Artesyn and Lab To Market Collaborate to bring SIL4 COTS ControlSafe™ Platforms for Train Control & Rail Signaling to Indian Market

Tempe, Ariz. [16 November, 2017] — Artesyn Embedded Technologies, a global leader in highly reliable and available embedded computer systems, today announced a collaboration with Lab To Market Innovations Pvt Ltd, an Innovations development company incubated at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science, to bring the ControlSafe™ portfolio of rail computing platforms to the Indian railways market.

Artesyn’s ControlSafe portfolio includes the ControlSafe Platform, ControlSafe Expansion Box Platform, ControlSafe Carborne Platform and the ControlSafe Compact Carborne Platform. They are designed to enable rail system integrators to accelerate time-to-market and reduce the cost and risk of developing or upgrading train control and rail signaling applications. By leveraging a SIL4 COTS fail-safe and fault-tolerant computing platform, railway technology companies can focus on their value-added offering and final certification for end solutions.

“The ControlSafe portfolio is designed for a wide range of onboard and wayside applications and is already saving integrators years of time-to-market and millions in development costs all over the world,” said Qianqian Shao, product manager, Artesyn Embedded Technologies. “We have selected Lab To Market for its entrepreneurship and experience in the Indian market and this alliance will enable us to jointly tailor solutions for the next generation of India’s train control systems and signaling applications.”

“India has a world-renowned rail infrastructure carrying over 20 million passengers a day and a growing need for investment into dedicated freight networks,” said professor S.K. Sinha, founder and managing director of Lab to Market. “We have assembled a team of some of the best experts in transportation, electronics, embedded systems and business development, backed by the number one university in India for technology and research. Using the ControlSafe platform, with SIL4 certifications, will help us bring this much-needed infrastructure to reality more quickly, cost effectively and with a reliable development roadmap.”

The first three platforms in Artesyn’s ControlSafe portfolio have been certified to SIL4, while certification is planned for the latest platform to be announced, the ControlSafe Compact Carborne Platform.

About Lab To Market

Lab to Market’s main business is to develop and license products/solutions to industries with the active involvement of academia. Lab to Market is incubated at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and works closely with the faculty of this most prestigious institution, known world over for its world class facilities and research output. Our mission is to develop market-ready and commercially-viable products and solutions from the ‘proof of concept’ and ‘laboratory prototypes’ of academic institutions, research laboratories and similar others.

About Artesyn Embedded Technologies

Artesyn Embedded Technologies is a global leader in the design and manufacture of highly reliable power conversion and embedded computing solutions for a wide range of industries including communications, computing, consumer electronics, medical, military, aerospace and industrial automation. For more than 40 years, customers have trusted Artesyn to help them accelerate time-to-market and reduce risk with cost-effective advanced network computing and power conversion solutions. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Artesyn has over 16,000 employees worldwide across ten engineering centers of excellence, four wholly-owned world-class manufacturing facilities, and global sales and support offices.

Railway Board (Rail Bhawan) security comes under MHA Operational Control

NEW DELHI:  The Union Home Ministry has taken operational control of security at Rail Bhawan, the headquarters of the Indian Railways, the government said on Wednesday.

Located at 1, Raisina Road, near Parliament House, the Rail Bhawan building’s security and access control is under ‘B’ category deployment cover of Railway Protection Force (RPF).

As per a Home Ministry order to the Railways on November 7, the RPF deployment will continue but its operational control will now be in the hands of the Home Ministry.

The order said access to the building will be regulated as per the Home Ministry norms on security.

“The system of issuing visitor and temporary passes will be as per the Home Ministry procedure. The Ministry will also take care of things like identity cards, validation slips, restrictions, and entry.”

“The reception can continue to be manned by Railway Ministry staff. If so desired, however, they will work under the operational control of the zonal supervisor concerned of the reception organisation of the Home Ministry.”

How ISRO is helping Indian Railways to curb accidents at Unmanned Level-crossings

NEW DELHI: A satellite-based system will now alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a real-time basis.

The space technology, adopted with the help of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will warn road users through hooters once a train approaches an unmanned level crossing. The railways is installing ISRO-developed integrated circuit (IC) chips on 10,000 locomotives of trains.

About 500 metres before the level crossings, the hooter will be activated through a signal from the IC chip, warning road users as well as the train drivers near the crossing.

The hooter will become louder as the level crossing nears, and will fall silent after the train has passed.

On a pilot basis, two level crossing gates in Sonepur division on the Delhi-Guwahati Rajdhani route are to be equipped with the ISRO system, to be followed by a few gates on the Delhi-Mumbai route shortly.

Trials would be conducted on these two busy rail corridors and, according to the plan, all level crossings will be equipped with the ISRO system in phases, said a senior Railway Ministry official who did not want to be named.

Besides alerting road users, the satellite-based system will also be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on a real-time basis. At present, train movement related information is maintained manually, leaving scope for inaccuracies.

The trial for real-time train information system is already being carried out on Mumbai Rajdhani and Guwahati Rajdhani services, said the official.

Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways as these crossings witness maximum mishaps. The public transporter had explored various ways to address the issue before settling for the ISRO system.

A few locos are being equipped with the device and installation of hooters at unmanned level crossings gates on Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Guwahati routes is being carried out gradually.

There are about 7,254 unmanned railway crossings in the country which account for around 40 per cent of accidents involving the railways. There are about 18,000 manned level crossings.

While the Railways had eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next two to three years.

Once all unmanned level crossings are eliminated, the hooter system would be shifted to manned level crossings as per the plan.

The satellite-based system will also help railways in mapping the area and the technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and topography.

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Railways, Coal, Power officials team up to mitigate Coal Shortage faced by Thermal power plants

Captive power plants are running plants with reduced power generation rendering operations economically nonviable with huge risk of plant closure!

NEW DELHI: The ‘supply constraint’ has become a common talking point among industries dependent on coal. The worst affected are thermal power plants, which are facing severe coal shortage and are running at less than half-a-day’s stocks.

The Indian Captive Power Producers Association (ICCPA) has written to Coal India Chairman Gopal Singh stating that with severe coal shortage, captive power plants (CPP) face the risk of closure. “CPP-based industries are getting 15 per cent to 50 per cent coal against secured linkages and Annual Contracted Quantity (ACQ).”

Thermal power steps in

An official from the Ministry of Coal told that the fuel requirement of thermal power plants has suddenly increased due to a reduction in hydro, nuclear, and wind power generation.

During September, nuclear power generation was 25 per cent lower than the planned generation at 2,671.45 MW. According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), nuclear energy was to generate 3,548 MW of power.

Hydro-power generation, too, was 17.16 per cent lower than projections in September, according to the CEA. So the demand shifted to thermal, which stood at 99.49 per cent of the planned generation during the month.

The plant load factor — capacity utilisation at power plants — of thermal units during September stood at 60.54 per cent, higher than the 58.81 per cent planned for the month. The dip in nuclear power generation was also reflected in the PLFs. The actual PLF stood at 54.72 per cent, against the planned PLF of 73.77 per cent.

To counter the supply constraint faced by the industry, a coal augmentation plan was formulated in consultation with States and a decision made to supply additional stocks to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and the CIL pitheads, the ministry official said.

Standard practice

Whenever power plants face acute dwindling of coal stock, efforts are being made to supply as much coal as possible to them, the official said, adding that: “We have prepared a special accelerated supply plan for these States.” Also, to ease the supply disruptions, Member (Traffic) Railway Board, Secretaries of Power and Coal meet every week to monitor the situation.

In addition, joint secretary-level officers meet twice every week. These three ministries have been working in coordination to meet the supply constraints, another official said.

The Coal Secretary has also written to States urging State generation companies to build up coal stock at thermal power plants. CEA norms stipulate that coal stock for 20-30 days has to be maintained by non-pithead plants and for 15 days by pithead plants, he added.

ICPPA has said that more than 800 rakes are pending for coal materialisation for CPP-based industries affecting production.

The association has also said that port-based/coastal power plants to should be fed on imported coal to make domestic fuel available for inland power plants, thereby increasing rakes availability and de-congestion of Railway network.

Aluminium’s woes

Another industry crying foul is aluminium. In a letter to the Prime Minister’s office, the Aluminium Association of India said investments of ₹1.2-lakh crore in the sector are at a critical situation. These investments are holding a debt of ₹70,000 crore, the letter added.

Union Minister for Shipping suggests Liquid Cargo movement by Railways, to reduce traffic congestion and pollution

MARGAO: Minister for shipping Nitin Gadkari, on Tuesday said the focus of the government would be on transporting liquid cargo such as LNG, LPG, methanol, CNG and edible oils by Railways and waterways instead of roads, in a bid to reduce pollution and traffic congestion.

He also said that all ports would be turned into green ports.

The minister further said the Centre would fund the setting up of a centre of excellence at IIT-Chennai to provide technical support for cost-effective dredging at all ports and to study and advise the ministry on marine engineering-related matters. He also said logistic parks would be developed in Paradip, Chennai and Vizag to handle freight.

“We are trying to bring this cost down to around 12 per cent which would make Indian goods more competitive in the international market,” Gadkari said, adding that the government was prioritising coastal transport and inland waterways compared to road and rail mode as costs were significantly lower for the former.

“For every Rs 10 of transportation cost by road, it is Rs 6 for railways and only Rs 1 for waterways. That means you would be able to transport goods spending only 10 per cent of the current cost,” said Gadkari, who is also the Road Transport and Highways Minister.

“There are 111 rivers which we have decided to develop as inland waterways. Out of these, work has already started on 10 rivers,” he said. “These waterways will significantly reduce logistics cost.”

Even as the government was focusing on developing waterways, work was simultaneously being done at a fast pace to bring down logistics cost on roads as well, the minister said.

“We are going for electronic toll collection. Currently, Delhi to Mumbai takes 28 hours but soon, it will take only 18 hours because we are abolishing all state barriers. Now we will have e-toll collection and no one will be stopped for paying the toll tax, which will be charged automatically.

“This will lead to saving of 8-10 hours between Delhi and Mumbai,” Gadkari said.

“Our focus is also on logistics parks. We have already acquired land for 32 such parks and all major cities will have them,” he said.

Gadkari added that all logistics parks would be located outside the city where big trucks would arrive with goods, after which smaller vehicles would take those goods to different parts of the city based on requirement.

He said in the road sector alone, his target was to bring in investment worth Rs 25 lakh-crore during his tenure.

“We have already signed contracts worth over Rs 6 lakh-crore in road sector. Under Bharatmala project, we are expecting Rs 8-lakh-crore investment.

Central Railway to raze illegal structures near stations in Mumbai

MUMBAI: To facilitate passengers, the Central Railway (CR) has decided to demolish over 3,000 unauthorised structures located on railway’s land, including 63 religious structures with the help of local authorities.

After the stampede at Elphinstone Road station, in a joint meeting headed by minister of railways Piyush Goyal held at Churchgate, several multi-disciplinary teams were formed, which audited the stations on the city’s suburban network and submitted a report.

“During the audits of the station premises, many unauthorised structures were found which were creating inconvenience for the passengers,” said a railways officer, who was also a part of the disciplinary team.

In all, 63 religious structures such as, a Ganesh Mandir at GTB Nagar and Matunga stations; Saibaba Mandir at GTB Nagar, Sion, and Dadar stations; Hanuman Mandir at Dadar station; Mahadev Mandir at Dadar station, Datta Mandir at CSMT, and Masjid/Dargah at CSMT have been shortlisted for demolition by the railway officials. Officials also added that they do not want to hurt religious sentiments, and are only trying to safeguard the Railway safety and commuters’ lives.

Railways, BMC evict squatters from Elphinstone, Parel stations

The railways and BMC have finally decided to make peace with each other over whose responsibility it was to remove the encroachments near the foot overbridge (FOB) of Elphinstone Road and Parel stations. A week after reports in the media highlighted that nothing had changed since the stampede took place, teams of the Central Railway, civic body, Railway Protection Force and Mumbai Police demolished the hutments lining the approach road to the FOB.

Sunil Udasi, CPRO/Central Railway, said, “It was a special drive conducted by the Mumbai division. About 33 hutments were removed from the Parel side. The space will now be protected so that the structures don’t come up again.”

Sources said that though the FOB on the western side of the Elphinstone Road-Parel station, where the stampede had taken place, has been opened up after removing the panels on the side; the authorities concerned are planning to widen the staircase.

The encroachments that had come up in the area had narrowed down the approach road to the station and was also making it difficult for commuters to move about freely. Sources said that once all the encroachments, including an illegal temple, are removed, there would be a lot of space for free movement.

BMC chalks ‘laxman rekha’ outside Mumbai’s local railway stations to fend off hawkers

Saint Valmiki in the ancient Indian poem ‘Ramayana’ mentioned the ‘Laxman Rekha’ as an imaginary line that was drawn to ward off evil spirits and keep Sita safe.

As part of their drive to make railway surroundings and premises safer for commuters, India’s richest civic body, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) along with the Railways has decided to adopt a similar concept in keeping hawkers stationed outside railway stations from entering the premises or vending in restricted zones.

Demarcation lines marking 150-metre zones to restrict hawkers from vending in the restricted areas were drawn by the civic body on Monday outside Mahim, Matunga, Dadar and Sion railway stations to ward off the ‘nuisance’ of hawkers.

The move comes in the wake of Bombay High Court’s order banning hawkers from vending on foot overbridges and near railway stations.

We have drawn lines indicating a 150-metre perimeter around railway stations. We have deployed a special team comprising senior inspectors and four workers with a van to monitor hawker encroachment. Currently, they work two shifts. But these nuisance detectors will work for 24 hours. We will also demarcate zones outside schools and religious places, assistant commissioner G (north) ward Ramakant Biradar told.

This move by the civic body has affected the daily livelihoods of hawkers pushing their trades near local railway stations. The BMC has become strict but we want to see how long this lasts, said one of the affected hawkers.

A major stampede at the Elphinstone Road station that claimed 23 lives on September 29 can clearly be noted as the reason behind the crackdown on hawkers vending outside and around local railway stations in Mumbai.

A list of habitual offenders who move around from one spot to the other near various stations is also being prepared and additional security personnel have been deployed to monitor the situation, said a spokesperson with the Railways.

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Two coaches of Amrapali Express gutted in Railway Yard in Bihar

KATIHAR: A fire broke out in the railway yard here yesterday evening in which two coaches of a stationary train were gutted and as many damaged, a railway official said.

A general and a sleeper coach of the Amrapali Express, which was scheduled to leave late tonight for Amritsar, was destroyed while two other coaches were damaged by the blaze.

No casualties have been reported yet, officials said, adding that the reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.

“The fire has been brought under control. Fire brigade personnel and engineers are on the spot. An inquiry will be ordered to ascertain the cause of the fire,” Additional Divisional Railway Manager, Katihar, D L Meena, said.

The fire was noticed at around 6 pm by railway personnel engaged in the yard who informed the RPF and the fire brigade was called subsequently.

By the time flames were extinguished, a general and a sleeper coach were gutted and two other coaches were badly damaged.

Railway officials said the train would run as scheduled with fresh coaches attached to it in place of the affected ones.

Amrapali Express (15707/15708) runs between Katihar and Amritsar. It operates as train number 15707 in Up direction from Katihar Junction of North east Frontier railway to Amritsar of Northern Railway and as train number 15708 in the reverse direction.

Amrapali Express covers the distance of 1799-km between Katihar and Amritsar in 37 hours. As the average speed of the train is below 55 km/hr, its fare does not include a Superfast surcharge.

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Commissioner of Railway Safety completes Track Inspection of stretch near Srirangapatna

SRIRANGAPATNA: The statutory inspection of the pending 1.5 km stretch of railway line near Srirangapatna – taken up as part of track doubling work between Mysuru and Bengaluru – was completed by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) on Monday.

Though originally scheduled to be held on Saturday, the authorities conducted a spot visit besides the track inspection, complete with speed trials and inspection of the two new railway bridges, across the Cauvery, on Monday.

Sources said the CRS inspection covered all technical issues besides observation of the curvature, points and crossings and no major lacunae have been found. All things being satisfactory, the authorisation for operationalising the track may be issued within a week.

The inspection team comprised Manoharan, (CRS) Southern Region; Ashok Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction), South Western Railways; A.K. Garg, Chief Bridge Engineer, SWR, Hubballi; S.K. Jain, Chief Engineer, (Construction); and R.S. Saxena, DRM, Bengaluru Division. Consequent to the CRS approval for operationalising the track, the running time between Naganahalli and Pandavpura is expected to further reduce by about 7 to 10 minutes.

The CRS inspection also draws the track doubling work between Mysuru and Bengaluru to a close. While the Bengaluru-Ramanagaram section had been doubled earlier, the Ramanagaram-Mysuru section received administrative clearance in 2007 and the authorities took more than 11 years to complete the doubling work on the 93 km stretch.

Though doubling work along the entire section was completed in 2014, work on the 1.5 km stretch was pending owing to the 18th Century armoury belonging to the era of Tipu Sultan which was located along the alignment of the new track, causing the work to be stalled.

Following permission from the Archaeological Survey of India, the monument was translocated in one piece with expertise from the U.S. in March this year, paving the way for completion of the second track as well.

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IR notch-up seven-year high in Freight Loading between April and October 2017

Indian Railways claws back freight share from roads, waterways. Loaded 30 mt extra in Apr-Oct 2017 to touch a 7-year high.

NEW DELHI: The challenges of demonetisation notwithstanding, Indian Railways has notched up a seven-year high in freight loading between April and October, carrying an extra 30 million tonnes (mt) during the first seven months of the current fiscal.

The increase has come courtesy the concessions being extended to industries from last year with a strategy to attract freight. The Railways has won back a chunk of this business from roads, and to some extent from waterways.

The measures undertaken included doing away with port congestion surcharges, dual iron ore charges and providing empty flow direction concessions.

It also permitted goods such as coal and iron ore to be moved through all rail routes instead of the rail-cum-sea route, which it had to resort to in the past due to lack of capacity. Additionally, the Railways has allowed long-term agreements, which its customers seem to prefer. These policies were brought in last year after detailed discussions with stakeholders across sectors, who had promised to return to rail if their concerns were addressed.

The growth was also sharpened due to a low base effect. “Major tariff rationalisation initiatives have yielded expected results in terms of retaining and regaining freight traffic by Railways. The highest loading for month on month has resulted in 30 mt of incremental loading against negative growth last year during this period,” Mohammed Jamshed, Member Traffic, Railway Board told.

“…we are at 653.21 mt, up to October 2017. We are also above the target(for this period),” added an official.

The additional loading was driven by coal, raw materials to steel plants, cement, steel, iron ore, food grains, petroleum products and a set of new commodity groups. Only fertilisers saw a drop, but with a surge in demand, the Railways expects to see growth there, too, in the coming months.

Foodgrains, which had taken a hit in previous years, has grown 1.2 per cent despite the North-East being cut off for nearly 15 days due to floods. Petroleum products also — after tepid growth in previous years — has seen a 1.8 per cent growth. Other goods – the new group of 70-odd commodities where railways had introduced a large number of concessions — has seen robust growth of over nine per cent.

The container segment, after suffering two successive years of slow growth, has clocked a growth of 13.3 per cent in the period. During FY17, when the Railways carried 1109 mt of cargo, the transporter had incrementally loaded goods of five million tonnes compared to the previous year.

The result of the concessions had begun reflecting in the last quarter of the previous financial year. “During January-March 2017, we saw good growth,” said a government official.

The railways is hoping to achieve its yearly target this year after many years of misses. But that would still need the transporter to carry another 25 mt of goods in the remaining five months.

Faster Trains: Piyush Goyal’s mega push to lumbering Railways

NEW DELHI: Slow and late trains will soon become a thing of the past. Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has planned a multi-pronged scheme to give India’s lumbering trains a mega push. From today, a new timetable comes into force, which cuts travel time of nearly 500 trains by 15 minutes to three hours. As many as 65 trains on Northern Railway and 51 express and 36 passenger trains running under the Southern Railway will run faster in the new time table.

In East Coast Railway, 37 express and 19 local passenger trains have been speeded up.

Does Goyal have a magic wand to speed up India’s notoriously slow trains? Actually, fast trains will be the result of several small and big steps taken over time and being implemented while many plans are in the pipeline.

Infrastructure upgrade: The railways has taken various steps to upgrade infrastructure like doubling of the rail lines and replacing old tracks. It has also developed many stations to increase their train-receiving capacity. A large number of stations can receive only a small number of trains at a time. Other trains are stopped before that station until the trains at the station move out.

Tightening halt times: The public transporter has tightened the timetable by reducing the halt time of trains at stations. Moreover, the stations with less footfall will receive fewer trains.

Automatic signaling: Automatic signaling increases the number of trains between two blocks at a given time. Earlier only one train used to run between two stations. Now with automatic signaling, as many as six trains can run between two stations depending upon the number of signals or blocks. By increasing the number of trains running on the same track, automatic signaling reduces delays.

New coaches and locomotives: The railways has now introduced Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches which are lighter than traditional coaches and allow a 130 kmph top speed. Its new locomotives too have higher speed. They can run at 130 to 150 kmph. Many trains which used to run at 110 kmph will now run at 130 kmph.

The German help: Ministry of Railways has signed a deal with German Railways to make country’s existing rail corridors semi high-speed. The semi high-speed trains will run at 200 km per hour. German Railways will carry out of a feasibility study on existing 643 km Chennai-Kazipet corridor.

Salient Features of New Railway Time Table – SOUTH WESTERN RAILWAY

Shri A.K. Gupta, General Manager of South Western Railway (Centre) released New Southern Zone Railway Time Table at Hubballi Railway Station. Smt. E. Vijaya, Chief Public Relations Officer & Deputy General Manager; Shri R.C. Punetha, Additional Divisional Railway Manager; Shri H.M. Dinesh, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager; Shri G.J. Prasad, Principal Chief Operations Manager; Shri Rajesh Mohan, Divisional Railway Manager; Shri Rajeev Kumar, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer (from left to right) are also seen in the picture

HUBBALLI: A.K. Gupta, General Manager of South Western Railway released New Southern Zone Railway Time Table at Hubballi Railway Station on 01.11.2017. Rajeev Kumar, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer, Rajesh Mohan, Divisional Railway Manager, R.C. Punetha, Additional Divisional Railway Manager, G.J. Prasad, Principal Chief Operations Manager, H.M. Dinesh, Chief Passenger Transportation Manager and other officers were also present. A.K. Gupta, GM/South Western Railway interacted with media during releasing of New Southern Zone Railway Time Table at Hubballi Railway Station. The New Time Table came into effect from 01.11.2017 with the following changes. The important changes are as follows

New trains introduced in the last one year from November 2016 17
Daily trains,

6 days a  week trains,

Tri-weekly trains

Weekly trains

04

06

02

05

Extension to further stations 06
Speeded up trains to reduce the journey time 16
Conversion from Express to Superfast

Conversion from Passenger to Express

02

02

Trains coaches replaced to LHB from old conventional coaches 05
Train coaches replaced with DEMU from old conventional coaches 01
Train terminal shifted from KSR Bengaluru to Banasawadi to decongest KSR Bengaluru 02
Train frequency increased from Weekly to Bi-weekly 01
Train timings revised for the better convenience of the passengers 45

The time table has come into effect from 01.11.2017. The salient features of New Southern Zone Railway Time Table are as follows:

TRAINS INTRODUCED: Seventeen new trains have been introduced in the last one year from November 2016. 4 Daily trains, 6 Nos. of Six days a week trains, 2 Tri-weekly trains and 5 weekly trains have been introduced. 

SNo. Train No. From To Date of Introduction Nature Introduced/Extension/Increasing Frequency
1 57477/57478 Rayadurga Kalyanadurg 30.12.2016 Daily Introduction of New services in RDG-KYND new line duly extending 57477/ 57478 GTL-TPTY-GTL Passenger upto KYND
2 22679/22680 Yesvantpur Hassan 27.03.2017 Daily S/F intercity Exp Introduced on 27.03.2017
3 56927/56928 Hubballi Chikkabenakal 01.04.2017 Daily Fast Passenger Introduced on 01.04.2017
4 17325/17326 Hubballi Mysuru 23.05.2017 Daily (Vishwamanav Exp) Introduced on 23.05.2017
5 66542/66541 KSR Bengaluru Whitefield 17.01.2017 6 days a week

(except-SUN)

Introduction of MEMU services
6 66544/66543 KSR Bengaluru Kuppam 17.01.2017 6 days a week

(except-SUN)

Introduction of MEMU services
7 22266/22265* Coimbatore KSR Bengaluru Yet to introduce 6 days a week

Uday Exp (except Mon)

*Date of Introduction will be advised
8 66535/66536

 

KSR Bangalore Ramanagaram 16.01.2017 6 days a week MEMU Passenger (except SUN) Introduced on 16.01.17
9 66537/66538

 

KSR Bangalore Ramanagaram 16.01.2017 6 days a week MEMU Passenger (except SUN) Introduced on 16.01.17
10 66539/66540 KSR Bangalore Ramanagaram 16.01.2017 6 days a week MEMU Passenger (except SUN) Introduced on 16.01.17
11 16581/16582 Yesvantpur Shivamogga Town 17.01.2017 Tri-weekly Express (Ex. YPR on Sat, Mon, Wed & Ex. SMET on Sun, Tue,Thu) Introduced on 17.01.2017
12 16575/16576 Yesvantpur Mangalore Jn. 09.04.2017 Tri-weekly (Gomoteshwar Exp) Introduced on 09.04.2017
13 17419/17021

17420/17022

Tirupathi/

Hyderabad

Vasco 05.01.2017 Weekly Ex. TPTY/HYB-Thu & Ex. VSG-Fri Introduced on 05.01.2017
14 22887/22888 Howrah Yesvantpur 26.01.2017 Weekly Humsafar Express via RU Introduced on 26.01.2017
15 22497/22498 Sriganganagar Tiruchirapalli 07.03.2017 Weekly Humsafar S/F Express Introduced on 07.03.2017
16 12504/12503 Kamakhya KSR Bengaluru 30.12.2016 Weekly Humsafar Express Introduced on 30.12.2016
17 17323/17324 Hubballi Varanasi 23.05.2017 Weekly Introduced on 23.05.2017

EXTENSION OF TRAINS: Six trains are extended to further stations

1 66514/66515 Marikuppam Bangarapet 21.11.2016 6 days a week(except-SUN) Extension upto Baiyyapanhalli
2 76525/76526 KSR Bengaluru Kolar 21.11.2016 6 days a week

(except-SUN)

Extension from KSR Bengaluru to Channapatna
3 56216/56215 Mysuru Shravanabelagola 29.03.2017 Daily Extension upto Yesvantpur
4 12295/12296 KSR Bengaluru Patliputra 01.03.2017 Daily Change of terminal from Patliputra to Danapur
5 22501/22502

(15901/15902)

Dibrugarh KSR Bengaluru 20.01.2017

31.01.2017

Weekly Express to Superfast Extended upto Tinsukiya

And speeded up to make Superfast duly changing Train Number Ex. New Tinsukia 20.01.2017 &

Ex. KSR Bengaluru -31.01.2017

6 57477/57478 Rayadurga Kalyanadurg 05.04.2017 Daily Extension from Kalyandurga to Kadiridevarapalli

 Speeding up of Trains: Sixteen trains are speeded up to reduced the journey timings

SNo. Rly Train No. Existing Timings Revised Timings Speeded up in Min Remarks
Dep Arr. Dep Arr.
1 SWR 22678 (16562) Kochuveli-Yesvantpur 12.40 04.30 12.50 04.15 25 Converted to Superfast
2 SWR 56270 Mysuru-Shivamogga Town 10.20 16.45 10.20 16.40 5
3 SWR 20651 (16201) KSR Bengaluru – Shivamogga Town 15.30 20.45 15.00 19.55 20 Converted to Superfast
4 SWR 20652 (16202) Shivamogga – KSR Bengaluru 06.35 11.55 06.40 11.35 25 Converted to Superfast
5 SWR 16219 (56213) Chamarajanagar-Tirupati 15.00 05.35 15.10 05.25 20 Converted to Express
6 SWR 16220 (56214) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar 21.35 12.30 21.35 12.20 10 Converted to Express
7 SWR 16227 (56234/16227) Mysuru – KSR Bengaluru – Talaguppa 19.10 07.15 19.40 07.15 30 Converted T No. 56234/56233 MYS-SBC-MYS Passenger as Express duly extending

T No 16227/16228 TLGP-SBC-TLGP Express to MYS

8 SWR 16228 (16228/56234) Talaguppa- KSR Bengaluru – Mysuru 20.15 08.00 20.20 08.00 5
9 SWR 17301 Mysuru -Dharwar 22.30 08.15 22.30 08.00 15
10 SWR 56217 Talaguppa – Shivamogga Town 10.00 12.50 10.00 12.30 20
11 SWR 56218 Shivamogga Town- Talaguppa 13.40 16.45 13.40 16.30 15
12 SWR 16577 Yesvantpur -Harihar 16.15 23.45 16.15 23.30 15
13 SWR 16578 Harihar – Yesvantpur 05.00 11.25 06.15 12.30 10
14 SWR 16575 Yesvantpur –Mangaluru Jn. 07.10 17.30 07.10 16.55 35
15 SWR 16515 Yesvantpur – Mangaluru Jn. -Karwar 07.00 17.30 (MAJN) 07.10 16.55 (MAJN) 45 Train speeded up between YPR-MAJN
16 SWR 56515 ) KSR Bengaluru -Hubballi Pass 07.45 20.50 07.45 20.45 05

SPEEDING UP OF TRAIN FROM MAIL/EXRESS TO SUPERFAST:  Two trains are speeded up to convert from Express to Superfast.

1 20651/20652 Old No.

16201/16202

Bengaluru Shivamogga Town 01.11.2017 Daily Express Express into Superfast with Change in timings & new Train Number
2 22677/22678 Old No.

(16561/16562)

Yesvantpur Kochuveli 31.08.2017 Weekly AC Exp Converted as Weekly S/F AC Express

CONVERSION OF PASSENGER TRAINS IN TO EXPRESS: Two trains are speeded up from Passenger to Express.

1 16219/16220 Old No. 56213/56214 Chamarajanagar Tirupathi 22.08.2017 Daily Passenger into Mail/Express
2 16227/16228

Old No. 56234/56233

Mysuru Talaguppa 28.07.2017 Daily Passenger into Express, duly extending T.No. 16227/16228 SBC-TLGP-SBC upto MYS

CONVERSION OF CONVENTIONAL TO LHB/DEMU, MEMU: In five trains coaches are replaced to LHB from old conventional coaches. In one train conventional coach is replaced with DEMU

1 15023/15024 Yesvantpur Gorakhpur 21.03.2017 Weekly Converted from conventional to LHB
2 76525/76526

(Old no.56525/56526)

KSR Bengaluru City Kolar 21.11.2016 6 days a week

(except-SUN)

Converted from Conventional to DEMU
3 16502/16501 Yesvantpur Ahmadabad 16.04.2017 Weekly Converted from conventional to LHB
4 12291/12292 Yesvantpur Chennai 21.04.2017 Weekly Converted from conventional to LHB
5 16527/16528 Yesvantpur Kannur 14.07.2017 Daily Converted from conventional to LHB
6 18637/18638 Hatia Bengalore Cant. 08.07.2017 Weekly Converted from conventional to LHB

SHIFTING OF TERMINALS: For two trains terminal are shifted from KSR Bengaluru to Banasawadi to decongest KSR Bengaluru

SNo. T.No From To New Terminal Date of change in terminals  
1 12683/12684 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi 04.01.2018 Bi-Weekly Express
2 22607/22608 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi 08.01.2018 Weekly Express

INCREASE IN FREQUENCY: For one train frequency increased from weekly to Bi-weekly.

SNo T.No. From To Existing days of service Increasing in frequency days of service (weekly to Bi-weekly Express) Remarks
1 12504/12503*

HUMSAFAR EXP

Kamakhya Bengaluru Cant. Ex;KYQ:Tue

Ex: BNC:Fri

Ex;KYQ:Tue & Sat*

Ex: BNC:Fri & Tue*

*Date of increase in frequency will be advised

REVISION IN TIMINGS: Forty-five train timings are revised for the better convenience of the passengers. Timings of the following trains at the station is revised from the date as mentioned against each:

SNo Train No. From/To Station Existing Timings Revised Timings Date
1 12246 Yesvantpur – Howrah Duranto Express Yesvantpur 11.15 (D) 11.00 (D) 02.11.17
2 22864 Yesvantpur – Howrah AC Weekly Express Yesvantpur 11.15 (D) 11.00 (D) 01.11.17
3 56278 Yesvantpur – Chikkamagalore Fast Passenger Yesvantpur 15.15 (D) 15.30 (D) 01.11.17
Chikkamagalore 22.00 (A) 22.15 (A) 01.11.17
4 19302 Yesvantpur – Indore Weekly Express Yesvantpur 11.30 (D) 11.20 (D) 01.11.17
5 15016 Yesvantpur – Gorakhpur Weekly Express Yesvantpur 07.35 (D) 07.30 (D) 02.11.17
6 56503 Bengaluru Cant. – Vijayawada Passenger Bengaluru Cant. 07.30 (D) 07.20 (D) 01.11.17
7 66535 KSR Bengaluru City – Ramanagaram MEMU Passenger. KSR Bengaluru 05.30 (D) 05.00 (D) 01.11.17

 

 

Ramanagaram 06.35 (A) 06.05 (A)
8 66536 Ramanagaram – KSR Bengaluru City MEMU Passenger. Ramanagaram 06.50 (D) 07.35 (D)
9 66539 KSR Bengaluru City – Ramanagaram MEMU Passenger Ramanagaram 21.10 (A) 21.00 (A)
10 66540 Ramanagaram – KSR Bengaluru City MEMU Passenger. Ramanagaram 21.55 (D) 22.35 (D)
KSR Bengaluru 23.00 (A) 23.50 (A)
11 17326 Mysuru – Hubballi Vishwamanav Express Mysuru 06.15 (D) 06.10 (D) 01.11.17
12 16227 Mysuru – Talaguppa Express Mysuru 19.45 (D) 19.40 (D) 01.11.17
13 16228 Talaguppa – Mysuru Express Mysuru 07.45 (A) 08.00 (A) 02.11.17
Talaguppa 20.15 (D) 20.20 (D) 01.11.17
14 20651 KSR Bengaluru – Shivamogga Town S/F Express KSR Bengaluru 15.30 (D) 15.00 (D) 01.11.17
15 20652 Shivamogga Town – KSR Bengaluru S/F Express Shivamogga Town 06.35 (D) 06.40 (D) 02.11.17
KSR Bengaluru 11.55 (A) 11.35 (A)
16 17301 Mysuru – Dharwar Express Krishnarajanagara 23.08 (D) 23.00 (D) 01.11.17
Ranibennur 05.15 (D) 04.47 (D) 02.11.17
Haveri 05.50 (D) 05.17 (D)
Hubballi 07.45 (D) 07.15 (D)
Dharwar 08.15 (A) 08.00 (A)
17 56913 KSR Bengaluru – Hubballi Passenger Tumakuru 07.55 (D) 07.50 (D) 01.11.17
Arsikere Jn 10.35 (D) 10.05 (D)
Kadur 11.20 (D) 10.45 (D)
Birur 12.10 (D) 11.40 (D)
Ajjampur 12.30 (D) 11.58 (D)
Chikkajajur 13.30 (D) 13.00 (D)
Davanagere 14.20 (D) 13.55 (D)
Harihar 14.45 (D) 14.25 (D)
Ranibennur 15.20 (D) 14.52 (D)
Haveri 16.07 (D) 15.35 (D)
18 16205 Talaguppa – Mysuru intercity Express Shivamogga Town 16.50 (D) 16.40 (D) 01.11.17
19 56217 Talaguppa – Shivamogga Town Passenger Shivamogga Town 12.50 (A) 12.30 (A) 01.11.17
20

 

56917 Birur – Shivamogga Town Passenger Birur 12.10(D) 11.40 (D) 01.11.17
Shivamogga Town 13.20 (A) 13.05 (A)
21 56916 Hubballi – Chikkajajur Passenger Chikkajajur 23.30 (A) 23.50 (A) 01.11.17
22 56227 KSR Bengaluru – Shivamogaa Town Passenger Shivamogga Town 23.20 (A) 23.35 (A) 01.11.17
 

23

17315 Vasco – Velankanni Express Davanagere 17.34 (D) 17.05 (D) 06.11.17
Birur 19.20 (D) 19.00 (D)
Arsikere 20.20 (D) 19.55 (D)
 

24

16230 Varanasi – Mysuru Express Chitradurg 17.20 (D) 18.30 (D) 04.11.17
Kadur 19.30 (D) 20.10 (D)
Arsikere 20.30 (D) 20.50 (D)
25 16590 Kolhapur – KSR Bengaluru Ranichinnamma Express Alnavar 20.30 (D) 20.45 (D) 01.11.17
Dharwar 21.25 (D) 21.45 (D)
Hubballi 22.15 (D) 22.40 (D)
Haveri 23.30 (D) 23.45 (D)
Ranibennur 00.02 (D) 00.12 (D) 02.11.17
Harihar 00.26 (D) 00.35 (D)
Davanagere 00.43 (D) 00.52 (D)
Arsikere 03.25 (D) 03.35 (D)
Tiptur 03.55 (D) 04.00 (D)
Ammasandra 04.20 (D) 04.22 (D)
Tumakuru 05.05 (D) 05.20 (D)
KSR Bengaluru 06.40 (D) 06.45 (D)
26 16506 KSR Bengaluru – Gandhidham Express Arsikere 00.50 (D) 00.45 (D) 05.11.17
Birur 01.35 (D) 01.30 (D)
Ranibennur 04.09 (D) 03.55 (D)
Haveri 04.40 (D) 04.25 (D)
27 16508 KSR Bengaluru – Bhakat Ki Kothi Express Arsikere 00.50 (D) 00.45 (D)  02.11.17
Birur 01.35 (D) 01.30 (D)
Ranibennur 04.09 (D) 03.55 (D)
Haveri 04.40 (D) 04.25 (D)
28 16210 Mysuru – Ajmer Express Arsikere 00.50 (D)  00.45 (D) 02.11.17
Birur 01.35 (D) 01.30 (D)
Ranibennur 04.09 (D) 03.55 (D)
Haveri 04.40 (D) 04.25 (D)
30 17311 Chennai Central – Vasco Express Arsikere 00.50 (D) 00.45 (D) 04.11.17
Birur 01.35 (D) 01.30 (D)
Ranibennur 04.09 (D) 03.55 (D)
Haveri 04.40 (D) 04.25 (D)
31

 

22698 Chennai Central – Hubballi Express Arsikere 00.50 (D) 00.45 (D) 06.11.17
Birur 01.35 (D) 01.30 (D)
Ranibennur 04.09 (D) 03.55 (D)
Haveri 04.40 (D) 04.25 (D)
32 56530 Kotur – Harihar Passenger Harihar 14.30 (A) 14.15 (A) 01.11.17
33 16229 Mysuru – Varanasi Express Arsikere 13.15 (D) 13.05 (D) 02.11.17
Chitradurg 15.45 (D) 15.35 (D)
34 56519 KSR Bengaluru-Chikkajajur- Chitradurg Passenger Chitradurg 16.20 (A) 16.45 (A) 01.11.17
35 11006 Puducherry – Dadar Chalukya Express Davanagere 11.45 (D) 11.40 (D)  01.11.17
Harihar 12.10 (D) 12.05 (D)
Ranibennur 12.40 (D) 12.27 (D)
Haveri 13.15 (D) 12.55 (D)
Hubballi 15.20 (D) 15.15 (D)
Dharwar 15.40 (D) 15.35 (D)
Alnavar 16.20 (D) 16.15 (D)
Londa 17.10 (D) 17.05 (D)
36 11022 Tirunelveli – Dadar Express Davanagere 11.45 (D) 11.40 (D) 03.11.17
Harihar 12.10 (D) 12.05 (D)
Ranibennur 12.40 (D) 12.27 (D)
Haveri 13.15 (D) 12.55 (D)
Hubballi 15.20 (D) 15.15 (D)
Dharwar 15.40 (D) 15.35 (D)
Alnavar 16.20 (D) 16.15 (D)
Londa 17.10 (D) 17.05 (D)
37 11036 Mysuru – Dadar Express Davanagere 11.45 (D) 11.40 (D) 05.11.17
Harihar 12.10 (D) 12.05 (D)
Ranibennur 12.40 (D) 12.27 (D)
Haveri 13.15 (D) 12.55 (D)
Hubballi 15.20 (D) 15.15 (D)
Dharwar 15.40 (D) 15.35 (D)
Alnavar 16.20 (D) 16.15 (D)
Londa 17.10 (D) 17.05 (D)
38 11005 Dadar – Puducherry Chalukya Express Arsikere 18.10 (D) 18.05 (D) 04.11.17
Tiptur 18.38 (D) 18.30 (D)
39 11021 Dadar – Tirunelveli Express Tiptur 18.38 (D) 18.30 (D) 01.11.17
40 11035 Dadar – Mysuru Express Arsikere 18.10 (D) 18.05 (D) 03.11.17
41 12630 H.Nizamuddin – Yesvantpur Express Dharwar 21.40 (D) 21.20 (D) 02.11.17
Hubballi 22.35 (D) 22.20 (D)
Davanagere 00.57 (D) 00.30 (D) 03.11.17
Arsikere 03.00 (D)
42 22686 Chandigarh – Yesvantpur Express Dharwar 21.40 (D) 21.20 (D) 05.11.17
Hubballi 22.35 (D) 22.20 (D)
Davanagere 00.57 (D) 00.30 (D) 06.11.17
Arsikere 03.00 (D)
43 56529 Harihar – Kottur Passenger Kottur (A) 11.00 (D) 10.50 (D) 01.11.17
44 17310 Vasco-Yesvantpur Yesvantpur(A) 11.25 (D) 11.50 (D) 05.11.17
45 56501 Vijayawada – Hubballi Passenger Hubballi(A) 05.45 (A) 05.35 (A) 01.11.17

 

Pvt.Sector corruption should be brought under preview of Vigilance for effective monitoring: Advisor/Telangana & AP Police

SECUNDERABAD: The “Vigilance Awareness Week – 2017” being observed by South Central Railway from 30th October to 4th November, 2017 got off to a start with a seminar on the theme for current year’s Vigilance Awareness Week “My Vision – Corruption Free India” at Rail Nilayam Auditorium, Secunderabad on 30.10.2017.

P.Sharath Kumar, Advisor to the AP & Telangana Police graced the occasion as Chief Guest while Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway presided over the function. John Thomas, Additional General Manager, Senior Officers and staff were present in large numbers.

Addressing the seminar, P Sharath Kumar opined that corruption is basically a demand – supply link and the supply side is vital to negate corruption. Ethicality plays an important role in the fight against corruption. He advocated that private sector corruption which basically relates to the supply side, should also be brought under the purview of vigilance commission for more effective monitoring of corruption.

Sharath Kumar also stressed on the use of technology towards vigilance and identification of fraudulent and corrupt practices, and added that this has enabled block over two lakh shell companies, in the recent times.

Acknowledging the relevance of the current years theme of “My Vision – Corruption Free India”,  the speaker said that corruption is akin to Brahma Padardh, the mythological term for God’s creation which is invisible, Sharath Kumar also gave a detailed presentation on methods employed by the various agencies to increase their business at the cost of their Customers’ hard earned money.

He cautioned the audience to make it a habit to ensure that they get quality of service they pay for. He also released a Vigilance Bulletin of South Central Railway, brought out on the occasion.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway, presiding over the function, stated that steps like e-procurement, e-auction, e-tendering,  e-payments have resulted in eliminating complaints. He added that the South Central Railway has introduced CCTV surveillance in areas like Departmental examinations, Parcel Offices and Station cleanliness etc., to have transparency. The General Manager highlighted that, apart from the technological initiatives, the Railway has been working for dissemination of information through the Official website to benefit the stakeholders viz., Passengers, Freight-loaders, Contractors and Suppliers.

John Thomas, Additional General Manager cautioned against corrupt practices which reduce the quality of service resulting in making the organization economically unviable in the long run. He stated that the Vigilance Awareness Week helps in generating awareness about corruption and provides an opportunity to explore ways to improve transparency and eradicate corruption.

Ashesh Agrawal, Senior Deputy General Manager & Chief Vigilance Officer of South Central Railway welcomed the gathering and gave an account of the activities of the Vigilance department during the year. He stated that the Vigilance team of South Central Railway is conducting over 1300 preventive Vigilance Checks. He also informed that Vigilance department is creating awareness among the employees through seminars and personal interactions. He hoped that these measures will bring down corruption at grass root level to move towards a Corrupt Fee India.

Doubling of Mysuru-Bengaluru Rail Line: CRS to inspect the newly laid Section on Saturday

MYSORE: The long awaited project of doubling the Bengaluru-Mysuru railway line will be complete with the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) on Saturday scheduled to inspect a crucial stretch of the second line, which is likely to be operational within the next two weeks.

South Western Railway (SWR) officials said all the necessary files were sent to CRS, K A Manoharan. The inspection was originally scheduled for October 28 but was postponed due to the arrival of the Railway Board Chairman. “Once sanction is accorded for running of passenger trains on this stretch, the line will be commissioned,” SWR Chief Public Relatons Officer E Vijaya said while interacting with media.

The spokesperson said the electrification of tracks was also nearing completion. “It is expected to be ready by end of November and electric trains will run between the two cities by December. This will avoid engine change currently being done at Bengaluru,” she added.

A senior official in the SWR told that they will start further streamlining the operations between the two cities within the next fortnight. The doubling work was dragged for years due to various reasons, including the need to shift Tipu armoury near Srirangapatna.

The railways finally shifted the armoury in March with assistance of two private companies, one of them from the United states, at a cost of nearly Rs 14 crore. The doubling project started in 2003 with the government sanctioning Rs 14 crore for the first phase of doubling between Bengaluru and Ramanagaram. The project cost has gone up from Rs 480 crore to Rs 875 crore.

The completion of doubling will help thousands of passengers who have long complained about their journeys stretched at the fag end. “The 1.5 km gap in the line meant a train had to wait at Naganahalli and Pandavapura for clearance. The waiting time of 20 minutes will be cut by doubing,” said T P Lokesh of Karnataka Railway Vedike.

About 20 trains run between the two cities every day with weekly specials taking the number up to 23 on weekends and select days.

While the bottleneck at Mysuru is removed, officials said the issue of trains from Mysuru stopping at various places after Kengeri will not be resolved as long as stations such as Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna station are decongested. “We need to build maintenance lines for which we have sought (Binny Mill) land. This will pave way for optimum utilisation of infrastructure.”

.

Rajdhani Express to travel via.Chakradharpur from February 10

JAMSHEDPUR: A long wait of passengers from Chakradharpur to travel on the Bhubaneshwar- New Delhi Rajdhani Express is over. The train will travel via Chakradharpur railway station on every Saturday from February 10 next year. This change has been made in the new railway time table of South Eastern Railway ( SER) which will be effective from November 1.

As per the plans, on Saturdays starting from February 10 the train will leave Bhubaneshwar at 7.10 am and it will reach Chakradharpur railway station at 4.20 pm the same day. The train will reach New Delhi the next day at 10.40 am. On its return journey the train will leave New Delhi at 5.05 pm every Sunday ( with effect from February 11). The train will reach Chakradharpur the next day at 10.37 am. It will reach Bhubaneshwar at 8.35 pm the same day.

Chakradharpur is the highest revenue earning railway division in terms of freight in the country.

Railway officials said that commensing February 10 on every Saturday he train will travel via Sambalpur,Jharsuguda, Rourkela and Chakradharpur. “It has been long waited demand of the people of Chakradharpur. The town has been included in the route of Rajdhani Express keeping in view the demand of passengers,” said an official of Chakradharpur Railway Division.

Moreover, the new railway time table one pair of Weekly Humsafar Express between Santragachi and Pune every Saturday and leaving Pune every Monday will be introduced. The train will travel via Tatanagar railway station. The date of introduction of the train will be notified later.

Similarly, another weekly Humsafar Express train between Santragachi and Jabalpur leaving Santragachi every Thursday and Jabalpur every Wednesday will be introduced.

Located on the Howrah-Mumbai main route Tatanagar is an important station. Several important trains travel via Tatanagar, including the high-profile Rajdhani Express and Duronto Express. The station sees a daily traffic of 90 mail, express and passenger trains, besides a footfall of more than 60,000 passengers.

Chinese Wireless Router Hacks Indian Railway’s IRCTC Website

A pack of hackers have spread their wings across the entire country, bringing down many important websites for gaining publicity or making a quick buck. Only recently the website to have been attacked by them is none other than that of the Indian Railways.

Railways Protection Force (RPF) holds that the main hacker is extremely clever, who has sound technological knowledge, otherwise it was extremely difficult to hack a site with such a full-proof security plan as that IRCTC has put in  place.  The investigation being conducted has led RPF to arrest a ticket broker from Durg, who was in possession of some Chinese hacking equipment.

During interrogation, the hacker cum ticket broker admitted how easily he could book tickets within just 10 minutes of the booking website opening up. He also revealed that they used to load all the data into a specific software, with the help of which they could get confirmed tickets by making use of Fake IDs.

The RPF investigation says that the hackers used to create Fake IDs on private ticket booking platforms registered with IRCTC. With the help of this, they used to hack the IRCTC website for few minutes daily and book confirmed tickets. Not just to book tickets to and from Raipur, but the hackers would break into the entire data of confirmed tickets for all of Eastern Railways.

Despite the failure of IRCTC to secure their ticket booking portal, higher Railway officials are  unwilling to take responsibility about the frequent breaches made into the so called ‘full proof’ software. This is not the first time that the site has been hacked but the officials are in denial mode. It was only after the secret investigation department of RPF came out with a reports about the vulnerability of the website to hacking that the matter has come out in the public.

RPF has directed the railway officials of Bhilai and Raipur to further investigate the matter and get the wireless routers checked by experts, however, the officials have still not been able to appoint any specialist to do a security audit. It may be noted that these are not just simple WiFi routers, but they have been helping hackers break in for quiet some time and the China made routers are allegedly helping in exposing the website to web criminals.

Parliamentary Panel summons top Railway Officials after recent Accidents

New Delhi:  A parliamentary panel has summoned top railway officials over the recent spate of rail derailments and the Elphinstone Road Bridge stampede in Mumbai.

The officials are scheduled to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on November 9.

Representatives of the Railway Ministry (Railway Board) will brief the panel on safety measures in railway operations and maintenance of bridges, a Lok Sabha notice said.

A member of the parliamentary panel said railways is the lifeline of the country and a poor man’s transport. He said safety is of paramount importance and that is why the panel has called the meeting.

The panel is expected to question the officials about the recent incidents of derailment and the Mumbai bridge tragedy in which 23 people lost their lives, the notice said.

A recent circular by the Railway Board had raised concerns over the maintenance of railway bridges, stating that out of 275 such bridges, only 23 had speed restrictions on them.

Speed restriction for trains is needed when the tracks are in need of repair. Without such a restriction, there can be safety issues for trains operating on regular speed.

The board had also ordered a review of all rail bridges in the country that need repair.

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No Shortage of Fund in Railways for Projects related to Passengers Safety: Piyush Goyal

Rail Minister Piyush Goyal said that General Managers have been given full powers to sanction out of turn safety related works without any ceiling.

NEW DELHI: Rail Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that there is no shortage of fund in railways for projects related to passengers’ safety and security.

The rail minister said that PM Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has given railways full liberty to use funds on safety. He said that General Managers have been given full powers to sanction out of turn safety related works without any ceiling.

Addressing a press conference, the rail minister said that procedures have been substantially simplified for procurement of material in the Railways.

Piyush Goyal told the media that the government is doing transformational changes in the Railways and for faster implementation, those changes will have a defined time span.He said that in every rail division now there would be two ADRMs instead of one to ensure a smooth operation.

The railway will categorise its station on the basis of passenger footfall and will accordingly increase the facilities at these stations. For the benefit of specially-abled and senior citizens, the railway has identified 3000 spots where escalators would be built.

The railway has decided to increase the number of CCTVs across trains and stations.

He especially took the name of Mumbai rail network, one of the biggest suburban rail networks in the country for this purpose.

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Railways to spend about Rs.6,000 crore to fix Railway Tracks

NEW DELHI: To target the occurrences of railway derailment, the Indian Railways is reportedly planning to spend Rs 1,000 crore every month for the next six months in order to locate and replace old tracks with new ones.

Until now, only about 2 per cent of railway tracks or 2,000 km were replaced in the country each year. But in light of recent fatal accidents, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has reportedly ordered for the renewal of 3,600 km of tracks – an increase of 80 per cent.

According to reports, general managers have already been asked to award maintenance blocks, and tracks are being routed to the destinations. Even track ballasts and clips will be replaced to allow no scope of mishaps. The minister has also cleared the proposal calling for international bids for steel in the coming month.

The Railway Board is to also meet on a weekly basis to review safety measures and parameters for all the zones. A new timetable will also be formulated in order to ensure commuters can travel without any delays and work can also be carried out simultaneously.

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Railways may ask Finance Ministry to fund its share of Rail Safety Fund

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the setting up a special safety fund with a corpus of more than Rs.1 lakh crore over a period of five years in the 2017-18 Budget.

NEW DELHIThe Ministry of Railways may ask the Finance Ministry to fund its share of the railway safety fund this year as the public utility is staring at an earnings shortfall of at least Rs.10,000 crore in 2017-18, sources said.

With earnings deficit, the Ministry of Railways may find it difficult to contribute its share towards the newly- constituted Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) – a dedicated fund for critical safety-related works, a Ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.

The Indian Railways’ income stood at ₹80,519 crore till September compared with Rs.76,405 crore till September last year. However, the actual income was 8.45% lower than the targeted earnings till September this year. The railways had set a target of earning Rs.1.88 lakh crore in 2017-18, against Rs.1.65 lakh crore in 2016-17.

“We are looking at an earnings deficit of at least Rs.10,000 crore by the end of this financial year. We may demand the Finance Ministry to fund the entire amount towards RRSK for current financial year in the pre-budget meeting next month,” the Ministry official said.

The Finance Ministry is scheduled to meet officials of the Ministry of Railways on November 10 for pre-budget discussions to finalise the revised estimates for 2017-18 and budget estimates for 2018-19.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the setting up a special safety fund with a corpus of more than Rs.1 lakh crore over a period of five years in the 2017-18 Budget. According to the plan, while the Finance Ministry would contribute Rs.15,000 crore annually towards the fund, the Ministry of Railways would fund the balance Rs.5,000 crore every year.

In the first six months of the current financial year, the railways utilised a quarter of the safety fund as it had spent Rs.5,031 crore from the RRSK. Although the railways’ passenger and goods earnings increased 4.5% and 8.4% respectively till September this year compared with last year, its sundry earnings declined sharply by 35.7% in this period.

Income from non-fare revenues, including land lease, advertising, PSU dividends and catering department, form part of the sundry earnings.

Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal said in an interview to The Hindu last month that the utility was willing to spend unlimited funds on safety, which would be a top priority for him. “In my working, there is no budget for safety. Whatever [fund] is required, we will spend,” he said.

The Finance Ministry has advised the Ministry of Railways to prioritise deploying RRSK funds on areas that reduce chances of human error and ensure training of safety staff.

Indian Railways to fast track work to ensure Commuter Safety

MUMBAI: The Railways today said it has identified the projects that are to be executed on a fast track mode to prevent recurrence of Elphinstone Road railway station incident and ensure safety of commuters.

Twenty-three people were killed and 35 others injured in a stampede that broke out on a crowded pedestrian bridge at the Elphinstone Road station on September 29.

“As per the reports of the multidisciplinary team which conducted an audit of all the suburban train stations in and around Mumbai, we have identified the areas where we need to work, besides our teams have also prioritise the works that will be executed on fast forward mode,” S K Jain, Divisional Manager of Mumbai Division of Central Railway said.

Jain said executing the projects of 14 foot overbridges (FoBs), which include widening of two FoBs, cleaning garbage along side the railway tracks and desilting the drainages, making stations and its surroundings till 150 m hawkers free, controlling trespassing, demarcation of the railway premises are among the priority list which we are working on fast-forward mode.

Earlier in the day, senior officials of both the Central and Western Railway held a first follow-up meeting with Mumbai municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, police commissioner Dattatrey Padsalgikar, wherein it was discussed to have better inter-departmental coordination among the different agencies to execute the projects and make the stations and its surrounding areas hawkers free.

“State government’s resolution to evict the hawkers within the 150 m of railway premises was discussed seriously and the civic body chief was prompt to nominate ward officer to do this task,” Jain said, adding, Central Railway has started demarcating the railway areas.

He said that Central Railway has forwarded a proposal to Railway Board to erect 14 FoBs at different stations and have sought boards out of turn approval to expedite the projects.

Following Railway Minister’s order after the stampede, Central Railway had formed eight teams while Western Railway had set up five multidisciplinary teams, besides roping in representatives of five municipal corporations, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Mumbai Police.

Amul offers Business Proposition to Railways on Twitter

NEW DELHI: Dairy giant Amul today reached out to the Indian Railways on its official Twitterh handle with a business proposition to use its refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul Butter across India.

The Railways promptly responded on the micro-blogging site, using a popular tag line of the company for the brand.

“IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian,” the ministry’s handle @RailMinIndia tweeted.

The Indian Railways extensively uses Twitter to address passenger woes. But this could perhaps be the first time the national transporter has received a business proposition on the micro-blogging site.

“@RailMinIndia, Amul is interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul Butter across India. Request to please advise,” the dairy major had tweeted to the Railways.

The Indian Railways had introduced the refrigerated van service a few years ago with an aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meats/poultry and chocolates, but most of the vans were lying defunct, according to a ministry official.

However, this service exists only on specific routes.

“We would certainly like to capture this traffic. Let us see what can be done,” the official added.

The senior divisional manager of the Ahmedabad Division will meet officials from Amul tomorrow to discuss this, said the official.

He said that the South Western Railway has some refrigerated vans, they can be repaired and used by the Railways to assist Amul.

The Twitter conversation between Amul and Indian Railways is going viral

This Twitter conversation between Amul and Indian Railways is going viral. The Twitter chat started when Amul asked Indian Railways for using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul Butter across India. Amul asked Railways, “Amul is interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul Butter across India. Request to please advise.” Now, the reaction to this tweet by Ministry Railways is going viral. Railways tweeted, “IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian.” Indian Railways is known for its swiftness and activity on Twitter. A number of times, Railways has provided solutions to the problems of a number of passengers. And this one will just go on to cement its reputation as an organisation that cares about building relationships.

Earlier on Sunday, it was reported that Railway Minister Piyush Goyal wants the Mathura Junction railway station to be equipped with all the necessary facilities. According to the official, who did not wish to be named, Goyal wants a plan to be submitted to his ministry for the facelift of the Mathura station. The minister had also emphasised on increasing the revenues of the railways through advertisement, he said.

Travelling to Kota by Jan Shatabdi Express, Goyal made a whistle-stop at Mathura on Sunday. Though he did not interact with the media, he gave instructions to the railway officials. The railway minister also took feedback from the passengers on board the Jan Shatabdi Express.

You could soon Opt to Fly if Rajdhani Ticket’s not confirmed – CRB on a mission of redefining the Passenger’s experience on IR

NEW DELHI: Passengers with unconfirmed AC-I or AC-II tickets for Rajdhani Express may soon be able to fly to their destination instead by paying the difference, if any, in the price of the train and air tickets. Ashwani Lohani had planned the move last summer when he was Air India chairman, but the railways had not reacted to it positively. Now the chairman of the Railway Board, Lohani + has said he will clear the plan if AI puts it up again.

“If AI approaches us with this proposal, we will accept it, as the process starts with a simple enablement of service request in the systems and software at both AI and IR servers” Lohani told.

A large number of people end up with unconfirmed AC-II Rajdhani tickets almost every day due to a severe demand-supply crunch in the railways. In a bid to boost AI’s aircraft occupancy, “turnaround man” Lohani had planned that such people’s contact details could be automatically shared with AI, which could then offer them seats on flights for the same destination at competitive rates.

“AC-II Rajdhani fares are more or less similar to air fares,” Lohani said.

However, with the process to privatise or sell government-owned AI now in its final stages, it remains to be seen if the airline goes for such a proposal.

“A benefit of having a government-owned airline… (is that) railways can transfer its unconfirmed premium passengers to state-owned AI. Lohani’s idea is very good. But can railways do the same with a private AI or any other private airline without facing charges of benefitting them?” asked an AI insider.

Senior IAS officer Rajiv Bansal, who was given additional charge as AI chairman for three months in August-end, when Lohani was moved to the Railway Board, said he would not be immediately able to comment on the proposal. “This is the first time I am hearing of such a thing. There is difference in train and air fares…” he said.

With the proposal, Lohani, a 1980-batch Indian Railway Service of Mechanical Engineers officer, had used his experience with the railways to rid AI of one of its most vexing problems: low aircraft occupancy. Around the same time that he came up with the train-air switch idea, AI had also decided to match Rajdhani AC-II fares on important metro routes like Delhi to Mumbai.

AI insiders said the airline’s focus currently was to safely run its flights on time till a new owner is found.

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Railways tweak booking system with urban skew

CHENNAI: Railway passengers in several major and intermediate stations in Tamil Nadu were experiencing a torrid time getting berths confirmed during this festive season after the Southern Railway suddenly changed reservation rules.

General quota has been changed to pooled quota (PQ)/remote location (RL) in about 25 trains. This means that the number of berths – earmarked to and from intermediate stations like Katpadi, Ariyalur, Arakkonam, Salem, Jolarpettai, Erode, Tiruchy and Madurai – were drastically reduced.

“From Salem to Chennai, we used to book tickets under the general quota in Kovai Express. There were about 1,200-second class seats (2S) available. But after the change, the number of seats was brought down to around 250.

“Getting confirmed seats during weekends, even in chair car (CC), is nearly impossible. Thousands of businessmen travelling between Salem, Chennai and Coimbatore are forced to look for alternative modes of transport,” said K Baskar of the Tiruvallur Rail Passengers Association.

Similarly, travel between Chennai Egmore-Tiruchy and Chennai Egmore-Erode in Mangaluru Express (Train No 16859) were brought under remote location from general quota. This reduced both sleeper and third AC berths.

“Until last month, Chennai Egmore-Tiruchy sleeper class waiting list 15 and third AC waiting list up to five were usually confirmed. Under the remote-location quota, however, even waiting list 1 or 2 is not getting confirmed,”said D Viswanathan, a retired railway employee.

It has been learnt that general quota between two stations within Tamil Nadu has been removed in all Kerala and Karnataka-bound trains originating from Chennai Egmore and Chennai Central.

General was changed to remote location for Arakkonam, Katpadi and Jolarpetai, in Madurai-Dehradun bi-weekly, Rameshwaram-Tirupati Meenakshi Express and Nagercoil bi-weekly Express. E Shankaran of the Katpadi Railway Passengers Association feared that the change would affect the connectivity between Vellore and south Tamil Nadu.

“We have only three weekly trains to Madurai, Rameswaram and Nagercoil. With hardly 20 to 25 berths per train, over 40 lakh passengers from the district will not get tickets.” However, Southern Railway officials said the change in allocation of quota is decided based on demand and occupancy, and is reviewed periodically.

“In view of the heavy rush during festive season, the general quota has been altered from October, keeping in mind passengers who are going to Kerala and southern Tamil Nadu. If we get a grievance notice from the intermediate station passengers’ forums, we will review the allocation,”said an official.

How ticketing works

The booking system is reactive. As soon as a ticket from Chennai to Salem gets booked, the same seat will be made available for another passenger from Salem to Coimbatore. Reservation is done under 19 categories including general quota, pooled quota, remote location, roadside, outstation, women, handicapped, tatkal and high official (HO) quota.Except tatkal, more than 70 per cent tickets are earmarked in general quota for end-to-end travellers. Five per cent to 15 per cent (maximum) tickets will be allotted under PQ (origination to intermediate station and RL (between two intermediate stations) and other categories for bookings.

ECR`s Security Wing beefs up Security ahead of Chhath rush

PATNA: East Central Railway (ECR)’s chief security commissioner Ravindra Verma held a meeting with divisional security commissioners at the ECR HQ at Hajipur on Friday and directed them to personally supervise security arrangements at the crowded stations in view of the Chhath rush.

According to ECR’s chief public relations officer Rajesh Kumar, a joint team of Railway protection Force (RPF) and its vigilance wings has been formed to check the activities of touts at stations. RPF’s vigilance sleuths have been deployed in mufti at the ticket reservation counters at Patna Junction, Muzaffarpur, Mughalsarai, Darbhanga, Samastipur and Sonepur for the purpose.

The ECR has also released a helpline number 155210 for people to register complaints about malpractices at the ticket reservation counters with the RPF.

According to Patna SRP (superintendent of railway police) Jitendra Mishra, Government Railway Police and RPF are coordinating with each other to maintain law and order on the railways’ premises. Patna Junction, Rajendra Nagar Terminal, Pataliputra Junction and Danapur station have been put under high surveillance and DSP-rank officers are camping at these stations, he said.

To stop miscreants from taking advantage of the Chhath rush, GRP and PRF men are making random check of passengers’ luggage at the entrance points at Patna Junction. Passengers are not being allowed to sit or stand on the foot overbridges so as to prevent jam, Mishra said, adding passengers could dial the GRP’s toll-free number 1512 and RPF’s toll-free number 182 for any assistance.

Mishra further said the dog and bomb squads are pressed into service before the departure of premier trains like Rajdhani Express and Sampoorna Kranti Express from Patna Junction. Passengers are being warned on the public address system not to accept eatables and tea from unknown persons, he said.

Sources said the ECR has directed its electricity department to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all major stations during the festival period.

DGP (Railways & Road Safety) to head Hyderabad Metro Rail Security Wing

HYDERABAD: The Telangana State Police have prepared a comprehensive plan for providing security cover to the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) services. Along the to-be-soon launched metro corridor between Miyapur and Nagole(33km), it has proposed to set up 12 police outposts and sources suggest that an Inspector General (IG) rank officer would headed the forces.

Towards this, the recently purchased puppies being trained by the Intelligence Security Wing at the Integrated Intelligence Training Academy in Moinabad would be deployed on duty.

They are being specially trained in sniffing out transportation of explosive material, drug and weapons etc.

“We have made certain proposals for providing security to the Hyderabad metro rail. A meeting is scheduled to be held soon with the Chief Secretary along with other officials concerned to finalise these proposals,” said the Director General of Police Anurag Sharma. Chief Secretary SP Singh is also the Chairman of HMRL.

Road Safety and Railways DG, T Krishna Prasad, had earlier studied security cover to metro rails in various cities, prepared and submitted a Detailed Security Plan to the state government.

According to sources, the government had issued an order directing involvement of state police in providing security to HMRL. Considering the DG’s report, CCTV cameras, scanning machines and armed forces are to be deployed at strategic points.

Railways to utilise Rake lie-overs, extend routes of 50-plus Trains

There are two types of lie-overs in railways — first, a train reaches its terminal railway station and undergoes maintenance before returning to its originating station, and second, wherein it does not undergo maintenance but waits for its slot to return to the originating station.

NEW DELHI: To increase the operational efficiency of passenger rakes and utilise the ‘lie-over’ periods of trains, the Indian Railways will be extending the routes of more than 50 trains which will be reflected in new public time table due next month. In addition, given that the lack of maintenance blocks has caused accidents in the recent past, the new time table has been designed in order to provide each railway division 2-4 hours of blocks for maintenance.

There are two types of lie-overs in railways — first, a train reaches its terminal railway station and undergoes maintenance before returning to its originating station, and second, wherein it does not undergo maintenance but waits for its slot to return to the originating station. “Maintenance takes around 4-6 hours. However, there is a thought that the maintenance time should be reduced and rakes should be used more,” said a ministry of railway official requesting anonymity.

In few instances wherein trains stand at stations for few hours, “We are extending the route of these trains for say 2-3 hours and while coming back it will connect to the original route,” added the official.

These changes will reflect in the new time table that is due to come out in November. So, if there is train which is to wait for 8 hours at a station before returning back, the railways will take the same rake onwards for a distance of, say, three hours and will be back at the same station before its scheduled departure. “It will give us new services,” said the official.

The new time table will also see running time of 51 mail and express trains being reduced by 1-3 hours. “The speeds of these trains have not been increased but various times — such as at halts, crossings, yards, among others, wherever deemed excess — have been cut,” said the official.

Maintenance corridors will also be created due to the new time table and anything between two-four hours of blocks are being created in all divisions. Railway minister Piyush Goyal has accorded safety the highest priority given multiple accidents that have rocked the transporter in the recent past. The Utkal Express derailment in Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh took place as no maintenance block was provided despite request.

To create blocks, the working time table will have operational details of all trains and for each division. This time table is different from the one used by commuters. It contains information on gradient, running time, locomotive hauling capacity, margin for driver to make up and speed restrictions, etc, to assist operators.

Smart Railway Yards: IR to spend Rs.3000 Crore to Mechanize & Automate the maintenance & repair work of Rakes

According to the proposal, 40 of the 100 yards that the Indian Railways has would be automated and mechanized at an average cost of around Rs.70-75 crore each

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways plans to spend around Rs.3,000 crore to make smart yards in order to mechanize maintenance and repair work of rakes, ending a century-old practice of manual inspections.

According to the proposal, 40 of the 100 yards that the national carrier has would be automated and mechanized at an average cost of around Rs.70-75 crore each. To start with, yards at Mughalsarai and Tughlakabad will be made smart yards.

On an average, around 10,000 rakes are inspected manually every month by groups of 4-30 employees, spending as much as six hours per train.

Railway Board member-rolling stock Ravindra Gupta mentioned the plan for smart yards at an international rail conference last week but didn’t divulge details.

A railway ministry official on condition of anonymity said, “Sanctions for these two projects were given during Lalu Prasad’s tenure (as railway minister), after which it took time to make detailed project reports, hold pilots, etc.”

“Bigger yards like Mughalsarai cater to around 450-500 trains a month, while smaller yards do 20-30 trains, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in small plants,” the official explained.

He added that 38 yards that would be developed into smart yards have already been identified and would be processed after a clearance from the Railway Board.

Conceived and sanctioned during Prasad’s tenure (2004-2009), the idea of smart yards was ignored once he demitted office. It got a new lease of life during the Rail Shivir held in November 2016.

The then railway minister Suresh Prabhu liked the idea and decided to go ahead with it.

Another railway official who also didn’t wish to be identified said, “With automation, capacity of maintenance will increase from 10,000 to 15,000 rakes per month. Besides, it would also ensure safety of wagons as we often come across accidents due to human errors.” However, he denied smart yards would mean a reduction in the number of people employed for train maintenance and repair.

The move comes at a time when the national carrier plans to spend over Rs.15,000 crore in the next 12 months to make train travel safe for passengers—rake maintenance and repair are an important aspect of it.

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Strictly Follow Monsoon Precautions and Ensure Safety: GM/SCR

SECUNDERABAD: Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway conducted a Safety Review Meeting today i.e., 16th October, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments and Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) of all six Divisions i.e. Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded through video conference.

The General Manager complimented officials of Guntakal Division for restoring the breaches in Kalluru- Pamidi & Kalluru – Khadarpet section on war foot with minimal effect on running of trains. In this context, he advised the concerned officials to strengthen tracks adjacent to the river banks. He further instructed the DRMs of all divisions to identify the flood affected spots especially in the coastal sections and be well prepared to tackle any situation. He also advised that regular counseling to the employees in safety categories will result in reduction of human failures. He reviewed the ongoing works with regard to elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings and instructed the officials to speed up the work and assured of full support in all aspects. He also advised the engineering officials to be more cautious near Railway Bridges and regularly watch the water levels in coordination with State Government officials.

Speaking on the precautions to be observed during the Diwali season, he advised all the concerned officials to be alert and take necessary action to avoid stampede situations and improve the systems to manage the rush of passengers. He further instructed to ensure that carrying of Inflammable articles like Crackers etc to be prevented. He also instructed to conduct regular inspections to ensure quality drinking water in the railway stations and colonies in the ensuing rainy season.

K.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer; N.Madhusudana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager; M.G.Sekharam, Chief Commercial Manager; Arjun Mundiya, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer; A.A. Phadke, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer; V.M. Srivastava, Principal Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; Smt. Padmini RadhaKrishnan, Principal Financial Adviser; D.K. Singh, Chief Safety Officer; N.V.Ramana Reddy, Principal Chief Personnel Officer and K.H.K. Dora, Principal Chief Medical Director were amongst the officials present.

Tata Memorial to run Railways’ Cancer Hospital in Varanasi

The Indian Railways Cancer Institute and Research Centre in Varanasi. (L) Dr Kailash Sharrna, project co-ordinator and director of academics at Tata Memorial, says Rs 80 crore has been sanctioned to revamp the hospital. A pooja held after the renovation of the hospital in Varanasi on Sunday.

VARANASI: Tata Memorial Hospital, the country’s top cancer treatment facility that provides free care to thousands of patients, has now taken over the Railway Cancer Hospital in Varanasi at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is a Member of Parliament from Varanasi. The 101-bed hospital, officially the Indian Railways Cancer Institute and Research Centre, is located in Varanasi’s Lahartara locality.

It receives non-railway patients as well, especially from tire North-East, but because of lack of infrastructure, most patients are referred to other hospitals, mainly Tata Memorial. A few months ago, the Tata Memorial top brass was asked by the Prime Minister’s Office whether it can take over the Varanasi hospital from the railways, as there has been several complaints about the lack of infrastructure and expertise. “Around 20,000 patients are registered at the Varanasi facility every year and the hospital authorities do not have experienced doctors to tackle advanced stages of cancers.

When the PMO asked whether we will be able to take over the facility, we immediately said yes,” a senior Tata Memorial Hospital official said. Besides running the Varanasi hospital, Tata Memorial is also setting up another 250-bed hospital in Varanasi, which is a part of its expansion project that will see hospitals with similar facilities in Chandigarh, Guwahati, and Visakhapatnam (‘Tata Memorial to open four cancer hospitals’, MM, January 30). Dr Kailash Sharma, project co-ordinator and director of academics at Tata Memorial, confirmed the development.

“We have indeed taken over the cancer hospital at Varanasi from the railways, and the revamp has begun. The process to appoint oncologists, onco-surgeons and support staff has begun. Once the team is in place, it will be trained at our Parel hospital,” Sharma said. Senior Tata Memorial officials added that the revamped hospital could begin operations within three months. “Initially, we will focus on head and neck cancers, bone cancer, breast cancer, and setting up of a paediatric ward,” Sharma said. “The structure is in place but we need to set up equipment, operation theatres, etc.

Around Rs 80 crore has been sanctioned to revamp the hospital and we are hoping to start in January,” Sharma said. He said this was the first time that Tata Memorial was taking over an existing facility. “The authorities felt the railways were struggling and asked us to step in as we have the necessary expertise to run such facility. We are up for the challenge,” Sharma said.

While officials from Indian Railways Cancer Institute and Research Centre were not available for comment, the Tata Memorial sources said for the last several years, most patients visiting the Varanasi facility have been referred to Tata Memorial because of lack of facilities at the Railway Cancer Hospital. “Patients referred here from Varanasi say the infrastructure is crumbling even as the number of cancer cases is rising,” said a source, adding that the facility’s name could be changed to Homi Bhabha Institute for Cancer Treatment and Research.

Railways conduct Automated Inspections & Frequent Traffic Blocks to improve the Safety of Rail Tracks

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is planning a series of steps to improve the safety of rail tracks, including automated inspections and frequent traffic blocks for maintenance. In a meeting chaired by the Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, with all General Managers of the Zonal Railways through video conferencing on September 16, Mr. Lohani suggested various measures to give the highest priority to the Railways’ safety. He also noted that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is concerned by the speed of response during accidents, a senior Railway Ministry official said. Mr. Lohani directed all the Railway zones to procure “self-propelled cars” for track inspection, citing its usefulness in the Delhi division.

A Railway Board member highlighted that a large number of rail fractures are occurring on rails that have not served even 25% of their lifespan. “This usually happens due to improper handling or laying of rail tracks, and is a major sign of worry. We have asked the Zonal Railways to adopt technology while inspecting rail tracks. Quality of welding and frequent maintenance blocks are crucial to improve rail welds,” a senior official said.

Railways to change the Timings of over 700 Trains soon by enhancing their Speed & Efficiency

As per the proposal, in the first phase, the speed of 700 trains will be increased and 48 mail and express trains will converted to superfasts, an official in the Ministry of Railways told. 

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is set to change the timings of over 700 trains soon by enhancing their speed and efficiency.

The railway ministry has already begun attempts to cut down the journey timing of a large number of trains.

As per the proposal, in the first phase, the speed of 700 trains will be increased and 48 mail and express trains will converted to superfasts, an official in the Ministry of Railways told.

During the auditing of train timings, it was found that there is ample scope to cut down the journey hour by one to two hours in many trains, said an official.

Though the government was planning to announce a new time-table for a large number of trains from December 1, it is likely to be released early next month, said the officials.

The Prime Minister’s Office has been pushing the railways to increase the average speed of existing trains to bring down journey time.

Several measures, such as reducing the engine-reversal timings, the cutting down of halting time in stations with less footfalls and installing automatic signaling system, will be taken up to decrease journey time, the official said.

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Karnataka ignores Railway’s advice, misses out on cheap power, sticks to costly coal transport mode

NEW DELHI: Karnataka is missing an opportunity to reduce cost of power by 84 paise per unit by ignoring the Ministry of Railway’s advice to discontinue the practice of transporting half of the coal supplies to Raichur power station by rail-cum-sea route and move the entire fuel supplies by rail.

A note presented at a meeting of officials from pertinent Central ministries, called on Friday to review coal supplies to the state, Karnataka is losing the opportunity to reduce coal cost by Rs 1,200 per tonne by sticking to the rail-cum-sea route even after augmentation of rail capacity.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday had sought additional coal from the Centre and urged it to allot a captive mine in Odisha, citing “critical coal supply situation at power stations in Raichur and Bellary districts that supply 70 million units.

Raichur power station is supplied coal from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd mines in Odisha’s Talcher district. The company also supplies fuel to power stations in other southern states.

Because of limited capacity in southern rail routes, these states were traditionally advised to move part of coal through the costlier rail-cum-sea route, involving movement from Talcher through Paradip and Krishnapatnam ports in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, respectively.

Under pressure from the Karnataka government for moving 100% supplies through rail, the Railway Board in 2014 relented and agreed to move half the supplies through rail, which is cheaper. After several projects to augment rail capacity in southern states were completed, the Railway Board in August last year told Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to switch their coal movement completely to the rail mode.

But while Andhra began moving 100% of its coal supplies by rail, Karnataka is still continuing with the rail-cum-sea mode, in spite of reminders at the chief secretary’s level. As a result, central government officials said, the railways is losing annual revenue of Rs 120 crore.

Karnataka government has said power stations in Bellary and Raichur districts are facing shortage and have coal stock of less than a day. Besides Mahanadi Coalfields, Western Coalfields Ltd and Singareni Collieries Company Ltd are the main suppliers.

During the first six months of this fiscal, both Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd and Singareni Coal Collieries Limited have met their supply commitments of 26.70 lakh tonnes, but Western Coalfields Ltd has supplied about 49% of the allocated 11.63 lakh tonne of coal.

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Railway Minister stresses need to redefine the roles of RPF, GRP

The suggestion has come in the wake of the September 29 Elphinstone bridge stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people. Both the GRP and the RPF work to secure railway premises and trains.

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has stressed the need to clearly define the roles of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) to avoid confusion in their operations, Director General RPF Dharmendra Kumar has said.

The suggestion has come in the wake of the September 29 Elphinstone bridge stampede in Mumbai that killed 23 people. Both the GRP and the RPF work to secure railway premises and trains.

The DG RPF in a letter to the Director General of Police and the Additional DGP (Railways), Maharashtra, on October 10 said there are areas in which the roles of the two forces overlap, resulting in confusion.

“While their legal powers are clearly defined, field formations of both organisations find their roles overlapping in many areas during their day-to-day working. This causes confusion among the rank and file of the forces.

In the absence of a standard operating procedure, this confusion becomes more pronounced during a crisis. The recent stampede at Elphinstone Road Station in Mumbai is a prime example, Kumar said in the letter, a copy of which is with PTI.

“In the wake of the incident, a meeting was conducted by the minister of railways in Mumbai on September 30 during which the need for proper codification of duties of the GRP and the RPF was flagged,” the letter read.

Kumar in his letter recommended setting up a committee under the Commissioner of Police (Railways), Mumbai, with the Additional Commissioner of Police as a member and two representatives from the RPF.

Its task, Kumar said, would be to examine the roles and responsibilities of both forces and suggest ways for the proper codification of their duties.

“The committee can also suggest a shared standard operating procedure to be implemented by both agencies in case of exigencies such as bomb threat, large-scale law and order disturbance, stampede, terror attack,” Kumar said.

The RPF DG said the panel’s recommendations would be implemented for the Mumbai suburban railways first and then replicated across the country if found suitable.

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Auto industry urges Railways, Waterways authorities to meet Transportation Demands

Greater participation of railways needed to meet auto logistics demand: SIAM
Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board, who was invited as the Chief Guest at the Conclave, assured the industry that he is trying to bring in culture of work at Railways and has initiated the process of reforms.

NEW DELHI: Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex body of the automobile industry, held its 4th SIAM Automotive Logistics Conclave.

In the two-day event, which concluded on Tuesday, delegates discussed emerging challenges in India’s fast-moving automotive logistics sector and called for concerted efforts from the industry players and the government, especially the Indian Railways for the sustainable development.

Speaking at the inaugural session of the annual event themed: “Changing Facets of Automotive Logistics”, Abhay Firodia, President, SIAM, and Chairman, Force Motors, said: “Developments in the sector are happening in an exciting pace with active participation of the government.

“Presence of Chairman, Railway Board here indicates that the government is desirous to be pro-active to smoothen and transitioning to the new era. The Railways has been a major catalyst and a lever in transformation of our country. It has the power to move things, people and freight, which have huge impact on efficiency and cost,” Firodia asserted.

Terming the Indian Railways as the movers of nation, Ashwani Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board, who was the chief guest at the Conclave, assured the industry that he is trying to bring in culture of work at Railways and has initiated the process of reforms.

He said the Indian Railways is poised for a change, in the way it conducts its business.

“We do have issues and we are aware of it. We are trying to focus on these issues and so have initiated the process of reforms. It is a changing time for the nation. You will see a paradigm shift that will come in the Indian Railways. We will spare no effort in improving the interaction with the automobile industry in meeting their logistics needs,” Lohani assured, while replying to a participant urging him to look into delays and mishandling of goods, while transporting through Railways network.

Lohani also suggested SIAM and the industry to share their concerns with him and promised to address as many issues as possible. He further stated that the Indian Railways is looking at consolidation and growth, especially for the high speed freight corridor and auto hubs.

“We want private investments in this segment. We have a scheme of entering into long-term partnerships. The long-term contract agreement will help in reducing the logistic cost. This is the new policy. We at the Indian Railways are looking at different ways of conducting business.”

“Currently, we move 1,100 million tonne of freight a year and 25 million passengers a day. We understand that the manufacturings of vehicles have gone up and so the requirement of logistics is crucial for the sector. Automobiles are symptom of how our economy is doing,” Lohani explained.

Prem Verma, Chairman, SIAM Logistics Group & Project Leader – Logistics, Tata Motors, said that this annual event is an excellent initiative to bring in the industry on one platform to discuss issues and concerns confronting the sector.

Welcoming Lohani, Verma averred that his presence at the conclave is the testimony to the seriousness the Indian Railways have for the automobile business.

“We are sure that going forward, things would be better and will improve further,” said Verma.

S K Gangwar, Member, (Technical), Inland Waterways Authority of India, while speaking at a session on Waterways and Shipping, urged the logistics industry to suggest and give their feedback on their expectations from the government.

“We are planning to start with some inland service soon. We will soon come out with it. The movement of cargo through waterway is more economical than road, especially for long distances…”, Gangwar pointed out.

He also informed that currently car like vehicles can be transported through waterway, but vehicles like trucks do not have the vessel support and can be done as more infrastructure is developed. India has a navigable length of around 14,500 kms, of which 5,200 kms of river and 4,000 kms of canals can be used as mode of water transportation. However, total cargo moved in India is just 0.1 per cent of the total inland traffic in India, while it is over 20 per cent in the US.

Sunil K Chaturvedi, CEO, Automotive Skills Development Council (ASDC), called for a need to have adequate planning, implementing, storing, controlling and ensuring efficient and effective movement of parts and vehicles.

He said there is a need and scope for Indian specific research work in automotive logistics. For auto logistics, there are 214 training centres across 23 states, where 62,153 trainees are enrolled and 40,751 trainees are certified.

“There is a need to integrate Railways and water transportation,” he explained. The Automotive Skills Development Council has been a mandate to bridge skill gaps and enabling sustained growth of the automotive sector.

R S Kapoor, Vice President, Maruti Suzuki, while addressing a session on Railways – Terminals, Policies & Technology, said that the Indian automotive sector needed to gear up to meet the challenges, as it is poised to be on top 3 markets globally by 2026.

In this regard he suggested for a multi-model logistics solution to meet the growing demand of transportation of automotive production across the country. He urged the government, especially the Indian Railways to increase its share of contribution in transportation of automotive units like cars – currently at 4-5 per cent — which will help the industry maintain growth and speedy transportation of vehicles.

“With support of Railways, we will be able to dispatch more number of cars every year. There is an urgent need to adopt global logistics models. At the same time, we need to improve on the skill development, as we move ahead in the growing automotive sector,” Kapoor claimed.

S M Andaleeb Razi, Director (Freight Marketing), Railway Board, stated that the Indian Railways is willing to partner in the change, which would happen in the coming years.

“For the Indian Railways automobile sector is a priority area. We are looking at increasing Railway’s share from 4-5 per cent to 12 per cent by 2020 and 25 per cent later. We are also going to have auto hub under the PPP model and this is being taken up very seriously. We will have better designed wagons which will increase throughput of vehicles transport. We will be increasing the height of our wagons to accommodate SUVs. The two-wheelers segment too has huge scope and we are working on it as well,” Razi explained.

H D Gujrati, Director, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India, termed the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) as a game-changer for the transport industry.

“It will help in faster movement of goods, guaranteed transit time. This will create huge capacity and create huge employment. We expect the share of the Indian Railways in the transportation sector to increase from 30 per cent to 45 per cent with the coming up of DFC. This will also augment value added services and supply chain management.

The two-day conclave on Changing Facets of Automotive Logistics, had sessions on Opportunities and Challenges, Waterways and Shipping, Road Transportation, Railways- Terminals, Policies & Technology. Around 120 delegates from vehicle manufacturers and logistics service providers participated in the event. Display stalls were also set up by a few logistics providers.

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IR to hand over Parcel Biz and Revenue & Operations of Platform Tickets to Developers undertaking Station Redevelopment

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways is out to woo developers to ensure that its plan to develop railway stations is a success.

After the Railway Board gave an in-principle approval for leasing railway land for 99 years and allowing construction of residential complexes, Indian Railways is considering handing over revenue and operations of platform tickets and parcel business of the stations to the developers who undertake station re-development.

The Railway Board, in a meeting on 5 October, discussed the two provisions along with giving approval for the land lease and land development.

A senior railway official on condition of anonymity said, “Railway minister Piyush Goyal has been informed about the proposals and he is in support of the move. Provisions are being considered as developers have asked for more sops to make it a lucrative offer.” He added that revenue from parcels account for just around 2% of railways’ earnings. No information was immediately available on earnings from platform tickets, which are currently priced at Rs10.

Under the current station redevelopment plan, the Indian Railways already allocates operation and maintenance of stations to the developers, including the maintenance and operations of toilets on the platform, vendors and food stalls, parking, waiting rooms, etc. If approved, the two provisions would bring additional business for the developers, apart from land sops.

Interestingly, Indian Railways seems to be giving in to the demands of developers now which were being opposed during the reign of former railway minister Suresh Prabhu. Prabhu had been advocating land leases of up to only 45 years citing the examples of Japan and UK. Prabhu often stated that if a developer cannot mint out their investment in 30-45 years, they won’t be able to do it with more time.

Another railway official who didn’t want to be identified said, “This is railways’ big privatization plan. It will start with stations and slowly cover other areas. Ticket and parcel handling are the only sources of revenue from stations which were with the railways under station development, and if they are gone, we give up our hold on stations.” He added that under the new station development plan, railways have asked a corporate entity to help them to set terms and conditions for termination of contracts, which entails penalties on early termination of contacts by railways.

“We have been given a clear mandate—our business is just to run trains on time,” he said adding that there seem to be no voices of dissent.

However, former railway board chairman Vivek Sahai warned, “Railways job is to transport men and material. Residential complex and such sops should come if you have no hope of any growth in transportation.”

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Policy flip-flops in Railways and CIL hits supplies to Power Sector

Poor Production and Marketing plan of Railways and CIL suffers with fresh uncertainties as supplies to profitable non-power segments take a hit on policy flip-flops

KOLKATA: After more than a year, Indian Railways and Coal India are witnessing high demand for fuel from the power sector. Coal sales increased 15-16 per cent in August and September. Yet the two entities is not happy.

Emphasis on the power sector is bad for the CIL balance-sheet. This is because the miner gets 20 per cent higher price from non-power customers like steel, cement and others.

And over the last two months, its supplies to the power sector increased from roughly 82 per cent to 92 per cent. Even the most profitable open market sales have nearly stopped as CIL failed to offer much coal to the platform. The result may be felt in terms of lower margin in the July-September quarterly results.

CIL and Railways could step up supplies to the power sector but its production and marketing plan suffered fresh uncertainties.

The miner is expecting the situation to improve in October as the loading rate is set to improve from 215 a day to 235 a day in a week’s time.

History repeats

In the past, CIL used to direct nearly 30 per cent of its total sales to this segment. The ratio tilted in favour of power nearly four years ago, when the power sector was hit by fuel crisis.

The fuel crisis was a result of the greed and wrong policy prescriptions on the part of the then UPA government which ignored many alarms to recklessly enhance the generation capacity. CIL paid the price. It squeezed supplies to every customer to keep the power sector happy.

After coming to power, the Narendra Modi government went a step ahead. Open market sales were suspended throwing many ferroalloys companies, especially in Odisha, in great uncertainty.

Though the policy was reversed in the last year and more coal pumped into the open market; CIL had a hard time to get its customers back.

Coal supplies need strong logistics support which cannot be created overnight. Non-power customers found imports a more dependable option. The meltdown in energy commodity prices too helped the move.

The government’s decision to spare a potentially more polluting high-sulphur petroleum coke from carbon tax vis-a-vis four times rise in clean energy cess on coal from ₹100 a tonne to ₹400 a tonne, further tilted the game away from coal.

Cement makers started using petroleum coke not only for kiln operations but also for captive power generation. But just when CIL was trying to rebuild this market, the current crisis struck. And CIL has no one but the power sector to blame.

Spreading uncertainty

Between 2007 and 2017, India’s power generation capacity has doubled riding on thermal power capacity growth. It was expected that the plant-load factor of the sector will improve from 79 per cent to 85per cent during the period.

The reverse happened. PLF declined consistently to 60 per cent in FY17, indicating huge over-capacity running into 40-50 GW.

According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), as of July 2017, the all-India PLF was barely 55 per cent.

Open market tariff was an unremunerative ₹2.5 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) and private sector generators were facing techno-feasibility constraints to run plants at barely 55 per cent PLF. To reduce costs, they stopped storing coal for the monsoon.

A sudden upturn in demand for thermal electricity beginning mid-August, led to a rush for coal causing a disruption in the entire system.

Railways ignores speed restriction on 252 old bridges in bad shape, violates its own norms

Railways violated its own norms on FOBs in case of stampede at Elphinstone Road Station. Over 100 footover bridges on Central Railway, Western Railway in ‘fatal zone’

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: In a major safety lapse, Railway has found that out of 275 railway bridges across the country that need rebuilding for they are very old, speed restrictions for trains to pass through has been put only on 23 bridges. What poses a big threat to safe train operations is that trains continue to pass with usual speed on other 252 bridges that are in bad shape.

The Railway Board had sought details of bridges and it was observed that large number of bridges needing rehabilitation existed on some zonal railways since long. The Central Railways has 61 bridges, East Central Railways 63, South Central Railways 41 and Western Railways 42 bridges pending rebuilding.

“It is also observed that in most of the cases, no speed restriction has been imposed and special inspection schedule has also not been prescribed by chief bridge engineers. On the other hand, there are many bridges where speed restrictions have been imposed on condition basis but they are not categorized under ORN-1 or 2 categories,” said the order issued by A K Singhal, Executive Director Civil Engineering.

The railway bridges are divided in three categories – overall rating number 1, 2, 3. Bridges with overall rating number (ORN-1) rating require immediate rebuilding/rehabilitation, ORN-2 ratings are required to be rebuilt on the programmed basis while ORN-3 bridges require special repairs.

Railway Board has now pulled up zonal railways for failing to do a time bound planning for completing the rehabilitation work.

“It seems that proper time bound planning has not been done by railways for rehabilitation of these bridges which creates a doubt whether correct condition rating appropriate to the actual condition of the bridge has been assigned or not. It is also felt that there has been lack of due diligence at Division/headquarter level while revising/confirming the rating,” said Singhal in the order issued last month.

Railway Board has said that the chief bridge engineers (CBEs) should specifically review the position in respect of all bridges assigned in their respective railways and firm up the action plan for their rehabilitation on priority.

A CAG report in 2015 had found that delays in sanctioning of bridgeworks and completion of sanctioned bridgeworks resulted in operation of train services with speed restriction.

The Railways violated its own guidelines on foot-overbridges (FOBs) at stations which it had formulated in 2012-13 in the case of the one at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai where a stampede occurred last month killing 22 people and leaving 33 injured. The breadth of the bridge was half what it should have been.

According to the standards that were set in 2012-13, the FOBs should have a breadth of 10 metres. But the breadth of the FOB at Elphinstone Road station is 4.5 metres. The schedule of dimensions which is issued by the Railway Board from time to time gives the standards that are to be followed for construction of FOBs and other infrastructure. “This schedule gives the ideal size of the infrastructure that has to be constructed at the railway stations and this is improved over time,” said a senior Railway official.

According to the official, FOB is a passenger amenity and it is still not considered a safety issue. Therefore the safety circular which is issued to all the chief safety officers will not include FOBs. “Safety circular is meant for operations of trains,” said the official.

FOBs  inside railway stations as well as at the entry and exit points are a responsibility of the Railways. In the past eight years, the Railways have sanctioned 36 FOBs for the Mumbai suburban railway. Out of these 22 have been constructed.

Railway officials said there is regular inspection of all the infrastructure at the general manager and divisional railway manager level. But the issue of the narrow FOB at Elphinstone Road station and vulnerability of people was apparently never raised. A survey of footfall at the station, an indicator of over-strained infrastructure, was also never carried out.

Now a new FOB has been sanctioned at the Elphinstone Road station by the GM Western Railways at a cost of Rs 10 crore. It is to be constructed parallel to the old FOB and will meet the standards that have been set by the Railways in 2012-2013. “The old FOB will not be destroyed as it will be a tedious task. Instead a new FOB will be constructed,” said the Railway official.

Illegal hawkers who encroach on the FOBs in the Mumbai suburban railway network have been blamed for the stampede. A campaign has been started to drive out the illegal hawkers which is being conducted by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP).

It further said that instances of continued operation of speed restriction were noticed on 87 bridges of 13 zones ranging between four to 591 months. Audit assessed an extra expenditure of Rs 103.40 crore on account of operational cost due to continuation of speed restrictions.

“The above demonstrates the casual approach on part of Railways in sanctioning/executing and monitoring of bridgeworks. This resulted in delay in execution of bridgeworks that were identified for rehabilitation leaving the possibility of compromising passenger safety during operation of train services on these bridges. Railways need to ensure an effective monitoring system to be in place for timely execution and completion of bridgeworks,” the CAG report has added.

More than 100 footover bridges (FOBs) along Mumbai’s busiest suburban railway lines — Central and Western — fall in the top three fatal zones which require urgent attention, an internal Railways survey shows.

The list of dangerous bridges collated by the Railways shows that there are 61 bridges on the Central Railways (CR) and 42 bridges on the Western Railways that require urgent repair, DNA reported.

The East Central Railway zone with 63 bridges that need repairs are the most fatal zones. The report said that one of the bridges in the Lucknow Division, under the Northern Railway, is in a precarious condition and needs to be immediately rebuilt.

Western Railway officials did not confirm if the Elphinstone Road FOB was a part of the list. On September 29, 23 passengers were killed and 36 were injured in a deadly rush-hour stampede that occurred on a narrow foot overbridge connecting the Elphinstone Road railway station to Parel station.

The report stated that the Railway Board had issued a letter to 16 zones on Indian Railways where they had identified 275 railway bridges that need to be built immediately on September 21, a week before the stampede.

In 2017-18, the railways plan to come together to rehabilitate 114 bridges, of which CR will rebuild 20 bridges and WR will rebuild 13 bridges.

”It seems that proper time-bound planning has not been done by the railways for rehabilitation of these bridges. This creates a doubt whether the correct rating, appropriate to the actual condition, of the bridge, has been assigned or not,” states the letter.

Earlier, the Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had called for innovation in making the railways safer while stressing that enough money is available for the purpose.

“The railway minister has asked the zones not to worry about funds as far as work on safety is concerned. And so work on rehabilitating and rebuilding these railway bridges will be expedited,” AK Saxena, Director General (PR), Railway Board said.

The letter also stated that the field officers in charge of maintaining and studying the health of railway bridges need to be educated by the Chief Bridge Engineers so that the officer can determine the correct condition of bridges and take necessary remedial measures for safe movement of trains.

Railways to spend Rs.15000 Crore on Safety next year

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways will spend Rs 15,000 crore over the next 12 months to make travelling safer for passengers. The money will be spent on improving safety features on trains, tracks and stations on a “war footing”, a top Railway Ministry official said.

This will include installing elevators and constructing more foot-overbridges (FOBs) at all high density stations to help clear passenger traffic during rush hours. “Rail Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has already instructed general managers to go for an immediate audit and sanction works at the earliest,” the official said.

The announcement follows Friday’s stampede at the Elphinstone-Parel foot-over-bridge in Mumbai that killed at least 23 people. The Rail Board has empowered all general managers to spend on safety works on their own without waiting for any budgetary allocation or clearance. Besides, station directors have been empowered to take quick decisions in case there is a pile up of passengers at stations.

The Mumbai suburban network, which includes both the central and western railways, will get 10 new FOBs along with elevators to avoid a repeat of any such incident. The rail board has also decided to equip all major stations with CCTV cameras for better management of crowds during the peak hours.

All stations in an around Delhi will also be equipped with the same facilities at the earliest. Almost 2,000 CCTVs will be installed at 400 major stations. Rail minister Piyush Goyal has ordered that all this work should be completed on the Mumbai suburban network and at all major stations well within 15 months.

“Not only the Mumbai suburban network but stations around Delhi where lakhs of daily commuters use railways to reach the capital for work will also get additional FOBs and elevators,” the official said.

The government has approved a Rs 1 lakh crore dedicated Rail Safety Fund, which will be used for overhauling rail tracks, constructing foot-over-bridges, eliminating unmanned level crossings, upgrading network signalling and for installing CCTV cameras. The fund will be spent over five years.

Who are the Railway Gate Mitras?

Over 10000 men and women are employed as gate mitras by the Ministry of Railways at unmanned level crossings to ensure the safety of people while crossing railway tracks. To get a better understanding of what it exactly is, one must not forget the iron poles which are used to allow any vehicle or person to cross railway tracks, when a train is approaching. Now the job of gate mitras are to exactly do the same job, where there are no iron poles to obstruct the vehicles.

According to Indian Railways, “‘Gate Mitra’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Railways to enhance safety and prevent accidents at unmanned level crossing gates. The person engaged as “Gate Mitra” would alert road-users about approaching trains at unmanned level crossings. They are primarily deployed to counsel the road users to be vigilant while crossing the unmanned level crossing gates.”

However, the gate mitras, complain of exploitation and meagre payment. Speaking to RailNews, several gate mitras said that how they are made to work for 12 hours every day, witout any off throughout the year, for a meagre salary of 3000 to 4000 rupees per month. They also said that there is no arrangement for shelter, first aid, bathroom, and if somebody is not well, taking a day off would amount to salary cut even losing the job. Neeraj Kumar, President of Bhartiya Rail Gate Mitra Association Karmikshan said that 35% road accidents used to happen at unmanned level crossings bt after the deployment of gate mitras, the frequency of such accidents have rapidly decreased, however, even after being at the spot for over 12 hours, the gate mitras don’t earn enough to make ends meet. Apart from the lack of basic facilities, women who are deployed at such spots have no access to toilets mostly, they have to go in the open to relieve themselves, which also puts their safety at stake. Some women employees stay far away from these level crossings, and face severe problems during menstruation.

The gate mitras also said that due to absence of shelters, they have to also battle the harsh climate – heavy rains, blazing heat. If they do take an off, or raise a question, their contractors threaten to strip the of the job. Sarita Verma and Rajwati, 25 years of age, and had been working as gate mitras for 3 years, told RailNews about the problems face by women in the job. They revealed how women are harassed by unknown people and sometimes sexually explicit slurs are thrown at them. However they women said that they have now grown used to it, and it does not deter the from doing their job any longer.

RailNews also spoke to one such Contractor under whom 14 gate mitras are employed, and what he revealed gave an interesting twist to the story. At first the contractor revealed that the time stipulated for the work has been specified by the Railways and the contractor or the external agency has no role to play, and hence the complaints of employees regarding working hours and offs cannot be taken into consideration.

However, on further questioning what was revealed is the fact that the Railways have only specified the time for which gate mitras are required to be at the unmanned level crossing. Point to be noted is the fact that the number of hours to be worked by each and every employee is not specified by the railways and depends on the contractor. So it is obvious that to make more profit, these contractors employ less number of people and make the work under extreme pressure to earn more. For example if employing 10 gate mitras would allow every employee one off a week, the contractors would hire only 7 (example) make the work without offs, and earn their profit.

The above contractor speaking to us also mentioned about a rest giver ho is deployed if n employee needs rest, however, this claim has been refuted by the employees.

The question is, it is so easy to defy labour laws and exploit the poor? RailNews will keep a tab of the story and the space would be updated with each and every development..

MT addresses All India Conference of Freight Transportation Manager’s at Secunderabad, Seeks focus on key Priority Areas

SECUNDERABAD: Mohd. Jamshed, Member Traffic, Railway Board, New Delhi visited South Central Railway Headquarters today i.e., 6th October, 2017 to address the All India Conference of Chief Freight Transportation Manager’s (CFTM’s) of all Zones at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad. In addition to the CFTM’s, other senior officials from the Freight Transportation Directorate of Railway Board including Ambrish K Gupta, Additional Member (Traffic Transportation) attended the meeting. N. Madhusudana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager, SCR was also present.

The Member Traffic, Railway Board laid emphasis on the priority areas for Indian Railways, as spelt out by Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister for Railways and stated that the same shall be the mission area for attaining goals. He said that Safety on Railways in terms of maintenance of the existing infrastructure, both Rolling Stock Infra and Fixed Infra shall be to the optimum, so as to ensure utmost Safety levels. Towards this, Indian Railways is looking into track renewal wherever due on the existing system as the first priority before taking up rail laying for new lines, doubling etc. To meet the requirements, it is planned to invite Global Players for supply of Rails, he added. The Member Traffic stated that total Electrification of the Indian Railway Network is on cards, and work will be expedited so as to Electrify the entire balance network of 33, 000 Route Kilometers on Indian Railways in next four years.

Speaking on the Freight Traffic front which is the prime revenue earner, Mohd. Jamshed said that there is a need to undertake fundamental changes in the way the running of Freight Trains is involved. He added that, for the first time, Time Tabled Freight Trains will get into the Indian Railways Time Table. The key element for increasing freight traffic and resultant revenue is to look into mobility issues concerning streamlined and smooth running of Goods Trains which needs exemplary co-ordination between various departments and Zones. The Member Traffic expressed optimism that the Indian Railways Freight loading target of 1180 Million Tonnes for the current financial year will be met, by means of a commitment from all the Freight Transportation Manager’s to perform efficient and deliver results. He also wanted the Zones to concentrate on Coal Loading on Railways, which is expected to show a surge in demand. Jamshed stressed on the fact that perfect planning, keeping issues such as Foggy weather conditions, anticipated commodity traffic trends, innovation of alternate ideas to serve freight customer needs etc., will enable achieve freight targets for Indian Railways.

Secunderabad Railway Station Inspection:-

Later, Mohd. Jamshed inspected Secunderabad Railway Station. He checked the passenger amenities available at the station and interacted with a cross section of rail users to seek their feedback on the quality of rail services provided.  He also reviewed the Security Surveillance System at the Station which monitors the entire premises including rush of passengers at various locations, suspicious movements etc., 24 x7. He was also apprised on the plans afoot for further developing of passenger amenities at the station. He was accompanied by Amit Varadan, Divisional Railway Manager, Secunderabad Divison; M. G Sekharam, Principal Chief  Commercial Manager, SCR; N. Madhusudana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager, SCR.

The Member Traffic along with Arun Kumar Jain, Hyderabad Division and the Principal Chief Operations Manager, SCR undertook a rear window Tower Car inspection of the Secunderabad – Falaknuma – Umdanagar Suburban Section.

Railways to have Make In India Coaches that Guarantee more Safety

Indian Railways to ramp up production of LHB coaches

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways in a bid to fulfil Prime Minster Narendra Modi’s Make in India dream have launched a 100% Make In India Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches.

Each and every component of the coach has been manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory at Chennai. The coaches have been allotted to Western Railways and the Railways has guaranteed passenger safety in these coaches.

Out of the two ‘Make in India’ coaches that have been rolled out by ICF, the non-AC one has 100% indigenous components. The AC coach has one imported component, the report added.

Given the spate of rail accidents over the last year, Indian Railways has decided to stop production of traditional ICF coaches in 2017. LHB coaches boast of stainless steel bodies and have anti-climbing features. This ensures that in case of a derailment, the coaches do not pile onto each other, hence making them safer. The LHB coaches also have a graduated release modular braking system the axle mounted disc brakes.

Earlier in the day, Union Minister for Railways Piyush Goyal spoke to a gathering regarding the modernisation of the railways and the necessity of passenger safety.

Speaking at the International Conference on Technological Advancements in Railway and Metro Projects, Goyal also said that budget allocations are a limitation and tend to hold back research and innovation.

“Personally, I believe a budget is a limitation, it holds you back. Allocation of a budget doesn’t allow scientists to flourish as he wants to. Budgets restrict innovation,” said Goyal as he called for out-of-the-box thinking to improve rail safety features like as signaling systems and fog vision for locomotive pilots.

The railways is embarking on a massive programme to ensure safety of the entire network, he said. “As much money as required is available for safety.

“I am not even saying it will be made available, I am saying it is available,” he said, adding that he cannot make the railways safe without new ideas and he hoped that the conference will help generate innovations.

Switch-over to LHB

Shailendra Singh, Chief Rolling Stock Engineer, Northern Railway, said a decision had been taken to produce 5,000 LHB coaches this year. At present, there are around 51,000 Integrated Coach Factory (ICF) coaches and 5,500 LHB coaches made in the Kapurthala factory.

“It has been decided to completely switch over to manufacture LHB coaches from April 1, 2018 onward,” he added.

Railways had already take a decision shift to LHB coaches, but increasing production requires a sharp ramp up from the present annual coach production target of 2,435. The vendor capacity also needs to be increased accordingly. Addressing the conference, Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal, said: “We must work to see whether we can design better coaches, better locomotives, better signalling system and other related activity. We must explore cooperation with Military Engineering Service. Indian Railways need to work with commitment to make the railways safe, secure and to offer better amenities, riding comfort, punctuality and efficiency.”

‘Adopt latest tech’

Earlier in the day, Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu said Railways needed to plan for a massive expansion very meticulously with forward-looking, efficient technologies and innovative practices currently available across the globe and adopt them.

“Indian Railways will have to plan for this massive expansion meticulously. It will have to look for technologies and innovative practices currently available across the globe,” he said.

Gruesome Godhra Train carnage: Gujarat HC sharply criticise Railways for miserably failing to maintain the Law & Order

GANDHINAGAR: The Gujarat High Court’s decision to commute the death sentence into life imprisonment to 11 of the convicts involved in the gruesome Godhra train burning case of February 27, 2002, even as sharply criticising the Gujarat government and the Indian Railways for miserably failing to maintain the law and order, has opened up fresh possibilities of re-examining the event.

While the HC has, at the same time, refused to change the trial court verdict, which acquitted 63 persons, including Maulvi Umarji, accused of being the mastermind behind the fire, there is reason to wonder what led to the incident, which was immediately described by the Gujarat government as a “criminal conspiracy” hatched in Pakistan, without even waiting for the investigators begin doing their job to find out how on that fateful date 58 people, most of them kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, were burnt alive.

Godhra has roughly an equal population of Muslims and Hindus, with a long and bloody history of communal tension and violence. The Muslims in Singal Falia, situated near the railway station, who allegedly attacked the Sabarmati Express, belong to the Ghanchi community, which is largely uneducated community with poor civil values and religiously always charged. Many of them have been allegedly under the influence of tabliqis of the Deobandi tradition, and have had the history of participating in communal violence.

The court termed it as “preplanned inhuman collective violent act of terrorism”. The fact is, the police, especially the DSP, arrived at the scene of the incident at the site of the incident at 8.30 am, by which time the mob had already dispersed. According to one report, since he heard no cries or any sounds from coach S6, he had no apprehensions of massive civilian casualties in that coach. This was discovered only later when the district collector entered the coach. Reportedly, all the bodies were in a heap in the centre of the coach S6. There is reason to wonder: Why did the Gujarat police not call forensic experts for a physical examination of the burnt railway coach for two long months even though it was freely accessible to the public from day one?

Sardar Vaghela, 77, locally known as Sardar Kaka, insists his son Rajesh is alive. “My son got lost in 2002. He was on the train. I am sure he will be back,” he said Monday.

The train he was referring to is the Sabarmati Express, which was set on fire in February 2002 leading to the death of 59 kar sevaks. On Monday, Gujarat High Court commuted to life the death sentences of 11 of those convicted.

“I have heard about the Gujarat High Court judgment and it has not done justice,” Sardar told. “My neighbours were on the train and they died. Those who killed them should not be forgiven. Giving them a life sentence is not enough.”

“Kaka has lost his mental balance after 2002,” said Dinesh Goswami, a survivor, who was on S6, the coach that was set on fire at Godhra station that day, the event that triggered communal riots in Gujarat. “Kaka goes to temples and mosques looking for his son. He is sharp when it comes to other matters, but when it is about his son he refuses to accept that he is dead,” Goswami said.

“The decision has come keeping the elections in mind. Advantage will be taken of this decision. The judgment is totally wrong and I think it will give out a wrong message to those who committed such a crime,” said Goswami, who had come to visit Sardar to tell his family about the judgment and the compensation announced.

“I was 31 years old when the incident happened,” he added. “I was one of the lucky ones who managed to escape. I could not recognise the charred bodies of my friends. This is what we call, in law, a rarest-of-the-rare case. The train burning made people so angry that the entire state erupted in violence. It was not the VHP or the BJP or the Congress or any political party. It was the anger of people because of what had happened to the kar sevaks.”

Goswami and Sardar live in Khokra area of Ahmedabad.

Gayatri Panchal of Vastral, Ahmedabad, is another survivor; she lost her parents and two sisters. She says she wants to move on rather than reflect on something that happened 16 years ago.

“I was on the train and have given statements several times. I am disappointed with the judgment but don’t want to say anything that may spark controversy. It has been 16 years and I want to move on.”

Gayatri, 32, is currently taking a break from work. She was in class XI when she lost her parents Nita and Harshad, and sisters Pratiksha and Chhaya.

She used to live in Ramol area of Ahmedabad and was later resettled in Vastral by members of the VHP.

“Most of the sevaks were from Ramol area. The VHP resettled many after the riots,” said Bipin Thakkar, 44, a businessman who deals in auto parts and is a VHP member. “I was there, helping families move and ensuring they got compensation. My father-in-law and brother-in-law died on the train and I am very disappointed with the high court judgment. The lower court judgment awarding the death sentence was the right one. I will make sure that we take the matter to the Supreme Court. I will do it individually if necessary.”

He said it had been a last-minute decision that made his father-in-law Mansukh Soni and brother-in-law Jesal Soni join the team visiting Ayodhya.

“It is a loss that no compensation can make up for. My wife does not know about the judgment yet. She will be disappointed,” Bipin said.

The VHP too expressed disappointment with the judgment. “The judgment of the high court is not just,” its Gujarat general secretary Ranchhod Bharvad said at a a press conference at the VHP office. “The murderers of the Ram bhakts cannot get away with only life imprisonment. We will take this matter to the Supreme Court. We want those who committed the crime to get the harshest punishment possible. We also want special packages and compensation from the government for those who died on the train. The Rs 10 lakh compensation is not enough. People have lost their families.”

Elphinstone Tragedy facilitates Audit of Pune Railway Station FOBs

PUNE: The September 29 Elphinstone stampede in Mumbai, where 22 people lost their lives, has primed the Pune railway division to be on their watchful best of the foot overbridges (FOBs) at their stations. In the last two days, a team of senior officials has surveyed all the three existing FOBs at the Pune railway station and is gearing up for a safety audit of all the other FOBs in the entire Pune railway division.

“The Elphinstone railway station incident was tragic. It has alerted officials concerned across the country regarding the safety measures over the FOBs at the railway stations. From the last two days, a team lead by Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM) surveyed three FOBs at the Pune railway station during different times in the day and night as the footfalls varies. We gauged properness of the infrastructure, security systems and many other things,” said Pune Divisional Railway Manager B.K. Dadabhoy.

He added that they are going to handle the safety audit of all the FOBs across the 74 stations under the Pune railway division, as demanded by Pune MP Anil Shirole.

“On the background of the unfortunate incident, security checks at the Pune railway station are the need of the hour. I have written a letter demanding this safety audit to the Central Railway general manager, to ensure safety and security of the passengers travelling from the Pune railway station,” Shirole said.

The inspections have truly become the need of the hour after the incident, especially in a city which handles 180 train operations with a daily footfall over two lakh. Currently, the railways have completed the work of a new FOB towards Solapur end which connects platform nos. 1, 2 and 3 and is now opened for public. While the work on two other old FOBs has been started which are both towards the Mumbai end of the station and only one comes out over the Raja Bahadur Road. “We have deployed Railway Protection Force (RPF) to continuously monitor this rush and maintain its flow to avoid accidents,” Dadabhoy said.

The new FOB will be constructed for Rs 13 crore, out of which Rs 4 crore has been spent on the initial work, which is expected to gain momentum as the remaining amount rolls in. The bridge will be materialised within this year.

These new bridges also might bring some respite to the passengers who have had horrible experiences in the rush. The regular ones, who have witnessed crowding during certain hours, have various stories to tell. For instance, Kushal Das, who often travel to Kolkata from Pune railway stations often has to face heavy rush when he boards the Azad Hind Express. “At this point of time, the FOBs at the Pune railway station are flooded with public and there is hardly any way to walk properly. Few months ago, I had helped a lady to pick up her luggage, when she fell down while climbing the FOB at the main entrance gate,” recounted Das.

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Safety, not bullet train, should be first priority of Railways, says EAS Sarma

EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India, has demanded the Railways and Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to give priority to safety in Railways. Pointing out to specific reference from a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), Mr Sarma cautions the Railway Minister to leave everything else and concentrate on safety instead of waiting for another accident to occur.

Mr Sarma has been sending warning to Railway Ministers about lackadaisical attitude of railways towards safety. In his recent letter, he says, “I thought that Railways, after the successive accidents, would drop the idea of taking up bullet trains and, instead, focus on the safety of tracks, modernisation of unmanned level crossings etc. The stampede on the narrow footbridge at the Elphinstone station in Mumbai has once again raised public anger against the warped priorities of the Railways.”

“What surprised me is Report No13/2016 of CAG on Railways. I reproduce a portion of Para 6.8.8 of that report, that says, ‘Foot over Bridge (FOB) is a critical element of crowd management and is prone to stampede. It was observed that FOBs were not strong enough to sustain crowd pressure at 25 stations of seven Zonal Railways’,” Mr Sarma says.

According to the former Secretary, what the CAG had said so clearly ought to have woken up Rail Ministry in time to save the innocent lives of the people. He says, “Who is responsible for the inaction that has cost people’s lives? Is it not ironic that the Prime Minister should spend so much effort on buying bullet trains from Japan instead of thinking of investing on safety improvements first? Is not the government misguided by warped priorities?”

“It is criminal on the part of the Railways to act indifferently towards modernising the 14,000 unmanned level crossings, strengthening the railways tracks, installing modern advance alert systems, crowd management systems and safety of women travelling by train,” Mr Sarma added.

In his earlier letter on 28 December 2016, Mr Sarma had said, “To the ordinary citizen not affiliated to any political party, the blame goes to everyone. Something is wrong with the safety systems in place in the Railways and the priority given to safety in the Railway budget. What is the use of merging the Railway budget with the general Budget, when the priority is for Wi-Fi and bullet trains, and not for the safety of passengers?”

“Once again, as a responsible Minister in charge of the Railways, you have the obligation to bring in technology into safety systems. Instead of holding the small fry responsible for these accidents, you will do well to hold those in the higher echelons answerable. Otherwise, you will only encourage the business-as-usual approach that will continue to consume human lives and cause human trauma,” the former Secretary wrote to the then Rail Minister Suresh Prabhu.

“The money that you spend in the budget on Railways is the money given to you by the tax-payer of this country to spend prudently, not fritter away on foreign companies to introduce ‘bullet trains’ and so on. May I request you to recall what all I have been saying on the need to launch a mission of ‘Zero Tolerance for Accidents’, make the senior officers of the Railways responsible for lapses and assure the nation of an accident-free railway system in a time bound manner?” Mr Sarma asked.

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SCR enters into long term agreement with M/s Orient Cement Limited for Transport of Cement

SECUNDERABAD: In order to give long term stability and predictability to the freight tariff rates, Railways has introduced an innovative Freight tariff scheme for corporate freight customers of Indian Railways. Once a customer enters into this contract with Railways, the freight tariff rate will remain fixed for one year period. This gives predictability and stability in freight rates and helps the customers to plan their logistics for the entire year. The scheme also gives incentives to the freight customers in the form of freight discounts, if the customer exceeds the previous year’s freight contribution. It is a growth linked incentive, the higher freight the customer contributes over previous year, the higher the discount.

In a brief ceremony at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad today i.e., 28.09.2017, the Financial Adviser & Chief Accounts Officer (General) Smt.Purna M Cherla; Principal Chief Commercial Manager Shri M.G.Sekharam of South Central Railway and Shri Rahul Desmukh, Chief Operating Officer of M/s Orient Cements Limited  signed an agreement for a period   of five years. Orient Cements is the third such Cement Company to sign such agreement with South Central Railway. M/s UltraTech Cements Limited and M/s The India Cement Limited have already signed such an agreement with South Central Railway.

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No bar on any Banks’ Cards for Payment; can use mAadhaar as ID Proof during Rail Travel: IRCTC

NEW DELHI: Amidst reports of IRCTC barring certain banks from using its payment gateway for debit card transactions, the railways’ tourism and catering arm issued a statement denying the reports.

The IRCTC has said options to pay through payment gateway using debit/credit card and internet banking are open for all banks.

“No debit or credit card of any bank has been restricted by the IRCTC for acceptance on any of the gateway,” it said.

Debit and credit cards of any Indian bank powered by Master or Visa, can be accepted in any of the seven gateways on the site, the statement clarified.

However, it said the IRCTC has provides a value-added service of direct integration to some banks which would allow speedy transactions and reconciliations.

“Since direct integration comes at an added cost to the IRCTC, these banks were asked to share a part of their transaction charges with IRCTC,” it said.

A senior official of the IRCTC said that it was not possible for it to bear cost of individual linkage to bank websites.

“IRCTC had asked banks to share the revenue earned from online tickets because of these value-added services but some banks refused,” he said.

The IRCTC has said that if banks are willing to give the facility of zero transaction charges on their debit cards to rail ticket customers then it will give them the facility of direct debit card integration also.

The statement has further said that banks should abide by the RBI guidelines regarding transaction charges on debit cards by charging only 0.25 per cent on transactions of up to Rs 1,000 and a maximum of 0.5 per cent on transactions of values between Rs 1,000 and Rs 2,000.

Now, You Can Use mAadhaar As Identity Proof During Rail Travel

A mobile-based application, mAadhaar, developed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) will now serve as one of the prescribed identity proofs for rail travel purposes, the government said on Wednesday. “m-Aadhaar when shown by the passenger on his/her mobile after entering the password should be accepted as proof of identity for undertaking journey in any reserved class over Indian Railways,” according to a notification from the Ministry of Railways. The use of mAadhaar as an identity proof will be valid across any reserved class, it added.

mAadhaar carries demographic information like name, date of birth, gender and address of a person along with the photograph and is linked with the Aadhaar number. To use the mAadhaar or ‘mobile Aadhaar’ app, users need to register their mobile number with UIDAI. Once the process is complete, they can download their details on the app.

The app comes with a biometric lock and unlock feature to secure the personal data. Once a user enables the lock system, the app remains locked till the person chooses to either unlock it (which is temporary) or disable the locking system. It also has a “TOTP (Time-Based One-Time Password) generation” process which can be used instead of SMS-based OTP (one-time password).

Users can update their Aadhaar profile data too and registered mobile number is a must for using the app. In case your mobile number is not registered, visit the nearest Aadhaar Enrolment Centre or Mobile Update End Point. A QR code facility and password protected eKYC data are among the additional features provided in the app.

The mAadhaar app is currently available for Android users only.

Indian Railways to rope in Japanese experts to avoid accidents, derailments

NEW DELHI: Amid rising incidents of derailments and accidents, the Indian Railways has decided to rope in Japanese experts to grapple with the situation.

A high-level team of experts from Japan comprising of representatives of Japan’s ministry of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism (MLIT), JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and railway operators visited India this week and discussed in detail the scope of cooperation between the two countries in the matter of Railway safety.

The Japanese team visited Indian Railway’s coach, wagon and locomotive maintenance facilities and also observed rail welding and track maintenance practices bring followed at present, a senior Railway official said on Wednesday.

MLIT had in response to the request from Indian Railways deputed a team of Japanese Railway experts to India to assess incidents of rail breakage and suggest measures to improve safety in train operations. The official said that the first meeting was held in January with Japanese Experts.

After this, a separate memorandum of cooperation (MoC) on Railway safety was signed on February between Ministry of Railways, Government of India and MLIT, Japan to cover area adequately.

The memorandum envisages cooperation in Rail Safety on area such as maintenance of Track (welding, rail inspection, track circuit etc.) and rolling stock maintenance.

Capacity development has been taken as a technical cooperation project under the MoC to develop Indian Railways’ capacity in respect of the above identified areas.

These areas have been incorporated in the terms of reference of the cooperation.

Japanese Railways is one of the oldest Rail system in the world. Japan is the pioneer in the High Speed Rail ‘Shinkansen’. Japanese Railways has an impeccable record with Safety. Ministry of Railways (GoI) had requested Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) for technical cooperation in Rail Safety.

The cooperation will facilitate exchange of information and visit of experts from both sides. A workshop is proposed to be organised in the first week of Nov’2017 in association with Japanese experts.

Pune Railway Division to conduct Track Surveillance trials with 2 Drones to keep eye on tracks, stations

Railways will watch out for derailments, accidents, illegal track crossing, passengers’ stunts, track maintenance, encroachments and more.

PUNE: As safety while using the Indian Railways becomes a matter of raging debate, it appears that the local division of this transport authority has decided to a rather futuristic remedial measure.

Now, two new drone cameras will be deployed soon to keep a hawk’s eye watch on railway tracks and stations in Pune railway division — also incidentally making it the first division in the country to use such a vigilance system.

Recent incidents of derailment and other railway accidents have sparked this decision, and the first trial runs for these cameras will take place next week.

Speaking to media about the initiative, Pune Divisional Railway Manager B K Dadabhoy said, “Train operations, maintenance of tracks, vigilance against untoward incidents and various other initiatives are being carried out round the clock by the railways. When accidents occur on the tracks, our Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and officials do take some time to reach the spot and verify matters. Often, there are cases of passengers protesting on the tracks, rail rokos and more — all in all, human vigilance has its limitations. So, we decided that drone cameras will aid us immeasurably when it comes to keeping an eye on railway tracks, Pune railway station and other areas under the division.”

Dadabhoy added, “Initially, we will buy just two drones at an approximate budget of Rs 40 lakh. They will be highquality machines to record videos and take pictures at a certain distance above ground level. It will help us get realtime videos and photos if incidents like derailment, accidents, illegal track crossing, passengers’ stunts (especially on Pune–Lonavala local train routes), track maintenance work, law and order situations and encroachments on railway property take place. Next week, we will conduct trial runs for the drone cameras, keeping one at Pune railway station and the other at Miraj railway station to cover nearby areas.”

In October 2016, the Maharashtra Express train derailed at Pune railway station during its night trip; several incidents of youths carrying out stunts have also been observed on Pune- Lonavala locals. While the RPF takes continual action against miscreants and trespassers, they can cover only a limited area.

Meanwhile, commuters have welcomed the drone project. Prashant Sharma, a daily passenger to and from Lonavala, shared, “In the last 20 years, I have witnessed a number of accidents on this route, mostly when passengers are hit by stones thrown from the outside. There have also been issues of trains getting stuck along the route due to technical or other occasions — if this happens at a lonely spot now, the drones will help capture the exact location and help officials reach hapless passengers in case of any emergency.”

Initially, we will buy just two drones for around Rs 40 lakh. Next week, we will conduct trial runs, keeping one at Pune railway station and the other at Miraj railway station to cover nearby areas.

Indian Railways wave red flag to stop child traffickers in transit

Campaigners say India’s train stations have become transit points for traffickers, who lure poor children to cities with the promise of good jobs

SALEM: On platform number one at the Salem train station in south India, a colourful booth stands out amid the chaos of passengers, porters and vendors.

It is a children’s help desk, one of two set up on a pilot basis in India by the charity Railway Children. Here staff are mapping the journeys of thousands of vulnerable children, who have been trafficked, are lost or are runaways.

From the brightly painted booth, officials track the nearly 200 trains that travel daily through Salem junction in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, looking for children at risk on the rail network – the traffickers’ preferred mode of transport.

Campaigners say India’s train stations have become transit points for traffickers, who lure children to cities with the promise of good jobs, but sell them into slavery as domestic workers, to work in small manufacturing units, farming or pushed into sexual slavery in brothels.

“If you travel 45 minutes from Salem junction, you will be in industrial hubs that thrive on child labour or cross a state border into a region with a different local language and culture,” said Valavan Vasantha Siddartha of Railway Children.

“If the journey of trafficked and vulnerable children is not stopped at the stations, the children will simply disappear once they reach their destinations.”

The two 24 hour help desks set up in collaboration with Indian Railways identify children at risk and provide them with shelter and work on reuniting them with their families.

More than 9,000 children in India were reported to have been trafficked in 2016, a 27 percent rise from the previous year, according to government data.

A large number of unaccompanied and trafficked children travel on train across India and many use platforms as shelter or working as hawkers or ragpickers, campaigners said.

“Our officials come across them all the time, travelling ticketless or abandoned on trains and at platforms,” A S Vijuvin, senior railway officer at the Salem station told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Between 2014 and August 2017, the Railway Protection Force rescued 28,057 children including 1,502 trafficked children from stations, according to a statement released on Monday.

On an average, at least 25 children are rescued every day from trains and railway premises, the statement said.

RESCUED

Since the help desk was opened at Salem station in March, 431 children have been rescued, a quarter from northern India.

“Many of the children we rescue were heading for the poultry farms in Namakkal, spinning mills in Erode or truck workshops along the highways,” Siddartha said.

“Since we set up the booth, we have noticed that many are travelling on trains that arrive past midnight, when the surveillance is lower.”

Campaigners estimate there is a vulnerable child entering a railway station every five minutes. Girls are particularly vulnerable and often taken off by traffickers within hours of arriving.

The Salem booth, and a similar one in Darbhanga station in eastern state of Bihar, are connected to shelters run near the station.

“Some come to have a bath or just sit in a clean space. We have counsellors at hand and the idea is to eventually help these children,” said Siddartha of Railway Children. “In many cases we reunite them with their families.”

The Indian government has in the past launched campaigns on India’s vast railway network, while a periodic police drive, “Operation Smile”, screens children in shelters, train and bus stations, and on the streets to find the missing.

Indian Railways has now extended these initiatives to cover 82 stations across the world’s fourth-largest railway network.

Ticket checkers, catering staff and policemen travelling on trains are taught to look for signs of trafficking and be on alert for children in large groups, the body language of the adults accompanying them and dubious documents.

“We are constantly relooking at the process because we realise that traffickers are two steps ahead,” Vijuvin said.

“When big stations are covered, they disembark two stops ahead, at the smaller ones. We hope to slowly link every station with these protocols.”

Bullet Train project reignites debate on land for ‘public purpose’

MUMBAI: Plans for India’s first bullet train, a $17-billion-dollar project, have sparked a debate on the definition of “public purpose” for land acquisitions which have become increasingly contentious.

The 500-km- (310-mile-) long high-speed rail link promises to cut travel time between the financial hub of Mumbai and the industrial city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state by more than half to under three hours.

The project, inaugurated earlier this month, will need about 825 hectares (2,000 acres) of land. The government has said it will complete the line by 2022, even as farmers along the proposed route held protests against giving up their land.

They may have little say in the matter, as the state has a legal right to take private property for public purposes.

But analysts say the definition of what constitutes public purpose needs revisiting, even for infrastructure projects.

“When projects – airports, private colleges, bullet trains – benefit only a small percentage of the population, some debate over public purpose needs to be had, for moral if not legal reasons,” said Aseem Shrivastava, an environmental economist.

“When the state is brokering land deals, should only the state decide what is public purpose?”

Conflicts have increased in India as land is sought for industrial use and development projects.

A law passed in 2013 was meant to protect the rights of farmers, ensuring consensus over land acquisitions, rehabilitation for those displaced, and adequate compensation.

But several states have diluted these provisions to speed up acquisitions.

Over the years, the state has extended public purpose from public schools, railways and highways to also include private hospitals and educational institutions, factories and Special Economic Zones.

Officials say these are key to accelerate economic growth and generate jobs that benefit the community.

But land rights experts say defining such projects as public purpose leaves vulnerable people with little judicial recourse.

“To say that jobs are created by setting up a factory, and that therefore it is public purpose, is a facetious argument,” Shrivastava told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

In a rare victory for campaigners, the Supreme Court last year ruled that land purchased by West Bengal state for a Tata Motors factory could not be deemed to have been acquired for a “public purpose” and must be returned to farmers.

In an analysis of all land acquisition cases decided by the Supreme Court from 1950, the top court invalidated the government’s view of public purpose in less than 1 percent of cases, according to think tank Centre for Policy Research.

“We have a virtual laundry list of what makes up public purpose now,” said Namita Wahi, director of the centre’s Land Rights Initiative. “This permissive interpretation is very problematic.”

College Students from Bangalore offer IoT-based solution for unmanned Railway crossings

The team from CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, aims to reduce railway accidents through IOT

BENGALURU: At a time when train accidents are becoming frequent, six students from CMR Institute of Technology, Bengaluru, have suggested a cost-effective way to the Indian Railways to eliminate accidents at unmanned level crossings.

The project – an Internet of Things-based (IoT) multi-tier system – is currently under the railway ministry’s consideration. The system is based on three types of sensors and was presented at the Smart India Hackathon 2017, organized by the central government in April.

“We have given an alternative idea of eliminating unmanned railway crossings across India. It’s an automated IoT-based multi-tier system based on sensors. This will buttress the security system of the railways and remove human errors,” explained Ishaan Abhinav, a third-year student and member of team Gamma, which came up with the model.

The model operates on three sensors – radio-frequency identification (RFID) sensor, pressure sensor and optical sensor – to be placed at different points from the crossing. The pressure and optical sensors are triggered by the weight and appearance of trains, respectively.

As soon as the train passes through the RFID sensor located 2.7km from the crossing, an alarm and light system will be activated to signal road users to stop. As the train approaches the pressure sensor – to be placed at 1.75km from the crossing – it’s time for the gates to close. By the time the train reaches the optical sensor, placed 1.5km from the crossing, the gates will shut automatically.

“The project doesn’t end here. It is often seen that when barricades come down, many walker try to cross the track by slipping underneath. To prevent this, we have added barbed wires to the barricades,” said Malvika Vinay, another team member and a third-year engineering student.

The project was readied in two-and-a-half weeks by the team whose members include Madhusoodhanan K M, Adhitya Niranjan, Misha P and Rainy Jain. The students from computer science and mechanical engineering streams were mentored by Sudhir Routray, Sharmila K P and Rahul Nyamangoudar.

“We went till the final round of the hackathon. The PM addressed us and spoke about the problems faced by the Railways,” said Madhusoodanan.

Said professor Sharmila, head of the department for telecommunication: “It’s a low-budget solution for railways as these sensors don’t require much power or battery to run till about four to five years. We are now making changes in the project as suggested by the Ministry of Railways.”

Indian Railways to eliminate unmanned level crossings within a year

In a bid to reduce the accidents, the Railway Ministry on Sunday has decided to take measures to eliminate all unmanned level crossings in the country within a year.

A decision was taken in this regard after Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal reviewed the performance of Southern Railway and ICF at a meeting held here.

During the meeting, the Minister also asked his department authorities to ensure that Indian Railways provide the best service with speed and safety.

Southern railway sources here said that the earlier target was to eliminate unmanned level crossings in three years, but by using the transformative mantra of “Speed, Skill and Scale”, this target has to be completed within one year now.

The Railway Minister said steps were taken to conserve electricity through large scale implementation of LED lighting facilities at railway stations, railway premises including railway quarters under UJALA programme of the union government.

Similarly, he said railway officials should take measures in water conservation, plastic disposal as a part of Green India mission of government.

No sops or Tax Concessions on Freight Movement in FY18: Sources

NEW DELHI: There are unlikely to be any sops or tax concessions this year as far as railway freight movement is concerned, sources told.

Instead, Indian Railways has planned to increase freight targets. Sources told the RailNews correspondent, that the ministry has already started meeting with major cement, steel and iron ore companies to help push up their targets.

The sources also said that these companies have assured the railway ministry that they would look to provide increased demand for freight going forward. The steel companies to have done this include JSW Steel and SAIL.

The ministry has also reportedly asked companies to increase their targets. Steel companies have been asked to push their targets to 300 million tonnes from the current 255 million tonnes.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also the Coal Minister, has asked Coal India to increase their freight loading targets.

Reforms in last 3 years boosted Railway loading, earnings: Mohammed Jamshed, Member-Traffic

Infusion of capital to the tune of Rs 8.56 lakh cr has already been tied up for the Railways during 2015-19

In the past year, the Indian Railways has undertaken various tariff reforms, including a reduction in freight rates to improve freight traffic. These reforms have paid rich dividends in terms of growth in freight loading and earnings during the current financial year. Mohammed Jamshed, Member Traffic of Railway Board, talks to media about the reformative measures that the Railways has taken recently to improve traffic.

Could you specify some of the tariff and other reforms and what has been their impact on revenue and traffic growth this financial year?

We have recently decided to provide freight concessions for double stack containers, liberalised automatic freight rebate scheme in empty flow directions, rationalised distance slabs above 1,500 km and up to 3,500 km, withdrawn port congestion charges, offered short-lead concessions and discount for loading of bagged consignment in open and flat wagons, concessional station-to-station rates, rationalised classification of commodities, and permitted all rail routes in place of rail-cum-sea routes, among other things.

These freight tariff rationalisation schemes have yielded significant results in terms of freight loading and earning during April-August 2017 as compared to the corresponding period of last year. The automatic freight rebate scheme in empty flow direction introduced in January 2017 has resulted in 665 per cent increase in loading and 870 per cent increase in earning.

The withdrawal of dual freight policy for export iron ore in May 2016 has resulted in 19 per cent increase in loading and nine per cent increase in earning. The revised policy of station-to-station rates has yielded more than Rs 60 crore in additional revenue in this period. Under the long-term tariff contract (LTTC) policy unveiled in July 2017, significant freight rebate based on incremental growth in revenue and on the total volume of traffic are offered for long-term loading commitment for a period of three to five years. Already, nine agreements have been signed with cement and steel companies under this policy and six more agreements are under finalisation.

In which areas have these measures resulted in a significant jump in loading for the Indian Railways?

Various initiatives taken over the past three years have helped in not only reversing the trend of falling loading and net tonne km (NTKMs) but have also facilitated high growth rates in some commodities. During the period between April and August 2017, incremental loading of almost 22 million tonnes (4.8 per cent growth over the past year) has been achieved, while the NTKMs have grown by four per cent. Double-digit growth rates have been achieved in originating loading for steel (22.3 per cent), iron ore (22.8 per cent), cement (12.6 per cent), container (12.3 per cent), and other segments (10.6 per cent). The trend in the month of September is also positive and we expect to achieve four to five million tones incremental loading in this month.

With the growth in traffic, what are the major plans for augmenting railway capacity?

The Indian Railways has been grappling with capacity constraints due to years of underinvestment. These acute capacity constraints have adversely impacted both passenger and freight business. Recognising the need for capacity augmentation to regain market share, we have accorded priority to significantly improving capacity on the existing high-density networks, gauge conversions, doubling, tripling, and electrification.

Infusion of capital to the tune of Rs 8.56 lakh crore has already been tied up for the Indian Railways during 2015-19. Out of this amount, Rs 2 lakh crore will be used in network decongestion, Rs 1 lakh crore in station development and logistics parks, Rs  1 lakh crore in rolling stock, Rs 1.27 lakh crore in safety, and Rs 0.65 lakh crore in high-speed rail. The Plan Expenditure has already been increased from Rs 57,000 crore in 2014-15 to Rs 94,000 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 1.11 lakh crore in 2016-17. In 2017-18, we have further stepped up the capital expenditure to Rs 1.31 lakh crore with the focus remaining on the most remunerative capacity expansion works.

The Railways is targeting massive capacity augmentation by way of two dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) by 2019 and is planning three new DFCs. In addition, enhanced rolling stock procurement is also planned by the Railways through public sector units as well as the private sector.

Terminals have been an area of concern. What has been done to promote private freight terminals and capacity of existing terminals?

As a conscious strategy, the Indian Railways has decided to encourage private investment in terminals and sidings to bring about improvement in freight terminals. The liberalised siding policy was issued in August 2016. The policy is targeted towards making the process of setting up of private siding industry-friendly, minimising delays by fixing timelines, ensuring transparency and objectivity, and sharing of costs and burdens.

The PFT policy was revised in 2015, making it more attractive and industry-friendly, and 103 proposals have been received for development of PFTs at different locations. Out of these, 49 PFTs have been commissioned and are functioning with an investment of approximately Rs 1,200 crore. In principle approval has been given by the zonal railways for 40 proposals and the remaining proposals are under examination.

How is the coal sector doing? Are you looking at higher coal loading from Coal India (CIL)? Would this play a significant role in taking care of the shortfall in loading of imported coal?

The demand for coal during 2017-18 has been much more buoyant than what it was in the past two years. Apart from imported coal, where there has been a decline over the past year, loading from all other sources has shown growth during April-August 2017. Loading from CIL sources has been around 215 rakes per day during this period, against 209 rakes per day in the corresponding period last year.

We are maintaining very close coordination with CIL in order to maximise loading. The loading for the first five months by CIL has been impacted due to heavy rains. This has resulted in the loading by CIL being at the level of 215 rakes per day. The ministry of coal has directed CIL to load 250 rakes per day in the balance part of the financial year. Given the high demand for coal from various sectors and the action plan of the coal ministry to improve coal dispatches in the coming months, I would expect CIL loading to be higher than 250 rakes per day in the last six months of 2017-18.

Balance Safety and Punctuality in Train Operations: GM/SCR said

SECUNDERABAD: South Central Railway General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav advised the officials to balance safety and punctuality in train operations to get passenger satisfaction.

He conducted a detailed review meeting on Safety and Punctuality today at Rail Nilayam in Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. The Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) of all six Divisions i.e., Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded participated through video conference.

The General Manager said that railways can render better services when a perfect balance of safety and punctuality is attained. Speaking on the safety he said that, it is always better to be prepared for any unexpected situations especially in monsoon season. He advised the officials to conduct all safety inspections in a meaningful manner and all officers should take care of asset maintenance. Asset maintenance is crucial for hassle free train operations, he added.

Vinod Kumar Yadav stressed on utmost priority towards maintaining the highest level of safety in train movement, specifically in relation to maintenance of track. He also cautioned that extra attention be given to vulnerable locations and unsafe procedures in train operations. He informed that the Minister of Railways is very particular about the steps being taken by the Zones on maintenance of cleanliness in trains and stations. He called upon the officials to show the ability and prove that Zone achieves best in terms of passenger satisfaction.

Additional General Manager John Thomas and other senior officials were also present during the meeting.

Collision Avoidance System Market Foreseen to Grow exponentially over 2016–2026

Increasing number of severe accidents had elevated the need of a system to avoid collisions. The collision avoidance system is helpful to avoid imminent collisions amongst objects such as automobiles, aircrafts, railways, marine and others. The increasing application of collision avoidance system in construction and mining industries are boosting the global collision avoidance system market.  Based upon its applications there are various collision avoidance system such as airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), ground proximity warning system (GPWS), obstacle collision avoidance system.

Collision avoidance system works on the principle of avoiding the collision by warning the operator of the threat or by taking an autonomous avoidance movement. The automobile giants such as Fusion, General Motors and Ford Explorer are having a pre-collision system installed in their cars. These pre-collision system uses radar to detect the approaching obstacles and alerts the drivers accordingly, or even the system will brake the vehicle. Currently the global collision avoidance system market is in billions and is anticipated to witness a modest CAGR growth in the forecasted period.

Portable Collision Avoidance System (PCAS),Ground Proximity Warning System (GPWS),FLARM, Terrain Awareness and Warning System (TAWS).,Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS),Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS),On the basis of Product Type, the collision avoidance system market can be segmented as follows:

Collision Avoidance System Market: Segmentation. Drivers and Restraints, Region Wise Outlook, Key Players:

The expensive nature of collision avoidance system restricts its usage in the middle level and lower level segment vehicles. In some cases the collision avoidance system only warns the drivers and does not perform any autonomous avoidance movement, and ignorance of drivers might lead to the collision. The above factors can slowdown the global collision avoidance system market.

Automotive industry is having the largest share in the global collision avoidance market and due to the increasing concern of travellers and vehicle safety the global collision avoidance system market is anticipated to boost in the forecasted period. Further, stringent government regulations, and lower insurance premium of vehicles with collision avoidance system is driving the global collision avoidance system market. Increased awareness amongst governments of different regions is leading to the installation of collision avoidance system in railways, aircrafts and submarines, resulting in the growth of global collision avoidance system market.

Increasing number of severe accidents had elevated the need of a system to avoid collisions. The collision avoidance system is helpful to avoid imminent collisions amongst objects such as automobiles, aircrafts, railways, marine and others. The increasing application of collision avoidance system in construction and mining industries are boosting the global collision avoidance system market.  Based upon its applications there are various collision avoidance system such as airborne collision avoidance system (ACAS), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), ground proximity warning system (GPWS), obstacle collision avoidance system. Collision avoidance system works on the principle of avoiding the collision by warning the operator of the threat or by taking an autonomous avoidance movement. The automobile giants such as Fusion, General Motors and Ford Explorer are having a pre-collision system installed in their cars. These pre-collision system uses radar to detect the approaching obstacles and alerts the drivers accordingly, or even the system will brake the vehicle. Currently the global collision avoidance system market is in billions and is anticipated to witness a modest CAGR growth in the forecasted period.

Synthetic Vision, Obstacle Collision Avoidance System. On the basis of Functionality, the collision avoidance system market can be segmented as follows: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC),Blind Spot Detection (BSD),Forward Collision Warning (FCW),Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS).On the basis of Applications, the collision avoidance system market can be segmented as follows: Automotive, Marine, Aerospace, Railways, Others (Construction and Mining).

The global collision avoidance system market can be divided into seven regions, namely North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan and Middle East and Africa .Europe is the leader in terms of market share in global collision avoidance system market owing to the flourishing automotive sector in this region. Also in this region there are stringent government regulations for installing some basic systems such as tire pressure monitoring system in automotive and ACAS system in aircrafts for seating capacity above a specific number. North America is another significant contributor in global collision avoidance system market due to its increasing construction, railways and mining sectors.

Asia Pacific is anticipated to be a potential market in the global collision avoidance system market in near future. India and China are the countries that would witness a decent growth in the construction and mining, automotive sectors. Latin America and Japan are at a nascent stage in the global collision avoidance system market. Middle East and Africa are anticipated to have a slowdown collision avoidance system market in the forecasted period.

Some of the key players in global collision avoidance system market are as follows: Delphi Automotive LLP,Robert Bosch GmbH, DENSO CORPORATION, Autoliv Inc, Becker Mining Systems AG, Wabtec Corporation, Siemens AG, Rockwell Collins, ALSTOM, GENERAL ELECTRIC,Honeywell International Inc, Saab AB.

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SWR’s RPF Team averts Train Mishap while on track-patrol duty, mishap averted

BANGALORE: During track patrol duty to prevent theft of passenger belonging offences on 19.09.2017, Shri R.S. Sundo, constable of Railway Protection Special Force; Shri Chandramani, constable of Railway Protection Special Force and Shri Thirumalesha, Head Constable of Bengaluru Cantonment, noticed Rail fracture near Bengaluru Cantonment Railway Station at about 08:50 hrs. at KM 352/400-500 between Bengaluru Cantonment and KSR Bengaluru.  Immediately, the information was disseminated to all concerned officials for taking necessary action.

Inspector of Railway Protection Force, Bengaluru Cantonment along with Senior Section Engineer, Permanent Way and Station Master of Bengaluru Cantonment rushed to the spot.

In the meantime T.No.56507, Marikuppam-KSR Bengaluru Passenger had arrived at Bengaluru Cantonment station. The train was detained at Bengaluru Cantonment for 36 minutes and departed from the station at 09:26 hours after restoration/clearance from the Engineering Department.

The timely action taken by the RPF patrolling party averted a mishap. A.K.Gupta, General Manager of South Western Railway announced Rs.5000/- cash award to these RPF staff for their commendable work.

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Stop Train Mishap, get out-of-turn Promotion: Piyush Goyal to Railway Staff

Terming the recent train accidents as ‘unfortunate’, Goyal called upon the railway staff to work diligently

BANGALORE: In the wake of a series of recent train accidents in the country, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has suggested out-of-turn promotions for those railway employees who take timely action to avert mishaps.

Speaking at a review meeting with senior officials of the South Western Railway, he asserted that such schemes will boost the morale of the staff.

Terming the recent train accidents as “unfortunate”, Goyal called upon the railway staff to work diligently for ensuring complete safety in running trains, a release by the South Western Railway said.

“The minister suggested various schemes such as granting out-of-turn promotion for the staff who take timely action to avert accidents. He said such schemes will go a longway in boosting the morale of the staff,” it said.

The Railway Minister emphasised that safety shall be given top most priority and track renewal works be taken up expeditiously.

He also asked the Railways to develop an action plan for eliminating unmanned level crossing gates in a year’s time, instead of 2019-20 as planned earlier.

Maintain all Assets in Perfect Condition to ensure Safety: GM,SCR

SECUNDERABAD: Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway stressed upon according top priority to ensure safety by perfect maintenance of the assets and plan in advance to make them fit to ensure safety. He conducted detailed review meeting on Safety and Punctuality today i.e., 15th September, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. The Senior Divisional Operations Managers (Sr.DOMs) of all six Divisions i.e., Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded attended the meeting.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, held a review of all the safety aspects on the zone including the bottle necks in train operations. He advised the officials to meticulously plan the track maintenance works coordinating with other departments over the zone.  Vinod Kumar Yadav instructed the officials to sensitize the safety staff on regular basis by conducting the safety seminars, habit of reading safety literature on regular basis etc. He advised the staff to follow speed restrictions and called for immediate remedial measures to arrest any such failures. Vinod Kumar Yadav reviewed the Monsoon readiness drill including patrolling, monitoring of water levels of tanks etc., and instructed them to concentrate on vulnerable locations. Speaking on the Punctuality Vinod Kumar Yadav stated that the punctuality also should be accorded priority.

Speaking on the staff welfare measures, Vinod Kumar Yadav advised the officials to change organization working culture to create tension free atmosphere, so that the staff can work in quite atmosphere to increase the output and perfection.

K.V.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer; N. Madhusudana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer; V.M.Srivastava, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; A.A.Phadke, Chief Electrical Engineerwere amongst the officials present.

CRS submits Preliminary Report on Derailment Accident of Train No.18477 Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express

NEW DELHI: Shailesh Kumar Pathak, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Northern Circle, held a statutory inquiry into the accident of Derailment of train no.18477 Puri- Haridwar Utkal Express at km.101/3-4 between Khatauli-Mansurpur stations of Delhi Saharanpur section, Broad Guage, Single Line, Electrified section of Delhi Division of Northern Railway on 19.08.2017. As a result of the accident, 22 persons were killed, 40 persons were grievously injured and 66 persons sustained simple injuries.

According to provisional findings of the Commissioner appended with his preliminary report, the accident occurred due to “Failure of Railway Staff”.

These findings are under the consideration of the Government. This press release is based on the information made available by the Office of Commission of Railway Safety, Northern Circle, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govt. of India.

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Tejas loses its shine for passengers, demand dips

In the routing checking of the seat availability for the coming days, it was found there are at least 675-700 available seats in AC coaches and 30-35 in the executive AC coach, right till December.

In May, the Central Railway authorities were excited about launching the premier Mumbai-Goa Tejas Express in the hope that it would be their gravy train, but the country’s first semi-high speed train seems to have quickly run out of steam. It has been running empty for days now, at what should be a peak time, and hasn’t seen many reservations even for the year-end months.

Almost 90 per cent of seats in the 13-coach train, which has two power cars and an engine, were vacant for its past many runs, CR sources said. “During monsoons, trains are less crowded. But it is surprising that even in the months of October to December, full of festivals, the train hasn’t seen many bookings,” said a CR official on condition of anonymity. Besides, now is the time when Konkan region is said to be scenic and receive visitors, he said.

When randomly checked seat availability for the coming days, we found there are at least 675-700 available seats in AC coaches and 30-35 in the executive AC coach, right till December. An executive-class coach in Tejas has 42 seats while each AC coach has 65 seats.

CR officials, concerned about the drop in demand, complained that when quality services are provided at a slightly steeper cost, people shun them. “It feels futile to improve the condition of services, accessories and food quality inside premier trains,” an official said.

In the month that Tejas Express was flagged off by former railway minister Suresh Prabhu, the train was running to capacity each way. But then, in June, demand from Mumbaikars heading for Goa dropped to 67 per cent, and further to 23 per cent in July, before picking up, at about 55 per cent, in August.

Railway officials claim that demand during monsoon is normally low, be it railways or airways, but in this case, even the festive months of November and December haven’t seen holiday-goers line up for bookings.

Built in the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, the train is capable of running at 200 kmph, but usually runs at 160-180 kmph due to track constraints.

CSMT-Karmali Tejas Express: Reservations

May 24-31: 100 per cent
June: 66.57 per cent
July: 23.15 per cent
August: 55.08 per cent

Karmali-CSMT

May: 100 per cent
June: 69.47 per cent
July: 24.74 per cent
Aug: 33.9 per cent

Features :

– Touchless water taps, soap dispenser, marble finish anti-graffiti coat, hand dryers
– Vinyl-wrapped exteriors, secured gangways to reduce sound levels, dirt, water ingress
– Electro-pneumatic air brakes, fire and smoke suppression system
– CCTV cameras, GPS based public address system
– Call bell integrated with berth reading light, digital destination boards
– TV with touch control
– Local cuisine and celebrity-chef menu

Rationalising Train Schedules may be the Best Choice for Railways under the current constraints to ensure Safety

Within three days of taking over as the new railway minister, Piyush Goyal had to grapple with three derailments, that too in a span of 12 hours. Frequent rail accidents and causalities have eroded the public perception of train travel being safe, and unlike his predecessor Suresh Prabhu, Goel has about one and half years to achieve whatever is expected of him. Given the run-up to general elections 2019, the expectation from the railway minister is to make train travel safe, no more and no less.

This is not to say that Goel should abandon the visionary transformation initiatives of Prabhu, such as the establishment of non-fare box directorate, mobility directorate, world class station development through public private partnership, establishment of Rail Transport University, halting the production of ICF coaches once for all, retrofitting the existing ICF coaches with the safety features of LHB coaches to reduce fatalities during accidents, Mission Raftar for Delhi–Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, Talgo trains, to name a few. He should take these initiatives forward to its logical conclusion.

But it would take more time to fructify and outcomes could be seen only during 2019-24 or beyond, So, the immediate task before Goel is to bring back public confidence in safe train travel. But is he going to ensure that?

A daunting task

The Modi government in 2014 inherited a dilapidated railway infrastructure from the previous governments and it would take even two decades to fix it completely. But, after being in power for three years, blaming the previous regimes for the sorry state affairs of Indian Railways (IR) cannot hold water with the electorate. In fact, what causes accidents and how they should be reduced have been elaborated in various reports, papers and articles. From this, one can conclude that there are at least two dimensions to accidents and fatalities. The first dimension is to avoid accidents altogether.

In the discussion note on Fund Deployment Framework for Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK), it was estimated that IR requires ₹1.54 lakh crore to carry out inter-departmental safety works, whereas RRSK funding provides ₹20,000 crore per year, which includes the budgetary support of ₹5,000 crore. At this rate, IR would take at least eight years to complete the inter-departmental safety works. Even if the entire ₹1.54 lakh crore is made available, the safety works cannot be completed in a year.

Reducing pain

The second dimension to safety is to reduce the casualties and injuries, once the accident has occurred. In November 2016, IR decided to stop manufacturing ICF coaches, which tends to raise casualities and injuries, by 2017.

However, the issue is much larger. About 50,000 passenger coaches of IR are ICF coaches, which constituted more than 95 per cent of the total coaches in IR. The Railways also made plans to retrofit all the ICF coaches with the safety provisions of LHB coaches.

However, the retrofitting would take years. Safe train travel and reduced casualties cannot wait till both these safety concerns are addressed by IR.

The maximum number of trains that can be run in a section depends on line capacity, the efficiency of signalling system, the speed of trains in that block.

However, about 65 per cent of the total railway network has been accommodating trains beyond their capacity. As a result, the maintenance staff does not get even two to three hours of uninterrupted window every day to carry out the maintenance work.

As a stop-gap arrangement, the NITI Aayog asked the Railways to redesign the time table in a manner that at least two to three hours of uninterrupted time is available for the maintenance staff to carry out safety checks for every block.

This includes combining few trains, increasing coaches or wagons and rationalising stops across all trains. However, a deeper understanding of how rail infrastructure is utilised by passenger and freight trains and how patronage for diverse types of passenger trains has been changing over the years would help here. It would throw light on how to rationalise the train time table.

Passenger trains (both ordinary trains and non-ordinary trains) and freight trains load rail infrastructure to the extent of about 67 per cent and 33 per cent respectively. IR ply about 2,800 non-ordinary trains (Express/Mail) with an average speed of about 56 kmph, which includes premium trains such as Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi.

Most of the Mail/Express trains include overnight travel as they are meant for medium to long distance travel. In addition, IR ply about 2500 ordinary trains, which are essentially day trains of short to medium distance with an average speed of about 35 kmph.

An ordinary problem

The analysis of rail travel data shows that share of ordinary trains in passenger transport measured in Passenger Kilometer (PKM) decreased from 37.50 per cent in 2005-06 to 26.20 per cent in 2015-16. The North Central Railway and East Central Railway covering UP and Bihar witnessed a decline of 22.5 per cent and 18.5 per cent respectively in ordinary train travel between 2012-13 and 2015-16.

Given their average slow speed due to so many stoppages, ordinary trains load the rail network more than the passenger transport they carry.

The railway lines connecting Delhi and Howrah passing through the states of UP and Bihar are the most congested sections of IR. A substantial reduction in number of ordinary trains either by reducing the frequency or phasing out ordinary trains in this route would ease congestion. This would give an uninterrupted window between dawn to dusk for the maintenance staff. The same logic should be applied to other congested routes of IR in other zones.

The new railway minister does not have too many options to improve the safety of rail travel, given the time and fund constraints. Rationalising the schedule of ordinary trains on war footing may be the best choice for Goel under the current constraints to ensure safe train travel.

Indian Railways to start its biggest Track Renewal Exercise

AHMEDABAD: Indian Railways will undertake its largest track renewal exercise in the next three months to reduce train derailments. New railway minister Piyush Goyal has asked the Railway Board to identify stretches where tracks have either completed their lifespan or carry heavy traffic and change them all within the stipulated timeline.

The national transporter is expected to renew almost 2,000 km of track by the end of this calendar year, officials said. Goyal has instructed the board to use the available rails for renewals. However, the target for the current financial year for laying of new rails will remain the same and the railways will place fresh orders for tracks. “The minister is of the view that we should get safety in place first and then focus on laying fresh routes or doubling and tripling of lines.

The track renewals would have to be completed by December,” a top rail official said. “However, it doesn’t mean that we won’t meet the target of laying 3,000 km of new track routes. That would be completed as well. This would be a challenge for the zonal railways — to complete both things in record time.”

Goyal has also told the board that he’s not looking at raising passenger fares or levying any kind of safety cess on rail tickets to raise more resources for maintenance, the officials said. Instead, the focus is on weeding out inefficiency and raising revenue through non-fare avenues.

The minister has also instructed the timely completion of the 3,300 km long dedicated freight corridors by 2019. The corridors will reduce traffic on the existing rail network, giving the railways more resources for better maintenance of rail routes.

India has been hit by several rail accidents in the past few months. At least 200 people have died in 340 small and big accident since 2014.

Railways cuts down sleeping hours for passengers by an hour

NEW DELHI: The Railways is trying to put an end to those tiresome quarrels that break out due to oversleeping passengers on the middle and lower berths by reducing official sleeping hours.

According to a circular issued by the railway board, the passengers in the reserved coaches can only sleep between 10 pm and 6 am to allow others to sit on the seats for the rest of the time.

Until the circular was issued, the existing permissible time for sleeping was between 9 pm and 6 am.

“Sleeping accommodation between 2200 hours and 0600 hours and sitting accommodation for the rest of the period is provided for the passengers in the reserved coaches having sleeping accommodation,” said the circular, dated August 31.

The circular, however, makes an exception for certain passengers.

“Passengers are, however, requested to cooperate with the sick, persons with disability, and pregnant ladies in case they want to sleep beyond permissible limits,” it says.

The new provision replaces paragraph 652 in the Indian Railways Commercial Manual, Volume I, which provides for sleeping accommodation between 9 pm and 6 am.

“We had received feedback from officials regarding issues between passengers over sleeping arrangements. We already have a rule in place. However, we wanted to clarify it and ensure it is followed,” said ministry spokesperson Anil Saxena.

This provision is applicable to all reserved coaches with sleeping accommodation, he said.

Another railway official said the sleeping time was reduced by an hour because there were times when passengers went to sleep as soon as they boarded the train — day or night — leaving the co-travellers on the upper and middle berths high and dry.

Conversely, officials said problems also arise when passengers on the middle berths refuse to get up so that those on the lower berths could sit comfortably.

“It is a regular bone of contention among passengers. Once, there was a passenger on the lower berth who slept all through the journey from Kolkata to Delhi, while the man on the upper berth had to remain there and others on the middle berth sat perched in one corner of the lower berth through the trip.

“All through the journey, they kept taking digs at the sleeping man and even poking him. This happens all the time on trains,” said Sachin Singh, a businessman, who travels frequently between Delhi and Kolkata for meetings.

Officials said that the problem is more acute for side berths. The circular has clarified that a person booked on side upper berth will not have any claim of seat on the lower berth between 10 pm and 6 am.

Ministry officials said the new directive will help Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) to resolve such disputes on board by preventing anyone from taking catnaps beyond the permissible time.

SCR plan to eliminate all Unmanned Level Crossings within One Year: says GM/SCR

SECUNDERABAD: Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway instructed the officials to eliminate all Un Manned Level Crossing (UMLCs) Gates by next year. He conducted a detailed review meeting on Safety and Punctuality today i.e., 18th September, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. The Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) of all six Divisions i.e., Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded participated through video conference.

Vinod Kumar Yadav informed that the Hon’ble Minister of Railways complimented the Zone regarding eliminations of level crossings which is increasing the responsibility of the Zone. The General Manager instructed that Employee Charter should be implemented properly in all Divisions and genuine grievances by the employees should be sorted out immediately. Speaking on the welfare activities of the women employees the General Manager instructed the DRMs to give priority on their grievances. He also instructed the officials to make an action plan to provide all stations and offices with LED lighting by the end of this financial year.

The General Manager speaking on the safety, instructed the officials to intensify field level checks, track maintenance works and address the problems on top priority. He reviewed the all unsafe working activities on the Zone and advised the officials to take preventive measures to arrest any such incidents. Vinod Kumar Yadav reviewed the Monsoon readiness drill including patrolling, monitoring of water levels of tanks etc., and instructed them to concentrate on vulnerable locations.

John Thomas, Additional General Manager; K.V.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer; N. Madhusudhana Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager; Arjun Mundiya, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer; Smt. Padmini Radhakrishnan,  Principal Financial Advisor; M.G.Sekharam, Principal Chief Commercial Manager; Vinay Mohan Shrivastava, Principal Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; Vijay Agrawal, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction); D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer; P.K.Sangewar, Principal Chief Material Manager; N.V. Ramana Reddy, Principal Chief Personnel Officer; Dr. K.H.K.Dora, Principal Chief Medical Director were also present during the meeting.

Indian Railways’ Freight Loading up 5% in April-Aug 2017

Coal accounts for 48% of the Railways traffic and 44% of its earnings profile. The demand for rakes from the domestic coal sector is way below the projected targets. However Rail freight, container volumes indicate significant rebound in trade in August: reports PhillipCapital India

KOLKATA: The Railways has seen nearly 5 per cent year-on-year increase in freight loading for the first five months of this fiscal (April to August) riding on growing volumes of cement, steel and iron ore traffic.

Steel cargo increased by 22.27 per cent to 22.62 million tonnes (mt) during April-August 2017 over the same period last year.

Iron ore loading saw a near 13 per cent y-o-y increase to 59.23 mt, while cement cargo grew by 12.60 per cent to 47.53 mt. Loading of foodgrains and containers has also gone up. The improved showing, however, came despite a 0.3 per cent drop in coal cargo to 215.86 mt, owing to reduced imports.

No growth in coal

Coal accounts for 48 per cent of the Railways traffic and 44 per cent of its earnings profile. According to Bajwa, while the loading of imported coal dropped, domestic coal loading increased. The demand for rakes from the domestic coal sector, however, is way below the projected targets. As against 238 rakes a day, Coal India Ltd is loading only 214 rakes a day, he said. “We hope the coal loading numbers will improve and we will be able to achieve the set target of 555 million tonnes this fiscal,” Bajwa told BusinessLine on the sidelines of the ‘mjunction’ organised coal markets conference. Fertiliser was the other major category that saw around four per cent decline in traffic, during this period, to 20.29 mt due to “less imports.”

The Railways invests nearly ₹131,000 crore to ramp up rolling stock (wagons), expanding track capacity through line doubling and improving the signalling system. According to Bajwa, by the end of 2018-19, the rolling stock (wagon) availability will increase by 10 per cent.

Container volumes at major ports increased 8.4% in August over a year ago, indicating a significant recovery in trade

Container volumes at major ports (in terms of 20-foot equivalent units) increased 8.4% in August over a year ago, indicating a significant recovery in trade. Due to the initial disruption caused by the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), container traffic growth had slowed to around 2-5% in the earlier two months. Encouragingly, volumes at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s largest container port, remained strong, clocking a growth of 9.1%, data compiled by PhillipCapital (India) Pvt. Ltd shows.

The Indian Railways freight traffic data also indicates a rebound in trade, though it is helped by a favourable base. Traffic in terms of originating tonnes expanded 7.7% last month, the fastest growth so far this fiscal year. The export-import (Exim) container traffic in terms of tonnage is up 19.5%. Domestic container traffic is up 16%, which is a positive surprise.

An analyst with a domestic broking firm says the data indicates continued market share gains by the railways. The recent rise in diesel prices may have helped tilt the cost curve in favour of the railways.

Nevertheless, these numbers should bode well for the national carrier and container train operators. Traffic not only gained momentum in August but growth so far this fiscal is also better than the year-ago period. Compared to 4.3% growth a year ago, container volume at major ports is up 6.4% so far this fiscal. Similarly, total rail freight volume is up 4.9% so far this fiscal, compared to a 1.4% drop in the year ago. Growth in container traffic on the Indian Railways is also significantly better than for the year-ago period.

Pit-line facility at Chikalthana over Nagarsol better due to availability of water

AURANGABAD: The demand for commissioning of pit-line for coach maintenance at Chikalthana near Aurangabad was raised before the Passenger Amenities Committee (PAC) of Railways during its visit to Aurangabad railway station, on Tuesday.

PAC team arrived here in the morning to listen to the demands of experts and activists who highlighted a range of issues related to Aurangabad and a few other important stations in the region.

“The construction of pit-line would enhance rail connectivity to Aurangabad and the entire region. The South Central Railway (SCR) authorities have already announced that they have chosen Chikalthana over Nagarsol for commissioning of pit-line due to better water availability. The pit-line would enable running of more number of long-distance trains originating from Aurangabad,” Railway activist, Rajkumar Somani said.

Considered to have great impact on junction’s ability of handling trains, pit-line is a facility that provides space and expertise for carrying out inspection and routine maintenance work of carriage parts of railway.

The activists also demanded starting a train to Bikaner, Rajasthan. “To begin with the train to Bikaner can be started as bi-weekly and later can run be run on daily basis. The train is bound to witness very good occupancy and fetch revenue for the SCR,” Somani said.

Among other demands, railway activists have pressed for starting the Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train on Igatpuri-Manmad-Aurangabad route.

Meanwhile, The PAC committee members, who travelled here by Dadar-Jalna Janshatabdi Express, reportedly had to wait for around half an hour at Manmad station as the train could not receive signal due to railway crossing.

“The incident speaks volume and the PAC members had first-hand experience of ordeal faced by passengers on daily basis,” railway activists said.

Railways to install GPS Trackers in Push Trolleys to monitor Tracks

Installation of the GPS will ensure proper Monitoring of the Track Inspection by Section Engineers as well as by Trackmen

BANGALORE: With repeated derailments mostly due to defective tracks, the railway ministry has decided to install GPS trackers in all hand-pushed trolleys used to inspect the tracks.

“The board has decided that all push trolleys should be numbered and installed with GPS trackers for effective monitoring of safety inspections of track and that the installation should be completed within one month period,” said a railway board letter to zonal railways.

The letter also stated that a computer, dedicated to keeping a record of the tracking system, will be installed at divisional engineering controls.

Installation of the GPS will ensure proper monitoring of the track inspection by sector engineering as well as by trackmen.

Physical track maintenance involved around two lakh trackmen and gangmen who carry 15 kg of equipment and walk along tracks checking for defects.

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, who chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday, also decided to replace all defective tracks on a priority basis.

SCR to eliminate all Unmanned Level Crossings by 2018

SECUNDERABAD: Elimination of all Unmanned Level Crossings on Zone to be completed by September, 2018 stated Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway at a review meeting held i.e., 11th September, 2017 at SCR Headquarters, Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad. The review meeting was attended by Principal Heads of Departments and the Divisional Railway Managers of Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Nanded, Guntakal and Guntur Divisions took part through Video Conferencing.

General Manager instructed Engineering and Operating Department Officials to co-ordinate and plan meticulously to finalize and start works pertaining to elimination of Unmanned Level Crossings (UMLCs) by construction of Limited Height Subways (LHS) / Road Over Bridges (ROBs) / manning of gates etc., on the Zone.

The meeting which had elaborate discussions on Safety aspects focused on the need of the hour i.e., the track maintenance works to be carried out to prevent untoward incidents. Vinod Kumar Yadav instructed all the Divisional Railway Managers to carry out Safety drives in the Divisions and identify areas concerning immediate attention for undertaking track renewal works. He also reiterated for periodical Training Module implementation for Control, field Staff for understanding and mitigating the difficulties faced while carrying out the work. He stressed upon to carry out all the preventive maintenance works with top priority and attention. He also held a detailed reviewed of Punctuality status of the Zone and suggested to improve the same. He also discussed Division wise Loading Performance status and expressed satisfaction over the current trend. He emphasized on new avenues to improve the loading and earnings.

D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer; N.Madusudhana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; Vijay Agarwal, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction); K. Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer, M.G.Sekharam, Chief Commercial Manager, Smt Padmini Radhakrishnan, Principal Financial Advisor, A.A.Padhke, Chief Electrical Engineer, V.M.Shrivastava, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer, N.V.Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer, SCR and Senior Officials were present during the meeting.

Focus on  Improvement of  Safety Systems To Ensure Safe Conditions: tells Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, GM,SCR to Safety Staff

Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway stressed upon according top priority to ensure safety by implementing system improvements meticulously. He conducted intensive review meeting on Safety, Punctuality and Passenger Amenities i.e., 04th September, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. The Divisional Railway Managers (DRMs) of all six Divisions i.e. Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded attended the meeting through video conference.

Vinod Kumar Yadav, held a detailed review of all the safety aspects on the Zone including minor incidents of unusual  happenings like weld failures, rail fractures and  human failures etc.,  He advised the staff to follow speed restrictions and called for immediate remedial measures to arrest any such failures. General Manager instructed the Officials to conduct vigorous inspections to identify the short falls which may lead to unusual incidents and advised to take pro active measures in all aspects to avoid hazardous situations. He instructed the officials to strictly adhere to the safety rules in implementing the system improvements to avoid unsafe situations. Speaking on the Punctuality Vinod Kumar Yadav stated that the punctuality also should be accorded priority.

He also took stock of Linen supply and cleanliness of bed rolls over the Zone and instructed Divisional Railway Managers & Officials to undertake special drives to check on proper supply of Linen.  Speaking on the staff welfare measures, he ordered the officials to inspect Hospitals, Holiday Homes and Rest houses to improve the infrastructure and facilities. Further, Vinod Kumar Yadav instructed the Officials to inspect the pantry cars regularly to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene. He instructed the officials to ensure the considerable improvement regarding cleanliness in all important stations over SCR.

Earlier, Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway  presented “Man of the Month” safety awards to fifteen employees for showing alertness in the duty and taking timely action to prevent unsafe conditions.

John Thomas, Additional General Manger; K.V.Siva Prasad, Principal Chief Engineer; N. Madhusudana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; Smt. Padmini Radhakrishnan,  Principal Financial Advisor (PFA); M.G.Sekharam, Chief Commercial Manager; Arjun Mundiya, Chief Mechanical Engineer; D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer; Vijay Agrawal, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction); V.M.Srivastava, Chief Signal & Telecommunications Engineer; A.A.Phadke, Chief Electrical Engineer; N.V. Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer; K.H.K.Dora, Chief Medical Director and Ashesh Agarwal, Sr. Deputy General Manager were amongst the officials present.

CSIR Lab develops smart device to monitor, detect Cracks on Bridges

CHENNAI: A smart device will now help structural engineers detect cracks on large structures and bridges before it is too late — all from the comforts of their office. Scientists from CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI), Karaikudi, have developed a portable device that will monitor weak structures and send alerts whenever a crack is observed.

The device called the ‘Triboluminescence (TL) Camera uses a light emitting compound and a smart camera that allows detection of cracks — invisible to the naked eye — on structures made of concrete, metal and fibre-reinforced plastic.

The compound when coated on a surface will emit light due to excessive pressure and the smart camera is programmed to capture it. The images can be shared through cloud storage or a mobile app, web browser or Bluetooth.

The TL camera device was among the many technologies developed by the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory and on display at an industrial conclave in the city recently.

Scientist R Monika, who demonstrated the technology to visitors at the conclave, said the chemical compound used in the device is in the form of a coarse powder. When it is coated on the surface of a structure, it has the capability to emit red light when rubbed, scratched, pulled or ripped.

“In the case of a bridge or a flyover, its central portion and beams are considered the weaker parts. These areas can be coated with the compound. When vehicles move on the structure and these portions come under pressure, a red light is emitted wherever there are cracks. These cracks may otherwise not be visible to the naked eye,” she explained. “At present, structural engineers have to physically check for the smallest of cracks.”

To keep a record of the detected cracks, scientists have developed a smart camera that is programmed with an image sensor analysis software. The camera identifies the light emitted by the compound and captures an image. “The images can be accessed with details like date and time and width of the crack,” said the scientist.

The technology could come in for departments like the railways where there are several old bridges. Former railway officer R Ramanathan said railway bridges were once inspected by engineers with hand-held lenses that helped them check stability of the structures. Now, there are various modern hand-held devices like X-ray equipment and laser doppler vibrometer that are used to inspect minor cracks and measure strength of structures. “Unlike flyovers and bridges on city roads, almost all railway bridges in the country are about a century old. Indian Railways maintains a bridge register where all details of inspections and maintenance conducted over the years have been recorded. These come handy during future inspections,” he explained. CSIR-CECRI helps the railways in checking corrosion levels of Pamban bridge and provides remedial measures.

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Railways’ April-August Coal Movement falls marginally on year

NEW DELHI: State-run carrier Indian Railways carried 215.86 million mt coal over April-August, down marginally by 0.3% from the same period a year ago, according to the latest data from the Directorate of Statistics and Economics.

Of the total quantity transported by Indian Railways in the first five months of the current fiscal year 2017-18, 179.89 million mt was domestic coal, down 0.6% year on year, while 35.97 million mt consisted of imported coal, up almost 1% from the year-ago period.

Domestic coal shipments transported to thermal power houses fell 32% to 89.56 million mt during April-August while imported coal shipments stood at 6.95 million mt, up 69% year on year, the data showed.

Domestic coal supply to steel mills during the period under review was at 6.71 million mt, down 6% from a year ago, while imported coal volumes grew 23% to 15.82 million mt.

The data showed domestic coal deliveries to other users jumping 107% to 83.50 million mt while imported coal deliveries fell 29% year on year to 13.20 million mt.

Coal contributes to around 50% share in the overall freight traffic of Indian Railways.

On a monthly basis, the railways carried 42.07 million mt of coal during August, up 6% from the same month a year ago.

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Indian Railways will switch to LHB Coaches, reduce casualty rate by 25 times

CHENNAI: If a fast-moving train with Integral Coach Factory (ICF)-designed coaches derails, the deaths and injuries will be 25 times higher as compared to a train composed of LHB coaches.

This statistic, brought out in a recent audit report of Indian Railways, is a key reason why the railways will stop manufacturing the ICF coaches and switch over completely to the German-technology Linke Hoffman Busche (LHB) coaches.

Extracts from the report show that for 2014, 2016, 17 trains with ICF coaches which met with accidents, resulted in 431 deaths and injury of 866 people. In comparison, the three derailments that LHB coaches met with, killed only four people and injured eight. “This proves the superiority of LHB coaches over ICF coaches’. The latter is not safe for operational speeds of 100120 kmph with trailing loads of 2024 coaches,” the report noted.

On August 19, 13 ICF coaches of the Utkal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh, killing more than 20.On August 29, nine LHB coaches of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed, but there were no casualties.

“This is attributed to the anti-climbing/anti-piercing  features of LHB coaches due to vertically interlocked centre buffer couplers that prevent the coaches from capsizing in a derailment. None of the LHB coaches of Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express turned turtle despite a derailment in 2014,” the audit report noted.

ICF, Chennai, will completely switch-over to LHB coaches in a few weeks time, an official said.

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India’s Train Accidents are not even accidents, but High-probability Events caused by Systemic Problems!

The Dear Lives India lost in Rail Mishaps is a matter of Serious Concern – Can new Rail Minister has guts to shake the System to bring about a change?

India has had four train derailment accidents in the last few weeks. One of the accidents, in Uttar Pradesh on August 19, killed 23 people and injured more than 150 people. This series of serious accidents led to the resignations of Minister of Railways Suresh Prabhu and Chairman of the Railway Board A.K. Mittal.

Since last many decades railway up-gradation was not keeping pace with time technology. Unions in railways rule the roots, efficiency and safety are the last things on their mind. Accountability is passing the buck and generally the blame is put on human error. However, we are supposed to follow rules. Shoddy maintenance of railways across India is the main cause for major accidents – particularly on the Northern India. Railways are also looting passengers by imposing safety surcharge. People started thinking that all the false promises were given from behind the veils of power mongers. God knows how the tough rakes are maintained or not but prone to more major mishaps.

India was one of the first countries in the world to build a large railway system. Its 21-mile railway from Mumbai to Tana was built in 1853, under British colonial rule. At the time of independence in 1947, the Indian railway network covered more than 55,000 kilometers, behind only the US, the former Soviet Union and Canada. The surge in India’s population and its rapid urbanization meant that the trains, which were relatively affordable, became the most important means of transport for most people. But the explosion in passenger numbers severely burdened the aging railway system, which had been constructed to a fairly low standard. As a result, accidents have not been uncommon.

As in the past the blame on the derailment near Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh is caused by negligence and the blame is passed on human error. The locals in UP expose lapses and it is very clear that accident could have been averted. The victims narrate their ordeal and that is pathetic.  Just by giving compensation we will not be able to make up the human loss. Eyewitnesses recount the horror and how the victims were struggling for help. Medical facilities reached the accident spot late and that shows the apathy and the lethargic approach of the officials.

By suspending or by transferring officials is not the solution.  More and more care should be taken on passenger safety and the railway budget should allot more funds to reduce the accident cases to a negligible level. The approach after the tragedy by the government does not augur well and the railway passengers are feeling lack of relief during such major accidents. It should not be out of context to mention here that the system is controlled by the Railway Ministry through the state-owned Indian Railways having more than 1.5 million employees and is India’s largest state-owned enterprise too. However, it is also probably the most inefficient Company in the world, in the state sector. Coupled with the government’s policy of low-cost train transport and high salaries for railway employees, the Indian Railways simply cannot accumulate enough funds to update its railway system.

The train accident near Khatauli saw tragedy struck killing of more than 23 people and injuring over 100 and that jolts the nation. It could have been averted if the track fractures had been taken care in time and a close watch carried on the train tracks. The derailment created fear among the passengers. Strange are the ways of train accidents in the Indian history. In the past we heard about bomb blasts, head on collision, wrong signal, smoke inside coaches and snatching of fish plates caused trouble and discomfiture to the travellers and caused major causalities at late night. A panel will be set up for a probe. But the dear lives were lost in a major mishap. Time tested methods are to be carried out regularly on all rail routes periodically.

The past governments have not given enough attention to vital infrastructure like railways. At the same time, India’s domestic manufacturing industry has fallen behind, unable to provide technical and equipment support for railway upgrading.

It could be said that India’s train accidents are not even accidents, but high-probability events caused by systemic problems. For decades, the situation has not improved. According to the statistics, in 2016 more than 500 train accidents took place in India. This problem cannot be solved by the resignation of the minister of railways. The minister himself to be serious on various corrupt practices in Railway system right from the Railway Board level to the Zonal and Divisional levels in the Engineering, Safety, Operations, Electrical, Signal & Telecom wings. Most of the Indian Railway officials are corrupt and past Governments have not taken sufficient steps to correct the system. Atleast Suresh Prabhu, former Railway Minister was too serious on such malpractices, as he has taken aggressive stand on corruption under the Prime Minister Mr.Modi’s regime.

The slow speed and frequent accidents on India’s railways have become symbolic of the backwardness of the country’s infrastructure. In the international media coverage of India, the train-related problems also give a negative impression of the country to the international community. Not only do foreign tourists feel insecure about traveling there, but foreign investors also have little confidence in India’s infrastructure, which has hindered the development of India’s economy and modernization.

Over the past decade, the government has recognized the importance of railways for economic development and it has proposed a series of railway construction plans. After Modi came to power, he expressed ambitions not only to reconstruct the original railways but also to form a “diamond quadrilateral” of railways connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta, the Delhi-Chennai high-speed railway corridor and the Mysore-Bangalore Chennai high-speed rail lines. At the same time, India also become more welcoming to the participation of foreign funds and enterprises. In September 2014, when Chinese leaders visited India, the two countries signed an agreement to invite Chinese enterprises to participate in a project to upgrade the railway from Bangalore to Mysore. India also announced in 2015 that it would invest more than $13 billion over five years to modernize and expand the railway system. In February 2016, India and Japan signed a $12 billion agreement to build a high-speed railway from Mumbai to Ahmedabad.

The Modi government’s railway construction plan is exciting, but will not be easy to achieve. First, the huge funds required have not yet been mobilized, partly because private capital hasn’t been properly involved, but also because there are still concerns regarding foreign investment. Second, long-term constraints in the institutional infrastructure in India have not been resolved, such as problems related to land expropriation.

Even if Modi can create a miracle and successfully complete his plan, it only involves the enhancement of the main Indian Railways, which account for just a small part of the entire Indian railway system. A comprehensive upgrade of the whole system will need a huge amount of money, and will take several decades to achieve. Therefore, news about Indian train accidents is not likely to fade away.

Railways Multi-purpose Stalls satisfy travelling needs of the Passengers under one roof

NEW DELHI: In a bid to facilitate passengers, now there will be multi-purpose stalls (MPS) at railway stations. These stalls will have miscellaneous items that will satisfy travelling needs of the people, under one roof.

Pursuant to announcement made in 2016-17 budget, the Railway Board announced the policy on September 5, directing all general managers to ask divisional railway managers (DRMs) to prepare a blueprint of the total requirement of MPS platforms and stations.

Such multi-purpose stalls will first come up at A1, A, B and C category stations on priority. The policy will be applicable to existing stalls also but if they don’t want to opt for it, such stalls will be allowed to continue till their agreement term period with railway divisions ends.

“The railway divisions have been asked not to make any new allotment or give extension to any existing stalls or trolleys. All these stalls will be converted into MPS in phased manner. The basic idea is to mop up additional revenue by the railways,” said senior officials.

They added one of the objectives of the new policy is to decongest railway stations by optimum utilization of space on platforms. “Too many stalls at platforms also prove to be hurdle in smooth flow of passengers. MPS will not only solve the purpose to great extent but will also benefit passengers by one-stop purchases,” said officials.

The MPS will include artifacts and items of local and regional importance. It will also include existing items like packaged drinking water, magazines, newspapers, chemist stall items, milk powder and food items.

It shall be mandatory for these stalls to sell books pertaining to Indian culture, values, morals and history. The MPS will also have to sell zonal railway timetable and trains at a glance and other official publications.

Official sources said a blueprint will be prepared with approval of DRM and it will be forwarded to chief commercial managers (CCMs) prior to invitation of bids. Retailers, individuals and self-help groups (SHGs), registered firms will be eligible for bids.

With digitization, the railways have made it mandatory now for the stall owners to keep swipe machines for acceptance of debit and credit cards without charging any additional transaction charge for sale above Rs 100.

Sources said, a committee of CCMs of four zones — Southern Railway, Northern Railway, Eastern Railway, and Western Railway — will prepare a tender document to be executed by all zonal railways and licensees after Railway Board approves it.

Salient Features of The Policy
* Multi-purpose stalls to have all items under one roof.
* DRMs told to prepare blueprint of the MPS and submit proposal to CCMs before bids.
* Retailers, individuals, SHGs, registered firms allowed to be part of the MPS.
* Bids to be invited through e-tendering process only.
* Three-member panel at division level to deal with tendering process.
* The MPS allotment will be for five years only.
* 25% reservation for MPS will be for all reserved categories at A1, A, B & C category stations and 49.50% at D, E, F category stations.
* The policy will be for existing stalls only.

Piyush Goyal holds High-level Meeting on Safety with Railway Board officials

Comprehensive review of Safety undertaken. Minister emphasizes on according top most priority to Safety. 5 immediate measures to address the problem of Unmanned Level Crossings & Derailments. All Unmanned level crossings to be eliminated within a year

NEW DELHI: Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal held a high level Safety review meeting on 7th September, 2017 at New Delhi. The marathon meeting of the Hon’ble Minister with Chairman, Railway Board; all Railway Board Members & the Safety Directorate of Railway Board comprehensively reviewed the Safety measures for Train Operations. A detailed presentation on Safety was made at the meeting. There was threadbare discussion on the subject and the root cause of repeated cases of train accidents in recent past was thoroughly analyzed. In the meeting, the Hon’ble Minister emphasized that the safety is paramount and there cannot & should not be any compromise on this front.

Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as:

a)      Unmanned Level Crossings accounted for 34% of accidents in 2016-17
b)      Derailments due to defects in tracks

The special focus of the meeting was to identify measures to reduce accidents due to derailments which has emerged as one of the major causes of Train accidents.

The Minister for Railways gave following directions to the Railway Board to ensure Safety:

  1. All unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now. The earlier target was to eliminate these in 3 years but by using Transformative mantra of “Speed, Skill and Scale” this target has been expedited to less than 1 year now.
  2. Track Replacement/renewal should be accorded Priority & the tracks (rails) earmarked for use for constructing new lines should be diverted to places/ stretches which are prone to accidents & where replacement is due.
  3. The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.
  4. The manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches should be stopped forthwith & new design LHB coaches only should be manufactured.
  5. Anti-Fog LED lights should be installed in Locomotives so that unhindered safe train operations can be ensured during fog season.

The Hon’ble Minister has directed the Railway Board to monitor implementations of this action plan on a regular basis.

Piyush Goyal bans production of conventional ICF Coaches that topples over other in case of derailments

Railway Minister took serious note of the Utkal Express derailment that highlighted severe neglect on the part of the local authorities — both maintenance (Engineering) and station (Operating) staff — in reacting to a broken track.

On Thursday, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has not only ordered the elimination of all unmanned level crossings within a year, advancing the deadline by two years. He told officials that the focus should be on replacing tracks prone to accidents immediately instead of laying new lines and asked the Board to expedite the procurement of new tracks on a large scale.

Importantly, he also directed the Board to stop the production of conventional Integral Coach Factory coaches that topple over one another in case of derailments.

The accidents last month led to a top-level rejig in the Railway Ministry, with the resignation of Railway Board Chairman A.K. Mital and Mr. Prabhu owning moral responsibility for the derailments. For the first time in decades, a Railway Board member was sent on leave, having been held responsible for the Utkal Express accident. Former Air India chief Ashwani Lohani has taken charge as the Railway Board Chairman. Mr. Goyal has made it clear that safety will be his top priority.

A string of derailments in the last couple of weeks has put the spotlight on rail safety. On August 19, thirteen coaches of the Haridwar-bound Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express went off the tracks near the Khatauli railway station in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, claiming at least 21 lives and injuring more than 90. This was followed by the derailment of 10 coaches of the Kaifiyat Express in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh four days later, after it collided with a dumper, injuring around 100 passengers. This was followed by the collision of a train with a lorry at an unmanned level crossing in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram region on the same day.

The saga didn’t end there with three trains — two carrying passengers and one goods — jumping off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra within a span of nine hours on Thursday. Two more accidents were averted – one in Uttar Pradesh and the other in Mumbai when rail fracture was detected by the patrolling staff on Thursday.

Although the total serious train accidents declined from 135 in 2014-15 to 104 in 2016-17, the derailments went up from 63 to 78 during the same period. The share of derailments in total accidents has soared from 46.7% in 2014-15 to 75% in 2016-17. Till August 20 this year, 85% of the total rail accidents happened due to derailments, raising the alarm among authorities.

In a safety review meeting chaired by the new Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday, two major causes of accidents were identified: unmanned level crossings and derailments due to track defects. According to official figures, track defects had the highest share of around 44% in train derailments between 2012-13 and 2016-17. Derailments can also happen because of the failure of wheel and other train components. In 2016-17, 61.5% of the accidents happened because of the failure of railway staff against 37.7% in 2012-13. The Utkal Express derailment highlighted severe neglect on the part of the local authorities — both maintenance and station teams — in reacting to a broken track. While the track defect was detected early in the day, the maintenance team temporarily joined the tracks while waiting for a nod from the station authorities to get block time to fix it. Soon, the Utkal Express arrived at a speed of 105 km per hour, ran over the track and derailed.

In 2016-17, the total number of casualties in train accidents was at a two-year high of 238, mainly due to the derailment of the Indore-Rajendranagar Express near Kanpur, one of the worst accidents in over a decade, killing 152 passengers and injuring 183. In 2015-16, 122 people died in rail accidents compared with 292 in 2014-15 and 152 in 2013-14. The former Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced a ‘Mission Zero Accident’ while presenting his last budget of 2016-17 before the rail and general budgets were merged. With a slew of accidents still taking place, it seems to be a distant goal.

Finding a Solution to the Increasing Number of Rail Disasters in India

India’s overstretched railway network is in urgent need of rehabilitation if it is to keep up with its passenger volume and improve safety standards.

After three derailments in less than a month, the standard of routine track maintenance on India’s rail network is under the spotlight once again. Of the three derailments, one occurred after heavy rains and landslides washed away the railway track in Thane district in Maharashtra. In this mishap, the Indian Railways itself was a victim of natural disaster.

The derailment of the Kaifiat Express at Auraiya, Uttar Pradesh, happened when a dumper truck trespassed onto the track at midnight and hit the locomotive of a passenger train. Though everyone feels concerned about the 70 passengers who were injured, it must be admitted that the railways too deserve some sympathy for the random behaviour of irresponsible trespassers.

However, the derailment of the Kalinga Utkal Express at Khatauli appears to raise multiple alarms. The fears are about track renewal standards and track maintenance practices followed by the Railways, and the stubborn refusal to accept the need for upgrading track standards despite heavy increase in freight and passenger throughput since the last national-scale track rehabilitation initiated by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2002-03.

In a statement to the media, a railways spokesperson said that the prima facie cause of the Utkal Express derailment appeared to be a partially finished emergency track. The train crew were not aware of the track repair work, possibly because no traffic block (possession of track to rectify defects or faults noticed on the track) was granted for the repair work on that day. Since there was no speed restriction imposed on the track stretch where defects were being attended to, the train was running at normal permitted speeds and got derailed.

What ails Indian railways?

Several questions suddenly arose due to the unusual nature of the cause of the derailment. Doubts were expressed about the abilities of the railways’ track possession management (TPM) when attending to track defects. Is there a disconnect between operational performance achievement targets and track maintenance protocols as well as rolling stock safety and performance standards? Has the engineering member on the railway board abdicated his control over TPM for emergency repairs on track? Or is it being unauthorisedly controlled by some other board member who is not being held accountable? Does the same anarchy percolate down to zonal and divisional levels where railway managers are encouraged to emulate the work culture of the commercially-greedy train operating companies of Britain and adopt a bellicose attitude towards track possession for safety repairs? Are the traffic blocks being routinely refused by the divisional railway managers (DRMs) and general managers (GMs) and forcing track engineers to delay or defer attending track defects?

A ‘zero tolerance on punctuality loss’ is needed to assure passenger satisfaction and also to keep up the brand image of the railways. But should this be achieved by denying traffic blocks for urgently demanded track work and endangering the lives of passengers? DRMs and GMs are already under pressure to achieve their freight and passenger traffic targets and earnings management. One can understand their anxiety about not having enough social and bulk goods to carry. Even though the Indian economy is poised to grow at 7-7.5%, it, as of now, does not have much domestic coal or minerals to offer to the railways. However, the railways’ commercial fortunes are tied to these bulk goods. In the passenger business too, if we look at the passenger kilometres in the last five years, what is available for sale and what is actually sold have not seen much growth.

In a business environment driven by heightened commercial expectations and railways intercity transport brand image, the DRMs are tempted to often take risks by not reporting such defects and unsafe track conditions. The restrictions on gaining access to tracks for emergency repair works, due to denial of maintenance blocks, can drive track engineers to risky adventures. And there is reason to suspect that it was one such adventure that was enacted at Khatauli.

The harsh punishments that the railway administration might invoke to deal with human failures associated with rail disasters, could help in controlling mishaps to some extent. More urgently, the Indian raliways needs to worry about systemic issues.

The frequency of mishaps tied to broken rails and other track defects is an unmistakable symptom of a highly stressed-out track network that needs more than just track renewals. It actually demands need-based upgradations of track standards too.

India inherited rail tracks laid by the colonial government, mostly for military logistics purposes and as such, the track standards had generally been kept to a bare minimum. The truth is, that as much as 50,000 km of the present 66,000-km rail route was built by the colonial government as per standards meant for colonial natives. Not much has changed except converting the metre gauge into broad gauge, with hardly any track standard upgrades suitable to carry higher axle load freight vehicles and faster trains.

In India, Jawaharlal Nehru introduced the modernisation of trains. Subsequent prime ministers did not dwell much on the rail industry development or technology acquisition or modernisation till Vajpayee decided to make substantial investments in the renewal and rehabilitation of India’s fatigued track system and aged bridge structures on a national scale. The massive renewal and rehabilitation, planned and successfully implemented in 30 months between 2002-2005, is now more than a decade old.

With a substantial increase in freight and passenger throughput, the track network urgently needs a massive dose of rehabilitation layered with need-based upgradation of track standards, if we want to prevent any further deterioration in track conditions. There was some talk about the rehabilitation of tracks for some time but the kind of high impact improvements visible in 2003-05 and beyond are missing now. Let there be no mistake, all that can be done on the existing permanent way, through rehabilitation with existing track standards, can only improve safety. It may also help in achieving marginally higher track speeds. However, such moderate investments in improving track standards can only result in incremental improvements, which will have limitations. In other words, it might not help much in running faster passenger trains with speed potential above 160 kmph and 25 tonne axle loads freight trains together on the same track system. Mixing 25 T-axle-load freight trains with passenger trains above 160 kmph can be open invitation to disasters.

The consequences of the tragic Khatauli accident have not been good for the country in general and the railways in particular. Non-compliance with even routine maintenance processes are causing accidents, particularly due to human failure, at almost all levels. Somewhere in the midst of this are two serious issues.

Are the methods of excessive monitoring of punctuality drives, clubbed with cleanliness drives, passenger amenities drives and every possible social media drive, spreading the system’s physical resources too thin? The second is the manner in which safety is monitored. Emphasis seems to be on spruced up repair statistics. Defects in track are identified. But is the pressure to report expeditious repairs leading to misreporting? Field inspections and accountability at appropriate levels are the only way out. If track repairs need time and resources, it must be stated upfront. The same must apply to rolling stock. I had earlier commented on the tendency of railway coaches to jack-knife in such incidents. The same has been repeated. Little appears to have been done on fundamental changes in coupling arrangements and coach designs.

Bold initiatives to enable passengers to directly complain or take grievances, 24×7, were a roaring success. However, has this not pushed the understaffed establishment a bit too much, to instantaneously respond to hundreds of passenger complaints daily and consequently distracted the attention of officials from their safety-related core duties? Has the railway board made ministers aware that the Indian Railways is not adequately staffed to man safety category jobs? Many senior railwaymen do misguide their railway ministers by loose talk that Railways are an overstaffed organisation. Loose talk that rests on complete absence of meaningful analytics of the performance statistics.

The Indian railways transports 1,100 million tonnes of freight – which is huge. In addition to freight, it handles 8,300 million passengers annually, which is the largest in the world. It takes a lot of staff to manage the world’s largest rail passenger volumes. There is one railway employee per 17 passengers. In the Western Railway, which is the busiest zone, the number of passengers handled by an average employee per day is as high as 40.

Lessons from the world

Let us look at any country in the world. Only India dares mix the world’s fourth largest freight volume with the world’s largest passenger volume on the same network by over-stretching its capacity utilisation. The more we allow this misadventure to linger, the more we are exposing customers to avoidable risks. The government has done it’s best to provide resources for completing the two legs of dedicated freight corridors (DFCs) for accelerated completion. The DFC project, which was launched in 2006, is now overdue for commissioning. DFCs will facilitate separation of rail freight business from passenger business and will provide a lot relief to the railway network .

Amtrak, the US’s passenger railway corporation, is like the Indian railways. It is directly managed under US government’s federal railway authority. Amtrak has 20,000 employees, with each handling 4.2 passengers per day. After outsourcing all maintenance work to private contracting companies, the privatised UK rail train operating companies and network rail deal with only 51 passengers per employee per day (British Rail hardly carry much freight), which is marginally better than the Indian railway’s western line. For the French railways, the national average is 19.7 passengers per employee per day, almost at par with India. A German railway employee handles 18.7 passengers per day, again at par with India. A China railway employee handles fewer passengers per day than in the US. These statistical comparisons only drive home the point that a reduction in staff numbers can affect safety. A better option will be to improve output per employee per day.

Considering the limitations involved in running speedy intercity passenger trains on a completely “at-grade track network” such as India’s, where roads and highways intersect railways on an average of every two kilometres of route length is also going to be risky. More and more state highways, and rural and urban roads are being built every year in India. It means more roads will keep intersecting tracks .

To ensure safety, upgrading track standards would certainly help. However, it is also true that a substantial portion of the colonial-era railway system cannot take track upgrades beyond a limit. Therefore, the only alternative for India is to follow Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a ‘diamond corridor’, which was included in the BJP’s 2014 election manifesto. The railway ministry, which was given the task of developing the high-speed rail (HSR) corridor, reneged from the prime minister’s vision to float a parallel programme to operate 180-200 kmph semi-HSR on the existing at-grade embankments, which will be a disaster. Running such fast trains over at-grade track will kill more people. The modernisation of the railways with improved safety can be achieved only through the ‘diamond corridor’ if we want to connect more than 60 very big cities with the about one million passenger population and another 100 big cities with passenger population between 300,000 to one million, with a view to converting these cities into high growth centres. Regional airports and airlines alone cannot provide the kind of multiple intercity connectivity that a single HSR train is capable of providing. From the way in which the successful Rail Vikas Shivir was organised last year with the prime minister’s participation, it appears that a perfectly achievable vision for a modernised and absolutely safe rail network is the prime minister’s alone.

Houses along Pathankot-Jogindernagar railway line of Firozpur Division to be razed

PALAMPUR: Over 2,000 families residing along the Pathankot-Jogindernagar railway line between Nurpur and Jogindernagar have been spending sleepless night following orders of the Himachal Pradesh High Court directing railway authorities to check illegal construction and submit report before September 19.The railway authorities have issued notices to such persons, treating their houses under the category of illegal construction. They have submitted a list of 2,238 illegal buildings to the HC. The final decision will be taken on September 19 when senior officers of the Railways, including the chairman of the Railway Board, would appear in court.

Information gathered revealed that most of the houses had been constructed on private land even before the rail track was laid in 1929. They were never served any notice. Even the railway authorities have earlier admitted in an affidavit filed before the court that there was no illegal construction along the Pathankot-Jogindernagar rail track except in 19 cases, in which proceedings were pending in different courts in Himachal and Ferozepur.

Twelve persons of Thakurdwara village in the outskirts of Palampur town, who had also received notices, told The Tribune that their houses were constructed 60 years ago. They said these were away from the track. That time, the railway authorities never termed their houses as illegal.

However, after the HC orders, these structures may face demolition any time. Recently, a resident of Palampur filed a PIL before the High Court, seeking action against illegal construction along national highways and rail lines. Thereafter, the court directed the railway authorities to submit the status report regarding the illegal construction or encroachment on the land belonging to the Railways between Pathankot and Jogindernagar.

The affected parties today appealed to Chief Minister Virbhadhra Singh to come for their rescue and save their houses from demolition. They said their houses were never a hurdle for the rail line.

GRP plans Command Control Centre at Secunderabad Station, submits proposal to State Govt.

SECUNDERABAD: With railway stations always being potential targets for terror groups, the Government Railway Police (GRP) has come up with a proposal to establish a Command Control Centre (CCC) to constantly keep a vigil at the Secunderabad Railway Station.

The GRP has already submitted a proposal to the Telangana State Government and the response is awaited, an official said. Once the GRP gets the nod, the CCC would be set up at the new office of the Railways Superintendent of Police, Secunderabad Division, near the Railway Court in Bhoiguda.

Director-General of Police (Railways and Road Safety) T Krishna Prasad had recently hinted that the GRP had chalked out an action plan to improve the surveillance system at the station. The CCC is part of the plan, he said. At present, 80 closed circuit television cameras cover all the 10 platforms of the Secunderabad station. A request was also made to the South Central Railway (SCR) to instal more cameras on the premises.  “If the CCC is established, we will connect our cameras to it and monitor the entire station premises round the clock,” said an official.

Apart from increasing surveillance at the platforms, a vigil would also be maintained at the foot-over-bridges (FoBs), which have turned into shelter zones for vagabonds. The police could also monitor the movements of those moving suspiciously in the parking areas and near FoBs.

If a police constable is seen inattentive through the CCC, he could be instructed through the wireless communication equipment to be vigilant while on duty. In case of heavy rush at the general compartments of express trains, patrol police teams could be rushed to the platform concerned to ensure proper order, the official added.

Railways In-charge Superintendent of Police (Secunderabad Division) S Rajendra Prasad said, “We are hopeful of getting a positive response from the government soon.” If necessary, the help of the city police, who have already established such a centre, would be taken for effective functioning, he added.

Dual Portfolio of Piyush Goyal in Railways and Coal Ministries will bring a lot of Momentum, Synergy and Coordination

Commercial mining, rationalising coal linkages, ensuring better coordination between the Ministry of Coal and the Railway Ministry will be of top most priority now; says Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal.

NEW DELHI: Piyush Goyal – the new Union Minister of Railways, who also retains charge of the Coal Ministry, has assumed charge at a time when coal loading in trains is declining.

Coal loading, which accounts for almost half of the Indian Railways’ freight traffic, declined around 2% in April-July due to floods, poor transportation to rail sidings, closure of the Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line and frequent disruption in movement of rail traffic for various reasons.

Freight accounts for almost 65% of the Railways’ revenues and helps it cross-subsidise passenger earnings.

Coal loading went down to 173.81 million tonnes in April-July from 176.81 million tonnes in the same period the previous year and against the target of 174.71 million tonnes. The decline in coal loading came at a time when the overall goods traffic rose 4.2% to 375.57 million tonnes in the first four months of this financial year.

“Due to floods, there were issues related to transportation of coal to rail sidings,” said a senior Railway Ministry official. He added that the Ministry had been holding regular meetings to discuss the issue with Coal India Limited.

The average time to load coal on trains has also gone up from the usual four hours. “Large rakes were detained for about five-six hours in some cases at sidings and this also affected the coal loading this year,” the official said.

Around 218 rakes per day were loaded in July as against a target of loading 244 rakes a day. “We have set a target of loading 239 rakes daily in the coming months,” the official said, adding that the Railways has additional rakes to load coal.

Experts said with Mr. Goyal coming in, the coordination between Coal and Railway Ministry will improve significantly. “The same Minister for both Coal and Railway Ministry will bring a lot of synergy and the required momentum. Also, the blame game would also cease between both the departments and issues can be resolved quickly,” former Railway Board Chairman Vivek Sahai said.

However, Mr. Sahai said that another challenge for Mr. Goyal would be to increase the freight basket for the Indian Railways and move beyond coal.

The Railways had initiated a detailed study of as many as 46 commodities to find out the potential sectors which can help increase the freight growth. Some of the areas included refrigerated goods, building material, horticulture, courier express and parcel, marble, glass among others. However, the Railways has not been able to move away from its dependency on coal as yet.

RK Singh to carry forward Goyal’s vision at Power Ministry, says ‘will continue Goyal’s good work’ of Piyush Goyal

RK Singh, Minister of State (Independent Charge), took charge of the Ministry of Power, and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Singh took over from now Cabinet Minister for Coal and Railways, Piyush Goyal.

Goyal also said that the International Solar Alliance will be a priority for the new Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Renewable Energy. The ISA will be launched on December 9 from Noida, Uttar Pradesh this year. Singh said that the country is now energy surplus and that the vision of the ministries has been defined by his predecessor.

Gujarat Member of Parliament Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary also took charge as the Minister of State for Coal.

Addressing journalists, Goyal said, “Commercial mining, rationalising coal linkages, ensuring better coordination between the Ministry of Coal and the Railway Ministry will be a priority of the Coal Ministry now.”

Power Minister RK Singh today said he would complete the ‘good work’ started by his predecessor Piyush Goyal and realise the vision of the Prime Minister, which includes reaching electricity to all homes across the country.

The government has been working to achieve the goals of 24X7 power for all, debt free efficient discoms, clean energy power capacity of 175 GW by 2022 and revival over 40 GW stressed power assets.

Singh assumed the charge of ministries of power and new & renewable energy after the Cabinet reshuffle on Sunday in which Goyal has taken over as Railway Minister.

“My efforts will be to meet his standards of performance, power ministry has earned good name for itself in last three years. We will maintain that and improve further,” Singh said after taking charge of the ministry here in the presence of Goyal.

He assured Goyal that the good work started by him will be completed and the Prime Minister’s vision will be realised.

“That is the determination which I give to this job,” Singh said, adding that Goyal will do as well in the Railways as he has done in the power ministry.

He added: “There is will be great turnaround in railways as well. He has done a great job here (in power and renewable energy ministries).”

Goyal said: “The power ministry team including officials and friends from media have supported me in the past three and half years.”

He told Singh that he has inherited the finest team in the government because everybody in the ministry and PSUs related to it, is charged and emotional.

Goyal said, “They (the officials in ministry as well as in its PSUs) want to cross limitless boundaries. The PSUs are very committed.”

On a lighter note he said, “It is my advice that please monitor all mobile applications of the power ministry in the morning amid tight scrutiny of the media.”

Talking about Singh, Goyal said that he has always been concerned about providing electricity to all homes and under his leadership now the power ministry will achieve new benchmarks of performance and targets.

TMS System can do much more than provide information if used optimally: says CR Officials

MUMBAI: The Track Management System (TMS) is not just meant to give information, but also solutions. Central Railway (CR) officials conceded that this system is being inefficiently used. In times of a disaster such as the floods on August 29, TMS can ideally do a lot more.

The CR authorities agreed that despite spending crores of rupees on a software system meant to augment the overall operations of smooth functioning of trains, the system was only providing updates on movement of trains. The main objective of TMS is to maximise the benefits of material, equipment and manpower inputs made to track and to optimise the life and utilisation of assets without impairing the safety and passenger comfort by ensuring the optimum standards of track geometry by web enabling the existing manual system of track inspection.

On September 1, it was reported how the CR’s TMS software failed to live up to their expectations on August 29, when the city’s suburban rail network was paralysed due to heavy rains.

Sources said that this system can do miracles if used to its optimum and if it is upgraded. TMS Application is used for Asset Management, Rail & Weld Fracture, Track Monitoring by Machines, Maintenance by Machines & USFD Testing, Engineering Control-Caution Orders and Traffic Blocks, Track Renewal & Deep screening, Ballast Supply and Insertion, Patrolling & Accidents Reporting. “It can identify and automatically inform the shortest alternative routes, diversions during rail accidents immediately, plan rail timetable where services can be used efficiently and even allow communication between all motormen/guard plying in times of disaster,” said a CR official.

The officials said that a few months ago they had also discussed the need to upgrade their TMS, but it was ditched on the grounds that it would incur additional cost. A whopping Rs 32 crore has been spent on installing this TMS.

Hardware/System Software Infrastructure is built over IBM Power Systems for RISC Architecture, SAN, Tivoli Back Solution, Tivoli Directory Server, WebSphere Application Server, DB2 database, Edge Component, WebServer, Lotus Expeditor, Lotus Mobile Connect. 2340 number of Netbooks has been delivered in 28 IR divisions for TMS application by CRIS. The Disaster Recovery Site has been set up at IRICEN Pune for recovery of data in case of disaster which is an important feature in TMS.  Currently TMS has been implemented on entire Indian Railways.

On August 29, TMS proved to be of little use as the control room could not even inform the motormen and guards about the status of stranded trains carrying thousands of commuters.

The CR installed the TMS at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) to monitor and keep an eye on train-running in the suburban section.

CRS slams Railways for Security Lapses

NEW DELHI: As the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) found the existing system in probing accidents to be insufficient, the World Bank has recommended for an independent rail safety regulatory and investigator to be set up, for averting accidents. Taking serious note of the sudden spate of tragedies on tracks – in which Railways admitted that 66 of 105 serious rail accidents were caused due to lapses by its staff – the 73-year-old international financial institution has also asked for creating a dedicated safety management system under the railway board chairman for reinforcing the prevailing accident prevention measures.

In its detailed report prepared after a comprehensive study, the World Bank had also asked for creating an independent safety regulator and investigator as per the international practice, to fix responsibility and take preventive measures to curb mishaps. Also keeping stock of the poor maintenance of tracks – a major cause of the train accidents, the report also stressed upon the need for reviewing the timetables of the trains for timely maintenance of the tracks.

It has also suggested for acceleration in the community engagement programmes, to minimise pedestrian accidents by addressing human and other factors contributing to the unsafe behaviour. Since mishaps at unmanned level crossings are one of the major reasons for train accidents in India, the Railways had already undertaken steps to eliminate all such crossings by 2020 as part its ‘zero accident mission’. The report had further sought for the need to develop a safety culture across the network.

Outlining the full support of the staff as the need of the hour to tackle and avert any possibility of an accident, the report said that without their wholehearted support, implementation of any policy or plan would remain a mirage. It may be noted that at present, with a limited power and span of control, the CRS had been assigned to probe all the railway accidents in the country, despite the fact that CRS falls under the administrative control of the civil aviation ministry.

Interestingly, CSR’s probe and findings had little role to question the rail operations as the Railway’s departmental inquiries after any accident have the final say in it. It may be recalled that former railway minister Suresh Prabhu, in April 2017, had hinted at outsourcing various international agencies for outlining safety measures.

The World Bank had also sought for modern equipment to detect rail fracture and paint of locomotives in bright yellow colour on the front to improve their visibility, particularly during the twilight times in the day. It has also asked to establish an emergency response plan to address derailments and fires.

CR revives Vasind-Asangaon Rail line; declare the track safe for train movements

The CR officials said that they declared the track to be safe on the Up-line between Asangaon-Vasind route at 6.25am.

MUMBAI: Finally after more than 97 hours, the Vasind-Asangaon section has become operational. The first train on the affected line, which remained shut since August 29 after the Nagpur-Mumbai Duranto Express derailed, was run at 7.54 am.

The CR officials said that they declared the track to be safe on the Up-line between Asangaon-Vasind route at 6.25am. The alignment work on the new OHE cables was completed by 7.40 am and by 7.54 am the first train — 12154 Bhopal Habibganj-Mumbai LLT — left Asangaon station and reached Vasind at 8.34 am.

“We have put speed restriction and trains are running at 10kmph. And Down-line trains have been made operational at speeds of 30kmph. Speed restrictions will be reviewed from time to time,” said Sunil Udasi, Chief PRO, CR.

Quick action

  • More than 500 railway men were pressed into action, and even local villagers came to help by offering food.
  • This train was carrying 1090 passengers and all were rescued safely, and none were injured.

World Bank asks Railways to paint Trains yellow, ensure high-visibility clothing for employees

NEW DELHI: Paint the trains yellow, have a fire extinguisher on every train, ensure high-visibility clothing for employees and provide four-hour weekly maintenance blocks on all main lines, these are some of the suggestions a World Bank report has made to the railways to ensure safety.

The report, titled ‘Strengthening Safety on Indian Railways’ was submitted to the railways earlier this week.

The report suggests that as an immediate goal, the railways should install “ditch lights” — safety feature in the front of the train to make them more visible — on trains and paint them bright yellow to improve visibility, especially during twilight hours.

It also asks the railways to add side markings to equipment to prevent level-crossing collisions.

“Take fire prevention measures and add fire extinguishers in every train. Choose high-visibility clothing for employees that can be worn all year round and ensure that it is worn at all times. Ensure that footwear and helmets chosen by employees with their allowance is appropriate for their activities,” the report said.

The report has also recommended that level crossings and paths should be painted with a cross-hatched pattern to highlight the dangers of being in the area.

In April, railway minister Suresh Prabhu had approached the World Bank for a study on the issue of safety. He had also consulted various international agencies for suggesting safety measures keeping in view the increasing load on railway infrastructure and subsequent safety issues.

The report has listed a slew of technical actions that the railways can consider over the next two years.

“Training the current investigators in the root-cause analysis of accidents, periodical review of timetables such that a maintenance block of four hours is provided weekly on all main lines, review safety performance in terminal operations with the intent to identify prevailing risks,” the report said.

It also asked the railways to establish an emergency response plan to address derailments, fires, or any other eventuality.

The report has also suggested three broad parameters to improve safety by following international standards.

It has asked the railways to create an independent rail safety regulator, to strengthen the powers of Commissioner of Railway Safety and to form a safety management system under the chairman of the Railway Board.

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Mumbai GRP warns Railways: Commuters may resort to violence!

MUMBAI: The Government Railway Police (GRP) warned the Railways of the possibility of violence by commuters at railway stations on Thursday and Friday morning if services were cancelled or delayed. The warning came against the backdrop of passenger protests at various stations on Tuesday and Wednesday as services had been crippled due to water-logging on tracks. Fortunately, no untoward incident was reported on Thursday.

“A close watch may be kept on punctuality of trains on Thursday and Friday morning. All railway personnel be suitably sensitised. Any cancellation or delay of trains in the morning can lead to serious law and order problems,” said a letter by GRP chief Niket Kaushik to the railways.

A major law and order problem was averted at CST at 5am on Wednesday when around 500 irate passengers agitated against the the Railways’ inefficiency in communicating with them after suspension of services. Throughout Tuesday night, passengers had waited at CST for the Railways to make some announcement about resuming services or alternative transport.

The crowd was angry that nobody from the Railways established a dialogue with them about rescue operations. They were also unhappy about food not being provided by the authorities. “We had to dispatch nearly 100 personnel to control the crowd and calm it down,” said DCP Samadhan Pawar. The GRP feared the crowd would go on a rampage and smash infrastructure at the terminus or beat up railway officials.

“There were people living in Kalyan and Badlapur. They had families waiting for them back home and wanted to know if they could be dropped till Thane at least. We had to handle the situation very tactfully,” said Pawar. The GRP contacted BEST and sent female passengers home on priority in five to six buses. Political party workers and NGOs stepped in and made arrangements for snacks.

“A decision was taken to run special trains, in the wake of the situation at CST, and the first special train left at 7.26am,” said a senior railway official. “Train services would have resumed only in afternoon as we had to shift marooned rakes, but we gave passengers a priority as they were stranded and frustrated. So, with the help of GRP and after consulting senior officials, the first special train was run and removal of marooned rakes was postponed,” the official added. BEST buses simultaneously ferried passengers through Eastern Freeway to Thane.

Similar agitations were seen at Dadar on Wednesday afternoon and Kurla early on Wednesday. At Kurla, passengers threw a broken banner on the tracks.

Railways freight set to be hit as Coal India loading fails to meet target

At the start of the year, the coal-loading target for CIL was agreed at 244 rakes per day. Despite Railways putting in place enough wagons to transport coal, its freight from the commodity is likely to be hit as subsidiaries of CIL are not being able to load the targeted quantities.

NEW DELHI: Despite Indian Railways (IR) putting in place enough wagons to transport coal, its freight from the commodity is likely to be hit as subsidiaries of Coal India (CIL) are not being able to load the targeted quantities. At the start of the year, the coal-loading target for CIL was agreed at 244 rakes per day. However, during the first three months of financial year 2018, coal loading from CIL averaged at 220 rakes per day. In a meeting between the coal ministry and the railway ministry on June 30, it was jointly decided that CIL would load 239 rakes per day for the second. However, the national miner managed only an average loading of 213 in July and 208 rakes per day in August till date. Coal is the most important source of freight revenue for the railways and makes up for the 60% of such revenue. Normally the transporter loads 350-odd rakes of coal per day, of which CIL makes up the bulk. The railways has also seen a dip in movement of imported coal by 15 rakes per day. This is due to a government directive to stop coal import for state-run power houses earlier this year. During 2016-17, state-owned power plants imported around 12 million tonne (mt) of coal, less than a quarter of the volume imported during 2015-16.

According to a railway official, the two ministries met again on August 21. “We met with chief operations managers of various railways, chairman of coal companies and the coal secretary. It was decided to load 226 rakes per day for the rest of August and September,” said the official. However, up to August 27, the average loading was 208 rakes per day for August.The freight-loading volume of the railways was around 1,107 mt in financial year 2016-17 compared with a revised target of 1,094 mt, and 1,104 mt achieved in the previous year. The marginal increase was despite losing 60 mt of coal loading due to low demand from power houses and reduction in imported coal traffic.

“This time Indian Railways has surplus rakes available for loading and transportation of coal. This was never the condition before,” said the official quoted above, adding that despite a dip in loading by CIL till date this financial year, it is comparably better than last year for the same time period. CIL’s average loading this year till date is 215 rakes per day compared with 208 for last year. However, the time taken to load rakes has gone up. Normally a rake should be loaded in three hours, but some sidings if CIL subsidiaries are taking up to seven-eight hours due to lack of coal at loading sites.

For example, at one of the sidings with Eastern Coalfields the loading time has gone up to 6.15 hours against the standard 4 hours. At one of the sites of Bharat Coking Coal, which is affected by the closure of the Chandrapura rail line, it is taking up to 12 hours against 9 hours to load a rake.

Railways may shift to accrual-based accounting from FY:18-19

Come financial year 2018-19, the Indian Railways may shift to accrual-based accounting from the current cash-based system, a move that will help it identify its Lakhs of unknown assets, assess long-term liabilities and draw a clear picture of return on investments.

NEW DELHI: Come financial year 2018-19, the Indian Railways (IR) may shift to accrual-based accounting from the current cash-based system, a move that will help it identify its lakhs of unknown assets, assess long-term liabilities and draw a clear picture of return on investments. The change in accounting practice will also help the transporter identify its loss- or profit-making lines of businesses and services and take necessary steps to stem losses and boost profits. A pilot project on accrual-based accounting has already been completed in the Ajmer division of Northwestern Railways and at the Kapurthala rail coach factory. The accrual system of accounting records revenue and expenses when they are incurred; the system registers transactions carried out on a credit basis, by recording these as either receivables or payables. This means a transaction is recorded when the right to earn income is established or when expenditure is committed.

In the cash-based system being followed currently, however, transactions carried out on credit basis are not recognised. Also, in this system, since the main objective is to record only the flow of cash, the records of assets created, purchased, disposed of etc are not kept. IR’s inability to attract private funds or even multilateral finance for its huge expansion needs is partly due to the opaque system of accounting it follows and lack of clarity on return on investments. Even though the gross receipts are shown to slightly exceed ordinary working expenses, it is partly because of the flexibility the transporter enjoys when it comes to appropriations to various funds, including DRF, safety and capital funds.

The ministry of railways has adopted the Mission Beyond Bookkeeping to bring in the much-delayed accounting reforms. Under the process, pilots to move towards accrual-based accounting have already been completed in the Ajmer division, Northwestern Railways and the rail coach factory, Kapurthala. The pilot in Ajmer was conducted with the support of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), which is also helping in a pan-India roll-out, and showed that the division had over 70,000 assets though the value of most of the assets was unknown. “Some assets such as houses dated back to the 18th or 19th century, for which there were no records to establish the cost,” said a senior railway official, who was part of the Ajmer pilot.

Assets of the Indian Railways — which has 17 zones — includes buildings, tracks, overhead lines, signalling and rolling stock, among others, across the country. Such assets were assigned a value of Rs.1 to ensure the asset is mapped and a disclosure was given in the notes to account. For this purpose, a format called fixed asset register was prepared. Earlier, there was no system of capturing fixed assets as block accounts were used, which are an aggregation of the amount spent on assets till date, but a particular value to an asset was not maintained. This necessitated the need to map all the assets physically. “Recognising assets at Rs.1 is an accepted standard which the postal department was the first to adopt,” said another railway official.

Under the current cash flows-based system, the railways may have tendered services but not received payment or it may have received payment but service could be due. For instance, if a passenger books a ticket on March 30 for a journey to be undertaken on April 2, the current system will account it as an income for the year ending March 31. However, the passenger may decide on April 1 to cancel the ticket which will entail a refund. Though this liability is not recognised in the current format, the accrual system will put the liable refund amount under current liability. “We did an actuarial study of our pension liability which came to around pension Rs.27,000 crore for the Northwestern Railways alone over the life of every staff.

We used a longevity table of 79.8 including tentative promotions and pay commissions,” said the first official. At present, the railways budgets for around Rs.40,000 crore a year as pension outgo. “In the current scenario, we could be spending without even knowing the future capital requirements. The total long-term pension liability of the railways could run into several lakh crores for the current staff,” added the second official, adding accrual accounting gives a true picture of assets and liabilities which one may not liquidate immediately but gives a glimpse of liabilities today over a period of time to come as an organisation expands.

All government departments and states will eventually move to an accrual-basis system as per a recommendation of the Twelfth Finance Commission. The cash-based system of accounting is followed by many countries across the world — New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the US, the UK and Sweden are some of the countries which have moved to accrual-based accounting. Currently, countries such as Russia and even organisations such as the United Nations are also in the process of adopting the accrual system of accounting.

Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derails – 7 Coaches go off track near Asangaon

Nagpur Mumbai Duronto Express derailed near Asangaon in Maharashtra this morning. Local trains have been affected by the accident. Central Railways officials said there have been no casualties reported so far.

ASANGAON: Seven coaches of Nagpur-bound Duronto Express derailed on Tuesday near Asangaon in Maharashtra. Railway officials said there have been no casualties so far. Reports suggest a rescue team has reached from Kalyan.

Central, Western Railway services delayed after Mumbai-Nagpur train derails near Asangaon. According to officials, the Kasara and Kalyan section of the suburban railway has been affected.

“Seven coaches of Duronto Express Nagpur-Mumbai 12290 derailed between Asangaon and Vasind railway stations. So far, no casualties have been reported,” the Central Railway PRO said.

The derailment took place just days after the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district on August 23 At least 81 people were injured after nine coaches of the train derailed in Uttar Pradesh, making it the second train accident in a week. On August 19, Kalinga Utkal Express had also derailed in Muzaffarnagar killing 22 people. Taking moral responsibility for the train accidents under his watch, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had offered to resign but was asked by the Prime Minister to “wait”.

The derailment of the Mumbai-bound Duronto Express has affected the services on the suburban railway. Central Railway officials have stated that the movement of local train between Titwala till Kasara has been affected due to the derailment.

This will affect commuters travelling from far-flung suburbs and towns like Shahapur.

Due to heavy rainfall, the Central Railway mainline services are operating with a delay of 20 minutes and the Harbour line services with a delay of 15 minutes. The local train services on the Western Railway are also operating with a delay of 10 minutes due to heavy rainfall.

There has also been a cascading effect on the local train services between Kalyan to CSMT, which are operating with a 10 to 15 minute delay. This will add to the commuters’ woes, especially during the morning peak hour.

Sunil Udasi, Chief Public Relations Officer, Central Railway, said, “Suburban trains from Kasara and Asangaon are running up to Titwala only.”

On the mainline, CSMT-Howrah Gitanjali Express has been diverted via Kalyan-Panvel-Karjat-Pune-Daund-Manmad.

Seven bogies and the engine of the Nagpur-Mumbai Duranto Express derailed on Tuesday morning. No injuries to passengers were reported in the accident. The preliminary reason for the derailment seems to be heavy rains that had washed away a portion of the tracks.

Last week, four coaches of a harbour line train heading from Andheri to CSMT had derailed at Mahim. The railways conducted a nine-hour long public hearing into this accident on Monday.

9.45 am: Duronto express derails: Rescue operation underway, train traffic affected

9.30 am: Four trains diverted due to Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailment via Kalyan-Lonavala-Pune-Daund-Manmad. Five buses have also read the spot to carry stranded passengers.

9.25 am: While there have been no major injuries today, Friday’s derailment of a suburban local between Andheri and CSMT near Mahim railway station left six people injured. “I tried jumping out of the coach when it was getting derailed. My left leg received serious injuries. I was heading for my work when this happened and now I fear whether I will be able to recuperate soon to able to report to work this month,” Bankelal Kanojiya (38), a victim told.

9.20 am: A helpline booth has been provided near Deputy station superintendent’s office near Platform Number 1 at Nagpur stations.

9.15 am: The coaches derailed at around 6.35 am on the Central Railway making it the third derailment incident in the country in a period of 10 days.

9.10 am: While the Central Railway spokesperson Anil Saxena said there has been no casualty or injury, an eyewitness travelling in the train said there may have been some minor injuries. “At least six coaches along with the engine slipped out of the tracks. We could not understand what happened. Few people were stuck in the washrooms and were rescued by fellow travellers breaking glasses of the windows,” Justin Rao, the eye witness, said.

9.05 am: Lohani was appointed as the chief of the Railway Board recently after a string of train mishaps. “Due to the recent spate of accidents, the image of the organisation has taken a severe beating,” he told PTI recently.  Young officers of the northern division were also asked for deep introspection to find the maladies and shortcomings that plagued the system.

9.00 am: “One board member, General Manager and DRM ordered to reach derailment site to provide extensive help to passengers,” Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani was quoted as saying by ANI.

8.55 am: ANI reported that Kasara and Asangaon suburban trains running up to Titwala. CSTM-Howrah Gitanjali Express diverted.

8.45 am: The reason behind the derailment has not been ascertained yet.

8.40 am: Local trains in up and down direction have been affected due to clearing of tracks. “Local trains running till Kalyan,” the Central Railways said.

8.35 am: Railways release helpline numbers. Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: 22694040, Thane: 25334840, Kalyan: 2311499, Dadar: 24114836, Nagpur: 2564342

8.30 am: “Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed between Vasind and Asangaon. There are no injuries to passengers. We are arranging buses to bring passengers to the destination. Doctors and senior officers are already at the site,” Central Railways said in a statement.

8.25 am: On August 25, four coaches of a suburban local between Andheri and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) had also derailed near Mahim railway station on the Western Harbour line.

Railways to get Rs.2.8 Lakh Crore Safety Revamp

NEW DELHI: The government has drawn up a Rs 2.8 lakh crore revamp plan for Indian Railways – Re-Build Railways – that hinges on safety, including supply of track detection machines from Australia, redevelopment of 65 stations and raising the average speed of trains.

Indian Railways is tying up with an Australian company called Track IQ that will provide technology and equipment, including a sensor-based system to detect rail cracks.

The tie-up will be announced on Wednesday.

“Making Railways safer is the first priority. We are tying up with Australia to get the technology. We have set the target to reduce accidents by 50% in next two years,” a top rail official said. The national transporter will also make its research wing, SHRESTHA, operational at the earliest. The research wing will focus on piloting the upcoming global rail technology that will minimise accidents.

The rail ministry has changed tracks and now wants to focus on elements that can deliver tangible results quickly. Almost Rs 18000 crore are being spent on making Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata rail corridors semi high speed.

The Re-Build Railways plan also includes retrofitting 40,000 coaches and making them safer and also making trains discharge free in a year by installing almost 50,000 bio-toilets.

“Ongoing projects such as the 3,300-km dedicated freight corridors will also be made operational within a year and a half. The corridors being constructed at the cost of Rs 1lakh crore will increase the average speed of freight trains from the current 25 kmph to 70 kmph and would substantially reduce the rail freight tarrifs,” the official said.

Railways claims that in the last four years, it has spent almost Rs 4 lakh crore on infrastructure creation and modernisation, against Rs 4.9 lakh crore that was spent between 1947-2013.

The national transporter has sanctioned 13,000 km of new rail lines in last three years against commissioning of 8,000 km that was done in 30 years before 2014.

With the 2019 elections in sight, the government has asked all infrastructure ministries to focus on early completion of projects and undertake new ones that could be made operational by 2019.

Trackside Intelligence Pty Ltd, or more commonly Track IQ, is an international manufacturer and supplier of railway equipment and services for the purpose of measuring operating conditions. After developing the (Bearing Acoustic Monitor) and WCM (Wheel Condition Monitoring) systems, Track IQ formed a partnership with Siemens to install the systems in the UK and Continental Europe.

Although Track IQ operates out of Australia, more than 120 of their systems have been installed around the world. The company currently services 12 countries, including China, Australia, France, USA, New Zealand, UK, Norway, Mexico and Brazil.

Accord Top Priority to Safety and Cleanliness: AGM/SCR

SECUNDERABAD: John Thomas, Additional General Manager, South Central Railway stressed upon according top priority to Safety and Cleanliness on the Zone in view of  the prevailing weather conditions during monsoon season. He conducted an intensive review meeting on Safety and Cleanliness today i.e., 28th August, 2017 at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad along with Principal Heads of Departments. The Divisional Railway Manager’s (DRM) of all six Divisions i.e. Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Guntakal, Guntur and Nanded attended the meeting through video conference.

John Thomas instructed the Divisional Managers to intensify the field level inspections to attain visible improvement in cleanliness of all the important stations and Trains. He also instructed the officials to inspect all the Stations and Depots under their jurisdiction and  take proper  remedial actions immediately to rectify the issues related to safety.

Additional General Manager reviewed all the safety aspects and instructed the officials to avoid short cut methods in attending the asset failures and advised to focus on Signal and loco failures which will have impact on trains mobility and improves the safety. He instructed the officials to take corrective action without delay to ensure Safety.

John Thomas while addressing the issues on Railway Hospitals, instructed the officials to intensify the checks and provide proper treatment to the railway staff and beneficiaries by the Medical officers and Para Medical staff.  He also advised medical department  to focus on hygiene and  ensure proper supply of the Medicines.

N. Madhusudana Rao, Chief Operations Manager; Padmini Radhakrishnan,  Principal Financial Advisor (PFA); M.G.Gunashekarm, Chief Commercial Manager; A.A.Phadke, Chief Electrical Engineer; D.K.Singh, Chief Safety Officer; N.V. Ramana Reddy, Chief Personnel Officer; K.H.K.Dora, Chief Medical Director; Sanjay Sankrityayan, Chief Security Commissioner were among the officials present.

Railway Reforms should continue with a sharper eye on Safety and Execution

At around 7 am on Wednesday, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu called up the Prime Minister’s residence to seek an appointment. The minister insisted he wanted to meet the PM immediately. The PM apparently conveyed the message that Prabhu could meet him after the cabinet meeting scheduled to be held that day. Prabhu seemed restless; he woke up at 4 am that day and instructed his key officers to move in no time to the Rail Bhawan’s control room. 

Soon after the cabinet meeting ended and Prabhu had a brief interaction with the PM, he tweeted, saying he was extremely pained by the “accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives”. Then he announced he had offered to resign. “Hon’ble PM has asked me to wait”, he clarified. He did not come to his office; instead he left the PMO and headed straight to an “undisclosed” location. “We have no clue. He has gone out of Delhi,” said one of his key aides when media persons rushed to Rail Bhawan that afternoon to hear from the horse’s mouth.

When we spoke with four railway officers to piece together this report. None wanted to come on record. At least on two points, they echoed the same versions. First, the two rail accidents in four days — Kalinga Utkal Express derailment at Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar (in which 22 died and 106 were injured) and Kaifiyat Express derailment at Auraiya (25 injured), both in Uttar Pradesh — took place because of human error by railway employees. Two of them doubted the authenticity of the control room audio clips that got circulated after the first incident, but conceded that there was enough proof to conclude that the men on the ground goofed up and allowed the train to pass at high speed despite glitches on the track. The audio clips make it clear that punctuality got precedence over safety. 

Second, officers close to Prabhu said the minister is indeed emotional. He thought of quitting soon after he had returned from the site of the Indore-Patna Express derailment last November, one of the worst train accidents that resulted in 150 deaths. Yes, poor safety statistics, 251 death from 145 derailments in the last two and half years alone will continue to haunt Prabhu or his replacement. And if the PM does replace Prabhu, the new minister will surely accord the highest priority on safety. But that raises several questions on other fronts.

Will there be a pause on spending on rail infra – Rs 4 lakh crore has been spent between 2014 and 2018 as against Rs 4.9 lakh crore between 1947 and 2014? Or, will the IR succeed in mobilizing huge extra budgetary resources (like, for instance, the Rs 1.5 crore loan taken from the Life Insurance Corporation)? Or, will the raging safety debate slow down the highspeed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, for which the government needs to cough up just 20% of the proposed Rs 1 lakh crore; the rest will come from a Japanese government loan at a meagre 0.1% interest? 

Prabhu may have failed the nation on safety, but will a new minister be able to match him on the reforms front? I wish the new minister won’t take the railways on older tracks, like announcing new trains and laying foundations without any followup, a railway insider quips. 

IR Control Room Voiceovers 

Excerpts of audio clips, purportedly between the Khatauli station master and Delhi division control room ahead of the Kalinga Utkal Express derailment that killed 22 and injured 106. It appears a 20-minute block was asked for maintenance work, but was denied by the Delhi division’s control room:

1ST VOICE: Khatauli…Abhi nahi chale Utkal? Signal de de? (From Khatauli…Utkal Express has not started? Should we give the signal?)

2ND VOICE: Abhi nahin… (Not now)

1ST VOICE: Khatauli…20 minutes ka PWI block mang rahe hain (Khatauli…They are asking for a 20-minute maintenance work block); PWI is the permanent way inspector who heads the team of gangmen entrusted to physically check the tracks

3RD VOICE: Ye kaun sa block hain? (Which block is this?)

1ST VOICE: Pata nahin, koi gluejoint change karne ke liye bol rahe hain. Main isko bol raha hu, gaadiyo ka group hain. Ye kaise hoga? (I don’t know exactly. They are talking about changing some joints; I was telling how can we order a block when there is a queue of trains?) ….. De du 15-minute ka block? (Should we give it a 15-minute block?)

4TH VOICE: Block ka time nahi hain. Gaadiya bohut hain…(There’s no time for the block. There are a number of trains)

1ST VOICE: Thik hain (okay)

CEC recommends transportation of Iron Ore by Rail in next 2 years to protect environment

If the proposed measures are implemented, it will result in transportation of at least 70% of iron ore through Railways/conveyor belts in these districts

BALLARI: Transportation of iron ore from Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumkuru districts by road is likely to end in the next two years with the Supreme Court constituted Central Empowered Committee (CEC) recommending its transportation through conveyor belts/railways to prevent environmental degradation.

M.K. Jiwrajka, former member secretary of CEC, has submitted a 57-page report to the apex court urging it to direct mining lessees and steel plants to install conveyer systems within 21 months, including the time required for right of way and Forest (Conservation) Act approvals. “If the proposed measures are implemented, it will result in transportation of at least 70% of iron ore through conveyor belts/railways in these districts.

Though production will gradually increase from 29 million metric tonnes to 40 million metric tonnes in the next five years, the ore that will be transported by road will be much less than the present level. Thus, the environmental degradation caused by transportation of ore by road will be contained,” said Mr Jiwarjka stated in his report submitted to the court on August 22.

Mr Jiwrajka, a retired IFS officer, who dealt with Karnataka’sillegal mining case  on behalf of the CEC in the apex court, said that the proposed scheme of transportation would provide for automatic and in-built safeguards to ensure that the Rs 15,000 crore socio-economic ameliorative measures in the mining ravaged areas under the Karnataka Mining Environment Restoration Corporation were implemented. He said that JSW Steel Ltd., the largest buyers of iron ore, should construct closed covered conveyer system between Nandllhalli to its plant and linked conveyor systems to transport at least 15 MMT of iron ore.  The apex court is expected to take this matter for hearing on September 14.

GRP clueless in Bogie burning case of Ranchi-Chopan Express

RANCHI: Some 24 hours after one of the Ranchi-Chopan Express general bogies was set on fire at platform number 5 of Ranchi Railway Station, the Government Railway Police (GRP) remains completely clueless about the person involved in absence of any Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras around.

However, forensic team has been working on whatsoever proof it could collect from the spot of crime to get more out of how bogie was set on fire from inside.

“We have been working on whatever evidence we could get from the crime scene, including a travel backpack which contained nothing more than 39 chits all with We Want Justice – MSG sort of thing written in them. A follower of Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Ji Insaan is suspected to have tried to disperse the chits in public but might have failed to do so and would have set the bogie on fire. We are trying our best to nab him and his companions if any while Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team is working separately on the evidences they collected, including handwritings,” said GRP (Ranchi) In-Charge Anil Singh on Saturday.

Meanwhile, security remained beefed up on Saturday with added police personnel and dog squad on Ranchi Railway Station. “We have also asked officials to keep tab on suspicious persons and activities in and around railway station. We are trying our best to get CCTVs for platform numbers 4 and 5 which have so far remained vulnerable as far as security concerns are concerned. The main problem is a narrow passage which we had to come up with for the use of railway staff residing on the other side of the wall in Railway Colony,” said Senior DCM Neeraj Kumar.

Notably, Gurmeet Ram Raheem was convicted on Friday in a rape case registered way back in 2002, after which thousands of his followers turned violent in many cities in country, mainly in Panchkula in Haryana where as many as 28 people were killed, primarily claimed by them. The GRP and other officials in Ranchi believe that the accident which took place at Ranchi Railway Station was orchestrated by one of his followers who, failing to cause more damage to Indian Railways, set the bogie which he was travelling in on fire after the train terminated at Ranchi Railway Station.

“He must have been a traveller and was perhaps alone as handwritings on all the chits are matching prima facie. Two bottles of petrol were also found in search conducted after the incident,” said Singh.

Kumar added that the security arrangements at the railway station and in trains leaving from here were being reviewed and situation was pretty under control. “There are not many Dera followers in this part of country. However, we are taking all precautions,” said the Sr. DCM.

Engineering Dept.of Pune Division starts Close Monitoring of Works related to Repair and Track Maintenance

CR’s Pune Division on toes after increase in derailment cases. Illegal block repairs carried out by workers but no major mishap reported so far; authorities decide to up their vigil

PUNE: Two train derailments within a span of five days in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh have sent shockwaves across the country. While the Kaifiyat Express derailment resulted in injuring 100 passengers, the Utkal Express accident killed nearly 23. Both the incidents brought to the fore “unofficial” maintenance of railway tracks carried out by contractual workers. Now, taking serious cognizance of the issue, the Pune railway division has decided to maintain the tracks and ensure the safety of commuters.

The railway division’s engineering department has started closely monitoring works related to repair and maintenance of these tracks. While there have been incidents where the contractual workers are caught and fined for not maintaining the tracks properly, fortunately no severe mishaps have taken place in the city so far.

B K Dadabhoy, Pune divisional railway manager, informed, “The workers are always allotted maintenance blocks to carry out repairs. In case of any emergency, a particular block is handed over to them to carry out the work. There is a system of planned maintenance blocks in place. In case of the Utkal Express derailment, the authorities had refused to repair that particular block. However, the workers carried out illegal repairs there. Though after the incident, we have become extra cautious and are conducting round-the-clock surveillance to ensure that the tracks are regularly maintained. Passenger-safety is of prime importance. Also, we do not want to disrupt the train schedule on any of our routes.”

While the railway authorities claim that all is well, Pune-Lonavala trains that run on four tracks are in an urgent need for attention as they are over 40-years-old. The demand to replace or repair these tracks has taken force after a local train in Mumbai’s Mahim Railway Station derailed on Friday morning. Four coaches were thrown off the track and five passengers were reportedly injured.

Harsha Shah, president of the Railway Pravasi Group, lamented, “In March 1978, the Pune to Lonavala local train service had started. These trains are in a worst condition now and need to be replaced on priority basis. Every day, thousands of passengers commute from Lonavla, Talegaon Dabhade, Chinchwad and other stations to Pune. The seats are also damaged and the trains are not maintained regularly.”

When asked about the issue raised by Shah, Dadabhoy explained, “We are currently operating four local trains between Pune and Lonavala and they are maintained properly on a regular basis. As of now, there is no official demand sent to us to get new trains. However, in the coming years, owing to a larger population travelling in these trains, we would need to rope in new ones for the route.”

Meanwhile, talking about the maintenance work, a senior railway official, on condition of anonymity, shared, “Maintenance and repair work of the railway tracks are a continuous process, which are given to the contractors under the Pune railway division. There are instances when the repairs are delayed, resulting in hampering the train schedules some times. We have repeatedly instructed them and even warned not to carry out unofficial maintenance or repair works for any blocks. After the two rail accidents in UP, all the track inspection officials and superiors of the Pune railway division are ensuring stronger vigil on these workers.”

445 Trains cancelled over Dera violence

Ram Rahim Supporters also set 2 Railway Stations afire in Punjab. Malout and Balluanna Railway stations which falls under the Ambala Division of Northern Railway were partially torched by the angry followers as violence spread across Punjab in the aftermath of the court’s verdict, officials said.

As many as 445 trains have been cancelled due to the law and order situation in Punjab and Haryana as Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was convicted in a rape case, officials said.

“485 train services have been affected (due to the violence). Of these, 445 stood cancelled,” Neeraj Sharma, spokesperson, Northern Railway, said.
The railways said the accumulative figure for cancelled trains on six days, since August 23 till August 28, was at 445.
Malout and Balluanna railway stations in Punjab were partially burnt by angry followers of the Dera chief as violence spread across Punjab in the aftermath of the court’s verdict, officials said. Two railway stations in Punjab were set on fire by followers of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim, soon after the self-styled godman was convicted in a rape case by a CBI court in Panchkula in Haryana today.

“Two stations have been affected and we are still getting inputs on the extent of damage. No injuries have been reported so far,” Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma told PTI. The Northern Railway had cancelled 211 trains to and from Haryana since August 23 up to August 27.

Before the court verdict, the 50-year-old Dera head had appealed to his followers to maintain peace.
At least 30 people have lost their lives in the violence after the verdict was announced.

Heritage Billimora-Waghai Narrow Gauge Train’s engine derails near Waghai

SURAT: The heritage Billimora-Waghai narrow gauge train’s engine derailed in the dense forest area at Dungarda village, after it ran off the rail due to some technical reasons on Wednesday afternoon. There has not been any report of casualties.

Passengers, mostly tribal people travelling towards Waghai in Dangs, escaped unhurt when the heritage train going towards Waghai from Billimora derailed near Dungarda.

Official said the derailment occurred near Dungarda village, while approaching Waghai station at about 1:15 pm. The five coaches of the train were on track, while the trolley of the train’s engine derailed.

Station Master of Billimora, BL Bhairwa said, “The train runs on the speed of 20 kilometers. However, the derailment of the engine did not impacted the coaches. Usually, the train is packed with passengers on the week-days as people from Waghai arrive to Billimora for purchase and many arrive here for work”

Bhairwa added, “Our technical teams were rushed to the derailment spot. It took more than seven hours for the workers to lift the engine and put it back on the track. We are investigating the cause of the derailment and that the report will be submitted to the Western Railway (WR) in a day or two”

The heritage Bilimora-Waghai narrow gauge train, a lone mode of long distance travel for the tribal in Dangs, completed 104 years last month.

The 63-km track of this train was laid by the British at the insistence of the Sayajirao Gaekwad in 1913. Initially, the train was supposed to be a part of Gaekwad’s Baroda State Railway (GBSR) which was owned by the Princely State of Baroda which was ruled by the Gaekwad dynasty. The motive behind this track was to keep the connection with the royal state.