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 benefit from RINL target of 1 MT Special Steel in 2017-18

VISAKHAPATNAM: State-owned RINL has unveiled plans to produce 1 million tonne of special steel during 2017 -18 with an eye on higher market share in the segment.

“RINLs emphasis is on improving efficiency and ramping up production,” a company statement today quoted CMD P Madhusudan as saying at the All India Special Steel Customers meet at Ukkunagaram near Visakhapatnam.

There is a growing market for value-added steel in India and RINL has already introduced new technologies in mills, he said yesterday, adding that strategies have been drawn up accordingly to improve market share in the special steel segment.

Madhusudan spoke of RINL completing modernisation of existing units and expressed confidence that the steelmaker will fare better this financial year with the operation of all the three blast furnaces.

He further said the PSU has already rolled out spring steel and spring steel flats for the first time in 80×16 mm size. It has started production of low alloy steel from structural and special bar mill.

Besides, “high carbon wire rod sales increased to around 15,000 tonne a month and RINL started producing low carbon cold heading quality (CHG) grade from wire rod mill-2”, he added.

The special steel products produced by RINL would largely cater to the needs of the automobile industry, Indian Railways, general engineering and the like, he said.

Top officials of the company along with those from the automobile industry and Indian Railways were present.

Earlier, Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh had asked steel PSUs to produce more special steel to cut down imports.

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Overhead Electrification works on Tiruchi-Erode section speeding towards completion

TIRUCHI: Rail project will be over by end of the current financial year, says CORE. Electrification of the 140 km Tiruchi–Karur–Erode broad gauge section has reached an advanced stage of completion. Overhead wiring works are over in the stretch from Karur to Chavadipalayam towards Erode and from Karur to Mutharasanallur towards Tiruchi.

The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), working under the Ministry of Railways, is executing the project as part of which three electric sub stations will be constructed at Pettavaithalai, Pugalur and Vellianai.

Around 4,200 masts and 210 portals are being installed in the entire stretch for the overhead electrical wire. Officials attached with CORE said the electrification project from Tiruchi to Erode was expected to be completed before the end of the current financial year. The Commissioner of Railway Safety will inspect the electrified section, which is expected to be commissioned in March after obtaining mandatory clearance.

The CORE will also carry out electrification of the 160 km Salem–Karur-Dindigul section. The entire project cost for electrifying the Tiruchi–Karur–Erode and Salem– Karur–Dindigul sections isabout Rs. 350 crore.

The Railway Electrification organisation has launched electrification works in the Tiruchi– Karaikal broad gauge section via Thanjavur and Tiruvarur. With track doubling currently apace in the Tiruchi– Thanjavur section, CORE authorities have started the work in the stretch from Thanjavur to Karaikal covering around 100 km.

Foundation works for laying overhead electrical lines have begun in the broad gauge stretch, which witnesses movement of passenger and freight trains every day.

Three electric sub stations are proposed to be constructed as part of the ongoing electrification project at Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Karaikal. Installation of masts and portals will begin soon in the Thanjavur– Karaikal stretch, the official said adding that around 4,500 portals and masts will be erected.

As track doubling project is currently underway in the Tiruchi–Thanjavur stretch, electrification of the stretch will begin once the works are completed. Track doubling of the nearly 50 km stretch from Tiruchi to Thanjavur section is being executed by Rail Vikas Nigam Limited.

CORE authorities expect the track doubling works to get over in the coming months following which they propose to take up electrification of thestretch. The entire electrification project from Tiruchi to Karaikal is expected to be completed by November – December 2018, said CORE authorities.

Electrification of the Tiruchi–Karaikal and Tiruchi- Karur-Erode broad gauge section will increase the speed of trains as they will be hauled by electric locomotives, the officials added.

Crisis of Coal Supply Shortage began with the Closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura Rail Line

DHANBAD: For those who remember the headlines that the current government made, a prominent one was ‘coal surplus’. From 2014 onwards, the BJP government’s clarion call was increasing coal production and improving supply. State-owned monopoly Coal India Limited was given a tall target of 1 billion tonnes of coal production by 2019; three arterial railway lines were started from Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh; and the number of railway rakes for coal supply was to be increased.

Coal India ramped up production by opening new mines. So much that one of its subsidiaries, CCL, was opening a new mine every month last year. This improved coal supply boosted confidence in the government, which then started the programme to reduce dependence on imported coal to nil. This is where the problems began.

During the last financial year, while Coal India was increasing coal production to record levels, takers and the amount of coal dispatched reduced. Financially beleaguered power distribution companies weren’t buying surplus power, and they still aren’t. This led to power plants running at low capacity and, thereby, impacting the coal demand. Demand was so low that the ministry of coal rounded up close to 30 power generating units last year to pay penalty for sourcing coal below their lowest permissible threshold.

At the same time, state-owned NTPC went on a drive to reduce its import dependence. NTPC typically blends 8-10 per cent of imported coal in case of a domestic supply crunch. As Coal India increased production, NTPC was pursued to reduce coal dependence. The thermal power behemoth, which runs 49,000 Mw of coal-based units, reduced its imported coal consumption by 85 per cent as compared to the previous year. This was to be met through domestic coal supply, which Coal India duly complied with. Private units, even those in western India, that were dependent on imported coal shifted their loyalty to domestic coal as Coal India claimed to have a surplus supply.

In August, coal imports fell by 14 per cent over last year to 18.8 million tonne. At the same time, as the private units were running at low capacity, Coal India reduced production. Meanwhile, a crucial railway line (Dhanbad-Chandrapura) broke down and is still under repair. Further, the three planned lines are yet to be fully operational.

Crisis struck once peak summers came. Uttar Pradesh was the first to complain that it was only NTPC that was getting coal, while state-run and private units were facing a scarcity. Next in line came Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which had the same issue, and the latter suffered from power cuts.

By August, the situation worsened with hydropower generation not running at optimum capacity due to weak monsoon. Marred by payment issues and regulatory confusion, wind power faced its worst production year, with 354 Mw produced during April-August 2017.

By September end, average coal stocks at power plants were at a record low of five days. Last year, for the same month, it was 28 days. The number of rakes carrying coal for power sector was increased by the railway ministry. But this led to other sectors such as steel, cement and captive power units complaining of diversion of their rakes for power plants.

As the situation stands now, the ministry of coal has gone on record with the counter that it’s the power plants that should have kept a certain coal stock at their sites. Power plants, however, are alleging mismanagement by the ministries involved — coal, power, and railways. A lack of synchronised approach, they said, has led to this crisis.

Currently, 23 power units with a cumulative capacity of 30,000 Mw have super critical coal stock situation of less than three days, as per Central Electricity Authority. Latest data from ports show that, after five months of straight decline, coal imports have shown a spurt to 18.33 million tonne.

The headlines have gone back to coal deficit. Earlier, states would blame the Centre, the Union power ministry would blame the coal ministry, and the coal ministry would blame railways. For a government that vowed to break down silos, this is the test of cooperative federalism that it claimed to reinstate.

SWR announces Speeding up of Trains and Shifting of Terminals

HUBLI: South Western Railway has decided to speed up as many as 17 trains running within its jurisdiction from 01st November, 2017. New passenger time table for all Railway zones is being introduced with effect from 01st November, 2017. A unique feature of new time table this time will be thrust on speeding up of trains. All over Indian Railways running time of about 700 long distance trains has been reduced. The list of 17 trains being speeded up on South Western Railway are as under:

Speeding up of Trains

SNo. Train No. & Train Name ExistingTimings Revised Timings Speeded up in Minute
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
1. 22678 (16562) Kochuveli – Yesvantpur 12:40 04:30 12:50 04:15 25
2. 22677 (16561) Yesvantpur – Kochuveli 15:20 06:50 15:20 06:45 5
3. 20651(16201) KSR Bengaluru-Shivamogga 15:30 20:45 15:00 19:55 20
4. 20652 (16202) Shivamogga-KSR Bengaluru 06:35 11:55 06:40 11:35 25
5. 16219 (56213) Chamarajanagar-Tirupati 15:00 05:35 15:10 05:25 20
6. 16220 (56214) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar 21:35 12:30 21:35 12:20 10
7. 16227 (56234/16227) Mysuru-KSR Bengaluru-Talguppa 19:10 07:15 19:40 07:15 30
8. 16228 (16228/56234) Talguppa -KSR Bengaluru- Mysuru 20:15 08:00 20:20 08:00 5
9. 17301 Mysuru-Dharwad 22:30 08:15 22:30 08:00 15
10. 56217 Talaguppa-Shivamogga 10:00 12:50 10:00 12:30 20
11. 56218 Shivamogga – Talaguppa 13:40 16:45 13:40 16:30 15
12. 56270 Mysuru- Shivamogga 10:20 16:45 10:20 16:40 5
13. 16577 Yesvantpur-Harihar 16:15 23:45 16:15 23:30 15
14. 16578 Harihar- Yesvantpur 05:00 11:25 06:15 12:30 10
15. 16575 Yesvantpur-Mangaluru Jn. 07:10 17:30 07:10 16:55 35
16. 16515 Yesvantpur-Mangaluru Jn.-Karwar 07:00 17:30 (MAJN) 07:10 16:55

(MAJN)

45
17. 56515 KSR Bengaluru-Hubballi Passenger 07:45 20:50 07:45 20:45 5

It can be seen that saving of running time to the tune of 5 to 45 minutes has been achieved due to emphasis on speeding up of trains. This shall reduce travel time and it indicates commitment of Railways for facilitating faster travel of passengers.

The following trains already notified for upgrading to Express Train/Superfast Train from dates indicated in the time table.

Speeding UP Trains from Mail/Express to Superfast

SNo. Train No. From To Date Conversion  
1. 22501/22502 (15901/15902) New Tinsukkiya KSR Bengaluru 20.01.2017

31.01.2017

Weekly Express to Superfast Speeding UP Train New No. Ex.New Tinsukiya-20.01.2017 & EX KSR Bengaluru-31.01.2017
2. 22697/22698 (17314/17313) Hubballi Chennai Central 01.10.2016

02.10.2016

Weekly Express to Superfast Speeding UP Train
3. 20651/20652 Old No. (16201/16202) Bengaluru Shivamogga Town 01.10.2017

 

Daily Express Express in to Superfast with change in timings & New Train No.

Conversion Passenger Trains in to Express

Sl. No. Train No. From To Date Service  
1. 16219/16220 Old No. 56213/56214 Chamarajanagar Tirupati 22.08.2017

 

Daily Passenger in to Mail/Express
2. 16227/16228 Old No. 56234/56233 Mysuru Talguppa 28.07.2017 Daily Passenger in to Express, duly extending Train No. 16227/16228 KR Bengaluru-Talguppa-KSR Bengaluru up to Mysuru

III.      Shifting Of Terminals:

To decongest KSR Bengaluru, the terminal of following Trains has been shifted

Sl. No. Train No. From To New Terminal instead of KSR Bengaluru Date of Change in Terminals Frequency
1. 12683/12684 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi

 

04.01.2018 Bi-Weekly
2. 22607/22608 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi

 

08.01.2018

Weekly

 

Trains Diverted due to Heavy Floods & Breaches in Samastipur Division

Diversion of Passenger Trains due to Heavy Floods & Breaches in Samastipur Division

1)      Train No. 07091 Secunderabad – Raxaul Special Train  departed Secunderabad at 21:40 hrs on 24th October, 2017 is diverted via  Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sagauli and Raxaul instead of  Samastipur, Darbhanga , Sitamarhi and Raxaul stations.

2)      Train No. 07092 Raxaul – Secunderabad Special Train scheduled to depart Raxaul    at 12:45 hrs on 27th October, 2017 is diverted via Raxaul, Sagauli, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur instead of  Raxaul, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Samastipur Stations.

I) Trains Diverted due to traffic block

1)      Train No. 12508 Guwahati – Thiruvananthapuram Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 27th October to 22nd December, 2017 (Fridays)  is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj .

2)      Train No. 12510 Guwahati – Bangalore Cantt Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 29th October to 24th December, 2017 (Sundays)  is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj.

3)      Train No. 12516 Guwahati – Thiruvananthapuram Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 25th October to 20th December, 2017 (Wednesdays) is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj.

Yesvatpur-Bidar-Yesvantpur Express to be extended to Latur from 3rd Feb, 2018

Ministry of Railways has approved the extension of Tr. No. 16571/16572 Yesvatpur-Bidar-Yesvantpur Express to Latur (three days in a week) with effect from 3rd February, 2018 from Yesvantpur and 4th February, 2018 from Latur. The Train Numbers of extended train services will be changed as Train No. 16583 Yesvantpur-Latur Express and Train No. 16584 Latur-Yesvantpur Express.

Accordingly Train No.16583 Yesvantpur – Latur Tri-weekly Express will depart Yesvantpur at 19:00 hrs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, arrive/depart Bidar at 09:15/9:20 hrs, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arrive/depart  Latur Road at 12.08/12.10 hrs and arrive Latur at 13.05 hrs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

In return direction, Train No.16584 Latur – Yesvantpur Tri-weekly Express will depart Latur at 15:00 hrs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arrive /depart Latur Road at 15:35/15:37 hrs ,  arrive/depart Bidar at 18.00/18.05 hrs and arrive Yesvantpur at 07.40 hrs on Fridays, Sundays  and Mondays.

The Concept of Indian Railways is Highly Essential for our Country today – Let’s make it Happen collectively!

The Indian railways’ network is one of the largest in the world and the second largest in Asia, next only to China. To put things into perspective, India is the seventh largest country in the world, a third the physical size of its neighbour, China. The Indian Railways is entirely owned by the Government of India and is operated by the Ministry of Railways. It operates several hundred Express,

Superfast & Passenger trains on a daily basis. It also has the responsibility of operating a number of local and urban trains. Over 22 million people utilize the Indian Railways every-day to commute to their destinations. The Indian Railways network is a mix & Mash of Broad, meter and narrow gauges. At the same time, diesel engines ply alongside electric engines all the while steam powered engines are still being phased out. The world’s eighth largest employer, over 1.4 million Indians get their paychecks from the Indian Railways, which employs more personnel than the Indian Army. In spite of corruption, nepotism, red-tape bureaucracy and political wrangling, the Indian Railways is the link that joins the entire nation.

It is the very chain that binds us as a nation, a glue that keeps us together and a welcome sight for the sore eyes of the millions of the improvised folks who have gone to distant places to earn a two-time meal. The railway in India evokes the warm memories of home. All commuters of the Indian Railways are witness to the very thought of unity in diversity, the good old virtues of sharing and caring, the idea of a healthy debate, the nostalgia of cold air hitting the face and the cacophony of the million myriad small worlds that home in a gigantic canvas of our nation. The railways in India evoke the essence of being an Indian.

However, in the recent past, the Indian Railways has started hogging in the news for some very serious accidents. Train derailments, a rarity in the past has become commonplace. Every day, some or the other train is found to derailed or overturned, causing a great loss of time, revenue and sometimes, human lives too. A Railway Minister offered his resignation on successive fatal train derailments. His resignation was rejected but he was transferred to another Ministry in the recent Ministry shuffles. While official investigations are ongoing, sections in the media and common populace have placed the blame on a plethora of factors ranging from a lack of communication between various stakeholders, worn out tracks to even hooligans cutting tracks to instil terror. Not only train derailments, the Indian Railways is plagued by various issues ranging from quality control in food provided on board its trains, the overcharging for standard products by attendant staff to whole scale server crashes while ticket booking. It is often said that booking a Tatkal ticket( an emergency ticket booked in the 24 hours before the train’s departure) has become the 3rd most difficult thing to do in India, the first two obviously being marrying your love and getting yourself selected in the prestigious 3Is (IIT-IIM-IAS).

There is a lot of noise being generated that railways is over-charging or even outright, fleecing its customers. Prima facie, it appears to be the case. Tatkal tickets routinely charge 2-4 times the amount of the conventional fare and dynamic pricing has made some train tickets as expensive as flight tickets. But who is to blame for this? Why are the Railways forced to charge absurd rates for even small routes? Why is there not a rational pricing mechanism in place for the railways?

The blame rests squarely upon successive governments and railway ministers who used the Indian railways as a vote fetching tool and nothing more. Projects and trains were always sanctioned to the home states and districts of the executive and factories set up in constituencies of the crème-la-crème of the administration to sway public opinion, without any consideration being given to profitability or revenue rationalization. The Rail Coach Factories sanctioned at Lalganj in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar are a testament to this politicking.  Successive governments withheld or withdrew increasing passenger rates (due to public outcry and cement their pro-poor positioning) and increased freight rates (why cares about Industries anyway?).

In a way, this was justified. The Indian Railways is a government undertaking meant for the benefit of the Indian Citizens. The passenger fares had to remain low and sustainable so that entire India could rely on the railways for transport. But in a demonstration of very poor political economics, successive governments did not hike the railway passenger fares even when circumstances could have dictated otherwise. In one famous incident, a railway minister was sacked by his party chief who was in a coalition with the ruling dispensation for daring to effect a modest hike in the passenger fares. Yes, even today Indian Railways charges pennies for distances and on most routes, its conventional fares are a fraction of the Roadways and the railways. For examples, on the Lucknow-Delhi route, for the roadways, the fares vary from Rs 550/- (for a general purpose bus) to Rs 1450/- (Applicable for Scania like High-end buses).

The conventional railway fare is Rs 185/- (for a second seater- akin to a General purpose bus), Rs 350/- (for a sleeper’s berth where you can comfortably sleep and stretch your legs) to Rs 1300/- (for a cozy 2nd AC coach seat) for the same 640 km stretch. Over and above this, Railways also provides concessions for children and senior citizens. A flight ticket on the same stretch costs around Rs. 1500/- and much more, depending on the demand and the date. Even a Tatkal ticket for the same route costs in the neighbourhood of Rs 2000/- which is comparatively well-priced if you compare the comfort and speed of the railway service. Furthermore, the railways lose a substantial sum on every conventional fare ticket booked.

This, along with the massive ticket-less travelling and corruption, forces the Indian Railways to ask for subsidies and dole-outs from the Indian exchequer. Hence, as evident from the above numbers, there is an urgent need to increase the passenger fares or the railways has to come up with alternative ways to increase revenue. Tatkal tickets, dynamic pricing, increasing revenue from advertising are some of the ways the railways can improve the cash flow.

The freight operations, once the cash cow, of the Indian Railways, has now been sucked dry and freight rates, which were earlier competitive with the road transport is now reeling under multiple blows of successive hikes and has been highly uncompetitive. In the fiscal year 2015-2016, Indian Railways posted the lowest revenue growth since 2010-11. The Revenue growth in 2015-16 was just 4.6%, much lower than the 10-19% growth the national carrier registered in the previous four fiscal years and hoped to replicate. These facts will be a dampener for hopes that the railways will buttress the government’s capital expenditure plans and its future expansion plans.

The freight volumes are falling.  This is a major cause of concern as the railways generate three-fifths of its revenues from freight. This is undermining revenue growth. The weak revenue trends reflect the subdued economic activity. Cement, Coal and container traffic, in particular, fell.  The slump in revenue growth is also partly due to the uncompetitive position and impractical mess the railways has got itself into. Successive tariff hikes (courtesy, the earlier budgets) and the rapid & sustained fall in diesel prices has helped the roadways to become competitive, especially in the lucrative short-haul freight traffic. Experts point out that Rail-road freight tariff variation has reached a tipping point now as the fall in diesel prices and improvement in road infrastructure has made rail freight transportation a far less attractive proposition.

While we may find it very convenient to vent out our ire on the Railways for what we believe is the arbitrariness of the pricing mechanisms but the truth remains, the Indian Railways is under-funded, over-staffed and highly essential for our country. Let us not forget that for every Tatkal ticket which we claim is over-priced, many more underpriced tickets are also sold and several more, travel without a ticket, causing a loss of revenue and a dent in the finances of the Indian exchequer. This is the sad story of the often-abused Indian Railways.

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Rumo to install GE Trip Optimizer on Locomotive Fleet

BRAZILIAN rail freight and logistics operator Rumo has signed an agreement with GE Transportation for the installation of GE’s Trip Optimizer energy management system on its locomotive fleet.

Trip Optimizer is a software-based energy management system that enables trains to operate in the most fuel-efficient manner possible by gathering information regarding its route and current load.

Trip Optimizer inputs data about a train’s route and load, and then automatically drives the train in the most fuel-efficient manner. Algorithms develop a customised plan to work with each train’s specific route to optimise operations and improve train handling and fuel economy. Trip Optimizer also syncs with the other onboard systems during each trip to adapt to changes that could impact the route, thereby enabling the train to consistently arrive on time while using the least amount of fuel possible.

Trip Optimizer runs on GE’s GoLinc on-board computing platform, which turns a locomotive into a mobile data centre and enables the implementation of GE’s full suite of digital solutions. “The installation of Trip Optimizer is an important first step in transitioning from manual trains to fully automated ones. It will not only increase rail productivity, but also radically change logistics for the better.” says Mr Danilo Miyasato, commercial director of GE Transportation, Latin America.

The solution is integrated with GE Transportation’s onboard computing platform GoLINC, which transforms a locomotive into a mobile data centre and enables the implementation of the company’s complete suite of digital solutions.

Trip Optimizer’s algorithms customise a locomotive’s work plan according to its specific rail route in order to optimise fuel usage and overall operational efficiency.

It can also synchronise with other onboard systems to adapt to potential changes that may impact the route.

Rumo technology director Roberto Rubio Potzmann said: “When integrated with our global technology strategy, it will bring considerable precision in the movement of freight, generating greater efficiency for our operation.

“Beyond that, the benefits of reducing fuel consumption extend beyond our own operations to the broader society as well.”

In addition, Rumo and GE are holding discussions regarding the possible implementation of additional digital solutions to help the operator further reduce operating costs and achieve other business goals.

 

Russia’s legendary Trans-Siberian Railway to get multibillion-dollar makeover

MOSCOW: Russian Railways plans to increase investment next year to a record 579.4 billion rubles (about $10 billion), according to a draft program obtained by Reuters.

The principal focus of the investment is the modernization of Baikal–Amur mainline (a 4,324 km long railway line that passes through Siberia and the Far East). The money will also go to the Trans-Siberian Railway which connects European Russia with the country’s Far East, China, Mongolia and North Korea.

The Trans-Siberian Railway was built between 1891 and 1916 under the supervision of ministers personally appointed by Tsar Alexander III and his son, later Tsar Nicholas II.

Spanning a record eight time zones, it connects hundreds of large and small cities of the European and Asian parts of Russia over 9,289 kilometers, making it the world’s longest railway.

Russian Railways plans to modernize the rolling stock, as well as expand approaches to ports and develop the Moscow transport hub.

The investment program and the financial plan of the state-owned railway monopoly are approved annually by the Russian government. The planned $10 billion investment would be the largest at least since 2010, according to Reuters.

Russian Railways will invest 672.9 billion rubles in 2019 and 591.2 billion in 2020.

By 2030, the company intends to significantly upgrade the rolling stock, construct 20,000 km of new railway track, upgrade existing railways, build lines to 18 industrial zones and promising mineral deposits, which will require more than 4,600 kilometers of track and create and develop terminal and logistics centers. If all the work is done, the Russian rail network will increase by 24 percent, according to the company.

IRICEN gearing up for 60th IRICEN Day Celebrations on 1st Nov 2017

PUNE: Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN), a Centralized Training Institute of Indian Railways, will be celebrating its 60th IRICEN day on 01 Nov 2017. The formal function, will be presided by Chief Guest Mr.M. K. Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board. The General Manager, Central Railway Mr.D.K. Sharma  and many other dignitaries from Indian Railways will grace this occasion.

The IRICEN imparts, 1½ year long, rigorous training to the IRSE (Indian Railway Service of Engineers) officers recruited by UPSC. In addition number of special courses are conducted to upgrade/refresh knowledge of civil engineers working in field.

The IRICEN, located in an environment friendly Platinum rated green building having feature to save energy, water and others causing adverse effect on environment, is equipped with necessary equipments & facilities to impart high level of training. This institute had conducted 172 courses to train 3,842 trainees (about 17% increase over previous year during 2016-2017).

On this occasion a seminar on the subject of To ensure safety during track maintenanceinnovative ideas”, “Modernisation of track Maintenance”,  & Rationalisation of Engineering Organisation at Divisional Level to Increase Effectiveness” is also being organized. The thoughts presented during seminar will guide Indian Railways in years to come.

During function, Silver Jubilee (1991) batch officers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers (IRSE) cadre, who are completing 25 years of service in Indian Railways, will be felicitated. A number of Trophies and Medals will also be awarded to officers, who have excelled in various Training courses held during past one year.

इरिसेन दिवस

दिनांक 01 नवंबर, 2017 को भारतीय रेल सिविल इंजीनियरिंग संस्थान (इरिसेन), भारतीय रेल का केंद्रीकृत प्रशिक्षण संस्थान, अपना 60 वां इरिसेन दिवस मनाएगा। औपचारिक समारोह मुख्‍य अतिथि श्री एम.के.गुप्‍ता, सदस्य इंजीनियरिंग, रेलवे बोर्ड की अध्यक्षता में किया जाएगा। श्री डी.के.शर्मा, महाप्रबंधक, मध्य रेल, और भारतीय रेलवे के अन्य गणमान्य अधिकारी इस कार्यक्रम में उपस्थित रहेंगे।

इरिसेन, यूपीएससी द्वारा नियुक्‍त (आईआरएसई) अधिकारियों के लिए वर्ष का परिपूर्ण प्रशिक्षण प्रदान करता है। इसके साथ-साथ, इरिसेन में उन अधिकारियों को जो फील्‍ड में कार्यरत हैं, उनके नए – नए विषयों पर ज्ञान को रिफ्रेश करने के भी कई पाठ्यक्रम आयोजित किए जाते हैं।

इरिसेन, अत्याधुनिक प्रशिक्षण संबंधित उपकरणों से सुसज्जित ग्रीन बिल्डिंग है जिसमें ऊर्जा व पानी की बचत एवं  पर्यावरण पर होनेवाले अन्य प्रतिकूल प्रभावों के बचाव की विशिष्‍टताएं हैं। वर्ष 2016-17 के दौरान 3842 प्रशिक्षुओं को प्रशिक्षित करने हेतु 172 पाठ्यक्रम आयोजित किए गए जो कि पिछले वर्ष की तुलना में  लगभग 17 प्रतिशत की वृद्धि है।

इस अवसर पर सेमिनार का भी आयोजन किया जा रहा है जिसका विषय है रेलपथ  अनुरक्षण के दौरान संरक्षा सुनिश्चित करने के लिए – परिवर्तनात्‍मक  विचार, रेलपथ अनुरक्षण  का आधुनिकीकरण “, एवं “ प्रभावशीलता बढ़ाने के लिए मंडल स्तर पर इंजीनियरिंग संगठन का सुव्यवस्थीकरण

समारोह के दौरान  भारतीय रेल में 25 वर्ष पूरे करने वाले भा.रे.इं.से. संवर्ग के 1991 (रजत जयंती) बैच के अधिकारियों को सम्‍मानित किया जाएगा। इस समारोह में पिछले एक वर्ष में आयोजित प्रशिक्षण पाठ्यक्रम में उत्‍कृष्‍ट प्रदर्शन करनेवाले अधिकारियों को ट्राफी एवं मेडल भी प्रदान किए जाएंगे।

Bullet Train Logo finalised: NID Student’s Cheetah will be face of India’s Highspeed Train project

NEW DELHI: Bullet train logo has been designed and it’s: cheetah. A student of the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad has designed the logo for India’s high-speed rail network. A senior Railways official said the logo was selected from a contest by a three-member screening committee headed by renowned painter and architect Satish Gujral.

“The contest received an overwhelming response from across the country. The dates for submitting the applications were between April 19 and May 18, and around 100 entries were received by the committee from various states,” the report quoted an official as saying. The cheetah represents speed, while the red and blue lines symbolise calm and reliability, the report further said. Three entries were shortlisted after initial screening. The top entry was selected from NID in Ahmedabad, the second from the School of Planning and Architecture in Delhi, and the third from the NID in Bangalore.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe laid the foundation stone for India’s first high-speed rail network project in Gujarat on September 14. The first bullet train will run between Ahmedabad and Mumbai. This Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail or MAHSR is a 508 KM long corridor that will pass through Sabarmati, Anand, Vadodara, Bharuch, Surat, Bilimora, Vapi, Boisar, Virar and Thane. The project is expected to be completed by 2022. The MAHSR project is a joint venture between Indian Railways and Japan’s Shinkansen Technology.

Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad recently put out a study, saying that the bullet train from Mumbai-Ahmedabad can eventually be extended to Jaipur and Delhi. The study said that the Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor was a good choice for the first route as it connects the country’s first and seventh most populous cities with significant economic development in the 500 km corridor between them. “In terms of future network growth, this segment can be part of further extension to Jaipur and Delhi,” the study said.

5 historical, engineering facts you need to know about Japan’s prestigious bullet trains

  • The first bullet train was inaugurated in Japan in the year 1964. The train, known as Shinkansen, ran from Tokyo to Osaka. It could run upto 320 km per hour. However, a few years before Shinkansen was inaugurated in Japan, Emile Bachelet of New York demonstrated a prototype of what was to become a magnetic levitating car.
  • Subsequently, a series of German patents were awarded to Hermann Kemper for his idea of magnetic levitating trains. The first commercial magnetic levitating car, what was to become one of the earliest versions of Maglev, ran in Birmingham from 1984-95 between the international airport and the international railway station.
  • The idea behind the Maglev or Magnetic Levitation is very simple. It functions on the basic principle of magnetic repulsion, where opposite poles attract and similar poles repel. This governs the functioning of the Maglev that levitates around 10 mm from the guiding track.
  • Although a lot of countries have high-speed trains, not all of them are bullet trains. According to reports on the Guardian and the Washington Post, fewer than 15 countries had high-speed trains as of 2009.
  • As of now, the fastest train is the Japanese maglev L0 series that can speed up to 603 km/h. According to India Today, the TR-09 in Germany and the Shanghai Maglev in China are the second and third swiftest trains that can run upto a speed of 500 km and 430 km per hour respectively.

CR & WR to get fourth ADRM in Mumbai division to look after the Suburban Rail infra works

MUMBAI: The Railway Board has given its approval to create one more post of Additional Divisional Railway Manager (ADRM)- one each for the Central Railway (CR) and the Western Railway (WR)- in Mumbai division to look after the suburban infrastructure works, an official said.

The decision to create the new posts for the Mumbai division comes in the wake of the Elphinstone Road station stampede last month, in which 23 people had lost their lives.

The state-run transporter has taken several steps to boost the infrastructure and enhance passenger amenities. Creation of the new posts is one of the measures.

“Till a few days back, the Mumbai division of the CR as well as the WR had one DRM and two ADRMs each. Third post of ADRM were recently created. The latest one is the fourth such post, which has been created following the Railway Board nod,” Ravindar Bhakar, Chief PRO of Western Railway told.

The new post will be in addition to the three ADRMs. The new ADRM will look after various works, planning and infrastructural projects for suburban sections in both CR and WR in Mumbai and report to the DRM, the senior most officer of the division,” he added.

There were demands to give special attention to the suburban section and to appoint additional high-ranked official to look after suburban specific projects. Honourable Railway Minister Piyush Goyal went through this demand, found it crucial and asked Railway Board to do the needful accordingly, Bhakar said.

The shortlisting process of this forth additional post of ADRM exclusively to look after suburban projects is underway and it will be filled very shortly, Bhakar added.

Surat to see Rs 4,650-crore Railway Station redevelopment

A joint venture for undertaking the project will be formed soon, according to the source

SURAT: Indian Railways (IR) will be tying up with the state government and the local body to pool land belonging to all three, a first. The redeveloped station is intended as a multi-model transport hub, with train, commuter rail and bus connectivity. The project is likely to be commissioned by December 2018.

 “The redevelopment plan will be announced soon. We are expecting an expense of Rs 1 crore a sq ft. The money will be put in by the government,” said an official.

About Rs 650 crore would be spend on station redevelopment. The other Rs 4,000 crore would be to develop a commercial complex connected to the multi-modal transport hub.

“A joint venture for undertaking the project will be formed soon,” said the source.

Earlier, the government had invited global bids for the station but got lukewarm response. For the revised project, a concept design has been made by architects C P Kukreja Associates. IR is likely to form a joint venture for this with the state government and local bodies, the area to be developed on a revenue-sharing model. Last year, a memorandum of understanding was signed between IR, Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation and Surat Municipal Corporation in this regard.

The plan is for the railways to hold 63 per cent stake in the project, the state government about 34 per cent and the remaining three per cent by the local body.

By the plan, the redeveloped stations will provide amenities like digital signage, escalators, self-ticketing counters, executive lounges, restaurants, malls, theatres and Wi-Fi.

“This is going to change the face of Surat; we want to make it (the station) one of the largest in Asia. The 140-metre building will be the tallest in the city. A 300-room five-star hotel will be attached to it,” the official added. For the hotel, operational rights have already been given to the Leela group.

Earlier, the Wanda group from China had shown interest in both Gandhinagar and Surat stations but the smaller size (around Rs 400 crore each) of the then designed projects had made it less lucrative for global majors. This was after roadshows in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Railway Board had reviewed its redevelopment policy after tepid responses from companies for the 23 stations put for bidding in February 2017. On an average redevelopment of a station is expected to cost Rs 400 crore; major ones as in Delhi and Mumbai could see investment up to Rs 15,000 crore.

SAIL must ramp up production from its Bhilai Rail Mill plant to meet the requirements of its customers: Steel Minister

NEW DELHI: The Union Steel Minister Birender Singh chaired a mid-year review meeting with top management of SAIL at Udyog Bhawan yesterday. The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Steel, Vishnu Deo Sai, the Secretary Steel Dr. Aruna Sharma, senior officials from Ministry and SAIL including CEOs of SAIL Steel Plants.

While expressing displeasure over tardy progress in critical areas of strategic importance, Birender Singh said, “SAIL must ramp up production from New Rail Mill in Bhilai without wasting any more time, and meet all the requirements of its major customers. Company should chalk-out a time bound action plan to cater to the Indian Railways’ increasing demand. SAIL must take its joint ventures at international level to logical conclusion at the earliest. Company must leverage its position in the industry, instead of not being able to fulfill its commitments and agreements.” The Minister directed to the company management to submit quarterly plans and targets, which will be reviewed after every three months. Steel Minister will also be meeting CEOs and EDs of Steel plants next month, to get direct feedback about constraints, bottlenecks and issues of concern.

The CEOs have to understand their direct accountability and responsibility for performance of the Unit under their charge, the Minister added. Singh emphasised that accidents in the Plants must be curtailed and highest safety standards must be adhered to in all Units. Safety should be a prime focus of all the plant heads and stress should be given on repair and regular maintenance to avoid unforeseen breakdowns, downtime and resulting loss of production. SAIL should focus on ensuring raw material security to avoid the vagaries of coal supplies currently afflicting the company, he added.

Birendra Singh said that SAIL should explore possibilities for developing new markets by adopting new technology and adding value added products to its basket, like non corrosive steel products for construction in coastal areas. SAIL should also focus on product differentiation to create value for the shareholders, thereby creating an exclusive space for the company. Efficiency improvement and product quality improvement at individual plant level should be focused upon to meet the customer requirements and to improve the financial performance of the company.

In the meeting, SAIL’s overall performance as well as that of individual Integrated Steel Plants (ISPs) on critical techno-commercial parameters were reviewed.

The Chairman, SAIL P. K. Singh made a presentation on action taken on the recommendations by Group of Experts appointed by Ministry of Steel.

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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Maharashtra Cabinet approves two New Metro Rail routes for Mumbai

The state cabinet on Tuesday approved two new metro routes for the city. Metro-6 will run through Swami Samarth Nagar (Andheri-west)-Jogeshwari-Vikhroli and Metro-5 will connect the metropolitan region of Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan. The cabinet approved the metro-5 route, while it has principally approved metro-6 as well but can ask for a detailed project report to be prepared.

MUMBAI: In a major move to improve transport network in Mumbai, the Maharashtra government today approved two more metro rail lines with an aggregate value of Rs 15,088 crore, linking major industrial and commercial hubs in and around the metropolis.

The state cabinet on Tuesday approved two new metro routes for the city. Metro-6 will run through Swami Samarth Nagar (Andheri-west)-Jogeshwari-Vikhroli and Metro-5 will connect the metropolitan region of Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan. The cabinet approved the metro-5 route, while it has principally approved metro-6 as well but can ask for a detailed project report to be prepared.

The metro-6 corridor which will be fully elevated and is 14.47 km in length, will have 13 stations. The project is likely to be constructed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. There will be an uninterrupted metro network connecting the suburbs as the proposed metro 6 line will be an extension to the metro-2 A (Dahisar-DN Nagar) corridor which is also being constructed. These two metro corridors put together will result into a continous 33 km-long metro network connecting the east to west in the city.

“This corridor will connect business hubs like SEEPZ , L&T and IIT Powai area. It is expected to be completed by 2021 and nearly 6.5 lakh commuters are likely to use in on a daily basis,” said an official. The minimum ticket price will be Rs 10 and the maximum will be Rs 30.

The car depot for this project has been planned at Kanjurmarg. The project cost has been estimated to be Rs 6716 crore of which Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will be giving Rs 3195 crore and the state government funding Rs 1820 crore, the remaining Rs 1700 crore will be raised as loans.

Similarly, the Metro-5 corridor (Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalway) will be connecting the neighbouring cities to Mumbai. The corridor which will 23.50 km long which 16 stations. The total cost of the project is Rs 8240 crore and by 2021 when the project is completed, 2.3 lakh people are expected to use the corridor. This metro will also be connected by two other proposal metro routes, Metro-4 (Wadala-Thane-Kasarwadavli) and Metro-11 (Taloja-Kalyan).

According to officials in the next 4-5 years a total of 360 km long metro network will be completed across the state, most of which will be in Mumbai and adjoining cities.

“Our government has accelerated the pace at which we want Mumbai to develop at. In the last three years we have approved nearly double the number of metro projects which the previous government didn’t in 10 years,” said state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar.

These will be the 5th, which will extend up to the powerloom town of Bhiwandi in Thane district, and 6th metro lines.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for development of the metro network in the megapolis, had proposed the construction of a 24km Thane-Bhiwandi-Kalyan metro-5 corridor and 14.5 km Swami Samarth Nagar-Jogeshwari-Kanjurmarg-Vikhroli metro-6.

The state cabinet approved the two elevated corridor projects, a statement issued by the Chief Ministers Office (CMO) said.

The 6th metro line will link the Western suburbs with their Eastern counterparts. This will be the second West-East metro corridor after the already operational Versova-Andheri- Ghatkopar section, it added.

Both the approved metro corridors, designed for operating 6-coach trains, link major industrial and commercial hubs along their routes, the release said.

The 24km long and Rs 8,416 crore worth Thane-Bhiwandi -Kalyan corridor will be completely elevated and have 17 stations. Each train running on the corridor is expected to clock daily ridership of around 2.29 lakh by 2021.

Thane district guardian minister and Shiv Sena leader Eknath Shinde, who had been pressing for the Thane-Kalyan- Bhiwandi metro 5 link, thanked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for approving the project. He is Minister for Public Works Department (state PSUs).

The 17 proposed stations on this corridor are Kalyan APMC, Kalyan station, Sahajanand Chowk, Durgadi fort, Kon Gaon, Gove Gaon MIDC, Rajnouli village, Temghar, Gopal Nagar, Bhiwandi, Dhamankar Naka, Anjur Phata, Purna, Kalher, Kasheli, Balkumbh Naka and Kapurbawdi.

The project is expected to be completed within 41 months (by 2021) and the frequency of metro trains on the route will be one train every five minutes, the release said.

The metro 5 corridor will eventually connect with the metro 4 line of Wadala-Thane-Kasarwadavli and metro 11 corridor between Taloja and Kalyan.

The initial minimum fare on the route will be Rs 10 and maximum Rs 50. The project will be implemented by MMRDA.

The 14.5 km long metro 6 corridor is expected to cost Rs 6,672 crore and will have 13 stations on the route.

These stations are: Swami Samarth Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Momin Nagar, JVLR, Shyam Nagar, Maha Kali Caves, SEEPZ village, Saki Vihar Road, Ram Baug, Powai Lake, IIT Powai, Kanjurmarg West and Vikhroli on the Eastern Express Highway (EEH).

The much needed West-East corridor will link the hitherto not connected areas like JVLR, SEEPZ, Saki Vihar Road, Powai Lake, IIT Powai and Kanjurmarg. Besides this, the metro 6 corridor will connect the S V Road, Western Express Highway, Jogeshwari-Vikhroli Link Road, L B S Road and Eastern Express Highway.

MMRDA, in its meeting in August 2015, and later the state cabinet, at its meeting held in October 2015, approved the expansion of the metro network to 118 km long elevated corridor.

The metro 6 corridor earlier was planned to link Jogeshwari-Vikhroli to Kanjurmarg. However, it was extended in the west to Swami Samarth Nagar linking metro corridor 2 and the entire western suburbs.

The 18.6 km metro 2-A route is between Dahisar East to D N Nagar in Andheri East. By linking this corridor with metro 6, the entire corridor length becomes 33 km nd will be implemented by Delhi Metro Corporation. The route will have its car depot at Kanjurmarg.

Out of the total Rs 6,716 crore project cost of metro 6r, MMRDAs share is Rs 3,195 crore and the state governments Rs 1,820 crore. The rest, Rs 1,700 crore, will be loan component.

The metro 6 corridor will be linked with the Western and Central Railways suburban network, metro 2-A (Dahisar-D N Nagar), Metro 7 (Dahisar-Andheri), Metro 4 (Wadala-Thane- Kasarwadavli) and metro 3 (Colaba-Bandra-SEEPZ) corridors, thus creating the longest metro corridor in the MMR (Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).

The initial minimum fare on the metro 6 route will be Rs.10 and maximum at Rs.30.

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Amid Cumulative Loss of Rs.1000 Crore in 3 years, MMOPL plans Fare Hike for Mumbai Metro

MUMBAI: After the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) hiked Metro fares for the second time in the year on October 10, the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) feels that a similar hike is essential for the Mumbai Metro as well. Officials from the private metro operator lament their inability to hike fares, three years after operations began.

“A healthy fare structure is a basic need for sustainability of any Metro system. This has even been advocated by the Metro policy. We expect government bodies to work towards achieving this objective,” said an MMOPL spokesperson.

The fares for the 11.4-km Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro corridor have not been hiked since it began operations in June 2014 and the fare structure has continued to be Rs 10-20-30-40. However, in June this year they reduced discounts on their return journey tokens, store value pass and trip pass.

The operators cannot hike the fares owing to a High Court stay on the matter after the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), the nodal agency for the metro, approached the court challenging a report by the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) recommending a fare hike.

After a report by the FFC suggested a fare structure of Rs 10-110 for the corridor, MMOPL had announced it would increase the fares by Rs 5 from December 1, 2015, revising its structure to Rs 10, 20, 25, 35 and 45. However, it could not be implemented as the MMRDA approached the court and in an order on December 17, the revised fare was stayed.

In a hearing in December, the MMOPL told the court that it would continue to operate the metro services only as long as it could afford them. “I am bleeding right now and am willing to bleed a little more so that I don’t increase the fare right away. I may have to close down eventually. I have undertaken this project to see that quality service is made available and will continue to do so till I can afford it,” said the senior counsel representing MMOPL.

According to the spokesperson, MMOPL has made cumulative losses of more than Rs 1,000 crore in the last three years. “The government Metros get funding through international agencies based on sovereign guarantees from the government at 1 to 2 per cent interest rates. MMOPL has taken loan from Indian banks at interest rates of 10.75 per cent,” added the spokesperson.

Apart from the revenue generated from the fares, MMOPL also rakes in 10 per cent of non-fare revenue through advertising and renting out commercial spaces. However, they feel the non-fare revenue should ideally be 20 to 30 per cent.

The Mumbai Metro One was the first Metro project awarded in the country on a Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. The Metro Rail Policy 2017 encourages more such partnerships in the upcoming Metro corridors in the country.

“Government will encourage Public Private Partnership (PPP) for implementation of the metro rail projects in the country. The state government, desirous of availing central financial assistance for Metro rail system in a city, should mandatorily explore the possibility of having a PPP arrangement,” reads the policy.

However, MMOPL rued that while the government encouraged the model, they are doing nothing to solve the current issues faced by it.

“Whether run by the government or by private companies, Metro operations should be sustainable. The same benefits offered to the government should be given to private parties as well. Why should the private sector be discriminated against? This will dissuade them from entering the fray,” he added.

Titagarh Wagons, Texmaco to diversify amid stagnant orders from Railways

While Texmaco is focussing more on railway EPC and Railway Electrification, Titagarh is eyeing the international market

KOLKATA: Faced with stagnancy in wagon orders from Indian Railways recently, private wagon majors like Texmaco Rail Engineering Ltd (TREL) and Titagarh Wagons Ltd (TWL) are changing their product mix and market strategy to keep up with the changing times as well as de-risk themselves from Indian Railway.

TREL is focussing more on railway EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and railway electrification — the specialities brought into the company after the acquisition of Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) Ltd and Bright Power Projects (India) Pvt. Ltd. TWL on the other hand, is focussing more on exposure in the international market after the buyout in Titagarh Firema Adler SpA in Italy and a 50:50 joint venture with the French Matiere SAS. Also, its subsidiary, Titagarh Wagons AFR, in France, post the acquisition of Arbel Fauvet Rail in 2010, had given the company exposure to African countries.

The metro projects are a key area for both these companies. While TREL is focussed on EPC projects in Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Mumbai and also exploring opportunities in neighbouring countries as well as in the Middle East and African countries, TWL is eyeing the projects in Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh and others apart from the ones in India. However, for TWL, the focus is on car body, bogies, metro train and others.

“The Kolkata metro refurbishment project is also a major one”, Umesh Chowdhury, managing director at TWL said.

Serious about the global prospects in metro railway projects, TWL had acquired Titagarh Firema Adler SpA, which is a focussed metro railway player for over 100 years.

A second prospect at home, which both these companies are eyeing is the Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches. Faced with quality issues, the current railway minister, Piyush Goyal has stated that the existing coaches will be replaced with the LHB variety which is safer.

Chowdhury is optimistic that once this vertical opens up, it can compensate for the stagnancy in wagon procurement from the Indian Railway.

As part of the diversification plan, TWL is also branching off into defence and shipbuilding after amalgamating its ship building subsidiary with itself. Recently, it has bagged a Rs. 175 crore order from the Indian Navy to build four vessels. Also, it has won a $ 9 million order from Nepal for supply of 30 Modular Bridges with 15 Launching Kits and 20 containers which the company will build using the technology procured via its French joint venture with Matiere SAS.

The derisking strategy and international exposure not only helped TWL maintain an order book of Rs. 2,300 crore of which, Chowdhury says, 70 per cent are through its Italian and French ventures, but also helped it increase the consolidated net income in the last fiscal year by 79 per cent at Rs. 1739.19 crore.

Wagons and coaches, taken together, continue to dominate the company’s earnings, operating margins as well as the profitability. Last year, wagons and coaches taken together, accounted for 95 per cent of the topline while the profitability from this vertical jumped 182 per cent at Rs. 71.51 crore on a consolidated basis.

TREL’s order book, on the other hand stands at over Rs. 2,800 crore, of which, EPC accounts for 1,900 crore, coaches and locomotive orders stands at 550 crore and orders in the heavy engineering division is pegged at Rs. 400 crore.

Five years ago, TWL’s dependence on the wagon business was 100 per cent which is close to 15-20 per cent currently. Chowdhury expects the revenue contribution from wagons to go up to 25-30 per cent. For TREL, while wagons accounted for 75 per cent of the revenue five years back, it is les than 50 per cent currently and is expected to fall to 25 per cent in the next five years.

“We are emerging as a major railway EPC company from a wagon builder and the focus is going to be majorly on EPC contracts now”, A. K. Vijay, chief financial officer and executive director at TREL said.

During 2016-17, the Indian Railways floated tenders for 12,277 wagons of which TREL emerged as the lowest bidder for 12,277 wagons. However, the Railways chose to re-tender a part quantity of 2500 of wagon of which the company managed to get the order for 1338 wagons. Nevertheless, it accused that Railways failed to maintain continuity of free steel supply resulting in low production during the year.

This fiscal year, however, the Indian Railway is yet to float any tender for wagon procurement. Nevertheless, Vijay is optimistic that next month, the contract for 9,500 wagons will be finalised which will mean an opportunity of atleast Rs. 237.50 crore and the completion of the dedicated freight corridors will revive wagon demand in the country.

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Conduct On Board Surprise Inspections and ensure Coach Cleanliness: Instructs GM/SCR

SECUNDERABAD: Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway stressed upon ensuring cleanliness in the coaches of all classes with immediate effect. He conducted intensive review meeting on Cleanliness, Safety and Freight loading today i.e., on 23rd October, 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 speaking on the cleanliness, instructed the Mechanical department officials to conduct on board surprise inspections on coach cleanliness and to ensure proper cleanliness in the trains over the zone. Speaking on the freight loading, he took the stock of freight loading over the zone and instructed the officials to make proper planning for improving the freight loading and advised to identify the reasons for poor loading and to resolve the issues in field level.

The General Manager also held a detailed review of the safety aspects on the Zone including minor incidents of unusual happenings like yard derailments and signal failures etc., He advised the officials and staff to identify the vulnerable locations on the zone which may affect the safe movement of both passenger and goods trains. He advised the officials to take all possible precautions for safe running of the trains. He instructed the Officials to reiterate all the safety related circulars and system improvements.

He discussed division wise and month wise targets on the elimination of the Unmanned Level Crossings(UMLCs) and instructed all the DRMs to expedite the works in progress and to finalize the tenders related to elimination of UMLCs works. Further he instructed DRMs to focus on elimination of all the UMLCs with in target time as it is one of the safety related priority item monitored by the Railway Minister. He instructed the officials to send all the safety related works proposals immediately to General Manager for final approval.

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

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Intensive Checks to curb Touts & Unauthorized Agents at all Reservation Offices over SCR

SECUNDERABAD: South Central Railway has intensified Special Drives against Touts and unauthorized agents at all Reservation Offices in major stations like Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Khammam, Kurnool, Vijayawada, Guntur, Rajahmundry, Tirupati, Guntakal, Nanded, Aurangabad, Nalgonda etc., in order to curtail the Touting activities. During the festive season from 19th to 23rd October,2017 a total of 132 checks were conducted all over the Zone in coordination with Vigilance, commercial and security departments.

As the demand for reserved accommodation is at peak, such checks will be further intensified in the coming months by keeping strict vigil on the Touts and unauthorized agents who are selling the tickets at premium rates around Railway Reservation Counters and Railway Stations.

The vigilance department of SCR also kept an attentive eye on the Reservation offices and conducting checks regularly. Apart from reservation offices, Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendras (YTSK) and IRCTC agents were also being checked to see any irregularities are taking place.

Passengers are also requested to purchase tickets from reservation counters and authorized travel agents only. If any person notices the selling of tickets by unauthorized persons, it may be please reported to Railway authorities.

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Railways to continue Krishnarajapuram-Kacheguda-Krishnarajapuram Weekly Special on Special Fare

HYDERABAD: South Western Railway has decided to continue the service of Train No. 07603/07604, Kacheguda – Krishnarajapuram – Kacheguda Weekly Special with special fare for few more trips.

Accordingly, Train No. 07603, Kacheguda – Krishnarajapuram Weekly Special with special fare will run for 04 more trips on every Sunday from 05th November, 2017 to 26th November, 2017.  The train departs Kacheguda 18:00 hrs. on Sunday and reaches Krishnarajapuram at 06:00 hrs. on respective Monday.

Enroute, the train arrives/departs Jadcherla at 19:30/19:31 Hrs., Mahabubnagar at 19:48/19:50 Hrs., Gadwal at 20:54/20:55 Hrs., Kurnool Town at 21:50/21:52 Hrs., Dhone Town at 22:48/22:50 Hrs., Gooty at 23:35/23:36 Hrs. and on Monday arrives/departs Anantpur at 00:39/00:40 Hrs., Dharmavaram at 01:38/01:40 Hrs., Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilyam at 02:03/02:05 Hrs., Penukonda at 02:18/02:20 Hrs., Hindupur at 02:58/03:00 Hrs., Yelhanka at 05:00/05:05 Hrs.

Train No. 07604, Krishnarajapuram – Kacheguda Weekly Special with special fare will run for 04 more trips on every Sunday from 06th November, 2017 to 27th November, 2017. The train departs Krishnarajapuram 15:25 hrs. on Monday and reaches Kacheguda at 06:55 hrs. on respective Tuesday.

Enroute the train arrives/departs Yelhanka at 15:55/15:57 Hrs., Hindupur at 17:02/17:04 Hrs., Penukonda at 17:38/17:40 Hrs., Satya Sai Prasanthi Nilyam at 18:00/18:02 Hrs., Dharmavaram at 19:10/19:15 Hrs., Anantpur at 19:53/19:55 Hrs., Gooty at 20:53/20:55 Hrs. Dhone at 23:50/23:55 Hrs. and on Tuesday arrives/departs Kurnool Town at 01:40/01:42 Hrs., Gadwal at 03:00/03:02 Hrs., Mahabubnagar at 04:10/04:12 Hrs., Jadcherla at 04:28/04:30 Hrs.

The train Composition will have ONE AC 2-tier coach, TWO AC 3-tier coaches, TEN Second Class sleeper coaches, TWO Second Class chair car and TWO Luggage-cum-Brakevan.

Railways begin Track Renewal along Kollam-Kayamkulam stretch

KOLLAM: Renewal of the railway track has commenced in the vulnerable 40-km Kollam-Kayamkulam stretch. The work is being taken up for commuters’ safety. Ballast cleaning has not been taken up in the down line for almost a decade and for two decades in the up line.

Cleaning of the ballast beneath the sleepers using the ballast cleaning machine after enforcing a four-hour line block was not attempted due to lack of ‘corridor blocks,’ increase in passenger trains from Kollam Junction, and special trains for Ayyappa devotees running up to Kollam.

A ballast bed without any dirt and earth is needed for the smooth train movement, draining of rain water, and to absorb the resonance and transfer it to the ground.

“Without inconveniencing the commuters, we have commenced the track renewal along the corridor when the weather is good,” Divisional Railway Manager Prakash Bhutani said.

As much as 20% cleaning of the ballast in the down line has been completed. After mechanised ballast cleaning, worn-out concrete sleepers weighing 275 kg to 300 kg are being replaced manually. Track renewal has been completed in the 25-km Kollam-Karungapally stretch after enforcing line block. In the Kollam-Perinad section, 5 km of railway track has to be replaced. Railways are waiting for the track relaying train that can relay the track in 400 to 500 metres at a stretch in four-and-a-half hours.

Railways are using rails of 65 m instead of the conventional 13 m. A senior official of the engineering department said four 65 m rails are welded at the steel plant itself and transported to the site. “Thus, only four welding is needed in a km. This reduces the field work and ensures quality. We had also found that fissures develop on stretches mostly where field welding takes place,” he said.

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Mumbai Metro 3 Project: Marol residents complain against blasting work

Claim noise affecting health of senior citizens, complain of respiratory infection due to dust, smoke

MUMBAI: With Metro 3 construction picking up pace, contractors have begun rock blasting work to prepare a launching shaft for the Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) at Marol Naka but it has led to complaints from residents of the area about the tough time it was giving them.

“Pieces of rock are flying into our homes. This could injure us or damage our property. The noise levels are very high. They never inform us before they begin the blasting. We suddenly hear a loud noise and feel tremors in the house,” said a member of the Jacinto family living near the construction site.

A contractor’s staffer working at the site, however, said, “It is a one-off incident and we have taken note of it. We will take preventive measures to ensure this does not happen again.”

According to the data recorded by the contractors, the blasting creates noise levels up to 92 dB. Residents claim that the noise was taking a toll on the health of the large population of senior citizens in the area.

“Noise levels as high as that can lead to issues with the heart and mental health. They are playing with the health of people. Many senior citizens may already have heart disease and this will only make it worse. The MMRC (Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation) should have an action plan and take the residents into confidence,” said Sumaira Abdulali, an activist working against noise pollution.

The residents are also complaining of prolonged respiratory infection due to continuous exposure to dust particles and smoke.

“Since the work has begun, I have been continuously suffering from cough. My house faces the construction site and a compressor’s vent is constantly blowing fumes into the house. I cannot step outside the house because of the pollution,” said an 83-year-old resident of the area.
After the blasting work began, the residents have also been noticing cracks developing in their buildings.

“Cracks have appeared on the walls and even tiles in our homes. When we bring it to the notice of the contractors, they do not take note of it. Even when they come to our building to take measurements of the site they do not share any information. When we are cooperating with them, why is there no cooperation from their side?” asks a member of the Fernandez family.

Anti-noise activist Godfrey Pimenta is getting ready to organise a morcha in front of the MMRC site. “We have written several mails to the MMRC and even approached the police and Lokayukta with regard to the noise. But there has been no response from the MMRC and they turn a deaf ear to the public’s woes. This has been their stand from Colaba to SEEPZ,” said Pimenta.

MMRC did not respond to the allegations made by the residents of Marol.

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Kochi Metro Rail expansion: Vyttila-Pettah land acquisition to be completed by December

KOCHI: Road widening works between Vyttila and Pettah as part of preparing the ground for the Kochi metro rail extension is likely to gather momentum with the district administration gearing up to hand over the entire lot of 183.52 cents to be acquired along the stretch by December.

While widening works between Vyttila and Champakkara bridge has been progressing, work beyond that up to Pettah is yet to be kick-started.

Of the total 85 landholdings to be acquired along the Vyttila-Pettah route, owners of 22 landholdings accounting for 32.41 cents have already given their consent letters.

“We will start distributing their compensation within weeks. Steps have been initiated to acquire the remaining land under the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARRA), 2013, and the entire land will be handed over to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) by December,” District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla told.

Acquisition along the Vyttila-Pettah stretch for Kochi metro was the first to be undertaken in the State invoking the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency under LARRA and involved a social impact assessment study.

151 cents

Over 151 cents spread over 63 holdings remain to be acquired along the Vyttila-Pettah stretch. KMRL sources said road widening works between Champakkara bridge and Pettah had been stalled.

Widening of the Champakkara bridge by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) also remains to be undertaken as part of the larger preparatory works for the metro rail project.

Once the acquisition along the Vyttila-Pettah stretch is completed, the district administration will turn its attention to the acquisition of land for the Pettah-Thripunithura stretch of the metro. A total of 370.65 cents have to be acquired along the stretch in two lots of 143.04 cents and 228.02 cents respectively.

Rajagiri Outreach, which has been entrusted with undertaking the SIA, had already conducted a public hearing on September 2 and published a draft SIA report. The final report is likely to be published shortly.

Meanwhile, an agency has been appointed for SIA as a prelude to the land acquisition along the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium-Kakkanad stretch of the metro. Over 705 cents have to be acquired along the stretch. KMRL sources said they could launch road widening works if land was made available at the earliest.

We have to instil Renewed Sense of Confidence in Railway Passengers: Ashwani Lohani

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said safety is top priority for Indian Railways and to achieve it field units are being empowered financially and administratively. In an interview with Media, the former head of Air India and ITDC said that though the number of train accidents in India is down by 45% this year, the transporter’s image has taken a hit because of a few derailments in quick succession. Edited Excerpts:

Q: What’s being done to make railways safer?
Lohani: Safety is of paramount concern for any mass transit system. So, for Indian Railways as well, safety is the topmost priority and we’ve communicated this thought down the line among our 13 lakh employees. In the recent months, we’ve had a few unfortunate incidents that has changed the image perception. The problem today Indian Railways has is of image perception because of a few derailments that took place in quick succession sometime back.

Q: Hasn’t the number of train accidents, including derailments, increased in the last one year?
Lohani: In reality, accidents are down by 45% this year as compared to last year. That shows that we’re steadily improving things, but then our focus remains to minimise the number as much as possible. The ongoing priority is routine maintenance. That doesn’t involve too much cost, but it requires a lot of effort, given that we have such a dense network. Because of this high traffic, earlier we weren’t able to give maintenance blocks to our teams. Now wherever the requirement is, blocks are being given for maintenance. Overriding priority is being given to rail renewal. Wherever the rails are required are being provided for renewal works. The field units, General Managers and Divisional Railway Managers have been empowered to take quick decisions. There was an urgent need to motivate the staff. Indian Railways is an employee driven organisation. Even if one field employee doesn’t have his heart in the job, it could be alarming for us.

Several measures are being taken to motivate employees. The human resources department plays a huge role in making the system efficient and accident-free. We have to instill renewed sense of confidence in rail passengers. So, I hope in the short term, the results of all these measures would be visible. All our employees on the ground are on guard to ensure highest level of safety in train operations. Then we’ve long-term plans as well that include changing our work culture as well.

Q: There was also a plan to have a dedicated railway fund for safety related works. Has that been done?
Lohani: Yes. As per the arrangements, we’re getting Rs 15,000 crore from the finance ministry and we have to chip in another Rs 5,000 crore from our side. So, the annual fund is in place and is operational as well.

Q: High operating ratio has been another serious concern for railways. Is there a fund crunch for modernisation works?
Lohani: Well, as of now we have enough money available, given that we got a good budgetary support from the finance ministry and also we have an off-budgetary mechanism. If you see, the railway capacity expansion programme, what we call the annual plan outlay, in the last three years has increased a lot. That means we’re making substantial investment in railway works. As far as operating ratio is concerned, I think we’re targeting around 97% this year. Given that we have a high ratio, it’s undoubtedly a concern for us. You must understand that we have a pension burden of Rs.45,000 crore per year and also several other subsidies as well. All of that goes from our revenue only. Otherwise, we’re a healthy organisation.

Q: What are the off-budget options you’re looking at to arrange funds for modernisation of railways?
Lohani: We’ve tied up with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC). They have promised us assured funding at good rates. I can’t tell you now how much we’ll be getting this year, but it would be substantial. We’ll be investing that money in high-traction projects. Then through our internal generation, we can do a lot. Non-fare revenue, such as advertising, is another area that we’re exploring. The focus will be to move reliance from the passengers and freight segment and explore other options of getting revenue through our existing assets. Railways has a huge asset base. We’re trying to utilise it.

Q: What’s being done to boost railway’s revenues? As far as passenger and freight revenue targets for current fiscal are concerned, are you on track?
Lohani: Both the passenger and freight earnings till now are as per estimates. The loading of various commodities is going on as per our targets. I see no reason why we wouldn’t meet our revenue targets. But I would reiterate that right now we’re entirely focusing on fixing the systems and the processes so that the projects that are under completion, or to be undertaken, are completed on time. So, once we have all systems and processes in the right place, all of it will lead to revenue only.

Q: Will we see a rapid expansion of high-speed rail network across the country in the coming years?
Lohani: The high-speed train network, what is also popularly called bullet train network, marks a paradigm shift in the functioning of railways in terms of technology as well. I can’t talk about the rapid expansion of the technology, but what I can tell you right now is that we’re also stressing to reduce the travel time of our trains on all major rail routes. Last week, we launched a Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani train that has reduced the travel time between two cities by almost two hours. We could have more such trains once our dedicated freight corridors are ready.

Centre asks Odisha to complete all pending ROB projects soon

BHUBANESWAR: Expressing concern over the delay in completion of road-over-bridge (ROB) projects in the state, Union Railway Ministry has asked the state government to complete the projects on priority basis.

This directive of the Union government came in the backdrop of the collapse of a portion of the ROB near Bomikhal, where one person was killed and 12 others were injured. The ROB was supposed to be completed by December 2012, but it is yet to see the light of the day. The mishap again put breaks in the progress of the work.

Principal Executive Director (Bridge) of Railway Board Piyush Agarwal has recently written a letter to Orissa Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi asking him to issue directions to the officials concerned to complete the nine ROB and RUB projects on priority basis. Agarwal also requested the chief secretary to close down level-crossings opened at the nine locations.

The ROBs that are yet to be completed are located on the roads — Berhampur-Gopalpur, Man Gobindpuri, Dhenkanal-Sadasibpur, Bhudapank-Talcher, Bhubaneswar-Retang, Gangadharpur-Balugaon, Saheednagar-Bomikhal, Jagannathpur-Berhampur and Berhampur-Golanthra.

Stating that nine such projects are there in Orissa where railway portion has been completed by the railways, but work on approaches is still in progress, Agarwal said, “To ensure early commissioning of the ROB, officials concerned may be directed to complete the work on approaches on priority. Along with this, the level-crossings at these locations need to be closed on completion of the ROB.”

Busy level-crossings are potential safety hazard for both road as well as rail users, more so for road users. Apart from this, interruption to smooth road traffic flow also results in environment and noise pollution, he said, adding, “Hence, it is our prime motto to provide grade-separators (ROBs/RUBs) expeditiously.”

The railway official also drew the attention of Padhi on functioning of two level-crossings, where over-bridges have already been commissioned long ago.

The level-crossings that are not closed even after the completion of ROBs are located on Bhadrak-Ithurda and Korai-Jajpidir-Keonjar roads.

Reacting to the letter of the railway ministry, a senior official of works department said, “Almost all the projects are not completed due to problems in land acquisition. It is very difficult to acquire private land in towns like Bhubaneswar and Berhampur. Besides, we have to relocate utility services like electricity supply lines, drains and telephone connections, which usually delay the projects.”

This apart, the railways is usually implementing only 20 per cent of the projects while the remaining portions are being executed by the works department, said the top official, requesting not to name him.

Official sources said that the chief secretary has also held a review meeting with officials from the East Coast Railway, transport department and works department. During the meeting, the problems in execution were discussed in detail and deadlines have been fixed to complete some of the projects by next March while some others by June 2018, the source said.

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Construction of Moscow-Kazan Highspeed Rail may be conducted in Several Stages: Russian Railways

MOSCOW: Russian Railways said the China-backed plan to build a 770-kilometer high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan may proceed section by section over the weekend.

Last week, Russian media reports suggested that Russia might opt to build only one section of the Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway first, from Moscow to Vladimir, a city 200 kilometers east of the Russian capital.

Under the current plan, the construction of the Moscow-Vladimir section is proposed to take place under a concession scheme from 2018 to 2023, said Russian Railways, the Russian company behind the project, over the weekend.  Vladimir is about 500 kilometers west of Kazan.

The organizational, legal and financial models needed for the construction of the high-speed Moscow-Vladimir section will be submitted to the Russian government after elaboration. And the line will be built as a pilot project of the overall Moscow-Kazan high-speed railway, according to Russian Railways.

The company will allocate a total of 200 billion rubles ($3.48 billion) to the Moscow-Kazan High-Speed Rail Project by 2023, said the statement.

One of the advantages of the new strategy for implementing the project is the lack of any need for a grant from the state, said the company.

Russian Railways is currently preparing an application for a private concession initiative for the construction of the Moscow-Vladimir line and there are also plans to attract funds from Russian and international strategic investors as well as loans from Russian and international banks and international development banks.

At the first stage of the project, high-speed trains will run on new high-speed infrastructure from Moscow to Vladimir, and then along the existing line to Nizhny Novgorod. The journey will take about three hours.

In the future, Russian Railways said, after the completion of the remaining sections of the Moscow-Kazan line, the total journey time from Moscow to Kazan will be 3 hours and 17 minutes without taking into account the stops.

This line will be the first section of the overall High-Speed Railway Eurasia Project, which involves the integration of high-speed rail networks across Europe and China to transport goods and passengers.

Russia will start to build its first high-speed railway linking Moscow and Kazan in 2018, Xinhua News Agency reported in August. The railway will cost about 1.3 trillion rubles in total.

In 2015, a Chinese railway engineering company won a surveying and designing contract under the project.

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Railways to step up Electric Loco production at Varanasi

SAIL’s Universal Rail Mill/Bhilai told to raise output of Electric Loco Wheels

VARANASI: In a move to reduce its fuel costs, the Railways has started increasing the share of electric engines in its overall locomotive production. It has also set higher targets for such locomotives at its Varanasi-based Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW).

It is looking to “curtail production” of diesel locomotives.

The Railways has already taken steps towards this end – with SAIL being advised to gear up production of electric locomotive wheels.

There is a proposal to shut down wheel shop of Rail Wheel Factory (RWF), which was discussed recently.

As per the revised estimates, set in early 2017, the electric locomotive production programme for the fiscal 2017-18 is at 350 of which DLW will have to produce 25 locomotives, up from at least two electric locomotives produced in fiscal 2016-17. There is also a target to manufacture 425 electric locomotives of which 75 will be made in DLW.

The Railways is increasing the pace of electrification of its network as it looks to reduce the fuel cost as well as improve emission norms. Incidentally, a recent release stated that the joint venture of GE and Railways imported the first of 40 diesel electric locomotives to India. The remaining 960 will be built at the factory, which is being constructed at Marhowra and will open in 2018.

This is a part of the $2.5-billion agreement for 1,000 diesel-electric locomotives, signed in 2015 as part of government’s public private partnership program (PPP) to modernise the country’s rail infrastructure, GE had said.

GE in its statement had added that it was creating a supply chain eco-system in India, and will localise more than 70 per cent of all content.

“We’re proud of the more than 6,000 jobs that have been created by GE in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and remain committed to our work in the country,” it said.

Elevated Corridors for Suburban Rail in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru: Piyush Goyal

NEW DELHI: An ambitious plan for elevated corridors over existing rail tracks in Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru that will improve safety and decongest networks is being considered by the railways in partnership with state governments and central agencies.

Preliminary estimates have pegged the cost of an elevated corridor in Mumbai at around Rs 25,000 crore and the state-run transporter hopes to complete the project in the next 3-5 years. The elevated track will come up over the existing Mumbai suburban rail system and be spread over nearly 425km in length, excluding the single-line Metro and a short monorail system.

“For Mumbai, DFCC (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation) has already given a preliminary report, now we will put formal teams in place. For Bengaluru, I have told the railways… they are looking into this,” railway minister Piyush Goyal told in an interview, adding a study has been commissioned for Delhi as well.

Asked whether the railways will partner with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the Delhi project, Goyal said, “All options are open. It is a preliminary stage. Let the studies and costing come.”

Goyal said elevated tracks equipped with elevators and escalators will make suburban rail travel safe as trespassing will not happen and the system will help differently-abled passengers. The construction of elevated corridors also includes developing shopping malls and commercial spaces.

The Union minister said he has discussed raising the floor space index with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis to facilitate vertical development over existing stations.

‘Delhi’s 35km ring railway will be revived’

Plans have also been drawn up to revive Delhi’s 35-km ring railway by constructing elevated tracks as well as modernizing and redeveloping stations. Goyal has asked officials to conduct a study to finalize the revamp plan at the earliest. A source said RITES was likely to conduct the study.

The ring railway, constructed in 1975 to bypass the crowded Old Delhi, New Delhi and Hazrat Nizamuddin stations, has been in neglect. The minister said the plan will help decongest stations in Delhi and ensure long distance trains are able to stick to their schedule as existing tracks will be freed for them.

An official said the ring railway comprising 21 stations will help decongest the national capital and also reduce air pollution once it is connected with Delhi Metro corridors.

The revival of the ring railway was announced in the railway budget.

The official said the study will examine the existing master plan and land use plan on the route, with proposed and upcoming transport infrastructure and system plans.

Information on existing freight and passenger traffic on ring railway, in terms of frequency, capacity, coaches and utilisation will be collected and plans for redevelopment of stations and monetisation of land assets around the corridor will also be studied.

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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.

No Leisure Breaks: Lohani on task of improving the form, structure and appearance of Indian Railways

We have to instill renewed sense of confidence in railway passengers: Ashwani Lohani

NEW DELHI: There is virtue in work, there is virtue in rest. That seems to be the guiding principle of the new chairman of the Indian Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani. Lohani may not believe in taking a leisure break himself, but follows this basic tenet when it comes to his employees.

Last month, during a visit to a running room (where drivers and guards usually rest) in Allahabad, he ordered that air-conditioning facility be provided in all running rooms in the country.

“It was so hot and dingy in there and it is a shame that this is where the drivers and guards of our trains get their rest,” the 58-year-old officer says, explaining the principle that guided him throughout his career spanning 30 years in various administrative jobs in the Railways, Air India and Tourism departments. “My employee comes first, then comes the passenger,” says Lohani, who took charge last month.

Right in front of him in his Rail Bhawan office, lies the Bhagwat Gita and the tricolour is displayed prominently next to it. “With these, nothing wrong can happen here. Railways is a feudal organisation. Employees tend to follow the boss. If I am committed and not corrupt, the work culture will change. Here, employees know when the boss means it,” he says.

On a mission to fix the “human” problem in the Railways, Lohani feels “only the railway employees can fix the Railways. Technology and policy can’t do much if people using them don’t want to change.” Handpicked by the Centre, Lohani is seen as a turnaround man, both politically and administratively –– it was when he was Air India CMD that the airline registered its first operational profit. Rooted in traditional ethos, Lohani was favoured by many in the establishment to revamp the Railway Board –– the oldest bureaucracy in India.

A few days ago, while travelling along the Moradabad track on the rail car, he saw some gangmen working on the tracks in the hot sun. He stopped by them and shared a meal of cutlets, which he says, he must do more often. “These are people who are responsible for our trains and we talk so little to them, about them,” he says.

Among his primary concerns is also the quality of food being served in trains. “The aim is to serve food, not make money,” he said. At a recent meeting, he admonished officials on “why food on trains could not be as good as those served in planes.”

“That will happen soon. We are looking at giving passengers the option to go for e-catering services. We are also looking at “ready-to-serve” items that can be served. These days, aircraft serve ready-to-eat daal chawal to pulao. Why can’t that be replicated in trains,” he asks.

He admits that the culture of an organisation cannot be changed with a few words of assurances. He intends to celebrate the vigilance week by putting up messages in his office and getting his officials to spread the importance of values, ethics and morals while at work.

In the past one month of his taking charge, he has visited several places, flagging a number of issues related to personnel and maintenance during his meetings.

“I have given each employee I met my whatsapp number so that they can send me their grievances. My job is to reach out to drivers, trackmen, all employees of the organisation, reassure them that their voice is being heard. If they are motivated to work, the culture will change. They will have more ownership and operational efficiency will follow,” he says, while refusing to admit that Indian Railways is a victim of age-old policies and technology. “Processes over the years have been made complicated. Our job is to simplify them.”

As soon as he took over, he ordered that there will be no “VIP culture” in trains. The order was similar to his instruction to do away with the culture of subservience practised in Air India before he took over, of employees being asked to carry the briefcases of politicians and VIP delegates, and be at their “beck and call” while on board or when their limousines come all the way up to the aircraft to drop them off.

At Air India, he has the record of starting over seven international flights in 21 months, which includes a flight that is being considered a world record of sorts for being the longest flight (Delhi- San Francisco) to be operated only by women.

Lohani has the expertise of turning around India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), including the Ashoka Hotel in the national capital, when he was its chairman and managing director in 2002-2003. Sacked when Arun Shourie was minister, Lohani has a crisp answer to the episode. “I take orders in writing. If you give me an instruction verbally I need to be convinced about the intent and the implication. I don’t compromise on integrity.”

Lohani says he would make it compulsory at Railway offices to discuss sexual harassment cases, something that he did at Air India too.

“My effort will be to bring these issues to the table. Many of these issues are never even talked about. These are problems of real people that exist and need to be solved for work to happen.”

In the past too, Lohani has gone all out to protect his employees, the most famous being standing up for an Air India employee who was slapped by a Shiv Sena MP. He was willing to let go of the case only after he got an order in writing and after the Shiv Sena reached out to him.

Guided by Swami Vivekananda and Richard Branson, whose qoutes fill his room, Lohani is a man with a competitive edge to prove to the world that things can change if the right efforts are put in with faith. What keeps him going on, in his own words, is what his daughters tell him often, “Papa, fail math hona (Father, please don’t fail).”

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IR Station Revamp: Investors may have to leave room for Multi Level Platforms

Firms bagging contracts to redevelop railway stations may have to design construction in such a way that the national transporter’s plan for multi-level platforms at some of the busiest stations are not pre-empted.

NEW DELHI: Firms bagging contracts to redevelop railway stations may have to design construction in such a way that the national transporter’s plan for multi-level platforms at some of the busiest stations are not pre-empted. While the railway ministry is in the process of making the tender terms for station development more attractive by dumping the Swiss challenge model that has come a cropper, it is keen that future commercial/ real estate development around the stations doesn’t cripple the core function of the transporter. Multi-level platforms will allow more tracks at stations, decongesting traffic and providing more room for trains to halt.

The utilisation of air space at stations should allow building of new tracks above the existing ones, an official said. According to the sources, the suggestion that station redevelopers must not hamper the multi-level platforms was made by railway minister Piyush Goyal during his interaction with stakeholders of the station redevelopment programme earlier this month. “Rail-on-rail may be a possibility,” said a source, adding that the observation by the minister was made keeping an eye on future requirements.

The DK Mittal committee in a report submitted in December 2014 had suggested multi-level tracks. It had argued that yards in main cities experience congestion due to large movements of trains resulting in delays. The suggestion to get over the problem included “stations at the peripheries of the cities” as in Paris and “multi-layered paths/tracks to eliminate the conflicting movements” as in Zurich City.

IR has one of the largest and busiest rail networks across the world which operates more than 20,000 trains per day including over 12,500 passenger trains in addition to 7,000-plus freight trains. It ferries over 23 million passengers every day from across more than 7,000 railway stations and transports around 3 million tonne of freight daily. This is despite the fact that the share of railways in passenger transportation segment is now just 10% today compared with around 74% in 1951. During the same period, freight movement reduced from 74% to 33%.

The Mittal-headed committee had noted: “More than 55% of the traffic moves on the golden quadrilateral and its diagonals, connecting the four metropolitan cities, which constitute less than 20% of the total IR network. More than two-thirds of this high density network sections have utilisation of over 100%.”

The minister’s suggestion is likely to be included in the fresh tenders to be floated for the revamped station redevelopment programme. As reported earlier, given the lukewarm response by developers, the railways has decided to do away with the Swiss Challenge method under which the proposal made by the original proponent is opened to third parties to make better offers in terms of time and cost efficiency and then the original proponent is asked to counter-match the improved offer, if any.

The process will be replaced by simpler and less time-consuming single parameter bid process which will be formulated by the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corporation, an agency of the transporter. Under the new framework, the railways will be obtaining initial approval on overall master plan for redevelopment of few stations.

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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.

Railways may unlock prime Residential Property soon

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways may soon unlock its prime residential property across the country for redevelopment, a move that could bring in additional revenue of Rs 20,000-25,000 crore for the national transporter.

The Railways owns real estate in all major cities and has swathes of residential property in Connaught Place, Nizamuddin and Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, apart from land in the heart of Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. The plan is to grant 99-year leases to developers making compelling offers for such land, a senior Railway Board official said.

The ministry has asked all 17 zonal offices to compile details of residential land that can be redeveloped and offered to investors. The Railways has over 40,000 hectares of land, of which almost 950 hectares has been encroached upon.

Work on the plan to unlock railway real estate for commercial development was started during Suresh Prabhu’s tenure as minister. Now, with Piyush Goyal taking his place, the project is being implemented with renewed interest.

“We have huge residential colonies spread across the country. Railways, through builders, can redevelop the area by constructing multi-storey buildings and towers. Whatever is needed for railway requirement can be kept aside, remaining towers could be leased out,” the official said.

Goyal took up the issue of redeveloping and unlocking railway land at a meeting with real estate companies last month.

The Railways is looking at the National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) model. NBCC redevelops government colonies by making high-rise buildings and commercial complexes and leases part of the property to private parties, setting aside some units for government use.

“We could have a similar model. The Railway Land Development Authority will be the nodal agency for all land redevelopment projects, whereas the Indian Railway Station Redevelopment Corp. will oversee the redevelopment of railway stations,” the official added. The station redevelopment project envisages building of apartments on land adjoining railway stations. The Railways is bidding out 23 stations for such redevelopment.

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, BMC, plan to meet regularly for Better Coordination

Based on an analysis of the August 29 floods in the city, officials at the Storm Water Drains (SWD) Department had sent a list of 29 proposals to the Railways pertaining to culverts that needed to be either widened or cleaned.

MUMBAI: The Bihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Railway authorities are planning to conduct regular meetings to discuss long-standing issues. Senior civic officials said while the divisional railway managers will conduct a meeting with Additional Municipal Commissioner Vijay Singhal once every two weeks, a meeting with civic chief Ajoy Mehta will be held once every two months. Based on an analysis of the August 29 floods in the city, officials at the Storm Water Drains (SWD) Department had sent a list of 29 proposals to the Railways pertaining to culverts that needed to be either widened or cleaned.

Singhal said, “Issues pertaining to augmentation of culverts and tending to foot over bridges will be discussed during the meetings, which can significantly improve the coordination between the two agencies.” Another civic official pointed out that an analysis of waterlogged areas revealed that many culverts had not been de-silted and were too narrow for the water to pass.

“On S V Road, for instance, there are three culverts, which drain water from the area near the Jai Bharat Society in Bandra west into the Chamdavadi nullah. But, upon inserting a camera, we saw a lot of trash and silt, which had not been cleaned for at least three-four years. We also spotted that one of the three openings was narrower than the others, which could have caused the waterlogging,” said the official.

Another official added that the issue should have been resolved by the Railways at the time the de-silting was being done. “We will pay the Railways for the work but since the culverts were on Railway property, they will have to get the work done,” said the official. Barring the proposals sent by the SWD department, the roads department is in the process of preparing around 20 proposals on maintenance or widening of foot overbridges.

While Divisional Railway Manager of Central Railway, S K Jain, said a high-level delegation of the state government and the Railways will meet every month, a senior Western Railway official said, “Yes, we have decided to meet regularly and discuss issues that concern both the organisations. Improvement of the drainage system and issues related to floods will be discussed during the meetings. Our next meeting is planned in November first week.”

Barring “poor coordination”, BMC’s long-standing demand for an audit report of the funds that it had sent to the Railways to carry out de-silting and augmentation of the culverts had been a bone of contention between the two government agencies.

Singhal said, “We had a discussion with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal during his last visit and he has promised to share the audit records.” Civic officials have been claiming that the Railways have not provided an audit of the expenses for the past two decades.

As per the BMC’s records, since 2015, the SWD Department has paid nearly Rs 12 crore to the Central and Western Railways administration for de-silting work alone but are still waiting for an audit of the funds. Civic officials said the civic body paid the amount to the Railways for the annual cleaning of the nullahs, which are within Railway property, including 185 local flooding spots and 55 chronic flooding spots along with 117 culverts.

Railway Board empowers DRMs to re-engage retired rail staff

NEW DELHI: The Railway Board has empowered Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) to re-engage retired rail personnel for appropriate posts in the sector.

In a letter dated October 16, the board gave the power to the DRMs to employ pensioners at their discretion.

“Divisional railway managers are empowered to re-engage retired employees. Railway should give publicity to such re- engagement by putting it on railway websites,” the letter said.

The board said those re-appointed can only be in service till they are 62. The retirement age of employees is 60.

The monthly remuneration of such employees would be determined by “reducing pension from his last pay drawn”, it said.

The board has also laid down some conditions for re- engagement.

Retired employees being re-appointed should not have been covered under voluntary retirement schemes such as the Safety RelatedRetirement Scheme or Liberalised Active Retirement Scheme for Guaranteed Employment for Safety Staff, the letter stated.

“While re-engagement of such staff, medical fitness of the appropriate category should be obtained from the designated authorities as per existing practices,” it said.

The Northern Railways has already released a notification inviting retired railway employees to apply for 4,500 vacant positions in various departments.

The board’s letter also said suitability or competence of the staff should be adjudged before the re-engagement and their safety record as well as other operational requirements adequately addressed.

The offer for re-engagement, the board said, stands till September 14, 2018, and they have to be discharged once selected candidates join from the Railway Recruitment Board.

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Sachin Tendulkar allocates Rs.2 Crore from MP fund to revamp Railway FOBs in Mumbai

The Mumbai stampede was ‘devastating and I am moved to offer immediate support’, the Rajya Sabha member said.

MUMBAI: Rajya Sabha member Sachin Tendulkar has sanctioned Rs 2 crore from his Local Area Development fund for the renovation of railway foot overbridges in Mumbai, PTI reported on Monday. In a letter to Railway Minister Piyush Goyal, the former cricketer said Rs 1 crore each could be allocated to the Western Railways and the Central Railways.

The Central Railways operates the Central, Harbour, Trans-Harbour and Panvel-Diva-Vasai lines of the Mumbai suburban rail service, while the Western Railways operates the Western line.

MPs can spend Rs 5 crore annually from their Member of Parliament Local Area Development funds on development projects in their constituencies.

Tendulkar wrote that he had requested the Mumbai suburban district collector to authorise the use of the funds for “immediate revamp and construction” of foot overbridges at as many “high density, single bridge stations” as required urgently.

A stampede on an overbridge at the Elphinstone Road station last month had killed 23 people. In the letter on October 16, Tendulkar said the incident was “devastating and I am moved to offer immediate support for the improvement of services for our Mumbaikars”.

Telangana Government to tie-up with a consortium of industries for setting up a Rail Coach Factory

When contacted, a senior official of South Central Railway said the land for setting up the coach unit has been identified and the state government is yet to hand over the land parcel to Railways.

SECUNDERABAD: The Telangana government will soon tie-up with a consortium of industries for setting up a rail coach factory in the state, a senior official said today. Refusing the reveal more details citing non-disclosure agreement, the official said the exact date for signing the memorandum of understanding (MoU) has not yet been fixed as the state Assembly is slated to begin from October 27. “The government is all set to enter into an MoU with some of the industries which are pioneers in the sector. The date for the MoU is not yet fixed. Tentatively, it may be some time during next week. It depends on the timings of the Assembly session,” the official told PTI. Though the state was promised a rail coach factory at Kazipet as part of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, there has been no tangible progress on the issue so far.

When contacted, a senior official of South Central Railway said the land for setting up the coach unit has been identified and the state government is yet to hand over the land parcel to Railways. “About 200 acres of land has been identified for the coach factory. Recently, railway officials had a meeting with Deputy Chief Minister Kadiyam Srihari on the issue. The land has to be handed over to us to proceed further,” the railway official said. The finer details, such as location of the plant and investment size, will be announced at the time of signing the agreement, the official added.

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.

252 Rail Bridges found Unsafe for Train Travel

Twenty three days after a stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone Road station led to the death of 22 people, the railway ministry has ordered a review of all the rail bridges in the country that need after it was found that out of the 275 such bridges only 23 had speed restrictions on them.

NEW DELHI: The Railway Board has ordered a review of all rail bridges in the country that need repair after it was found that out of the 275 such bridges only 23 had speed restrictions on them.

The board had earlier sought details of the condition of bridges and found that the trains would pass on the 252 dilapidated bridges at its usual speed posing a safety hazard.

Sources revealed that the condition of these bridges is not good enough to allow the movement of the trains at the speed it usually moves at. The board had sought details of the condition of bridges after it found that the trains would pass on the 252 dilapidated bridges at its usual speed posing a safety hazard.

“CBEs (chief bridge engineers) should specifically review the position in respect of all bridges assigned with ORN-1 and ORN-2 rating in their respective railways and firm up the action plan for their rehabilitation on priority,” the board’s order said.

The railways has three ratings for its bridges – overall rating number (ORN), 1, 2, and 3 — bridges with ORN-1 rating require immediate building/ rehabilitation, ORN-2 ratings are required to be rebuilt on the programmed basis while ORN-3 bridges require special repairs.

“It seems that proper time bound planning has not been done by the 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,” said the last month’s order from the board.

“It is also felt that there has been a lack of due diligence at Division/Headquarter level while revising/ conforming the rating given by ADEN (Assistant Divisional Engineer ),” it said.

The board also said that it has observed that in most cases, no speed restriction has been imposed and special inspection schedule has also not been prescribed by the chief bridge engineers (CBE).

The Railway Board had sought details of the bridges and it was observed that a large number of bridges needing rehabilitation existed on some zonal railways for long.

The Central Railways has 61 such bridges, East Central Railways has 63, South Central Railways has 41 and Western Railways has 42 bridges pending rebuilding.

Pulling up the zonal railways for failing to follow procedure, the board has said that there are many bridges where speed restrictions have been imposed on condition basis even when they have not been categorised under ORN-1 or ORN-2 categories.

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

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Nilambur-Sultan Bathery-Nanjangud Rail Line: Railway Action Panel preparing to launch Indefinite Agitation

PALAKKAD: The Nilgiris-Wayanad National Highway and Railway Action Committee is preparing to launch an indefinite agitation against the alleged apathy of the State government in actualising the proposed Nilambur-Sultan Bathery-Nanjangud railway line.

Addressing a press conference at Kalpetta near Payyoli Railway Station (Kozhikode District) on the Palakkad Division of Southern Railway on Friday, T.M. Rasheed, the convener of the organisation, said the proposed railway line was considered important for the comprehensive development of the State as it would bring down travel time between Kochi and Bengaluru to seven hours.

The Union Budget had identified as many as 30 railway projects for 50% cost-sharing with a total allocation of Rs. 58,274 crore.

The proposed railway line was the only joint venture project from the State, Mr. Rasheed said.

The Karnataka Chief Minister had promised delegates from Kerala that his government would take the initiative to implement the project.

The Kerala government had allocated a sum of Rs.8 crore for the purpose, besides agreeing to pay Rs.2 crore in advance to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), the executing agency of the project.

DMRC’s offices

But when the DMRC began work by opening two offices in Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram, a lobby in the government, which was hostile to the project, tried to sabotage it by influencing the government, added Mr. Rasheed.

The DMRC later closed its offices and was forced to withdraw from the project after the government failed to provide the amount, he said.

The organisation would stage a protest meet and hold a symbolic human railway protest in front of the Collectorate here on Monday against the alleged negative stance of the government. M.P. Veerendrakumar, MP, will inaugurate the programme at 10.30 a.m. on the day.

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Bidar-Gulbarga Rail Line: Safety Trials on 110 Km rail line in Full Swing ahead of Prime Minister’s inauguration

GULBARGA: Hectic preparations are on to dedicate the vital Bidar-Kalaburagi railway line to the nation. Work on the project began one-and-a-half decade ago.

According to sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the 110-km railway line, which reduces the distance between Delhi and southern states by 380 km. It will also help develop industrial and tourism sectors in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

The PM, who is scheduled to take part in programmes at Dharmasthala and Bengaluru on October 29, will fly to Bidar to inaugurate the railway line. “The Pirme Minister’s programme has almost been finalised, the official announcement in this regard will be made in a day or two,” according to sources.

“Trial runs are on under the supervision of officials from the office of the railway safety department,” the sources said.

The then Railway Minister Bangaru Lakshman laid the foundation stone for the line in 2000. He had promised to commission it in five years.

Initially, the project was estimated to cost Rs 369.7 crore. But the project cost shot up in view of the delay in its implementation owing to meagre allocation of funds in the budget. In 2000-01, the Railways set aside Rs 5 crore. In 2001-02, the outlay was Rs 10 crore, in 2002-2003, it was Rs 15 crore and in 2003-2004, it was Rs 15 crore. In the 2004-05 budget, Rs 10 crore was earmarked.

Now, the project cost has been estimated at Rs 1,542 crore.  The second reason for the delay was land was not made available from the Gulbarga end. The land acquisition process from the Bidar end progressed well. As a result, the 53-km Bidar-Humnabad line, which is part of the Bidar-Gulbarga line, was commissioned three years ago. Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge inaugurated the Push-Pull train service between Bidar and Humnabad in 2013. But land acquisition in Gulbarga got delayed as farmers went to court seeking higher compensation.  The project gained momentum after Mr Kharge became the Railway Minister. He saw to it that funds were provided for the speedy completion of the project.

The project faced a problem at the 1.5-km underground tunnel at Margutti.  At the end of the tunnel on the Kalaburagi side, the railway authorities came across soft soil, which forced the workers to stop drilling. It posed a serious health hazard to the workers involved in drilling operations. Because of heavy rains last year, work was stopped as water entered the tunnel.

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SCR bags “1st Best Innovation” Award on Indian Railways

SECUNDERABAD: Ministry of Railways awarded “1st Best Innovation Award” to South Central Railway in the category of Suggestion Scheme of Best Innovations by Indian Railways for the year 2016-17. South Central Railway won the award for its innovative contribution in train operations with the idea of “Automatic Single Car Test Rig” developed by Carriage Work Shop, Lallaguda. This award comprises a cash prize of Rs.3 Lakhs. Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager complimented Carriage Work Shop, Lallaguda for the achievement. The second best innovation awarad was given to Railway Designs and Standards Organization (RDSO), Lucknow and third best innovation award was given to Eastern Railway.

Automatic Single Car Test Rig designed and developed by Carriage Work Shop, Lallaguda is used to perform air brake testing on coaches to ensure proper functioning of Air Brake System. Automatic Single Car Test Rig is designed with state of art programming, which makes it a unique product on Indian Railways. This system authenticates testing of Single Car Air Brake system which ensures Passenger safety in train operation. This machine is so designed that it can work in any climatic condition; robust and suitable for Railway working system. This is a portable machine which will give a power backup up to 6 hours.

AUTOMATIC SINGLE CAR TEST RIG AT CARRIAGE WORKSHOP / SECUNDERABAD

The existing manual Air Brake testing system will consume more time and the testing parameters cannot be recorded whereas, the Automatic Single Car Test Rig minimizes the time for testing, avoids human errors, records the tested parameters and stores the data in the Database. The Automatic Single Car Test Rig is developed based on the MicroController programming. The stored data can be printed in the standard format by connecting a printer using the USB port or the data can be transferred to any data storage device. The machine is inbuilt with (DBMS) Data Base Management System to store the test parameters and the same can be retrieved to generate various reports and Managerial information. The stored information can also be used to analyze performance.

SCR Launch Mobile App to Educate Railway Staff

Sri N.Madhusudan Rao, Principal Chief Operations Manager, South Central Railway launched a mobile application for updated information for Railway staff on all subject matters concerning Operating and Commercial departments at Zonal Railway Training Institute(ZRTI), Moula-Ali, Secunderabad on 17th October, 2017.

Speaking on the Occasion, Sri Madhusudan Rao stated that the App is very much useful and helpful to the down level staff also because they can view the information and get their knowledge updated with latest information, Circulars etc with regard to issues pertaining to operating and commercial departments. He opined that the Nation is moving towards digitalization in every aspect, so Railway is also planning to digitalize all the documents and registers such as Train Signal Registers, Private Number Exchange Registers etc. Further, he advised the staff to improve their skills and knowledge to meet the requirements of the nation. He appreciated the ZRTI faculty for developing such a useful mobile app.

The Mobile App is uploaded in Google Play Store which can be downloaded by staff in any smart mobile with Android compatibility. The faculty of ZRTI will upload the mobile app with updated information, amendments and important circulars etc. The updated information upto the last updated time will remain for reference when the user is offline. The app also contains animated clippings on Train working during abnormal conditions.

Later, Sri Madhusudan Rao interacted with the trainees at ZRTI and advised them to perform their duties perfectly. He said that most of the unusual incidents occur because of not following the rules and advised them to go through each one of the rules and strictly adhere. Shri K.V.Rao, Chief Traffic Manager/G&PP, Shri A.L.N.Reddy, Principal, ZRTI also participated in the Program.

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52 Special Trains between Secunderabad – Darbhanga and Hyderabad – Raxaul

SECUNDERABAD: In order to clear extra rush of passengers on account of cancellation of regular train services 17007 / 17008 Secunderabad-Darbhanga-Secunderabad (Bi-weekly) Express and Train No’s. 17005 / 17006 Hyderabad-Raxaul-Hyderabad (weekly) Express due to operational reasons. South Central Railway will run 52 Special Trains between Secunderabad – Darbhanga – Secunderabad and Hyderabad – Raxaul – Hyderabad (via., diverted route) as detailed below:-

I) Secunderabad – Darbhanga – Secunderabad Special Trains:- ( 36 Services)

Train No. 07007 Secunderabad – Darbhanga Special Train will depart Secunderabad at 22.00 hrs on 2nd, 5th, 9th, 12th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 26th, 30th December 2017, 2nd, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th, 20th, 23rd, 27th and 30th January 2018 and arrive Darbhanga at 13.45 hrs on the Second Day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07008 Darbhanga – Secunderabad Special Train will depart Darbhanga at 05.00 hrs on 5th, 8th, 12th, 15th, 19th, 22nd, 26th, 29th December 2017, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 12th, 16th, 19th, 23rd, 26th, 30th January and 2nd February 2018 and arrive Secunderabad at 22.10 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, these special trains will stop at Kazipet, Ramagundam, Mancherial, Sirpurkagazhnagar, Balharsha, Gondia, Durg, Raipur,Bilaspur, Jharsuguda,Rourkela, Ranchi, Muri, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh, Parasnath, Koderma, Gaya, Nawadah, Kiul, Jamalpur, Sahibpur Kamal, Begusarai, Barauni and Samastipur stations in both the directions.

These Special Trains will consist of 22 coaches viz., two AC II Tier, two AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class, six General Second Class and two Luggage cum Brake Van Coaches.

II) Hyderabad – Raxaul – Hyderabad Special Trains :- ( 16 Services)

Train No. 07005 Hyderabad – Raxaul Special Train will depart Hyderabad at 21.30 hrs, arrive / depart Secunderabad at 21.50/22.00 hrs on 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th December 2017, 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th January 2018 and arrive Raxaul at 17.30 hrs on the Second Day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07006 Raxaul – Hyderabad Special Train will depart Raxaul at 01.30 hrs on 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st December 2017, 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th January, 2018 and arrive / depart Secunderabad at 22.40/22.50 hrs; arrive Hyderabad at 23.15 hrs on the next day.

Enroute, these special trains will also stop at Kazipet, Mancherial, Sirpurkagazhnagar, Balharsha, Chandrapur, Nagpur, Gondia, Durg, Raipur,Bilaspur, Jharsuguda,Rourkela, Ranchi, Muri, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh, Parasnath, Koderma, Gaya, Nawadah, Kiul, Jamalpur, Sahibpur Kamal, Begusarai, Barauni, Samastipur, Darbhanga, Kamtaul, Janakpur Road, Sitamarhi and Bairgania stations in both the directions.

These Special Trains will consist of 23 coaches viz., one AC II Tier, four AC III Tier, ten Sleeper Class, six General Second Class and two Luggage cum Brake Van Coaches.

Nagpur Metro’s RDSO trial on Mihan-Airport stretch in Nov 1st week

NAGPUR: The Research Design and Standards Organization (RDSO) will hold the confirmatory trial of at grade (ground level) section of Nagpur Metro Rail, from Mihan depot to Airport South station, in the first week of November. RDSO is the Ministry of Railways organization, which tests new railway projects. Mahametro has already started the oscillation trial of Metro.

Mahametro has sent a communication to RDSO informing it that Nagpur Metro would be ready for trial by October 31. A two-member team of RDSO would come to Nagpur and verify the results of Mahametro’s trial. They will be here for a day or two. If they are satisfied, they will hand over an interim speed certificate.

A source in Mahametro said that the Metro agency officials were noting down the results of oscillation trial. “These results would be handed over to the RDSO officials. If they want, they can run the train and record the oscillations,” he added.

As per the earlier plan, RDSO officials were to camp here for a month and run the train themselves and record the oscillations. Now, Mahametro will hold the trials and RDSO will only verify the data thus obtained. The RDSO members would come two-to-three times in November.

Mahametro managing director Brijesh Dixit has set a target of commissioning the Nagpur Metro by December end. Once RDSO clears the Metro, Mahametro will apply to commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) for a green signal. The commercial operation of Nagpur Metro’s at grade section can begin only after CMRS gives a nod.

If Dixit’s target is to be met, then RDSO and CMRS will have to show some speed in clearing the project. RDSO was supposed to start testing Nagpur Metro by September 15 but this has been delayed by over six weeks. Mahametro, therefore, has proposed part self trial to further reduce delay.

CMRS would not only test the technical aspects of the project but also check the security arrangements and passenger amenities at Metro stations, signalling and telecommunication equipment, security arrangements in the train etc.

After the at grade section, the Hingna depot-Subhash Nagar elevated section will be commissioned. As per the communication sent to union ministry of urban development (MoUD) by Mahametro, this will happen in June 2018.

This will be followed by commissioning of Airport South to Sitabuldi stretch in November 2018. The Subhash Nagar to Sitabuldi stretch would be thrown open in June 2019, the Kamptee Road stretch in September 2019 and Central Avenue stretch in December 2019.

Minimum wages denied to BMRCL Housekeeping Staff

They are getting only Rs.7,000/- a month as against Rs.14,040/-

BANGALORE: As many as 750 housekeeping staff working with Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. have also not been paid their minimum wages for several months.

According to an organisation working for manual scavengers, the contractual-staff supplied by three private agencies have been earning only Rs. 7,000 a month against the prescribed Rs. 14,040 by the Labour Department.

The Dalit Bhahujan Movement, which became aware of the issue recently, conducted an on-ground survey of housekeeping staff working from Mysuru Road to Majestic Stations and found that none of the worker were given their due salaries. “We gave a written complaint to the Karnataka State Safai Karamchari Commission and the Labour Department highlighting the issue two months ago. On October 17, members from both the departments met the BMRCL officials and officials of the private agencies at the Baiyappanahalli Metro Station for a discussion. The agencies agreed that they were paying Rs. 7,000 to employees,” said Venkatesh M., member of the movement.

Apart from salary, basic provisions such as regular health check-up and safety equipment have been denied to these employees, he alleged. “There was an open discussion, in which housekeeping staff working at the Baiyappanahalli station also gave their viewpoint. Most either don’t have PF account or are unaware of the number. They also raised issue of the company not paying them money for the casual leaves not used or money for working on festival day,” said Pushpalatha, Manual Scavenging State Monitoring Committee member, who was part of the meeting recently.

Written recommendations have been sent to BMRCL and the three agencies, which they have promised to address. “Though it has outsourced the work, it is BMRCL’s responsibility to see of employees were getting their dues,” said Mr. Venkatesh, adding that his organisation will be following up to see the promise is fulfilled. Pradeep Singh Kharola, BMRCL MD, said: “We have been ensuring that all employees are paid minimum wages.”

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.

BEML Showcases its Technological Prowess at IREE-2017

NEW DELHI / BANGALORE: Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML),a Public Sector Company under the Ministry of Defence and the premier manufacturer of rail products, is participating in the three day International Railway Equipment Exhibition-2017 (IREE-2017) being held at PragatiMaidan, New Delhi from 11 – 13 October, 2017.IREE is India’s largest international event for the Railway Sector.

BEML is the Nation’s first Rail coach manufacturing Company. Rail products manufactured by the Company for Indian Railways include Overhead Inspection Car, Postal Vans, AC/DC Electric Multiple Units, Stainless Steel EMUs, Utility vehicle, Track Laying Equipment Board Gauge Railbus, Treasury Vans, Spoil Disposal Unit etc.

It is the only Indian Company manufacturing State-of-the-Art Metro Cars and holds the Market share of about 50% in Metro segment competing with Global Players and is the sole supplier to Bangalore and Jaipur Metro Corporations. BEML has bagged orders for Supply of Metro Cars to Kolkata Metro, Intermediate Cars to Bangalore Metro and EMUs for Indian Railways.

BEML stall has been inaugurated by Director (Rail & Metro) Shri Aniruddh Kumar. BEML is showcasing its various rail & metro products through bromides and miniatures.

Centre to implement Food Safety Audit on Trains

Indian Railways On & Off the Track~II: A Review by Raghu Dayal, Senior Fellow/AITD & former CMD/CONCOR

Raghu Dayal is former Chairman of CONCOR and Senior fellow, Asian Institute of Transport Development.

The Railways have been dithering for the past three years. The resources that were required were in no way forbidding. Pending the introduction of up to 200 km/h ‘semi high speed’ DelhiMumbai and Delhi-Kolkata Rajdhanis immediately on commissioning of the freight corridors, selected routes such as the 500 km Chennai-Bengaluru-Mysore route and the 1,400 km Delhi-Mumbai corridor, recommended by the Japanese, could well have been introduced by now at a speed of up to160 km/h (like the Gatimaan on 200 km DelhiAgra route).

As regards speed enhancement, the style of operations has been baffling. The Railways opted for detailed studies for constructing exclusive corridors for up to 350 km/h high speed rail (HSR) for “bullet” trains, on its long-distance arterial routes. The project is prima facie ill-conceived. Seven “bullet train” corridors have been identified and feasibility studies completed. Only one ~ the 500 km Mumbai-Ahmadabad route ~ has been given the go-ahead after Japan agreed to provide a $12 billion loan.

Also to be examined is the severe impact of passenger cross-subsidisation. Newer strategies need to be devised for passenger business. In 2015-16, the Railways incurred a loss of Rs 487 for running a passenger train over a distance of one kilometre. The train, as an iconic symbol, traverses a facile and perilous route ~ often hiking freight charges and upper class, mostly AC, passenger fares. By cross-subsidising passenger business, the Railways have out-priced itself in the freight sector, thus tending to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

With low-cost air carriers flying high, it must refrain from raising AC train fares. As it is, upper class segment aggregates just 145 million journeys in a year, only 1.8 per cent of overall travel, but contributes more than 31 per cent (Rs 13,756 crore, in 2015-16) of total passenger earnings. The ordinary second class segment is largely responsible for the fiscal mess.

The ordinary class II ticket costs 20 paise per km, which is less than one-third of the bus fare. Terminal congestion has emerged as a major constraint towards running a larger number of train services. Many of the freight terminals in the metropolitan areas have been squeezed out by passenger expansion, while those that remain face stringent restrictions on the movement of heavy road vehicles.

Out of the 1,300 terminals managed by the Railways, only 500 handle more than 10 trains per month. These should really be served by at least one train a day. There are also some private sidings which could be better utilised as common facility terminals. In addition to some 15- 18 integrated logistics centres, 10-12 large stations need to put in place modern maintenance facilities, pending which a few existing terminals serving metropolitan towns need to be urgently improvised through the redevelopment of stations.

The Railways need to explore the immense possibilities of identifying stations ideally located near places of pilgrimage and archaeological interest. This can be done in cooperation with the state government. It is imperative to cut costs. Transport charges have declined the world over. The Indian Railways must bring down its freight charges. Competitiveness is low because of high transaction costs. The paradox is striking.

The Railway ministry invests in new technologies and persists with old staffing patterns. Several services and activities are outsourced, but there has been little or no reduction in the strength of permanent cadres. Multi-skilling is a mere a slogan. It is headed towards a demographic nightmare ~ its 1.434m pensioners (accounting for 34 per cent of working expenses) now exceed 1.325 working employees. Before long, salaries and pensions will swallow three-fourth of its budget in terms of working expenses.

The Railways must first shed its perceived role of a departmental undertaking with public service obligation and, instead, perform as a corporate entity with inalienable responsibility to carry the nation’s freight and passengers adequately, efficiently and economically. There are ministries and programmes to look after social obligations, for which they have their own budgets. A rigid bureaucratic structure flies in the face of business ethos.

The network in Russia, China, Germany, France, Britain, are now autonomous corporate entities, having shed their garb of government departments. In India, it has rather stubbornly stuck to its departmental character, inevitably perpetrating bureaucratic rigidities and wallowing in competitive frailties of babu culture.

The management structure has been compartmentalised, and this has created departmental fiefs, rendering the system perilously obese and extortionist. Functional requirement must perforce be the overriding consideration in determining the apex management pyramid. The primary function must be production, marketing and operation of transport services.

The top management posts require the incumbents to provide meaningful leadership to thousands of workers and managers in different disciplines. Like general command posts in the armed forces (Brigade, Division, Corps, or Army) held only by specially selected and trained officers mostly from the fighting arms, The general administration posts in the Railways, such as the Divisional and Zonal chiefs, need to be manned only by those who are duly exposed to 24X7 rigours of operations, maintaining interaction with customers.

IR has made a welcome, though as yet a half-hearted beginning, towards functional integration by designating three Members of the Board – for Traction, Rolling Stock and Infrastructure.. For the present, Board’s composition could be a Member each for (i) Freight logistics services, (ii) Passenger business, (iii) Infrastructure (tracks, bridges, land, buildings, signalling, electrification, (iv) Dynamic Assets or Rolling Stock and equipment, (v) HRD, including industrial relations, vigilance, safety and security, (vi) Finance, including accounts and material management, and (vii) Chairman as the CEO for coordination and control, strategic planning, R&D.

Minister Piyush Goyal needs to deftly, and firmly, handle matters in the Kafkaesque Rail Bhawan, then right across the sprawling system ~ its vast web of installations ~ some 45 workshops for POH, 100 loco sheds, 260 repair depots and ‘sick lines’, stations and yards, colonies and offices, its 65,000 strong protection force. It’s not railways’ business to run schools, hospitals, or kitchens, printing presses or garment stitching. Some “empires” contrive to survive, for example, the mammoth 23,325 strong construction organisation, its over-6,000 “work-charged” officers’ posts unduly continuing, not without complicity of Finance.

There have been too many routine and mundane functions taken up by the Board/Ministry, with some 140 Joint Secretary-and-above level incumbents crowding in Rail Bhawan. It needs to ruthlessly prune the number of officers and staff in the Board, to begin with, to at least half. The Bibek Debroy Committee noted that “IR’s efficiency was better with 9 zones than with 16”. Today, given the emphasis on IT enabled flat management structures facilitating quick decision making and efficient delivery, it would be prudent to streamline the traditional 4-tiered organisation into a 3-tiered system.

The Railways can thereafter re-draw the geographical areas of the 16 zonal administrations, even increasing their number to, say, 22-25. A small beginning has been made for posting junior administrative officers at some major stations. All large station complexes, major freight depots and centres, maintenance workshops may be endowed with local area managers selected by a special body, if not UPSC, from the general administrative pool with delegated authority over all functionaries and disciplines.

In due course of time, these managers will constitute the bulwark of administrative resource for the organisation. If duly nurtured and wisely led, the Indian Railways will bounce back, like China Rail. The latter had lagged far behind its Indian counterpart. In just 25 years, it has gone far ahead of the laggard and has emerged as the world’s numero uno.

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Alstom’s Make in India Electric Locomotives will herald a new era for Indian Railways

Indian Railways is all set to get this next-generation ‘Make in India’ electric locomotive by early 2018! Indian Railways hopes that the new electric locomotives will tranform the freight transport landscape. Alstom, a France major, has commenced production of the electric locomotives for Indian Railways at its newly constructed facility in Bihar’s Madhepura. We take a look at some key facts about the new locomotives for Indian Railways.

The first two shells of the Prima (WAG12) locomotives have arrived at the Madhepura facility and will be fitted and assembled at the plant. The first locomotive for Indian Railways will be ready for roll-out early next year.

The first 5 locomotives will be completed by 2019, says Alstom, adding that 35 locomotives will be made by 2020, 60 in 2021, and then 100 every year till the target of 800 is completed.

According to Alstom, the new electric locomotives for Indian Railways are designed to pull trains weighing of up to 6,000t at speeds of up to 120km/h. The new locomotives are also capable of operating in extreme climatic conditions, claims Alstom.

The contract for the electric locomotives was awarded by the Ministry of Railways in 2015. The project involves the manufacturing, testing and supply of 1676mm Gauge 9000kW (12,000hp) IGBT based 3 ph drive double Bo-Bo electric locomotives over a period of 11 years.

In line with the ‘Make in India’ project, the locomotives will be “completely manufactured out of India”, says Alstom. The project is a joint venture between Alstom (74%) and Indian Railways (26%).

Spread over 250 acres, the facility at present employs 70 people, with plans to ramp it up at a rate of 25% every year till it reaches full capacity.

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Railway Board set 2020 deadline for Rail link to all Northeast Capitals and Kashmir with Train

NEW DELHI / GUWAHATI: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal today set 2020 deadline for completion of Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla rail line, which has jumped several deadlines, leading to massive cost escalation notwithstanding “strategic significance” of the project. He announced launch of “glass top coaches” between Katra-Jammu and “specially designed coaches” between Banihal-Baramulla to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.

In a series of tweets after meeting Railways Minister Piyush Goyal in the Union capital this afternoon, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced that Goyal has assured completion of Katra-Banihal railway track by 2020, which was the only missing link between Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla railway line and would link Kashmir valley with rest of the country by train.

“Met Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to discuss various issues regarding railway projects in Jammu and Kashmir. He assured completion of Katra-Banihal railway track by 2020,” Mehbooba tweeted after meeting Goyal, who had taken charge of the Railways Ministry last month from Suresh Prabhu.

Goyal’s assurance for completion of Katra-Banihal rail link, which is one of the toughest rail line in the world, was significant as there had been reports that tough terrain in Pir Panchal mountains, where a number of bridges and tunnels had to be constructed for the railway line, might lead to delay in the project.

On Mehbooba’s demand for extension of rail line up to Kupwara in Kashmir and Rajouri-Poonch in Jammu, the Railways Minister agreed in principle to the demand and informed the Chief Minister that preliminary survey on the two projects has already been completed. The project is now being examined for funding in the Central Government.

The Railways Minister issued on spot instructions to the Ministry officials for a review of work on Katra-Banihal section to ensure that 2020 deadline set by him for completion of the project is met with and there was no further delay as the project has already jumped several deadlines, leading to massive cost escalation.

The rail link, apart from helping the people of Kashmir to take rail route across the country and help tourists from various States to reach directly to Srinagar and Baramulla, was also of great strategic importance as the Valley remained cut off due to landslides on the National Highway during Monsoon and snowfall season.

The then Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government had in 2002 declared Jammu-Srinagar rail link as national project and fixed August 15, 2007 as deadline for its completion. However, since then several deadlines were set for completion of the project but all of them were missed.

Fifty-three kilometers Jammu-Udhampur, 25 kilometers Udhampur-Katra and 119 kilometers Banihal-Baramulla links of Jammu-Srinagar-Baramulla line have already been completed and were functional. Katra-Banihal is the only missing link between Jammu-Baramulla.

Goyal announced that Railways would run cold store containers from Jammu to other parts of the country to ferry horticulture produce from the State. For the purpose, the Secretary, Horticulture would pursue the matter with the Railway authorities.

Mehbooba sought running of more trains from Jammu to Mumbai, Kolkata and Ahmedabad to get more tourists to the State. Goyal informed the Chief Minister that the Railways have started a weekly train-Humsafar-from Kolkata to Jammu in view of the tourist rush from the area.

Goyal said the Secretary, Tourism and Member, Traffic of the Railway Board would jointly explore the possibilities of running more trains from different States to Jammu.

Goyal assured all support from his Ministry to boost tourism in the State. He informed the Chief Minister that specially designed trains would soon chug from Jammu to Katra while as such trains would be introduced in Kashmir from next spring.

Introduction of ‘glass top coaches’ between Jammu-Katra and ‘specially designed coaches’ between Banihal-Baramulla to promote tourism was agreed upon in Mehbooba-Goyal meeting, sources said.

The Chief Minister also raised other issues like giving employment to locals by IRCON, a halt station at Naina Batpora, expediting work on other halt stations on the Banihal-Baramulla railway line and transfer back of land at Banihal for constructing a stadium there.

The Union Minister assured the Chief Minister of a positive approach and substantive action by his Ministry on the demands raised by the Chief Minister.

CONNECTIVITY TO ALL NORTHEAST CAPITALS BY 2020: SAYS GM/NFR

Railways is giving topmost priority for development of infrastructure, including taking up project for electrification and expansion of its network in the North Eastern States.Chahatey Ram, General Manager of the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) told that in the last Budget, a number of works had been sanctioned for Assam and the North Eastern States.

“They include Sivasagar-Jorhat new line (62 km), Salona-Khumtai new line (99 km), Tezpur-Silghat new line, which includes construction of a new double-line bridge at Silghat. Final location surveys of all these projects are in progress. Moreover, doubling of mainline from New Jalpaiguri to Lumding has been sanctioned,” Ram said.

He added, “Railway electrification has also been sanctioned from Malda/Katihar to Dibrugarh. The balance section of NFR has also been proposed for electrification.”

He said that the NFR zone is an active theatre for implementation of the Central Government’s ‘Act East’ policy.

“As such, work is in progress for connectivity to all State capitals of the North East by 2020,” said the NFR General Manager.

He said that the debate regarding bifurcation of the NFR, as espoused by some organisations, is futile.

“It is clear that even with the present zonal jurisdiction, Assam and the North East is not at any disadvantage and the region is receiving new thrust in sanction of projects and other facilities. The present spread of the zone is such that it covers the strategically important ‘Chicken’s Neck’ connecting the North East to the rest of India.

“Even after NFR spreads deep into all the North Eastern States, creation of a new zone will lead to a situation where administrative control over the railway assets of the crucial supply line, their development and maintenance will lie with another zone, which will be detrimental to the self sufficiency of NFR,” Ram said.

He said that in the event of creation of a new zone for the North Eastern States, there would be multiple operational constraints in the movement of trains to and from this region.

“All goods and passenger trains are interchanged in zonal boundaries. If a separate zone for the North Eastern States is created, all long-distance trains will encounter greater number of interchange points, which will result in avoidable delay leading to increase in travel time. This will cause unnecessary hardship to the passengers. As far as the long-term interests of this region are concerned, the present jurisdictional arrangement is favourable. No useful purpose will be served by carving out a separate zone exclusively for the North Eastern States,” said the NFR General Manager.

Asked if NFR authorities will request the Railway Board to consider any proposal favourably for bifurcation of NFR in case such demands are received in future from any quarter, Ram replied in the negative.

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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.

Indian Railways to partner FSSAI to improve Food Safety in Trains

Third party safety audit on the cards, says CEO of food safety body!

NEW DELHI: The Railways and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will work together to ensure improved safety standards of the food being served in trains. The food regulator said it will also get a third party safety audit done soon.

“Our role will be to partner with the Railways and bring in systemic changes and improvements. Therefore, we will be getting a third party food safety audit done soon. This is not going to be an accounts or a performance audit, but a food safety audit which will help us understand the gaps within their systems in terms food safety,” Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI told.

The Railways was in the news recently when an incident in the high-profile Tejas Express was reported wherein 24-26 people were hospitalised after “food poisoning”. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), however, denied any food quality issues in its preliminary probe report. Incidentally, CAG in its report, earlier had also termed the food served in trains as “unfit” for human consumption.

In the new catering policy, IRCTC has called for zones of the Indian Railways or IRCTC to ensure good quality and hygienic food to passengers.

However, ensuring quality processes across the supply chain for food served is a huge challenge, given that Railways has over 7,000 stations and moves over 2.2 crore passengers every day.

IRCTC serves about four-five lakh meals a day in about 350 trains where it has pantry cars. It will be modernising its base kitchens at 12 locations — where the proposed meal production is expected to be 5.7 lakh a day.

Third party audit of mobile units and base kitchen is to be undertaken by zonal railway periodically, by hiring an independent agency in accordance with Catering Policy 2017.

As regards the premium Tejas Express, which runs between Mumbai and Goa, catering services are optional for passengers and are factored in the fare. However, if a passenger asks for catering services at a later stage, an extra ₹50 per cent per service is levied, in addition to the cost of catering charges.

To spruce up its catering quality, IRCTC plans to set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones, which will be owned, operated and managed by it, and it shall be fully accountable for all issues pertaining to the base kitchens and quality of food.

All four base kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways (Nagpur, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai Central and Balharshah) and all kitchen units — refreshment rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens shall be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’.

It also plans to introduce station based e-catering, pre-cooked food (‘ready to eat’ meals) , operation of centralised Catering Service Monitoring Cell for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering.

Huge challenge

However, carrying out a third party safety audit, though desirable, remains a huge challenge with the Railways managing a wide network of catering services spread over 131 base kitchens, 7,957 static catering units, 358 mobile catering units, 164 departmental refreshment rooms, 86 food plazas and 69 fast food units.

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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Finance Ministry may reimburse IRCTC for loss from Service Charge waiver on e-Tickets

NEW DELHI: The finance ministry plans to reimburse the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) for losses incurred from waiving off service charges on online tickets.

Compensation of around Rs 80-100 crore, which is the actual cost and not the margins borne by IRCTC, is likely to be offered. IRCTC has quoted costs of Rs 600 crore per year including actual costs plus margin.

IRCTC is hoping the ministry’s gesture will wipe out financial glitches ahead of it’s IPO.

“In the earlier model, of the Rs 600 crore IRCTC used to collect as service charges annually, 50 percent used to go to the railways and the balance was retained by IRCTC. However, since processes are now mostly computerised, cost of operations has reduced,” a ministry of railways official told the paper.

The service charges at Rs 20, Rs 40, Rs 80, and Rs 120 for the tickets, were waived off in November last year after demonetisation. Till date, it is unclear whether the ministry will bear the cost of online ticketing services for every year. Customers cannot be levied with the service charge till March 2018.

Apart from IRCTC, the government plans to list three other railway PSUs — Indian Railways Finance Corporation, IRCON International and RITES — within this year.
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Konkan Railway to raise Funds for Infrastructure projects

MUMBAI: The Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) has decided to raise finances for its major infrastructure funds through increased equity shares and market borrowings.

“The total cost for executing these projects is of the order of around Rs.7,500 crore, and are likely to be completed in a phased manner spanning about five years. Conversion of many halt stations into a crossing station and patch doubling will improve the operations which will ease the inconvenience and hardships being faced by the people in and around Konkan region,” says the press note issued by Chief Public Relations Officer, KRCL, L K Verma.

“To boost the development of Konkan region, Ministry of Railways (MoR) has taken a decision to increase Authorised Equity Share Capital for providing more financial support to Konkan Railway,” says a press note issued by the KRCL.

Following the approval granted by the MoR for increase in Authorized Equity Share Capital from Rs 806.47 crore to Rs 4,000 crore, KRC shareholders unanimously passed a special resolution to that effect for execution of various capital expenditure projects like Roha-Veer part doubling, route electrification of Konkan Railway, doubling of traffic capacity of Konkan Railway, and construction of new crossing stations and additional loop lines, the note says.

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Heritage tag unlikely for Mahur-Harangajao Hill Track

HAFLONG: A heritage is on the verge of sinking into oblivion. The much-anticipated heritage tag for the Mahur-Harangajao section of the now-abandoned Silchar-Lumding metre gauge track that had every ingredient to be developed as a heritage track is unlikely to materialise, with the Railway Board turning down a proposal from the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) to that effect.

“We had submitted a proposal to Railway Board for turning a stretch of 30-odd km into a heritage track in view of its antiquity, tourism potential and local sentiment. But we did not receive any positive response from the Board,” NFR sources told.

Sources added that nor was there any formal proposal from the State government for converting the track into a heritage line.

Acknowledged as an engineering marvel, the 113-year-old metre gauge line built by the British during the last decade of the 19th century traversed a distance of 221 km – much of it through the rugged mountainous landscape of the Barail range in Dima Hasao district. Enhancing its appeal were as many as 37 tunnels along the spectacular thickly-forested and undulating terrain. The track was closed down on October 1, 2014, making way for the now-operational broad gauge track.

The heritage and adventure worth of the track is further testified to by the writings of acclaimed travel writers like Bill Aitken who rated the Silchar-Lumding line higher than similar high-altitude tracks in India. Aitken in his Travels by a Lesser Line had this to say about the track “…the most scenic part of the journey is the ascent from Lumding to Haflong Hill, 116 kms in six hours… the total effect is of impenetrability and one is filled with admiration for the original builders of the line. For those brought up on the notion that the Ooty climb – also a metre gauge – is the most impressive mountain line, the ride to Haflong will prove a sensational journey of discovery.”

Once a hub of activities, the Lower Haflong Railway Station now wears a wretched look, with three steam engines lying uncared for by the track. The dilapidated platform, offices and quarters have turned into relics of a bygone era, with stray animals and vagabonds being their occasional occupants. Another casualty has been the business that flourished around the station, with scores of shopkeepers and vendors now forced to down their shutters.

The local people have been dismayed with the dilly-dallying tactics of the Railways and the government over the issue of converting the short stretch into a heritage track. Initially, the Railways had assured retention of the track for its heritage value as also for local communication.

Even the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju had a couple of years back announced that the Railways agreed to the demand of the people to keep the Hill Queen Special, a metre-gauge train, running.

“It’s baffling why the Railways have gone back on their word to ply the heritage train. Some initial work had even started for the purpose. Aside their communication needs, the people of Dima Hasao share a sentimental relationship with this track. The tourism worth of the heritage train would have been immense but the Railways as well as the government has been totally insensitive to such prospects,” Anup Biswas, a Haflong-based senior journalist and activist who has been pressing for revival of the heritage train project, said, adding that local business would once again thrive if the line is reopened.

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CR to beautify CSMT from all sides to maintain the upkeep and preservtion of Heritage Structure

MUMBAI: The Central Railway has decided to beautify all sides of heritage structure of CSMT. Presently, tourists only get to witness the beauty of CSMT’s western side as the north side view is covered by roofing over platforms, and the view is blocked on the eastern side view by a few temporary structures. The area in front of the southern side is shrouded by BEST bus stop. Financial grant of Rs.10 Crores to Central Railway for conservation of this World Heritage Building is being provided by SBI Foundation. First installment of Rs.2.3 lakh already released .

On Tuesday, a MOU exchange event was held at the historic dining hall of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Building between Central Railway and State Bank of India Foundation for Conservation and Restoration of World Heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Building under ‘SBI – Project Swachh Iconic CSMT’. This MOU was exchanged between S. K. Jain, Divisional Railway Manager , Central Railways Mumbai Division and Pravin Kumar Gupta, MD, SBI.

On this occasion, D. K. Sharma, General Manager, Central Railway said that “We wants heritage structure of CSMT look equally majestic from all sides that’s why we decided to beautify the south west and east facade. This conservation and restoration of this World Heritage Site will be in conformation to internationally accepted norms and methodology.”

When Mirror asked beautification of North façade of heritage structure which is covered by roof of platfroms, Chief public relation officer of central railway Sunil Udasi said, “we are working on it.”

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus has been identified as one of the top ten Swachh Iconic Places by Ministry of Drinking water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission Program of Government of India.

State Bank of India Foundation is partnering with Central Railway by providing Rs. Ten Crores over the period of 3 – 5 years to Central Railway for the conservation of the world heritage Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus Building under Swachh Bharat Mission. This renovation work of the building will be evaluated, executed and monitored by Central Railway.

An engineering marvel designed by the famous architect F. W. Stevens, who designed several other buildings in this city, but nothing is as marvelous and splendor as its first creation the Victoria Terminus, now known as Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus.

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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.

Thalassery-Mysuru Rail Line: Railways to prepare DPR

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared for the proposed railway corridor from Thalassery to Mysuru, conceived 58 years ago for better connectivity to Bengaluru and development of Malabar, based on a feasibility study carried out by Railways.

The decision ignores the feasibility report of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which found that the project would not be beneficial as only the people of north Kerala beyond Kuttippuram would benefit.

The preparation of the DPR is to be entrusted to public sector undertakings under Railways such as RITES and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL), the joint venture set up for the cost-sharing of viable projects by the State and Railways, would make the choice, official sources said.

The rail corridor is placed second on the priority list among the cost-sharing projects. The Rapid Rail Transit System on the 125.65-km Thiruvananthapuram Central-Chengannur stretch for short distance commuters tops the list in Phase I and the MRVC has submitted the DPR to the government.

Extended connectivity

Further, the government is determined to get the rail line as it will give extended connectivity to the Kannur international airport to be commissioned in 2018, trigger development of Malabar, and give a fillip to the tourism sector.

As per a survey estimate with the Railway Board, the 247.5-km line between Thalassery and Mysuru via Wayanad will cost ₹3,209.01 crore and the 298.75 km via Coorg, ₹3,778.71 crore. But Railways did not go ahead with the proposal terming it unviable.

Following pressure from local people, the DMRC under Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan was roped in for a feasibility study. The DMRC, in its report, said the rail line needed to be laid on 190.22 km of the 206.51 km Thalassery-Mysuru stretch. The DMRC had mentioned as hurdles the high cost (₹6,685 crore), 53-km Ghats section, need for a 11.45-km TBM tunnel across a wildlife sanctuary of Karnataka, and low traffic.

SAIL raises flat steel prices by Rs.600 a tonne; hike double of lapsed Rail subsidy

The subsidy is provided by the railways to encourage transportation of commodities in the lean season of monsoon when demand is subdued. It lapsed September 30.

NEW DELHI: Steel Authority of India has raised prices of its flat products by Rs 600 per tonne while keeping rates of longs unchanged, an industry source told. The hike by the state-owned steelmaker, coming as it does after some months of no change, will more than compensate for the lapse in railways’ Rs 300 per tonne subsidy for steel transport in the lean monsoon season.

The subsidy is provided by the railways to encourage transportation of commodities in the lean season of monsoon when demand is subdued. It lapsed September 30.

Flats are currently trading in the market at around Rs 39,000 per tonne while longs are going for Rs 34,500-Rs 35,000 per tonne.

Private steel producers did not raise the prices in October after having increased them in September quarter by 2 to 6 percent, sequentially. SAIL had not hiked the prices then.

October is usually a time for price hikes in the steel sector as general demand for new vehicles and construction and real estate picks up on the passage of monsoon amidst the festival seasonAccording to a report by Kotak Securities, domestic prices have trailed global prices due to increased supplies from new capacities. Flat products find use in automobile and consumer durable industry.

Prices of longs, a product whose supply chain is characterized by many small players, declined during July-September by 2 percent compared to same quarter a year ago due to weak construction demand. Long products are used in real estate and construction activities.

“I don’t see the prices firming up any more over the next one to two months,” an official with a company, making downstream steel products that find use at airports and malls, said.

Domestic steel demand increased 4 percent on year to 42.9 million tonnes in the first half of the ongoing financial year. The rise was led by the 16 percent jump in April-August flat product sales to 15.27 million tonnes against the 2 percent decline in demand for longs to 17.12 million tonnes, according to the Kotak report.

Survey for new Renukoot-Korba Railway Line soon

DHANBAD: The Union Ministry of Railways would soon carry out a reconnaissance survey for the proposed new railway line between Renukoot on Dhanbad Division of East Central Railway in Uttar Pradesh to Korba of Bilaspur Division on South East Central Railway in Chhattisgarh spanning 331 kms.

New Railway line survey for the State of Chhattisgarh was sanctioned in 2016-17, officials informed.

The new line work from Dongargarh to Bilaspur via Kharigarh, Kawardha (270 Km) was included in Rail Budget 2016-17 at a cost of Rs 2,500 crore subject to requisite Government clearances.

Detailed Project Report (DPR) is under preparation.

The Ministry of Railways and State Government of Chhattisgarh had formed a Joint Venture Company namely Chhattisgarh Railway Corporation Ltd. (CRCL) for undertaking survey, development and resource mobilisation of mutually identified viable Railway Projects. CRCL in its board meeting has identified this project for taking up its viability study.

Notably, the development of two key Rail corridors in mineral-rich Chhattisgarh is now set to expand the Railway line network by 45 per cent in the State, officials stated.

The completion of Dallirajhara-Rowghat-Jagdalpur, East and East-West Railcorridor projects will comprise a total of 535 kilometers Railway-line during the next two to four years, they stated.

The East West Rail Corridor project is expected to get completed in 2018-19.

The corridor is to facilitate movement of about 60 million tonnes of coal to various parts of the country apart from providing passenger train facility for the local populace of the region.

The length of the rail track would be 135.30 kms.The Chhattisgarh East West Railway Ltd is the implementing agency for the project.

The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) is co-ordinating the  construction of Rail line from DaIlirajhara to Rowghat covering a distance of 95 km with Indian Railways in Chhattisgarh.

The project for doubling of Railway line between Kirandul and Jagdalpur in Chhatisgarh’s insurgency ridden  Bastar region is expected to be complete by January 2019, official sources informed.

Notably, NMDC Ltd — the country’s largest iron ore producer and exporter had also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Ministry of Railways on December 21, 2012 and the aforesaid project would be helpful in significantly augmenting evacuation capacity of NMDC’s Bailadila Sector mines by rail from the existing 28 MTPA to 40 MTPA of iron ore.

NMDC had deposited an amount of Rs 150 crores with East Coast Railway and the expenditure incurred as on March 31, 2015 was Rs 132.00 crore, sources informed.

For execution of the project, the Railways has divided the 150 km length of doubling work into three Sections namely, Jagdalpur to Silakjori 45.50 km, Kirandul to Gidam 52.23 km and Silakjori to Gidam 52.73 km.

Notably, the Rs 2000 crore Rowghat to Jagdalpur railway line would also pass through heavily insurgency infested Kondagaon and Narayanpur districts of Bastar division in Chhattisgarh, officials stated.

The project is a joint venture between Chhattisgarh government, NMDC, SAIL and IRCON.

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IRFC, 2 other Rail PSUs IPOs to hit markets in Q4

Three book-running lead managers have already been appointed for the IRFC IPO, namely IDFC, HSBC, ICICI Securities and SBI Caps. IDBI Capital Markets, SBI Caps and Axis Capital have been appointed for the IRCON IPO

NEW DELHI: The initial public offerings (IPOs) of three profitable rail PSUs — Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), IRCON International and RITES Ltd — are likely to hit the market in the fourth quarter of 2017-18, officials said.

Even though the companies would be ready for the IPOs in a month or so, they said, the IPOs would be pushed to the fourth quarter as bankers and foreign investors proceed on year-end vacations in December.

“In the second-third week of January, action will be visible on IPO of these companies,” an official said.

The draft prospectus for the three IPOs are currently being prepared while the process has also been initiated for listing Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL) as well.

Three book-running lead managers have already been appointed for the IRFC IPO, namely IDFC, HSBC, ICICI Securities and SBI Caps. IDBI Capital Markets, SBI Caps and Axis Capital have been appointed for the IRCON IPO.

The government stakes in these units to be offloaded would be announced closer to the dates of the IPOs, but could be 10-15%. A 10% stake sale in these three rail units might fetch the Centre around Rs.2,800 crore (IRFC Rs.1,929 crore, IRCON Rs 564 crore and RITES Rs.325 crore).

The department of investment and public asset management has approval for diluting up to 25% stake in these rail PSUs, which are wholly owned by the Centre. IRFC, which posted a net profit of Rs.942 crore in 2016-17, is a financial services company and mobilises funds for Indian Railways.

IRCON, which reported a net profit of Rs.379 crore in 2015-16, is engaged in infrastructure construction activities specialising in railway-related projects. Rites is a consultancy in the fields of transport, infrastructure and related technologies

RVNL is a dedicated special-purpose vehicle for development and arrangement of financial resources for the Golden Quadrilateral and port connectivity projects.

The IPOs are part of the government’s Rs 72,500 crore disinvestment programme for 2017-18. It has already got over Rs 29,500 crore from stake sales in a clutch of companies — public and private — this year, including the mega IPO of GIC Re.

The rail unit PSUs are part of the government pipeline of about ten10 PSU IPOs including Hindustan Aeronautics and New India Assurance, which could fetch around Rs 10,000 crore to the exchequer this year if the plans go through.

As per available data, there are over 100 unlisted profitable PSUs. After a gap of five years, the government listed a PSU this year (to start with Hudco, later Cochin Shipyard and GIC Re).

Super Rajdhani on Delhi-Mumbai route Launched: Fares, Details Here

Indian Railways’ Diwali gift — Rajdhani becomes faster, more affordable. New Super Rajdhani will reduce at least two hours of travelling time between Delhi and Mumbai.

NEW DELHI: For travellers between Mumbai and Delhi, the Indian Railways has a good news:  new Super Rajdhani will be launched from October 16, which the Railways said, will reduce at least two hours of travelling time as compared to the usual Rajdhani that runs on this route. The train will not have a flexi fare system according to the dynamic pricing mechanism of the railways, the Ministry of Railways said, on its official Twitter account @RailMinIndia. This means that the fares of the train will not jump by 10 per cent over every 10 per cent of seat bookings as happens with usual Rajdhani trains.

The fares on the Super Rajdhani will cost passengers Rs. 600-800 less than the two other Rajdhanis already on the route, according to a report by news agency Press Trust of India.  The train will chug-off from Delhi on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from Bandra on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

To fulfil the long-overdue demand of passengers and to provide faster and convenient connectivity to passengers between two metros, Delhi and Mumbai, Indian Railways introduced the new Special Rajdhani Express between Delhi and Mumbai from October 16, the Ministry of Railways said in a statement.

The ministry also said that the train would be introduced on an experimental basis for three months to gauge the response of the public to the concept of a flat increase in fares against the existing flexi-fare system.

Railways said that with the introduction of the new Rajdhani Express, the travel time will be reduced from about 15 hours, 50 minutes to 13 hours, 55 minutes. The train will stop at Kota, Vadodara, and Surat only. Railway officials said that to increase the maximum speed of the train to 130 km/h, it will be hauled by two WAP5 locomotives of 5,400 horsepower each. The transporter already runs two Rajdhanis and more than 30 mail or express trains between the two metro cities.

The Rajdhani Express will comprise one first AC, two 2AC, 12 3ACs, and one pantry car. The fares of the new special train would be 20 percent more than the base fares for the existing New Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani without any flexi fare. The fare for the special Rajdhani in 3rd AC and 2nd AC will be around 19 percent cheaper than the maximum flexi fare of 3rd AC in the Mumbai Rajdhani.

The Special Rajdhani Express will depart from Hazrat Nizamuddin on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays at 4:15 pm, reaching Bandra Terminus at 6:10 am. It will leave Bandra Terminus on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 4:15 pm and reach Hazrat Nizamuddin at 6:10 am. On September 9, 2016, Railways introduced flexi fares for premier trains — Rajdhani, Duronto, and Shatabdi.

Under this, the base fare increases by 10 percent with every 10 percent of berths sold, subject to a prescribed limit. There was no change in the existing fare for 1AC and EC class of travel. But on December 19, Railways started to provide 10 percent rebate on any seat left vacant after the preparation of the chart.

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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.

Railway Board wind up ambitious Rs.5000-crore One ICT Project and the Transformation Cell

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal is changing the tracks set by his predecessor, Suresh Prabhu. After overhauling the Rs 1-lakh crore station redevelopment plan, Goyal has now spiked two pet schemes and directorates set up by his predecessor.

The Railway Board has decided to wind up the ambitious Rs 5,000-crore One ICT (information, communication and technology) plan and the transformation cell.

Prabhu had set up four directorates during his tenure as the railway minister — mobility, non-fare revenue, One ICT and the transformation cell.

The One ICT directorate was created to set up an integrated software that would have brought various functions of the Railways — such as passenger reservation, movement of goods trains, asset management and the entire functional requirements of the national transporter — under one roof.

The transformation cell directorate was mandated with the implementation of 55 new ideas that had originated at the Rail Vikas Shivir, held in November last year, where rail employees shared their visionary ideas in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The railway board has decided to shut ICT and merge the transformation cell with mobility,” confirmed a railway official. Officials said the new minister was of the opinion that these areas were already being covered by other directorates, including non-fare revenue and mobility, and there was no requirement for a separate department.

Prabhu had set up the ICT directorate with a view that an organisation like the railways, which posted a revenue of Rs 1,65,068 crore in 2016-17, should spend a considerable amount of money on information, communication and technology. The railway information technology expenditure was only Rs 336 crore in 2016-17, which was scaled up to Rs 513 crore in the 2017-18.

The Rs 5,000-crore One ICT software was supposed to be implemented over five years using digital technology. It was to ensure better connectivity of goods and services with the market and efficient internal management to ensure customer satisfaction.

Revamping the railways, Goyal had earlier decided to cancel the bidding process for 23 stations for redevelopment owing to tepid interest shown by construction companies.

He had also wound up the Swiss challenge mode for redevelopment (under which a public authority asks for a bid, and publishes it for third parties to match or top it), which was mooted by Prabhu.

Such changes in policies are normal when there is a change in government. But railway officials are experiencing this situation for the first time when only the minister has been changed.

“For Goyal, the priority is implementation of schemes in a quick pace. He is giving additional emphasis on renewal of tracks and safety and has instructed the Railway Board to allot the required money for each division in this regard,” said another official.

Railways recons PFTs on its land to reduce encroachments, to increase earnings through Licensing Fee

The Indian Railways is working on a plan to allow private freight terminals (PFTs) on railway land adjacent to stations with a view to utilising vacant land parcels better, increase public-private-partnership (PPP) investments and boost freight revenue.

NEW DELHI: The Indian Railways is working on a plan to allow private freight terminals (PFTs) on railway land adjacent to stations with a view to utilising vacant land parcels better, increase public-private-partnership (PPP) investments and boost freight revenue. “There are chunks of land available around stations especially in areas which are mineral-rich and where loading is high. These are sparsely populated areas as well. We are seeking to permit private freight sidings on land adjacent to the railway stations,” said a railway ministry official. Commercial viability of private terminals is more near cement companies, ports and power plants which consume coal. At present, private freight terminals are built by private investors on private land and connectivity is given by the railways to the operators on lease basis. “These terminals are mostly 2-3 km away from stations and therefore huge capital is required to build warehouses, yard and railway lines which many small players are not able to do,” the official added.

The transporter reckons that PFTs on railway land would help reduce encroachment of its land apart from increasing earnings through licensing fee. According to the official, railway minister Piyush Goyal has already given his approval for the scheme under which captive warehouses will be built by investors on land adjacent to stations and railways will earn lease rentals. The transporter will also charge for the railway lines leading up to the warehouses. On average, a rake of freight earns the railways around Es 50 lakh. Sources said since commercial use of land will require Cabinet approval, Goyal has asked to consider a policy to involve Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) in the process. “RLDA will look at the availability of land and give clearance,” said the official, adding that applicants will apply at the zonal level post which a feasibility report will be made with projections of traffic before a final approval.

The government is also trying to make station redevelopment more attractive to investors by introducing single-stage bidding, 99-year lease and inclusion of residential mix in projects. The railways has around 11.4 lakh acres of land of which 1.17 lakh acres are deemed surplus. However, since most of this surplus land is in linear stretches, the scope for commercial development of vacant land is much less than what the land areas suggest. PPP investments in the railway sector has been low, even though for the last few years, the government has tried to promote private investments in peripheral areas. While expert panels had suggested allowing private train operators (by paying rentals to IR for track access), the government hasn’t acted on such proposals.

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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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First Noida-Greater Noida Metro train to arrive in December

NOIDA: The first train of the 29.7km Noida-Greater Noida Aqua Line Metro corridor will arrive in early December. The officials of Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC) said this will be a demo train and the rest of the four-coach trains for the track will start arriving every fortnight thereafter.

The trial train is likely to be despatched from China on October 25. CRRC Nanjing Corporation Limited, a Chinese state-owned rolling stock manufacturer, is supplying the trains to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) for the corridor. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between the two companies in March this year.

The Metro is likely to roll by April 2018. According to NMRC officials, the Aqua Line will support 76 coaches. Each Metro coach will come at a cost of nearly Rs 4 crore. A total of 19 trains will run between Noida and Greater Noida at a speed of 35 km/hour, and at an initial frequency of every five minutes in peak hours and ten minutes at other times. The frequency will be tweaked to address commuter traffic, officials said.

Initially, NMRC will operate 11 trains along the corridor. While the seating capacity of each train will be 186, the standing capacity will be 848 passengers. Hence, the total capacity of each train will be 1,034 passengers. There will also be special seats of dark Aqua colour for women, seniors and specially-abled persons. These will number 16 in each coach, with a total of 64 in each train.

The coaches are lightweight and made of stainless steel and aluminium. Each train will be equipped with a passenger information system, a passenger announcement system and an emergency announcement system from the operation control centre of the train. The trains will also have a radio for communication between drivers and an operation control centre.

Trains will also be fitted with a continuous automatic train control system.

According to officials, presently, civil work on the under-construction Metro track between the twin cities is nearly 97% complete. Nearly 29 km of viaduct out of the 29.7km of the corridor has already been put in place by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The DMRC has also started erecting Over Head Electrical (OHE) lines with about 1,100 electrical poles in place, out of the total 1,400. Nearly 30km of rail track of the total 60km has also been laid till now along the route. The structural work of all 21 stations along the corridor, including platforms, has been completed in a record time of 20 months. All stations along the corridor are likely to be ready by October 31. The finishing work of all Metro stations is presently under way.

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Uphill Tasks ahead for new Danapur DRM

PATNA: Ranjan Prakash Thakur this week took over as the new DRM (Divisional Railway Manager) of the Danapur rail division.

An Indian Railway Traffic Service ( IRTS ) officer, Thakur was earlier a senior official at the Railway Board in New Delhi. He has piloted many railway projects successfully during his tenure of three decades in the railways.

The tasks at hand for Thakur as the Danapur DRM include smooth running of passenger trains in the division which lacks proper infrastructure. Around 260 pairs of passenger trains either originate or pass through the division which has Up and Down lines between Mughalsarai and Jhajha of the pre-independence era.

The railways has been sitting on a proposal for the third line between Mughalsarai and Mokama for long. The rush on the two existing lines often causes detention of mail and express trains at outer stations or signals.

“The division is facing about 160 to 170% saturation on these mainline tracks,” a Danapur official admitted.

While about one lakh passengers travel to and from Patna Junction, a large number of local passengers commute on the Buxar-Patna , Patna-Mokama , Patna-Gaya , Kiul-Gaya and Bakhtiarpur-Rajgir sections of the division. The division for them runs several pairs of local trains, including MEMUs and DEMUs, but few, if any, run on schedule.

Reports of alarm chain pulling, attack on railway property, drug menace and luggage lifting are quite commonplace in the division. Also, the division needs to improve safety measures for passenger.

Ensuring cleanliness on railway platforms would also be an equally uphill task for the new DRM.

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BKC-Chunnabatti link road may not be ready next year

MMRDA has not received CR’s nod for constructing ROB at Sion and Chunabhatti railway stations.

MUMBAI: Although chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the BKC (Bandra-Kurla Complex) -Chunabhatti connector — a 1.7 km elevated road — will be ready to use by December 2018, it is not likely to be completed by next year. This is because the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has not received the Central Railway nod for constructing ROB (Rail Overbridge) at Sion and Chunabhatti railway stations, a part of alignment of the elevated road. The four-lane wide bridge will connect BKC to the Eastern Express Highway (EEH). The project was announced in the year of 2014, but the civil work began by 2015.

“We have been waiting for a nod from the railways from the past one year, their permissions are crucial as the ROB needs to pass above the stations and meet the Chunabhatti end,” said Dilip Kawathkar, joint projects director, MMRDA. The Asian Age tried contacting Central Railways authorities, but they remained unavailable for comment.

In a project review meeting on October 6, Mr Fadnavis had vowed that work on the connector would be fast-tracked and the elevated road would be thrown open to public by December 2018. Once operational, commuters from eastern suburbs, Thane and Navi-Mumbai who currently ply the congested Sion -Dharavi link road to reach BKC will get relief. The elevated road is expected to cut the travel time by 30 minutes and ease congestion in Sion and Dharavi areas.

The elevated connector will start from the G-Block of BKC and after crossing Mithi river, LBS Marg, Central Railway tracks and VK Mankikar road, it will lead to Chunabhatti railway station. Passing above the harbour line, it will pass through Somaiyya Trust Ground to join the EEH. “The work has been in progress till the LBS Marg,” added Mr Kawathkar. The cost of the project is around `156 crore and the contract has been awarded to J. Kumar.

Balangir-Nuapada rail link via. Chudapali and Patnagarh demanded

BALANGIR: Members of Patnagarh Citizen Committee staged a ‘rail roko’ agitation at Balangir railway station on Saturday to protest against the meagre allocation of funds by the Centre for the projects in western Odisha and for the laying of railway tracks between Balangir and Nuapada via Chudapali and Patnagarh. The agitators were led by the forum’s convener Bajranglal Agrawal and its leader Bhaktabandhu Naik. Demanding a new train line between Balangir and  Nuapadavia Patnagarh, Khaprakhol and Lakhana in accordance with the 2014 survey conducted by Railway Board, the activists detained Sambalpur- Rayagada Tapaswini express and Bilaspur -Raipur passenger trains.

The agitation was supported by the volunteers of Balangir Citizen Committee, tribal leader Niranjan Bishi and other activists there. Thousands of residents of Patnagarh town reached Balangir railway station to participate in the agitation. The Railway Official of Sambalpur Division, Kedarnath Sahu, reached the spot to pacify the protestors. He, later, accepted a memorandum drafted by the agitators.

“This area has remained neglected by the government. The proposed Balangir-Nuapada via Khaprakhol rail line will lead to the development of the region and uplift the economic conditions of locals,” said Bajranglal Agrawal.

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Mughalsarai Railway Station to become Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Railway Station from today

LUCKNOW / VARANASI: In just a day, the Mughalsarai Junction, the fourth biggest in the country , will get a new name. On Friday, Union railway minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Mughal Sarai railway station has been renamed Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya station.” It is also most likely that the Division will no longer be called as Mughal Sarai Division under East Central Railway and a new name for the Railway Division is in the process of ideation.

Monday onwards, the East Central Railways (ECR) would begin replacing the old signage and change the name of the station in reserved tickets as well.

Director, PR, Railway Board, Ved Prakash, confirmed that a notification has been issued, which would reach the ECR on Monday . UP cabinet had approved the recommendation to change the name of the station to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya railway station in June, after seeking NOC from other states to confirm if any other station was named as such.

The state government’s proposal was routed through the ministry of railways to the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) that gave its nod in August. “People would be in formed that the name of the station has changed,” said CPRO, ECR, Rajesh Kumar.The signage at the station would be replaced in two days.

Besides, Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) will be asked to feed the new name in software and it would probably start getting printed on reserved tickets by Tuesday .

“As far as unreserved tickets are concerned, it might take at least a week to implement the change since it is not acentralized system,” said the CPRO.

Pole installed in Deen Dayal Upadhyaya’s memory

To honour the memory of RSS ideologue Pt Deen Dayal Upadhyaya , the divisional railway manager’s office in Mughalsarai has installed a symbolic pole (no 6731276) on the western side of platform number 2 of Mughalsarai railway station at the spot where his body was found lying on February 11, 1968.In a tweet on Friday night, rail minister Piyush Goyal announced renaming of Mughalsarai Junction and mentioned that the railway administration had installed a symbolic pole in his memory.Anand Srivastava, prantiya sampark pramukh of Swadeshi Jagran Manch , the frontal wing of RSS, told, “While observing Swadeshi week in DDU Nagar, we tried to find the spot where Upadhyaya’s body was found, to pay floral tributes. On failing to find it, we met the divisional railway manager who deputed some officials with us to determine the spot.”Srivastava said that during the search, it was found that poles numbered 1275, 1276 and 1277 were missing. After lot of deliberation, they succeeded in identifying the point where pole 1276 used to exist. Anand Srivastava, prantiya sampark pramukh of Swadeshi Jagran Manch , the frontal wing of RSS, told TOI, “While observing Swadeshi week in DDU Nagar, we tried to find the spot where Upadhyaya’s body was found, to pay floral tributes.

Upadhyaya was found dead under mysterious circumstances at Mughalsarai railway station on February 11, 1968, the year he was made president of Bharatiya Jan Sangh.

Upadhyaya conceived the political philosophy Integral Humanism. The philosophy of Integral Humanism advocates the simultaneous and integrated program of the body, mind and intellect and soul of each human being. His philosophy of Integral Humanism, which is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, bears eloquent testimony to this. He visualised for India a decentralised polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.

Deendayal Upadhyaya was convinced that India as an independent nation could not rely upon concepts like individualism, democracy, socialism, communism or capitalism and was of the view that the Indian polity after Independence has been raised upon these superficial Western foundations and not rooted in the traditions of India’s ancient culture. He was of the view that the Indian intellect was getting suffocated by theories, which left a “roadblock” to the growth and expansion of original Bharatiya (Sanskrit: “of Bharat”) thought. Upadhyay was compelled to answer what he felt was the urgent need in India for a “fresh breeze”.

He welcomed modern technology but wanted it to be adapted to suit Indian requirements. He believed in Swaraj (“Self-governance”). Upadhyaya edited Panchjanya (Weekly) and Swadesh (Daily) from Lucknow. In Hindi, he has written a drama Chandragupta Maurya, and later wrote a biography of Shankaracharya. He translated a Marathi biography of Hedgewar, the founder of RSS.

He won awards and scholarships from the Maharaja of Sikar and industrialist Ghanashyam Das Birla. Turning down all offers of government and private sector employment, he joined the RSS. He kept company with Nanaji Deshmukh and Sundar Singh Bhandari, RSS pracharaks who went on to play a critical role in anti-Congress politics in the 1960s and 70s. Rising rapidly through the RSS ranks, he started a series of publications including its current mouthpiece, Panchjanya, and started another when this was banned. When that too, was suppressed, he launched a third one. He served as its compositor, machine man and dispatcher and never missed an issue

Integral Humanism was adopted by the BJS as its official doctrine and subsequently passed on to the BJP.

The Deen Dayal Research Institute deals with queries on Upadhyaya and his works.

He died under mysterious and unexpected circumstances on 11 February 1968 at Mughal Sarai Railway yard. There are many conspiracy theories about Upadhyaya’s death: Balraj Madhok, another of Jan Sangh’s founding members, has said categorically on many occasions that Upadhyaya’s death was a murder, not an accident.

 

Iran-Azerbaijan Freight Trains to Operate in Nov 2017

The first freight trains will operate on the Astara (Azerbaijan)-Astara (Iran) railroad section in late November 2017, the chairman of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC said.

The two eponymous cities are located across from the Iran-Azerbaijan border.

Javid Gurbanov made the statement at the Argus Azerbaijan International Petroleum Summit 2017 in Baku on Thursday, Trend News Agency reported.

“The construction of the Astara-Astara section of the International North-South Transport Corridor has been almost completed,” he said.

“All the work in Azerbaijan’s territory has been completed. A rail bridge over the Astarachay River is ready and the first test train will be launched over it in March.”

The International North-South Transport Corridor is aimed at connecting Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. It will serve as a link connecting the railroads of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.

The corridor is planned to transport 5 million tons of cargo per year in the initial stage and more than 10 million tons of cargo in the future.

 

Bullet Trains will transform India in a positive manner: Hideki Asari, Minister (Political Affairs), Embassy of Japan

After a lecture about open trade between India and Japan, Hideki Asari, Minister (Political Affairs), Embassy of Japan, spoke on things that concern Japan. Below is edited excerpts.

The bullet train (Mumbai-Ahmedabad) has received criticism over the cost of the project. But what is the economic value of the project?

High speed trains have transformed Japan and it will transform India as well. However, I will leave the actual figures of job creation to the economists. But if you see there are over 13,000 Japanese companies in India and each of them creates job in India, especially the large manufacturers. These companies have been having a positive impact in Indian economy by creating huge number of direct and indirect jobs.

There were talks about taking 3 lakh Indian youth to Japan for training. How many of them will be employed there?

The schools where the youth would go for training, are operated by four major Japanese manufacturers. Each of these schools will train them; will help them develop their skills and they can find jobs in Japanese factories. Due to these skills, they will create better opportunities not just for themselves but for overall work force of India. However, I don’t have the figures.

How do you think Trans-Pacific partnership (TPP) and Indo-Pacific change things in the region?

TPP is our country’s concern and we are consulting on how we carry it forward. Speaking of TPP itself, it has a very huge significance for strategic and economic implication. In the Pacific region, if you look at the size of economy of the participating countries, TPP will beneficial. This partnership will benefit India as well in lot of ways— in terms of trade and piracy issues. TPP will benefit not just participating countries but non-participating countries as well.

What will be Japan and India’s role in growth in the Pacific region?

Japan and India can collaborate not just in trade, but in investment, business collaboration, manufacturing in the quality products etc. This quality product manufacturing should not be limited towards Indian market but also outside market which will create more trade.

How will Japan help India to meet its green energy demands?

This area is important. Japan has technology and there is enough room for collaboration in this space for both countries. This area is not only promising but is also very important for the two countries to combat global warming.

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China delays India’s ambitious Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore High-speed Train project

The Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore corridor is one of nine such high speed corridors being developed by the ministry of Railways.

NEW DELHI: An ambitious high speed train project in south India has been delayed after Chinese railways, that completed a feasibility study a year ago, did not respond, railway officials have said, suggesting that the “lack of response” may be due to the Dokalam standoff.

An internal brief of the Mobility Directorate on the status of nine high-speed projects of the railways, accessed by PTI, shows that the Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore corridor, a 492 km stretch, lies in limbo because the Chinese railways has failed to respond to the ministry’s communiques.

“The Chinese company submitted the final report in November 2016 and after that the Chinese team has suggested for a face to face interaction. No date has been fixed from their side,” said the note prepared by the Mobility Directorate.

On the reason for the delay, the brief states – “lack of response” from Chinese railways.

The brief also states that the feasibility study by the China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co Ltd (CREEC) was submitted to the Railway Board in November 2016 and after that the Chinese company had sought meetings with officials of the Board.

However, officials say that the Board has been unable to get in touch with officials of CREEC despite repeated communications sent to them via mails in the last six months.

“We have even tried to get in touch with them through their Embassy here, but we are yet to hear from them,” said an official.

The ministry officials said that it was the standoff between the two countries in Bhutan’s Dokalam area between June 16 and August 28 this year that seems to have derailed the project.

“The study began in 2014 and they submitted the report in 2016. The entire cost was borne by them. In fact they have shown so much interest in collaborating with us for other projects as well, so we think that it was the standoff that must have raised doubts,” said a senior rail official.

An email to the Chinese Embassy by PTI on the issue did not elicit any response.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Dokalam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Dokalam.

The brief, prepared by the department in charge of all the high speed corridors, also states that except the Chinese roadblock, work on the eight other projects was on track.

China had in fact not only pitched for the Mumbai- Ahemdabad high speed network, which was finally bagged by Japan, but also for the bullet project in the Mumbai-Delhi sector, which is yet to be finalised.

China is also training railway engineers in heavy hauling and it is with Chinese collaboration that India is setting up its first railway university.

The Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore corridor is one of nine such high speed corridors being developed by the ministry. The aim was to increase the speed from the present 80 kmph to 160 kmph.

While the Delhi-Agra route was made operational in 2016 with the country’s fastest train Gatimaan Express running between the two cities, the work on rest seven of eight of 8 is going at a fast pace, the brief indicated

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Special Trains between Chennai and Tirunelveli for Deepavali season

CHENNAI: Southern Railway will operate a special train with unreserved coaches between Chennai and Tirunelveli during Deepavali.

Train number 06017 will leave Chennai Egmore at 7 am on October 17 (Tuesday) and reach Tirunelveli at 11 pm the same day.

In the return direction, train number 06018 will leave Tirunelveli at 7.20 am on October 20 (Friday) and reach Egmore at 7 30 pm the same day. Both will have 16 general second class coaches.

Rail Cargo Transport to commence between Iran, Azerbaijan in late November

TEHRAN – Azerbaijani Railways (ADY)’ chairman said ADY is preparing for the beginning of rail freight transportation in the direction of Iran, ABC.AZ reported on Friday.

According to Javid Gurbanov, a container terminal in Iranian Astara is expected to open in late November.

“Trains in the direction of Astara (Azerbaijan) – Astara (Iran) will begin to operate in November,” he said.

The Azerbaijani side has rented 35 hectares of land in the territory of Iranian Astara, where 1.2 kilometers of railroad and two bridges are constructed; a third bridge is also going to be built.

Totally four terminals (the grain, dry cargo, oil product and container ones) will be constructed there.

“We plan to rent another 27 hectares of land, and then multi-modal shipments from Iran will be carried out through the territory of Azerbaijan,” Gurbanov said.

Gurbanov also stated that Baku-Nakhchivan railway communication could be organized through Turkey or Iran.

“…the $1 billion worth North-South project is being realized on the territory of Iran. The Iranian side undertook obligations for acquisition of a land plot and after completion of construction works, it will be possible to lay the railroad with length of 1,450 km through Iran to Nakhchivan,” the official said.

Railways raises Track Renewal target, to spend Rs.1000 crore/month

NEW DELHI: Indian Railways will spend Rs 1,000 crore a month over the next six months to replace old and out-of-date tracks with new ones, an exercise aimed at reducing train derailments.

Rail minister Piyush Goyal ordered the spend after raising the track renewal target for the current fiscal to 3,600 km, an 80% jump over the average 2,000 km of tracks renewed by the railways every fiscal.

The minister has also cleared a proposal to call for global bids next month for supply of steel rails. State-run Steel Authority of India was until now meeting 80-85% of the total demand for rails.

A top rail ministry official said the minister just wants to ensure that the massive track renewal exercise is not halted for want of supplies.

We will be changing everything from track ballasts to the clips, the official said. The work is being done on a war footing. Tracks are already being routed to the desired locations. General managers of the zones have been instructed to award maintenance blocks wherever needed.
On an average, a rail zone allocates only 50% of the total maintenance blocks demanded by track engineers on a route. But last month, nearly 65% of the total demanded maintenance blocks were allocated.
Because of the high traffic density (movement of trains), the zones were reluctant to allocate traffic blocks earlier. But now, the minister has instructed that a block should be allocated as soon as it is asked for, the official added. A preliminary inquiry into August’s train derailment near Muzaffarnagar has blamed non-allocation of maintenance blocks to track engineers as the reason for the accident, which claimed 21 lives. In the last three years, there have been about 115 train derailments on an average every year.

Goyal has also instructed the Rail Board, the top administrative body of the railways, to meet every Wednesday to review the safety parameters of all 17 rail zones. The railways has also decided to work out a new time table of trains so that enough time is available for maintenance of tracks and signalling. On highly dense routes such as Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai, there is a train every 10 minutes, which leaves the engineers little time for maintenance. The new time table, to be released on November 1, will also cut unnecessarily delays on routes, reducing the travel time of 500 trains by 30-60 minutes.

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Ministry nod for Konkan Railway expansion, approves Capacity Augmentation at a cost of ₹4980 Cr.

PANAJI: The Ministry of Railways has given its in-principle approval for major capacity augmentation of Konkan Railway at an approximate cost of ₹4,980 crore, and the proposal is in the process of sanction.

The Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) achieved a net profit of ₹61 crore for 2016-17, and has registered a growth of 69% in the annual turnover over last three years, said a press release issued by KRCL spokesperson L. K. Verma on Sunday, to mark its 27th anniversary.

The Ministry has decided to provide more financial support to Konkan Railway. On December 16 last year, it had approved an increase in the authorised equity share capital from ₹806.47 crore to ₹4,000 crore.

At their meeting on February 28 this year, shareholders of the corporation unanimously passed a resolution to this effect.

Five-year plan

This will enable the corporation to execute various capital expenditure projects, including the Roha-Veer part doubling, route electrification, doubling of traffic capacity, construction of new crossing stations and additional loop lines. The projects are likely to be completed in a phased manner over five years.

Work to construct 10 new railway stations on Konkan Railway routes is also in progress.

The KRCL covers four States: Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala, over a stretch of 740 km.

The corporation is also setting up the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology in Goa and the Ramkrishna Hegde Institute for Skill Development at Udupi in Karnataka.

It is reliably learnt that Ramkrishna Hegde Institute for Skill Development at Udupi will not only impart various skill development activities in diversified sectors, but also will ensure Technology Training and Certification courses for the students in the region on the Principle IT Brands viz. Cisco, Red Hat, Microsoft, Palo Alto, VMWare, Veeam, EMC, Symantec, Veritas, IBM, BMC, Hitachi, Citrix, F5, Infoblox, Check Point, CA, EC-Council, Salesforce.com, APMG-ITIL, CompTIA, CloudEra, SUSE, AXELOS etc.

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SER to do away with Reservation Charts, depend on Digital Charting System

Kolkata: The practice of having a reconfirmatory look at the reservation chart on coaches before boarding a mail or express train is set to change as South Eastern Railway will stop pasting charts on its trains from Monday.

SER spokesman Sanjoy Ghosh said it has been decided that the practice of pasting of reservation charts on train coaches will be discontinued from 16 October.

“The long-standing practice of pasting charts on train coaches is being done away with at Howrah station primarily to keep the coach exterior clean. It will also save paper, thus making the railways more environment-friendly,” Ghosh told PTI here.

SER operates several mail and express trains from Howrah to different destinations in the west and south, including Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad.

Reservation charts are pasted on all coaches beside the doors of mails, expresses at stations from where they commence their journey.

“People used to queue up in front of coaches earlier for knowing their reservation status and seat/berth allocation. But with the advent of modern forms like SMS services and reservation enquiry through the internet, the old practice of seeing the chart pasted beside coach doors have lessened a lot,” Ghosh said.

Tickets with confirmed status at the time of booking have information printed on the ticket itself, while waitlisted and Reservation Against Cancellation(RAC) passengers get their status updated on their registered mobile number through SMS at the time of charting, which is four hours before the scheduled departure of the train, Ghosh said.

Further, digital charting system has been installed at the major stations and at other stations, manual boards are installed for displaying the status of the waitlisted tickets to guide the passengers.

Apart from these, IVRS service through number 139 are available for passengers for checking the status of their tickets on real-time basis, the SER spokesman said.

Constructing one Foot-over-Bridge takes two years in Mumbai: Railway officials

MUMBAI: According to railway officials, it takes at least two years on an average to build a foot overbridge (FOB). The reason for the same is said to be the lack of availability of uninterrupted working time as the trains always keep running and that the officials have very little space to manoeuvre while constructing the foot overbridge The railways have to make sure that they don’t cause any damage to the tracks, overhead wires or the posts that fix these wires in place, while drilling into the ground for laying the foundation piers.

Building the Elphinstone FOB will prove difficult due to space crunch — the structure is in close proximity to the platform and tracks —  and the fact that Central Railway (CR) is also constructing the Parel Terminus simultaneously.

A railway official said, “The end of the platform at Parel that connects to the foot overbridge is extremely narrow will have to be widened. When the Central Railway will be working on widening that part, we will have to make sure that during the process of digging and fixing the foundation of the bridge, we do not damage the bed of soil on which the tracks are laid.”

For constructing the bridge, the railways will have to bring parts of the foot overbridge together and align them together piece by piece.

During this process, trains cannot be allowed to run on the section where work is going on and finding the time when trains can be halted without causing trouble to commuters is a tough job.

The Western Railway will be rebuilding the Elphinstone Road Bridge, which was opened for the public in 1972.

My query pertains to the recent stampede on Elphinstone foot overbridge in Mumbai where 22 persons died and over 35 were injured. In such a case, can the affected persons file for compensation before the consumer court?

Media reports say that the government has announced some ex-gratia payment to the families of those who died and free treatment to the injured in the tragedy. They can also seek compensation under the Consumer Protection Act., provided they were travelling (or intended to travel) by the local train and were using the bridge as part of their commute. This makes them consumers of the railway service and they can seek compensation for the deficient or negligent service.

The Railways may well argue that the stampede was a result of too many people taking shelter on the bridge on account of heavy rain. However, there is enough evidence that many regulars at this station had warned the authorities about the extremely heavy passenger traffic on the narrow bridge and the possibility of a stampede or any other serious accident and sought intervention. The Railways, however, had made no effort to expand or extend the bridge nor regulate traffic on the structure to prevent such a mishap.

Is there any judgment on an issue like this?

The Elphinestone tragedy reminds me of another horrific disaster involving a railway foot overbridge that came up before the consumer court some years ago, forcing the apex consumer court to remind the Railways that it is its responsibility to maintain in good order, platforms, footpaths and overbridges. Failure to do so constitutes negligence and the Railways has to pay for the consequences, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had said.

The complaint, in this case, pertained to the collapse of Jogeshwari railway foot overbridge on September 28, 1992. To quote from the order of the apex consumer court, because of the heavy rain, a large number of passengers had taken shelter on the bridge, when a portion of it suddenly gave way, killing and injuring several passengers.

The complainant, Vinaya Vilas Sawant, who was on the bridge with her husband, fell from a height of about 20-25 feet on to the track below, along with the rubble. Multiple fractures and spinal injuries left her with 60 per cent disability, even after two surgeries. Even with the screws and plates used to stabilise her spine, she could walk slowly only with a walker and with the help of an attendant. In fact, when she and her husband were lying unconscious from the fall, they were also robbed of their jewellery and cash.

However, when she filed a complaint before the consumer court, seeking compensation from the Railways, the biggest public sector undertaking argued that she was not a consumer. She was not travelling by train, but only using the bridge and that did not make her a consumer under the Consumer Protection Act. While she said that as an employee of MTNL, she had a monthly pass to travel by train and the pass had been stolen along with all the other belongings when she was lying unconscious, the Railways argued that she did not have a monthly pass!

The district and state consumer courts dismissed her complaint, but the apex consumer court clarified that once a passenger has purchased a ticket to travel by train, he or she is the consumer of all services provided by the Railways in connection with that travel and this included the platform, footpath and overbridges meant for ingress to and egress from the train. In this case, subsequent investigations into the collapse had revealed gross negligence of the Railways — the bridge was in a bad shape, but the Railways had failed to act (Smt Vinaya Vilas Sawant Vs Union of India, RP No 864 of 2006).

The decision paved the way for consumers to haul up the Railways for its negligence with regard to not just rail travel, but the connected facilities too.

Railways to run 12 Additional Services to Shravanabelagola for Mahamastakabhisheka

BANGALORE: The South Western Railways will operate 12 additional train services from Bengaluru and Hassan to Shravanabelagola during the Mahamastakabhisheka to be held from February 7 to 26.

A.K. Gupta, General Manager of SWR, inspected the Hassan and Shravanabelagola stations on Friday.

According to a release issued by SWR on Saturday, the frequency and number of services will be announced later. During the Mahamastakabhisheka held in 2006, only a few trains were run between Hassan and Shravanabelagola, as the track between Hassan and Bengaluru was not ready then.

“This time, SWR is gearing up to handle enhanced passenger traffic. Adequate additional temporary booking counters will be opened at Hassan and Shravanabelagola,” Mr. Gupta said.

A temporary Passenger Reservation System will be opened at Shravanabelagola. And arrangements for temporary structures, including waiting hall and toilets, are being planned. “Additional stalls for food and beverages will be planned at Hassan. For uninterrupted power supply, back-up generators are also being planned. CCTV and high-speed WiFi will be provided at Hassan and Shravanabelagola stations,” he said.

The Mahamastakabhisheka draws pilgrims in lakhs during the period and hence the railway authorities said cleaning arrangements for ensuring hygiene are being worked out.

R.S. Saxena, DRM of Bengaluru Division, Atul Gupta of Mysuru Division, and P. Lamghare, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer, accompanied the General Manager for the inspection.

GM INSPECTION

Mahamastakabhisheka, the head anointing ceremony of Lord Gommateswara at Shravanabelagola is being celebrated once in 12 years. The holy event will be conducted from 7th Feb 2018 to 26thFeb 2018.

South Western Railway is planning to run additional train services to Shravanabelagola from Benagluru/Hassan to facilitate pilgrims during the period. Shri A K Gupta, General Manager, SWR has inspected  Hassan & Shravanabelagola stations on 13.10.2017 in connection with preparatory arrangements and to plan necessary passenger amenities for convenience of the passengers expected to turnout in large numbers during Mahamastakabhisheka.  He was accompanied by Divisional Railway Managers of Bengaluru & Mysuru Sri R.S.Saxena ,Atul Gupta and various heads of departments.  Shri P Lamghare, Principal Chief Mechanical Engineer , Shri U S S Yadav, Principal Chief Engineer, Shri Rajeev Kumar, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer , Shri John Prasad, Principal Chief Operations Manager  & Shri K Siva Prasad, Principal Chief CommercialManager  were present in the inspection.

A press release of SWR stated that 12 additional services are being planned from Bengaluru/Hassan to Shravanabelagola during the celebrations.  Frequency and number of services will be announced in due course.  Shri A K Gupta stated that in 2006 the section from Hassan to Bengaluru having Shravanabelagola station   was not open for passenger traffic and only few trains were run between Hassan to Shravanabelagola. But this time SWR is gearing up to handle enhanced passenger traffic as this section has been made operational in March this year. Adequate additional temporary booking counters will be opened at Hassan & Shravanabelagola. A temporary PRS will be opened at Shravanabelagola.  Arrangements to erect temporary structures for waiting hall & toilets are being planned.  In addition a control room will also be opened by Railways at Hassan & Shravanabelagola.  A helpdesk will also be provided at these stations to facilitate passengers.

Additional stalls for food and beverages will be planned at Hassan. For uninterrupted power supply backup generators are also being arranged.  CCTV & High speed Wi-Fi at Hassan & Shravanabelagola stations will be provided.  Coordination with Stage Govt. for security, first aid and water supply will be ensured. Cleaning arrangements for ensuring hygiene are being worked out. Mobilizing extra rakes and staff to cater this significant event is on the way. Sri Gupta has stated that all out efforts are being made by South Western Railway to organize Railway portion of the prestigious event successfully.

The team of officers later met the Seer of Shravanabelagola Digambar Jain Matha and sought his guidance.

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L&T seeks Rs.3,756 Crore for Hyderabad Metro Rail

Says project needs urgent financial support to tide over situation and establish financial viability

HYDERABAD: L&T Metro Rail Hyderabad Limited (L&TMRHL), the concessionaire for Hyderabad Metro Rail project, has sought additional financial support of Rs.3,756 crore to facilitate completion of the project.

In a letter to the government on October 10, L&TMRHL has appealed for help, stating that the project needs urgent financial support to tide over the situation and establish financial viability.

It said the project funding was suffering due to reasons beyond the control of L&T or the State government. Hence, assistance is being sought from the Central government as well to sustain the project, L&TMRHL said in the letter.

The letter further stated that the concessionaire had exhausted all its means of financing and is currently starved of funds to complete the project. Since all sources of funding are exhausted, infusion of funds is needed from the government.

The letter comes after L&TMRHL held meetings with senior government officials in August seeking financial support. During the meeting, the concessionaire was asked to submit details on its financial requirements. The same had to be reviewed and necessary recommendations made to the Central government for approval.

According to sources, L&TMRHL has said that the delay in handing over land parcels as planned under the Concession Agreement led to the project being delayed by more than 15 months.

The concessionaire said it had achieved financial closure by tying up for a debt component of Rs.11,478 crore with a consortium of banks led by State Bank of India. Since the Right of Way (ROW) was not available on the appointed date, the same got deferred, resulting in the increase of project cost by about Rs.770 crore. The same was absorbed by the concessionaire.

However, the concessionaire continues to face various issues beyond its control. Works were commenced only on stretches where ROW was available and at other locations, while the control of land lay with the Ministry of Defence, Cantonment Board and Ministry of Railways, which in turn, has adversely impacted the project’s progress.

The new Land Acquisition Act in 2013 further delayed land acquisition, while increments in interest and forex costs, service and sales taxes, excise duty and GST have added additional financial stress, the letter said.

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DMRC’s special drive to ensure smooth operations during festive season

NEW DELHI: In view of the festive season, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has decided to launch a special drive to ensure smooth operation of its trains.

Director (Operations) Sharat Sharma has directed all the officials of Operations and Maintenance wing to intensify their travel by the metro while moving to and fro duty, a DMRC’s press statement said.

The move comes close on the heels of the metro fare hike, which is being opposed by the Delhi government and the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.

According to the DMRC, the special drive is aimed at ensuring that any minor issue or incidence which may affect pleasant travel experience for the millions of passengers in this festive season is directly monitored and attended to by the officials in the least possible time.

It said the drive also is intended towards ensuring the “highest level” of cleanliness on its premises.

The services of the Delhi Metro, which started operations in 2002, is today

availed by nearly 30 lakh passengers daily, according to the DMRC.

Presently, its network consists of about 218.17 km with 164 stations along with six more stations of the Airport Express Link.

The network has now crossed the boundaries of Delhi to reach Noida and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana.

The DMRC at present has 235 train sets of four, six and eight coaches, according to the information on its website.

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Prime Minister to inaugurate Hyderabad Metro Rail on Nov 28

HYDERABAD: It is confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to inaugurate the first phase of the Hyderabad Metro Rail project on November 28.

According to the sources, the official letter in this regard is going to reach the Telangana government on Monday.

The confirmation came through following the report submitted by the Union Urban Development Ministry whose team of officials gave an approval on the project after the inspection in Hyderabad.

Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had written a letter to the Prime Minister on September 6 requesting him to launch the Metro Rail service in Hyderabad.

The Metro Rail project is one of the biggest public-private partnership project in the country is being constructed on a 72-km stretch encompassing three corridors spread across Hyderabad.

PM Modi will launch a 30 km stretch of the metro rail project extending from Nagole to Miyapur on November 28.

Officials are making test run between Mettuguda-Begumpet and sources say that the complete test run will be completed in 15 days.

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SWR translocates Trees on Tumakuru-Arsikere (95 KM) and Chikjajur-Hubballi (194 KM) section

Construction Wing of South Western Railway is executing doubling works in Tumakuru-Arsikere (95 KM) and Chikjajur-Hubballi (194 KM) sections in this route. This is a small beginning in South Western Railway for saving the trees and protecting the environment.

BENGALURU: As many as 46 trees that were coming in the way of a railway project near Devaragudda have translocated and not being cut.Devaragudda is a crossing station at about 369 km from Bengaluru in Bengaluru- Hubballi route. In normal course these trees are cut and Railway works are done. Railway is also planting trees alongside the tracks even up to Hubballi,” the spokesperson said.

The work was done under supervision of Horticulture experts who have transplanted many trees in past at various places.

As many as 46 trees that were coming in the way of a railway project near Devaragudda have translocated and not being cut.Devaragudda is a crossing station at about 369 km from Bengaluru in Bengaluru- Hubballi route. Construction of South Western Railway is executing doubling works in Tumakuru-Arsikere (95 KM) and Chikjajur-Hubballi (194 KM) sections in this route.

Devargudda is a two line station in Mysuru Division and on account of doubling, this station is to be developed into four line crossing station.

There are 46 trees of various varieties such as, Nemalinare, Neem, Delbargia, Sisso, Pumgamia, Albizzia, lebbeck which are of varying girth size from 60 cm to 290 cm girth in the proposed alignment of new lines. In normal course these trees are cut and Railway works are done.

Interestingly, the government has taken up the work of translocating all the trees. Between October 11-14, all the 46 trees have been translocated, said an official release from the South Western Railways.

Keeping in view the vision of Indian Railways, ‘to promote green environment and green energy while making the Indian Railways a global leader in sustainable mass transports’, it was decided to transplant the trees, said an official release from the Railways.

The government has taken the assistance of agencies excelled in the task of translocation/transplantation of trees.

“After deep search, an agency Green Morning Horticulture Pvt Ltd was found, who agreed to execute the work at least possible cost while ensuring the survival at 70-80%. Senior officers of Railways are monitoring the entire work. This is a small beginning in South Western Railway for saving the trees and protecting the environment. Railway is also planting trees alongside the tracks even up to Hubballi,” the spokesperson said.

The work was done under supervision of Horticulture experts who have transplanted many trees in past at various places. The process involved uprooting the trees with surrounding soil after duly protecting the roots, shifting to new location using crane, transplantation to required depth and further providing manure and fertilizers, pesticides etc. After completion of transplantation work, regular watering is to be done for 6 months and horticulture experts have to visit to see the growth of transplanted trees.

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