Railways sees bump in fine collections as Fortress Checks yield results

Mumbai: A letter by Railway Board in April last year to all zones to crack the whip on ticketless travel seems to have borne fruit this year.

There are now a slew of checks, and all entrances and exits of a particular station are manned by ticket-checkers and Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel for a stipulated period of time, resulting in a bump in the amount raked in fines imposed during ticket checking in the city, said officials.

Central Railway’s ticket-checkers ended up with a new record after they recovered fines worth Rs100.95 crore from offenders in the last fiscal. This was from 21.31 lakh cases that the checkers came across. The money collected was a 15.7% jump from the Rs87.25 crore collected in fines for the fiscal 2013-14.

WR (Mumbai division), which covers all stations from Churchgate to Surat, had a similar tale to tell. It collected fines worth Rs40.61 crore for the fiscal ending March 31 against Rs36.25 crore collected the year before. The number of cases also rose from 10 lakh to 10.68 lakh, according to the figures made available to dna by the railways.

The fines collected from suburban train travellers on WR stood at Rs12.33 crore, a sizable 11% increase from the Rs11 crore collected between April 2013 and March 2014.

As reported earlier by dna in April last year, then Member (Traffic) DP Pande had written to all general managers to get cracking, asking them to have anything between two to four ‘fortress’ checks a month and getting senior functionaries like divisional railway manager to lead the checks.

The letter came after WR’s suburban system showed a huge drop in terms of passengers between April 2013 and March 2014. During that period, WR had lost an average of 38000 passengers every day.

The railway board at the time had veered to the opinion that since the city’s suburban system didn’t seem to be thinning, it must be the ticketless travel that was causing these slumps in their statistic books.

However, officials across the board agreed that the only way ahead was to get into a situation where people get tickets so easily that travelling without one is not even an option. The usage of Automated Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs) has shown a steady rise on CR with about 21% of all tickets dispensed from ATVMs this year against around 10.74% in 2011-12.

The Jansadharan Ticket Booking Seva, under which one can buy tickets from designated shops by paying Re1 extra, has also become a hit, with its share going up from 0.22% in 2011-12 to about 14.7% this year.

Number of ATVMs at CR: 658 (Ticket share: 21%)
Number of ATVMs at WR: 457 (Ticket share: 10%)

Fines collected in last fiscal on CR: Rs100.95 crore
Fines collected in last fiscal on WR: Rs40.61 crore
CR commuters: 41 lakh
WR commuters: 35 lakh

Civil Defence training for ECOR, CR concludes at Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): A week-long exercise in rescue and rappelling (rock climbing), performed jointly by the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway and Central Railway, concluded here on Saturday.

In rappelling, the climbers typically use suspension materials, such as ropes, pulleys, ascenders and harnesses to safely climb rough terrain and steep heights.

Rock climbing works up the muscles in the body and challenges a participant’s endurance during rescue operations.

In all, 35 civil defence personnel, including Civil Defence Inspector C.H.U.B.E. Prasad, took part in the exercise under the supervision of Senior Divisional Safety Officer A.K. Moharana.

The team of experts in rappelling from Central Railway, led by Senior Civil Defence Inspector S. Vaidya and Koli, trained the civil defence personnel in Visakhapatnam for preparedness during disasters.

Additional Divisional Railway Manager Madanlal Meena said that such exercises would motivate civil defence personnel to continue their service activities with renewed enthusiasm and zeal.

In all, 35 civil defence personnel take part in the exercise

CAG picks too many holes in Mumbai Monorail story

Mumbai: Was the Mono rail project, which is in the news for its technical glitches, doomed from the word go? The CAG has pointed to a large number of lacunae in the two-phase Chembur-Wadala-Jacob Circle project, including non-transparent selection of consultants and finalisation of the project’s benchmark price, and raised concerns over its structural stability and public safety.

The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) for the year ended March 2014, which was submitted to the state legislature on Friday, has also referred to the improper legal framework, durability issues and non-compliance of quality inspection reports.

Concrete structures lack protection

Though the civil structures were to be designed for a life of 120 years, the audit observed that works like protective coating on concrete structures for guarding against extreme weather and pollution and anti-corrosive treatments were not carried out. The use of lower grade concrete, procurement of escalators without tendering was also observed.

Operator unduly benefited

The CAG said the MMRDA’s decision to grant higher trip rates for the first year of operations was “irregular and rendered an undue financial benefit” to the Larsen and Toubro and Scomi Engineering consortium. “The selection of consultants and benchmark process arrived at for the project was not transparent,” the report noted, adding that liquidated damages were not levied despite the contractor’s failures to achieve a number of key milestones by stipulated dates.

Selection of project management consultant

The audit has also pointed to how the Louis Berger Group Inc was selected as a project management consultant instead of inviting fresh tenders after the SOWIL (India)- led consortium exited the contract. The LBG, which also reassessed the cost estimates of the project, “did not visit the proposed corridor or evaluated (sic) the specific site conditions to determine the cost estimates for the project,” the report said, adding that the cost estimates were prepared in just two weeks “based purely on the basis of assumptions made upon a desk review of the technical proposal of one of the participating bidders…”

On design consultant

In order to revalidate the design, the MMRDA appointed a German consultant in June 2011 for validating the already approved designs of guideway structure. “Incidentally, by the time the consultant was appointed, 25 to 97% of guideway structure under phase I and 11 to 28% under phase II was already completed,” the report noted.

It noted that the project had been notified by the Maharashtra government under the Indian Tramways Act, 1886, though it did not have provisions for construction and use of public transport at elevated level.

DMRC test-deploys the first Wind Turbine to harness Wind Energy from fast moving Trains

If the trials of Delhi Metro Rail Corp0ration prove successful, it would revolutionize the total energy requirements of Indian Railways and other major metro rail systems across the country with Wind Energy

New Delhi: A group of ten students from Delhi University’s physics and computer science department have received permission from Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to install a turbine at one of the underground metro stations to see if it can successfully harness wind energy generated by the trains.

A battery measures the power generated by the turbines.

The turbine has been installed at the Chandni Chowk metro station and was carefully positioned along the underground tracks located at the mouth of the tunnel where a maximum wind velocity of 6.5m/s is available. The turbine was set up where it would not obstruct train operation and would continue to ensure the security and safety of the Metro services.

The principal investigator of the project, Punita Verma, said that a three-blade turbine was installed in the first phase, which was later followed by “a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in sped of less than 1.5m/s.” Verma explained that the team “connected it to a battery and measured the power it generates. We also discovered that different stations have different construction and the same turbines cannot be used at all the metro stations.”

To test wind energy potential at other stations, different turbines will need to be used.

Due to the fact that the metro stations are all different in their design, the same turbines that were developed to be used in the Chandni Chowk station cannot be used in other stations that have been constructed in different styles and slopes. As a result, the team has brought in Delhi Metro engineers and is testing different turbines in different stations, based on the frequency of trains.

Once the project receives full approval from the DMRC (which will need to approve the framework and design of the wind energy generation system,), manufacturing firms will be contacted to mass produce the necessary turbines to make the system actually possible.

According to the estimated calculation made by the team behind the project, one of the turbines can produce almost 200 watts per hour and generate 2 kWh of electricity from wind energy, which will save over 445 trees from being cut down.

Interesting Innovation

A group of Delhi University students initially visioned and discovered an innovative way of harnessing wind energy churned out by Metro trains to generate electricity.

The project, undertaken by Kalindi College, has also got the backing of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which allowed the students to install a turbine on trial basis at one of the underground metro stations.

“While standing at a metro station one day, the students realised that the wind energy produced in the tunnel by these fast moving trains gets wasted, and they decided to find out how it can be harnessed,” says Dr Punita Verma, Principal Investigator of the project.

The team, involving ten students of Physics and Computer Science departments, proposed setting up a turbine at an underground metro station to check if it can be successful in harnessing the wind energy.

DMRC officials found the project interesting and gave the nod to install a turbine at Chandni Chowk metro station.

“Without obstructing the operation, safety and security of Metro services, it was decided to put up turbine along the underground tracks at the mouth of tunnel where the maximum wind velocity available is 6.5 m/s.”

“In the first phase, we installed a three-blade turbine and later a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in speed of less than 1.5m/s. We connected it to a battery and measured the power it generates. We also discovered that different stations have different construction and the same turbines cannot be used at all the metro stations,” Verma said.

The project, which has was started by a different group of students in 2013, has received a grant of Rs 15 lakh from the university.

While the first phase involved the research work, the DMRC engineers were later roped in to test the feasibility, who have asked the team to develop the concept further.

“We are now working on different designs of the turbines whose size, shape and orientation will be customised according to the wind velocity and frequency of trains at different stations. Once the design is approved by DMRC, turbine firms will be approached to make these turbines,” Verma added.

Central Railway celebrates 60th Railway Week Celebrations

Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway gave away individual awards to 248 railway officers and staff, 21 Inter-Divisional overall efficiency shields and 27 other than overall efficiency shields to Divisions, Workshops, Railway stations and offices at a glittering function held at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Auditorium, Central Railway, Mumbai o­n 10.4.2015.

GM’s Overall Efficiency Shield was won by Solapur Division along with Safety, Engineering, Stores and Works efficiency shields, Mumbai Division won Mechanical, Signal and Telecommunication and Accounts Efficiency Shields. Bhusaval Division won best Division for cleanliness shield. However the Best Station for cleanliness was won by Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus station of Mumbai Division. Best Kept Garden at Station was won by Betul station of Nagpur Division.

Earlier Shri A.K. Brahmo, Chief Personnel Officer welcomed the gathering. Shri R.D. Tripathi, Additional General Manager, Central Railway also addressed the audience.

410-GM Overall SUR: Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway presenting the Overall Efficiency Shield to Shri John Thomas, Divisional Railway Manager, Solapur Division, Central Railway at the 60th Railway Week Celebrations held at the Auditorium, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai o­n 10.4.2015. Shri R.D. Tripathi, Additional General Manager, Central Railway is also seen.
1428727182683-410-GM Overall SUR

410-GM Commercial Shield PA: Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway presenting the Commercial  Shield to Shri Gaurav Jha, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Pune Division, Central Railway at the 60th Railway Week Celebrations held at the Auditorium, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai o­n 10.4.2015. Shri R.D. Sharma, Chief Commercial Manager, Central Railway & Dr. Alok Badkul, the then Senior Divisional Commercial Manager, Pune is also seen.
1428727208838-410-GM Commercial Shield PA

410-GM Operating Shield NGP: Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway presenting the Operations Shield to Shri Atul Rane, Senior Divisional Operations Manager, Nagpur Division, Central Railway at the 60th Railway Week Celebrations held at the Auditorium, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai o­n 10.4.2015. Shri Mukul Marwah, Chief Operations Manager, Central Railway is also seen.
1428727182683-410-GM Overall SUR

Delhi Metro readies eco-friendly Sub-station and Solar Panels to power Faridabad line

Green Electrical Substation FaridabadNew Delhi: Delhi Metro’s first-ever “green” electrical receiving sub-station has been constructed in Faridabad to cater to energy requirements of the upcoming Badarpur-Faridabad Metro corridor.

“The Delhi Metro has already applied for its ‘green building’ certification to the Indian green building council,” said Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesman, Anuj Dayal.

The electrical receiving sub-station, constructed in Sector 46, Faridabad will provide power to 13.875km long Badarpur-Escorts Mujesar elevated corridor, which is nearing completion. “The sub-station has a series of eco-friendly features, which makes it the first-ever ‘green’ RSS of the Delhi Metro network,” said Dayal. This includes solar power panels.

Meanwhile, The Delhi Metro’s Badarpur-Faridabad corridor, on which trial runs are set to begin in the next few weeks, will be powered by green technology and incorporate a host of eco-friendly features such as solar panels, water harvesting and sewage treatment plants. The line is expected to be operational in the next two months.

For the first time, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will employ a greenelectrical receiving sub-station (RSS) for this line, which is an extension of the Violet Line. The RSS has been constructed at Sector 46 in Faridabad and will cater to the 14-km-long elevated corridor as well as the nine stations between Badarpur and Escorts Mujesar.

“Solar power panels with a capacity of 50 kilowatt-peak have been installed. The powergenerated will cater to the requirements of the RSS building and the remaining powerwill be used for stations,” the DMRC said in a statement.

Civil work on the line is already complete and stations are currently getting finishing touches
Civil work on the line is already complete and stations are currently getting finishing touches

Further, water from the sewage treatment plant will  be used for horticulture and sanitary purposes, DMRC officials said. Water meters have also been installed to monitor the consumption rate.

LEDs have been used for all indoor and outdoor lighting to ensure minimal power consumption. Carbon dioxide sensors have also been installed at the control room to monitor air quality.

“Provision for rainwater harvesting has been done on the sub-station premises for the optimal utilisation of rainwater,” the official said.

The DMRC has also installed low CFC refrigerant and inverter compressor type VRV air-conditioning system on the premises as it is more environment-friendly and consumes less energy.

The DMRC has already applied for “green building” certification to the Indian GreenBuilding Council.

Southern Railway start implementation of RHEDA Ballastless Track System at Salem Jn.

RHEDA BallastlessSalem (SA): The work on converting the track on platform No. 4 of Salem Railway Junction into a modern track system commenced on Friday. The platform No. 4 has been closed for train operation from Friday.

Platform No.4 of Salem Junction is at present having the track with ballasts. This is being converted into a modern track system called RHEDA which is based on German technology. This technology is being used for tracks in elevated tracks and tunnels, using RHEDA ballastless sleepers and Vassloh state-of-the-art elastic fastening fittings. The new type of track will enable handling heavy loads and operating ‘passing through’ trains at higher speeds, without compromising on track safety.

Since similar work that was taken up on Platform No.5 of the Salem Junction has been completed, all the trains that were drawn and dispatched from Platform No.4, will now be received and dispatched from Platform No.5.

According to a press release, the new track laying work, undertaken at an estimated cost of Rs. 7.76 crore, is likely to be completed tentatively by May 24.

The new track at Platform No. 4 will be 540 metres. The track will be able to handle trains at a maximum speed of 50 kmph as against the speed of 15 kmph maximum permissible speed in the conventional track system.

The works are being carried out under the supervision of C. Kannan, Deputy Chief Engineer and P. Williams Jai, Executive Engineer of the Construction Wing of Southern Railway, Salem, the release added.

Eastern Railway celebrates 160 years of Railways in Eastern India

Kolkata (KOAA): R.K.Gupta, General Manager, Eastern Railway inaugurated a Philatelic Exhibition on Railways at Victoria Memorial Hall today to mark the commencement of Eastern Railway’s week-long celebration of 60th Railway Week (April 10 – 16, 2015) and 160 glorious years of Railways in Eastern India. A special commemorative cover was released to mark 160 years of Railways in Eastern India.

Speaking on the occasion, R. K. Gupta, General Manager, Eastern Railway said that the historic journey of Railways in Eastern India began with first train travelling from Howrah to Hooghly on August 15, 1854. Today Eastern Railway has emerged as the backbone of passenger traffic and provides indispensable infrastructural support for the economic development of the nation as a whole. Presently, Eastern Railway carries 33 lakh passengers every day by running 1926 trains daily. In the last financial year this railway carried 116 crore of passengers.

Commenting on the Philatelic Exhibition, Mr Gupta said that it is a very rare and unique exhibition of stamps, covers and cancellation laboriously curated by renowned philatelist Mohd Mujibullah, a staff of Eastern Railway. He pointed out that the stamps and covers demonstrate periodic developments in the history of railways of the world, covering a wide variety of themes including railroads, horse-drawn carriages, advent and evolution of steam locomotives, rolling stocks, stations, signaling system, tunnels, mountain railways etc. and included a wonderful collection of stamps of pre-independence period from 1854 to 1947.

Dr Jayanta Sengupta, Secretary & Curator, Victoria Memorial Hall and Arundhaty Ghosh, Chief Postmaster General (WB Circle) also spoke on the occasion.

The exhibition will remain open for public viewing from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. till April 16.

Eastern Railway has also organized photo exhibitions at Howrah and Sealdah stations which provides a pictorial representation of the history, heritage, passenger amenities, development and evolution of locomotives and transportation system as a whole.

A cultural festival has been organized in the evening in the Regional Rail Museum at Howrah where artists, both from Railway and outside participated.

We kept a Hawk-Eye in implementation of our Budget promises and timely Rollout of Projects: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: In his first interview after presenting the rail budget, railway minister Suresh Prabhu tells that he is keeping a hawk-eye on implementing the budget promises and has put in place a mechanism for timely rollout of projects in the state-run transporter.

What view has the ministry taken on the Bibek Debroy panel report?

Bibek Debroy and his colleagues submitted the report to me only on Thursday and according to them, this is a draft report and they said these are not final recommenda tions. So, we have to wait for the final report. I have suggested that they should also seek views from our employees and our unions because sometimes, the communication gap leads to misunderstand ing. They also agree with that.

Rail reforms are very difficult considering that railways has 13 lakh employees and they have rejected the report.

Wait for the final report. Debroy was telling me that some reports which have appeared as recommendations have some communication gap.

In the budget, you talked about attracting pension funds for railway infrastructure. What is the progress?

First, money is not the only mission of railways. Railways is not a bank. We need money only to meet our capital requirement which we estimated at Rs 8.50 lakh crore over five years. Right now, we don’t need money for the current year. We have already got Rs 1.50 lakh crore from LIC. We are in talks with World Bank, IFC and ADB for more money. In our budget, we talked about Rs 1.50 lakh crore for station development which is completely coming out of private sector so I don’t have to arrange money for that. Then, there are two untapped sources.

One is tax free bonds which the FM has talked about in his budget speech for the first time, and the second is India Infrastructure Development Fund which aims to raise Rs 2 lakh crore in five years. So, we can draw around 50% of this amount. Plus, we have al ready signed an agreement with coal ministry and are in talks with other ministries and NTPC so that (freight) customers can pool in money. Plus, finance ministry has been giving money regularly, around Rs 60,000 crore per year, so that itself will become Rs 3 lakh crore in five years. All the money crore in five years. A put together is more than what is required.

Also, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and other options are there. We are in talks with Japanese, Chinese and Canadian pension funds. We can use these resources for development of other infrastructure

Are you talking about the infrastructure fund that finance minister mentioned?

In Japan, the rate of interest is very , very low, in fact, more or less flat for a long time because the economy is not growing, inflation is very low. So, they are facing a double whammy -low inflation and low demand. They need to invest outside and this meets our require ment. Look at China’s sovereign wealth fund. It is worth $4 trillion.We are offering something which is not soft financing or bilateral help. This is purely on commercial consideration for investment into another market which benefits them. Canada has the same problem, $2 trillion of pension fund which is more than the size of its economy. They have to invest out side.Fund availability for India’s infrastructure is going to be immense.

I can tell you something interesting on what we can do. We have public sector units which have very good balancesheets. When they execute a project, the advantage is they will be able to raise resources on their own balance-sheet. They can borrow from their own balance-sheet and they can leverage.

What is the progress on decongesting the network?

Today is the 10th day of the new financial year and I am very happy to say that each and every budget announcement has been made into actionable points and we have already reviewed it three times. We are trying to monitor the implementation at three levels. I have asked my colleague minister (MoS) to monitor it regularly. Chairman of railway board has been directed to take feedback from board members every 15 days. Another layer is online monitoring. Two kinds of monitoring, one is for project implementation, other is for nonproject implementation such as food quality. For projects, it will go through various phases of approvals. Our target is to get work started in September. We are targeting implementation but completion will not happen before three years.

Do you think it is possible to fulfill these big ideas under the current railway board structure?

Each and every idea in the budget speech is under implementation and through the same system. In the last 10 days, I have had meetings with five zones which account for 70% of the freight traffic. In the last 10 days, I visited 10 states and met general managers, divisional railway managers. They are extremely excited to work on these ideas. I don’t see any issue in terms of railway board and, in fact, railway board chairman is monitoring it.

Joint Indo-French study on Delhi-Chandigarh Semi High-Speed Rail project

Paris: India and France will undertake a joint study on the execution of a semi high-speed railway project between New Delhi and Chandigarh.

This is part of the agreement on cooperation in the field of transportation signed on Friday following talks between visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.

According to a joint statement issued following the meeting between the two leaders, the Indian Railways and the French National Railways (SNCF) will “co-finance an execution study by SNCF for a semi-high speed project on upgrade of the Delhi-Chandigarh line to 200 kmph”.

According to the agreement, the study will also include redevelopment of the Ambala and Ludhiana railway stations.

“The two sides noted with satisfaction the successful completion of a business development study for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor,” the statement added.

Troublemaker BHEL Rakes to get DC to AC makeover

Mumbai: The Central Railway (CR) is all set to kill two birds with one stone. In addition to the work of converting the electrical lines between CST and Kurla from 1,500 Volt Direct Current (DC) to 25,000 Volt Alternate Current (AC), the CR also intends to make five of its Bharat Heavy Electric Limited (BHEL) rakes AC compliant.

This means the electrical wiring of the Bhel rakes will have to be changed. The fast and slow lines between CST and Kurla currently run on DC.

The officials said the plan would ensure that the Bhel rakes do not stop mid service due to electrical failures anymore.

This would also ensure that CR is not dependent on the Western Railway (WR) to procure the AC rakes, officials said.

An official on condition of anonymity said, “We will get the Railway Board approval by Monday, but this is huge for the CR as commuters will have fewer failures to complain about.”

Officials have said that after the initial five rakes, the remaining 10 Bhel rakes too would be converted to AC. Another advantage of this would be that they can be run at 100 kmph and therefore run on fast lines.

“The Bhel trains still have a life span of another 15 years so we can run these trains at 100 kmph as compared to the rest, which can run at only 80 kmph; so we have an added advantage of having more rakes running on the fast track,” added the official.

The Bhel rakes have been causing trouble since they were introduced in the CR’s suburban services

Wagons carrying Ammunition from OFB/Khamaria derail in MP

Adhartal (ADTL): Five wagons of a goods train carrying ammunition went off the tracks near here, disrupting traffic on the busy Katni-Itarsi section of West Central Railway (WCR), an official said.

The wagons were stocked with ammunition from Ordnance Factory Khamaria (OFK) located near here.

“Five wagons of a goods train carrying ammunition from OFK to Amla in Madhya Pradesh’s Betul district derailed near Adhartal area this evening,” WCR Jabalpur Division Public Relations Officer K K Dubey told PTI.

Top Railway officials rushed to the spot after getting information about the mishap and are supervising the track restoration and related works, he said.

Traffic on the disrupted route is likely to be restored by late tonight, Dubey said, adding the mishap affected the schedule of seven passenger trains.

On cause of the accident, he said the WCR’s first priority is to restore the traffic after which an inquiry will follow

366 East Central Railway Employees awarded

Hajipur: East Central Railway (ECR) observed the 60th Railway Week of Indian Railways at a function organized at Sri Krishna Memorial Hall here on Friday. At least 366 employees from five divisions of the ECR were awarded on the occasion for their outstanding services to the railways. Ten group awards were also given among the employees.

Speaking on the occasion, ECR GM A K Mittal lauded the role of railway officials and employees who contributed to the development and progress of railways in the zone. “It is due to their hard work that ECR could earn over Rs 11,000 crore during 2014-2015 fiscal year, which is about 7.65% more than the revenue earned in 2013-2014 fiscal,” he said.

Mittal said ECR made a record earning in the passenger segment. “We have improved punctuality particularly in the case of mail and express trains this year. Besides, solar lights have been installed at 43 railway crossing gates to further improve safety measures,” the GM said.

Mittal said three escalators, 10 foot over bridges, five ‘janahars’ and 102 ‘janata ticket booking system’ were provided at different places under the zone. He said the work on the ambitious rail-cum-road bridge over the Ganga at Digha-Sonepur site has been going on in full swing. The newly built Pataliputra station has been linked with Danapur and Patna ends to cope with the rush of passengers. It would be thrown open for traffic operations soon, Mittal said.

The GM later handed over awards and certificates to railway officials and employees. While the GM’s shield was jointly shared by Mughalsarai and Dhanbad divisions for efficiency, the runner-up award in this category was handed over to the Danapur and Sonepur divisions jointly.

Danapur DRM N K Gupta received seven shields in different categories. The division got most shields in the engineering category. A cultural programme was also organized on the occasion.

India, France sign MoU to strengthen Bilateral Cooperation in Railways

Paris: India and France on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), seeking to strengthen the bilateral cooperation between the two nations in railways.

The railway protocol between Indian Ministry of Railways and French National Railways (SNCF) seeks to establish cooperation between Indian and French Railways for semi-high speed rail and station renovation.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Hollande released stamps to mark 50 years of Indo-French cooperation. The two leaders also held a meeting wherein they reviewed relations between the two countries and discussed matters pertaining to defence, nuclear, economics, culture, education and people to people ties.

Prime Minister Modi addressed the august gathering at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) headquarters in Paris earlier in the day.

The Prime Minister, who is currently on the first leg on his three-nation nine-day tour, arrived at the UNESCO headquarters at Place de Fontenoy, Paris today.

Prime Minister Modi was also accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Prime Minister Modi will reach the German city of Hannover on Sunday on the second leg of his visit. He will reach Canadian capital Ottawa on Tuesday on the final leg of his visit.

IRFC Board approves plan to raise up to $1Bn through Bffshore Bonds

New Delhi: Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) has received board approval to raise up to $1 billion through offshore bonds, the company told.

This limit will be part of the total borrowing target for IRFC in fiscal year 2016, which is at R17,655 crore. The company has asked the government to permit it to raise the entire borrowing target for FY16 through tax-free bonds.

The company also indicated that it is eagerly looking forward to the option of issuing rupee-denominated bonds in offshore markets.  In FY15, the company had raised close to R11,000 crore, out of which 30-40% was through the bond market route.  IRFC recently raised R1,200 crore through short-tenure bonds at an attractive pricing of 7.95%

Railways signs pact with Commerce Department to set up Design Centre at NID

The signatories of the MoU were Shri Alok Kumar, Executive Director (Civil Engineering), Railway Board and Shri P. Vyas, Director, NID, Ahemdabad signing the MOU in front of the Ministers
The signatories of the MoU Shri Alok Kumar, Executive Director (Civil Engineering), Railway Board and Shri P. Vyas, Director, NID, Ahmedabad signing the MOU

New Delhi: Adding yet another milestone by fulfilling another commitment announced in the Railway Budget 2015-16, the Indian Railway will be setting up its own Railway Design Centre in the campus of National Institute of Design (NID), Ahemdabad. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Ministry of Railways and (NID) in the presence of the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Commerce & Industries Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman at a function here today. The signatories of the MoU were Shri Alok Kumar, Executive Director (Civil Engineering), Railway Board and Shri P. Vyas, Director, NID, Ahemdabad. This MoU has been formulated for setting up a ‘Railway Design Centre’ in the campus of NID. Ahmedabad, which will be operated by the interest accrued on the endowment fund of Rs.10 crore. This endowment fund for this purpose is being deposited by the Ministry of Railways.

Rlys NID MOUSpeaking on the occasion, Shri Suresh Prabhu said that Railways’ partnership with NID will lead to customers’ happiness by way of better designed coaches and providing cost effective solutions to problems faced by passengers during train travel. He urged the NID to work out on the most cost effective designs for coaches as our system is generally price sensitive and quality conscious. He also informed that with this initiative, Railways has fulfilled yet another commitment made in Railway Budget 2015-16 towards improving passenger services. He hoped that with the signing of this MoU, new designs for further improving the passenger amenities will be available and put into use soon on Indian Railways.

Addressing the gathering the Minister of State for Commerce and Industries (Independent Charge) Smt. Nirmala Sitaraman said that NID has been designated as an ‘Institute of National Excellence’ through an Act of Parliament and is an institute of national pride. She further added that the partnership between Ministry of Railways and NID will work for the benefit of rail passengers especially the old and physically handicapped by using innovative ideas and technology.

Speaking on the .occasion, the Minister of state for Railways, Shri Manoj Sinha said that the NID under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is a prestigious institute which is capable of benefiting the Railways with its new innovative ideas and solutions towards improving passenger amenities. He congratulated both Indian Railways and NID for this new initiative and emphasised the need for greater synergy between the two organisations towards providing innovative solutions to the problems of railway customers by providing passenger friendly services.

Shri V. K. Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board, said that Railway Design Centre will be developing new concepts in design & innovations in various fields of Railway functioning, like passenger amenities at station areas and in trains, improvement to coach layouts, environmental issues, various maintenance tools, IT & Communication issues etc. It will be a win-win situation for both the organisations, while the Railways will be benefitted with improved concept, facilities, and assets, NID would also be benefitted with the real life projects and values to their academic and research programmes.

Prof, P. Vyas, Director NID while appreciating this move, said that NID will improve passenger services through innovative ideas focusing on people, environment and sustainability through this Research Centre.

This MoU will be for a period of 10 years, which can be further extended as mutually agreed. It is expected that desired results in a definite time frame will be achieved . Also present among others on the occasion were Smt. R. Ravikumar, Financial Commissioner, Railway Board and other senior officials from Ministry of Railway & Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

Nagpur Metro: NMC revives Morris College-University link road project

Nagpur (NGP): Motorists headed to Dharampeth or Amravati road from railway station and facing congestion at Variety Square — especially on the patch from the busy square to Morris College T-point will end soon. The Nagpur Municipal Corporation is working on an alternative 700 metre long and 18 metre wide road from Morris College T-point to University road.

A senior officer from NMC’s public works department said that the move was part of civic body’s effort to strengthen the road network with construction and widening of development plan roads at around 50 places. “We have already started working on the project,” he said. The department has already started taking possession of land from BSNL, Mure Memorial hospital, Nagpur University, Institute of Science, Vasantrao Naik Government Institute of Arts and Social Sciences. NMC has also started demolishing the compound walls of these institutions for construction of the road. The road was mooted a couple of years ago but the plan went into cold storage. It is now being revived.

Though the Development Plan (DP) for roads was old, both the civic agencies Nagpur Improvement Trust and NMC did nothing to implement it for years. Now, NMC is taking up development of many existing roads. “The civic administration also wants to build more roads in areas where congestion is more,” said the officer.

Similarly, NMC has also planned to connect South Ambazari road with Ajni Railway station. If done, it would ease congestion on Central Bazaar road and Wardha road. Anand Talkies road too would see less pressure as the NMC will widen 400 metre patch from Munje Chowk to Humpyard Road. At present the width of this road is three metres, which forces motorists to use Dhantoli or Hotel Hardeo Road.

The district guardian minister Chandrasekhar Bawankule will convene a meeting on April 13 in this regard, the officer said. All the zonal offices of the NMC have been told to compile a data of DP roads in their jurisdictions. Sources said that Laxmi Nagar zone has around 18 DP roads. Similarly, there are 16 in Dhantoli, 13 in Nehru Nagar, 12 in Ashi Nagar, seven in Dharampeth, three in Gandhibagh, and one in Hanuman Nagar zones.

36 Escalators to be installed at major Delhi Railway Stations

New Delhi: In its endeavor to provide better facilities to passengers,railways has decided to install a total 36 more escalators at different railway stations including New Delhi, Nizamuddin and Shahdara in the current fiscal.

The escalators would be installed at an estimated cost of Rs 29 crore, a railway official said.

According to the estimate, it would cost about Rs 80 lakh per escalator. Divisional Railway Manager of Delhi Division Arun Arora said that all out efforts are being made to install these escalators and lifts during the current financial year.

Currently, 12 escalators are installed at major stations in the national capital region including New Delhi, Old Delhi, Nizamuddin and Anand Vihar station.

Committed Workforce are primarily the Architects of SCR’s Performance Excellence: GM/SCR

GM SCR presenting Overall Efficiency Shield Award jointly to Secunderabad, Guntakal and Vijayawada Divisions
GM SCR presenting Overall Efficiency Shield Award jointly to Secunderabad, Guntakal and Vijayawada Divisions

Secunderabad (SC): Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway attributed the performance achievements of South Central Railway to the core commitment and duty mindedness of the work force on the Zone. Credit goes to staff and workers handling assignments as Trackmen, Gatemen, Gate Mitras, Loco Pilots, Safety Counselors, Controllers etc., who are performing to their optimal best, in the success that SCR has attained he said.

GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a Matron
GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a Matron

The General Manager was addressing a big gathering of Railway Officers, Staff and their family members at the 60th Railway Week Zonal Level Celebrations held today i.e., 10th April, 205 at Rail Kalarang, Bhoiguda, Secunderabad.

GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a RPF Constable
GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a RPF Constable

Speaking on performance of SCR during the financial year 2014-15 just ended, Shri P.K.Srivastava stated that the apportioned earnings of the Zone has shown a robust growth of 19% in the last financial year compared to previous fiscal (2013-14). In Freight segment the loading has shown a remarkable growth of 9 % with 116.8 million tonnes, with an additional loading of 9.6 million tonnes as compared to 2013-14.

GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Group (GM) Award to CPRO Office Staff.  Shri M. Umashankar Kumar Chief Public Relations Officer, South Central Railway is also seen in the picture (4th from right)
GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Group (GM) Award to CPRO Office Staff. Shri M. Umashankar Kumar
Chief Public Relations Officer, South Central Railway is also seen in the picture (4th from right)

The quantum jumps in freight loading is because of rationalization of freight movement and de-bottle necking the constraints in freight handling, In addition, loading of Coal at Singareni Collieries and Port based loading helped for incremental freight loading on the Zone. A note worthy feature is that though there is a drop in suburban passenger traffic by -0.9% on Indian Railways, on SCR there is a growth of 3%.

GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Individual General Manager Award to Shri B Anil Kumar, PRO, CPRO office, SCR
GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Individual General Manager Award to Shri B Anil Kumar, PRO, CPRO office, SCR

The Operating ratio, the bench mark of financial health has been pegged at a healthy 76.5 %, which is lowest in the last five years. The General Manager exhorted the Railway personnel who continue to show the same zeal in the future too.

Shri P.K.Srivastava stated that SCR has earned significant recognition at the National Level by bagging Four Efficiency Shields amongst all Zones on Indian Railways for the year 2014-15. The awards are: – Stores Shield, Sales Management Shield, Running Room Shield (Vijayawada Running Room), Civil Engineering Shield.  These awards will be received by General Manager at the National Level Railway Week Function of Indian Railways to be held on 13th April, 2015 at Guwahati, Assam. 07 of SCR’s personnel will also be receiving individual awards at National Level during this function, the General Manager informed.

GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Commercial Shield to Shri N.V. Satyanarayana, Sr. DCM Vijayawada Division
GM SCR Shri P.K.Srivastava presenting Commercial Shield to Shri N.V. Satyanarayana, Sr. DCM Vijayawada Division

Later, the General Manager presented 282 individual awards for meritorious work done during the year 2014-15 to Officers and Staff of SCR. He also gave away Group Awards to 15 categories. The culmination of the glittering programme was marked by the performance efficiency shields awarded to Divisions / Departments in various 58 categories. The General Manager’s efficiency shield for over all best performance was jointly awarded to Secunderabad, Guntakal and Vijayawada Divisions.

GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a Track Man
GM SCR presenting Individual (GM) Award to a Track Man

Earlier, Shri Gajanan Mallya, Senior Deputy General Manager, SCR gave the welcome address and lauded the leadership of Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager towards attaining the best results by motivating and encouraging the Officers and Staff on the Zone. Shri Neelakanta Reddy, Deputy General Manager, General, SCR conducted the programme.

GM SCR Shri P K Srivastava presenting Individual (GM) Award to J Selvin Chief Publicity Inspector at CPRO office
GM SCR Shri P K Srivastava presenting Individual (GM) Award to J Selvin Chief Publicity Inspector at CPRO office

Shri M.Umashankar Kumar, Chief Public Relations Officer, SCR presented the Vote of Thanks. The General Manager also released the special issue of “HUM DUM”, SCR’s House Journal on the occasion.

List of Efficiency Shields awarded by Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager for the Best Performance in different categories during 2014-15 to Divisions/Departments

  • Land Management (Removal of encroachments) – Vijayawada & Guntakal Divisions Jointly
  • Family Welfare – Nanded Division
  • Best Kept Station – Secunderabad Station (SC Divn)
  • Hindi – Secunderabad Division
  • Lobo cup – Hyderabad Division
  • Best School – Railway Mixed High School/EM/SLGD (Hyderabad Division)
  • GM’s shield for Cleanliness – Vijayawada Division
  • Best Colony Care (Best Maintained Colony) – Guntakal & Nanded Divisions Jointly
  • Best Remodeled Station – Vijayawada Station (BZA Divn)
  • Works Shield (Division) – Guntakal & Guntur Division
  • Bridges Shield (Division) – Secunderabad & Vijayawada Division
  • Road Safety Shield – Hyderabad & Guntakal Divn Jointly
  • Best maintained PWI Unit – Secunderabad & Guntur Divn. Jointly
  • Best Utilization of Track Machines – Secunderabad & Guntakal Divn.Jointly
  • Environment Conservation Shield – Hyderabad Division
  • Best Track Shield – Vijayawada & Guntakal Divn. Jointly
  • Formation Rehabilitation Shield – Guntakal & Nanded Divn. Jointly
  • Best Divl. Civil Engineering – Vijayawada & ZCETI/KCG Jointly
  • Best Electrical Coaching Depot – Secunderabad Depot (SC Divn)
  • Best Electric Loco Shed – ELS Vijayawada (Vijayawada Divn.)
  • Best Energy Conservation Division – Vijayawada Division
  • Best Energy Conservation Workshop – Lalaguda Workshop
  • Second Best Maintained Coaching Depot – Tirupati Depot (Guntakal Divn.)
  • Best maintained Coaching Depot – Vijayawada Depot (Vijayawada Divn.)
  • Second Best maintained Rake – T.No.12747/12748(Palnadu Exp/Guntur Divn)
  • Best maintained Rake – T.No.17487/17488 (Tirumala Exp/Guntakal Divn)
  • Best Wagon ROH Depot – Ramagundam Depot (Secunderabad Divn)
  • Best maintained Diesel Shed – Kazipet (Secunderabad Divn.)
  • Best mechanical Training Centre – STC, Secunderabad
  • Second Best maintained ART – Bitragunta, Vijayawada Division
  • Best Maintained ART – Guntakal Division
  • Second Best maintained MRV – Guntakal Division
  • Best maintained MRV – Nizamabad, Hyderabad Division
  • Best Hospital Shield – Vijayawada (Vijayawada Divn.)
  • Best Health Unit – Renigunta (Guntakal Divn.)
  • Best Colony Sanitation – Nanded Division
  • Best S&T Works Shield – Dy. CSTE (Projects), SC
  • Scrap Disposal (Stores) – Guntur Division
  • Stores – G&S, Mettuguda
  • Security – Secunderabad Division
  • Best Commercial Shield (Ticket Checking) – Guntakal Division
  • Punctuality – Secunderabad & Guntakal Division jointly
  • Best Commercial Shield (Parcel Performance) – Secunderabad & Vijayawada Division Jointly
  • Mechanical (Workshops) – Lallaguda and Rayanapadu workshops Jointly
  • Safety – Guntakal Division
  • HRD (Personnel) – Guntur Division
  • Best Telecommunication Shield – Secunderabad Division
  • Best Signaling Shield – Guntakal Division
  • Mechanical (Power) – Guntakal Division
  • Finance (Accounts) – Vijayawada & Guntur Division Jointly
  • Electric Traction Distribution (TRD) – Vijayawada  Division
  • Electrical General Services – Hyderabad Division
  • Commercial & Marketing (Commercial) – Vijayawada  Division
  • Electrical Traction Rolling Stock (TRS Operations) – Guntakal Division
  • Mechanical (C&W) – Secunderabad Division
  • Operations (Operating) – Vijayawada  & Guntakal Division Jointly
  • Civil Engineering(over all Engg. Shield) – Guntakal Division
  • GM’s Efficiency Shield for overall best performance- Secunderabad, Guntakal & Vijayawada.

Railways to operate Summer Specials between Indore-Kochuveli on Konkan route

Mangalore (MAQ): A superfast special train will be run between Indore – Kochuveli – Indore during summer season via Konkan Railway route to clear extra rush of passengers in co-ordination with Western Railway.

Train 09310 Indore – Kochuveli will be run on April 14, 21, 28, May 05, 12, 19, 26, and June 02. The train will leave Indore on Tuesdays at 9.05pm and reach Kochuveli at 7.10pm on Thursday. Train 09309 Kochuveli – Indore will be run on April 17, 24, May 01, 08, 15, 22, 29, and June 05. The train will leave from Kochuveli on Fridays at 11am and reach Indore at 5.15am on Sundays.

The train will have 17 coaches and will halt at Dewas, Ujjain, Nagda, Ratlam, Dahod, Vadodara, Surat, Vapi, Boisar, Vasai Road ,Panvel, Roha, Chiplun, Ratnagiri, Kankavali, Thivim, Madgaon, Karwar, Udupi, Mangaluru junction, Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode, Tirur, Shoranur, Thrissur, Aluva, Ernakulam Junction, Allepy, Kayankulam and Kollam stations.

GM/SCR inaugurates ‘Rail Exhibition’, interacts with Media to brief on SCR’s Performance

Secunderabad (SC): Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR inaugurated the “Rail Exhibition” today i.e., 10th April, 2015 at Secunderabad Railway Station (Bhoiguda Side). The Exhibition is being held to coincide with the 60th Railway Week Celebrations of Indian Railways from 10th till 16th April, 2015, in  commemoration of the first train run on Indian soil on 16th April, 1853 from Boribunder to Thane.

Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM, SCR seen viewing the Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station
Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM, SCR seen viewing the Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station

The Exhibition showcases glimpses of the journey of Indian Railways from the Vintage to the Latest. Various Pavilions are set up to offer the viewers, a look on the vintage era and origin of the Railway system in SCR’s jurisdiction, the Passenger Amenities / Facilities available, innovations and technological advancements, Safety standards, security measures and gadgets in use, welfare measures, tourism on the Zone and the Services dispensed by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation etc., An Audio Visual section is also set up to focus on public awareness issues and publicity campaigns relevant to rail user needs. The Rail Exhibition will be open till 16th April, 2015 from 08.00 am to 08.00 pm (with a lunch break between 01.00 pm to 02.00 pm).

Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM, SCR seen viewing the Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station
Shri P.K. Srivastava, GM, SCR seen viewing the Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station

Later, Shri P.K.Srivastava held an interaction with the Media and highlighted SCR’s Performance for the year 2014-15. The apportioned earnings has shown a robust growth of 19% in the last financial year compared to previous fiscal (2013-14). In Freight segment the loading has shown a remarkable growth of 9 % with 116.8 million tonnes, with an additional loading of 9.6 million tonnes as compared to 2013-14. The quantum jumps in freight loading is because of rationalisation of freight movement and de-bottle necking the constraints in freight handling.

GM South Central Mr.Srivastava P.K. seen viewing the Rail Exhibits
GM South Central Mr.Srivastava P.K. seen viewing the Rail Exhibits

In addition, loading of Coal at Singareni Collieries and Port based loading helped for incremental freight loading on the Zone. A note worthy feature is that though there is a drop in suburban passenger traffic by -0.9% on Indian Railways, on SCR there is a growth of 3%. The Operating ratio, the bench mark of financial health has been pegged at a healthy 76.5 % , which is lowest in the last five years.

The General Manager also stated that SCR’s performance has earned appreciation from the Railway Ministry and credited the same to the commitment of workforce of the Zone.

Shri P.K.Srivastava, GM, SCR interacting with the media after inaugurating Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station
Shri P.K.Srivastava, GM, SCR interacting with the media after inaugurating Rail Exhibition at Secunderabad Station

Suresh Prabhu to be the Chief Guest at Rail India ConFex & Expo 2015 to be held on 20th April at New Delhi

Suresh Prabhu, Hon'ble Minister for Railways
Suresh Prabhu, Hon’ble Minister for Railways

New Delhi: Union Minister of Railways Mr.Suresh Prabhu is going to be the Chief Guest at India Railway Summit being organised by M/s UBM India on 20th April, 2015 at Hotel Le Meridien, New Delhi.

The Rail India Confex (http://www.railindiaconfex.com/) aims at catering to the deliberation taken up by the Government of India with modernizing and upgrading the railway infrastructure in India and explore the perks of a PPP model of progression. The main focuses are on designing the world’s largest rail network, modern stations, progressive project financing, strategic commercial rail transportation, infrastructure maintenance, technology integration, wider travel choices to name a few.

Event Highlights:

Railway Minister and other senior dignitaries from Ministry of Railways, Indian Railways and its PSUs/Production Plants shall interact with various Rolling Stock manufacturers, OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers), regional and international transport experts giving well researched presentations rich in technical content, 50 Exhibitors from across the world to explore the High Speed Rail and Bullet Train Technologies, FDI in Rail, the perks of a PPP Model, discussions on current projects underway and future possibilities, International case studies from Middle East, Europe, China and Japan, aspects of globalized participation with a localized outlook, Latest technology updates on high speed rail, signalling, traffic forecasting module and telecommunication, Understanding the complexities of land acquisition, Freight network planning and ideologies, Infrastructure development and capability enhancement are mainly debated.

Key focus of the conference:

  • High Speed Rail
  • The Golden Quadrilateral
  • The DFC Projects
  • Urban Metro
  • Rail Infrastructure Development
  • Railway Network Expansion
  • Technological Up-gradation
  • Power Management in Railways
  • Tunnels and Bridges Development
  • Railway Hospitality
  • High Volume Ticketing
  • Freight network development
  • Land acquisition
  • Project Financing
  • Current Projects and Highlights
  • Risk Management
  • Disaster response

 

Key Sectors:

  • Safety
  • Project Delivery
  • Passenger Amenities/Services with focus on food services & on cleanliness & sanitation
  • Financial Discipline
  • Resource Mobilization
  • IT Initiatives
  • Transparency & System Improvements

 

Download Brochure here: India Railway Summit

Download Booking Form here: BOOKING FORM – India Railway Summit

60th Railway Week to be celebrated on South Central Railway

New Delhi: The Indian Railways will be celebrating the 60th Railway Week from 10th to 16th April, all over its network.  The celebrations are held in commemoration of the first train run on Indian soil on 16th April, 1853 from Boribunder to Thane. Since then, Indian Railways has come a long way off to earn the image of being the life line of the nation.

The South Central Railway will be holding the 60th Railway Week Celebrations all over its jurisdiction from 10th till 16th April. As a part of the same, the main Zonal Railway Week celebrations will be held on Friday at Rail Kalarang, Bhoiguda, Secunderabad. SCR General Manager P.K.Srivastava will address the gathering on the performance achievements of SCR during the fiscal year 2014-15 and present the annual awards to the Divisions and Individuals in recognition of their exemplary performance / achievements during the year. Efficiency performance shields will be presented to the Divisions in various disciplines while Merit Certificates will be presented to individual awardees.

In tune with the celebrations, a “Rail Exhibition” will be inaugurated by the SCR GM at Secunderabad Railway Station (Bhoiguda Side) on 10th April. The Exhibition will offer a glimpse of the Rail Heritage of Indian Railways for viewers.

The 60th Railway Week celebrations will also be held at all the Divisional Headquarters, Workshops etc., Like wise awards will also be presented at Divisional, Workshops, Departmental levels during the week.

Rapid expansion of Metro Rail Systems prompts Centre to form separate Safety Certification Agency for Metros

New Delhi: Plagued with delay in getting safety clearances, government is exploring possibilities for a separate safety certification agency for Metro projects, with Railways supporting the move.

Government has also roped in former DMRC Chairman E Sreedharan to examine the stalemate over the safety certification for Mandi House-ITO section of Delhi Metro and has sought his opinion on the issue.

Expressing concern over delays in according safety clearances for Metro rail projects, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu today asserted that delays are resulting in non-utilisation of such projects built with substantial investments.

In a review meeting of Metro projects along with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, both maintained that safety cannot be compromised but at the same time there should not be delays in getting clearances.

Besides Prabhu, Chairman of Railway Board, Civil Aviation Secretary, Urban Development Secretary, Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, CMD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, former CMD of DMRC Sreedharan and concerned senior officials attended the meeting.

During the discussions, it transpired that on account of rapid expansion of Metro rail services in the country, there was a need for a separate Safety Certification Agency for Metro projects and the same should be examined in detail.

Chairman of Railway Board stated that Railway Ministry would have no objection for creating such a mechanism.

The issue of safety certification for Mandi House-ITO section of Delhi Metro was discussed in the meeting.

Commissioner of Railway Safety was of the view that single line sections can’t be made functional while DMRC took the view that there was no such restriction in the Act.

In view of the differences in interpretation of the Act, Naidu has asked Sreedharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration.

Sreedharan said there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under Phase I and II and the problem has risen further to the amendments to the Metro Railways Act in 2009 resulting in too much of micro-management of safety issues causing delays.

Pune based NGO urge DMRC to consider issues raised by citizens about Metro Rail

Pune: Pedestrians First, a NGO working on issues concerning sustainable transport and safety of pedestrians has said that there has been a lot of misinformation about the real issues and facts regarding the proposed metro corridor between Vanaz and Ramwadi.

In a statement, convener of Pedestrians First Prashant Inamdar said that an impression has been created that whereas the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has prepared an useful and economical elevated metro plan affordable for the city, some citizen groups are challenging the plan and insisting for an exorbitantly costly underground metro which the city does not need and also cannot afford.

The NGO said that DMRC are metro technology experts and not traffic and transportation experts. Issues raised are not regarding metro technology but these are area specific issues related to traffic and transportation and social impacts. Citizen groups and experts in Pune have raised these issues after detailed study of the DPR. Citizens as stakeholders and potential users of metro are well within their rights to raise issues about the metro plan. DMRC has neither agreed for meeting the citizen groups and experts to discuss the issues raised, nor have they replied to any of the letters sent to them. There should not be any hesitation on DMRS part to face citizens who have raised issues, Pedestrians First said.

Madurai Division commissions OFC Communication on 122 Kms Virudhunagar-Tenkasi stretch

Madurai (MDU): The Madurai railway division has commissioned high-end optical fibre cable link between Virudhunagar and Tenkasi stations on Thursday. According to railway officials, the 123 km-long 24 fibre optic cable installed at a cost of Rs 2.64 crore connecting the eight stations between Tenkasi and Virudhunagar provides a high speed channel for passenger reservation system and unreserved ticketing system, apart from providing connectivity to axle counters in the section which enhances safety in the block sections.

Free from copper, the cable is not prone to theft and provides superior quality of communication with built in large number of telephone channels to meet future needs of train operation and safety. Optical fibre technology will be very useful in future for introducing mobile communication in running trains between the loco pilot and guard who can talk to each other and also with section control on the moving train.

This will also be useful in emergencies like accidents, they said. Apart from use by railways, the spare capacity will be taken over by RailTel to provide internet facility at stations, MPLS-VPN and TDM Link to various customers enroute, and in running trains in future as well as for commercial exploitation like providing cable TV in remote areas.

Kalindee Rail Nirman appoints Vikas Jain as Chief Finance Officer

Vikas JainKolkata (KOAA): Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) has informed that Mr. Vikas Jain, FCA FCS as the Chief Financial Officer of Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers).

He earlier worked for M/s UEM India Limited (an EPC Co.,) as Financial Controller prior to joining in Kalindee.

Other roles were as DGM (F&A) in M/s PL Engineering Limited (a punj Lloyd co) and Head- Internal Audit, Taxation and compilation in M/s WAPCOS Limited

Alina objects to SWR’s proposal for doubling of Vasco-Londa line

Vasco: Minister for Environment and Forest Alina Saldanha has opposed the Railway Ministry’s proposal for doubling the existing Vasco-Londa South Western Railway line stating that most houses along the track will be lost. 

Saldanha, in press statement issued here on Thursday, said that a similar announcement was made by Union Railway Ministry in the year 2013 but the state government had turned it down and refused permission for acquisition of land for the purpose.

Saldanha, who represents Cortalim constituency, further said that there are too many ancestral houses next to the existing single line in most of the villages in Salcete and Mormugao talukas and these have developed cracks.

“If the railway line is doubled then the old houses would not be able to bear the rumblings and will collapse. People are not against development but not at the cost of destruction,” told Saldanha.

Saldanha also said that most of the villagers encounter a harrowing time while crossing the railway tracks and with the doubling of lines, their problems will be aggravated. She said that already people of Cortalim have parted with their land for the purpose of laying of South Western Railway line and with the double-tracking, they may end up with no land.

Recalling assurance made by Konkan Railway authorities on constructing road over bridges, road under bridges, minimising number of manned/unmanned level crossings wherever required, Saldanha said that they have not been fulfilled.

She further said that in order to reduce the inconvenience, loss of time and money, South Western Railway has been repeatedly requested to construct road over rail bridge at Cansaulim-Arossim junction at the level crossing 25 in Cansaulim, road under rail bridge from Pisolem to Mollo in the Velsao-Pale-Issorcim village, pedestrian bridge along with a road for the two wheeler at the Southern end of the Cansaulim Railway Station and road under rail bridge at Cansaulim for light vehicles from Largo de Estecao, Baga Prail to the Main District Road (MDR) since 2012, but to no avail.  She said that the state government cannot compromise with the lives of people of Goa for the economic benefit of other states and industrialists.

Rajyavardhan Rathore seek linking Jaipur with Delhi-Mumbai High Speed Rail route

Jaipur (JP): Linking of Delhi-Mumbai high speed rail route with Jaipur, decongestion of Jaipur railway station and construction of a broad gauge shed are among the slew of demands made by Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, during his meeting with Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here today.

Rathore also sought more train stoppages, construction of underpass and doubling of tracks in his constituency in Rajasthan.

“My collegaue Rathore has attracted my attention towards development of rail network in Rajasthan and also some projects related to his constituency like stoppages, doubling and underpass. We will try to implement them,” Prabhu said after the meeting with Rathore.

Rathore represents Jaipur rural constituency in Lok Sabha.

“My constituency is fully dependent on railways and there has been no development of rail network there for many years,” Rathore said.

“I have discussed with Railway Minister about the need for connecting Delhi-Mumbai high speed train route with Jaipur. I have also raised the issue of highly congested Jaipur railway station. It needs to be decongested. Sateliite stations are required to decongest Jaipur station. It will also generate jobs,” he said.

Rathore also demanded the development of a terminal at Dhankya, underpass at Phulera, stoppages at Kankapura, Naryana and Phulera.

Haryana sends proposal for Yamunanagar-Chandigarh rail line

Chandigarh (CDG): Haryana government has sent a proposal to the Centre for laying a railway line between Yamunanagar and Chandigarh.

Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar today said the proposal had been sent to the central government in this regard.

Work on the project would start as soon as approval is received, official release said.

The minister said the rain water from the hills in Naraingarh here would be utilised for construction of check dams so that the ground water could be recharged.

It would help irrigate water-starved farms in the area, release said.

Infrastructure meant for Nepal’s Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway line prone to thefts due to lack of protection

Janakpurdham: At a time the expansion of railway line in Nepal is running in full gusto in coordination with the Indian government, infrastructures of the one and only railway in the country, the Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway, are being stolen in lack of proper protection.

The 59-kilometre narrow gauge railway is the first railway of Nepal.

Security guards complain that theft of railway’s infrastructures is on the rise as they are not well-equipped with the security materials. The latest loss to theft was the batteries of the railway’s engine.

Alam Kawari, one of the security guards in the railway, shared that since the concerned authorities have not provided them the sophisticated materials, it has been difficult for them to keep a close eye on thieves who often try their luck at night.

Ramchandra Sah, Executive Chief of the Railway Office in Janakpurdham, however, has his own explanation. “Since many staff recently got retired, the cases of theft are occurring in lack of adequate human resources to guard the old infrastructures of the railway.”

The government of India, in a bid to expand the railway into a broad gauge railway, has already distributed Rs 240 million in compensation to households in Dhanusha, Mahottari and Siraha. As many as 22 culverts have already been constructed while eight other are under construction.

The workers here are removing the old infrastructures like the railway tracks, engine of the old bogies and the like as a part of the expansion project.

Similarly, six big bridges and four station buildings in various four places are also being built in connection to expansion of the railway.

Amid the rapid pace of construction of the new infrastructures, the older ones are facing risk of theft, it is stated.

Give feedback on Bombardier via Mobile App

Mumbai: Western Railway commuters can submit their feedback about the recently introduced Bombardier rakes through the M-indicator mobile application from April 10.

An M-indicator official said, “Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which has procured these rakes, is going to run a mobile survey on M-Indicator app for getting reviews of commuters about the Bombardier rakes.”

MRVC has already planned field as well as online surveys to ascertain commuter feedback. WR has introduced two rakes which are capable to run 12 services each on any given day. Based on the survey, modifications will be carried out in the rakes that are expected to come in future.

M-Indicator will show the survey on its exit page. It will be also available in the Rail Alerts section for two weeks.

MRVC chairman and MD Prabhat Sahai, however, said, “I am not aware of any survey being carried out in association with M-indicator.

Rail India Technical and Economic Services notifies Recruitment

Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) has invited applications for the recruitment of candidates to 16 posts. The interested and eligible candidates must the attend walk-in-interview to be held on 21 April.

Post details:

Total number of the posts: 16

Name of the posts:

Engineer (Civil): Test tracks: 2
Engineer (Civil QC): Tracks: 1
Surveyor (Civil): Tracks: 1
Safety Engineer (Civil): Tracks: 1
Assistant Quantity Surveyors (Civil): 5
Assistant Quality Control Engineer (Civil): 6

Eligibility Criteria:

Educational Qualification:

Engineer  (Civil), Engineer (Civil QC),Safety Engineer (Civil): The candidate must have a graduate degree in Civil Engineering from All India Council for Technical Education or any government approved institutes.

Surveyor (Civil),  Assistant  Quantity Surveyors  (Civil): The candidate must have a diploma in Civil/Survey Engineering from All India Council For Technical Education or any government approved institutes.

Assistant Quality Control Engineer(Civil) : The candidate must have a diploma in Civil Engineering from All India Council for Technical Education or any government approved institutes.

Age limit:
The candidate must not exceed the age limit of 50 years.

Selection procedure:

The candidates will be selected on the basis of their performance during the walk-in-interview.

How to apply:
Interested and eligible candidates must attend the walk-in-interview with one copy of the application prepared according to the format available on RITES website (http://rites.com/vacancy/) along with original and self attested copies of educational and experience certificates with one copy of recent passport size photograph.

Important dates:

Date and Time of Interview: The walk-in-interview will be conducted on April 21,10 am onwards.

Metro Funds: Government Ready for CBI Probe

Bangalore (SBC): The state government is not averse to handing over a probe into the alleged diversion of funds of over 19 crore meant for the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited, to the CBI, Law Minister T B Jayachandra said on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters here on Thursday, the minister said, “A CID probe as well as a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) investigation is on into the alleged diversion of funds.”

“The State may consider a CBI probe into the issue once the CAG submits its report,” Jayachandra said.

Railways notify recruitment for 338 Posts

The Indian Railways has invited application for the recruitment of candidates to 338 posts in South Western Railway. The interested and eligible candidates must send in their applications on or before April 24.

Post details:

Total number of posts: 338

Name of the post:
Fitter: 176
Mechanist: 15
Turner: 20
Welder: 87
Electrician: 25
Ref A/C Mechanic: 15

Eligibility criteria:

Educational qualification:

Educational qualifications:
The interested candidates must have passed Class 10 or Class 12 examinations from a recognised state or central board. The candidate must have an ITI certificate to National Council Vocational Training (NCVT) or State Council Vocational Training (SCVT).

Age limit:
The candidates applying for the above posts must be a minimum of 15 years and must not exceed the age limit of 24 years.

Selection procedure:
The candidates will be selected on the basis of their performance in the recruitment test and a personal interview which will be conducted by the Indian Railways’.

How to apply:
The interested and eligible candidates must send in their applications through a proper channel. The candidates can download the application form from the official website of South Western Railways (http://www.rrchubli.in/about_us.html) and submit the application. The candidates must also attach the scanned copies of their relevant documents and certificates along with the application.

The postal address of the Cell:

Railway Recruitment Cell,
DRM’s Office Compound,
South Western Railway,
Hubli – 580 020
Karnataka State.

Important dates:
The eligible candidates must send in their applications on or before April 24

NID to design Coach interior, Pantry Car for Railways

New Delhi: Ambience of railway stations and decor of carriages are set for change as the Indian Railways has decided to join hands with the National Institute of Design to redesign coach interior, pantry car, and seating arrangements at platforms and waiting halls.

Among others, NID will also design ladder for upper berths, lighting arrangements at stations and circulating areas to give an aesthetic touch to rail facilities.

Railways will tomorrow sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Commerce and Industry Ministry for setting up of Railway Design Centre at the National Institute of Design (NID) at Ahmedabad, according to a senior Railway Ministry official.

The MoU will be signed in the presence of Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

Railways will provide Rs 10 cr fund to NID for the job. There will be a committee of four senior railway officials to monitor the project.

Sreedharan to resolve stalemate over Safety Certification for Mandi House-ITO section of Delhi Metro

New Delhi: After a long blame game on the delay in opening of Metro stretch between Mandi House and ITO, the urban development ministry has asked former DMRC chief E Sreedharan to look into the legal and operational aspects of the case. He has been asked to submit a report quickly so that a decision on opening of the single line can be taken.

Though work on the station and the tracks for this stretch, which forms part of the Badarpur-Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate corridor, had been completed by early February, DMRC and commissioner of Metro rail safety have been locked in a technical fight over safe operation of trains passing through the station.

The issue came up for discussion on Thursday at a meeting convened by urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on the delays in getting security certificates for completed Metro projects.

Sources said that commissioner of railway safety was of the view that single line sections can’t be made functional while DMRC took the view that there was no such restriction in the Metro Railways (Operation and Maintenance Act). “In view of the differences in interpretation of the Act, Naidu has asked Sreedharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration,” said a ministry spokesperson.

Officials said that Sreedharan pointed out that there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under phases I and II and the problem has risen due to amendments to the Metro Railways Act in 2009. He cited how because of these changes now there is too much of micro-management of safety issues and these are causing delays. DMRC chief Mangu Singh also gave details of some such instances and stipulations in respect of metro projects which were not being applied for railway lines

Venakaiah Naidu voices concern over Long Delays in Safety Clearences for Metro Rail projects

New Delhi: Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu today expressed concern over delays in according safety clearences for Metro Rail projects resulting in non-utilisation of such projects built with substantial investments. Shri Naidu today reviewed the commissioning of some Metro projects which were completed sometime back and still not put to use for want of safety clearences. Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu, Chairman of Railway Board, Secretary(Civil Aviation), Secretary(Urban Development), Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, CMD of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, former CMD of DMRC Shri Sridharan and concerned senior officials participated in the discussions.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu and Shri Suresh Prabhu asserted that metro rail safety can not be compromised but at the same time clearences should not be delayed. Both the ministers called for measures to ensure timely decisions.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu noted that Jaipur Railway has sought safety clearance as early as in August 2014 and is yet to be given the clearance. Similarly, Chennai Metro has sought rolling stock clearance in August, 2014 which is still due.

During the discussions it transpired that on account of rapid expansion of metro rail services in the country, there was a need for a separate Safety Certification Agency for Metro projects and the same should be examined in detail. Chairman of Railway Board stated that Railway Ministry would have no objection for creating such a mechanism. Civil Aviation Ministry, the nodal ministry for railway safety Informed that a proposal has been moved for creating two more posts of Commissioners of Metro Safety as against only one at present.

Shri Sridharan has said that there used to be no such delays in respect of Delhi Metro projects under Phases I and II and the problem has risen further to the amendments to the Metro Railways Act in 2009 resulting in too much of micro-management of safety issues causing delays. CMD of DMRC Shri Mangu Singh gave details of some such instances and stipulations in respect of metro projects which were not being applied for railway lines.

The issue of safety certification for Mandi House – ITO section of Delhi Metro has also been discussed. Commissioner of Railway Safety was of the view that single line sections can’t be made functional while DMRC took the view that there was no such restriction in the Act. In view of the differences in interpretation of the Act, Shri Venkaiah Naidu has asked Shri Sridharan to examine the relevant provisions in detail for giving an opinion for further consideration.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu has asked all the concerned to meet again shortly for firming up the measures to be taken for ensuring timely safety clearences for Metro projects.

Indian Railways’ Freight Loading up by 4.18 per cent during Fiscal 2014-15

New Delhi: Indian Railways’ Freight Loading Up By 4.18 Per Cent During Fiscal 2014-15

Indian Railways carried 1097.57 million tonnes of revenue earning freight traffic during the financial year 2014-15 i.e. from 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015. The freight carried shows an increase of 44.02 million tonnes over the freight traffic of 1053.55 million tonnes actually carried during the corresponding period last year, registering an increase of 4.18 per cent.

During the month of March 2015, the revenue earning freight traffic carried by Indian Railways was 101.57 million tonnes. There is an increase of 1.08 million tonnes over the actual freight traffic of 100.49 million tonnes carried by the Indian Railways during the same month last year, showing an increase of 1.07 per cent.

Badarpur-Faridabad Metro Line to be Operational in 2 months

New Delhi: The fully elevated 14 km-long Badarpur-Faridabad corridor of the Delhi Metro is all set to be operational in the next two months and the trial runs on it will begin soon.

Delhi Metro Railway Corporation had made its foray into Haryana five years ago and with this project the DMRC will further spread its operations in the neighbouring state.

“Trial runs on the 14 km-long elevated corridor, on the network’s Violet Line, will begin in a week’s time as construction work of the entire corridor and the stations has been completed, and tracks have been laid, with final touches being given before the wheels go rolling,” a DMRC official today said.

The corridor is an extension of the existing Mandi House -Badarpur line (Line 6) of the DMRC network, and according to official estimates, presently the average ridership on it (Line 6) stands at around 1.92 lakh per day.

“We expect to make the the extension line operational in the next two months. After trial runs, which will begin soon, we hope to get Commissioner for Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) clearance, after inspecting the line for all safety parameters for passengers,” Executive Director, DMRC’s Corporate Communications, Anuj Dayal said.

To expedite construction in the route, the viaducts on the entire length of the route have been built using pre-built u-shaped sleek girders, as they were brought to the site and installed in a short span of time.

Foot Over Bridges (FOBs) are coming up at all the nine stations on the route, from Sarai till Escorts Mujesar, in an order to make the stations, situated alongside the Mathura Road (NH 2), easily accessible to commuters, officials said.

With an expected rise in the average ridership, DMRC is also pressing into service more six-coach trains on the corridor, which currently has a total of 29 four-coach trains.

“Presently out of 30 trains, only one six-coach train is available on the Mandi House-Badarpur corridor. Out of the rest 29, four more trains have already been converted into six-coach trains and are ready to be inducted into service,” an official said.

Badarpur-Faridabad Extension
Badarpur-Faridabad Extension

Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh meets General Manager, South Central Railway

Secunderabad (SC): I.Y.R.Krishna Rao, Chief Secretary of Government of Andhra Pradesh met P.K. Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway and other Senior Officials today i.e., 9th April, 2015 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad.

Shri I.Y.R Krishna Rao, Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh meets Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad
Shri I.Y.R Krishna Rao, Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh meets Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, SCR at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad

The meeting was held to review the status of the ongoing Railway projects and the survey projects in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Issues requiring attention such as land acquisition for rail projects, steps to curtail damage to rail infrastructure in view of Cyclones such as Hud Hud, also came up for discussions.

I.Y.R.Krishna Rao expressed the willingness of the State Government to get into a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) with the Railways. P.K.Srivastava on his part stated that SCR is awaiting for the final nod from the Rail Ministry to go ahead on the same. The General Manager, SCR also assured the Chief Secretary of AP that the last mile connectivity on Nandyal – Yerraguntla new Railway line project will be completed on priority, towards which adequate funds have also been allocated in the Railway Budget-2015.

IR plans to develop Satellite Terminals to decongest Stations: Suresh Prabhu at Indo-US Conf

New Delhi: Indian Railways is planning to build satellite terminals near some of the busiest junctions, aiming at reducing pressure on such stations and the city traffic around it.

“We are planning to develop some satellite terminals. Most of the urban areas are saturated now. It is impossible to reach to the station in busy areas. We can have satellite terminals outside busy railway stations,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu here said at a conference on US-India cooperation on smart transportation.

There are about 8,000 stations across the country out of which some of the most busiest stations like New Delhi, Delhi Junction, Howrah, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Lucknow, Chennai are quite saturated now.

According to the plan, satellite terminals will be developed in the nearby cities to divert the rail as well as road traffic to ease pressure on these busy stations.

Prabhu said the satellite stations could bring in much better development in the adjoining towns and also decongest the busy stations and cities automatically.

Seeking cooperation with the US on safety, managerial ability and technology, Prabhu said “We will be very happy to collaborate and learn from the US in the rail sector. US is a great friend and partner of India. Probably we have best relationship with President Barak Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We can move to a new level in this sector.”

He further said, “We can not reach US through rail but certainly we can have exchange ideas with one another on technology. We can work together.”

Emphasizing on the importance safety, he said Railways is also planning to have an independent safety regulator with enhanced safety regulation.

“Safety is a key issue. We are also thinking of how to have a independent safety regulator. Safety is core area of concern for transportation including railways there also we are looking for close cooperation with the US.”

Prabhu also advocated integrated planning for transport management.

“There is a need for integrated planning for transport management. Integrated approach, road-rail integration, and inland waterways and railways can also be integrated. If we have proper integrated approach then it will be good for us.”

He said for smart city, smart transportation is required. “Good transportation is crucial for smart city. Cities are reality and the question is how to make it smart.”

On the transportation of water he said, “Water is coming from far away place. Water is essential and city cannot live without water. Delhi gets its water from Tehri, while Mumbai gets it from Nasik.”

Referring to migration of people from rural areas to urban places, he said, if there is a smart transportation for people if would be easy for them to come to city for work and go back after the work. “It is far cheaper to live in rural areas if we invest enough on smart transportation, many of other investments will be eliminated.”

Harsco submits Patent Application on ‘Systems and Methods for Use in Rail Track Corrections’

Railroads are typically constructed to include a pair of elongated, substantially parallel rails, which are coupled to a plurality of laterally extending ties. The ties are disposed on a ballast bed of hard particulate material such as gravel. Over time, normal wear and tear on the railroad may cause the rails to deviate from a desired geometric orientation.

“Rail maintenance processes for addressing such concerns typically involve the use of a tamping machine with a buggy, which cooperate with each other to provide a three-point reference system to measure the position of the track prior to applying the desired corrections to the track. A typical correction process involves lifting rail with mechanical clamps, aligning the track by shifting it to a calculated position, and then tamping the ballast under each tie to hold the track in place. This work sequence is typically repeated at each tie during the course of the correction process.

“Known reference systems often utilize light beams or lasers either alone or in combination with tensioned wires. In such systems, a buggy vehicle is equipped with a light source or laser projector, a shadow board extends from the rail maintenance vehicle, and a pair of receivers, each positioned over corresponding rail, are positioned at the rear of the tamping machine.

“The reference points are used to establish a geometry of the track at the particular location being worked. That is, the recorded values are used to triangulate the geometry of the section of track being worked, while an onboard computer compares the previous section of track already corrected to the current section and makes the calculations for the required corrections to be made at the work heads. Similar recording and corrections are made with four point reference systems, i.e., the recorded geometry is calculated and corrected using different formulas that result in correction of the track to a desired position.

“However, known reference systems are subject to a variety of outside influences and factors that may prevent the track from being returned to the desired geometric orientation, thereby reducing the efficiency of a railroad vehicle traveling along the track. For example, the receiver pairs may be tuned to search for a specific frequency of light that may be negatively affected by ambient light (i.e., sunlight) when the buggy vehicle is spaced apart from the rail maintenance vehicle. In addition, the tensioned wires may be affected by wind and weather, may become tangled or caught, and may be difficult to keep taut. Accordingly, an improved system for use in carrying out surfacing and/or lining operations on railroad tracks is desired.”

As a supplement to the background information on this patent application, VerticalNews correspondents also obtained the inventor’s summary information for this patent application: “The present disclosure is directed to improved systems and methods for use in rail track corrections such as surfacing and/or lining operations on railroad track. The systems and methods may comprise a projector device positioned on a first rail vehicle and a pair of receiver devices positioned on a second rail vehicle. The projector may include a Fresnel lens and a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) arranged to emit a light beam. In some embodiments, the LEDs are infrared LEDs and the Fresnel lens is replaced with a convex lens or other optical lens that cooperates with the LEDs to collimate the light source In some embodiments, the projector device may be positioned on a buggy vehicle deployed ahead of a rail maintenance vehicle, such as a tamping machine. The rail maintenance vehicle may be equipped with receiver pairs disposed on each side of the machine as well as a receiver pair disposed on top of the machine.

“In practice, the projector device is activated to provide a beam that provides a uniform ‘spot’ (i.e., a uniform beam). The light beam is then modulated in such a manner that the receivers can detect the light source. For example, the light emitted from the projector device may be modulated in a range of between about 50 Hz and 2200 Hz. In this manner, the light intensity and frequency of wavelength of light received into each receiver of a receiver pair is substantially equal. Recorded values may be used to triangulate the geometry of the section of track being worked, while a computer (e.g., disposed on the rail maintenance vehicle) compares the previous section of track already corrected to the current section and makes calculations for desired corrections to be made at work heads on the rail maintenance vehicle.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

“Embodiments are illustrated by way of example in the accompanying figures, in which like reference numbers indicate similar parts, and in which:

“FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a first rail vehicle having a projector device and a second rail vehicle having a receiver device for rail correction applications, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 2 illustrates a top view of the first rail vehicle and the second rail vehicle depicted in FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 3 illustrates a side view of the first rail vehicle and the second rail vehicle depicted in FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 4 illustrates a front view of the projector device of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 5 illustrates a perspective view of the projector device depicted in FIG. 4, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 6 illustrates a side view of a lens casing of the projector device of FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 7 illustrates a perspective view of the lens casing depicted in FIG. 6, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 8 illustrates a perspective view of the receiver device depicted in FIG. 1, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 9 illustrates a perspective view of the first rail vehicle and a plurality of projectors, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 10 illustrates a perspective view of the first rail vehicle having the projector device and the second rail vehicle having the receiver device in operation, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 11 illustrates a top view of the first rail vehicle having the projector device and the second rail vehicle having the receiver device in operation, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure;

“FIG. 12 illustrates a side view of the first rail vehicle having the projector device and the second rail vehicle having the receiver device in operation, in accordance with one embodiment of the present disclosure; and

“FIG. 13 illustrates a data processing system for carrying out methods according to one embodiment of the present disclosure.”

For additional information on this patent application, see: Carney, Jay R. Systems and Methods for Use in Rail Track Corrections. FiledSeptember 24, 2014 and posted April 2, 2015. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=6690&p=134&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20150326.PD.&OS=PD/20150326&RS=PD/20150326

Alstom Citadis Tram Technology debuts in China

Citadis tram Shanghai  (Copyright SATCO)
Citadis tram Shanghai (Copyright SATCO)

Alstom’s official website announced that the Joint Venture of Alstom and Shanghai Rail Traffic Equipment Development Co., Ltd. (SRTED) – Shanghai Alstom Transport Co.[1] (SATCO) – has been awarded a contract worth about €72 million by Shanghai Songjiang Tramway Investment and Operation Co. Ltd to provide 30 Citadis trams for the two first tramway lines of Songjiang, one of the suburban districts of Shanghai. This is the first tramway project with Alstom Citadis  technology in China.

The Songjiang district plans to build six tramway lines by 2020. The 30 Citadis trams will run on the two first lines, T1 and T2, that will cover a total distance of 31 kilometers and include 42 stations. These two lines are expected to be in operation by 2017 and transport 173,000 persons per day. In total, the city of Shanghai plans to build 800 km of tramway network by 2020[2].

Alstom and its partner are pleased to have been selected by Shanghai district for the supply of Citadis trams which will contribute to enhance the city transport services and energize urban life, while contributing to the protection of the environment. Alstom will contribute to this ambitious tramway development plan with its worldwide experience and expertise in tram technology”, said Fang Ling, Managing Director of Alstom Transport China.

SATCO will benefit from the Alstom’s Citadis tramway technology to better address Chinese needs in terms of urban transport. For this particular project, SATCO will manufacture the Citadis trams and Alstom will supply the traction systems, bogies and the Train Control and Monitoring System (TCMS).

The Alstom sites in France that will be involved in this project are La Rochelle for the TCMS software and Villeurbanne for the hardware, Le Creusot for the bogies, Tarbes for technical support to the power modules. Sesto site, in Italy, will also provide technical support to the traction inverters.

With over 1,900 trams sold to 49 cities worldwide, Citadis is the global standard in the tram market. The 1,600 Citadis trams already in operation have covered over 800 million kilometres, carried nearly six billion passengers and helped reduce 5 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions since the first tram entered service in 2000. 

About Alstom

Alstom is a global leader in the world of power generation, power transmission and rail infrastructure and sets the benchmark for innovative and environmentally friendly technologies. Alstom builds the fastest train and the highest capacity automated metro in the world, provides turnkey integrated power plant solutions and associated services for a wide variety of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind, and it offers a wide range of solutions for power transmission, with a focus on smart grids. The Group employs 93,000 people in around 100 countries. It had sales of over €20 billion and booked €21.5 billion in orders in 2013/14.

[1] SATCO was founded in 1999 with 60% share held by SRTED and 40% by Alstom
[2] According to Wen Hui Bao’s report

Maharashtra CM announces foundation laying for Metro-IV line on Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavali route

Mumbai: It is now turn of the residents of the far eastern suburbs – Kalyan, Dombivli, Navi Mumbai and adjoining areas – to anticipate a Metro ride, what with chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announcing on Wednesday that the foundation laying ceremony for Wadala-Ghatkopar-Thane-Kasarvadavali Metro would be held before the end of this year. He was responding to a call attention motion in the state assembly moved by MLAs Subhash Bhoir, Shambhuraje Desai, Sunil Shinde, Pratap Sarnaik and others. Bhoir said the Metro project was getting delayed while commuters daily jostle with enormous difficulties, resulting in untoward incidents – not to mention unrest – in Thane and nearby stations. Fadnavis informed the house that he along with Thane guardian minister Eknath Shinde will lay the foundation stone for Metro-4 this year. He said he, as MMRDA Chairman, has already given his nod and the project will commence after the final approval to agreements in this regard.

When Pratap Sarnaik insisted on a commencement date as well as the deadline for project completion, the CM replied, “I can’t specify the deadline for this, but I assure the House that we will lay the foundation stone of this project in this year.”While replying to a supplementary question by NCP’s Jitendra Ahvad, the CM made it clear that the government does not expect the project to go on for 15 years. He said all the Metro corridors that have the go-ahead will be completed by 2021.

The MMRDA has allotted Rs10 crore in its latest budget for the 30.8-km-long Metro 4. The World Bank has shown interest in providing financial aid to the project having an approximate cost of Rs22,000 crore.

The original Mumbai Metro Master Plan of 2003 had nine corridors, and two of these are Ghatkopar-Mulund and Hutatma Chowk-Ghatkopar routes. In September 2009, the latter was cut short from Hutatma Chowk to Carnac Bunderm while in November 2010, it was decided to extend Ghatkopar-Mulund route till Teen Haath Naka in Thane.During the end of 2009, it was planned to come out with tenders for the other project – Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan Monorail of 23.75-km, which was shelved later in 2011-2012 after Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) recommend putting off the project for 10-15 years due to low ridership on the route.A while ago, Teen Haath Naka-Kasarvadavli Metro too was planned and made part of the revised plan, therefore making it Wadala-Ghatkopar-Teen Haath Naka-Kasarvadavli metro.

Suburban Section

Minister of state Ranjit Patil, while replying before the CM, said the government has started work on the Kalva-Airoli elevated corridor on the suburban railway section, which would cost Rs336 crore. He laso said survey work for Diva-Panvel route under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project-3 has already started.

The MMRDA has finalised 2031 as the horizon year – by which we would have a fair idea of when the project would be complete – for these two projects, which would come as immense relief to commuters on this line.

MLA Sanjay Kelkar pointed out that more than seven lakh people who commute on this section were getting the raw end of the stick for a long time and were demanding speedy completion of these projects. Patil then responded that the government was serious about this project, and that is why budgetary provision has been made for the elevated corridor.

China may build Railway Line to Nepal, with tunnel through Mount Everest

A passenger train travels the Qinghai-Tibet railway, about 100 km northwest of the city of Lhasa
A passenger train travels the Qinghai-Tibet railway, about 100 km northwest of the city of Lhasa

Beijing: China is considering building a railway to Nepal with a possible tunnel through Mount Everest, state media said Thursday, as Beijing courts a country India regards as firmly within its sphere of influence.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway already links the rest of China with the Tibetan capital Lhasa and beyond, and an extension running as far as Nepal’s border is already underway.

It quoted a Tibet official as saying construction as far as the border will be complete by 2020. It also quoted an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering as saying the extension was made “at Nepal’s request.”

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited Kathmandu in December and, according to Nepalese reports, said the line could eventually be extended to the Nepalese capital and further, potentially providing a crucial link between China and the huge markets of India. Such a plan could see a tunnel being built under Mount Everest.

“The line will probably have to go through Qomolangma so that workers may have to dig some very long tunnels,” expert Wang Mengshu told the newspaper, referring to Everest by its Tibetan name.

He said that, due to the challenging Himalayan terrain with its “remarkable” changes in elevation, trains on any line to Kathmandu would probably have a maximum speed of 120 kilometers per hour.

The proposal underscores China’s influence in the impoverished Himalayan nation, where Beijing has for years been building roads and investing billions of dollars in hydropower and telecommunications.

Chinese tourism to Nepal, which is home to eight of the world’s 14 peaks over 8,000 metres, is also climbing.

Beijing’s increasing role has raised alarms in New Delhi that China, already closely allied to Pakistan, is forging closer economic ties with Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Nepal in a deliberate strategy to encircle India.

In an apparent counter-move, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged late last year that South Asia’s largest economy would fund a series of regional investments and free up its markets to its neighbours’ exporters.

But India has struggled to compete with China’s financial muscle.

Chinese plans to expand the rail network in Tibet have also come under criticism from rights groups including the International Campaign for Tibet, which has warned of the project’s “dangerous implications for regional security and the fragile ecosystem of the world’s highest and largest plateau.”

“The Chinese government’s claim that rail expansion on the plateau simply benefits tourism and lifts Tibetans out of poverty does not hold up to scrutiny and cannot be taken at face value,” ICT president Matteo Mecacci said in a statement last year.

IRFC raises Rs.1200 Crore through Short-term Bonds

New Delhi: Indian Railways Finance Corporation (IRFC) — the financing arm of Indian Railways — raised Rs.1,200 crore through issue of short tenure bonds at a tenure of 7.95% on Wednesday, according to bond arrangers. These bonds have a tenure of two years.

“IRFC short-term bond issue has seen a good demand from mutual funds this time. With demand being high, the yields have fallen to sub-8% levels,” said Ashish Jalan, Assistant Vice-President at SPA Securities.

Last month, IRFC source had said the company would target to issue short-tenure bonds at yields of sub-8% levels.

IRFC BondsIRFC had previously issued short-tenure bonds worth Rs.2,625 crore in January at a coupon rate of 7.83%. In March, the company tried to tap the bond market to raise around Rs.3,000 crore, but had stopped the bidding when investors demanded higher yields.

Bond arrangers said bidders were asking for a coupon rate in the rangeof 8.38% to 8.50%, whereas IRFC was planning to issue bonds below 8.27% level.

IRFC’s borrowing target for FY16 is Rs.17,655 crore, according to a source, who had also indicated the company is waiting for the government’s notification on tax-free bonds. “As soon as the government puts a notification, we will like to make use of the limit allotted to us to raise funds through this instrument,” the source had said.

With liquidity being tight in March, investors were cautious on deploying their funds which had led to some hardening of yields.

Recently, HDFC had issued short-tenure bonds worth Rs.200 crore at a coupon rate of 8.45%, according to bond arrangers. National Housing Bank (NHB) had also raised Rs.500 crore through issue of three-year bonds at a coupon rate of 8%.

Bond arrangers indicated that Hinduja Leyland is also planning to raise about Rs.2,000 crore through bond market.

Railways achieves over 99% of FY15 estimated Revenue Target

New Delhi: Indian Railways (IR) have managed to achieve more than 99% of its estimated revenue target in FY15 albeit a declining passenger traffic onboard thanks to a 14.2% hike in passenger fares and higher than estimated freight revenue.

Total earnings grew by 12.2% to Rs.1,57,881 crore from Rs.1,40,761 crore in FY14. Its freight revenue went up to Rs.1,07,075 crore, beating the revised estimates (RE) by Rs.148 crore.

In FY15, the earning in the passenger segment has grown by some 14.4% to Rs.42,866 crore compared to Rs.37,478 crore the year before. Though IR’s passenger traffic has declined by 2.34% to 822.8 crore in FY15, it managed to achieve its revenue target in that segment — mainly helped by the increase in fares last June. Railways carried some 842.5 crore people in 2013-14.

Earlier in the FY14 budget, IR revised its fare rates for passengers and freight traffic. Apart from increasing its passenger fares, railways hiked the freight rates, on an average, by 6.5%.

Declining growth of passenger traffic in the Indian Railways is an issue the transporter is struggling to address for the past few years. Since FY13, the passenger segment has witnessed stagnation in traffic growth. While in FY14 passenger traffic remained flat compared to FY13, in 2014-15 it declined — first time in at least a decade.

Rev & Passr TfcKeeping the trend in mind, the railways revised its target for passenger traffic for FY15 to 835 crore from 864.5 crore estimated in the budget.

Recent reports by various expert committees have pointed out that the trend of declining share for railways of total passenger traffic in the country. While in 1951, IR’s share in the total passenger traffic was more than 74%, in 2011-12, it went down to 10%. Inadequate passenger amenities and IR’s failure in providing additional services to its customers during the journey have led people choose other options, they said.

Since taking charge, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has expressed his concerns regarding IR’s outdated services and lack of passenger amenities and has stressed on the need for modenisation and consolidation.

Revenue from freights, however, have grown by some 13% in FY15 — maintaining its two-third share in railways’ total earnings.

Priority routes for Kanpur Metro Rail finalised

Lucknow (LKO): In a fresh impetus to urban transport in Kanpur, the priority route for metro rail project in the city has been finalised, an official said on Thursday.

While work is already underway on a phase in Lucknow Metro Rail, the Kanpur project is also being prioritised.

Other than the 35 km priority route, a blue print for two additional routes of nine km between Kanpur Medical college or Kanpur university was also being prepared, the official informed.

The proposed Kanpur Metro Rail route includes IIT, Rawatpur, Bada Chauraha, Motimahal, central Jhakarkati and Naubasta.

The Akhilesh Yadav government has decided to bring Metro Rail in four major Uttar Pradesh cities — Agra, Varanasi, Meerut and Kanpur.

Metro services are already operational in Noida and Ghaziabad.

This makes Uttar Pradesh the only state in the country to have metro services in more than one city.

The Metro Rail, as per initial detailing made will have routes of 35 km in Kanpur, 25 km in Meerut, 25 km in Varanasi and 25 km in Agra.

Officials of the urban development department told that a presentation on the proposed priority route for Kanpur Metro Rail was made earlier this week after a threadbare techno-feasibility test was conducted on the routes.

It is hoped that a detailed project report (DPR) on the Kanpur Metro Rail would be completed within the next six months and submitted to the state government.

DPRs for proposed Metro Rail projects in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam likely to be submitted today

Vijayawada: Metro man E Sridharan, who is looking after the planning activities of metro rail projects in Andhra Pradesh, is likely to submit Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for the proposed metro rail projects in Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu here on Thursday.

According to sources, Sridharan, who had headed the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) earlier, will present the two DPRs with cost estimates to Naidu here.

The State government wants to construct metro rail projects in Visakhapatnam covering a length of 39 km and in Vijayawada covering 25 kg in the first phase by 2017.

In the first phase, Vijayawada will have a 25-km metro rail from Jawaharlal Nehru Bus Station to Penamaluru. For Visakhapatnam metro, surveys have already been conducted in the identified three corridors namely, Madhurawada to NAD Junction, Thatichetlapalem to Old Post office and Gurudwara Junction to Park Hotel Junction.

After the submission of the DPRs, the Sate government will decide whether to award the construction works to DMRC or call global tenders to find out another developer.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who will be touring China for six days starting from April 12, will hold meetings with Chinese companies, which have come forward to undertake bullet train project between Visakhapatnam and Chennai via Vijayawada.

Jaipur Metro Smartcard to cost Rs.100

Jaipur (JP): Inching towards its maiden commercial run, the Jaipur Metro Rail Corporation (JMRC) on Wednesday released the smartcard for passengers.

The smartcard with Hawal Mahal as its watermark would be available for sale at all the nine metro stations from Mansarover to Chandpole and some of the selected e-mitra kendras in the city. This will enable consumers to avoid serpentine queues for travelling in a metro.

Nihal Chand Goyal, CMD, JMRC released the smartcard, combo card and also the wrapper for the Jaipur Metro and gave details on how it will work for the consumers. Goyal also purchased the first card after it was released on Wednesday.

“This is a pre-activated card which would be available for sale from Thursday onwards at every metro station. The price of the pre-activated smartcard is Rs 100 which would have Rs 50 as the security deposit and Rs 50 stored value. The passenger can also get it further recharged at the stations,” Goyal said.

He added that apart from the metro stations, JMRC has also plans to sell smartcards through other points. “We thought of providing these cards at the nearest point of the passenger thus we have collaborated with the e-mitra kendras,” he added.

Asked why only few selected e-mitra kendras out of 1,600 kendras, he said, “This is our first phase where nearly 10,000 smartcards are given. It depends on the response. We will make these cards available through almost every e-mitra Kendra at a later stage.”

JMRC has procured nearly 1 lakh cards for the maiden run of the Jaipur metro. “Apart from this 5,000 cards would be available for sale at the metro stations to start with,” said another senior officer. On the other hand, JMRC has also collaborated with the HDFC Bank to work on the idea of having a combo card which can double up as ATM-cum-debit card.

“We will start providing the combo card to our existing consumers from our branches from April 20 onwards,” said Neeraj Gupta, assistant VP, HDFC Bank.

Bangalore Metro Reach-3B ready for Commercial Operation

Bangalore (SBC): Decks have been cleared for the Namma Metro to operate trains on Reach 3B from Peenya to Nagasandra after the Commissioner for Railway Safety on Wednesday gave a safety certificate after conducting the inspection on this stretch.

The inspection on this stretch got over on April 2 and certificate was awaited by the BMRCL officials.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Officials (BMRCL), said that only the safety certification was awaited from the Commissioner for Railway Safety (Metro) for the commercial operations to begin as everything else is ready.

Officials said that its a matter of days for the commercial operations to begin on this stretch. State government will be informed about the same and the stretch will be thrown open for public, they added.

BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said: “The stretch will be opened within a few days after consulting with the State government”. Already, all the civil works are over at the three stations- Jalahalli, Dasarahalli and Nagasandra. Once the stretch opens, it will add a length of 3.7 kilometres to the existing 10 kilometres which constitute Reach 3 and 3A.

Reach 3 and 3A which runs between Sampige Road and Peenya Industry was opened on March 1, 2014, and the BMRCL had then announced that the Reach 3B would be opened within the next three months but that deadline could not be met.

Railway Board seeks report on ruckus at Bangalore City Railway station

Bangalore (SBC): South Western Railways general manager P K Saxena on Wednesday inquired into the ruckus created by the members of the South Western Railways Mazdur Union and other railway employees at the City Railway Station on Tuesday evening, causing inconvenience to thousands of passengers.

Sources in Railways said the Railway Board had sought a report on the trouble that led to delayed departure of seven trains, resulting in traffic disruption on almost all the routes connected with the Bengaluru division stations.

Saxena, who arrived from Hubballi, will submit a report to the Railway Board. He also met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and apprised him of the Tuesday’s incident. Sources said the Bengaluru division officials were pulled up for their negligence on Tuesday by their higher-ups.

Insiders say efforts were on to hush up the matter and that senior functionaries of SWR were trying to control the damage done by the union members who went on strike illegally without giving an advance notice as as per rules . They said the Railway Board officials were miffed by the casual manner in which things were handled on Tuesday.

The All India Station Masters Association (Bengaluru Division) on Wednesday distanced itself from the incident. The Association’s divisional secretary Manoj Kumar and secretary general Shamanand said that on Tuesday the members of the Mazdur Union had barged into the control room cabins from where trains were operated and signals given to allow train movements, and switched off the buttons shutting down all operations.

“We condemn the way chief supervisor A R Panduranga’s arrest, but we do not support the manner in which the strike was conducted and thousands of people were harassed for no fault of theirs. We distance ourselves from this… we never participated in stopping the trains,” they said.

Panduranga, whose arrest by the police triggered the Tuesday’s protest, was granted bail by a city court on Wednesday. He was arrested in connection with unauthorised auction of goods seized by the Railways.

The Mazdur Union members met the ADGP (Railways) R P Sharma and apprised him of their problems and issues. Sharma said the vehicles were auctioned illegally and the Railways did not have records of the auctions held in past two three years. “We had given ample opportunities to the railway officials to clarify and explain, and only after due procedure of investigation was followed, the FIR was lodged and the arrest made by the police,” Sharma said.

South Central Railway to run two Special Trains to Ajmer for Urs

Secunderabad (SC):  For the convenience of pilgrims attending 803rd Annual Urs festival at Ajmer, South Central Railway will run  two Special trains from Nanded to Ajmer and back as per the following schedule:-

Train No. 07641 Nanded – Ajmer Special train will depart Nanded on 16th April, 2015 (Thursday) at 16:50 hrs and arrive Ajmer on 18th April, 2015 (Saturday) at 00:30 hrs.

In the return direction, Train No.07642 Ajmer-Nanded Special train will depart Ajmer on 18th April, 2015 (Saturday) at 17:40 hrs and arrive Nanded on 19th April, 2015 at 21:20 hrs.

Enroute these special trains will stop at Purna, Basmat, Hingoli, Washim, Akola, Bhusaval, Jalgaon, Amalner, Nandurbar, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Godhra, Dahod, Ratlam, Jaora, Mandasor, Nimach, Chittaugarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijayanagar and Nasirabad stations in both the directions.

These trains will have 17 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, one AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class, one Second Class Chair Car, two General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage Cum Brake Van coaches.

Railways planning two Skywalks in Kovai: DRM/Salem

Coimbatore (CBE): Divisional Manager of Salem Railway Division, Shubranshu, met Coimbatore Corporation engineers on Wednesday and held discussions regarding the construction of a foot overbridge from the fire service station to the entrance of Coimbatore Junction.

As the bridge extends up to the Railway station, the Mayor had sent us to get the permission from the DRM, said Gnanavel, executive engineer told Express.

However, the DRM said that the Railway management is planning an overbridge inside the railway station (from platform to the entrance). “If both are linked, it will be more useful for the passengers entering the station. We will exchange copies of the plans of the two skywalks and finalise the design,” he added.

After checking the security arrangements at the station, Shubranshu asked officials to prepare a proposal for installing 10 new cameras at the new subway. “As many as 10 cameras out of the 70 are not working and will be repaired by Wednesday evening,” he told Express.

Shubhranshu said that solar panels will be installed at the Mettupalayam railway station within a month,” he said.  On electrification of the Coimbatore-Mettupalayam stretch, he said that the trial run had been completed successfully.

Nine Conservancy Workers Honoured

Nine conservancy workers received certificates from Shubranshu for saving four children, who were found roaming at the station.

Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division Mr.Subranshu handing over certificates to the conservancy staff for rescuing children
Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division Mr.Subranshu handing over certificates to the conservancy staff for rescuing children

The workers including G Rajeshwari, B Kavitha, A Maheshwari, V Jeyashree, M Bannari, P Vasanthi, M Durga, S Dhanalakshmi and K Jothimani, found orphan children roaming at the station and handed them over to the Railway police.

Special trains between Ongole and Ajmer

Ongole (OGL): South Central Railway will run special trains between Ongole and Ajmer to clear the extra rush of passengers during the 803rd Urs festival.

Train no. 07227 Ongole-Ajmer special train will leave Ongole at 8.40 a.m. April 24 (Friday) and reach Ajmer at 11.40 p.m. the next day (Saturday). The train will reach/leave Vijayawada at 12.10 p.m. / 12.25 p.m. April 24. Train no. 07228 Ajmer-Ongole special train will leave Ajmer at 7.25 p.m. on April 29 (Wednesday) and reach Ongole at 7.40 a.m. of May 1.

The train will reach/leave Vijayawada at 3.45 a.m. /4 a.m.

The special trains will halt at Chirala, Bapatla, Nidubrolu, Tenali, New Guntur, Vijayawada, Madhira, Khammam, Mahabubabad, Warangal, Ramagundam, Mancherial, Bellampalli, Sirpurkagaznagar, Balharshah, Nagpur, Itarsi, Bhopal, Sehore, Shujalpur, Berchha, Ujjain, Nagda, Ratlam, Jaora, Mandsor, Nimach, Chittaurgarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijayanagar and Nasirabad stations in both the directions.

Worried about missing your station? Railways will ‘call’ you!

Train passengers can now sleep soundly without worrying about missing their station as the Railways has launched a new service which will ensure that they get a ‘wake-up call’ on their mobile phones half-an-hour before the scheduled arrival at their destination.

Similarly, another feature – ‘train destination alarm call’ – has also been introduced through which passengers will get an alert call 30 minutes before the train reaches their destination station.

The service, a joint initiative of the IRCTC and Bharat BPO, is available through voice call on Railways enquiry number 139.

“The user needs to enter the required data such as PNR number, station name, STD code of station while calling up 139 for getting the wake-up alarm,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Wake-up alarm shall be made to the passenger 30 minutes before the train reaches the station. Similarly, the train destination alert call shall also be available 30 minutes before train reaches the destination station, he added.

According to the official, after getting all the inputs like PNR and station name on 139, the system will check current position of the train before sending the alert call.

‘139’, a crucial train enquiry service, has undergone transformative changes over the years providing round-the -clock services on real-time basis.

One can find out the schedule of train arrival or departure, current position of train, fare inquiry through dialling 139. One can also book a meal on certain trains through 139, the official said.

‘139’ customer service also provides information related to Tatkal seat availability, cancellation, refund rules and platform position.

Bombay High Court directs SECR to take 147 Porters as on-roll Staff

Bilaspur (BSP): Justice ZA Haq at the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the South East Central Railway (SECR), Nagpur, to absorb 147 parcel porters as ‘Group D’ employees. SECR has made it a prestige issue and has been deliberately delaying regularizing services of these porters by prolonging legal battle despite losing in apex court, high court and twice in Central Government Industrial Tribunal (CGIT).

These parcel porters have been declared as workmen. Hearing a civil application filed by Parcel Porters Sanghatana (PPS), Justice Haq directed SECR to absorb these parcel porters as ‘Group D’ employees. As per the SECR record, over 900 Group ‘D’ posts were lying vacant under the Nagpur division alone. “While filling up these posts, 147 parcel porters should be accommodated,” the court said. It also rapped the SECR for paying Rs 2.5 crore towards wages since April 2012 to these workmen without any work. “This is sheer waste of public money,” the court said. The court also did not agree with the idea put forward by SECR to utilizing services of these workmen for various works under ‘Swachha Bharat Mission’.

On July 9 last Justice Haq had refused to grant interim relief to SECR considering the facts on record. The court also did not agree with SECR counsel RS Sundaram that vacancies of parcel porters are not available. Senior advocate NW Almelkar appearing for the Parcel Porters Sanghatana (PPS) said SECR was depositing the amount with the registry of the high court which was being disbursed to the workmen. As per the latest record when over 900 vacancies were available, why not appoint these workmen, he asked.

The high court decision comes as a relief for porters who are fighting a legal battle for regularization of their services since 1994. They have won after 21 years. Rajesh Supatkar of the PPS said SECR was even violating the Railway Board orders issued on October 31, 1995, that state prompt action should be taken for screening and absorption of casual labour against existing vacancies.

Time to quickly act upon each Report submitted by Panels

New Delhi: Given the huge shortage of funds with the Railways—against an investment of Rs.66,000 crore in FY15, Railways plans to spend Rs.8.5 lakh crore over the next 5 years—it is obvious a lot of new and innovative means are required to generate the additional resources. Not surprisingly then, that the DK Mittal panel has suggested a roadmap including greater monetisation of railway assets including 43,000 hectares of surplus land and redevelopment of 7,000 railway stations, restricting all fresh investment in rolling stock to either PPP or the private sector, running private trains (also suggested by the Bibek Debroy committee), increasing the borrowing limits of IRFC and setting up unviable projects only if these are funded by state governments or ministries like the coal and mines one. Besides this, there are recommendations to increase borrowing from overseas and tapping pension and insurance funds—some part of these recommendations, in any case, have already found mention in railway minister Suresh Prabhu’s budget speech.

There are some stunning statistics—while everyone knows the Railways makes Rs.34,000 crore losses on passenger traffic, the report has data that shows only the 3-tier AC class makes money. In the event, the report recommends increasing the number of wagons in passenger trains to increase revenues and to increase speeds which will also help raise revenues. Not surprisingly, given there is a limit to how much money can be raised from passenger fares, the report focuses a lot on how the Railways needs to raise non-traffic revenues to around a third of total revenues. This is what Dinesh Trivedi had spoken of several years ago, and station redevelopment is critical to this. The Mittal report puts down targets for how much revenue can come from such work in both suburban and normal railway traffic. While Trivedi had proposed a Member PPP in the Railway Board, Mittal wants more powers to be given to the Railway Land Development Authority (RLDA) to get maximum money from the vacant land as well as to liaise with state governments to get land use changes.

The problem, however, is that while each report submitted to railway minister Suresh Prabhu is different in some way, most of the suggestions have been made before. So, it is time to just act upon them now. Monetisation of railway land has been talked of for years, but as Mittal points out, the RLDA’s board has not met in the last one year and 3 of the 4 board posts remain vacant. Similarly, issues like clearances for parking and approach roads, critical to monetise the land, have been hanging fire for years. Despite knowing of the tremendous advertising potential of the Railways, or the potential of the 43,000km of optic fibre network, this has largely remained unutilised. It is time the minister started acting upon the suggestions by quickly announcing some big railway station redevelopment programmes as well as by starting off some private trains.

Punjab Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi urge Railway Minister to Increase Rail Links

Chandigarh (CDG): Appreciating the Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu for his announcement of proposed rail link from Sri Anandpur Sahib to Sri Amritsar Sahib, Punjab Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi on Wednesday urged him to connect Tarn Taran, Khadoor Sahib and Sri Goindwal Sahib with the same. Joshi, in his letter to the Union Minister, requested him to include other religious towns of Tarn Taran, Khadoor Sahib, Goindwal Sahib, besides others in the proposed rail link between Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib to “encourage the religious pilgrimage in a big way”.

“Tarn Taran is a historical place which had been founded by the fifth Sikh master Guru Arjun Dev and is situated at a distance of 20 kms from Amritsar on its southern side. Adjoining Tarn Taran is another historical town of Khadoor Sahib where Guru Angad Dev, the second Sikh master, stayed for 13 years. On the same lines, Goindwal Sahib is equally important from religious point of view and the third Sikh master Guru Amar Dass stayed here for 33 years,” read Joshi’s letter.

“It will be more appropriate that the proposed rail link may be commissioned Amritsar- Tarn Taran-Khadoor Sahib-Goindwal Sahib-Beas-Jalandhar-Anandpur Sahib, so that the religious pilgrimage is encouraged in a big way,” he said. Concluding, he said: “I am confident that you will consider my request in the best interest of the residents of this beautiful state for the growth of religious tourism and for an all inclusive growth of society.”

RITES to submit draft DPR for Patna Metro Rail project by May, 2015

Patna (PNBE): The Patna metro rail project may see the light of the day soon as RITES, the Railways’ PSU, is likely to submit its final draft DPR in this regard by next month, a minister today said.

“RITES is in the process of submitting a final draft DPR on the Patna metro rail project, which will be constructed on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode at an estimated cost of Rs 11,545 crore,” state urban and housing development minister Awadesh Prasad Kushwaha told legislative Assembly during his reply on his department’s budgetary demand of Rs 2,169.85 crore for 2015-16.

In order to fast track construction of the Patna metro rail project, the state government is in the process of setting up the Patna Metro Corporation, he said.

Kushwaha said a conference had already been held in the state capital to seek private investment for the Patna metro project under PPP mode.

During the course of debate on the Urban and Housing Development department’s budgetary demand, Leader of Opposition Nandkishore Yadav tried to nail the state government on lack of allocation for the Chief Minister’s Urban Development scheme launched by Nitish Kumar in 2007-08 to take up civil amenities and urban infrastructure on recommendation of the legislators.

Raising the issue in Kumar’s presence, Yadav charged the Urban and Housing Development department with non-allocation of funds towards the scheme to which Kumar replied that the state government was committed to continue it and he would look into the matter and rectify it.

The House later passed the Urban and Housing Development department’s budgetary demand by voice vote with the opposition BJP members participating in the post-lunch proceedings, unlike other days when it used to staged walk outs at the fag end of the day’s business.

Nawanshahr Doaba Railway Station renamed after Shaheed Bhagat Singh

Nawanshahr Doaba Jn (NSS): Punjab government today said it has notified the renaming of Nawanshahr Railway Station falling under Firozpur Railway Division of Northern Railway as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Railway Station in a tribute to the martyr.

The railway station was renamed after the great martyr of nation’s freedom struggle, an official release, quoting the spokesperson, said today.

Bhagat Singh’s ancestral village was Khatkar Kalan, near the town of Banga in Nawanshahr district of Punjab.

Nawanshahr district was also renamed as Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar.

Finance Minister nod for Tax-free Bonds by Railways, Highways

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said that the proposal to allow Railways and Highways to issue tax-free bonds has been cleared, and the government is committed to pushing the land acquisition bill to promote growth and generate jobs.

“I today cleared a proposal for both (Highways and Railways) these sectors to have a large investment by way of tax-free bonds,” he said while speaking at a book launch function.

Titagarh Wagons to raise Rs 250 crore via equity placements

Kolkata (KOAA): Titagarh Wagons has decided to raise funds worth around Rs 250 crore though equity placements with qualified institutional investors. The company aims to submit the offer document with SEBI by early next month. Meanwhile, it has sought shareholders’ approval through a postal ballot for the fund-raising plan.

Further, the company has proposed sub-division of one share of Rs 10 each into 5 shares of Rs 2 each. Shareholders have been asked to send in their votes within April 11.

Titagarh Wagons is engaged in the business of manufacturing Railway Wagons, EMU (Rail Coaches), Bailey Bridges, Heavy Earth, Moving and Mining Equipment, Steel and SG iron castings of moderate to complex configuration etc.

Meanwhile, Titagarh Wagons Ltd has informed BSE that a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Company will be held on April 13, 2015, inter alia, to take on record the Audited Financial Results for the financial year ended March 31, 2015 and to consider recommendation of Dividend if any.

North Andhra oppose move to delink K-K, K-R Rail lines from Waltair Division

URV president S. S. Shiva Sankar addressing a press conference in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday
URV president S. S. Shiva Sankar addressing a press conference in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The proposal to de-link the KK line and KR line from Waltair Division, while creating the new railway zone, and apportioning them to East Coast Railway would be opposed tooth and nail, said Uttarandhra Rakshana Vedika (URV) President S.S.Shiva Sankar.

No existing railway Division was bifurcated at the time of creating new zones in the past. Waltair Division, which is among the top five revenue earning divisions in the country, if bifurcated, would make the new zone financially unviable. The MPs from Andhra Pradesh should exert pressure on the Railway Ministry to prevent further split of Waltair Division, he told a media conference here on Tuesday.

Waltair Division MapThe jurisdiction of Waltair Division extends over 1,105 route km. covering AP, Odisha and Chhattisgarh States. The four main arteries of the Division are: Duvvada-Visakhapatnam-Palasa – 213 RKM, Vizianagaram-Singapur Road – 137 RKM, Kottavalasa-Kirandul (KK Line) 446 RKM, Koraput-Rayagada – 164 RKM, Kottavalasa-Simahachalam – 22 RKM, Bobbili-Salur 18 RKM, miscellaneous Goods routes – 37 km. and Naupada – Gunupur – 91 km. (total 1105 km).

URV President Shiva Sankar told that in majority of these sections which forms part of Waltair Division has Telugu speaking population who has more business to do with Visakhapatnam than any other adjoining towns/cities.  Mr.Shiva Sankar also said that Waltair Division poses a great heritage being an old Division, which has over 700 acres of railway land, various railway establishments like the largest Diesel Loco Shed in Indian Railways and an Electric Loco Shed. KK line and KR lines are the major earning lines in the Division as they carry freight for various industries.

The KK line, which comes under a single section, would pose operational problems, if bifurcated. The control of two different zonal railways on a single section would also result in administrative problems, he added.

Replying to a query, he said that a memorandum was being sent to the Railway Minister not to allow bifurcation of Waltair Division.

RITES Ltd looks at development of Serbian Rail projects

Belgrade: RITES Ltd. is interested in development projects of Serbian railways and economy, the officials of this company and their partner company AFII said Tuesday while visiting Serbian Railways, the Serbian railway company stated.

RITES Ltd. was established by the government of India and, being part of Indian Railways, it is in charge of implementation of projects abroad and strengthening of international cooperation.

RITES Ltd. Executive Director S.K. Luthra introduced Serbian businessmen to the company’s prospects and the prospects of Indian Railways as a whole.

Indian Railways are one of the few railway administrations in the world that produce their own rolling stock, which is why they are particularly interested in Serbia’s construction of wagons.

The Indian businessmen were introduced to the Institute of Transportation CIP, Energoprojekt, Roads of Serbia, Mostogradnja and a Novi Sad-based company for construction, repair and maintenance of railways – ZGOP.

The delegation of Indian Railways is scheduled to hold meetings with officials of certain companies. They showed particular interest in the experience of the Institute of Transportation CIP and Energoprojekt in working outside Serbia.

Haryana Chief Secretary orders Feasibility Study for Metro to old city

Gurgaon (GGN): he movement to extend the Metro rail network to the old city got a fresh impetus on Tuesday as the Haryana Chief Secretary gave his go-ahead to conduct a feasibility study for the proposed route.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting in Chandigarh which was chaired by chief secretary D S Dhesi. Heads of various departments including MCG commissioner Vikas Gupta attended the meeting. HUDA administrator Anita Yadav and Gurgaon deputy commissioner T L Satyaprakash also took part through video conferencing.

Additional chief secretary of town and country planning department P Raghavendra Rao said that the chief secretary discussed the proposed routes in detail.

“The proposals and routes for metro connectivity to Old Gurgaon were discussed in the meeting and the chief secretary decided that a feasibility study needs to be carried out before any major decisions are taken,” he said.

The agency that will undertake the study has not been decided and a timeframe has also not been fixed. Rao said that he study would be carried out soon either by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) or any such competent authority.

The move comes just two weeks after Gurgaon MP and Union Minister of State for Defence Rao Inderjit Singh pushed for a review of the proposed Metro route from IFFCO Chowk to Dwarka Sector 21.

He had written to Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar and urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu suggesting an alternative route that covers the old city.

“Primarily proposals put forward by Minister Rao Inderjit Singh and Gurgaon MLA Umesh Agarwal were discussed. But merits and demerits would be decided only after the report is ready,” said Rao.

A highly placed source, who attended the meeting, told that Dhesi was furious that a primary study into the feasibility of such a metro route and its technical challenges had not been carried out before. “The chief secretary said that this project is to be taken very seriously as it affects lakhs of people in Gurgaon and has a direct impact on revenue and land prices. No decision would be taken on the final route unless the feasibility report comes through which would give a clear picture of the technical challenges and survey for land needed,” said the source.

Now get peaceful sleep onboard trains as Railways introduces ‘Wake-up Call’ alarm!

Lucknow: Now, railway authorities will send wake-up alerts on your mobile-phone as and when you wish before you reach your destination during train journeys.

How? The national transporter has launched the ‘Train Wake-up Alert’ Call and ‘Train Destination Alarm Call’ as a pilot initiative. This service will be promoted as a joint initiative by IRCTC of the Railway and Bharat BPO.

“The ‘Train Wake-up Alarm Call’ facility for rail passengers is available on 139 and through customer service agent anytime during the journey as chosen by the passenger. The ‘Train Destination Alert Call’ is available on 139, through agent assistance and on SMS 139 just before the destination,” said railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.

When a passenger dials 139, option 7 leads to a sequence of steps wherein the he/she has to enter required data such as PNR number, STD code of station, station name (Presented as a List of Numerals) etc, to set the ‘Wake-up Alarm’. Railway sets an alarm on the system with the necessary user inputs.

“The wakeup alarm call shall be played through an outbound call 30 minutes before train reaching destination station. System will check current position of train before sending the call. In case is late by more than 30 minutes, the alarm shall be delayed by 30 minutes,” the spokesperson added.

Similarly, the ‘Train Destination Alert Call’ provides an option to Indian Railways Passenger to set an alert/ pre-information call before reaching the train on his destination. On dialling 139, option 7 leads to a sequence of steps wherein the user enters required data such as PNR number, destination station name etc to set the alert call alarm. The Railways sets the alarm on the system with the necessary user inputs.

“Destination call alert shall be played through an outbound call 30 minutes before train reaching destination station. System will check current position of train before sending the Alert call. Integrated with real time train running information, in case the train is late by more than 30 minutes, the Destination Call shall be delayed by 30 minutes,” he added.

Besides, the Voice Call, the passenger can also opt for the destination alert on SMS mode with required inputs like PNR, Train No, train destination name etc

Semi Hi-Speed EMUs set to zoom past Bullet Train plans

New Delhi: As Prime Minister Narendra Modi travels to France and Germany, cooperation in modernising India’s giant but creaking railway system is to be a key focus area.

With bullet trains in India likely to take some years in the making, the government is set to go ahead with the purchase of a cheaper, safer and smarter option – a la the Metro trains – called train sets.

The prime minister’s first stop will be in France on April 10 where the focus will be his Make in India initiative, according to diplomatic sources. While France has its famous TGV high-speed rail service, it is equally keen to offer its expertise in semi-high speed rail technology.

The railway ministry has announced global tenders for purchase of train sets called Electrical Multiple Units (EMU), and is looking at European countries, especially Germany, France and Spain, where such trains are popular.

The purchase initially could be off-the-shelf, with Transfer of Technology clause included so that manufacture could later be done in India, an official source told IANS.

The train sets, running on the existing broad gauge lines, would zip at speeds of 130-150 km/hour.

The move, announced in the Railway Budget by Minister Suresh Prabhu, is expected to “revolutionise” train travel in India.

The train sets would have an advantage over the Rajdhanis and Shatabdis in that instead of having a locomotive to haul the coaches, the carriages themselves are mounted with electric traction motors to power the trains. In suburban trains, usually two carriages have the motors.

In Rajdhanis, the average speed works out to 90 kmph becasue the trains have to slow down to about 8 kmph while approaching stations and on the way to picking up speed. The train sets are made for fast acceleration and braking within short distances and would keep to the 130-150 kmph average.

The train sets also have driving cabs at both ends like suburban trains. A train set would be able to pack in more passengers, dispensing with extra coaches like ones for air conditioning, engine, pantry and brake van.

Train sets are safer. They have less tendency to turn turtle or of coaches to propel into each other in case of an accident, says an expert who did not want to be named. “There would be less chance of fatalities,” he added.

Further, these EMUs would prove cheaper than bullet trains.

An imported 24-coach train set costs $20 million or Rs.125 crore. But after they are manufactured in India, the price is likely to come down substantially.

In comparison, laying a bullet-train corridor could cost up to $16 million (Rs.100 crore) a kilometre, which would increase with the added infrastructure required for signals and other equipment.

The proposal for introducing train sets was first mooted in 2012 in the Railway Budget presented by Dinesh Trivedi. But nothing moved. Now Suresh Prabhu has given the move an impetus.

The Chinese and Japanese are keen to launch their bullet trains in India. French Railways, SNCF, has also carried out the feasibility study for a bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The government, though, has yet to give its nod to bullet trains.

Competition strengthens German Rail sector

Since access to the German rail market was open to all rail operators, competition for services has strengthened the railway’s ability to compete with other modes of transport. Burkhard Bastisch, Managing Director of NWL – the transport authority for the Westphalia-Lippe region – explains NWL’s responsibilities and policies and how it is organised in a decentralised manner, plus information about the Rhine-Ruhr-Express (RRX) – one of Germany’s biggest regional transport projects and among the most important mobility and infrastructure projects in North Rhine-Westphalia.

There are major differences between the railway scene and competitive landscape of Germany and those of other European countries. Up until the late-1990s, the national government was solely responsible for the organisation of regional transport in Germany. The 16 federal states have now had responsibility over this for two decades. Some states carry out this task themselves through subsidiaries, others have local government-run joint boards or transport associations. A total of 27 different organisations have since then been involved in planning, commissioning and organising local passenger rail transport in Germany. The organising authorities play a key role in the comm issioning of local passenger rail services. Through competitive contract processes (tenders), the organising authorities for local rail award contracts to rail operating companies for the provision of local transport services for a set term and in accordance with defined quality and performance criteria. As a result, approximately 64 different rail operating companies were competing with the Deutsche Bahn (DB AG, German Railway) in 2012, and about 24.1% of all transport services were provided by non-DB companies. The devolution and regionalisation of local passenger transport occurred in 1995/1996 and provided a considerable boost to competition. As a result, access to the market was open to all rail operators to an equal extent, and on the basis of fair conditions. There is a regulatory authority to ensure this, as well as a rail law, which provides for effective regulatory instruments.

Overall, competition means better and additionally optimised services in return for a balanced allocation of resources, resulting in a growth in passenger numbers, and strengthens the railway’s ability to compete with other modes of transport.

New Chinese train maker CRRC Corp announces Candidates for the Board

A CSR Corporation's Rake Assembly Line in Changsha, Hunan province, China
A CSR Corporation Rake Assembly Line in Changsha, Hunan province, China

Beijing: The merger of China’s top two rail contractors is expected to be completed in June, 2015.

China CNR Corporation and CSR Corporation, which formally announced their merger in December, nominated candidates for the Board of the planned merged company–CRRC Corporation–on March 31.

China CNR Chair Cui Dianguo, CSR Chair Zheng Changhong, the two companies’ presidents and the vice president of CSR were nominated to sit on CRRC’s board as executive directors, and the new head of the company is set to be unveiled soon.

The new company should benefit from the country’s planned Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and better compete with leaders in the global market.

With the introduction of China’s AIIB project and the “Belt and Road” initiatives, the new company will be better positioned to compete with leaders in the global high-speed rail market–Bombardier of Canada, Siemens of Germany, Alstom of France, Kawasaki of Japan and General Electric of the United States.

Transportation projects are among the centerpieces of China’s planned Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. State-run China Railway Corporation has been working on proposals to build rail links connecting China with Laos, Thailand and several other countries.

China is also in talks with up to 28 countries, including Russia and Brazil, on high-speed rail projects.  In addition, four Chinese firms took part in a tender for the construction of a high-speed rail project announced by India at the end of March.

Exports of railway equipment and trains have become a new growth engine of China’s foreign trade, with the export of rolling stock growing 19.3% in 2014, three times the overall growth of exports.

Although the combined sales of China CNR and CSR nearly equaled those of their five foreign rivals combined, the Chinese companies competed on price because of their less advanced technology.

That could change as China’s AIIB project and Belt and Road initiatives have been seen as elements of China’s strategy to boost the competitiveness of its companies in overseas markets.

Better Power Purchase arrangements by Railways can save over Rs.3000 Crore p.a. -Suresh Prabhu at CII Meet

New Delhi: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu, who is on the move to implement the recommendations of Bibek Debroy committee to improve quality of services and efficiency, said on Tuesday that it can save over Rs.3,000 crore every year with better power purchase arrangements.

The minister, while attending an event organised by industry chamber CII here, said despite railways being one of the largest buyers of electricity, the purchases were made at a “fairly high rate which had lot of scope for rationalisation”.

He said the energy basket of the railways is being widened to include more renewable sources, with the platform roof and railway coaches being equipped with solar panels to ensure self-sufficiency in a part of its operations.

Prabhu also said both railways and the roads department are suffering due to lack of investments over a long period of time and his government is “working towards correcting this situation, by innovative measures”.

The central government is planning a slew of new investment inflows by utilising railway assets at the stations by allowing a higher Floor Space Index in partnership with the local bodies, he said.

Besides, the minister said railways needs to target to improve the freight share to the railway’s revenue.

Railway Authority should be accountable to Parliament only: Suresh Prabhu at CII Meet

New Delhi: Railways should have an autonomous regulatory authority which is accountable to Parliament and not the government, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here today.

“There is no choice but to have a regulator. Because if you want private sector to come, then you need to have to have a regulatory authority,” Prabhu said at a CII conference here.

He said this when asked to comment on the Bibek Debroy committee’s recommendations for setting up of an independent regulatory authority to attract private investment in railways.

The Debroy committee, in its interim report, has recommended constitution of an independent regulatory body to provide a level-playing field to private players, who have been reluctant to enter the railway sector.

“Complete independence is not possible but ateast to some extent autonomous. You have to provide them facility, staff and other resources required for its functioning,” the Minister said.

“It should be accountable to Parliament and not to the government and that is very essential,” Prabhu added.

Suresh Prabhu confers CII President Award to Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro
Suresh Prabhu confers CII President Award to Azim Premji, Chairman, Wipro

The Debroy committee has recommended that Railway Regulatory Authority of India should have the powers and objectives of economic regulation, including, wherever necessary, tariff regulation, safety regulation and fair access regulation.

Prabhu said the only question is how to do it and how to make it in a better way.

The panel has advocated that the regulator should have independent budget and it must be set up statutorily so that it is truly independent of the Railway Ministry.

Prabhu also said there is a need for reform in railways accounting system.

On this occasion, Suresh Prabhu had presented CII President Award to Azim Premji for having specially contributed for the development and growth of Indian industry.

During the occasion, Suresh Prabhu said that Azim Premji’s contribution is not only in the overall institutional change that he had brought in the indian industry, but in the way the business was done combining the technology, social aspirations, governance and impeccable administrative capabilities he has exhibited in the last more than 35 years made him the recipient of the prestigious Award.

Mines Monitoring System may be integrated with Railways by May 2015

New Delhi: The Integrated Mines and Minerals Management System (i3MS), the online data verification and permit generation software for mineral transport, is expected to be fully integrated with the Freight Operations Information System (FOIS) by the end of May.

“Pilot testing of the integration of i3MS and FOIS has been done in the Joda circle. The integration will rule out any discrepancy in ore loading and despatch data. By the end of May, we hope that the system will be rolled out at all railway sidings in the state”, said director (mines), Deepak Mohanty.

The integration of i3MS with FOIS of Railways is the first of its kind in the country. The Railway Board has advised other states to go for the system upon successful pilot testing of integration, said Mohanty.

As suggested by the Railway authorities, digital signature of all the concerned mining officers will be introduced so as to ensure transparency and accountability.

Since data and procedures pertaining to iron ore mining has been fully computerized in the state, the steel & mines department was keen on sharing all relevant information with the Railways through the electronic mode.

The onus will be on the department to issue rake-wise transit permits to the Railways. The department will also offer information like unique identity number for the rake transit permit, name of the party despatching iron ore from the railway siding, name of the party receiving the iron ore, validity period of the rake transit permit, amount of iron ore permitted for transportation in terms of rakes and type of iron ore.

This information will be automatically transferred periodically from the server of the department of respective state governments to Railway’s server at Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) in a secure mode through a firewall. The information received from the state government will be stored in the Railway server at CRIS.

Railways would periodically transmit rake wise details of the iron ore transported, including names of consignee and consignor, unique identity number of transit permit, originating station, destination station, date of loading and quantity moved through a secure mode to the state government.

The i3MS has already been integrated with the online system of commercial tax and port authorities, RTO (regional transport office) database and the online system of treasury.

MP allocates Rs.60 Lakh for Gurgaon Station revamp

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Union Minister and Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh

Gurgaon (GGN): In order to tap funds for infrastructure development, the Delhi Division of Northern Railway has written to all MPs whose constituencies are congruent to the geographical limit of the Division to sanction some amount of their MPLAD fund for development of railway stations in their constituencies.

Responding to the request, Union Minister and Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh has allotted Rs.60 lakh from his MPLAD fund for development of the Gurgaon railway station. Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, during his budget speech, had requested all MPs to provide MPLAD fund also for development of railway stations in their constituencies.

“We are working on modernisation of the Gurgaon station. The funds sanctioned by the Gurgaon MP would be used for providing small shelter, steel benches and dustbins. We are also trying to tap funds from other sources like CSR initiatives of different organisations,” said Divisional Railway Manager (Delhi), Arun Arora.

The DRM, on Monday, conducted an inspection of the modernisation projects at the station. Officials said that Gurgaon is fast emerging as an important station across the division as it is the access point for the residents of new Gurgaon as well. Besides, the station is also important from freight revenue point of view.

Maruti transports hundreds of cars from the station that generates revenue to the tune of Rs.30 crore per annum for the Delhi Division. The car behemoth introduced three rakes of its own for the purpose. Officials said the station modernisation is being done – wherein a new building is in the pipeline – with a view to double the revenue from Maruti from next financial year.

“The total number of cars being transported by train is only about five percent of the total transport traffic of Maruti. We aim at doubling this volume and the revenue,” Mr. Arora said.

Northern Railway had asked MPs to direct MPLAD funds for upgrading stations.

Railways studying different models to increase Revenues: Suresh Prabhu

New Delhi: Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has enumerated on different business models being opened in the railways by attracting the state governments and local bodies into creating a shared vision for development.

Different ministries viz coal and steel were being brought on board to increase freight revenues while augmenting the carrying capacities of railways.

He mentioned that the low investments over a period of time had greatly eroded the efficiency of the railways vis-à-vis the road sector, and therefore, the NDA Government is working towards correcting this situation, by innovative measures to attract new investments and of utilizing railway assets at the stations by allowing a higher Floor Space Index in partnership with the local bodies.

Emphasizing the need to improve the freight share of this most energy efficient land transport he highlighted that railways need to attract more of different commodity categories like parcel, which is only 2% at present, in order to help the country reduce its logistics cost, which would help in realizing the “Make in India” vision of the government, by unleashing better competitiveness in the industry.

He highlighted that railways would save over Rs 3000 Crores annually on the energy front alone by incorporating the better power purchase arrangements. Despite being one of the largest buyers of electricity it bought power at a fairly high rate which had lot of scope for rationalization. The energy basket of the railways was being widened to include more renewable sources, with the platform roof and railway coaches being equipped with solar panels. Energy efficiency measures are also being incorporated to optimize the usage of this significant cost head.

Reacting to a question from the audience he mentioned Railway ministry is working towards implementing the recommendations of the Bibek Debroy committee that has proposed creation of an independent regulatory mechanism for the railways giving it autonomy to ensure better quality of service and improving the efficiency.

Prabhu presented Mr Ajim Premji of Wipro with CII President Award, the highest honour of CII for his overall contribution to business interests and social security.

Ajay Shriram, President, CII earlier in his opening remarks said ‘Mr Suresh Prabhu has always tackled the challenging responsibilities and delivered results’. Sharing his experience with Mr Prabhu as Minister of Fertilizers, Power earlier, he said that he has the great ability to articulate his vision and we are encouraged to have him as Minister of Railways. It’s the first time that we have heard words like customer first. He also complimented the Minister for improving efficiency, reduction of costs, improving passenger travel experience and speed in the system which would inturn bring efficiency in industry.

Sumit Mazumder, President Designate, CII reiterated CII’s commitment to work closely with Minister to have a broad shared vision and one common agenda for all the stakeholders. He extended full support from CII for make this a success. He informed about International Railway Equipment Exhibition (IREE) and International Rail Conference (IRC), a largest dedicated rail show being organized by CII in association of Ministry of Railways since 1990 at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It is scheduled for 14-16 October this year would work under his able stewardship.

China to invest US$5.2 billion to build Russia’s first High-Speed Rail line between Moscow and Kazan

Two high-speed locomotives in a hangar in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China
Two high-speed locomotives in a hangar in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China

Beijing: Beijing plans to invest 300 billion Russian rubles (US$5.2 billion) to build Russia’s first high-speed rail line between Moscow and Kazan, reports the Xinhua publication Reference News.

China reportedly proposed the investment to Alexander Misharin, first vice president of Russian Railways, in a meeting during the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan. Chinese officials suggested the two countries form a joint venture for the rail line, each taking a 50% stake.

Around 50 billion rubles (US$860 million) of the investment will be equity payment made by the Chinese company responsible for the project. Chinese banks will lend the remaining 250 billion rubles (US$4.3 billion) to Russia for 20 years.

The 770km-long rail line linking five regions in Russia — Moscow, Vladimir, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary and Kazan — would reduce the travel time from 11 and half hours to around three and a half. Many European and Chinese companies have shown interest in the project.

Maharashtra plan Metro Rail Corridor on the Coastal Road

Mumbai: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is planning a Metro corridor on the Coastal Road, which may replace the proposed alignment of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro rail. The state is exploring ways to make changes in the proposed 33.5-km Metro route from Colaba to Bandra and SEEPZ to integrate a Metro at-grade (ground) level.

Why change in plan?

The present plan for an underground Metro railway has met with a wall of opposition from local residents in the Girgaon- Kalbadevi belt who fear displacement due to the Metro stations. Environmentalists too are opposing a proposed Metro rail car depot at Aarey Milk Colony, to which Fadnavis has formed a committee to look into alternative options for the depot.

When will be the Metro corridor ready?

Difficult to say. With the coastal road plan still on the drawing board, this may mean that Mumbai’s wait for another Metro to take the load off its overloaded public transport infrastructure may be extended further.

The Colaba-Bandra-seepz underground Metro is in an advance stage of implementation by the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) and has met with opposition from residents and environmentalists due to displacement fears and environmental impact.

What does the CM say?

“We are exploring the possibility of a Metro on the coastal road…(we are looking at) combining the Metro at-grade with the coastal freeway. Talks are underway with (the) Netherlands (government) where the coastal road and Metro integration has taken place,” told Fadnavis to dna, adding that he had met the Consul General of Netherlands in his government’s bid to look for support and technical know-how from Dutch.

Any other changes in card?

Depending upon the submission of the plan of having a Metro by way of reclamation, the state government may also alter the alignment that will partly overlap the Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ underground Metro.

Once the report is submitted by Dutch authorities, “In that case, the alignment (of Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ Metro) can be shifted,” said Fadnavis, adding, “We have to make an entire Metro grid. The alignment can be changed accordingly.”

China’s overseas rail expansion needs Global Service attitude

Beijing:  China introduced its first high-speed rail service in 2007. By 2014, the network extended to 16,000 kilometers, propelling the country into the “high-speed rail era,” reports the Chinese-language Economic Observer.

The high-speed rail industry has sought to develop and upgrade the quality of ancillary services, especially at stations. The annual business revenue of China’s train stations has exceeded 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion), but there are some strategic problems that need to be addressed to create greater value.

From the early days of rail travel in China, the approach of the railway administration was “managing passengers” but over the years, it gradually changed to “serving passengers.” People no longer had to get through security checkpoints just to see off a passenger or shop at the station’s stores, which was a significant break with the past.

After the 2011 Wenzhou high-speed train collision that killed 200 people, blame for which was attributed to design flaws and sloppy management, the operational mode at train stations has returned to “managing passengers.” The reversion was based on considerations of transportation service and safety, but it resulted in business losses.

If an open style of management is put back into practice, the annual revenue from ancillary railway business could increase by more than 15% — a conservative estimate, according to the report.

By 2010, China had the most rapidly developing high-speed rail network worldwide. It now has the longest high-speed rail network, highest number of operational hours, the largest scale of construction and the most comprehensive technology on its rail system. However, political and economic factors and population concerns in other countries have restrained China from going global with its high-speed rail technology.

For a long time, China has been focused on building railways rather than gaining revenue from the railway business. Because of China’s vast size and population, it is difficult for its railway administration to drop the old approach of building more railways.

But it is time for the railway administration to give equal attention to developing ancillary railway business, especially regarding high-speed rail.

China also needs to take steps to secure bids for high-speed rail construction in developing countries and allay their misgivings about possible losses on such projects.

Six Coaches of Goods Train derail in Chhattisgarh; no casualty

Dongargarh (DGG): Six bogies of a goods train derailed at Dongargarh railway station on the Mumbai-Howrah route in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district today, an official from South East Central Railway, Nagpur Division said.

The derailment affected the rail traffic on the route for nearly two hours before it resumed in the evening.

The incident occurred when the train, carrying crude oil, was heading towards Kolkata from Chennai when six of its bogies jumped off the track at Dongargarh railway station yard this afternoon, he said, adding no injury or loss to life is reported in the incident.

“However, oil was leaking from one of the wagons which had overturned after derailment but the wagon was completely emptied by the railway personnel and the situation is under control,” the official said.

As per the preliminary investigation, the incident caused financial loss to the tune of crores, however, the exact figure would be assessed only after complete enquiry, he said.

Probe is on to ascertain the cause behind the derailment.

Pune Metro to get PMRDA Push

Pune: The state government has planned a major role for the newly-formed Pune Metropolitan Development Authority (PMRDA) in executing the much-delayed Pune metro project.

Key state officials, who met informally on Monday and Tuesday to discuss steps to be taken to make PMRDA functional, concluded that the authority has to give top priority to traffic and transport issues in Pune Metropolitan Region (PMR) and must conduct a survey on these two city concerns immediately.

Pune’s guardian minister Girish Bapat, who heads the PMRDA, said he wants the new body to play a major role in building the metro project. Bapat said that the PMRDA is looking at integrating various transport modes to decongest Pune city. “There is a plan to complete the ring road as soon as possible and we are also looking for monorail and other modes that could be integrated with the proposed metro. Decentralization of population is a must to maintain quality of life in cities of Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad,” said Bapat.

A senior civic official said that the PMC has already requested the state government that the PMRDA should play the role of a coordinator in the metro project and also invest in it so that Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad corporations do not have to entirely shoulder the project’s financial burden.

City MP Anil Shirole said the formation of PMRDA will facilitate integrated traffic planning for Pune metropolitan region. “The state government is positive about the integrated plan for Pune region. Metro or any other traffic and transport project must be planned for the entire region. We have to think of the big picture as Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad along with fringe villagers and municipal councils are heading to become an important urban conglomeration,” said Shirole.

Experts who participated in the meeting on the PMRDA insisted that the urban design of Pune metropolitan region should be consistent with the principles of National Habitat Standards for transportation. These standards have been made by the ministry of urban development to provide for compact, high density, mixed-land use development near new or existing public transportation infrastructure that includes housing, employment, entertainment and civic functions within walking distance of transit. Pedestrian-oriented design features have been advocated to encourage residents to use public transit. The Union urban development department has also taken on board the principles of integrated land use and transport planning.

State officials said that the central government is supporting the development of satellite towns and nodes around cities, and implement Regional Rapid Transit Systems to enable people living in the suburbs to commute to work, thereby easing the pressure on the infrastructure services within the city. The central government has a funding plan that envisages a mix of contributions from the Union and the state governments, loans from multi-lateral agencies and participation from the private sector.

Chinese Bullet Train maker CNR establishes Joint Venture with Australian firm

Beijing: Bullet train maker China North Railway (CNR) has established a joint venture in Australia, its first such overseas partnership.

The new company, Pacific Rail Engineering, is a 50-50 joint venture between CNR subsidiary Qiqihar Railway Rolling Stock and Australian firm B&W, according to a press release posted on the CNR website on Thursday.

While Qiqihar Railway Rolling Stock has exported over 12,000 wagons to Australia since 2000, the new venture will see it also provide freight train repair services, according to the release.

The joint venture was established after the recent merger of CNR and China South Railway, a move that was subject to anti-trust probes abroad.

Controlling China’s entire high speed rail market, CNR and China South Railway announced on Dec. 30 that they would merge into a new company.

They said on March 11 that their merger had passed overseas antitrust scrutiny by several countries including Australia.

Imagine how it would have been without Metro: says Delhi Metro CMD

Mangu Singh MD DMRCFollowing are the Excepts of the interview with Chairman and Managing Director, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation by news media:

The Metro was meant to be one of the measures to improve Delhi’s air quality by reducing road traffic. Has it achieved that objective?

Air quality cannot be the responsibility of the Metro, just like the whole transportsystem of the city cannot depend only on the Metro. There has to be a means of supplementing and complementing. We have the numbers to show carbon dioxide emissions on the road came down sharply. We got carbon credits to the tune of 5.5 lakh tonnes last year alone, preventing carbon dioxide emissions of over 3 lakh tonnes. Lookat it this way: whatever you see in Delhi air quality is despite the Metro. Imagine what the scenario would have been if the Metro had not been there.

Transport experts talk of a low footfall in many Metro stations whose construction affected air quality…

This story of not meeting targets is an old story. Take any train, visit our busiest stations at peak hours and you will see the numbers we are catering to. Also, the way we measure traffic is any trip of at least 16 km, and from our calculations 40-42 per cent of these long trips shifted to the Metro, especially after phase II. Last year, I think, we doubled the number of long trips since 2010. It is about road versus rail, so eachtime you take the Metro instead of travelling by road, you reduce emissions by one-fifth. When it comes to stations, their numbers and positions are designed scientifically not just on the basis of everyday use, but also emergency situations. Considering the length of a line, and depending on any emergencies that may arise, station positions are designed. If we do not put these stations at intervals that have been designed, tomorrow we will be criticised for inconveniencing people and going against safety principles. All the stations from phase III have been built adopting platinum greenbuilding standards that are environmentally sustainable.

What about the argument that the Metro’s carbon footprint rises because it sources power from coal? Are there any lines on the Metro that have proved more environmentally sustainable than others?

The carbon footprints we gain are certified by the UNFCC. Do you think they do not make these calculations? They take into account these emissions at the source, and subtract them, so the achievements are after taking these calculations.  Going by the carbon footprints we have gained, for each of these long trips one person undertakes, 11 grams of carbon dioxide emissions that would have been sent out if he or she had travelled by car is saved. Obviously for the yellow and blue lines, which are the longest, the gains are better, because the longer the trip, the more emission you prevent.

What more do you think should have been done by the Metro and other agencies?

I don’t want to comment on others, but I think some rules could have been planned and implemented better. Like in our zeal to have more and more green cover, we have planted after all our constructions but been unable to maintain them. Like if you see green plantation along all new roads, who is maintaining them? Similarly, construction debris can be managed better. The growth of vehicles should have been better managed. And like I said, the whole structure of our transport system cannot depend on the Metro to reduce air pollution. We were never supposed to provide last-mile connectivity, and we said it is impossible for us to provide feeder services for 28 lakhpeople, but then we have provided 200 in stations that are difficult to access, and we are bringing 300 more. So the orientation of other modes of transport should seek to supplement us, and a lot needs to be done in that area, especially with the Metro

DG-CEI’s hike in Service Tax without giving 70% abatement may wean Container Biz away from Railways

New Delhi: At a time when the Centre is trying to increase the share of rail-based traffic, an excise department move may end up shifting container traffic away from rail to roads.

The excise department wants to impose full service tax on containerised traffic without providing the 70 per cent abatement available to cargo moving on rail. This means, in effect, the service tax will be levied on 30 per cent of the tariff. Incidentally, road transporters also get about 70 per cent abatement on service tax.

The proposed move has irked the Railway Ministry and the container train operators, and could jeopardise the rail-based container segment, which includes operators such as the Container Corporation of India, Gateway Rail Freight Ltd, Hind Terminals, APL Logistics, DPW-backed Container Rail Road Services, ETA, Kribhco, Central Warehouse Corporation, and Vikram Logistics.

The Directorate-General of Central Excise Intelligence (DG-CEI) has used a technicality in the Finance Act 1994 — Section 65 B (49) — to say that container train operators offer a “support service” to the Railways, which attracts full service tax. It has issued a show-cause notice to the operators asking them to pay full service tax with effect from 2012.

Meanwhile, the Railways and container train operators are citing two clauses of the Finance Act 1994 – 65 (B) 25 and 66F – to prove that they move goods on the rail mode and support their view for attracting service tax with abatement.

WIDER IMPACT

The DG-CEI’s logic, if accepted, can jeopardise not just the container rail segment, but sectors such as cement, automobiles, petroleum products, mining and the dairy segment, which have invested in wagons to offer rail-based services, while some others have plans to invest in specially designed wagons.

Companies such as ACC, APL Vascor, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, and Maruti Suzuki, have already made such investments.

The Railways had approved procurement of 45 rakes with an investment of over Rs. 1,000 crore to 10 customers three years ago.

Also, in the passenger segment, coach investment has been made in some premium tourist trains, such as by IRCTC in Maharaja Express, the Rajasthan government in the Palace on Wheels, the Maharashtra government in its Deccan Odyssey, and the Karnataka government in the Golden Chariot.

The excise department’s move is likely to make railway services pricier and move customers away at a time when it is already losing share to the road segment.

SCR to run eight Special Trains to Ajmer for Urs

For the convenience of pilgrims attending 803rd Annual Urs festival at Ajmer, South Central Railway will run  eight Special trains from various destinations on SCR such as Hyderabad, Kacheguda, Ongole and Machilipatnam to Ajmer and back as per the following schedule:-

  1. No. 07125/07126 Hyderabad-Ajmer-Hyderabad Urs Special Train

Train No. 07125 Hyderabad – Ajmer Special train will depart Hyderabad on 22nd April, 2015 (Wednesday) at 15:15 hrs, arrive/depart Secunderabad at 15:40/15:45 hrs and arrive Ajmer on 24th April, 2015 (Friday) at 06:15 hrs.

In the return direction, Train No.07126 Ajmer-Hyderabad Special train will depart Ajmer on 27th April, 2015 (Monday) at 07:00 hrs, arrive/depart  Secunderabad at 21:45/21:50 hrs on 28th  April, 2015(Tuesday) and arrive Hyderabad at 22:15 hrs.

Enroute these special trains will stop at Malkajgiri, Medchal, Kamareddi, Nizamabad, Basar, Dharmabad, Mudkhed, Nanded, Purna, Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Manmad, Bhusaval, Khandwa, Itarsi, Bhopal, Sehore, Shujalpur, Berchha, Ujjain, Nagda, Ratlam, Jaora, Mandasor, Nimach, Chittaugarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijayanagar and Nasirabad stations in both the directions.

These trains will have 17 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, one AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class, one Second Class Chair Car, two General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage Cum Brake Van coaches.

  1. No. 07129/07130 Kacheguda-Ajmer-Kacheguda Urs Special Train

Train No. 07129 Kachiguda – Ajmer Special train will depart Kacheguda on 23rd April, 2015 (Thursday) at 19:30 hrs and arrive Ajmer at 07:00 hrs on 25th April 2015 (Saturday).

In the return direction, Train No.07130 Ajmer – Kacheguda Special train will depart Ajmer on 28th April, 2015 (Tuesday) at 20:00 hrs and arrive Kacheguda on 30th April 2015 (Thursday) at 07:35 hrs.

Enroute these special trains will stop at Malkajgiri, Medchal, Kamareddi, Nizamabad, Mudkhed, Nanded, Purna, Basmat, Hingoli, Washim, Akola, Khandwa, Itarsi, Bhopal, Sehore, Shujalpur, Berchha, Ujjain, Nagda, Ratlam, Jaora, Mandasor, Nimach, Chittaugarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijayanagar and Nasirabad stations in both the directions.

These trains will have 17 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, one AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class, one Second Class Chair Car, two General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage Cum Brake Van coaches.

  1. No. 07227/07228 Ongole-Ajmer-Ongole Urs Special Train

Train No. 07227 Ongole – Ajmer Special Train will depart Ongole on 24th April, 2015 (Friday) at 08:40 hrs, arrive/depart Vijayawada at 12:10/12:25 hrs and arrive Ajmer on 25th April, 2015 (Saturday) at 23:40 hrs.

In the return direction, Train No. 07228 Ajmer – Ongole Special Train will depart Ajmer on 29th April, 2015 (Wednesday) at 19:25 hrs, arrive depart Vijayawada at 03:45/04:00 hrs on 1st May, 2015 and arrive Ongole at 07:40 hrs on 1st May, 2015 (Friday).

Enroute, these special trains will stop at Chirala, Bapatla, Nidubrolu, Tenali, New Guntur, Vijayawada. Madhira, Khammam, Mahbubabad, Warangal,  Mancherial, Bellampalli, Sirpur Khagaznagar, Balharshah, Nagpur, Itarsi, Bhopal, Sehore, Shujalpur, Berchha, Ujjain, Nagda, Ratlam, Jaora, Mandasor, Nimach, Chittaugarh, Chanderia, Bhilwara, Bijayanagar and Nasirabad stations in both the directions.

These trains will have 13 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, one AC III Tier, seven Sleeper Class, one Second Class Chair Car, one General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage Cum Brake Van coaches.

  1. No. 07131/07132 Machilipatnam – Ajmer – Machilipatnam Link Urs Special

Train No. 07131 Machilipatnam-Ajmer Special Train will depart Machilipatnam on 24th April, 2015 (Friday) at 09:00 hrs and arrive Vijayawada at 11:00 hrs on the same day. Further, the train will be linked to Train No. 07227 Ongole-Ajmer Special Train, departing Vijayawada at 12:25 hrs on the same day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07132 Vijayawada – Machilipatnam Special Train will be de-linked from Train No. 07228 Ajmer-Ongole Special train. Further this train will depart Vijayawada at 06:40 hrs on 1st May, 2015 and arrive Machilipatnam at 08:35 hrs on the same day.

These Link Special will stop between Vijayawada and Machilipatnam at Chilakalapudi, Pedana and  Gudivada in both the directions.

These trains will have 6 coaches viz., three Sleeper Class, one General Second Class and two Second Class Luggage Cum Brake Van coaches.

Advance reservations for these special trains will open on 7th April 2015.

DMRC initiate Tenders for procurement of 78 Coaches on 28-km Noida-Greater Noida Metro line

New Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has initiated tenders for 78 coaches on the 28-km Noida-Greater Noida Metro line. The estimated cost is Rs 700 crore. The fund will be provided by Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC), officials said on Monday.

The agency selected for the project will be responsible for design, manufacture and commissioning of the carriages. It will also be expected to supply the coaches within 118 weeks of winning the contract, sources said. There will be 26 trains, each supporting three coaches. The design had already been approved by Authority Chairman and CEO Rama Raman in February this year. The coaches would have state-of-the art technology. A model of the coach has been readied and approved, said NMRC officials. Tender documents will be on sale from April 10, a pre-bid meeting is scheduled for May 26. The process will be completed and an agency finalized by June 23.

E-tenders, in a two-bid system, have been invited from agencies on international competitive bidding (ICB) basis for design, manufacture, supply, testing, commissioning and training of standard gauge cars for the project.

DMRC has also floated tenders for supply, installation, testing and commissioning for shifting/modification of electrical utilities of 33kV, 11kV, LT lines, transformers, etc, in the path of the Noida-Greater Noida Metro route.

Shifting/modification has to be done along the track infringing Dadri Road station up to Safipur village section, from Safipur village to Metro train depot (Greater Noida) section and again from Noida Sector 71 to Dadri Road station (excluding the station) section of the corridor.

Once the track is in place, it would not only provide a fast link between the twin cities, but also bring them closer to the national capital. The track is expected to be commissioned by June 2017.

CAG to probe Mumbai Metro, Mono project costs to establish Metro fares

Mumbai: In a setback to the Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL), the state government has decided to conduct special audit of the books of Mumbai Metro by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to ascertain the claims made by the company for fare hike. While the state is locked in a tussle with Reliance Infrastructure-led MMOPL over Metro fares, Chief Minister ordered a special audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) into the Metro and Mono railways. The announcement was made by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in the Legislative Assembly on Monday.

The chief minister also announced that all the upcoming Metro projects in the city would be underground henceforth.

The cost of the 11.4-km project, which runs from Versova to Andheri and Ghatkopar, was originally pegged at Rs 2,356 crore but shot up to Rs 4,321 crore. The project is being executed by the MMOPL, a special purpose vehicle set up by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Reliance Infrastructure and Veolia Transport of France.

Based on this, Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) had increased fares of Metro rail multiple times, leading to a dispute between MMRDA and the company.

The chief minister, while replying to a special debate on the issues of Mumbai, said that the fare fixation committee had been formed and application for fares would be made by MMRDA, but before that the state government had decided to conduct a special audit of Mumbai Metro.

“We will conduct special audit of the books of Mumbai Metro by CAG before going to the fare fixation committee to finalise fares. The objective is to find out the reasons for the losses of Mumbai Metro which has been made the base for the fare hike,” Mr Fadnavis said.

The dispute over fare hike turned into a legal battle when MMRDA challenged the fare hike in the Bombay high court. However, the court had allowed RInfra to fix the initial fares at Rs 10, Rs 20, Rs 30 and Rs 40.

The MMOPL has claimed that it was suffering losses of over Rs 80 lakh on a daily basis and the average daily passenger traffic too was low by over 30 per cent than the estimates.

How will the auditor help?

The CAG will investigate whether claims by the consortium over the project cost are valid, thus establishing whether the hike they are demanding is justified. The probe will go into the costs of the 11.40-km-long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro.

Speaking in the state legislative assembly on Monday, Fadnavis pointed to how the state government and the Metro railway developers were in a dispute over increasing ticket fares. “The developer is making one claim, and the state government is making another,” noted Fadnavis, adding that though a committee had been set up to examine the matter, it would fix the fares based on the accounts placed before it.

“So, we have decided to undertake a special audit of the Metro and Mono railway projects by the CAG,” said Fadnavis, adding that this probe would go into the developers claims about the costs of the project and the resultant fare hike. “After the special audit, the CAG will decide if these claims are correct or not,” said Fadnavis.

He added, “There were problems in the construction of the first and second (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd) Metro. So all the proposed Metro lines in Mumbai will be underground. The MMRDA has approved this, and we will also give our nod.”

Why did RInfra hike the fares?

Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has claimed that project costs for Maharashtra’s first operational Metro railway line have increased from the original Rs 2,356 crore to a higher Rs 4,350 crore and are using this rise as a justification for hiking fares.

What is the jump in fares?

The consortium hiked the fares from the initial range of Rs9-13 to the Rs10-40 range for the 11.04 km route after the Bombay high court allowed the enhancement. The Supreme Court also did not stay the hike, and asked the Centre-appointed fare fixation committee to decide on the slab by April-end.

MMOPL spokesperson said, “CAG audits are part of the standard procedures for projects where Government of India has invested funds, including VGF funding. MMOPL will welcome all actions as admissible to the project.”

CAG to probe Mumbai Metro, Mono project costs to establish Fares

Mumbai: While the state is locked in a tussle with Reliance Infrastructure-led MMOPL over Metro fares, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered a special audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) into the Metro and Mono railways.

How will the auditor help?

The CAG will investigate whether claims by the consortium over the project cost are valid, thus establishing whether the hike they are demanding is justified. The probe will go into the costs of the 11.40-km-long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro.

Speaking in the state legislative assembly on Monday, Fadnavis pointed to how the state government and the Metro railway developers were in a dispute over increasing ticket fares. “The developer is making one claim, and the state government is making another,” noted Fadnavis, adding that though a committee had been set up to examine the matter, it would fix the fares based on the accounts placed before it.

“So, we have decided to undertake a special audit of the Metro and Mono railway projects by the CAG,” said Fadnavis, adding that this probe would go into the developers claims about the costs of the project and the resultant fare hike. “After the special audit, the CAG will decide if these claims are correct or not,” said Fadnavis.

He added, “There were problems in the construction of the first and second (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd) Metro. So all the proposed Metro lines in Mumbai will be underground. The MMRDA has approved this, and we will also give our nod.”

Why did RInfra hike the fares?

Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has claimed that project costs for Maharashtra’s first operational Metro railway line have increased from the original Rs 2,356 crore to a higher Rs 4,350 crore and are using this rise as a justification for hiking fares.

What is the jump in fares?

The consortium hiked the fares from the initial range of Rs9-13 to the Rs10-40 range for the 11.04 km route after the Bombay high court allowed the enhancement. The Supreme Court also did not stay the hike, and asked the Centre-appointed fare fixation committee to decide on the slab by April-end.

MRVC looks for Feedback on new Bombardier rakes

Mumbai: As part of its efforts to get commuter feedback and send it to the board by year-end, the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) on Monday deployed a team of five officers to collect feedback forms concerning the new Bombardier rake on the Western line from passengers.

MRVC officials, armed with forms, boarded the train headed to Borivali from Churchgate at around 4 pm. “We are not getting as much response as we would like from the public online so we are going to travel in the Bombardier train for a week and collect commuters’ feedback,” said one of the officials on the team.

They have been asked to fill up at least 3,000 forms by end of April. “It is our job to run around and get commuters’ response as we do belong to the MRVC, which is a body especially created for Mumbai railway,” the official added.

A MRVC official said that only 10 to 15 feedback forms had been filled online ever since the forms had been put up on the MRVC site, little after the Bombardier rake was introduced on March 18. “So that the public may log onto our website and fill in the forms as many of them don’t know about the forms in the first place, we thought we would intensify our efforts for feedback directly on the field, which is why the five-member team was put together,” he said.

Meanwhile, MRVC chief managing director Prabhat Sahai said that the news that there was not enough response online wasn’t true. “We have been getting online feedback as well but we are coupling it with forms to be filled out on the platforms themselves as we want to submit the report regarding feedback by end of April.”

CRS concludes first phase of final inspection of rolling stock for Chennai Metro

Chennai (MAS): Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) S K Mittal on Monday conducted the first phase of final inspection of the rolling stock, paving the way for grant of approval for Metro Rail to run trains on the 10km elevated stretch from Koyambedu to Alandur.

Once all the clearances were in place, the fares would be fixed and the State government had to give a date for the inauguration, said a Metro Rail source.

The safety audit of the rolling stock took place for more than three hours.

Safety Green1“The inspection started at 9.30am and went on till 12.45pm. Mittal was accompanied by deputy CRS E Srinivasan and deputy chief electrical engineer CRS K Palani,” a Metro Rail spokesman said.

They visited the depot, checked the doors of trains besides application of brakes, he added. He declined to answer on the possible date of inauguration.

The CRS inspection was planned in March end itself. Officials refused to comment on the delay.

Later talking to media, Mittal said the report of the safety audit would be sent to Railway Board which would give clearance for operating the rolling stock. If all goes well, the second inspection of platforms, viaduct, stations etc would be taken up. “We are hoping to have all clearance by the end of this month,” said a metro rail source, adding that the next phase of inspection was likely to start in 10 to 15 days.

The first inaugural run on the 10km stretch has been eluding Chennaites. The deadline for the metro rail project, going on for more than five years, is being extended every now and then. Last year, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu said the 10 km stretch would be opened by the end of the financial year. Now, it is likely either by next month or by the middle of the year, if all goes well. Even officials are trying hard to get the commercial runs soon.

It is also believed that the initial commercial run would be done manually with some minor works pending along the stations.

Mumbai GRP forms Centralised Mobile Tracing Unit to avert Cell Phone thefts

Mumbai: The Government Railway Police (GRP), led by GRP commissioner Ravinder Singal, has this year formed a specialised unit called Centralised Mobile Tracing unit, which has managed to recover 655 missing cellphones in the first 90 days of the year. Interestingly, in 18 of these cases, the GRP converted missing complaints to thefts after finding out that the person from whom the phone was recovered had actually stolen it.

Commuters travelling on the Mumbai Suburban Railway line in 2014 lost over 27,000 cellphones. Another 9,463 cellphones went missing in the first three months of 2015. Assistant police inspector Dattatray Kindre, who is the unit head, said, “We also keep a tab on how many phones were returned. Out of the 655 cellphones recovered, about 584 have been returned to the commuters.”

As missing cases of cellphones are not criminal offences and occur due to the owner’s negligence, unlike phone thefts, the police treat it as a low priority. Furthermore, in many cases, it is not practical for the police to send its teams chasing people involved in cases of missing cellphones worth just a few thousand rupees.

However, looking at the sheer number of cellphones getting lost on the Railway premises and the miniscule detection rate, Mr Singal came up with the specialised unit where police personnel only do the job of collecting technical data on lost cellphones. The unit co-ordinates with all mobile-network service providers and goes through tons of e-mail analysis to trace a single phone.

In 18 cases, the missing phones were found with people having previous cases of phone thefts against them or it was ascertained that the phone was stolen and hence they were arrested for theft. Apart from missing cases, about 1,518 cellphone theft cases were registered last year, out of which 863 were detected. In 2015 till February, 378 phone thefts were registered and 147 detected.

Give an account of Guard shortage for Night Trains: Bombay High Court to Railways

Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) has directed the railways to provide an account of the shortage of manpower it is facing because of which it is unable to provide adequate number of police escorts to overnight trains.

The railways on Monday filed an affidavit before the court, stating that it could post police personnel on overnight trains subject to the availability of manpower resources. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A P Bhangale then directed the railways to explain how short they are of manpower during the next hearing.

The affidavit filed by Pranav Kumar, additional chief security commissioner, Railway Protection Force, states that a corrigendum to directive 33 be amended by including a provision. The provision states that while taking a decision on the vulnerability of a train, special emphasis and attention shall be given to trains involving overnight journey. It is also advised that subject to availability of manpower resources, other night trains which do not fall in the category of vulnerable or highly vulnerable will also be escorted by staff of GRP.”

Advocate Uday Warunjikar, who appeared for petitioner Kiran Mehta, said, “The affidavit states that policemen will be subject to availability of manpower, which is very vague. Thus the court felt it necessary to know the shortfall in police personnel which the railways is facing.”

The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by Mehta, father of Bhavika Mehta, who lost a leg after she was injured while chasing a thief in 2012 on an outstation train, which said that there was no policemen present in the coach.

Bhavika was travelling from Amritsar to Mumbai Central in 2012, when she was robbed on board. When she tried to chase the thief, he pulled her out of the running train. Her leg had to be amputated later. Since she could not take medical aid in a nearby railway/civil hospital, she got herself admitted to a private hospital in Chandigarh and claimed a compensation amount of Rs 9 lakh. This was granted to her, but later an extra Rs 5 lakh was required for a prosthetic leg, which the railways refused to give.

Bhavika had approached the court seeking compensation from the railways for medical expenses. After repeated orders and directions by the court the railways had finally released the compensation amount.

Larsen & Toubro set to launch Metro Rail Retail format

The Andhra Pradesh government has initiated the Larsen & Toubro Metro Rail Limited project, which will compose of a retail space of 0.45 million square feet area. L&T also plans to allot about 60 per cent of the space to Food & Beverages outlets. L&T’s Head Corporate Communication, PR & Advertisement Business, Sanjay Kapoor says,”We expect to do business worth Rs.100 crore in 2017-18, which will be the full 72.6 km commissioning year.”

In keeping with the metro station’s safety regulations, all the outlets will have fire proof doors, as the station will be fire certified. “We are providing bare spaces, with some do’s and don’ts. Kitchens can be created by the foodservice operators but only induction cooking is allowed (no gas). Every station will have three levels of security; however, the unpaid area where retail is situated is open for all (commuters and non-commuters),” Kapoor adds.

According to Kapoor, so far, the retailers have been signed up as per a licensing model (rental). A revenue sharing model will be offered for special cases. The interiors of all stores, including trial rooms, have to be created by brands themselves, in sync with safety rules and regulations.

Kapoor states that the investment for the station retail, which is 0.45 million square feet, will be approximately Rs.275 crore. “L&T will be tying up with the best or even the second best of every possible segment in retail, from fashion, gifts, convenience stores, laundrettes, recharge and billing stores, department and grocery stores, to fast food restaurants and ice cream parlours and so on,” he discloses.

L&T contributed significantly to the successful implementation of Phase I of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Project. As a consortium partner, L&T constructed an underground corridor from Kashmere Gate to Central Secretariat, Mandi House underground station, and the ramp on the extension of the Barakhamba Road-Dwarka metro corridor towards Pragati Maidan.

The company also constructed the largest Delhi Metro underground station at Rajiv Chowk. In addition, the company executed a platform tunnel for the deepest station at Chawri Bazaar. L&T is also constructing underground stations at Udyog Bhavan, Saket and Green Park in Phase II of the Delhi Metro.

Amritsar Vikas Manch urge ongoing Firozpur–Patti rail link project to connect Amritsar via Firozpur to be datebind

Amritsar Jn (ASR): ongoing Firozpur –Patti rail link project to connect Amritsar Mumbai via Firozpur should be datebound. In a letter to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu, Amritsar Vikas Manch patron Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala stated that work on the Firozpur -Patti (25Km) costing Rs.147.00Cr. is in progress and Rs. 20.00 Crore has been allotted for the financial year 2015-16.

According to Gumtala , he wrote a letter to PM , Finance Minister and Railway Minister on 20 February2015 for allocation of funds for this rail link in the current budget session. In reply to his letter DRM office, North Railway, Firozpur Cantt (Punjab) stated , “a work between Firozpur -Patti (25Km) costing to Rs.147.00Cr. is in progress against item No. 20 of Pink Book 2015-16 and funds allotted Rs. 20.00 Crs. against this work for the Financial year 2015-16.”. But it has not been declared how much time it will take to complete this work. The AVM patron requested the minister to complete this work at the earliest because it will usher a new era of development on this route.

This rail link will connect Srinagar, Anantnag, Udhampur and Jammu of J&K, Pathankot , Gurdaspur, Batala, Amritsar, TarnTaran, Patti, Firozepur, Guru Har Sahai, Jalalabad, Fazilka and Abohar of Punjab to Mumbai via Sri Ganganagar, Ahmedabad. Due to faster traffic on this route, the perishable fruits and vegetables would be delivered in Mumbai and Gujarat within two to three days. It will also help to export basmati rice and other items from Amritsar via Kandla port in Gujarat. Passengers travel time will also be reduced by five to six hours. Passengers will feel comfortable to visit holy shrines falling on this route .Now they have to travel by buses.

It must be noted that the Jhelum Bridge in the Udhampur sector, the highest rail bridge in the world, is coming up fast and to reap its fullest benefit, the Firozpur -Patti link should be assigned the same priority.