually be shifted out of China. These industries will need to be transferred to new regions with lower labour costs. Companies operating in China will likely give priority to the trade corridor region given its established infrastructure, improved logistics and ease of access.

India’s isolated eastern and north-eastern states also stand to gain by higher trade and connectivity with China and the rest of Asia.

Priority Sector

The eleven BCIM Forums, organised in rotation by the aforesaid institutions in the four countries, have highlighted the potential benefits of closer cooperation among the four countries in such areas as connectivity, trade, investment, energy, water management, tourism and other areas. The four countries also agreed to encourage greater cooperation and exchanges in the BCIM region in the areas of education, sports and science and technology.

Leadership and Representation

During the last held session in 2013, India was represented at this week’s talks by Joint Secretary (East Asia) at the Ministry of External Affairs Gautam Bambawale, who was joined by the Deputy Planning Minister of Bangladesh, the Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and a Senior economic affairs official from Myanmar.

Cooperation

Through linking the ASEAN Free Trade Area, ASEAN-China Free Trade Area and the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area, the corridor would constitute as one of the largest free trade areas. Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar hope to create a corridor that would effectively combine road, rail, water and air linkages in the region. This will also bolster foreign trade of the BCIM countries and empower bilateral trading.

ISRO’s GAGAN to provide Navigational Support systems to Indian Railways

ISRO has said it will provide navigational support to the country’s Railways through ‘GAGAN’ (GPS-aided Geo-Augmented Navigation) system and to to arm Indian Railways with space technology for navigational support

Bangalore (SBC): ISRO has said it will provide navigational support to the country’s Railways through ‘GAGAN’ (GPS-aided geo-augmented navigation) system.

“ISRO will provide satellite-generated information to the railways through space technology-based tools that will provide safety at unmanned level crossings,” ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar told reporters here yesterday in reply to a question on how will ISRO help the Railways in using the navigational support system.

“There are host of requirements for using GAGAN in railways. We are providing some solutions,” Kumar said.

GAGAN RailwaysGAGAN is an indigenous navigational guide system developed by ISRO on the lines of GPS system of the US.  US based Raytheon is the System Integrator for GAGAN Project of ISRO.  Airport Authority of India had already implemented GAGAN in India with the help of ISRO earlier in the year 2011.

Elaborating on it, Kumar said that at some places the railway tracks are under stress. If water accumulation happens, then based on digital elevation model data, other host of information which they generate, can be given.

“There is specific information provided for aligning the railway tracks, particularly in mountainous regions, and also identifying tracks which are most stable when you are going through tunnels. In all these things, space technology is useful,” he said.

“We are trying to provide space technology-based tools for enabling them to deal with unmanned level crossings,” he said.

GAGAN was jointly developed by the ISRO and Airports Authority of India (AAI) with a view to assist aircraft in accurate landing.

The GAGAN signal is being broadcast through two Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) satellites – GSAT8 and GSAT10.

With the use of GAGAN software system, a train would know the location of any unmanned level crossing and soon a a warning signal can be given.

As soon as the warning signal will be given, the train’s hooter will automatically start when it comes near an unmanned crossing.

About ISRO’s GAGAN project:

The GPS aided Geo Augmented Navigation or GPS and Geo-augmented Navigation System (GAGAN) is an implementation of a regional satellite-based augmentation system (SBAS) by the Indian government. It is a system to improve the accuracy of a GNSS receiver by providing reference signals. The AAI’s efforts towards implementation of operational SBAS can be viewed as the first step towards introduction of modern communication, navigation, surveillance/Air Traffic Management system over Indian airspace.

The project has established 15 Indian Reference Stations, 3 Indian Navigation Land Uplink Stations, 3 Indian Mission Control Centers, and installation of all associated software and communication links.It will be able to help pilots to navigate in the Indian airspace by an accuracy of 3 m. This will be helpful for landing aircraft in tough weather and terrain like Mangalore and Leh airports.

The 7.74 billion (US$123 million) project is being implemented in three phases through 2008 by the Airport Authority of India with the help of the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) technology and space support.The goal is to provide navigation system for all phases of flight over the Indian airspace and in the adjoining area. It is applicable to safety-to-life operations, and meets the performance requirements of international civil aviation regulatory bodies.

The space component will become available after the GAGAN payload on the GSAT-8 communication satellite, which was launched recently, is switched on. This payload was also on the GSAT-4 satellite that was lost when the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) failed during launch in April 2010. Final System Acceptance Test will be conducted during June 2012 followed by system certification during July 2013.

To begin implementing a satellite-based augmentation system over the Indian airspace, Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) codes for L1 frequency and L5 frequency were obtained from the United States Air Force and U.S Department of Defense on November 2001 and March 2005. The system will use eight reference stations located in Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Jammu and Port Blair, and a master control center at Bangalore. US defense contractor Raytheon has stated they will bid to build the system.

A national plan for satellite navigation including implementation of Technology Demonstration System (TDS) over the Indian air space as a proof of concept had been prepared jointly by Airports Authority of India (AAI) and ISRO. TDS was successfully completed during 2007 by installing eight Indian Reference Stations (INRESs) at eight Indian airports and linked to the Master Control Center (MCC) located near Bangalore. Preliminary System Acceptance Testing has been successfully completed in December 2010. The ground segment for GAGAN, which has been put up by the Raytheon, has 15 reference stations scattered across the country. Two mission control centres, along with associated uplink stations, have been set up at Kundalahalli in Bangalore. One more control centre and uplink station are to come up at Delhi. As a part of the programme, a network of 18 total electron content (TEC) monitoring stations were installed at various locations in India to study and analyse the behaviour of the ionosphere over the Indian region.

GAGAN’s TDS signal in space provides a three-metre accuracy as against the requirement of 7.6 metres. Flight inspection of GAGAN signal is being carried out at Kozhikode, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Bangalore airports and the results have been satisfactory so far.

GAGAN after its final operational phase completion, will be compatible with other SBAS systems such as the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS), the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) and the Multi-functional Satellite Augmentation System (MSAS) and will provide seamless air navigation service across regional boundaries. While the ground segment consists of eight reference stations and a master control centre, which will have sub systems such as data communication network, SBAS correction and verification system, operations and maintenance system, performance monitoring display and payload simulator, Indian land uplinking stations will have dish antenna assembly. The space segment will consist of one geo-navigation transponder.

A flight-management system based on GAGAN will then be poised to save operators time and money by managing climb, descent and engine performance profiles. The FMS will improve the efficiency and flexibility by increasing the use of operator-preferred trajectories. It will improve airport and airspace access in all weather conditions, and the ability to meet the environmental and obstacle clearance constraints. It will also enhance reliability and reduce delays by defining more precise terminal area procedures that feature parallel routes and environmentally optimised airspace corridors.

  • GAGAN will increase safety by using a three-diemensional approach operation with course guidance to the runway, which will reduce the risk of controlled flight into terrain i.e., an accident whereby an airworthy aircraft, under pilot control, inadvertently flies into terrain, an obstacle, or water.
  • GAGAN will also offer high position accuracies over a wide geographical area like the Indian airspace. These positions accuracies will be simultaneously available to 80 civilian and more than 200 non-civilian airports and airfields and will facilitate an increase in the number of airports to 500 as planned. These position accuracies can be further enhanced with ground based augmentation system.

The first GAGAN transmitter was integrated into the GSAT-4 geostationary satellite, and had a goal of being operational in 2008. Following a series of delays, GSAT-4 was launched on 15 April 2010, however it failed to reach orbit after the third stage of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk.II that was carrying it malfunctioned.

In 2009, Raytheon had won an 82 million dollar contract. It was mainly dedicated to modernize Indian air navigation system. The vice president of Command & Control Systems, Raytheon Network Centric Systems, Andy Zogg commented:

“GAGAN will be the world’s most advanced air navigation system and further reinforces India’s leadership in the forefront of air navigation. GAGAN will greatly improve safety, reduce congestion and enhance communications to meet India’s growing air traffic management needs”

In 2012, the Defence Research and Development Organisation received a “miniaturised version” of the device with all the features from global positioning systems(GPS) and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS). The module weighing just 17 gm, can be used in multiple platforms ranging from aircraft (e.g. winged or rotor-craft) to small boats, ships. Reportedly, it can also assist “survey applications”. It is a cost-efficient device and can be of “tremendous” civilian use. The navigation output is composed of GPS, GLONASS and GPS+GLONASS position, speed and time data. According to a statement released by the DRDO, G3oM is a state-of-the-art technology receiver, integrating Indian GAGAN as well as both global positioning system and GLONASS systems.

According to G. Satheesh Reddy, Associate Director of the Hyderabad based Research Centre Imarat (RCI) the product is bringing about a quantum leap in the area of GNSS technology and has paved the way for highly miniaturised GNSS systems for the future.”

On 30 December 2013, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), India provisionally certified the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN) system to RNP0.1 (Required Navigation Performance, 0.1 Nautical Mile) service level. The certification enabled aircraft fitted with SBAS equipment to use GAGAN signal in space for navigation purposes.

Satellites

GSAT-8 is an Indian geostationary satellites, which was successfully launched using Ariane 5 on 21 May 2011 and is positioned in geosynchronous orbit at 55 degrees E longitude.

GSAT-10 is envisaged to augment the growing need of Ku and C-band transponders and carries 12 Ku Band, 12 C Band and 12 Extended C Band transponders and a GAGAN payload. The spacecraft employs the standard I-3K structure with power handling capability of around 6 kW with a lift off mass of 3400 kg. GSAT-10 was successfully launched by Ariane 5 on 29 September 2012.

GSAT-15 will carry 24 Ku band transponders with India coverage beam and a GAGAN payload. The satellite is planned to be launched during 2014-15 by Ariane 5. The platform system is based on I-3K satellite.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System

The Indian government has stated that it intends to use the experience of creating the GAGAN system to enable the creation of an autonomous regional navigation system called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS).

IRNSS-1 Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS)-1, the first of the seven satellites of the IRNSS constellation, carries a Navigation payload and a C-band ranging transponder. The spacecraft employs an optimized I-1K structure with a power handling capability of around 1660W and a lift off mass of 1425 kg, and is designed for a nominal mission life of 10 years. The first satellite of IRNSS constellation was launched onboard PSLV (C22) on 1 July 2013 while the full constellation is planned to be realized during 2014 time frame.

Applications

Karnataka Forest Department has used GAGAN to build a new, accurate and publicly available satellite based database of its forestlands. This is a followup to the Supreme Court directive to States to update and put up their respective forest maps. The geospatial database of forestlands pilot has used data from the Cartosat-2 satellite. The maps are meant to rid authorities of ambiguities related to forest boundaries and give clarity to forest administrators, revenue officials as also the public, according to R.K. Srivastava, Chief Conservator of Forests (Headquarters).

Techpro Engineers Pvt Ltd to conduct Soil Tests for Kanpur Metro Rail project

Kanpur (CNB): Techpro Engineers Pvt Ltd has started collecting soil samples for conducting GeoTechnical Investigation for Rail based Mass Transit System in Kanpur (UP) the proposed Metro route. It would collect samples from every half kilometre for under-ground track and after every kilometre for the elevated track. After testing of soil samples in New Delhi, Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES), an engineering consultancy company under Ministry of Railways, will submit its report along with the detailed project report (DPR) to the officials of Kanpur Development Authority (KDA) in the fourth week of July.

According to a source, RITES, in its preliminary report, has proposed two routes for the city. The first route, which is 24 km long, will start from IIT and culminate at Naubasta via Chunniganj, Mall Road, Nayaganj, Central Station, Transport Nagar and Baradevi. The 9-km long section one of this route will start from IIT and end at Harsh Nagar. It would be an elevated track having nine stations. Section two, which will be 9.5 km long, will start from Chunniganj and end at Transport Nagar. It will have eight underground stations. The 5.5 km long section 3, extending from from Bara Devi to Naubasta, will also be on elevated route with five stations.

Similarly, the second route will commence from Rawatpur Railway station to Jarouli via Kakadeo, Vijay Nagar and Govind Nagar. 5.2 km route out of 9.5 km long route between Jarauli to Vijay Nagar would be elevated and would have six stations while the remaining 4.3 km track will be underground with four stations, the source informed.

High HP dual-cabin Diesel Locomotive to be homed at Diesel Loco Shed/Tiruchi

Tiruchirappalli (TPJ): A newly manufactured high horsepower diesel locomotive with dual cabin arrangement has been introduced by the Railways for the first time in south India.

The 4,500 horsepower loco commissioned this month would be homed at the Diesel Loco Shed in Tiruchi, the biggest shed in Southern Railway zone with a holding of over 150 diesel engines including 27 EMD-type locos. This will be the first shed in south India to home the dual cab loco.

The loco pilot cabin has been provided in both ends of the diesel engine similar to that of an electric locomotive. It could be operated from front and rear cabin.

At present, all diesel engines being operated in south India are provided with only single cabin.

The dual cab loco would provide accurate visibility to the loco pilots to sight the signals and any obstructions on the track even at a speed of 130 kilometre per hour.

Dispatched from the Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi, the dual cab loco is presently being used for training loco pilots of Salem and Palakkad railway divisions on handling the engines.

The loco would be extensively used for hauling prestigious super fast trains such as the Rajdhani and the Jan Shatabdi expresses of south India.

Another unique feature of the dual cab engine is that it has been provided with a parallel display system for the Assistant Loco Pilot to monitor the performance of the engine from his seat. This facility is not available in other locomotives, railway officials here told.

Equipped with computer controlled braking system, the engine can run at a maximum permissible speed of 130 kilometres per hour.

The seats inside the cabin have been ergonomically designed and various parameters such as speed, air pressure in brake pipes, feed pipes, main reservoir tanks have been customised and displayed in a computer (LED) display, eliminating the conventional gauges.

The control panel has been fabricated with fibre reinforced plastic material to give an elegant look.

With a 5,000-litre fuel tank capacity, the engine with six traction motors weighs 123 tonnes.

It would be utilised for hauling Rajdhani and Jan Shatabdi trains upon getting a clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety, the officials said.

Increased movement of containers by road hits rail movement at Chennai Port

Chennai (MAS): Atulya Misra, Chairman of Chennai Port Trust said, with the rise in movement of containers by road, transportation of cargo by rail at Chennai Port has declined by nearly 20% in the last five years.

Speaking at a session on ‘Business Opportunities with Southern Railways’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII),  Misra said that while 33% of the cargo handled at the Port was moved by rail five years ago, it had nosedived to just 13% now.

However, he added that the Port could increase its cargo traffic through rail to nearly 30% once the Railways implements its plan to construct the third and fourth rail lines passing through the gateway facility.

Maharashtra okays Rs.234 Crore for Wadsa Desaiganj-Gadchiroli rail line project

Nagpur (NGP): The state cabinet on Tuesday cleared a proposal to provide Rs.234.64 crore for the Wadsa Desaiganj – Gadchiroli rail line project, which will provide connectivity to the most backward district of the state and Naxalite affected district in Vidarbha. This will be 50% of the project cost as state’s contribution while the railways will chip in with the other half.

The Rs.469.27 crore project to lay 52.86km rail line is expected to be completed in next five years. As per the state’s policy, it was decided to share 40 to 50% of the project cost so that the railway link is provided on priority. Gadchiroli is not only the most neglected district, but lack of employment opportunities have made it a haven for Naxalites.

The district has rich and untapped iron reserves. Folklore has it that the Tatas wanted to set up the country’s first steel plant there but were turned away as it lacked rail connectivity. Later, they went to Tatanagar from where the empire grew.

Among the important decisions taken in the cabinet meeting was approval to the Maharashtra IT and Allied Services Policy 2015. Under this, a target of generating a million jobs and boosting exports to Rs1 lakh crore has been fixed. The cabinet also cleared regularization of services of 699 temporary employees (class IV) of government medical colleges and hospitals subject to completion of ten years of service on March 31, 2007. For this, Rs1.10 crore has been sanctioned.

Setting up of a national cyclone risk mitigation project with the support of World Bank has also been approved. For this Rs84 crore would be provided over a period of five years.

Railway Minister advocates empowering of RPF for Seamless Policing

New Delhi: Despite Debroy committee’s recommendations against maintaining the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu today advocated for empowering it for seamless policing at rail premises.

The Bibek Debroy Committee, in its recent report, has said the Railways’ core activity is to run trains and not to engage in activities such as maintaining the RPF.

The panel has recommended that General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers should be given freedom to choose between private security agencies and the RPF for providing security on the trains.

However, Prabhu, who is away in Turkey for attending the G-20 meeting, said the existing system of managing security by the Government Railway Police was causing glitches in seamless policing.

“The GRP is under various state govts, causing glitch in seamless policing, resulting in several complaints. Pursuing with states for change (sic),” he tweeted.

The RPF is meant for protecting railway properties, passenger areas and passengers though it has limited police powers which are mainly vested with the GRP for which Railways bears the half the cost.

The panel has suggested that the state governments should be persuaded to bear the entire cost of GRP.

However, the dual responsibility system involving the GRP and the RFP has created many glitches for Railways in providing seamless security to passengers.

There are several cases of passengers not been able to lodge complaints of theft or other crime incidents because of state boundary issues.

Prabhu has written letters to all chief ministers seeking their consent for amending the RPF Act, 1957 to empower the RPF and reducing the role of the GRP.

NITI Aayog to meet on June 18 to fast-track India-Bangladesh Rail Project

New Delhi: NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India Aayog) will hold a meeting in New Delhi on June 18 in a bid to break the deadlock on the proposed India-Bangladesh railway project, Tripura Transport Minister Manik Dey said on Tuesday.

“NITI Aayog has called a meeting on Thursday (June 18) to break the deadlock on the 15-km Agartala-Akhaura rail project along Tripura,” Dey told reporters here.

Meanwhile, a senior state official said that the central government was “yet to provide funds for the project”.

NITI Aayog’s chief executive officer or special secretary will preside over the Delhi meeting, where officials of ministries of railway, development of northeastern region and external affairs and the Tripura government will participate.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina discussed the project during Modi’s official visit to Dhaka on June 6-7.

The Rs.575-crore ($90 million) railway project was finalised in January 2010 during the Bangladesh prime minister’s meeting with then Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

“The central government is yet to provide required funds for the project. Land acquisition and subsequent works for the rail project to connect Tripura with Bangladesh will be delayed as a result,” a top state government official, who did not wish to be named, told.

He said the state government recently approached the railway ministry again to allocate funds. “No funds were allocated in the railway budget for 2015-16, even for land acquisition,” the official said.

The project cost was earlier estimated at Rs.271 crore. In addition, Rs.302 crore was needed to acquire around 98 acres of land in India for laying the tracks.

“Work to lay the 15-km railway track to link Tripura capital Agartala with Bangladesh’s southeastern Akhaura city is yet to start although the two countries are very serious about executing the project,” a Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) official said.

State-owned Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) is expected to lay the tracks on both sides of the border, with five km falling in the Indian territory and the remaining in Bangladesh.

“The new railway connectivity between the northeastern state and Bangladesh will boost socio-economic, trade and business ties between the two countries,” the transport minister said.

The 1,650-km distance between Agartala and Kolkata would be reduced to only 515 km once the rail track is constructed through Bangladesh.

The NFR is the nodal agency for the project, for which alignment of rail line and other technical details were finalised by officials of both India and Bangladesh.

Rlys to award Research Fellowships to carry out rail-related research at Central, State Universities, IITs, IIMs & IISc

New Delhi: Ministry of Railways will award Research Fellowships to carry out rail-related research at Central and state universities and prominent education institutions like IITs, IIMs and IIS.

Fellowship scheme will be introduced at Central and state universities and centres for excellence like IITs, IIMs and IIS, Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar said here today.

He said a scheme for encouraging railway employees to acquire higher qualifications at Masters level in IITs, IIMs and institutes of repute will also be introduced.

MoUs for setting up of centres for railway research at IIT Chennai, IIT-Kanpur, and IIT-Roorkee will be singed shortly, he said.

Railways had recently signed an MoU with University of Mumbai in April for setting up a Centre for Railway Research. Three more such centres will be established.

Kumar said an Academic Services Agreement was signed with Beijing Jiaotong University, China, for training of 100 officers of various departments in heavy haul technology.

In order to benefit railway officers, M.Tech programme in Railway Engineering is being introduced in consultation with IIT, Kharagpur, from academic session 2015-16.

He said services of professional agencies would be used for evaluation of railway training programmes.

Share capital cut at Central Provinces Railway Co.,

CPRC sharesMumbai: Central Provinces Railways Company has fixed Wednesday as ex-date for the proposed capital reduction.

Accordingly, investors in the company holding 100 equity shares of ₹10 each as on the record date (June 18), will receive six equity shares of ₹10 each post-capital reduction.

From ₹96.4 lakh, the company’s equity share capital will be reduced to ₹5.64 lakh.

LIC owns close to 15 per cent stake in the company, while retail investors hold 62.77 per cent stake.

Indian Railways sets big targets for more tracks this year

New Delhi: The railway ministry last week set ambitious monthly targets for all its zones to commission new lines and double those where just a single line exists at the moment. The Works Directorate of theRailway Board has set a cumulative target of commissioning 600 km of new lines, 900 km of gauge conversion – changing tracks from narrow or metre gauge to broad gauge – and 1,500 km of track doubling. The diktat, which came in after a review meeting of the top officials in the construction and engineering departments, is for all the 16 railway zones and the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which is building lines in several areas of the country.

The good news for Mumbaikars is that the line-up includes 26 km of track doubling on the Pen-Roha section, which will allow trains to move from Central Railway to Konkan Railway – one of the country’s busiest stretches – faster and in better numbers than what the single line allows at the moment. The 26 km target includes 13 km for the Kasu-Nagothana section and another 13km for the Nagothana-Roha section.

Emphasising the need for the hierarchy-heavy railways to be on the same page for the targets to be achieved, the ministry’s letter to all zones stresses the need for several measures to speed up work. Among these measures are the need for timely approval of plans, processing of documents pertaining to the Commissionerate of Railway Safety, and arrangement of traffic blocks for physical construction of the tracks.

According to officials, the next few years will see the railways making big moves on such kind of track works as part of its ambitious network decongestion plans. During his railway budget speech on February 26, railway minister Suresh Prabhu had said that his ministry will fast-track sanctioned works on 7,000 km of double/third/fourth lines and commission 1,200 km of tracks for the financial year starting April this year. At a cost outlay of Rs8,686 crore, this is a sizable 84% increase from the amount spent on this work between April 2014 and March 2015.

The network decongestion plan itself, which called for building new lines beside congested routes, would require a whopping Rs1,99,320 crore till 2019, Prabhu had said during his budget speech.

Railways to hire audit firm to rationalize staff strength

New Delhi: The railways has taken the first step in its bold decision to rationalize staff strength with the state-run transporter shortlisting four private audit companies to initiate the move.

One of the four private companies shortlisted by the state-run transporter – Ernst and Young, Deloitte, PWC and KPMG etc – will be hired for the task.

Member (Staff) of Railway Board Mr.Pradeep Kumar said an HR audit company would be identified to study the entire gazetted staff strength.

He said the company will examine the railways’ manpower given the technological development/changes in operational and maintenance practices and suggest optimal level of the staff strength needed in coming years.

Several independent committees have noted that staff cost (including pension) is the single most significant expenditure item for the railways, accounting for the lion’s share of total expenditure and have suggested rationalizing the number of employees.

As of now, the transporter is the biggest public employer with 13.36 lakh workers on its payroll.

It was found that spending on staff was unmanageably high and growing at an alarming rate as staff costs constituted 48% of ordinary working expenses and 34% of gross traffic receipts in 2013-14.

Railways over the years has become overly centralized, top heavy and hierarchical organization which is suffering from ‘departmentalism’.

Bibek Debroy panel suggested for immediate intervention to right-size the railways’ bench strength which is eating up cash-strapped transporter’s resources.

The committee, in its report, noted that the present railway board is saddled with excess manpower with total staff strength of 1,107 officers.

It noted that there are seven members, two director generals (DG, health and DG, RPF), one secretary, 16 additional members, 21 advisors, 94 executive directors, 200 directors/JDs, 250 DDs/USs and 516 section officers.

“The employee costs including pension constitute the single largest component of railways, which has further become unmanageable after the sixth pay commission. The seventh pay commission in 2016 would further push up staff costs and pension costs which will have serious financial implications for railways,” it noted.

“Thus there is an urgent need to rationalize the manpower,” said the panel.

Kumar said, “Railways will also hire a reputed consultant to examine the strength in non-gazetted section to study the system and requirement and see if there is any extra flab.”

The railways will also take into account international benchmarks before deciding on the issue, he added.

DMRC MD evaluates Kochi Metro Works

Kochi: Managing director of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on Tuesday visited construction sites of the Kochi Metro project to evaluate its progress.

DMRC MD Mangu Singh, who inspected the stretch between Aluva and Maharajah’s College, also held discussions with representatives of the main contractors, Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Soma Constructions.

Later, Singh held a meeting with Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) managing director Elias George. He paid the visit in connection with an earlier decision to increase the workforce of the Metro project.

Railways make yoga compulsory in its Training Centres

New Delhi: Railways has made yoga mandatory at all its training centres across the country and plans to cover all its employees by 2020.

Steps are being taken for providing mandatory yoga training at all railway training centres to cover all employees by 2019-20, Railway Board Member (Staff) Pradeep Kumar said in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Railways has several training centres for imparting training to its officers, loco pilots, technicians and other services’ employees across the country. As per the action plan, now yoga has become compulsory as part of training for which instructors are being hired.

Railways is also gearing up to participate on the international yoga day on June 21 in a big way.

Instructions have been issued to all our zonal headquarters, divisions, field units and centres to be part of
the yoga camp on June 21, he said.

Kumar said directions were also issued to keep rail premises clean and environment-friendly. Railways has also appointed food safety officers at all 78 divisions in the country to ensure hygienic food at railway premises and in trains, he said.

Earlier, only one food safety officer looked after four divisions together.

Railways to continue with Bungalow Peons at officers’ residences

New Delhi: The railways has hinted at continuing the British-era practice of Telephone Attendant-cum-Dak Khalasis (TADK) or Bungalow Peons.

“There is a need for TADK as several railway officials functions 24×7 and 365 days,” said Member (Staff), Railway Board Mr.Pradeep Kumar.

He added, “There has to be somebody at the residence to attend to the telephone and other works as officers remain on the field for longer hours.”

There are allegations of officers mistreating and exploiting TADKs and cases of salaries being withheld.

But TADKs, who are mostly temporary, bear with the troubles in the hope of becoming permanent in the railways.

Coach of Awadh-Assam express derailed at Alam Nagar in Lucknow

Alamnagar (AMG): A coach of Dibrugarh bound Awadh-Assam express today derailed at the Alam Nagar railway station of state capital, said Government Railway Police. GRP added that, the reason of derailment of the coach was yet to be ascertained. None was injured in the incident. Railway experts here said the speed of the train was very slow owing to the closeness of Charbagh railway station thus a major rail accident was averted. However, the rail line was disrupted for couple of hours and senior railway officials have rushed to the spot.

Bangalore Mail derails near Basin Bridge

Two coaches of Bangalore-Chennai Mail derail; no casualties reported

Railway officials inspecting the tracks after the Chennai-bound train derailed near Basin Bridge on Wednesday
Railway officials inspecting the tracks after the Chennai-bound train derailed near Basin Bridge on Wednesday

Chennai (MAS): Two coaches of Bangalore-Chennai Mail derailed near Basin Bridge at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Both coaches of the Chennai-bound train were back on track around 7.45 a.m. Passengers were safe, railway sources said. The derailed coaches include first AC and second AC coaches. The accident affected train services to Chennai Central railway station.

New Tatkal norms come into effect

Booking for AC starts at 10 a.m., sleeper class at 11 a.m.

The new timings for booking Tatkal tickets introduced by the Railways came into effect on Monday.

The timings for booking tickets in air-conditioned coaches through Tatkal quota commences at 10 a.m. on the day before the journey. The tickets in sleeper class coaches through Tatkal quota can be booked only from 11 a.m. on the day before the journey.

Along with the revised timings, all types of ticketing agents have been barred by the Railways from booking reservation tickets during the first 30 minutes of opening of the booking counters, that is from 8 a.m. to 8.30 a.m. This is to ensure the needy and the general public get the benefits of the Tatkal quota.

New servers

Meanwhile, the IRCTC has added two high-capacity servers to double peak-time efficiency for issuing Tatkal tickets. With this the booking capacity through the IRCTC website has gone up to over 14,000 tickets per minute from the existing 7,200.

Tatkal reservations on all trains in the railway network of the country come to roughly 4,00,000 tickets (around 2.5 lakh PNRs).

Around 54 per cent train tickets in the country are booked through the IRCTC website.

The average daily sale of tickets through the portal is 5.5 lakh to 6 lakh. With two more servers, the IRCTC has 17 servers while the existing 1.4 GB bandwidth has increased by 25 per cent.


  • High-capacity servers to double efficiency

  • 14,000 tickets can be booked per minute


Member (Staff) briefs on Initiatives of Establishment, Mgmt Services, Health, Security, Sports & Legal Directorates

New Delhi:  Member (Staff), Railway Board Shri Pradeep Kumar, briefed about the following initiatives and action plans of the Establishment, Health, Security and Sports Directorates of the Ministry of Railways during a press conference held on 16thJune 2015. 

Establishment/Management Services Directorate

  1. Major Initiatives taken
  • MOU signed with University of Mumbai on 18.04.2015 for setting up Centre for Railway Research. Three more such Centres for Railway Research being established.
  • Academic Services Agreement signed with Beijing Jiaotong University, China for training of 100 officers of various departments in Heavy Haul Technology.
  • ‘Indian Railways Chair for Sustainable Mobility’ set up at TERI University, New Delhi.
  • Scheme for Summer Internships for Undergraduates of Engineering and Management Studies introduced on Indian Railways.
  • Scheme for Fellowships in Universities for Railway-related Research in fellowships would be open to Central Universities, State Universities and Centres for excellence i.e. IITs, IIMs, IIS etc introduced.
  • Scheme for encouraging Railway employees to acquire higher qualifications at Masters level in IITs, IIMs and Institutes of repute introduced.
  • As a major IT initiative, online applications introduced in two recent exams for the posts of Sr. Section Engineers & Junior Engineers (SSEs/JEs) and Para-Medical Categories respectively to bring transparency and certainty into recruitment process for better efficiency and substantial savings in cost and resources.  Written examinations for these posts conducted within 2 to 2.5 months from the closing date of examinations.
  • As step towards transparency new system of handing over Question Booklets to the RRB Candidates introduced. Further, Pilot project of uploading of Answer Keys and Cut-off marks initiated in 2014-15.
  • In the recruitment drive during 2014-15, examinations conducted for 48,822 vacancies in 284 categories.  Panels of 15,191 candidates supplied to the indenting Railway(s)/ Production Units(s).  Further, during the current year, it is expected that panels of around 60,000 in Grade Pay Rs 1800 will be declared.
  • Modules on sensitization of Railway personnel on gender introduced in Centralised Training Institutes.
  • Circular to take special care of physically challenged Railway Employees for their training issued.
  • Revised Training Modules of following categories issued – Promotee Supervisors of Mechanical Department, Supervisors of Design cadre of Electrical, Civil & S&T Department, Clerk Categories of Personnel Department.
  • Special Training Module on Soft Skills issued.
  • Two web based IT applications developed by Personnel Officers in house to bring transparency and efficiency – “Comptran” developed for facilitating request transfers over entire Indian Railways. “EGRS”developed for online registration of employees grievances and monitoring their redressal. Both the applications rolled out all over Indian Railways.
  • Pension grievance handling mechanism institutionalised and stabilised bringing down pendency from the range of 5000 to normal level of 500.
  • To make the system of repair and maintenance of staff quarters more responsive, web based complaint management system introduced as pilot project on 3 Railways, RDSO and RCF Kapurthala.
  1. Action Plan
  • MoUs have been planned for setting up of centres for Railway Research at IIT Chennai, IIT Kanpur, and IIT Roorkee.
  • M.Tech. Programme in Railway Engineering for benefit of Railway Officers and staff is being introduced in consultation with IIT, Kharagpur from academic session 2015-16.
  • Services of professional agencies would be used for evaluation of Railway training programmes as also bench marking the Training Centres.
  • For Supervisors, training will be organised at Foreman Training Institute, Bengaluru.
  • HR audit would begin this year by associating professional HR Consultant for undertaking detailed HR evaluation and the two HR modules to be considered would be recruitment on Indian Railways and system of selection/ promotion.
  • Standing Committee for HR benchmarking has been constituted which would do a preliminary analysis for various activities in identified areas department-wise in one or two key areas for undertaking holistic review of manpower deployment.
  • For rationalisation of gazetted man power across Indian Railways, one of the big four HR audit companies would be identified and entrusted with the task of studying the entire gazetted manpower as exiting on Indian Railways and given the technological development/changes in operational and maintenance practices, what should be the optimal level of gazetted manpower on Indian Railways in the coming years.
  • Four holiday homes at Goa, Tirupati, Manali and Puri, have been identified for upgradation and concerned Railways directed to initiate work for the same. Five new holiday homes across different locations will be identified for fresh opening and 10 existing Holiday homes will be identified for refurbishing and augmentation .
  • Comprehensive instructions for providing mandatory Yoga Training in all Training Centres to cover all employees by 2019-20, will be implemented.
  • ERP based HRMS will be implemented. Detailed estimates for the project have been prepared. A consultant is proposed to be hired for scanning the HR environment of Indian Railways, suggest best practices/reengineering and assist in the selecting most suitable partner for implementing the HRMS project.
  • Over the next 3-4 years Pilot project for HRMS over one Zonal Railway and one division would be conducted and thereafter rolled out over entire Indian Railways.
  • Centralised employee database with contact numbers being created by using in house resources for facilitating direct communication by top mgmt. It would lay foundation for a comprehensive ERP based Human Resource Management System.
  • The use of web based software is proposed for preparation and uploading of Medical Reports of Engineering Services (ESE) candidates from the 17 Zonal Railway Hospitals, to the E(GR)I Section.
  • Regular & timely allocation of services to the Engineering services candidates through the NIC Customized software.
  • Planning the scheme for rolling out Aadhaar Enabled Biometric Attendance system over Zonal Railways. The experience gained in implementing the scheme in first phase will help in extending it to field offices.
  • MOU signed with UIDAI for Aadhaar enrolment of Railway employees, pensioners and their families. Scheme planned for Chief Personnel Officers of Zonal Railways to function as Register under UIDAI Scheme.
  • For the recruitments in future through RRB and RRC, on line applications are proposed to be called.
  • To match with best practices on-line examination is also being planned by RRB.
  • RRB has also planned a proposal to develop software for allocating different posts to the candidates on the basis of their merit cum preference.
  • It is proposed to take up 33,000 staff quarters for focused attention for repair and maintenance.

Health Directorate

Major Initiatives:-

  • New Drug Procurement Policy issued.
  • Empanelment of Private Diagnostic Centres for outsourcing investigations of Railway Beneficiaries streamlined.
  • Revised Policy on Medical Insurance and Reimbursement  issued.
  • Financial Ceiling limit for calling Consultants on case to case basis to Railway Hospitals removed.
  • For better Implementation of Food Standards & Safety Authority (FSSA) policy decision of one post of Food Safety Officer (FSO)
  • A new Standardised MOU for empanelment of Private Hospitals developed.
  • EOI asked for from CGHS Empanelled Hospitals for empanelment with railways for cashless treatment scheme in emergency
  • To attract Medical Graduates to join Railways EOL rules for Post Graduation liberalised.
  • This year close to 100 UPSC selected Doctors have joined Railways.

Security Directorate

  1. Major Initiatives
  • A 24×7 security helpline made functional through Security Control Rooms of RPF to provide round the clock security related assistance to passengers. This Helpline is functioning through a three digit no. 182.
  • An App is being especially designed for women commuters.
  • CCTV surveillance system is being strengthened under an Integrated Security System which is under installation at 202 stations and 91 stations been provided with CCTV cameras under ISS. In addition 121 baggage scanners, 191 DFMDs, 986 HHMDs and  74 BD items also been procured.
  • RPF Security Management System (RSMS)- Pilot project successfully implemented over Central and Western Railway along with Security Control Rooms of all the Zonal Railways headquarters and Railway Board over 187 locations. Roll-out phase of project over Indian Railways sanctioned and detailed estimates under examination in Boards office.
  • A total of 49 RPF/RPSF personnel awarded with Indian Police Medal/President Police Medal during 2014 & 2015.
  • Indian Railways is represented by RPF in Security Platform of UIC for international cooperation on issues related to railway security. Currently, DG/RPF is the chairman of UIC Security Platform.
  • Setting up of three new RPSF Battalions is under process to further strengthen railway security in vulnerable sections of the Indian Railways.
  • Notification for recruitment of 1599 ladies staff is under process to be issued.
  • During the year 20.59 lakh persons prosecuted by RPF under relevant provisions of the RLY Act over Indian Railways.
  1. Action Plan
  • Implementation of Integrated Security System over all the  sensitive stations over IR.
  • Implementation of Norms Committee Report in phased manner to equip the Force with security equipment, vehicles as recommended by Norms Committee Report.
  • Provision of proper building, office space, malkhana, lock-up, armoury for all the RPF Posts for efficient professional working of the Force.
  • Construction of standardized barracks with basic amenities Construction of adequate separate barracks to accommodate ladies RPF personnel.
  • Augmentation of manpower
  • Setting up of Research & Development Cell for Study and Planning for Railway Security
  • Networking of all the RPF Posts, Reserve Lines, Battalions, Security Control Rooms
  • Setting up of a world class Training Academy for training of RPF Officers and staff and setting up of a world class commando training facility for RPF
  • Upgradation of infrastructure at all the RPF Training centers
  • Setting up permanent RPF Recruitment Board on the pattern of RRBs to ensure that the vacancies are filled in a planned and organized manner
  • Upgradation of infrastructure at all the RPF Training centers
  • Legal empowerment of RPF by way of amendment in the RPF Act
  • Access control over all important railway stations

Sports Directorate

Achievements:-

  • In the Asian Games held at Incheon, South Korea from 19.09.2014 to 04.10.2014; Indian Railways with the contingent of 72 athletes and 9 coaches formed a sizeable component of the Indian Team.  26 Athletes from Indian Railways won medals in total of 12 events.  Out of 57 Medals won by India, Railway bagged 12 Medals.
  • Railway sportspersons as a part of Indian contingent at Commonwealth Games-2014, (CWG) at Glasgow, Scotland from 23.07.2014 to 03.08.2014, again brought glory to the nation by bagging 9 medals out of total 64 medals won by India.
  • In additional to above, Indian Railways Hockey (Men) Team won Gold Medal in National Championship held at Pune from 16.04.2015 to 28.04.2015 after the year 1997.

Legal Directorate

Achievements:-

  • During the last one year more than 1200 references have been dealt.
  • Competent advocates were appointed in number of cases/contempt cases which were defended successfully and thus avoided passing of any adverse orders from the courts.
  • Panels of Railway Advocates for High Court/CAT Benches Aurangabad, Patna and Ranchi have been  revised and submitted for approval of competent Authority.

Neral-Matheran rail services to be suspended from today

matheran-hill-railwayThe Neral to Matheran rail services will be suspended from today onwards due to the monsoon, railway officials informed on Monday. The Railways also informed that no train services were delayed on the Central Railway due to the monsoon.

Narendra Patil, PRO of Central Railway confirmed about the suspension of the Neral to Matheran services. “The services will be suspended due to the monsoon. But Aman Lodge-Matheran shuttle services will run as per schedule,” said Patil. He also informed that no services on the Central line was delayed due to heavy rains.

No trains were delayed on the Western Railway too. Sharat Chandrayan, CPRO, Western Railway said, “There have been no delays in the train services due to the heavy rains. We haven’t received any such complaints at present,” said Chandrayan.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) recorded 30.2 mm rainfall at Colaba while at Santacruz it recorded 5.6 mm rainfall from 8.30 am-5.30 pm. V K Rajeev, IMD Director said, that the city can expect heavy rainfall in the next few days too. “There is a possibility of heavy rainfall in the next few days,” said Rajeev.

Asked as to why there was lesser rainfall on Monday than was recorded on June 14, he said that there will be fluctuations in rainfall. “It’s not necessary that the city will receive heavy rainfall all the time. There can be fluctuations in the amount of rainfall,” said Rajeev. On June 14, the IMD had recorded 40.6 mm rainfall in Santacruz and 84 mm in Colaba between 8.30 am-5.30 pm on Sunday.

Southern Railway extends Mobile Ticketing to all Suburban Stations

Chennai (MAS): Now, you don’t have to wait in a queue to purchase a suburban railway ticket in any part of the city. The Southern Railway has expanded the paperless ticket on mobile facility to all the stations.

The facility is now available on all lines from Chennai Beach to Gummidipoondi, Chennai Beach to Tiruvallur, Chennai Beach to Velachery and Chennai Beach to Chengalpattu. Passengers having the ‘UTS on mobile application’ on their smart phones can now book their tickets from any station to any destination on the suburban network and carry the ticket on their phones.

With this, the Mobile Ticketing Application is fully functional. For details, visitwww.utsonmobile.

indianrail.gov.in. “Chennai is the first city to have this facility on Indian Railways,” said an official.

In the first phase of this initiative that was introduced in January 2015, passengers had to get their online tickets printed using ATVM at the station where they began the journey. In the second phase, the Railway Ministry, along with the Centre for Railway Information Systems, updated its application, ‘UTS on mobile’ allowing passengers to book their suburban journey tickets online and carry only an image of it as proof. However, this was available only for stations between Chennai Egmore and Tambaram.

Payment for tickets should be made through the Railway wallet which can be loaded either at station counters or through IRCTC using debit/credit cards. Though passengers welcome the move, they are sceptical about how long it would operate without any glitches. “We face problems while booking tickets on IRCTC. The railways must ensure that such issues don’t occur,” said Rajesh Ratnam, a resident of Perambur.

Reputed Media Cos in talks with RailNews Media for launching RailTV – a 24*7 News Channel on Railway Industry

RailNews - Daily NewsHyderabad: India’s Railway System is the fourth-largest by geographical stretch of the second-most populous country in the world, under single management.  With the successful story of RailNews, a national News Television channel on Railway system is being envisaged by RailNews Media. The management is in discussions with reputed media Cos based out of Hyderabad who had a detailed discussions for launching of a Television Channel with focus on India and APAC’s Rail Industry.

The Television Channel will be named as RailTV, which will primarily be an ‘information channel’ with latest News Bulletins, Interviews, Discussions, Documentaries, etc and covers various Socio-Political aspects of Railways in the mainstream lifecycle of Indian population apart from the news coverage on metro rail systems, new metro demands, policy, projects, planning and polity aspects.  The primary focus of the jurisdiction of news coverage is envisaged to be the Sub-continent covering India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, including of Nepal, Burma and Sri Lanka, apart from the general world rail news coverage on regular basis.

The proposed channel will be self supporting with the incubation of investment from 2 different Angel investors. RailNews and RailTV to compliment each entities in managing the channel with the existing support structure, core expertise, resource mobilisation, infrastructure and content & knowledge management, while also provide train related information aired on running trains through mobile Dish as is being provided in some trains currently viz. ‘Palace on Wheels’ and some of the Inspection Carriages.

The DTH service can also cater for interactive services where it can provide information about specific trains and stations at respective geographies/locations including small villages/towns apart from cities. The DTH platform can also provide video on demand services which can be effectively used for training and education of railway officers and staff. This can also be used for addressing the staff at remote places by senior management of Railway industry and also as a media for discussion forum connecting the farthest point on the network.

RailNews has had a detailed feasibility study with the help of a Consultant on running the Television Channel.  The feasibility study brought out some critical aspects related with channel operation:

  • Content (planning, production, sourcing, editing and scheduling )
  • Satellite transmission (content play out and up linking).
  • Distribution (Cable operators, DTH).
  • Revenue generation (Ad management, scheduling and sales).
  • Channel promotion

 

The feasibility study also summarized the approximate cost of launching of RailTV to a tune of Rs.45-50 Crores giving a fair idea of cost involved in operating a channel with required core competencies in the field which will result in quick implementation of the project as also time required for setting up of a system to start operations will be minimal. Apart from hourly news on various aspects of Railways’ ecosystem and its partners, the other aspects related to multilingual support, interactive services for region-wise train information, display of channel at stations and running trains get easily addressed and resolved as technical know how for such value added services is already available with RailNews.

Track Doubling on Dindigul–Trichy section to be completed by year-end: says Ashok Agarwal, GM/SR

Madurai (MDU): Track doubling work on the Dindigul – Trichy section would be completed by the end of this year, Southern Railways General Manager Ashok Agarwal said on Tuesday.

Agarwal, who was visiting the Tiruchirappalli railway division, said: “We can save 30 minutes of running time once doubling of the 94km stretch between Dindigul and Trichy is completed.”

The doubling work on the 63km Madurai-Dindigul section was completed in 2009. Traffic has been smooth in this stretch. However, lack of doubling beyond the stretch slowed down train movement on the Madurai – Trichy section.

The doubling work between Dindigul and Manaparai would be completed in July and the rest by year-end.

MMTS Passengers finds excellent help from RISSTA App

Hyderabad: RISSTA (Railway interactive Security Solution for Travelers Assistance) – An Android mobile application for security of MMTS passengers of twin cities (Secunderabad & Hyderabad) was launched on 4th June, 2015. The utility of this App by MMTS passengers met with many positive results.

On 9.6.2015 at 09.01 hrs. help button of RISSTA App was activated by a passenger named Shri Anil, Cell No. 9866123593 travelling in General Coach of Tr.No. 47176 (Lingampally-Falaknuma MMTS) when the train was passing Hi-Tech City Railway Station. Immediately, a message was automatically conveyed to next 3 MMTS stations. At Bharathnagar MMTS Railway station Sri. K.S.Naidu, Home Guard of RPF rushed to the passenger. The passenger made complaint that some persons are staying at doorways obstructing free movement of passengers while boarding / detraining. The persons standing at doorways were cleared at 09.05 hrs and the complainant sent a feedback through RISSTA App that “Escort attended at Bharathnagar”.

In yet another incident, on 11.6.2015 at 18.11 hrs. help button of RISSTA App was activated by a passenger by name Shri Arun, Cell No. 9059638854, travelling in General Coach of Tr.No. 47163 (Falaknuma-Lingampally MMTS) while the train was passing Borabonda MMTS Railway station. Immediately, a message was conveyed to next 3 MMTS stations i.e Hi-tech City, Hafizpet and Chandanagar. At Hafizpet Railway station Shri.Ch.Sathya, Home Guard, rushed to the passenger. The passenger made complaint that some persons are standing at doorways obstructing free movement of passengers while boarding/detraining. The persons standing at doorways were cleared at 18.20 hrs. and the complainant sent a feedback via message that “Thanks. Your staff attended the train at Hafizpet”.

Addl.Member (Budget) visits Chittaranjan Locomotive Works

Chittaranjan (CRJ): Mr Subramhanyan, Additional Member (Budget)/Railway Board, New Delhi visited Chittaranjan Locomotive Works today. He  inspected  and reviewed  the  various manufacturing shops especially, traction  motor shop, loco assembly shop etc. and appreciated the  electric  loco  manufacturing   process  in  CLW.

He  has  also  inspected the  various  accounts offices  of this premier locomotive  works  of  Indian  Railways. During his visit in the workshop and offices he was accompanied by J.N.Pandey, FA&CAO  & V.Murli Mohan, FA&CAO/ HQ,  Principal HODs  of  CLW  and  Sr.Officers of Accounts Deptt.  Later, he had  a  meeting with  Sr.Officers  of  CLW  in  the  Conference Hall.

Delhi Metro starts buying Solar Energy at Rs.6 per Unit; Tariff to remain for 25 years

New Delhi: To establish its green credentials, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has started procuring solar energy at about ₹6 a unit, claiming that the tariff will remain at the same level for the next 25 years.

Commercial power

The move comes at a time when DMRC is saddled with high electricity costs at about ₹7/unit. The concept of the same tariff level for 25 years, though common for solar energy, has led to a situation where DMRC is paying lower tariff, albeit after including government subsidy.

Interestingly, DMRC has also started selling solar power from its residential colony at a commercial rate of ₹9/unit to the grid during day time, which is higher than ₹6/unit at which it is being procured.

During day, there is not much use for the power generated in the common areas of the residential units, Anoop Kumar Gupta, Director (Electrical), DMRC, told.

Agreements inked

“We have entered into about five-six power purchase agreements (PPAs), all of which have a pre-defined tariff for 25 years. We have entered into the PPAs to procure electricity ranging from ₹6.94 to ₹5.85,” said Gupta, indicating that the prices have been falling progressively. In the last one year, DMRC generated 6 lakh units of electricity from solar panels. Its annual consumption is 685 million units in 2014-15.

“We get the solar panels installed at a no-cost basis and only pay for the power procurement. The power producers are selected through open bidding,” he said. The players include Sukam, Purushottam, etc.

While solar power tariffs average between ₹ 5.5/unit to ₹ 7/unit in the country, the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has notified the generic “levellised” generation tariff for solar power at ₹7.04 a unit for 2015-16.

Earlier this month, ACME Solar commissioned five projects with a combined capacity of around 100 MW. The tariffs in the 25-year PPAs for these plants were around ₹5.77 a unit without any viability gap funding.

Similar projects

Last month, Azure Power commissioned a 100-MW plant in Jodhpur, Rajasthan from which power would be sold to the Solar Energy Corporation of India at ₹5.45 a unit, but this was with a viability gap funding.

Incidentally, the Indian Railways is also trying to procure solar power at ₹5.5/unit and is even experimenting with solar panels on train roofs to supply power for lights and fans.

Over 130 km of Metro lines to criss-cross Mumbai by 2020

All four lines are for now proposed to be elevated corridors costing about Rs 350 crore per km.

Mumbai: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently announced that the state government would ensure a Metro network to connect the entire city with assistance from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The state government has drafted a new Metro rail master plan for Mumbai, which envisages six more lines and a total investment of about Rs 64,000 crore to achieve its target of rolling out a Metro network of over 130 km by 2020.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had recently announced that the state government would ensure a Metro network to connect the entire city with assistance from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), which is headed by the chief minister, has drafted a plan for four new lines, adding 60 km. Two other lines are already on the cards — the 33.5 km Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground Metro and the 32 km Thane-Wadala-Kasarvadavali Metro. The 11.4-km Metro corridor from Versova to Ghatkopar has been operational since 2014.

Mumbai metro future roadmapUPS Madan, Metropolitan Commissioner, MMRDA, said, “In the four new lines itself, we will add 60 km of Metro network in the city. With two other planned corridors and the first line that is operational we will be able to meet the target.” The previous Congress-NCP government had also drafted a Metro rail master plan for Mumbai over a decade ago envisaging a 146.5-km Metro network by 2021. However, while the plan was altered several times, the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar elevated Metro was the only line from the plan to be taken up and completed.

The four new lines that BJP-led government has now planned are Andheri East to Dahisar East, Andheri West to Dahisar West, Jogeshwari Vikhroli Link Road (JVLR) to Kanjur Marg, and Bandra Kurla Complex to Mankhurd. All four lines are for now proposed to be elevated corridors costing about Rs 350 crore per km. Together, the four new Metro projects will cost of about Rs 21,000 crore. These will be constructed as cash contracts, but the government is yet to finalise sources for the funding. The Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground line, for which the tendering process is already underway, will cost Rs 23,136 crore, while the Thane-Wadala-Kasarvadavali Metro, which is currently planned as a partially underground corridor, will cost about Rs 20,000 crore. The state government may, however, consider constructing the latter on an elevated stretch, substantially reducing its cost.

Another Metro that was being planned for more than six years in different forms, the 40-km Dahisar-Bandra-Mankhurd line, has been dropped and will now be executed in three parts instead — Dahisar-Andheri, Andheri-Bandra, Bandra-Mankhurd. While the first and the third portions are parts of the new Metro master plan, the middle section from Andheri to Bandra is currently on hold. “We are still considering if the Andheri-Bandra Kurla Complex line should be taken up. All Metro corridors will intersect at certain points for commuters to easily change lines,” Madan said.

The DMRC will give a presentation to the chief minister about the feasibility, estimated ridership, and construction methodology, for the four new lines on June 17, and will aid in preparing a detailed project report.

So what if Railways’ has hit a rough patch, brighter days are near..

Indian Railways is getting a makeover. If serious investment goes in to the lifeline of the nation – the major infrastructure sector viz. Indian Railways, and in core sectors like coal, the construction and capital goods industries might begin to see some action. Know how

Stock prices have taken a toss in recent weeks. The flow of economic news also suggests that “good days” are not here as yet. Bank credit growth is still painfully slow, corporate results for the March quarter have been disappointing, exports continue to fall, and many consumer-oriented businesses have seen laggard sales, while the real estate sector remains moribund. The uncertainty about the monsoon has added a new element on the downside. These are not indications of an economy in full flow, nor even of an economy that has moved into recovery phase — whatever the GDP numbers might say.

Yet, if one were to read some of the straws in the wind, the news is not all bad. Most interestingly, indirect tax collections in April-May are up by a handsome 39 per cent. Some of this is on account of higher tax rates, but there is underlying growth as well. The sales of medium and heavy trucks in the same two months are up by about 25 per cent, while the recovery in car sales has accelerated. The government-owned banks’ loan books show that the picture on bad loans has stabilised and may be getting better. Quite a few large private groups, weighed down by stressed balance sheets these past few years, have restructured debt; some have even announced new projects. And “Make in India” would get a boost if Foxconn announces that it is moving the production of some iPhones from China to India.

So it is possible that the economy may be on the cusp of change. In fact, the downturn in the stock market may be primarily on account of the widespread expectation that US interest rates are about to rise; several Asian markets (barring China) have seen money flowing out in recent weeks, and stock prices take a beating. Realistically speaking, though, the news continues to be very mixed, so a real turnaround may still be over the horizon.

To restructure the state-owned Indian Railways, the Bibek Debroy committee has come up with proposals of opening up the sector for private firms, establishing a statutory regulator and scrapping the rail budget. The key features for restructuring the Indian Railways are improving the accountability, decentralising the power and setting up an independent regulator.

The panel has submitted its final report to the Ministry of Railways. The report has suggested the eventual bifurcation of the two core functions of the railways – operations and infrastructure creation, according to an ET report.

The report, which will be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the end of this month, has been criticised by trade unions, which have condemned it as a call for “privatisation in the name of liberalisation.” The committee has said it wants to see the sector freed up so that there will be competition and standards will rise.

“While liberalisation and not privatisation for entry of new operators into railway operations is seen by this committee as a viable option for encouraging growth and improving services, a regulatory mechanism to promote a healthy competition and to protect the interest of all stakeholders is an essential prerequisite,” the financial daily quoted the report.

The report of over 300 pages said the concept of private sector entry is already part of accepted railway policy “with the proviso of an independent regulator.” The report envisages a railway ministry with at least three secretary-level officers who won’t be attached to the Railway Board. They will lay down policy for the entire sector to “ensure competition…encourage private entry and private investments.”

The proposed Railway Regulatory Authority of India will work within the ministry’s policy framework. The current Railway Board will confine itself to the Indian Railways.

“The board itself might be pruned to having only five secretary-level officers from the present seven. It will be up to the regulator to decide technical standards, set freight rates and resolve disputes. The regulator can recommend fare revisions but these will not be binding on the railway ministry,” it said.

The current Indian Railways accounting system doesn’t encourage investment, it said. The report has recommended the establishment of a responsive and transparent accounting and costing system in a time-bound manner as the first step toward a commercially viable railway system.

“A monitoring agency, supported by domain experts from outside the system should be constituted and a clear roadmap be drawn with timeframes for constituent activities,” it said, adding that these reforms should be carried out in not more than two years.

The recommendations of the Debroy committee, set up by Modi in September, suggest means of resource mobilisation, calls for gradual changes to the decades-old structure over the next five years to be followed by more critical ones thereafter.

Trade unions fear the entry of private companies could jeopardise jobs and further erode the railways’ financial health. As a result, the All India Railway Federation (AIRF) has called for observing June 30 as Black Day in protest.

The report has also suggested a three-pronged approach that the government should adopt beyond five years, including setting up Indian Railway Manufacturing Co., a special purpose vehicle that would house all the existing production units to protect them from the private sector.

“A case for bifurcation may be considered between the Indian Railways Infrastructure Corp. and rest of Indian railways as train operators in competition with private operators,” it added.

Economists have welcomed the report, saying it lays down a long-term roadmap to Indian Railways as a whole. Let’s welcome the idea.

Initiatives and Action Plans of Electrical, Signalling & Telecom Directorates of Ministry of Railways

New Delhi: Member Electrical, Railway Board Shri Navin Tandon, briefed about following initiatives and action plans of Electrical, Signalling & Telecom Directorates of Ministry of Railways during a press conference held on 3rdJune, 2015.

Railway Electrification: With a view to reduce its energy procurement cost as well as to make the Railway System more eco-friendly and to modernize the system, Indian Railways have been progressively electrifying its rail routes.

  • Highest ever 1375 Route Kilometres (RKM) electrified in 2014-15. Thus, 26269 RKM of Indian Railway tracks (39.92%) are now electrified. 65.40% of freight traffic and 51.20% of passenger traffic is hauled on electric traction with merely 36.32% of total traction fuel cost.
  • 28 nos. new Railway Electrification projects covering 6608 (RKM) with total estimated cost of Rs.6746.45 crore sanctioned in this year budget.
  • Target for current year (2015-16) of XII Plan is 1670 RKM with fund allotment of Rs.2163 Cr including Rs.560 Cr through Extra Budgetary Resources i.e PPP and Institutional Financing.
  • 1500 V DC to 25kV AC Traction conversion in Mumbai: Kurla – CSTM section completed and test charged in December’2014 and is expected to be commissioned on 25 kV AC traction in 2015-16. Thus about 1190 TKM out of total 1680 TKM have been commissioned on 25 kV AC electric traction.

Infrastructure Projects:

  • Financial bid for Procurement cum Maintenance of 12000 HP High Capacity Locomotives and Setting up of a Factory at Madhepura will be opened on August 31, 2015. Earlier, four bidders namely Alstom, Bombardier, General Electric and Siemens were shortlisted for this project. Out of 800 locomotives to be procured 795 will be Made in India which will be mainly working in the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.
  • Bids for procurement of 200 (9000 HP) Electric Locomotives against STEP loan of JICA/Japan are due on June 30, 2015. Out of 200 locos to be procured 40 would be imported from Japan and 60 will be assembled from CKD/SKD kits. Last 100 locos would be manufactured in CLWs Unit at Dankuni with Japanese TOT.
  • Electric Loco Assembly & Ancillary Unit of CLW at Dankuni : Work of Factory is nearing completion. 1st loco expected to be turned out in 2015-16.

Rolling Stock

EMU/Metro/Convention Passenger Coaches

  • Railway is planning to introduce a very modern train system called Train-Sets for providing superior riding experience and about 20% saving in journey time. Procurement process for 15 trains set has been initiated.
  • Two Stainless steel AC EMU rakes manufactured at ICF equipped with IGBT based 3-phase propulsion system supplied by M/s Bombardier Transportation against MUTP- Phase II have been introduced in Western Railway for Mumbai suburban. 36 more such rakes will be manufactured at ICF during 2015-16. These have speed potential of 110 Kmph.
  • Order has been placed for procurement of 14 fully furnished rakes equipped with IGBT based 3 phase propulsion system and stain less steel car body for Kolkata Metro on M/s Dalian/China for replacement of old rakes & additional services.
  • Indian Railways have planned to introduce one air conditioned EMU rake in Mumbai area on trial basis.

Electric locomotives

  • CLW Produced 250 electric locos in 2014-15 increasing the total holding of electric locomotives to 5049 out of which862 locomotives are 3-Phase locomotives. CLW plans to turn out last conventional loco in November 2015 and last GTO based 3-phase locomotive in October 2015. Thereafter only energy efficient, environment friendly IGBT based 3-Phase locomotives will be manufactured.
  • Trials of semi-High speed trains up to 160 km/h have been successfully conducted with WAP-5 locos between NDLS – AGC section. Further it has been planned to manufacture WAP-5 locos of 200 km/h within 2015.
  • A major achievement for ‘Green India’, two WAP-7 locos equipped with hotel load system have been turned out from CLW during 2014-15 and now there are 04 such electric  locos equipped with  hotel load system under trials thereby avoiding power car working, and creating clean/green environment as well as diesel fuel saving.

Passenger Amenities:

  • Wi-Fi internet facility has been provided at 9 ‘A1’ category stations namely Agra Cantt., Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, CST Mumbai, Howrah, New Delhi, Secunderabad and Varanasi during the year. It is being planned to provide Wi-Fi facility at many other A1 and other important stations also.
  • All India Security Helpline ‘182’ and Passenger Helpline ‘138’ has been made functional as a public interface for queries/complaints related to Security, Medical Emergency, Cleanliness, Food & Catering, Coach Maintenance, Linen etc.
  • Integrated Security System (ISS) at 6 stations and additionally CCTV system at 10 Railway stations has been commissioned during last year.  Cumulatively, ISS at 64 stations and CCTV system at 21 stations commissioned. As a part of ‘SWACHCHH BHARAT ABHIYAAN’, the cleanliness activities monitored through the CCTV cameras.
  • 36 Escalators and 5 Lift were installed at Railway stations in last year. Further, it has been planned to install 100 escalators and 100 lifts in current year.
  • Mobile charging facilities would be provided in General class coaches and the number of charging facilities would be increased in Sleeper class coaches. 3000 general and sleeper class coaches would be provided with 18 mobile charging points during 2015-16.

Electrical Energy Management:

  • Initiatives and action plans to reduce cost of power procurement through Bi-lateral arrangements and Open Access mechanism:

–   50 MW power in NC Railway from DVC resulted in saving of Rs. 10.57 Cr. in March 15; annual saving of Rs 100 Cr. per year is expected

–   Power Purchase Agreement for 100 MW power signed with GUVNL on 05.3.15

–   Govt. of India has allocated 500 MW power from RPPGL at Rs 5.0 per unit.

–   To have arrangements for longer periods through market mechanism, tenders floated to procure 50 MW in NCR, 440 MW for Western, 220 MW for Northern and 350 MW for Eastern regions.  First tender of 50 MW will be open on 8thJune and rest by July 2016.

  • As part of setting up Captive Power Plant for Railways, the Boiler light up for first 250 MW unit at Nabinagar, being set up in JV with NTPC, took place on 30.03.15. It is likely to be commissioned by Dec- 15.
  • Renewal Power for Railways:
  • Solar Power:

–       10 MW Solar already installed: 2MW at Raibarely, 1MW on roof top at Katra, 30 KWp solar plant at Rail Bhawan, 40 KWp each on GM building at SCR, Tirupati station, Ajmer Stn and 5 MW at various other places.

–       Order for 2 MW issued and for another 4.5 MW in progress

–       Railway have been asked to plan 50 MW on roof tops  of Railway buildings

–       A general coach with about 4 KW solar panels working in Northern Railway since December 2014

  • Wind Power:

–       10.5 MW already installed 

–       Tender of 10.5 MW in progress

–        Contract  for  provision of 25 MW in Rajasthan awarded

–       Plan to install another 130 MW

  • Energy efficiency improvement: 
  • Railways will conduct 150 Energy Audits
  • As per the report of BEE Indian Railways save 3.3% on traction and non-traction energy last year which amounts to a saving of about Rs.400 crores
  • Directives have been issued to Zonal Railways on 27.03.2015 that for future use of LED  tube light fittings for new office buildings and for replacement
  • 18 National Energy Conservation Awards bagged by Railways.
  • Developed a web based software ‘Rail Saver’.
  • Improving Energy Efficiency in Railways’ residential quarters under CDM (CFL distribution project): As part of this project, total 14 lakh CFLs were installed in Railway quarters by replacing incandescent bulbs. The project has earned total 2,48,609 carbon credits (CERs) till date out of which 1,38,493 carbon credits (CERs) were earned in 2014-15. The project received “Special Jury Prize” during UIC Sustainability Award’ 2012.
  • Railways have taken up key technologies as pilot projects to improve energy efficiency on IR in consultation withUNDP –which includes SCADA control system for New Delhi Station, Building Management System at Dadar,Pumping control system at GZB and Kishan Ganj, LED lights in Railway coaches, Smart sense and smart Grid system at Baroda House installed, automized light and fan control for New Delhi station.

Signalling:

  • To enhance efficiency and safety in train operation, modern Electrical/Electronic interlocking system with Central Panel, complete track circuiting and MACLS have been provided at 245 stations during 2014-15. Panel/Electronic interlocking system has been provided at 5336 stations (85% of total interlocked stations).
  • Automatic Block Signalling is a proven low cost signaling solution for enhancing line capacity on a double line section. During 2014-15, Automatic Block Signalling have been provided on 208 Route KM, which is highest ever in last five years. This includes 95 Route Km on Ghaziabad- Mughalsarai section on NC Railway.
  • For safety of Road users, 290 Nos of LC gates interlocked with Signals during 2014-15
  • Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) is a proven Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System for preventing Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and over speeding. During 2014-15, TPWS have been commissioned on DumDum – Kavi Subhash section of Kolkata Metro (25 Rkm) and TPWS trials completed with 35 Locomotives in Delhi- Agra section at 130 kmph and 160 kmph. Decision has been communicated recently to Zonal Railways to execute sanctioned TPWS works on 1244 Rkm of automatic signalling sections where EMUs ply.
  • A pilot project for indigenous development of Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) as a multi-vendor, interoperable cost-effective system is being carried out by RDSO. This ATP system has capability of preventing train accidents caused due to Signal Passing At Danger (SPAD) and over-speeding.  Field trials of TCAS conducted on 32 RKms section (4 Stations) with five locomotives during 2014-15. Extended trials on Lingampalli-Vikarabad-Wadi –Bidar section, SCR (250 Km) are planned for completion by 2015-16.
  • Centralised Traffic Control (CTC) consolidates train routing decisions that were previously carried out by local operators. This system optimizes the efficiency of train operations by centralized controlling of train traffic from a centre place. During 2014-15, CTC system has been installed at Tundla (NCR) & testing of 7 Stations completed for centralised and more efficient control of traffic in GZB- CNB section.
  • Signalling has been made fit for Semi- high Speed trains (160 KMPH) on Delhi-Agra section.

With 18 more Interchange Metro stations in Phase-III of Delhi Metro, distances to shrink

Commuting between east and south Delhi has already become easier with the opening of the interchange station at Mandi House

New Delhi: Come 2016, and Delhi is all set to become smaller.Thanks to 18 more interchange stations – connecting two or more lines–in Phase III of Delhi Metro, distances will shrink.

While the Metro network now has nine interchange stations, new link stations – likely to be functional by December 2016 – could change the way Delhi travels. For instance, the distance from Karkardooma station to Welcome is 19.26km.

Similarly, the distance between Anand Vihar and Welcome is 20.32km. Once Karkardooma and Anand Vihar, both on the Dwarka-Vaishali line, become interchange stations under Phase III, the distance to Welcome on the Rithala-Dilshad Garden line will come down to 4.3km and 5.4km, respectively – down by almost 15km.

“New interchange stations will not only cut down on travel time but also help passengers save money,” said DMRC spokesman Anuj Dayal. ” After Phase III, commuters will be able to access almost all parts of the city without going to Rajiv Chowk and Central Secretariat, which are busy interchange stations now,” said another official. With Phase III, Delhi Metro’s network will have 27 interchange stations.

Commuting between east and south Delhi has already become easier with the opening of the interchange station at Mandi House on the heritage line on June 6.The commuters from Noida can now save at least 30 minutes while travelling to Gurgaon. And more are in the pipeline.

Hauz Khas station, linking the Jahangirpuri-Gurgaon and the new Janakpuri (West) – Botanical Garden lines, will reduce the distance to Kalkaji by about 13.14km.”Now, for the same route, the interchange facility is available only at Central Secretariat station and the distance between the two stations is about 18.6km. But the distance between Hauz Khas and Kalkaji would be just 5.45km,” said Dayal.

Again, the Rajouri Garden station, which will be the interchange station between the Dwarka Sector 21-NoidaVaishali and the Majlis Park-Shiv Vihar corridors, will help west Delhi residents travel easily to south Delhi, making popular shopping destinations like Sarojini Nagar, South Extension and Lajpat Nagar more accessible. They now have to travel to Rajiv Chowk to take the Gurgaon line to reach these places.

Under phases I and II, the nine interchange stations are Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat, Inderlok, Ashok Park Main, Yamuna Bank, Dwarka Sector 21, New Delhi and Kirti Nagar.

Overview, Initiatives and Action Plans of the Mechanical Directorate of Ministry of Railways

New Delhi:  Member Mechanical, Railway Board Shri Hemant Kumar, briefed about following initiatives and action plans of Mechanical Directorate of Ministry of Railways during a press conference held today i.e. on 15th June, 2015.

  1. An Overview
  • Indian Railways carries about 23 million passengers daily – equivalent to population of Australia.
  • Around 100 Coach Variants catering to all segments of passengers.
  • One rake of BOXNHL wagons carries about 4100MT – equivalent to more than 200 trucks of 20T capacity each.
  • Railways uses diesel fuel 6.57 times more efficiently than trucks to transport a given load.
  • 84.8% less CO2 emission per tonne km in comparison to trucks.
  • Powerhouse on wheels – IR’s fleet of 5502 diesel locos generates appx. 13100 MW – more than double of Delhi/NCR’s projected peak power requirement for 2016-17.
  • We add about 1000 MW every year – equivalent to a Mega Thermal Power Plant, and without any transmission & distribution loss since power is generated at place of use.
  • No requirement of additional infrastructure for power generation.
  • Locos maintained in 42 Diesel Sheds and 10 Workshops.
  • 350 Coaching and Freight Depots & 36 Workshops carrying out maintenance of Coaches and Wagons 24×7.
  • IR has 6 established Production Units manufacturing more than 600 Diesel & Electric locos and more than 3000 coaches per year.
  • More than 4000 Apprentices trained in various engineering trades every year in Production Units and workshops.
  1. Green initiatives:
  • In ICF and Rebarelli, all the coaches are produced using ‘green’energy. Both factories work entirely on alternate renewable energy.
  • Two MW Solar Plant at Rail Coach Factory, Raebareli: commissioned in July’2014.
  • 7  Wind mills of 1.5 MW each owned by ICF
  • Alternate fuel: “Green” DEMU rake running on the Rewari-Rohtak section on Northern Railway : ICF  has manufactured the first “Green” Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) rake, consisting of two power cars and six trailer coaches. The rake has been developed to run on a combination of Diesel and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
  • Auxiliary Power Units:  IR has fitted 07 Auxiliary Power Units (APU)  on 130 diesel locos. When train is stabled APU switches off main engine and starts a smaller engine for meeting the train requirements.   Saving of Rs 8 lakh/year/loco on account of less consumption of diesel oil, is expected.
  • Biodiesel for Traction: Indian Railways has planned phase-wise introduction of 5% blending of bio-diesel from 5thJune, 2015 – World Environment Day. This will help in reducing carbon footprint. In-house production of bio-diesel will also commence with commissioning of a Bio-diesel plant this year at Tondiarpet (Chennai) with installed capacity of 30 tonnes per day.
  • Coaches with solar lighting: Solar panels have been fitted on one coach for its lighting requirements. It is planned to introduce solar lighting on 15 DEMU coaches as well on trial basis.
  • ISO-14001:  All the 6 established Production Units and 21 workshops have already obtained IMS / EMS (ISO 14001) certification. Remaining workshops are expected to achieve the same during 2015-16. Efforts are on the increase the green cover in workshops and PUs.
  • ICF won the prestigious International “Golden Green Award” 2014 for its outstanding achievements and sustainable practices for its green energy initiatives.
  • RCF/Kapurthala was awarded the prestigious “Golden Peacock Award”-2014, given on the 16th World Congress on Environment Management held on 11/07/2014.
  1. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:
  • Provision of dustbin on all the coaches: Dustbins on trains were hitherto being provided mainly on AC coaches and some Non AC coaches. After launching of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by the Hon ‘ble PM, provision of dustbins on all the newly manufactured coaches, including Non AC coaches, have been planned to be started from 2015-16 onwards. Besides, retrofitment on existing coaches has also been planned. It is also planned to develop garbage compactors for coaches to take care of intensive usage.
  • Indian Railways participating in the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’.  Separate directorate for Environment and Housekeeping created.  Integrated policy for cleanliness is under formulation.
  • Fitment of Biotoilets: Biotoilets have been introduced on the coaches to eliminate open discharge of fecal matter on the track. In the bio-toilets the fecal matter is digested by specially developed colony of bacteria (inoculums), and only small amount of clean water is discharged. More than 17,000 Bio-toilets have been fitted till March, 2015 and target set for 2015-16 is fitment of 17,000 bio-toilets. We also produce inoculums as well as bio-toilets in-house.

Two  sections have been identified to be made ‘zero toilet discharge’ sections by 2nd October, 2015 – Kanalus-Dwarka-Okha and Porbander-Wansjalya. Jammu-Katra and Manmadurai- Rameshwaram  will be covered later in the year.  All the trains originating/terminating and passing through will be equipped with Bio-toilets.

  1. Technologies and infrastructure:
  • Proliferation of LHB Coaches : All LHB coaches are fit to run at 160 kmph and are safer than the conventional coaches, especially in case of accidents. LHB coach manufacturing facilities were initially set up in Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala and have now been extended to Integral Coach Factory, Chennai as well as the new Rail Coach Factory at Rae Bareli. This year it has been planned to double the LHB coach production w.r.t. last year.
  • Coaches fit to run at 200 kmph: LHB coaches fit to run at 200 kmph are being developed by RCF, Kapurthala and will be ready this year.
  • DEMU Factory, Haldia: has been commissioned. The first fully furnished DEMU trainset has been turned out in Jan’2015 from the factory.
  • State-of-the art three–phase AC-AC DEMU trainsets: ICF has developed first of its kind stainless steel 3 phase energy efficient AC-AC transmission 1600 HP DEMU train-set.  In addition ICF will be manufacturing airconditioned DEMU trainsets also from 2016-17 onwards.  High speed air-conditioned DEMU trainsets with 2200 HP engines and speed potential of 160 kmph (upgradable to 200 kmph) is also scheduled for manufacture in 2016-17.
  • Hotel load on Diesel Locomotives: Provision of capability to handle hotel load (train’s lighting & Air-conditioning load) has been developed on Diesel Locomotives. It eliminates the use of diesel generator cars, thereby replacing one power car by a passenger carrying coach and the other power car would be standby. This helps in fuel saving of to the tune of 10-15% of the consumption in power cars. 10 locomotives equipped with hotel load the manufactured by DLW and regular running of hotel load trains have started. It is planned to convert the Ajmer Shatabdi to hotel load this year.
  • WDG5 Locomotive: 5500 HP Diesel locomotive introduced in  IR System: This locomotive is the diesel locomotive having the highest horse power on IR. The first locomotive was pressed into service in February 2015.
  • Diesel Locomotive Works at Varanasi is being expanded further by 25% of its installed capacity at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 266.25 cr. .
  1. Make in India:
  • Rail Wheel Plant, Bela: has been commissioned. Regular production of wheels for rolling stock has commenced in this plant from Aug’2014. In due course this will reduce the requirement of import of wheels.
  • Factory for manufacture of traction alternators  for High horse Power locos  inaugurated at Vidisha, for which foundation stone has been laid, is being set up.
  • Planned forged wheel factory in Raebarelli: For manufacture of wheel for locos and LHB coaches being imported at present.
  • Rail Spring Karkhana : Has developed five out of 16 variants of LHB coach springs, which were being imported.

 

  1. Customer experience

Passengers

  • Provision of Braille Signages: To facilitate comfortable travel for visually impaired passengers, Indian Railways has taken an initiative of providing Braille signages on coaches.  IR will start providing Braille signages on all the coaches produced from the year 2015-16 onwards. Retrofitment on existing coaches has also been planned.
  • Setting up of mechanised laundries at 8 locations in 2014-15 to improve the quality of linen being supplied to AC class passengers: To improve the quality of linen being supplied to the passengers of AC class coaches, mechanised laundries are being set up on railway’s land and total of 35 laundries have already been set up.
  • Coverage of additional trains under On Board Housekeeping services scheme: OBHS services are being provided on select trains to maintain cleanliness during run of the train. In this scheme, a group of staff travels on board along with cleaning tools and chemicals and carries out the prescribed cleaning work. During the period from April 2014 to Feb 2015, an additional 109 trains were covered in 2014-15 under OBHS scheme totalling to around 525 trains. 100 trains planned further in 2015-16.
  • Clean Train Station: Mechanised cleaning through specialised machines on trains at nominated stations enroute introduced in 4 additional stations in 2014-15 bringing the total to 33. Five more planned in 2015-16.
  • Improved Coach Interiors:  Complete refurbishment of coach interiors, with upgraded design and materials is being done during mid-life rehabilitation of all coaches and also in some coaches in the workshops. Further improvements are being designed for coach interiors, in consultation with National Institute of Design.

Freight

  • Design and development of 25T axle load wagons: RDSO has developed BOXN25 Design B wagon. The wagon can carry 80 T Pay load with Pay to Tare ratio of 4.13.  With this new wagon the throughput per rake will increase to 4750T compared to 4118T for BOXNHL (an increase of 15%). Stores Dte. has placed Contract for the manufacture of prototype of this wagon on 4.3.15 on M/s Braithwaite.

o   Policy for private partnerships for building new types of wagons: Special purpose commodity specific wagons are being designed by RDSO and Railway Board is encouraging private participation in developing of prototype wagons for new designs.  E.g. a two-deck Autocar wagon (BCACBM) which can accommodate upto 318 cars per rake has been developed. This wagon has a movable middle deck and a depressed floor so that more cars can be accommodated.   This wagon has increased the throughput of car transport per rake by 17% over and above the previous design. The first rake was flagged off on 1.3.14 and at present 5 rakes are in operation.

Further, a light weight frameless wagon for carrying petroleum products has also been developed which will lead to an increase in Rake throughput by 7 %. Serial production of these wagons has begun. Design for a new parcel van with capacity 25.6% over the existing ICF design and a speed potential of 100 kmph has been developed. Similarly , design has been developed for a special wagon for carrying steel coils which has the potential of carrying 68% more rake throughput vis-à-vis existing wagons.

  1. Safety:
  • Provision of CCTV on coaches: In order to improve security measures on trains, especially for women passengers, it has been decided to provide CCTV cameras on coaches especially in ladies compartments’ doorway and aisle area. CCTV Cameras have been fitted on two SLRs on experimental basis to gain experience and feedback.
  • Provision of portable Fire extinguishers in Non AC passenger coaching vehicles on trial: Presently as one of the fire safety measures, fire extinguishers are being provided only in AC coaches, SLRs and Power Cars and Pantry Cars wherever provided. Locomotives are also being provided with such fire extinguishers. It has been decided to provide fire extinguishers in other Non AC passenger coaches as well for use during emergency on trial. Based on the successful trials further proliferation would also be considered.
  • Provision of Automatic Fire detection and suppression system on Power Car and Pantry Cars: Power cars and Pantry cars are more fire prone in comparison to other coaches owing to nature of equipment provided on these coaches. Automatic fire detectors will either trigger an alarm or activate a Water Mist based Fire suppression system, depending on the smoke density.
  • Manufacture of high speed self propelled Accident relief Trains: ICF has manufactured high speed self propelled Accident relief Trains (HS-SPART) with speed potential of 110 KMPH and equipped with Diesel Generator to meet power requirement at accident spot.

SWR invites tenders for doubling of Rail Line between Londa-Miraj section

Hubli (UBL): The South Western Railway has invited tenders for the final location survey for proposed line doubling between Londa and Miraj railway stations. The work is expected to begin by August and completed within six months.

A final location survey between the Castle Rock-Kulem ghat section has already been conducted. This is expected to set the pace for the Hospet-Vasco line doubling project of the SWR.

Government official sources stated that the state recently gave its consent for the acquisition of land for line doubling in the Tinaighat-Vasco section following the intervention of union railway minister Suresh Prabhu. The Goa government had initially opposed acquiring land for the project which has already been sanctioned by the railway ministry.

The railway board sanctioned the Hospet-Hubli-Londa-Tinaighat-Vasco da Gama (407km) doubling project at a total cost of 2,127 crore during 2010-11. Phase one of the Hospet-Hubli-Londa-Tinaighat section (245km) project is being taken up under at an estimated cost of Rs. 928.85 crore and is expected to be completed by 2018.

The Hospet-Tinaighat railway line is a section of the Bellary-Hospet-Vasco da Gama route (407km) which was converted from metre-gauge to broad-gauge in 1997. This section has become saturated owing to the enormous increase in traffic necessitating line doubling, sources said.

The doubling of railway track is expected to facilitate movement of imported coal from Mormugao Port to steel industries and upcoming thermal power plants at Jewargi in Gulbarga district. The doubling of the railway line is also expected to increase the number of passenger trains connecting important tourist destinations to Goa.

Vasco, Dabolim, Sancoale, Cansaulim, Majorda, Margao, Chandor, Curchorem and Kulem are the important stations on the Goa stretch of the route which are likely to be affected by the line doubling project of the South Western Railway.

China should build railways through Pakistan to boost trade with South Asia & Arabian Peninsula: Chinese official

Beijing: China and Pakistan should build a railway network in addition to the proposed USD 46-billion economic corridor to boost trade with South Asia and Arabian Peninsula, a top Chinese official said.

“We should prepare to build a railway between China and Pakistan as soon as possible,” He Sanqiu, head of transport in Kashgar was quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency today.

Kashgar, the Chinese city in volatile Xinjiang region, borders Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), which will be connected with the 3,000-kilometre-long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with Pakistan’s port city of Gwadar.

The corridor, proposed to pass through the PoK, is objected by India due to the disputed status of the region.

The report said that the construction of roads, railways and pipelines across Pakistan is expected to take around 15 years.

Rail is “the easiest way” to link Kashgar with South Asia, the Arab Peninsula, and even parts of east Africa around the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, He Sanqiu said.

There are plenty of opportunities to increase trade, including industrial parks, agriculture and tourism, he said.

China and Pakistan have plans to increase trade to around USD 20 billion within three years from the current USD 16 billion.

The economic corridor will create new business opportunities for enterprises in many economic sectors, Sun Weidong, Chinese ambassador to Pakistan said.

The corridor is at the centre of the agreements signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April.

Besides energy, it also involves wide cooperation in fields including agriculture, finance and industrial parks, he said.

“The corridor should prioritise infrastructure including highways, railways, tunnels and optical cables,” She Ruiyuan, head of the Development and Reform Commission of Kashgar said.

“China-Pakistan trade remains small, strangled by poor roads,” said Pan Zhiping, professor at Xinjiang University.

In 2014, trade between Pakistan and Xinjiang was USD 147 million, far less than Xinjiang’s USD 12.2-billion with another neighbour, Kazakhstan, said He Yiming, director of Xinjiang commerce department.

Indian Railways names Haridwar Mail as ‘Yoga Express’

New Delhi: Indian Railways has named Haridwar Mail as Yoga Express. A release from Indian Railways issued in New Delhi yesterday said the train No 19031/19032 Ahmedabad-Haridwar-Ahmedabad which is also known as ‘Haridwar Mail’ will be named as ‘Yoga Express’ with immediate effect.

However, there will be no change in the train timings and its composition, the release said. The government is celebrating ‘International Yoga Day‘ on 21st of this month.

Railways envisage to add 3 more coaches to each Train towards Nashik for Kumbh Mela

Nashik (NSK): The railways are planning to add three coaches to each train that passes through the city to cater to the rush on the days of the holy dip during Kumbh Mela. The coaches may be opened in Nashik to allow passengers to board the trains from the city.

“The plan is to add three coaches to every train passing through the city to ensrue movement of pilgrims from Nashik after Parvani Snan. The coaches may be opened at Nashik Road Railway Station to allow people to board the trains and head to their destinations,” an officer from Bhusawal railway division said.

Approximately 40 north-bound trains pass through Nashik in each direction daily for Punjab, New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Assam.

“The addition of three coaches will arm the railways to carry more 17,000 passengers. This will be in addition to 12 trains that will be run to and from dedicated destinations calling,” the officer said.

The special trains will be limited to only four parvani days of kumbh mela as first two parvanis for Nashik and Trimbakeshwar have common dates and the third parvani for Nashik and Trimbakeshwar are on two different dates – making four major events.

Each train is likely to carry at the most 3,500 persons, which will add up the daily movement of 45,000 persons from the city. With additional trains and the more coaches planned for Kumbh, the railways will effectively be bale to cater to 62,000 people a day.

The railways has announced that all the trains coming from Mumbai will come on platform number (PF) 2 instead of platform number 1, from June 25 till September 30.

In the meantime, the work of the platform and foot over bridge at Nashik is nearing completion. The ramp and the platform will be ready in the next few days.

The public works department has completed most of the road construction assignments except the two bridges on the 21-km Adgaon-Lakhalgaon-Shinde road. One of the bridges is to be built over the railway tracks and the other over the Godavari.

“This is an important road to be constructed outside Nashik city to facilitate movement of traffic between Adgaon and Shinde. It will ensure that traffic does not enter the city. Except for the bridges, the road will be ready in next couple of weeks,” a public works department official said.

The work of the construction of ghats at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar has been completed. “We have added over 4,600 metre of ghats at both the locations. The work of beautification of the ghats is underway,” PWD officer said.

On the strengthening of the network connections for mobile connectivity, the administration said the Communication on Wheels (COW) project would be in place by July 30.

“The administration will allot places to the various organisations at sadhugram in Nashik on July 6. By August 15, it is likely that the people will start arriving in large numbers. The flag hoisting will be done on August 19 by the sadhus at sadhugram. Considering all these aspects, the network connections are expected to be in place by August 1,” an officer said.

In Trimbakeshwar, all the roads in the town that were uprooted to lay fresh pipelines for drinking water supply by the Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran are now being relaid. The water supply work was completed long ago and the relaying of the road is now nearing completion,” the official added.

Karunanidhi opposes Bibek Debroy panel report on Railways’ restructuring

Chennai (MAS): DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Monday urged the BJP government to reject Bibek Debroy report on restructuring the Indian Railways, arguing that the recommendations of the report would pave way for privatisation and render the Indian Railways a profit-driven sector without any social commitment.

In a statement here, he said the BJP government that had been showing enormous interest in divesting the shares of the profit-making public sector units, known as Navaratanas, and now it moved further to privatise the Railways based on the recommendations of the Bibek Debroy report. “If implemented the recommendations will severely affect not only the poor and middle class passengers, but also railway employees,” he said.

ECR makes arrangement for issuing Tatkal tickets under the amended rules

Patna: East Central Railway (ECR) has made elaborate arrangements for issuing Tatkal tickets from all its passenger reservation system (PRS) counters under the new amended rules from June 15. Under the new rules, Tatkal tickets would be issued to passengers one day in advance from the journey date from 10am to 11am for AC class and from 11am to 12 for sleeper class, instead of 10am to noon for both AC and sleeper classes.

ECR CPRO Arvind Kumar Rajak said though railways would start issuing tickets from 8am at all PRS counters, there would be separate counters for Tatkal tickets at each station under all five divisions of the zone. Tatkal tickets would be given to passengers from 10am to noon just a day in advance of journey, otherwise normal waitlist tickets would be booked from PRS counters, he said.

Rajak said railways would maintain transparency while issuing Tatkal tickets from PRS counters. Reservation supervisors have been directed to maintain proper queues for both Tatkal and general tickets at each counter under all five divisions of the zone, he said.

According to sources, reservation staff on duty would accept duly filled-in requisition slips with full address for issuing Tatkal tickets. The PRS office having a single counter would book Tatkal tickets only from 10am to 12 noon every day. However, normal tickets would be issued to passengers after 12 noon, sources said adding the PRS having two counters like Patna Saheb, Buxar, Mahendru Ghat, Patna high court and Patna University would issue Tatkal and normal tickets separately from these counters.

Senior divisional commercial manager of Danapur Amitabh Prabhakar said railways would make all possible efforts to streamline Tatkal ticket booking, particularly at Patna Junction and Rajendra Nagar Terminal where passengers’ rush is too high for procuring Tatkal tickets. Adequate number of counters would function at both the stations. Railways has already started a separate counter for senior citizens at Patna Junction under Tatkal scheme, he said.

Meanwhile, deliberations are going on at Railway Board level to refund at least half the fare on cancelled tickets booked under Tatkal scheme. Presently, there is no rule to refund the fare of the cancelled Tatkal tickets, sources said.

Coimbatore North–Mettupalayam Electrified Rail Line to be Operational soon

The electrification work was taken up in 2014 at an outlay of Rs. 40 crore

Coimbatore (CBE): The Salem Railway Division is initiating steps to ensure that the Coimbatore North (Salem Division) – Mettupalayam (Palakkad Division) Electrified Railway Line become operational by this month end.

S. K. Mittal, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), who inspected the electrified track recently, is likely to submit his recommendation soon.

The Salem divisional authorities have also written to the Railway Ministry seeking its permission to throw open the service by month end.

“We have requested the Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to inaugurate the electrified section,” Salem division sources told.

The 33-km long Coimbatore North – Mettupalayam electrification work was taken up in January 2014 at an outlay of Rs.40 crore and completed recently. The section had two railway stations en route – Periyanayakkanpalayam and Karamadai.

The electrification will enable operation of train services directly to Mettupalayam from other parts of the state without touching Coimbatore Junction. This will help in decongesting Coimbatore Junction.

The platforms at Mettupalayam station are not lengthy enough to accommodate 24 coaches at present. Steps have been taken for the extension of the platforms. The work is expected to be completed in a year.

After the completion of the platform extension work, the Railways are expected to operate the Chennai Central – Mettupalayam Blue Mountain Express via North Coimbatore without touching Coimbatore Junction. At present, the train is operated via Coimbatore Junction, where a few coaches are delinked and the rest of the train is operated up to Mettupalayam.

Once the electrified section is thrown open for regular traffic, it will provide a direct link for the commuters of Salem, Erode and Palakkad to Mettupalayam / Udhagamandalam without touching Coimbatore Junction.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu requested to inaugurate the electrified section

Madras HC tells Railways to manage Car Park till Contract is awarded

Chennai (MAS): The Madras high court has directed the Southern Railway to use its own personnel to create and manage the premium car parking facility at Chennai Central railway station till tender formalities are completed and the lot is handed over to a contractor.

Taking note of the railways’ contention that tender for a 48-car premium car parking facility would be out within a month, the first bench comprising Chief Jutice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice T S Sivagnanam suggested that during the intervening period the railways itself could prepare the facility and run it for a fee using its own staff. “We direct that in respect of this premium car parking, the railways should make arrangements through their own personnel to monitor the same. The railways can compensate itself by collecting the charges for the premium car parking and appropriating it in the meantime,” the bench said.

The matter relates to a PIL filed by advocate K Sudhan, who wanted the court to direct the railways to regulate car parking area at Chennai Central railway station by earmarking separate parking lots for private or owner-driven cars. In addition to other things, he wanted railways to permit parking of call taxis, tourist cabs and autorikshaws only in a designated area, either inside or outside the station.

He said the railways must ensure that call taxis, tourist cabs, autos and other categories of commercial vehicles are not allowed to remain stationery for any reasons in any part other than their designated parking lot and take appropriate action against all those persons illegally managing, controlling and regulating the car park area. He sought action against persons illegally collecting car parking charges from visitors.

The judges recorded the fact that the parking problem at Chennai Central railway station had aggravated because of the metro rail work. They also said that according to the railways, a regular car parking space of 61 cars is available where contract has been awarded.

As for premium car parking facility, with space to park 48 cars, the tender is slated for opening on June 22, and within a period of one month thereafter tender will be finalized, the railways told the court.

Hyderabad Metro to re-align Metro route at Assembly, Sultan Bazar

Hyderabad: Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd has agreed to realign the route at the Assembly and the revised proposal has been approved by the Telangana Government.

Speaking to media persons here on Monday, HMR Chief Engineer Mohd Ziauddin said that the metro rail route would now pass from Lalitha Kalathoranam, backside of Jubilee Hall and DGP office. He said that the HMR would have relocate/demolish 23 pillars which have already been constructed.

It may be mentioned that Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao had objected to passing of Metro Rail from Gun Park opposite Assembly building. The HMR has also changed the route at Sultan Bazar, as asked by the Chief Minister.

The Narayanguda – MG Bus Station corridor will now pass through Koti Women’s College and Osmania Medical College. Ziauddin said that the final route would be finalised soon as the new alignment would affect one heritage building in Women’s College. Works are also on to finalise the Metro Rail route in the Old City. The Falaknuma corridor will pass through Musi River, Salarjung Museum, Puranapul, Bahadurpura, Eidgah Mir Alam, Tadban, Shamsheerganj to Falaknuma. This will be 3.5 kilometre longer than the originally proposed route.

Ziauddin informed that the about 1,000 MM Water Line and 600 MM Sewerage Line was getting affected on the route from Narayanaguda – Musheerabad.

He informed that HMR will have large spans at major junctions like Khairtabad, Punjagutta and MJ Market by constructing cast-in-situ (on-site) construction of viaduct. He said that maximum care has been taken in finalisation of pier (pillar) locations at all the important junctions by considering free movement of road traffic. Normally the pillars of Metro are kept at 100 ft spacing whereas at important junctions the pillars are kept at about 200 ft spacing so as to have clear vision to all the vehicle drivers in every direction.

Ziauddin informed that so far about 1800 (65%) piers and foundations have been completed and viaduct has been completed for about 38 km length (out of a total 72 km). “The works are progressing at a brisk pace in all the corridors and L&T has deployed about 16 launching girders for erection fo viaduct segments by lifting it from the top,” he said. All the seven Metro Rail stations in Stage-1 namely Nagole, Uppal, SOI, NGRI, Habsiguda, Tarnaka and Mettuguda are completed.

He also informed that there are plans to extend HMR by 88 KM and the plans have been to the State Government for approval. The consultant has submitted proposals suggesting extension of HMR up to 400 KM. He said that Metro Rail drivers are undergoing training of 400 hours at Nagole station. Of 56 trains, 33 have already arrived in the city, he said.

Ziauddin has recently undergone training on Sustainable Urban Transport at Dubai which was sponsored by World Bank and he was nominated by the Union Ministry of Urban Development. He informed that the best practices adopted by Dubai Metro Rail would also be considered by HMR for better efficiency.

City of Culture has No Space for Art at Metro Rail stations

Stations will not be adorned with artwork or murals, disappointing those who hoped for an eye-pleasing commute

Chennai (MAS): Imagine walking through vibrant and tastefully-designed Chennai Metro Rail stations adorned with beautiful art and murals. Apparently, we may not have that privilege here anytime soon.

Sometime back, there was speculation that Chennai Metro Rail stations might be adorned with murals depicting various Saint Musicians of India (both Carnatic and Hindustani) and various other art forms to improve the ambiance and overall travel experience of commuters and tourists. But now that the stations are ready, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) officials say there are neither murals nor art in stations. “Currently, we have not installed any murals or created art work in stations. But I cannot say for sure that there will be nothing of that sort in the future,” an official says.

CMRL may want to take a look at some Metro Rail stations world over and take a hint. For instance, Moscow’s Metro Rail that carries about nine million passengers is a classic example of how striking and picturesque mass rapid transit infrastructure can be. The trains have been decorated with pieces of famous painters including Karl Brullov and Nikolay Rerikh.

Another interesting example is Stockel Metro station in Brussels that has 140 characters from 22 albums of Tintin. Closer home, Delhi’s Metro Rail stations like Khan Market and Shahdara stations have been beautified with art. Operating services on time may be the primary focus of a mass rapid transit system but doing a tad bit more to better passengers’ experience would go a long way.

No stretch for high-tech signages

The world has moved into the digital era in the 20 years since the inauguration of Mass Rapid Transit System in 1995, but the stretch has not progressed at the same pace, feels Naina Masilamani, General Secretary, Federation of Rail Passenger Associations. Despite Global Positioning Systems being so easily accessible, there is no provision for digital indicators or signboards on MRTS platforms from Chennai Beach to Velachery.

The 19-kilometre long route which runs through 17 stations can be a confusing ride for children, the elderly and people who are not familiar with the stretch. Kalyani Dheersingh, an assistant to an advocate in the city, shares her experience and says: “Since there are no indicators and regular announcements are not made about the arrival and departure of the trains, tourists ask others about the schedule of the trains as there are no facilities to guide them.”

Activists say they have been trying to reach out to railway authorities, but to no avail. S. Ramalingam, vice-president, Federation of Rail Passenger Associations, says: “We have met officials many times with our appeals, but there has been no improvement.”

While railway authorities have also confirmed there is no provision for GPS indicators on any platform on the MRTS stretch as of now, T. Ravi Kumar, President, All India Rail and Bus Passengers Welfare Association, suggests that authorities can improve relations with passengers by creating enquiry counters and drop boxes for commuters to submit their grievances.

Kolkata Metro: Land relief for Noapara-Barasat metro corridor

Kolkata (KOAA): Land disputes have halted infrastructure projects in the city time and again but never has the contruction work continued on a disputed land even as the warring groups battle it out in the court. In a first, the state government and a private agency (the land owner) have agreed to facilitate construction of the Noapara-Barasat Metro corridor while resolving the contentious ‘vested land’ issue legally in the court.

Most of the Metro projects across the city were announced by Mamata Banerjee when she was the Railways minister in the UPA government. Things were moving fast but the projects got stuck after Mamata walked out of the alliance and later became the chief minister. Only recently, the state government started taking measures to untangle the Metro mess. The East-West corridor and the Joka-BBD Bag lines were the first to benefit out of the state-Centre bonhomie and now, the Barasat line, it seems, has started getting its due.

The Noapara-Barasat corridor is supposed to pass through a land owned by Saregama Ltd. The state government had vested the land for construction but Saregama moved the court against it, leaving the future of the project uncertain. Recently, the state government intervened and a solution was arrived at.

“The infrastructure projects in the state hold so much of goodwill that even the corporate body agreed to bury the hatchet as far as allowing the construction of the corridor on its land is concerned. Not less than 500 square metre of land at Jessore Road with right of way will be allowed for the construction. On Monday, the land was formally handed over to the Metro authority. The court battle will take its own course in the court for resolving the issue legally,” said principal secretary (transport) Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

The transport department will now seek similar cooperation from Jessop, another corporate entity, whose land will also be required for further extension of the corridor. The district administration has been asked to look into the removal of encroachment to facilitate completion of the project. Clearing these land hurdles is most crucial as the construction will facilitate a seamless ride to the airport. This corridor will complete a circle of transit corridor with New Garia-Airport Metro also having an interface at the airport.

From Noapara to Barasat, the alignment will be elevated and pass through Ramakrishna Palli and Santinagar stations whereas the underground track will pass through DumDum Cantonment and Jessore Road before converging with other routes at the airport station. From here, both the lines will run parallel to NH 34 till the junction of Nawali Khal. The line will reach the surface near Madhyamgram station.

However, the future of the alignment beyond airport is still uncertain. The Metro Railway authorities had written to the Railway Board in May last year and requested it to modify the plan — to truncate it at airport — with no visible headway beyond the airport.

“In the original plan, there was the provision for a 5.6km underground route in and around the airport. But since encroachment on railway land is not allowing progress of the full stretch, we have urged the Board to allow us to terminate the route at airport itself, which can be achieved by constructing a 1.7km underground track instead,” said a Metro Railway official. “Work on the stretch between the airport and Barasat can be taken up later if we get the land in future,” he added.

Kolkata Metro’s new line may open in 2018

Union Minister says govt trying to advance operations by six months to Dec 2017
Babul Supriyo (centre), Minister of State for Urban Development, Housing and urban Poverty Alleviation, with Arun Kumar Saraf (left), President, MCC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, at an interactive session on ‘Federal Structure of Governance is the Key to faster Urban Growth in India’, in Kolkata on Monday
Babul Supriyo (centre), Minister of State for Urban Development, Housing and urban Poverty Alleviation, with Arun Kumar Saraf (left), President, MCC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, at an interactive session on ‘Federal Structure of Governance is the Key to faster Urban Growth in India’, held in Kolkata on Monday

Kolkata (KOAA): The first phase of the proposed East West Metro railway services in Kolkata will be operational latest by June 2018, Babul Supriyo, Union Minister of State for Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said here on Monday.

Proposed in 2008, the ₹5,000-crore East West Metro Railway project intends to connect eastern and western fringes of the city across a 15-km stretch across two phases.

Stalled work

Phase 1 of the project – an (approx) 8 km stretch – will connect the IT hub of Salt Lake (in the East) to the city’s central part, Sealdah.

Babul Supriyo addresses at an interactive session
Babul Supriyo addresses at an interactive session

“Phase 1 should be operational by June 2018. But I am trying to advance the commencement by six months to December 2017,” he said during an interactive session organised by the MCCI.

Construction work that had come to a stand still for the last four years has already begun, he added. Initially, it was an issue over relocation of several families, particularly squatters and slum dwellers, along a 365 metre stretch that falls in between the proposed route connecting the city to Salt Lake.

Sources indicate that some 43-odd families – 35 tenants and 8 landlords – needed to be shifted.

According to Supriyo, the problems have been “resolved” post building of an additional number of shelters apart from payment of “monetary compensation”.

Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRCL) and the West Bengal Government have already built 60-odd temporary shelters to aid relocation.

(KMRCL is a special purpose vehicle, set up for construction of the metro. Initially, it was a JV between the West Bengal Government and the Ministry of Urban Development. Later the Railway Ministry took over the West Bengal government’s stake.)

Phase 2 in trouble

However, re-locating these families is just one part of the problem. Work on the second phase too has come to a halt because of similar complications.

The second phase of the project will connect the twin cities of Kolkata and Howrah, covering a stretch of about 7 km between Sealdah (in Central Kolkata) and Howrah Maidan (West of Kolkata). This part suffered primarily because of route realignment and unavailability of land. This realignment will add not just an extra 2 km to the route but also increase costs by an estimated ₹750 crore, according to report by Rites.

The Minister too confirmed the cost escalation because of the route re-alignment.

However, the problem, Supriyo said, is that the re-aligned route would require fresh clearances from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). The proposed route (new one) would ensure construction being carried out within a 40 metre radius of the heritage structure – “Old Currency Building”.

“We have agreed, in-principle, to the route realignment proposed by the State government. But new laws do not allow construction with a 100-meter radius of protected monuments. We need to take clearances and permissions from the ASI, may be as a special case, before work can start,” he said.

1st phase Kolkata East-West Metro to start by Dec’17

Kolkata (KOAA): Union Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo today said the first phase of the long-awaited East-West Metro Rail in Kolkata is likely to be commissioned in December 2017, six months ahead of the projected date.

“People of Kolkata may have a joyride in the East West Metro’s first phase from Salt Lake to Sealdah by December 2017. Even as the target to commission the first phase of this project had been earlier fixed at June 2018, we are trying to make it by December 2017,” Supriyo said.

The Minister was speaking at an interactive session on ‘Federal Structure of Governance is the Key to Faster Urban Growth in India’ organised by the Merchant Chambers of Commerce (MCC).

The projected date for the launch of the first phase of the Rs 4,875 crore project was set earlier at June 2018.

The project was stuck over rehabilitation issues of a section of residents of the Dattabad area in Salt lake, which was resolved later and the the date of commissioning was likely to be advanced by six months, he said.

Hopes revived for the project as unwilling residents agreed to relocate from the project site, with Supriyo raising the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

For the second phase of the project from Sealdah to Howrah Maidan, Supriyo said the Centre was ready to accept the state government’s proposal for realignment of the stretch on condition that it received clearance from the ASI.

“This is because the realigned line will be 40 metres away from the heritage Old Currency Building. As per rules there should be at least a 100 metre gap between the realigned line and heritage building,” the Minister said.

The state government was insisting with its proposal of the realigned route on the Kolkata Metro Railway Corporation (KMRC), which was executing the project, but the route was yet to be vetted by the Railways.

KMRC, initially a joint venture between the Union Urban Development Ministry and the West Bengal government, was developing the East West metro project connecting Salt Lake to Howrah Maidan.

In 2013, following a request from Mamata Banerjee, the state’s stake in the project was handed over to the Indian Railways, which runs the existing metro services in Kolkata.

DEMU rail service linking Kochi city, suburbs to start ops on June 21

Kochi: The local area rail service, linking Aluva, Ernakulam Town, Ernakulam Junction and Tripunithura railway stations, will start operations on June 21, that too with an air-conditioned coach, a first in the country.

Railway minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off the diesel electric multiple unit (DEMU) service from Ernakulam Junction railway station, officials said.

The plan to start such a service including the revival of the abandoned old railway station and Harbour Terminus station was mooted by various organisations including the media earlier. A senior official with the Thiruvananthapuram railway division said that the public demands prompted officials to fast-track the project.

“The Demu rake with the AC coach is ready for use in Chennai. Earlier, it was said that the Demu rake for Thiruvananthapuram would be ready by July-end. Thanks to the Railway Board, our project has been approved on a war-footing. An AC coach, the first to be used in a local service, has also been allotted,” said a source with the railway division.

The Demu rake will have eight coaches — two driving power cars (DPC), two trailing cars for vendors (TCV) and four trailing cars, including an air-conditioned one. While 86 passengers can travel in DPC (52 seating, 34 standing), 343 passengers can travel in a TCV (97 seating, 246 standing). A trailling car (TC) can carry up to 314 at a time (96 seating, 218 standing). The AC coach will have a seating capacity of 96.

As per the tentative timetable prepared, the Demu service will start from Ernakulam Junction at 6am and end at 8.30pm at the same station. The day’s first trip will be to Tripunithura and the last between Angamaly and Ernakulam Junction. The Demu will be a shuttle service running between Aluva-Ernakulam North-Ernakulam Junction-Tripunithura. In the evening, there will be single services to Angamaly and Piravom Road.

“We are yet to finalise the timetable and ticket rates. This is the first time an AC coach is being used in a local service. Ticket rates will be fixed by the Railway Board,” the source said. Mumbai has been demanding a complete AC train on its suburban route.

It is reliably learnt that there will be four shuttle services between Aluva and Tripunithura stations. The travelling time between Aluva and Tripunithura will be 45 minutes. The ticket fare in normal coaches will be the same as that of passenger trains.

The AC coach, to be located in the middle of the rake, has been furnished on the lines of AC intercity express trains. The air-conditioned coach will have a capacity to seat 73 passengers.

All coaches are equipped with environment-friendly bio-toilets.

The Demu service will be the first step in the original plan to introduce local area service network, connecting Aluva, Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town, Tripunithura, Ernakulam Railway Goods (ERG) station (the old railway station located behind the Kerala High Court) and the Cochin Harbour Terminus Station (CHTS).

The CHTS will be ready for the Demu service in four months.

“We have tracks, platforms and the signalling system at CHTS. In the beginning, passengers will not have many modern facilities at CHTS. However, once the service starts, everything will fall in place. But, it will take at least six months to start service to ERG as we have to reconstruct the entire 1.5-km stretch from the mainline. The renovation of the dilapidated railway station building will be done simultaneously,” said a railway source.

For ERG, authorities first plan to run a light engine after the tracks are ready. They will then operate parcel services from ERG to check the safety of tracks. “Once it’s safe, we will approach the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS),” a senior official said.

A new track can be used for passenger movement only after CRS certification. Earlier, authorities had plans to electrify the tracks between ERG and the mainline as well as the 7-km-long Ernakulam Junction-CHTS stretch to introduce the Memu service.

CBI launches probe into Shanti Express coach burning

Ahmedabad (ADI): Eleven years after a coach of Shanti Express caught fire at Gandhinagar railway station on November 1, 2004, the CBI in Delhi has launched an investigation into the incident.

CBI sources said they have submitted a FIR in the special CBI court in Ahmedabad last week with regard to the incident.

The burning of the coach had become a major issue. There is a conspiracy theory behind the burning of S6 coach of Sabarmati Express at Godhra in 2002 that which had drawn parallels with the Shanti Express burning. Even Justice (Retd) U.C.Banerjee Committee set up by the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to probe the Godhra incident had visited Gandhinagar to have a look at the burnt coach of Shanti Express.

An offence was registered with the Railway Police in 2004. Significantly, at that time the forensic report had ruled out sabotage and opined that the Gandhinagar fire was an accident possibly caused either by a cigarette or a bidi. However, CBI starting investigation into the matter after a gap of 11 years has raised many eye-brows.  Investigators have ruled out the opinion in the report who says that a cigarette or a bidi will not cause such a damage to a coach and there is a conspiracy behind it.

Highly place sources in the CBI said the investigation has already been launched and a team of CBI officials from Delhi will shortly visit Ahmedabad.

Kolkata Metro to seek ASI nod to lay tracks

Kolkata (KOAA): The Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation (KMRC) will seek the Archaeological Survey of India’s permission to build tracks near Currency Building, a heritage structure at BBD Bag, for the East-West Metro.

Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo said on Monday the KMRC, the implementing agency of East-West Metro, has an advanced technology to build underground tunnels that would ensure that the heritage building was not damaged.

The state government has proposed a change in the route of East-West Metro’s phase II from Sealdah to Howrah Maidan. But in the proposed realignment, the KMRC would need clearance from the ASI and the defence ministry. The proposed Esplanade station would come up on army land.

“The KMRC is sending a proposal to the ASI…. The tracks will pass within 40m of the structure,” the minister said. He was speaking at an interactive session on “Federal structure is the key to faster urban growth in India”, organised by MCC Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Calcutta.

A KMRC official said the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act says there cannot be any construction within 100m of a heritage structure.

But the KMRC will use tunnel-boring machines that make keyholes on the surface for the equipment to go underground for digging the tunnel. The cut-and-cover technology used in the past dug up a larger surface, an engineer said.

The KMRC has written to the army, requesting for about 5,000sq m land at Esplanade to build a station.

Babul Supriyo said the Centre had in principle agreed with the state government’s realignment proposal. “But the clearances are required,” he said.

The minister said the cost of the project, which was originally around Rs 5,000 crore, has gone up by 1.7 times because of the delay.

Work in the second phase has been stalled for more than four years because the government has refused to shift settlers from Bowbazar and hawkers on Brabourne Road.

Work in the first phase, between Salt Lake’s Sector V and Sealdah, had been stalled for four years because of settlers in Duttabad. The problem was recently resolved after Mamata Banerjee intervened following a request from Babul Supriyo. “My talks have borne fruit. I would like to thank the state government,” he said.

Laying of tracks has started in Duttabad and the revised deadline for the project to become operational is June 2018. “But we have to make it operational by December 2017,” the minister said.

Structures near ready, Kochi Metro stations on track

Big parking lots will be confined to major stations, while the rest will mainly have space for two-wheeler parking

Kochi: With structures of Kochi Metro stations fast nearing completion, the Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC) is probing means to ensure the best use of parking space at stations.

Big parking lots will be confined to major stations such as Aluva, Kalamassery, Cusat and Edappally, while the rest will mainly have space for two-wheeler parking.

“The feasibility of having multi-tier parking is also being probed,” metro sources said.

KMRC StationsThe metro’s parking policy will be announced in another three to four months, wherein parking on station premises will find detailed mention.

Track-level works are going on at half a dozen cantilevered station structures of the total 16 stations in the metro’s Aluva-Maharaja’s College corridor. The two-metre-wide square pillars will support the 21-metre-wide cantilever stations.

“Fire-retardant materials will be used in station construction to ensure passenger safety for up to two hours in case of a fire breakout. The interior will have a standardised design with some element of a location-specific theme, while the Indian Institute of Architects (IIA) is working on a dominant regional theme that will be adopted for station exteriors.”

Each station will have two tracks, in continuance of the metro viaduct. The Muttom station will have three tracks, the third meant for trains being taken to the adjacent coach-maintenance depot. Land for all the stations has been acquired, while it is pending at a few places in the Maharaja’s Ground-Pettah corridor.

Passengers want Railways to reschedule Madurai-Chennai Duronto Express

Madurai (MDU): Passengers are demanding the railways to reschedule the Chennai Central – Madurai Duronto Biweekly Express trains as it runs with a considerable number of vacant seats and berths.

During the recently concluded Passenger and Customer Facilitation Fortnight events, popular talk show orator and TV personality S Raja pointed out the need to reschedule the train.

The non-stop train leaves Chennai Central at 10.30pm on Mondays and Wednesdays and reaches Madurai at 7.10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

In the return direction, it leaves Madurai at 10.45pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays and reaches Chennai Central at 7.15am on Wednesdays and Fridays.

The train fare is Rs 1,030 for AC three-tier, Rs 1,440 for AC two-tier and Rs 2,425 for first class AC travel.

“It is one of the best trains to travel without any disturbance and quite affordable but the vacant berths is the real concern. Last time when I travelled in the 1A coach, I was the lonely passenger. The TTE asked me if I was scared of being alone in the coach and was willing to shift me to another coach,” said the orator known for his lighter anecdotes.

Raja said if railway authorities operated the train on weekends, it would benefit several passengers.

Inaugurated in 2012, Duronto hasn’t got good patronage from passengers.

Former divisional rail user consultative committee member and president of the Tamil Nadu Foodgrains Merchants Ltd S P Jeyapragasam claimed that many rail users were not even aware about the train.

“There is fear among rail users’ forums that Madurai may lose a good train due to lack of patronage. In fact, we suggest operating it on all days especially weekends,” he said.

Sources in the commercial department said that the train would attract more passengers if it ran on the Madurai – Chennai Egmore route. At present, it takes the circuitous Karur – Namakkal – Salem route since it has to be operated non-stop and single track in chord line is greater impediment.

“Unfortunately, people from our region people feel more comfortable when trains are operated to Chennai Egmore though Central is close by”, a commercial staff said.

Railway officials said that the suggestions collected from passengers during the fortnight drive will be sent to the railway ministry for further perusal.

Tata Projects makes progressive march in Railway Infrastructure Services and Projects

Secunderabad: Tata Projects (TPL) is one of the fastest growing infrastructure companies in India. The company has expertise in executing large and complex industrial infrastructure projects. Tata Projects has structured its business into nine business verticals – Railways, Power, Transmission, Construction Services, Metals, Oil & Gas, Urban Infrastructure, Water and Quality Services. It has more than 2,700 employees, including 1,400 engineers, and a presence across 32 countries.

Multi-disciplinary services for railway projects

Tata Projects offers a range of multi-disciplinary services for integrated / composite railway projects, railway track-laying bridges (steel and concrete), rail-based urban transit systems (metro systems), railway electrification, signal and telecommunication systems, including construction of industrial railway sidings and yards and closed-loop rail transportation systems (merry-go-round systems) for comprehensive and cost-effective bulk material movement.

Tata Projects has recently carried out major work in India on the gauge conversion of the entire section from Villupuram – Maylaiditurai (122km), which involved civil, bridge, permanent way, connected electrical, and signalling and telecommunications works.

The company is also involved in major ongoing works for the design and construction of civil, structures and track work for 347km of double line railway for the Bhaupur – Khurja section of the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor funded by the World Bank.

Rail design and engineering

TPL provides design and engineering services in all fields (civil, bridges, ballast and ballastless track, electrical, S&T, etc.) of railway infrastructure.

Rail bridge construction

Our experience on Indian rail bridges includes casting and launching of 3,335 linear metrics of PSC girder between Villupuram – Malayiditurai, with 35,635 running metres and piling diameter of 1/1.2m.

Electrification and signalling and telecommunication systems

TPL’s track record encompasses more than 2,500km of electrification, and it has competence in design, engineering, installation, testing and commissioning of DC and AC traction systems.

Key sections electrified include the Tirupati-Katpadi of South Central Railway, Talcher-Angul of East Coast Railway, Nandalur-Pullampet of South Central Railway, Karjat-Lonaval of Central Railway, Khurja-Meerut-Saharanpur of Northern Railway and Kondapuram-Guntakal of South Central Railway.

Ongoing electrification projects are Madurai-Nagercoil in Southern Railway, Chengalpattu-Villupuram in Southern Railway, Unchahar-Varanasi in Northern Railway, Chhapra-Kachehari in North Eastern Railway and Alwar-Rewari in North Western Railway. An ongoing electrification, signalling and telecommunication system project is for Gooty-Yelahanka in South Central and South Western Railway.

TPL has the experience and expertise to handle major turnkey projects for signalling and telecommunication, including design, installation, testing and commissioning of relay interlocking and electronic interlocking of stations, train detection systems, interlocking of level crossings, OFC-based telecom systems, etc.

Development of railway sidings

TPL has carried out numerous rail siding projects, including the development of an 11km railway siding for GMR Kamalanga Energy’s 1,050MW power plant; a 10km siding for EMCO Energy’s 600MW power plant; and 10km of ballast-less track for the Ministry of Defence.

These projects are EPC jobs for dedicated railway lines involving complete design engineering (both layouts and structures), project execution, quality assurance, project management, integration, and commissioning including civil, track work, bridges and railway electrification works.

About Tata Projects

Tata Projects is part of the Tata Group, one of India’s largest business conglomerates. Tata Group has revenues of over $100bn, more than 100 operating companies and a presence across seven business sectors, and a global footprint with operations in more than 85 countries and 450,000 employees worldwide.

UP Train Robberies Gang involved in train robberies near Katpadi held

Katpadi (KPD): A special team of the Government Railway Police (GRP), Chennai headed by V. Ponram, Deputy Superintendent of Police nabbed a 7-member gang of train robbers belonging to Uttar Pradesh at the Latheri Railway Station near Katpadi on Sunday evening.

According to a release from P. Vijayakumar, Superintendent of Police, GRP, Chennai, investigation revealed that the accused—B. Mithun (25), J. Sunny @ Khannia (23), J. Krishan Kumar (28), J. Ajay (22), J. Bituram (22), B. Deepak Kumar (19) and P. Mukheshkumar (36) — were part of a bigger gang involved in train robberies.

Their modus operandi involves stopping trains by pulling emergency chain and the snatching of the chains of the passengers lying or sleeping at the berths close to the windows by about four to eight persons.

Five cases

The arrested gang was found to have been involved in five cases in the Jolarpet Railway Police Station (RPS), one in Erode RPS, two in Egmore RPS, two in Chengalpattu RPS, one each in Salem Suramangalam and Salem Fairlands.

The gang was involved in four cases in Andhra Pradesh, i.e., in Ongole, Yerraguntla, Kaddappa and Renigunta RPS.

The accused were involved in an offence in which the train escort railway police opened fire when they pelted stones on them. The special team which successfully nabbed the gang included Inspectors of Police, Saravanan, Lawrence, Gunasekaran, Manikandan and Loganathan.

Appreciating the sincerity, devotion to duty and application of mind of the special team, Mr. Vijayakumar said that the team members will be suitably rewarded.

Efforts were on to arrest a few more absconding accused and to recover the robbed properties.

The SP advised the rail passengers to make use of the round-the-clock Helpline 1512 in case of emergency related to police so that swift action could be taken to deal with the situation.

Railways to invite bids for Marhowra diesel unit on Sept 1

Marhaura (MEW): Indian Railways intends to invite the financial bids for setting up of the diesel locomotive unit on a joint venture basis at Marhowra on September 1 this year.

The shortlisted players for the diesel loco factory to be set up at Marhowra, Bihar are GE and EMD. Hemant Kumar, Member-Electrical, said this in a media briefing here yesterday.

Kumar added that Railways intends to fit 17,000 biotoilets in about 4,250 coaches this year (2015-16) to open discharge of faecal matter on the track. Fitting each coach with four such biotoilets cost Rs. 3 lakh. Railways have about 60,000 broad gauge coaches, which require over Rs. 2,000 crore at the current cost.

Railway also plans to acquire about 1,800 wagons from Jindal Infrastructure, according to Kumar. “This year, we will procure 8,500 wagons. Orders for 1,800 wagons have been released to Jindal, while counter offer is given to other players to match the price,” he said.

Last year, railways had procured wagons at over Rs. 11 lakh a wagon, while this year, the price per wagon is over Rs.10 lakh, said railway officials without getting into specifics.

Inter-Railway Cultural Competitions end

Bhubaneswar (BBS): A two-day national-level Inter Railway Cultural Competition (Dance) organised by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) at Rail Vihar here concluded on Sunday. ECoR General Manager Rajiv Vishnoi distributed certificates and prizes to the outstanding participants. Vishnoi appreciated the organising committee for holding such a national-level competition and encouraging cultural activities among employees.

About 400 participants from 16 Railway Zones all over the country including eight railway production units joined the competition. In the group dance, Ganesh Gaikawad & Group of Central Railway, Mumbai; M Gopal Krishna & Group of South Central Railway, Secunderabad and Gurpreet Singh & Group of Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala were adjudged as 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the competition. In the individual solo dance, Mousumi Saha of Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, West Bengal; Sonali Ray of ECoR and Vasundhara Sharma of Diesel Locomotive Works, Varanasi were placed in the first three positions, respectively. On the opening day, East Coast Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation President Shalini Vishnoi inaugurated the competition. ECoR Chief Personnel Officer Manju Ray coordinated the two-day event.

Narrow escape for passengers as Karwar-Bengaluru train derails

Two engines and one unreserved coach of train 16518/16524, Kannur/Karwar – Bengaluru Express, following the engine derailed between Shirivagilu and Yadakumari stations of Mangaluru – Hassan section in Mysore division, South Western Railway at 2.10am on June 15. No casualties or injuries have been reported. Consequent to this development, the train traffic in this section has been temporarily disrupted.

At 2.10 am on Monday, engine driver Shivakumar noticed the boulder from a distance and applied emergency brakes in the nick of time. This resulted in the engine hitting the boulder at a slower speed. Two engines of the train and one unreserved coach were derailed. Those on their way to Bengaluru were taken to Subramanya Road Station down the ghat in the train with the help of the back engine. The service of the Bengaluru–Kannur/Karwar Express, which left Bengaluru on Sunday, was partially cancelled between Sakleshpur and Kannur/Karwar. Buses have been arranged by South Western Railway, Hubballi, for moving passengers by road to Mangaluru/Karw

Accordingly, train services have been regulated as under: Train 16518 Kannur/Karwar – Bengaluru Express (derailed train) which left Mangaluru Central on June 14, has been taken back to Subrahmanya Road and is being diverted via Mangaluru Central, Kannur, Shoranur, Palakkad, Erode and Salem. This train has left Mangaluru Junction at 9.30am. Service of train 16515 Yeswantpur – Karwar express scheduled to leave Yeswantpur on June 15 has been cancelled.

Service of train 16517/16523 Bengaluru – Kannur/Karwar express, which left Bengaluru on June 14 has been partially cancelled between Sakleshpur and Kannur/Karwar on June 15. Buses have been arranged by South Western Railway, Hubballi for moving passengers by road to Mangaluru/Karwar.

Further to the disruption of train service caused due to the derailment of train 16518 Kannur/Karwar – Bengaluru express, the following train services have also been regulated: Service of train 16518/16524 Kannur – Bengaluru Express, scheduled to leave Kannur on June 15 has been partially cancelled between Kannur and Mangaluru Central. Service of train 16524 Karwar – Bengaluru Express, scheduled to leave Karwar on June 15 has been partially cancelled between Karwar and Mangaluru Central.

The service of train 16517/16523 Bengaluru – Karwar/Kannur Express, which left Bengaluru on June 14 has been partially cancelled between Sakleshpur and Kannur/Karwar on June 15. The service of train 16516 Karwar – Yeswantpur Express scheduled to leave Karwar on June 16, will be cancelled due to the cancellation of its pairing train service.

Railways’ reforms can transformatively impact 1.2 bn Indians

Dr.Amit Kapoor is Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness and is also a Professor of Strategy at Management Development Institute, India
Dr.Amit Kapoor is Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness and is also a Professor of Strategy at Management Development Institute, India

New Delhi: Amit Kapoor The railways sector has seen some activity in the past few months. Not only are operational changes being brought about but a long-term strategic view seems to be in sight. The operation changes in ‘tatkal’ remuneration in respect to cancellation as well as the choice to upgrade to a domestic airline in case of waitlisted seats are steps that are beneficial to customers.

The long-term view seems to come from the recently constituted seven-member committee under the chairmanship of economist Bibek Debroy on Mobilizing Resources for Projects and Restructuring of Indian Railways. The report proposes five fundamental points for the IR, specifically and the railways sector to look into:

First, what is the core role of the IR in India? This question is pertinent to understanding the core activities and the peripheral ones and separating the commercial from the social role of the IR. At present, there are a lot of activities that take up considerable time and effort on the part of IR. These include the medical service that IR runs with an infrastructure of 125 hospitals, 586 health units and 14,000 beds. Also, pertinent in this regard is the 1 degree college and 168 schools that IR runs. These along with the railway protection, catering, real estate development, housing and the like, according to the committee, are non-core activities that can be clearly outsourced.

Second the report calls for proper accounting procedures and commercial considerations in IR. A formally reformed accounting system will enable the Ministry of Railways that has administrative control over 6 established production units and 16 public sector undertakings (PSUs) to keep proper accounts. Similarly, it will also enable the understanding the level of subsidization in the 17 zones and 68 divisions into which the IR at present is bifurcated. A case in point that finds mention is the Kolkata Metro rail. Any future suburban systems according to the committee should be built on a JV route with state governments (on a 50:50 basis), and the cost should not be borne by IR.

Third, the report recommends streamlining the HR procedures and processes in IR. It is fundamental to carrying out the organizational transformation. It is primarily to be achieved by merging and consolidating the eight Group ‘A’ services into two services. These could be respectively called the Indian Railway Technical Service (IRTechS) comprising of the existing five technical services (IRSE, IRSSE, IRSEE, IRSME and IRSS) and the Indian Railway Logistics Service (IRLogS), comprising the three non-technical services (IRAS, IRPS and IRTS). Aligned with the streamlining of HR procedures is the decentralization of the authority and responsibility to at least the level of Divisional Railway Manager (DRM). The DRM is in charge of one of the 68 divisions of the IR. The financial authority, as well as the power in handling tenders connected with works, stores procurement, to DRM’s, ensures that departmentalism is reduced – and there is accountability within the IR.

Fourth, is the issue of ensuring competition and liberalization in the railways sector. The committee has for specific reasons refrained from calling the liberalization of the railways sector as privatization or deregulation. Essentially the committee recommends and encourages open access to private players who want to operate trains on tracks. It is in line with what is practiced at present in some parts of Europe and Australia. Liberalization and open access also call for an independent regulator for the sector and the committee report recommends setting up the same statutorily with an independent budget. The regulator – Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI) – for economic regulation, including, wherever necessary, tariff regulation.

Fifth, the report proposes progressively phasing out of the rail budget and merging the same with the general budget. It reflects the need to define clearly the relationship between the government and the IR. The recommendations also call for ending the system of paying dividends and reduction in the gross budgetary support carried out between the government and IR.

The recommendations of the report are timely and present a systematic roadmap to restructure the IR behemoth in specific and the railways sector in general. However, as with the previous committee reports much will depend upon the acceptance of the report and ultimately its implementation on the ground. One will have to wait and watch as to how the strategic restructuring in this critical sector unfolds over the next decade. It truly has the capability to have a transformative impact on the lives of India’s 1.2 Billion people.

(The article is co-authored with Sankalp Sharma, Senior Researcher at the Institute for Competitiveness, India. is Chair, Institute for Competitiveness & Editor of Thinkers. The views expressed are personal. Amit can be reached at amit.kapoor@competitiveness.in and tweets @kautiliya)

Financial Bids for Marhora Diesel Plant in Bihar to open in September 2015

New Delhi: Financial bidding for the big ticket Rs 1200 crore diesel locomotive project at Marhora in Bihar will open on September 1.

Two US multinationals – GE and EMD – are vying to bag the plant, Railway Board Member Hemant Kumar said here today.

Ending the suspense over the fate of the proposed plant to be executed in the joint venture model, Railways has finalised the financial bidding for the high-value joint venture projects after considerable delays, re-thinking and prolonged due diligence amid repeated revision of bidding documents.

Before opening the request for proposal (RFP) containing financial bidding documents, there will be a second-pre-bid meeting on June 24, Kumar said.

With the government allowing 100 per cent FDI in the railway sector, setting up of locomotive plant in joint venture model is crucial for Railways to give a boost to its infrastructure.

After the opening of the RFP, it will take about a month to examine the financial documents before announcing the award, he said.

Marhora plant will produce 4500 HP and 6,000 HP diesel locomotives using state-of-the-art technology.

In the course of about 10 years after commissioning, the proposed plant is expected to manufacture nearly 1,000 diesel- electric locomotives, that is 100 locomotives annually.

While 700 diesel locomotives will be equipped with 4,500 horse power (HP), 300 diesel locomotives will be manufactured with 6,000 HP, said the official.

These locomotives will be fuel efficient and help mitigate the adverse impact of greenhouse gases.

Alstom looks at Make in India initiative to double its Biz to Rs.5700 Crore

alstomMilan: French transport company Alstom is looking to the Narendra Modi government’s Make in India initiative to double its business in the country to 800 million euro (Rs 5,700 crore) in the next three years. The company is expanding its manufacturing facility in Chennai and opening a new factory for building traction systems in Coimbatore this year. Alstom will also supply the German market from India.

“The business environment in India has improved over the last year,” said Henri Poupart-Lafarge, president, Alstom Transporrt. “Things were not as rigorous on the implementation of projects till some time ago.” Alstom says India is the only country where it has a complete supply chain from design to manufacturing sourced locally. It plans to hire more than 200 engineers annually over the next three years to support its expansion. It currently employs 800 engineers.

The company is also looking to bring its elevated tramway technology Axonis to India. This doesn’t need tracks but runs on cables and has been pitched to various state governments, including Uttar Pradesh.

“If the proposal gets through, we will manufacture the train bogies in India itself,” Poupart-Lafarge said. “Many states have shown interest as this is a much more practical solution for small cities with narrow roads. It can even be the feeder for metro services.”

Make-in-India-logoAlstom also expects growth from the dedicated freight corridor. It plans to partner Indian Railways in power supply and locomotives and has bid for the electrification and signalling contract for the Khurja-Bhaupur (343 km) section of the Eastern Corridor.

“The concept of smart cities is still being defined but transportation is an essential part and that is where our expertise comes in,” Poupart-Lafarge said. Alstom globally provides the complete range of systems, equipment and services for railway systems.

In India, the company provided the initial coaches and the technology for the LHB (lightweight all-metal) coaches used on the Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains. Besides, it is also running Train Information Systems for the Delhi, Bengaluru, Jaipur and Kochi metros.

One of the biggest challenges that the company faces in its metro projects is the absence of standard norms, with each city demanding unique specifications. “The execution of metro projects could be faster and more cost-efficient if there are uniform standards,” Poupart-Lafarge said. “The efforts of the Ministry of Urban Development in this direction are welcome.”

Kerala back-step from depositing Rs.2.5 Cr for Shakuntala Jn becomes a stumbling block for Palghat-Pollachi route

Palakkad (PGT): Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s backtracking from an earlier promise to deposit Rs.2.5 crore with the Railways to keep the level cross at Shakunthala Junction on G B Road functional has turned into a stumbling block in the case of an early commissioning of the recently gauge-converted Palakkad and Pollachi rail route.

Though the Railways have permanently closed the railway gate in the absence of release of funds from State government during last month, it requires an official letter from Palakkad District Collector informing formally that the State government dropped its plan to retain the level crossing by depositing funds for its maintenance in advance.

The Collector said he had already sought permission from State government to write the letter to the Railways. In the absence of response from the State government to the Collector’s plea, even the safety inspection on the rail route is getting delayed. Shakunthala Junction is located in the middle of Palakkad Town and the new rail route passes through the junction.

“When I contacted railway officials, they told me that the safety inspection and formal inauguration are getting delayed due to the lack of official communication from District Collector. The Railways has already closed down the level cross in the absence of promised deposit from State government. However, the State government is causing further delay in the inauguration of the rail route by not sending the official letter,’’ said M.B. Rajesh, MP.

It was after construction of a road overbridge at G B Junction that Railways decided to close down the level cross. However, the move evoked strong protest from trade and commerce bodies in the city citing inconvenience of buyers bound for Shakunthala Junction.

Former Additional Divisional Railway Manager Mohan A. Menon made it clear that the level crossing can be maintained only if the municipality or State government agree to meet its expenses.

The Railways also fixed Rs.2.5 crore as expense for 30 years to meet salary needs of the gate keeper and periodic maintenance of the gate. It also wanted the amount to be deposited in advance.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was on a visit to Palakkad last year, promised the trade and commercial bodies that the State government would deposit the amount and keep the level cross operational.

Govt. promise

However, the State government went back from its promise later and the level crossing was closed. Now the communication gap is turning a stumbling block in commissioning the rail route.

Passing Out Parade of Constable Recruits at RPF Special Force base/Secunderabad

Shri Anoop Srivastava, Inspector General, RPSF , New Delhi, seen inspecting the Parade of RPF Recruits
Anoop Srivastava, Inspector General, RPSF , New Delhi, seen inspecting the Parade of RPF Recruits

Secunderabad: At a grand Passing out Parade of  Constable Recruits of Railway Protection Force (RPF), held today (15.06.2015) at 7th Battalion, Railway Protection Special Force Camp, Moula Ali, 200 RPF recruits, who have successfully completed a seven month’s rigorous initial training at this centre, were passed out with instruction to report to regular duty. These newly recruited RPF Constable will report for duty in Eastern Railway, Kolkata.

Anoop Srivastava, Inspector General, Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF), Railway Board, New Delhi was the Chief Guest while S.C. Parhi, Chief Security Commissioner, SCR was the Guest of Honour on the occasion.

In his address, Anoop Srivastava said that Indian Railways, in an un-precedent manner, recruited 16,500  RPF constables last year and  these Constable Rrecruits are undergoing initial training at RPF Training Institutes at various  Zonal Railways. Since the capacity at these RPF Training Centres can not handle  such a large number of candidates, the recruits are being trained  at various Paramilitary and State Police training  Institutes also, he added. Furthr he stated that the new recruits were given the best training and were trained in infantry, weaponry, un-armed combats, law and order matters, working of railways, Indian Railways Act,  crime in railways, public interface, gender sensitisation, and also in yoga.

The Parade of RPF Recruits in progress
The Parade of RPF Recruits in progress

These candidates will be imparted training in practical field working during the course of their regular duties. He urged them to work with utmost dedication  to ensure the  security of railway assets and to prevent theft, dacoit etc  in the trains in order to sustain the confidence of the travelling public.

Earlier Anoop Srivastava inspected the passing out parade, received the guard of honour. Impressed by the smart turn out of parade, Anoop Srivastava announced a group cash award of Rs.10,000/ to the Instructors and co-ordinators.  He gave away the medals and certificates to the outstanding candidates of the training course.

Asim Bhakta, who was commanding the parade, bagged the Medal for all round (indoor & outdoor) best performer while Deepak Kumar secured the Medal for best indoor performer  and  Amit Kumar Bari clinched the Medal for second best commander.

S.C.Parhi, Chief Security Commissioner/SCR, G.Elisha, Commandant, RPSF/Moula Ali also spoke on the occasion. Senior railway officials, especially from security department and  staff  were present on the occasion in large number.

Asim Bhakta recives the Medal for Overall Best Performer in the training
Asim Bhakta recives the Medal for Overall Best Performer in the training

BJD leader urge CONCOR to subscribe the equity of Posco from Haridaspur-Paradeep Railway project

Bhubaneswar: Senior BJD leader and Member of Parliament Baijayant Panda has urged Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to direct the Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) to subscribe the equity of Posco from Haridaspur-Paradip railway project.

The South Korean steel major had provided Rs.27.5 crore as paid up capital for land acquisition for this project. After withdrawal of the company, the Centre is reportedly in talks with CONCOR to buy the 10 per cent equity of Posco in the project.

A special purpose vehicle (SPV) was formed in 2006 to expedite the project and Posco was a part of the SPV, christened as Haridaspur-Paradip Railway Company Limited (HRPCL). Rail Vikash Nigam Ltd (RVNL) holds a major share of 48.43 per cent in the SPV.

While two Central PSUs __ Paradip Port Trust and Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) are part of the SPV, the State Government’s Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (IDCO) is one of the shareholders.

Jindal Steel Private Limited, Essel Mining and Industries Limited, Rungta Mines Limited and MSPL are the other partners in the SPV and all of them have business interests in the State.

The railway project was crucial for the development of industries and boost socio-economic growth of Kendrapara district, Panda said, adding that it will also solve the traffic problem on Chandikhol-Paradip Expressway.

Second Electric Loco Shed to Come up in Rourkela

Rourkela: With Sundargarh district witnessing development in various sectors, the South Eastern Railway (SER) is all set to establish a second electric locomotive shed at Bondamunda of Rourkela city.

A release issued by SER stated that to meet the growing traffic needs of the zone, a decision has been taken to set up the second loco shed. There has been an annual traffic growth of eight to nine per cent on the Howrah-Mumbai main line and branch lines, the release stated, adding that IRCON has been assigned the project with a deadline to complete it by March 2017.

The existing electric loco shed at Bondamunda caters to repair and maintenance of about 200 electric engines of goods trains. With addition of the new facility, the combined capacity would increase to handle about 400 electric locomotives, they said.

The new facility, with state-of-the-art technology, will handle about 200 new generation electric locomotives of high horse power for goods trains.

Incidentally, the diesel loco shed set up in 1962 at Bondamunda holds the distinction of being one of the oldest sheds of Indian Railway. The diesel loco shed has been consistently handling 139 diesel engines of goods and coaching trains belonging to Chakradharpur, Kharagpur, Sambalpur, Khurda, Visakhapatnam, Ranchi, Adra, Bilaspur and Raigarh divisions of the three zones.

Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer/Traction Rolling Stock/Chakradharpur Division Mr.Atulya Kumar, said Bondamunda holds strategic importance on the Howrah-Mumbai route and the second electric loco shed is necessitated to cater to the growing traffic needs of SER zone and nearby zones.

Laying of the third track of SER in Howrah-Kharagpur section has been completed and work in Rourkela-Tatanagar section is underway at sporadic locations, while work in Rourkela-Jharsuguda section would be taken up in next phase, Kumar said.

Track doubling proposal between Rourkela and Hatia has been approved while work on Bondamunda and Bimlagarh sections of SER is going on. Doubling of track between Rengali and Jharsuguda of East Coast Railway (ECoR) is also underway.

OBC Railway Employees’ Association president Prakash Sharma said since the new facility would use modern technology, it is likely to engage 250 to 300 direct employees. It will also provide indirect economic opportunities to local people and spare parts suppliers.

General secretary, Rail Users’ Association, AC Baral said the Indian Railways should also seriously consider implementing the old proposal to set up a wagon manufacturing factory at Bondamunda to use the iron plates and steel of Rourkela Steel Plant.

Chhattisgarh state PWD to construct 10 new Railway bridges in the state

Raipur: The State Public Works Department (PWD) is in the process of constructing as many as eight Railway overbridges and two underbridges in the State at a cost of Rs284.37 crore. Out of Rs284.37 crore being spent on the projects, Rs265.29 crore is being utilised for construction of eight overbridges and Rs19.8 crore is being spent on construction of two underbridges.

PWD Minister Rajesh Munat has directed officials to ensure the construction  work of the bridges meet high quality standards.

Significantly, the South East Central Railway (SECR) in its recently concluded Consumer Fortnight sent its staff across the division to Railway crossings to educate people not to cross the barriers when they are down for passage of trains.

Significantly, a ‘Concession Agreement’ had also been signed between South East Central Railway (SECR) and Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd (CERL) for development of East Rail Corridor in Naya Raipur on Friday last. The agreement was signed in the presence of Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup and Chhattisgarh Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand and SECR General Manager Rajiv Vishnoi at the Mantralaya here.

The agreement was signed between SECR’s Chief Traffic Project Manager A S Babu and CERL Chief Executive Officer (CEO) A K Vishwas.

Following the signing of the agreement, the work for the first phase of the Rail Corridor project from Kharsia to Dharamjaygarh spanning a distance of 74 kms will commence shortly.

The project cost of development of the Railway line between Korba to Kharsia is Rs2,322 crore. The development work had been targetted to be completed by September 2017.

The agreement had been signed for development, management and operation of the Railway track for the East Corridor between SECR and CERL As per the agreement, there would be 50:50 revenue sharing between SECR and CERL on freight movement in the developed Rail line.

The CERL would develop and maintain the Rail line and SECR would manage freight and passenger transportation. This is a significant project both for the Central Government and Chhattisgarh Government, Union Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said.

Former Rail Minister Kharge lashes out at Bibek Debroy panel report on Railway Restructuring

‘Those in the NITI Aayog have little knowledge about the nation’

Kharge KarnatakaGulbarga: M.Mallikarjun Kharge, MP and former Railway Minister, has termed the final report on restructuring of Indian Railways as yet another attempt to dismantle democratic institutions by the BJP-led NDA government.

Reacting sharply to the NITI Aayog member Bibek Debroy panel report, Mr. Kharge said he was amused to read one of the recommendations suggesting phasing out of the Railway Budget on the plea that MPs had the tendency to seek more trains for their respective constituencies.

“It is the right of the MPs to put forth demands and aspirations of the people of their respective constituencies…If MPs do not represent the demand of people in Parliament, who else will?”

Mr. Kharge said those in the NITI Aayog have little knowledge about the country, its socio-economic problems and the issues encountered in remote areas.

In the name of liberalisation and to achieve GDP growth, the Union government was on a dismantling spree of the public sector: laments M.Mallikarjun Kharge, MP and former Railway Minister

NBCC exploring re-development around New Delhi Railway Station

NBCC said the government intends to develop smart cities and re-development of existing cities, including improvement of quality of civic amenities

nbccNew Delhi: State-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation Ltd (NBCC) today said it has formed partnership with a Malaysian joint venture firm for exploring areas for re-development around New Delhi Railway Station.

In a filing to the BSE, NBCC said it has “formed strategic partnership by executing Memorandum of Business Exploration on June 10, 2015 with Malaysian Joint Venture Company China Railway Engineering Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd & Amona Group for exploring further areas of re-development around New Delhi Railway Station.”

NBCC said the government intends to develop smart cities and re-development of existing cities, including improvement of quality of civic amenities.”To contribute to the objectives of the government, NBCC is currently working on re-development of various scheme(s) in the capital,” it added.

NBCC, which is under the administrative control of the Ministry of Urban Development, provides project management consultancy services for construction projects, civil infrastructure for power sector and real estate development.

Mumbai Metro seeks Delhi counterpart’s help to expedite project

Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has asked Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC)’s technical support to increase the network to 120 km from 11.4 km now.

DMRC, which had created a 200-km-plus Metro network in Delhi, is sending a team this week to Mumbai to make a presentation on how to expedite the implementation of the Mumbai Metro-II Dahisar Mankhurd corridor (40.2 km), Mumbai Metro-III Colaba-SEEPZ (Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone) corridor (33 km) and the Wadala Kasarvadavali corridor (32 km). These three Metro lines entail an investment of Rs 67,838 crore.

DMRC was associated with Tata Consultancy Services and the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai, in May 2003 to prepare a master plan for Mumbai Metro and the detailed project reports for priority corridors. The master plan included nine corridors covering 146.5 km, out of which 32.5 km was proposed to be underground. However, the master plan was subsequently tweaked.

Chief Minister Devendra Fandavis met DMRC officials last week and discussed its involvement to expedite development.

A government official told, “Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has said the Mumbai Metro II and III and Wadala-Kasarvadavali corridors are expected to be operational by 2020-21. However, the chief minister has indicated that he wants 109 km completed before the next Assembly election, in October 2019. DMRC’s technical support will be the key, especially to mitigate the risk while laying underground lines. DMRC has adequate experience in tunneling.”

An MMRDA official said DMRC might deploy technical manpower for the speedy development of Metro lines. The Metro-II corridor (36 stations) and Metro-III corridor (27 stations) would be underground. The 32-km Wadala Kasarvadavali corridor would have 24 underground and six elevated stations.

Metro III corridor project has been in the news due to protests and objections by various political parties and non-government organisations on various issues relating to resettlement, rehabilitation and environment protection.

Harbour line to get 11 Western Railway rakes

Mumbai: Harbour line stands to get 11 rakes following officials thinking of shifting old ones currently running on Western Railway (WR) due to failure to initiate the 5th and 6th lines on time.

Although the lines had been built for long distances, officials were planning to run extra suburban services by running local trains when there was a gap between long distance trains using these 11 rakes however the plan was foiled owing to the 5th line facing encroachment issues and work on the 6th line being a long way from completion.

Officials said these 11 rakes had been fixed to run on both alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC) and could run on the Harbour line as well. Besides, they would be available even after 70 of the 72 Bombardier trains had arrived in phases by the end of the year.

“We thought we would run these 11 rakes and increase the number of suburban services by running them between passenger trains on the 5th and 6th line because passenger trains do not run as often as our surburban trains but since the lines have not opened yet, we plan to shift these to the Harbour line instead,” said an official.

The 5th line runs from Mahim to Santa Cruz while the 6th line runs from Santa Cruz to Borivali. “We are planning to run extra services on mainline Harbour as well as Trans-Harbour with the help of these rakes. The issues with the 5th line will be resolved only post Ramzan because of a graveyard near Bandra Terminus and the 6th line will take till end of this year because of severe land procurement issues,” added the official.

The decision also comes at a time when Central Railway (CR) officials have realised that none of the DC trains can be shifted to Harbour after the mainline converted from DC to AC since they had reached their maximum life expectancy.

NID sets up Indian Railways Design Centre for designing passenger friendly Coaches & Stations

Ahmedabad (ADI): National Institute of Design (NID) has set up a centre for designing passenger friendly coaches and stations for the Indian Railways.

In April, an MoU was signed between Rail Ministry and NID for setting up of Railway Design Centre at the institute’s Ahmedabad campus with a corpus of Rs 10 crore.

Over the next 10 years, the centre is “expected to bring in revolutionary changes in passenger and freight transport facilities through sustained design research and development exclusively dedicated to the Indian Railways,” a Commerce and Industry Ministry statement today said.

It said, the Indian Railways will get a fresh lease of life itself as NID takes on the onerous task of designing passenger friendly coaches and stations.

“The journey doesn’t end there. From earth to space, the list is endless. NID has also a tie-up with Space Application Centre,” it added.

The statement also said that design will act as a catalyst in ‘Make in India’ initiative by benefiting micro, small, cottage and medium industry clusters across the country by design intervention strategies through the Design Clinic Scheme.

Last year, NID was declared as an ‘Institute of National Importance’.

Meanwhile, four new NIDs are coming up at Vijayawada, Jorhat, Kurukshetra and Bhopal, the statement said.