MOS (Railways) give replies to Parliament Members on various issues raised of Railways

NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain gave written replies (Press releases) to various questions raised by the Members of Parliaments (Lok Sabha) requesting the information on various issues on 29.03.2017 (Wednesday). Details are:

Hydraulic Rescue Devices in Railways

Zonal Railways have been using Hydraulic Rescue Devices (HRDs), procured from foreign countries including Germany, at accident sites as a part of rescue efforts whenever needed. Available details of usage for the last 3 years are as below:

1.         Central                          04.05.2014
2.         North Eastern              30.09.2014
3.         Northern                      20.03.2015|
4.         South Central              24.08.2015
5.         North Central              20.11.2016
6.         East Coast                    22.01. 2017

The first hour from the time of accident is referred to as the “Golden Hour”. Rescue of passengers from the accident involved coaches within the Golden Hour depends on many factors, mainly reaching of HRD equipment to the accident site. After reaching the accident spot, Hydraulic Rescue Devices have been successful when used for rescue operation. The total time taken for such rescue operation by Hydraulic Rescue Devices has been varying depending upon the type of accident and site conditions. The competency/viability of these HRDs has been assessed during the past rescue operations. HRDs have performed successfully during rescue operations.

Measures Taken by Railways for Protection of Elephants

Indian Railway has developed the following process/steps/corrective measures for protection of elephants getting killed on railway tracks. Imposition of suitable speed restrictions in identified locations keeping the joint advisory of Ministry of Environment & Forest and Ministry of Railways and train operation requirements in consideration, provision of signage boards on identified corridors to alert the loco pilots, training programme to sensitise train crew and Station Masters on a regular basis, deputing of staff of Forest Department in the control office, need-based clearance of vegetation on the sides of the track within railway land, VHF communication links between forest officials and stations, construction of underpasses and ramp passes for the movement of elephants at identified locations, construction of girder bridges at the entrance of the deep cuttings to prevent elephants getting trapped, and provision of fencing at isolated locations etc.

Measures taken by Railways for Quality and Hygience of Catering Services

In its endeavour to provide quality and hygienic food to the passengers, Railways have developed and operationalized an institutionalized mechanism for monitoring of quality and hygiene of catering services through regular inspections at various levels to address catering complaints. Penal action is taken against the licensee depending upon the gravity of lapse, which inter-alia includes imposition of hefty fines and termination of contract.
A few complaints on cleanliness of coaches are received which are addressed by Railway. Further, cleaning of coaches including toilets is done at both ends in all trains. Following schemes are also provided for cleanliness of coaches:-

(i)     On Board Housekeeping Service (OBHS) has been provided in nearly 800 trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Duronto and other important long distance Mail/Express trains for cleaning of coach toilets, doorways, aisles & passenger compartments during the run of the trains. (ii) Clean My Coach Services is also provided in OBHS trains in which passenger may send a Short Message Service (SMS) on a specified Mobile number. OBHS staff travelling on the same train, contacts the passenger and carries out the cleaning work as per demand. (iii) Clean Train Station (CTS) scheme has also been prescribed for limited mechanized cleaning attention to identified trains including cleaning of toilets during their scheduled stoppages en-route at nominated stations. 39 Clean Train Stations are presently working.

The corrective measures taken/being taken to ensure hot and hygienic food is available to the passengers in trains and at stations, are as under:-

I.     Penal Action arising out of irregularities, complaints and inspections:-
(i)     Stringent action is taken by Railways and IRCTC against erring contractors. One contract has been terminated, one is under notice for termination while 16 contractors have been blacklisted for breach of terms of contracts in the last one year.
(ii)     A fine of Rs 1.8 crore (approximately) has been collected in 2108 cases in the last one year.

II.     Catering Complaint Monitoring & Redressal
(i)     Operation of Centralized Catering Service Monitoring Cell (CSMC) (toll free number 1800-111-321) for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to the catering and real time assistance to travelling public. This Cell gives real time assistance to 250-300 passengers per day.
(ii)     Inspections at various levels are conducted in trains and stations wherein feedback from passengers through surveys for enhanced satisfaction of the passengers is taken.
(iii)     A Twitter handle with the address @IRCATERING has also been made operational to cater to the complaints/suggestions with regard to catering services.
(iv)     Operation of All India Helpline (No.138) for rail-users to lodge complaints/ suggestions regarding food and catering services.

III.     Other significant initiatives
(i)     E-catering has been implemented at 357 A1 and A category stations for widening the range of options available to passengers for ordering fresh and hot food of their choice. Further proliferation at other major stations is being ensured.
(ii)     Empanelment of Self Help Groups (SHGs) to provide healthy, wholesome regional cuisine at an affordable cost to the travelling public through e-catering has been initiated and 9 SHGs have been empanelled at 10 stations.
(iii)     Introduction of ‘Ready to Eat’ (RTE) precooked food on trains has been mandated by Ministry of Railways through IRCTC to ensure supply of hot meals.

Measures to Ensure Jerk-Free Train Journey

It has been decided to replace the Centre Buffer Couplers (CBCs) of LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) type coaches fitted with Single pack draft gear or Floating plate draft gear with CBCs with Balanced draft gear to mitigate the jerks in the train ride. Sanction for the retrofitment of improved design CBCs with Balanced draft gear in 1350 LHB coaches is already available under Rolling Stock Programme (RSP) and provision of the same in 500 more LHB coaches has been sought under RSP 17-18 at a cost of ₹ 5 lac per coach. The approximate cost for this work in 1850 LHB coaches at a cost of ₹ 5 lac per coach would be ₹ 92.5 crore.  All new passenger coaches (Mainline) are being manufactured with CBCs with Balanced draft gear. It has been decided to proliferate coaches with CBCs with Balanced Draft Gear on Indian Railways irrespective of specific trains/routes.

Rail Coach Factories 

Presently three Rail Coach Factories, two Diesel Locomotive factories and an Electric Locomotive Factory are functioning in the country under Ministry of Railways. The number of coaches, diesel and electric engines built during the last two years in these factories are given below:-

Year Coaches Diesel Engines Electric Engines
2014-15 3314 355 250
2015-16 3978 341 280
Safety Measures taken on India Railways

Indian Railways accord highest priority to safety in train operations. Safety measures taken on Indian Railways is a continuous process which envisage accident prevention and mitigation directed towards continuous reduction in risk level to its customers. This is done by adopting new technologies and improvement in asset reliability to reduce human dependency. In the Budget 2017-18, setting up of a Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) has been announced with a corpus of Rs1 lakh crore over a period of 5 years. A provision of Rs 20,000 crore has been made in Budget 2017-18 towards RRSK to fund essential safety works.

Railways have introduced new technologies such as Train Protection Warning System (TPWS)/ Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS) as means of Automatic Train Protection on pilot section to prevent accident due to over speeding & passing signal at danger. Further the TPWS System is under implementation at 3330 RKMs section on Suburban/High-density Route. During 2017-18, work of TCAS System at 1427 RKM has also been sanctioned. Other Safety measures taken to prevent accidents include Vigilance Control Device (VCD) to check alertness of Loco Pilot, Electrical/Electronic Interlocking System with Centralized operations of points to eliminate human failure, Complete Track Circuiting, Axle Counter for Automatic Clearance of Block Section (BPAC), interlocking of manned Level Crossing gates and replacement of filament type signal with Light Emitting Diode (LED) Signals. Safety measures taken to improve safety of Railway Track include usage of prestressed concrete sleepers, 60 Kg, 90 or higher Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) Rails, Long Rail Panels of 260m/130m length, provision of Thick Web Switches (TWS) for all important routes and Track Management System. It has also been decided to gradually phase out ICF Coaches and replace them by new design light weight modern technology Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) Coaches, introduce high capacity Centre Buffer Couplers (CBC) and Bogie Mounted Brake System (BMBS). Indian Railways is gradually moving towards automatic condition monitoring of Rolling Assets. As a part of this initiative, Railways are installing Wheel Impact Load Detectors (WILD), Online Monitoring of Rolling Stock System (OMRS) and Centralized Bearing Monitoring System (CBMS) in a phased manner.

Railways suffering losses in passenger sector every year, Lok Sabha was told

Railways is incurring losses on passenger operations every year, Lok Sabha was told today. Railways incurred losses of Rs 33,491 cr on passenger operations in 2014-15 while in 2015-16 the figure was Rs 35,918 cr, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in the House.

He said the losses incurred on account of passenger fare are not separately maintained. In order to reduce the loss and earn profit, railways has evaluated various alternatives relating to rationalisation of passenger fare structure and it is an ongoing process.

Dynamic fare structure has been introduced in new trains such as Humsafar and Antodaya Express to increase earnings.

Flexi-fare scheme has also been introduced in Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto train since September 9 last year. Besides Suvidha and special trains on special charges have been pressed into service to meet the surge in demand during peak seasons, holidays and festivals.