SR ready with second Broad Gauge line between Tiruchi-Manapparai; awaits clearance from CRS: says GM/SR

Vashishta Johri, General Manager, Southern Railway (right), interacting with members of public during his inspection visit at Madurai Railway Station on Thursday. Divisional Railway Manager Sunil Kumar Garg and other officials are seen in the picture
Vashishta Johri, General Manager, Southern Railway (right), interacting with members of public during his inspection visit at Madurai Railway Station on Thursday. Divisional Railway Manager Sunil Kumar Garg and other officials are seen in the picture

Madurai: Southern Railway is ready with the second broad gauge line between Tiruchi and Manapparai and is awaiting clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety for operation of trains, Southern Railway General Manager Vashishta Johri said.

Interacting with the reporters here on Thursday after inspecting the facilities at Madurai Railway junction, he said the doubling work on the 37-km stretch, along with electrification, was taken up as part of the doubling project on Villuppuram-Dindigul section.

The original plan was to operate trains on this section by August 15.

Sunil Kumar Garg, Divisional Railway Manager, said that over 50 per cent of the doubling work between Manapparai and Dindigul was completed.

“This work is expected to be over by December 2015,” he said.

Work on the Tiruchi-Dindigul section under Madurai Railway Division would be completed faster than the Villuppuram-Tiruchi section. Journey time on the Chennai-Madurai section will considerably come down once the entire section gets the second line, he said.

Mr. Johri said that the CRS inspection was awaited for clearing the Pollachi-Palaghat section too.

Responding to the new rail line project proposed on Madurai-Aruppukottai-Tuticorin section, the General Manager said that priority would be accorded to give a rail link to the Tuticorin port with two power projects proposed in the district.

“This is to facilitate transportation of coal from the port to the units,” Mr. Johri said.

The work to renovate the Pamban rail bridge would be taken up soon, he said.

SR conducts 444 inspections in 2 months to improve Cleanliness at Stations

Chennai: In a bid to improve cleanliness at stations, medical department of Southern Railway conducted 444 inspections at various stations and collected around 276 food samples under quality control checks from food and business establishments in the last two months.

The zone also operated 302 passenger special trains, 388 unreserved special trains, added 60 coaches to trains permanently and added 1,593 coaches temporarily to meet extra rush in the same period.

In May, railways introduced GPS-based passenger information system – enabling passengers to easily identify next station and destination station — in one EMU which is maintained at Avadi. With this, the number of EMUs and MEMUs with this facility has gone up to 40 in the zone.

Railways also constructed toilets at Mannargudi and Karaikal stations, installed RO plant at Tiruppur through public participation, new booking office at Kasargod, battery operated cars for the use of aged, differently-abled and sick passengers at Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam railway stations, e-toilets at Tripunittura in Thiruvananthapuram division, station ticket booking sevak (STBS) at 7 locations, 55 automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM), train indication displays – mega display of train arrival & departure installed at Madurai, 50 numbers three-seater chairs were provided at Thiruvananthapuram station, computerized public address system, LED TV for train arrival and departure and touch screen has been provided at Tripunittura station in Thiruvananthapuram Division.

As a measure to improve safety, Electronic Interlocking arrangement (EI) and Datalogger have been provided at St Thomas Mount and Puduchattiram in Tiruchchirapalli division. Around 10 level cross gates interlocking had been completed, said a railway press release.

Sengottai-Punalur Gauge conversion to be completed in 2017

Chennai: The Southern Railway today said that the Sengottai-Punalur Gauge conversion had been targeted for completion in 2017.

SR General Manager Vashishta Johri, who held a review meeting here to assess the achievements of Madurai division, suggested increasing the revenue of the Railways.He also said that Survey work had been completed for the line to Tuticorin from Madurai via Aruppukottai.

In the Madurai- Rameswaram section, a detailed project Report of the Uchupuli-Valantharavai diversion project of the Defence Ministry for the Naval Station has been accepted by the Navy. Once funds were deposited by them, work would start, he said.

The Pollachi- Palghat line has been completed and was awaiting for CRS inspection, while work of track doubling between tiruchi and Manaparai had been completed. Work on dindigul-Manaparai doubling of track was in progress.

He said various Public sector Units, including LIC had been approached for taking up railway projects,and as when funds were made available, pending works owuld be taken up.He said Pamban bridge would be further strengthened.

With the intention of serving the increasing number of passengers, and to reduce waiting time in unreserved ticket counters, Automatic Ticket Vending Machines had been provided in 27 stations across Madurai Division.

For safety of passengers, train escort had been provided to 11 Express trains and 14 passenger trains.

CCTV cameras have been installed in Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Dindigul for the safety and security of passengers.

A total of 177 coaches of 778 of Madurai Division are running with Bio-Toilets. In Rameswaram, declared a Green Station, there are 78 coaches with such toilets out of 145 maintained there, he said.

Chennai Metro Rail stations to be soon brought under Speical Unit of Chennai Police for better Security

Chennai: Metro rail stations will soon be brought under police cover to ensure security. A special unit of the police is likely to be formed to handle security, law and order and crimes reported on trains and stations of the mass rapid transit system.

Metro rail has currently outsourced security of the seven stations on Koyambedu-Alandur route to two private agencies headed by a retired deputy commissioner of police.

Central Industrial Security Force ( CISF) is in charge of Delhi metro, Railway Protection Force ( RPF) handles Kolkata metro stations while Maharastra state special police force monitors security at Mumbai metro railway stations.

Though, the CMRL has outsourced security, the city police wants to have their presence at the stations because they are considered sensitive installations that will need government-owned force to manage law and order and security. “It is the need of the hour,” said a police officer. “If an untoward incident happens in a train or at any of the stations, the local police stations will take over the case. This arrangement will create jurisdictional problem if a crime happens inside a running train. If a special force is designated for metro, handling of cases and providing protection of commuters will be easy.” Government Railway Police (GRP), a wing of the state police is in charge of railways.

Tamil Nadu director general of police (DGP) Ashok Kumar, additional DGP law and order, T K Rajendran, state intelligence inspector-general of police P Kannappan, and the city police commissioner S George inspected metro rail stations and travelled by the train on Saturday to review the security systems in place.

The CMRL officials took the police officers around the Operation Control Centre and explained train operations and passenger security measures. The officials pointed out locations and points which required more focus in terms of security.

The passenger safety measures which were in place were among other things that the police officers were detailed by the CMRL officials.

A senior police officer said, “Discussions are on. The state government will soon take a decision based on a detailed report that will be submitted by the city police, state police and the state intelligence unit.”

My focus is on Safety and Cleanliness: Vashishta Johri, GM/Southern Railway

Vashishta JohriMadurai (MDU): Two weeks after assuming charge, Southern Railway new general manager Vashishta Johri inspected the Madurai Railway Division on Thursday.

Addressing mediapersons after the inspection, Johri said the railways focus was on cleanliness, safety and passenger amenities. “Necessary measures will be taken across the zone wherever these parameters are lacking,” he said.

Commenting on the ongoing gauge conversion works in the division, the GM said the Pollachi – Palakkad section had been completed and awaiting certification from Commissioner of Railway Safety. The section would be opened shortly, he said.

The GM said the proposal for doubling works between Madurai and Kanyakumari was sanctioned in the Railway Budget. However, its funding is under the EBR (extra budgetary resources) category. “At present, railways’ focus is on completing the pending projects. New projects have to wait till resources are mobilized,” he said.

Sreedharan Report on Katra-Banihal Rail link only a ‘Paper Alignment’, requires further study: Railways to Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Railway Board today told the Delhi High Court that recommendations of E Sreedharan panel on the Katra-Banihal rail link to the Kashmir Valley was only a “paper alignment” and requires further studies.

The Board has told a bench of justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Sanjeev Sachdeva that the committee’s report does not provide what would be the proposed expenditure that would be incurred for implementing the panel’s recommendations.

It has said a “proper assessment for good construction status of alignment in this area shall require at least five years and would entail an expenditure of about Rs 300 crore”.

It has said that the panel report has been scrutinised by each of the senior officials of its engineering, mechanical as well as electrical and signaling departments, who have disagreed with the committee’s findings.

“Therefore, the entirely unsustainable observations made in the report by the committee that the alignment can be surveyed, staked and investigated quickly in four to six months, is completely untenable deserving rejection at the threshold itself,” the Board has said in its affidavit.

The Board’s reply was strongly opposed by advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for an NGO which has filed a PIL alleging that the current alignment of the Katra-Banihal rail link had “serious safety problems” and the Railway Board constituted by the Railway Ministryhad rejected the expert panel’s suggestions, including having an alternate alignment.

Bhushan said statements made by the Board question the competence of the committee as well as Sreedharan and asked the court to call the person who drafted the affidavit.

The bench, however, refused to pass any orders and listed the matter for further hearing on August 5.

ALSTOM India & Alstom Transport S.A JV issued Letter of Acceptance (LOA) by DFCCIL

New Delhi: One of the flagship projects of Indian Railways namely Dedicated Freight Corridor continues to maintain implementation tempo. The Nodal PSU of Indian Railways entrusted with the implementation of this project namely Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) achieved yet another milestone by successfully awarding the System Contract for Bhaupur (Kanpur) – Khurja Section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) Phase- I to AIL-ATSA JV.

This section has a 343 kms. (Double Track) length. This contract has been awarded on Design Build lump sum basis at a cost of about Rs.1497 crore. The work involves Design and Construction of Electrification, Signalling, Telecommunication, Buildings and other associated works. The contract has been awarded through International Competitive Bidding Process. The work is funded by World Bank.

For Electrification, Signalling, Telecommunications & related works for a railways project ALSTOM India announced that the proposed Joint venture (JV) of ALSTOM India (AIL) and Alstom Transport S.A. (ATSA) has been issued a Letter of Acceptance (LoA) by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) for Design, Construction, Supply, Testing and Commissioning of 2X25kv AC 50 Hz Electrification, Signalling, and Telecommunication and Associated Works of Double Track Railways Lines Under Construction on a Design Build Lump Sum Basis for Bhaupur-Khurja Section of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (System Works Contract Package -104) for an accepted contract amount of approximately Rs. 1,497 (One thousand four hundred ninety seven) crore (INR 14.97 Billion).

The Electrification work includes Traction Power Supply, Over Head Equipment (OHE) and state of art SCADA for 2X25 kV System. The Signalling and Telecommunication work includes Automatic Signalling, Electronic Interlocking, Train Detection using Multi Section Digital Axle Counters (MSDAC), Train Management System, OFC based communication system, GSM-R based Mobile Train Radio Communication etc. The Building work includes Station Buildings, Operation Control Centre (OCC), Maintenance Depots and Residential Quarters. The Bhaupur-Khurja Section will have 10 stations at a spacing of 35-40 Kms of which 4 are Junction Stations connecting to Indian Railways for exchange of freight traffic. The system shall be designed to carry long Haul (1500 M.) Freight trains of 13000 tons at a maximum speed of 100 kmph and will improve the present average speed of 25 kmph on Indian Railway to 65 kmph. The contract for Civil Work is already awarded and the construction work is progressing at a fast pace. The complete Bhaupur–Khurja section is planned for opening during 2018.

Further the Company has informed that, AIL had completed the sale and transfer of its transportation systems undertaking (Transport Undertaking) to ALSTOM Transport India (ATIL), as a going concern on a ‘slump sale’ basis on 31 March 2014. Before the sale and transfer of the Transport Undertaking, AIL and ATSA had participated in the bidding process in February 2013 against which the aforesaid LoA has been issued by DFCCIL. Pursuant to the said LoA, AIL and ATSA shall incorporate a Special Purpose Company (SPC) for the purpose of executing the aforesaid project. The role of AIL in such SPC shall be limited only to equity participation not exceeding 5% (not exceeding Rs 8 crore).

DFCCIL, a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is engaged in planning, construction, operation and maintenance of the dedicated freight corridors and in the first phase, the two corridors, namely, Eastern Corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni (1840 kms) and the Western Corridor from Dadri to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) (1502 kms) are being constructed. The entire Western Corridor is being funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), while the Eastern Corridor from Mughalsarai to Ludhiana is being funded by the World Bank.

Texmaco Rail & Engineering standalone June 2015 sales Rs.89.97 Crore

Kolkata: Texmaco Rail and Engineering has reported a standalone total income from operations of Rs 89.97 crore and a net loss of Rs 4.10 crore for the quarter ended Jun ’15. Other income for the quarter was Rs 0.54 crore. For the quarter ended Jun 2014 the standalone total income from operations was Rs 42.14 crore and net loss was Rs 7.84 crore, and other income Rs 0.53 crore. Texmaco Rail shares closed at 130.30 on July 22, 2015 (NSE) and has given -11.30% returns over the last 6 months and 41.71% over the last 12 months.

Texmaco P&L

Parsons-Brinckeroff consortium wins California High Speed Rail contract – the first in the US

California: The California High Speed Rail Authority is developing California’s high speed rail network, the first in the United States. The Authority has selected a consultancy team led by Parsons Brinckerhoff to provide integration, program delivery and program management services. The team includes Network Rail Consulting, the international consultancy arm of Network Rail. The company operates and maintains Britain’s HS1 high speed railway and is closely involved in developing HS2, the high speed railway that will connect London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Management consultancy firm LeighFisher is also part of the team, which is apparently made up by a total of 40 firms. The first section of the system will connect Merced to the San Fernando Valley and should be operational in 2022. Phase 1 will be completed in 2028 by connecting the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin. The distance will be covered in less than 3 hours, at speeds of over 300 kph. The system will follow California’s geography in a north-south direction and eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego. Once completed it will measure approximately 1,200 km in length and will have up to 24 stations. All the details can be found on the California High Speed Rail Authority Website: http://www.hsr.ca.gov/Programs/Construction/index.html

California High-Speed Rail is a high-speed rail system currently under construction in the state of California. In Phase 1, the route will connect Los Angeles with San Francisco at speeds up to 220 miles per hour (350 km/h), providing a “one-seat ride” for the trip in 2 hours and 40 minutes for the non-stop trip. The system is required to operate without a subsidy, and to connect the state’s major cities in the Bay Area, Central Valley, and Southern California. In Phase 2, which has no timetable yet, the routes will be extended in the Central Valley north to Sacramento and south from Los Angeles to San Diego. Preliminary planning work for this phase is ongoing.

The construction on the Initial Construction Segment (ICS) began in 2015 in the Central Valley north of Madera, and is proceeding south towards Bakersfield at the south end of the valley. It will then continue south into the high desert and the city of Palmdale, and then into the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, terminating in Anaheim. Construction will continue from the north end of the tracks above Madera to the San Francisco Bay Area, and terminate in downtown San Francisco.

With an anticipated construction and planning cost of $68.4 billion (in year-of-expenditure dollars) for Phase 1, the project is the most expensive public works project in United States history. Its cost and scope have been major points of contention, and the project has had to contend with a number of lawsuits seeking to stop it. Although these cases have thus far delayed the project by a few years, none of them have been successful, and construction on the project is now underway. Phase 1 is not due for completion until 2029, however not all necessary funding for its completion has been identified.

The project is managed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, a state agency run by a board of governors.

Environmental benefits

According to a fact sheet on the Authority website the environmental benefits of the system include:

  • In 2022, when the Initial Operating Section (Merced to the San Fernando Valley) is up and running, the resulting greenhouse gas reductions will be between 100,000 to 300,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the first year. That’s the equivalent of from between 17,700 to 53,000 personal vehicles taken off the road.
  • Between 2022 and 2040, the cumulative reduction of CO2 is estimated to be between 5 and 10 million metric tons. By 2040, the system is estimated to reduce vehicles miles of travel in the state by almost 10 million miles of travel every day (16,000,000 km).
  • Over a 58-year period (from the start of operations in 2022 through 2080), the system is estimated to reduce auto travel on the state’s highways and roads by over 400 billion miles of travel (6.4×1011 km).

In its 67-page ruling in May 2015, the federal Surface Transportation Board noted: The current transportation system in the San Joaquin Valley region has not kept pace with the increase in population, economic activity, and tourism. … The interstate highway system, commercial airports, and conventional passenger rail systems serving the intercity market are operating at or near capacity and would require large public investments for maintenance and expansion to meet existing demand and future growth over the next 25 years or beyond. Thus, the Board sees the HSR system as providing valuable and important benefits to the region’s transportation needs.

The San Joaquin Valley is also one of the poorest areas of the state. For example, the unemployment rate near the end of 2014 in Fresno County was 2.2% higher than the statewide average. And, of the five poorest metro areas in the country, three are in the Central Valley. The HSR system has the potential to significantly improve this region and its economy. A January 2015 report to the CHSRA examined this issue.

In addition to jobs and income levels in general, the presence of HSR is expected to benefit the growth in the cities around the HSR stations. It is anticipated that this will help increase population density in those cities and reduce “development sprawl” out into surrounding farmlands.

HDFC Mutual Fund hikes Stake in Titagarh Wagons to 9.51%

Mumbai: HDFC Mutual Fund has acquired a total of 98,70,302 shares of Titagarh Wagons, a deal that could be worth more than Rs 103 crore. The asset management company has acquired 4.04% stake in the company through the QIP route.  After the said acquisition, the asset management company’s stake in the company has risen from 5.47% to 9.51%.

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

Railways to revisit Tender Conditions in ‘Predatory Bidding’ pertaining to Wagon tender

Railways has agreed to revisit tender conditions whereby chances of predatory pricing are curtailed. We are hopeful of an early solution,” said J.P.Chowdhury, Executive Chairman of Titagarh Industries, and one of the industry representatives who attended the meeting

New Delhi: The crisis in the wagon industry that has forced most of the manufacturers to refuse the recent Railway order given out at price below cost of production is set to get resolved soon.

In a meeting between the representatives of the industry and the Ministry of Railways at New Delhi on Monday, the latter has decided to look into the charges of predatory pricing and examine reworking the clauses of tenders to reduce chances of any bidder quoting unrealistic prices that could hurt the economic health of the entire industry.

“In this year’s budget, the rail ministry had set a target to procure 16,800 wagons for this fiscal.”

The deadlock is over the tender floated by the rail ministry that closed on April 20. The lowest bid received by the ministry prompted several wagon makers to seek a review of the tender. They alleged that the lowest quote was unviable as it did not take into account the rise in production cost and was a clear case of predatory pricing.

“Railways has agreed to revisit tender conditions whereby chances of predatory pricing are curtailed. We are hopeful of an early solution,” JP Chowdhury, Executive Chairman of Titagarh Industries, and one of the industry representatives who attended the meeting told.

In June, the Railways had come out with a much-awaited industry wide order for 8,509 wagons. But, almost all the major wagon makers refused to produce those wagons for a price quoted as ‘L1’ (lowest) by one of the manufacturers. The industry had described ‘L1’ as predatory, as reported earlier.

The price quoted by the ‘L1’ bidder and accepted by the Railways with respect to the order for wagons of type BOXNHL was Rs 10.80 lakhs a piece, lower than previous year’s price of Rs 11.74 lakhs. The realistic price should have been not less than Rs 13 lakhs, the industry had told the ministry.

“Private wagon manufacturers fear their bottomlines could take a hit in the first half of 2015-16 unless the railways settle the impasse over its tender to buy 8,509 wagons”

Following this, the industry started making representation to the ministry through the Association of Rolling Stock Manufacturers of India.

The situation turned difficult for the industry as the companies had to explain to their idle workforce why the orders have been refused, for the first time ever, industry sources said.

Texmaco Rail and Engineering, the largest manufacturer of wagons, disclosed on Wednesday its predicament due to this crisis. In fact Texmaco, which announced its first-quarter (April-June) results yesterday, blamed the tender impasse for its dismal performance. The company suffered a net loss of Rs 4.1 crore against a loss of Rs 7.84 crore a year ago.

“The performance of the quarter was severely impacted due to abrupt downward revision of prices of wagons by the Railways against existing orders due to predatory prices quoted by a party against tender for wagons resulting in zero despatches of wagons on account of the Railways from May 2015 onwards,” Texmaco said in notes to its accounts on Wednesday when it reported a loss of Rs 4.10 crore on a topline of 127.60 crore.

In a filing with the BSE, the company said its performance for the quarter was “severely affected because of abrupt downward revision of price by the railways against existing wagon orders because of predatory prices” in the tender for 2015-16. Texmaco said it had resulted in zero despatches for the railways from May onwards.

Another city-based company, Titagarh Wagons, is yet to come up with its first-quarter result.

“Wagon makers are already struggling on account of delayed placement of order in the past. In the last tender, prices quoted were even below the material cost of making the wagons. So let alone keeping a margin, it does not even cover the cost. Unless the railways sort out the matter, many wagon makers will take a hit in the first half of the year,” said a source, adding that companies are estimating a loss of around Rs 3 lakh per wagon on account of lower prices. On an order size of 1,000 wagons, the loss will be Rs 30 crore.

“Representation has been made by the industry at various levels in the ministry of railways, which has taken cognisance of the same and is likely to revisit the tender conditions to enable wagon industry to be able to recover from the difficult conditions,” Texmaco said in its filing.

Industry observers said many private rolling stock makers were looking to diversify and execute orders from other sectors and even participate in foreign tenders to maintain a steady order book.

Related News Article: http://www.railnews.in/predatory-pricing-tenders-worrisome-trend-fast-growing-rail-business-india-dolat-capital/

Western Railway seeks higher FSI – up to 10 – for Railway Stations, Areas in the vicinity

Mumbai: The Western Railway has written to the civic body seeking higher floor space index (FSI) – up to 10 – for railway stations and areas in the vicinity along the lines of provisions prevalent in other countries. The WR says it has plans for commercial exploitation of railway land and upgradation of facilities at important stations in the city.

The request for additional FSI comes a month after a meeting between officials from BMC and the railways on the issue.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in its new Development Control Regulations has decided to focus on granting more FSI near railway stations and other transport nodes so that these areas can become growth centres and generate employment.

The BMC has decided to dole out FSI between 6.5 and 8 in the immediate vicinity of major railway stations, existing and upcoming Metro stations, commercial business districts and other employment-oriented areas. The idea is to allow construction of more high-rises near railway stations. Areas like Ghatkopar, Kurla, Parel and DN Nagar will be eligible for an FSI of 6.5, while localities near Dadar and Andheri stations will be eligible for an FSI of 8.

The letter addressed to the municipal commissioner reads, “The railways is making an attempt to upgrade facilities at important railway stations by involving private parties and commercially exploiting the land/air space near railway station. For Mumbai suburban area railway is providing cheapest mode of transport facility and to make it viable, commercial exploitation of land/air space is essentially required.”

Railway authorities have further pointed out that their earlier efforts to exploit the railway land were unsuccessful on the account of inadequate FSI. Development Control Regulations 1991 for the Greater Mumbai under Maharashtra Regional & Town Planning Act 1966 states that area of land shown in the development plan for railway track, yard and kept open for operational purpose should not be taken into consideration for FSI calculations.

However, now the railways wants to make another attempt at development of railway stations. The letter seeks extra FSI on the basis of the information gathered during a presentation given by the World Bank on commercial exploitation of railway stations in different countries. “It is learnt that very high FSI has been allotted to the railway station area for facilitating it’s commercial exploitation in these countries. In some countries even unlimited FSI is permitted,” reads the letter.

What Railways want

Higher FSI (as against present maximum ceiling of 4 FSI) should be permitted for development of station area and it should be up to 10 along the lines of provisions prevalent in other countries.

If higher FSI is not possible, the area covered by railway track & yard along with area kept open for operational purpose should be permitted to be taken into consideration for calculation of FSI.

GRP, RPF tighten security at railway stations on CR

The Railway Protection Force (RPF) Shakti team along with the Government Railway Police (GRP) has registered more than 80 cases in five days under sections 155, 156, 162, 144 of the Railway Act which include over 21 women arrested for theft in local trains and at suburban stations. The RPF and GRP have tightened security at suburban stations and are checking local trains amid information received by intelligence.

Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Central Railway
Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, RPF, Central Railway

A GRP officer informed the ADC, “Security has been tightened at stations and both the RPF and the GRP are working together. On the Central Railway, 26 cases were caught by the Shakti team of the RPF and GRP. On Sunday, 26 cases were registered on Central, Harbour and Western lines. Now, out of these 52 cases, 28 cases have been opened. We are now keeping an eye at all major stations.”

Talking about the heavy security at stations, a senior RPF official who did not wish to be named said, “Bandobast has been organised after information received by the intelligence department; we have deployed officers to work round the clock and heavy security at major suburban stations has been provided. Commuters should come forward and report any suspicious activity to the nearest police personnel or call on the helpline.”

There are nine Shakti teams of the RPF comprising of 4 to 5 women and a RPF constable in each team. They are present at stations and keep a watch on all activities going on in local trains and stations.

The Shakti team mainly operated during the daytime but Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner of the Railway Protection Force on the Central Railway is hopeful that after getting additional staff, the Shakti team will operate during the night time as well “The Shakti team is most active during the day time, however after the additional staff is inducted, we will be able to operate during night time as well.”

Railway Act 1989, Section 155 states: Entering into a reserved compartment or resisting entry into a compartment which is not reserved.

Railway Act 1989, Section 156 states: Travelling on rooftop, steps or engine of a train. If any passenger or any other person, after being warned by a railway servant to desist, persists in travelling on the rooftop, step or footboard of any carriage or on an engine, or in any other part of a train not intended for the use of passengers, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to Rs 500, or with both and may be removed from the railway by any railway servant.

Railway Act 1989, Section 162 states: Entering a carriage or other place reserved for females; if a male, knowing or having reason to believe that a carriage, compartment, berth or seat in a train or room or other place is reserved by the railway administration for the exclusive use of females, without lawful excuse enters such carriage, compartment, room or other place, or having entered such carriage, compartment, room or place, remains therein; or occupies any such berth or seat having been required by any railway servant to vacate it, he shall, in addition to being liable to forfeiture of his pass or ticket, be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs 500 and may also be removed by any railway servant.

Railway Act 1989, Section 144 states: Prohibition on hawking – if any person canvasses for any custom or hawks or exposes for sale any article whatsoever in any railway carriage or in any part of the railway, except under and in accordance with the terms and conditions of a licence granted by the railway administration in this behalf, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year.

LTT to get Integrated Security Systems next month

The Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) will be getting Integrated Security Systems next month. The terminus will be equipped with high resolution cameras that will cover the whole terminus, access control where boundary wall along with barbed wall fencing will be provided to block unauthorized entry or exit in the station area, personal and baggage screening system. A Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) will also be made available.

Citing security reasons of the LTT terminus where maximum long distance trains are scheduled, Alok Bohra, Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Railway Protection Force (RPF) said: “There are many notorious activities taking place in the LTT terminus, and in order to control these activities we will install integrated security system in August. The station will be equipped with high resolution cameras which will make it better for the RPF officials to monitor the area.”

Integrated Security Systems are currently installed and functioning in Dadar, Kurla and Thane stations.

Stalled 6.5km Double Line between Nagpur-Kalamna to be started after August: GM/SECR

Satyendra Kumar Dir IRISETNagpur (NGP): The new General Manager of South East Central Railway (SECR) Satyendra Kumar said on Wednesday that the stalled 6.5km double line project between Nagpur and Kalamna will be started after August.

The Rs 21 crore project was sanctioned in 2007-08 railway budget but has been stalled due to encroachments. The railways is not getting positive response from the city police to remove encroachments in Dobi Nagar slums. By now, the cost of the project has escalated by 30%.

Kumar, who took over on July 7, told newspersons that the railways have talked to the highest authority in the state and plans are afoot to rehabilitate 187 slums, which are proving to be a hurdle in completion of the double line.

If the project is completed, train movement can be taken up on both, up and down lines. At the moment, one line passes through Itwari and other through Pachpaoli, causing tremendous congestion. The project will also streamline operation of home platform at the east side of Nagpur Railway Station, which remains underutilized.

On the conversion of narrow gauge Nagpur-Chhindwara railway line to broad gauge, Kumar replied that mega blocks will be taken in the next two years to convert all the narrow gauge lines to broad gauge in Nagpur division. The Nagpur-Chhindwara line was targeted to be completed in 2011, but looking at the pace of work it may take another three-four years to be completed.

This was Kumar’s maiden visit and he was not prepared to answer queries on several issues.

Kumar said more focus will be laid on passenger amenities and freight earnings. When asked about the proposal to run a local train between Kanhan and Butibori for workers employed at Butibori MIDC, the general manager said the demand should come from the people and railways would send a proposal accordingly.

Chakradharpur Division prepares for Redevelopment & Beautification of Tatanagar, Rourkela & Jharsuguda Stations

Chakradharpur (CKP): Passenger comfort and aesthetics will be the guiding principles of Chakradharpur railway division that is preparing a beautification plan for Tatanagar and other railway stations under it, including Rourkela and Jharsuguda.

“The plan includes renovation and beautification of stations and its surrounding areas. We are in the process of preparing it,” said A.K. Agarwal, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager (Sr.DCM) of Chakradharpur Division.

First, passengers would not have to stand in the blazing sun while waiting for trains on platforms 4 and 5 as overhead sheds would be extended.

“As a part of the plan, steel dustbins will be placed in all five platforms of Tatanagar for collecting waste. We have already placed orders for the dustbins, which apart from being decent to look at, will be easy to handle,” he said, adding that these would be placed in the area outside the station.

Moreover, fountains would be built at the entrance of the railway station and at the parking area. “The beautification plan also includes plantation and gardening activities outside the railway station,” Agarwal added.

Counters selling unreserved tickets were recently relocated to the computerised passenger reservation ticket building opposite the Tatanagar railway station.

“This avoids congestion during arrival and departure of trains and also gives a good look to the premises,” he said.

The plan also includes providing more seating arrangements at waiting halls and on platform numbers 2, 3 and 4.

Senior railway officials of Chakradharpur, led by the senior divisional commercial manager, had inspected Tatanagar station earlier this month to prepare the renovation and beautification blueprint.

Agarwal said emphasis would be given on the cleanliness and upkeep of Tatanagar and Rourkela stations, both of which were model stations under the Chakradharpur division of South Eastern Railway (SER).

According to statistics, on an average 80 mail, express and passenger trains cross Tatanagar everyday with over 50,000 passengers. No wonder the stress is on improving amenities.

“The present amenities are not sufficient. Keeping this in view, the Chakradharpur division has planned for renovation and beautification activities,” said O.P. Sharma, the officiating station manager at Tatanagar.

Physically Challenged to get Online Rail Concession from Home

New Delhi: The railways will provide benefit of ‘Digital India’ to the physically challenged by arranging photo ID cards for getting online concessions on rail travel.

“Any physically challenged person will not be required to be present personally on reservation counter to get rail travel concession, but now he can book his ticket online from home (with concession facility) with the help of photo ID card issued by railways,” an official said.

The physically challenged person entitled for railway concession may approach nearest Divisional Railway Manager’s office along with all the relevant documents such as concession certificate, photo identity proof, date of birth proof, address proof and two passport size photographs either in person or by post for issuing railway photo identity card – by submitting one set of attested photocopies (self attested) of the said documents. “No fee will be charged for issue of this photo ID card,” the official added.

In case of permanent disability (orthopedically/paraplegic persons above the age of 35 years) the validity of the card will remain 5 years from the date of issue of the card. At the time of expiry of the validity of the card, a new card will be issued by submitting a fresh application upto 3 months before expiry of the existing card.

WR examines installation of Jammers/Track Magnets in Crew Cabins to slow down train-speed at terminating stations

Mumbai: The motorman’s cabin of Western Railway local trains will soon have mobile phone jammers, if the administration accepts suggestions by a four member probe committee, that had been inquiring into the Churchgate train mishap that took place on the morning of June 28. A probe committee also recommended installing track magnets to slow down speed of trains at terminating stations.

A Bhayandar-Churchgate fast local train had failed to stop in time and crashed into the buffer at Churchgate. Two coaches climbed onto the platform due to the impact, and five people were injured in the incident.

The committee inquired into all aspects of the accident, and has held the motorman, Laxmi Shankar Tiwari, guilty. His explanation was that he had suffered a black-out due to fluctuation in sugar levels as the train entered Churchgate, and could not recollect what happened thereafter.

In his initial statement, Tiwari also said he applied the brakes but due to some technical problem the train did not stop at the desired point but continued ahead. Tiwari is an old hand with more than 25 years of experience as a locomotive driver, and has been a motorman since 2006. It was had subsequently reported that the railways had been investigating into why exactly the motorman had deleted all his call records from his phone. While the authorities said that Tiwari’s railway phone did not reveal any records, sources said that he was probably preoccupied with his personal phone while braking.

In view of this, the committee has recommended mobile jammers in driving cabs, and that a mobile phone monitoring system should be put in place.

In fact, the railways had issued an eight-point guideline to monitor mobile phones of motormen, which is not being followed on suburban trains. The guidelines included giving declarations of the railway and personal mobile phones while signing on for duty so that they could be put on tracking mode, keeping all mobiles switched off while driving trains, mobiles to be used only under emergency, walkie-talkies to be used to contact suburban train staff if need be, and that those inspecting driving cabs must keep their mobile phones on silent mode.

The probe committee has also recommended severe action against two individuals — a motorman and a loco inspector — who entered the motorman’s cabin immediately after the Churchgate accident and tampered with the equipment.

First Private Counter for Railway Ticket Booking opens in Erode

Erode (ED): The first railway-authorised private ticket reservation counter titled Yatri Ticket Suvidha Kendra (YTSK) in Southern Railway became operational in Erode on Wednesday.

The YTSK, located near the new bus stand, is a private entity who has been authorised to sell reserved as well as unreserved railway tickets for a premium, in a bid to de-congest railway-run counters.  The additional charges at YTSK counters will be Rs.30 per passenger for the second sitting and sleeper classes, Rs.40 per passenger for all other classes and Rs.1 per passenger for unreserved & platform tickets. Tatkal tickets can also be booked at these counters.

The working hours of YTSK will be from 8.30 am to 10 pm on Monday-Saturday and 8.30 am to 8 pm on Sunday. The railway-run reservation counters operate from 8 am to 8 pm on Monday-Saturday and 8 am to 2 pm on Sunday. Tatkal ticket booking at YTSK will start half an hour later than railway counters i.e. AC tatkal tickets can be booked between 10.30 am and 11 am  and Non-AC tatkal tickets between 11.30 pm and 12 pm.

In case of cancellation, the YTSK is authorised to cancel only tickets booked at its counter. However, YTSK tickets can be cancelled at any other railway reservation counters. No concession tickets can be booked at YTSK.

The YTSK has been introduced at a time when the share of e-tickets has gone above 70 per cent and few passengers are able to book confirmed tickets at booking counters. YTSK will benefit those who are not internet-savvy enough to book e-tickets or avoid the rush at railway-run ticket counters. Conversely, as YTSKs are allowed to operate half an hour after booking window opens, passengers will not have any advantages at the YTSK for tatkal or normal tickets during holiday season, when tickets get booked within minutes on IRCTC web portal and railway counters.

The policy note for YTSK was first introduced last year after the BJP led government took over at the Centre. Seen as one of the first steps towards privatisation of railways, it came in for heavy criticism from worker unions. “There is no advantage in YTSK for passengers. Already 70 per cent of tickets are booked online. How will a private counter with a 30-minute delay help passengers?” questioned N Kanniah, general secretary of Southern Railway Mazdoor Union (SRMU), the recognised workers union of Southern Railway. Southern Railway official said plans were afoot to introduce 4-5 YTSKs in Chennai division as well.

Time Differenceworking Hours of YTSK & Rail Counter

  • 8.30 am to 10 pm vs 8 am to 8 pm (Monday-Saturday)
  • 8.30 am to 8 pm vs 8 am to 2 pm (Sunday)

Tatkal Booking

  • 10.30am-11 am vs 10 am-11 am (AC Tatkal)
  • 11.30am -12 pm vs 11 am -12 pm (Non-AC tatkal)

Seven Live Rockets found on Railway Tracks near Shahbad Markanda Station in Haryana

Police and Army personnel inspect the live rockets found between Shahabad and Dola Majra railway stations
Police and Army personnel inspect the live rockets found between Shahabad and Dola Majra railway stations

Shahbad Markanda (SHDM): Seven live rockets were found on railway tracks on the busy Ambala-Delhi section near Haryana’s Shahbad town by children on Wednesday.

Police sources said the rockets were found enclosed in boxes on the tracks in the Ranjit Nagar village between the Shahbad railway station and the Dhola Mazra village in Kurukshetra district.

The children, who were playing near the railway tracks, spotted the boxes lying unattended. They opened one of the boxes and found live 51-mm mortal shells used in rocket launchers inside it.

Rockets2As they couldn’t figure out what exactly the contents were, the children abandoned the box and informed a railway keyman who was inspecting the tracks, said the sources.

Though the explosives could belong to the Army, which has a strong presence in the area, no one has claimed their ownership.

At least a dozen trains were held up for two- four hours before the rockets were removed from the tracks by noon and the whole area was sanitised for security reasons.

Among the affected trains were the Kalka-Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Delhi-Kalka Shatabdi Express, the Delhi-Amritsar Express, the Shan-e-Punjab Express and local passenger trains.

Safety of Passenger, Security of Railway Property are my top-most priorities: DRM/Raipur

Raipur (R): Newly appointed Divisional Railway Manager of Raipur Division of South East Central Railway (SECR) Rahul Gautam said on Wednesday that his utmost priority would be safety of passengers and security of Railway property.

This is along with increasing the revenue of the Raipur Railway Division he said while addressing a press conference here. Gautam, held his first media interaction on Wednesday after assuming charge as the new DRM here.

Freight is bread and butter for the Indian Railways and Raipur Division will strive to gain a big share in freight traffic, but paralelly will not compromise with passengers amenities and other developmental works, he said.  Gautam mentioned that the Raipur division is also planning to provide Wi-Fi facility to passengers by the end of October this year and RailTel Corporation of India Ltd (a Telecom PSU under Ministry of Railways) is currently working on this facility.

He also shared that Raipur is one among the 400 Stations selected for Redevelopment by the Central Government.

Gautam also requested media’s progressive, proactive and forward-looking role in development of Railways in and around Raipur Railway Division.

SCR runs Godavari Pushkaram Special Trains on 24th and 25th July 2015

Godavari Pushkaram Reserved Special Trains on 24  July
Sl. No Tr. No From Station Dep To Station Arr Reserve Type
1 07701 Kakinada 23:00 Hyderabad 11:15 Res
2 07706 Hyderabad 23:15 Visakhapatnam 14:15 Res
3 07711 Visakhapatnam 18:30 Tirupati 11:45 Res
4 07714 Vijayawada 23:00 Visakhapatnam 06:30 Res
5 07725 Vizianagaram 16:45 Tirupati 11:45 Res
Godavari Pushkaram Unreserved Special Trains on 24  July
Sl.No. Tr. No FromStation Dep ToStation Arr ReserveType
1 07848 Tirupati 08:00 Visakha 00:30 Un Res
2 07852 Guntur 04:10 Rajahmundry 08:45 Un Res
3 07855 Rajahmundry 19:00 Guntur 23:45 Un Res
4 07853 Rajahmundry 09:00 Anakapalli 13:15 Un Res
5 07854 Anakapalli 14:30 Rajahmundry 18:50 Un Res
6 07856 Anakapalli 04:30 Rajahmundry 08:50 Un Res
7 07859 Rajahmundry 19:00 Anakapalli 23:45 Un Res
8 07857 Rajahmundry 09:00 Guntur 13:50 Un Res
9 07858 Guntur 14:30 Rajahmundry 18:45 Un Res
10 07834 Machilipatnam 04:15 Rajahmundry 09:30 Un Res
11 07835 Rajahmundry 18:10 Machilipatnam 23:30 Un Res
12 07836 Rajahmundry 09:45 Narsapur 12:30 Un Res
13 07923 Narsapur 05:10 Samalkot 09:45 Un Res
14 07842 Anakapalli 14:00 Rajahmundry 18:00 Un Res
15 07861 Visakhapatnam 07:45 Vijayawada 15:45 Un Res
16 07862 Rajahmundry 18:30 Anakapalli 23:00 Un Res
17 07863 Anakapalli 02:15 Rajahmundry 06:30 Un Res
18 07239 Visakhapatnam 18:45 Nidadavolu 23:55 Un Res
19 07240 Nidadavolu 00:30 Visakhapatnam 05:00 Un Res
20 07912 Visakhapatnam 08:00 Rajahmundry 12:40 Un Res
21 07913 Rajahmundry 13:00 Visakhapatnam 17:15 Un Res
22 07882 Tuni 05:45 Kotipalli 10:00 Un Res
23 07883 Kotipalli 16:00 Tuni 20:15 Un Res
24 07844 Narsapur 07:35 Guntakal 00:45 Un Res
25 07845 Guntur 07:20 Narsapur 13:30 Un Res
26 07846 Narsapur 15:30 Guntur 21:40 Un Res
27 07801 Nizamabad 10:35 Dharmabad 11:45 Un Res
28 07802 Dharmabad 13:00 Nizamabad 14:00 Un Res
29 07803 Nizamabad 14:15 Dharmabad 15:15 Un Res
30 07804 Dharmabad 17:00 Nizamabad 18:20 Un Res
31 07805 Nizamabad 23:30 Dharmabad 00:30 Un Res
32 07806 Dharmabad 03:30 Nizamabad 04:50 Un Res
33 07809 Kacheguda 07:00 Dharmabad 11:30 Un Res
34 07810 Dharmabad 12:00 Kacheguda 16:00 Un Res
35 07814 Guntakal 13:00 Dharmabad 05:00 Un Res
36 07818 Nanded 02:00 Nizamabad 04:30 Un Res
37 07819 Nizamabad 05:30 Adilabad 11:00 Un Res
38 07820 Adilabad 12:30 Nizamabad 18:15 Un Res
39 07821 Nizamabad 19:50 Nanded 22:30 Un Res
40 07905 Malkajgiri 08:30 Basar 11:50 Un Res
41 07906 Basar 10:00 Malkajgiri 14:00 Un Res
42 07907 Basar 12:10 Kamareddi 14:00 Un Res
43 07918 Malkajgiri 10:30 Basar 14:30 Un Res
44 07914 Vijayawada 05:40 Bhadrachalam Road 10:20 Un Res
45 07915 Bhadrachalam Road 18:30 Vijayawada 23:50 Un Res
46 07916 Bhadrachalam Road 11:00 Warangal 14:10 Un Res
47 07917 Warangal 14:40 Bhadrachalam Road 17:50 Un Res
48 07921 Rajahmundry 09:45 Vijaywada 14:00 Un Res
49 07922 Vijayawada 14:30 Narsapuram 19:15 Un Res
50 07923 Samalkot 10:30 Anakapalli 13:00 Un Res
51 07919 Dornakal 19:30 Kazipet 22:00 Un Res
52 07920 Kazipet 05:00 Dornakal 07:55 Un Res
53 01835 Visakhapatnam 05:30 Nidadavolu 10:15 Un res
54 01836 Nidadavolu 10:45 Visakhapatnam 16:30 Un res
Godavari Pushkaram Reserved Special Trains on 25 July
Sl. No. Tr. No FromStation Dep To Station Arr Reserve Type
1 07702 Hyderabad 15:45 Kakinada 04:45 Res
2 07705 Visakhapatnam 16:05 Hyderabad 08:30 Res
3 07709 Tirupati 23:00 Parvathipuram 18:00 Res
4 07714 Vijayawada 23:00 Visakhapatnam 06:30 Res
Godavari Pushkaram Unreserved Special Trains on 25 July
Sl.No. Tr. No FromStation Dep ToStation Arr ReserveType
1 07849 Visakha 02:00 Dharmavaram 21:50 Un Res
2 07852 Guntur 04:10 Rajahmundry 08:45 Un Res
3 07855 Rajahmundry 19:00 Guntur 23:45 Un Res
4 07853 Rajahmundry 09:00 Anakapalli 13:15 Un Res
5 07854 Anakapalli 14:30 Rajahmundry 18:50 Un Res
6 07856 Anakapalli 04:30 Rajahmundry 08:50 Un Res
7 07859 Rajahmundry 19:00 Anakapalli 23:45 Un Res
8 07857 Rajahmundry 09:00 Guntur 13:50 Un Res
9 07858 Guntur 14:30 Rajahmundry 18:45 Un Res
10 07834 Machilipatnam 04:15 Rajahmundry 09:30 Un Res
11 07835 Rajahmundry 18:10 Machilipatnam 23:30 Un Res
12 07836 Rajahmundry 09:45 Narsapur 12:30 Un Res
13 07842 Anakapalli 14:00 Rajahmundry 18:00 Un Res
14 07861 Visakhapatnam 07:45 Vijayawada 15:45 Un Res
15 07862 Rajahmundry 18:30 Anakapalli 23:00 Un Res
16 07863 Anakapalli 02:15 Rajahmundry 06:30 Un Res
17 07239 Visakhapatnam 18:45 Nidadavolu 23:55 Un Res
18 07240 Nidadavolu 00:30 Visakhapatnam 05:00 Un Res
19 07912 Visakhapatnam 08:00 Rajahmundry 12:40 Un Res
20 07913 Rajahmundry 13:00 Visakhapatnam 17:15 Un Res
21 07882 Tuni 05:45 Kotipalli 10:00 Un Res
22 07883 Kotipalli 16:00 Tuni 20:15 Un Res
23 07845 Guntur 07:20 Narsapur 13:30 Un Res
24 07846 Narsapur 15:30 Guntur 21:40 Un Res
25 07830 Secunderabad 04:45 Manchiryal 10:00 Un Res
26 07831 Manchiryal 17:45 Secunderabad 23:15 Un Res
27 07832 Manchiryal 11:10 Kazipet 13:40 Un Res
28 07833 Kazipet 14:10 Manchiryal 16:45 Un Res
29 07891 Secunderabad 23:20 Sirpur Kagaznagar 04:30 Un Res
30 07801 Nizamabad 10:35 Dharmabad 11:45 Un Res
31 07802 Dharmabad 13:00 Nizamabad 14:00 Un Res
32 07803 Nizamabad 14:15 Dharmabad 15:15 Un Res
33 07804 Dharmabad 17:00 Nizamabad 18:20 Un Res
34 07805 Nizamabad 23:30 Dharmabad 00:30 Un Res
35 07806 Dharmabad 03:30 Nizamabad 04:50 Un Res
36 07807 Kacheguda 07:00 Dharmabad 11:30 Un Res
37 07808 Dharmabad 12:00 Kacheguda 16:00 Un Res
38 07822 Nanded 23:00 Nizamabad 01:30 Un Res
39 07823 Nizamabad 02:30 Adilabad 08:30 Un Res
40 07824 Adilabad 10:00 Nizamabad 15:10 Un Res
41 07825 Nizamabad 16:15 Nanded 19:00 Un Res
42 07826 Nanded 20:10 Nizamabad 22:30 Un Res
43 07827 Nizamabad 23:30 Nanded 02:10 Un Res
44 07905 Malkajgiri 08:30 Basar 11:50 Un Res
45 07906 Basar 10:00 Malkajgiri 14:00 Un Res
46 07907 Basar 12:10 Kamareddi 14:00 Un Res
47 07918 Malkajgiri 10:30 Basar 14:30 Un Res
48 07914 Vijayawada 05:40 Bhadrachalam Road 10:20 Un Res
49 07915 Bhadrachalam Road 18:30 Vijayawada 23:50 Un Res
50 07916 Bhadrachalam Road 11:00 Warangal 14:10 Un Res
51 07917 Warangal 14:40 Bhadrachalam Road 17:50 Un Res
52 07921 Rajahmundry 09:45 Vijaywada 14:00 Un Res
53 07922 Vijayawada 14:30 Narsapuram 19:15 Un Res
54 07923 Samalkot 10:30 Anakapalli 13:00 Un Res
55 07919 Dornakal 19:30 Kazipet 22:00 Un Res
56 07920 Kazipet 05:00 Dornakal 07:55 Un Res
57 07923 Narsapur 05:10 Samalkot 09:45 Un Res

Ministry of Railways sensitizes Banking Community about the Opportunities and Challenges offered by the Railways

New Delhi: The Ministry of Railways and its PSU Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC) hosted a meeting of Banks & Financial Institutions in New Delhi on July 21, 2015. The conclave was organized at the initiative of the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu to sensitize the banking community of the opportunities and challenges offered by the Railways’ massive investment plans for strengthening and modernizing the key Railway infrastructure in the country.

Recognizing the significance of scaling up investment in Railway infrastructure in the country’s economic growth, the meeting was addressed by Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu, the Minister of State for Finance Shri Jayant Sinha and Dr. Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

In his introductory address, Shri Prabhu drew attention of the Banking and Finance community of the numerous initiatives unfolded in the Railway Budget 2015-16 to modernize the system, to remove bottlenecks and to build capacity. He stated that Railways have drawn up an ambitious investment plan of Rs.8.5 lakh crore in the coming 5 years. He referred to the MOU with LIC which has assured funds of Rs.1,50,000 crore in 5 years for Railway projects. Thereafter, a detailed presentation of Railways’ investment plans was made at the meeting.

Shri Jayant Sinha, MOS (Finance) appreciated the Ministry of Railways’ plans for massive investments in the sector and emphasized the need to get the projects going without delay as the economy is poised at the profound moment between fiscal consolidation and fiscal expansion. He urged for innovation in financing and structuring.

The Governor, RBI, in his speech pointed out the long term nature of investments in Railways and the need to create appropriate structures which will withstand political and regulatory risks in the long term. Learning from the recent past, financing plans will have to provide for more equity cushion, flexible debt structures and allow for a reasonable coverage of cost overruns. He also stressed the need for developing strong technical and economic skills in Banks and FIs for project evaluation and monitoring.

Representatives from principal Banks and Financial Institutions attended the meeting. Chairman, Railway Board, Financial Commissioner and senior officers of the Railway Board were present. The heads of Railway PSUs also unveiled their investment plans at the meeting.

Some ongoing Metro Rail projects running behind schedule: Centre

New Delhi: Some of the ongoing Metro projects, including Badarpur-Faridabad extension stretch and Bangalore Metro Rail Project, being implemented on 50:50 equity sharing joint venture between the Centre and the State governments concerned are delayed, Lok Sabha was told today.

The progress of Metro rail projects is reviewed periodically by the Centre, state governments and the concerned Metro Railway Board of Directors from time to time, Minister of State for Urban Development Babul Supriyo said in a written reply.

Work on Mundka-Bahadurgarh extension stretch andChennai Metro project are also delayed. Land acquisition, tree cutting permission and litigation are some of the reasons for the delay, he said.

Appropriate action such as holding of meetings, resolving issues causing delay in the project with the ministries concerned is being taken up by the Centre to address the issue.

Railways may push the Military Logistics on a lower priority; opines Army top brass at a Seminar of Military Logistics

At a National Seminar on Military Logistics, experts called for reorientation of the Railways towards defence as Army logisticians wary of commercial orientation of Railways that which rattles with the issues of infrastructure, inventory and maintenance with the railways for its movement and supply chain management.

New Delhi: The Army top brass from the logistics branches fear that increasing commercial orientation of the Indian Railways and Air India could push the military logistics on a lower priority. Speaking at a National Seminar of Military Logistics, army logisticians called for a reorientation of these entities towards national defence. Army faces issues of infrastructure, inventory and maintenance with the railways for its movement and supply chain management.

Inadequate railway infrastructure and assets, especially at locations needed by the army, lack of technical staff at detraining stations, delay in providing ODC clearance, undue delay in availability and mustering of stocks, unfulfilled requirements of land to stable stocks, and increasing cost & time overruns and delays are some of the major problems faced by the army.

Army currently has 3,500 railways wagons of its own, which are mostly lying idle. Designing and procuring wagons that can be used both by the army and railways will solve this problem, experts at the seminar felt. While dealing with Air India and private airlines, army feels that poor availability of air assets, lack of pallets for loading new generation aircraft, non-availability of material handling equipment at airfields, poor coordination between the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defence and the Indian Air Force have often acted as roadblocks.

Military logisticians also felt that the army has never practised full mobilisation after the 2001 Operation Parakram which followed the attack by Pakistan-based terrorists on Parliament. The issues faced in peace time could be overcome during a war like scenario. But there is a need to have a permanent national organisation to coordinate these issues and iron out problems. During the recent Operation Maitri in Nepal, private truckers hired by the army were delayed in carrying relief material to Nepal as they were struggling with insurance and custom clearance. A centralised agency at the apex level would have overcome this problem quickly, said the speakers at the Seminar.

The existing Logistics System in the Indian Army, Challenges and and the Way Forward

Supply chain strategy of any organisation is derived from its competitive strategy. Similarly, logistics plans are derived from strategic plans and must be fully aligned with the same. The paramount importance of achieving and continually maintaining a proper “fit” between military strategy, operational concepts and logistics support systems for the successful prosecution of war, is equally well established. Progressive Armies have always ensured that their fighting potential is not constrained by logistics inadequacies. Equally, the plans drawn up and put into operation, take into account the logistics limits within which the fighting machine has to operate to fulfill its mission. The interdependence between strategy, operations and logistics is as fundamental as it is complete and cannot be ignored. Commercial world has come to realise the need for achieving a “Strategic Fit” between business and logistics strategies as a prime condition for success in the competitive world and shaped its supply chains accordingly. Armies have known this fundamental truth ever since the advent of organised warfare. A best practice which suits the requirement of one organisation may be a total failure for the other. The logistics system faces a major challenge today on the aspects as discussed.

Mass Vs Velocity. The practice of balancing mass with velocity in any field of logistics is not new. While the critics of mass based logistics systems may argue that  the stockpiles have tended to be fairly substantial in size and tie up large portions of defence funds besides valuable storage spaces and manpower required for their maintenance. Further, these stocks, especially of the limited shelf life items such as ammunition, accounting for bulk of these stockpiles, begin to deteriorate from the very moment it is manufactured. The results are large scale discards due to obsolescence, deterioration and over-aging involving continual losses as the Indian Armed forces face today. In the changed scenario with nuclear backdrop, future engagements will have to be supported from the reserves in being or those that can be readily mobilised. Commanders, logisticians and captains of industry now need to re-examine the existing approach to the composition and levels of strategic stockpiles and industrial mobilisation in order to achieve a fine balance between created reserves and identified capacities together with minimisation of the production cycle and ramp up times. These will however call for establishment of long term relationships between industry and defence which remains the focus as far as defence logistics of the future are concerned.

Defence Logistics and National Infrastructure. Infrastructural developments in different parts of the world were propelled by different considerations at different times and were not necessarily in proper alignment with the needs of the defence forces in every case. Gaps in and inadequacies of the infrastructure were always filled by the defence forces through their own captive resources, which added to the logistics costs of mobilisation and sustainment. Such captive resources came over time to acquire a measure of permanency and became a part the defence establishments. Globalisation of world economies has propelled international trade, which in turn has spurred growth both in national and international logistics. Massive investments are underway in infrastructural developments in the growing economies and the industrial world is coming to adopt some of the best practices in freight movement and tracking. There has been a complete transformation in the role of logistics service providers who now offer a range of services, far more comprehensive than at the time when the defense forces established and operated their own dedicated supply chains. Third and fourth party logistics service providers now handle and operate end to end services and processes both for inbound and outbound logistics. Multimodal transportation, clearing and forwarding services, warehousing including specialised cold chains as well as retrieval and recycling are being handled almost routinely. An organisation akin to the national logistics cell at an apex level as existing in other countries to harness national infrastructure to meet the Army’s need during war and peace is a void which may required to be fulfilled at an urgent basis.

Defence Inventories; Just in Time Vs Just in Case. Defence services, the world over are known to carry inventories much in excess of their needs, locking up large proportions of public funds. Instances of stocks that may outlast the shelf life of the items, several times over are not uncommon. Equally, obsolete and unwanted items abound in defence warehouses locking up funds, storage space and manpower. The general tendency born out of experience with unreliable supply chains has been to hold on to inventories “Just in Case” these are required and are unavailable at the critical time and place. This aspect needs rationalisation.

Replenishment Systems and Stock Visibility. Within the existing multi-echelon supply channels, the prevailing replenishment system is geared towards continually topping up of the stock holding establishments to their authorised levels. The system treats as consumption, whatever leaves a particular echelon which sets in motion a replenishment cycle and in turn, a production or procurement cycle. Since each echelon carries, besides the maintenance stocks, an element of safety stocks, the same also gets built up in line with the most recent issue experience. The result is accumulation of stocks in the pipeline, without any real consumption. The stocks moved down the pipeline become invisible to the system and add to the operating costs of the supply chain. This is analogous to the “Bullwhip Effect” experienced in trade supply channels attributed to the poor information flow and practice of local optimisation by each of the links in the supply chain. Major reductions in pipeline stocks can be achieved through this shift in approach to replenishment.

Information Technology Domain in Logistics. Nowhere in the business world has there been greater utilisation of the power of modern IT than in the field of logistics and Supply Chain Management. The edge that frontrunners enjoy in the markets today arises not out of strategies of low cost leadership or differentiation but out of the great potential for cost reduction and profitability inherent in efficient management of supply chains using the power of IT. IT is in the process of  revolutionising the defence supply chains with greater force. While the services have implemented some or the other form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems such as the Centralised Inventory Control Project (CICP) in the Army, Integrated Logistics Management System (ILMS) in the Indian Navy and Integrated Materials Management Online Systems (IMMOLS) in the Indian Air Force,  to achieve link level efficiencies, it is now necessary to extend the same to integration across the entire supply chain, with the help of available information technology tools. Useful lessons are available from the experiences of the US forces in Iraq to refine these systems and adapt the same to local conditions.

Strategic Planning and Logistics Costs. Logistics underpin Strategy. Economy, Efficiency and Effectiveness of logistics expenditure can therefore have a meaning only in relation to the outcome of the supported strategic plans. Operation “Desert Storm” which was one of the biggest logistics campaign in contemporary times demonstrated clearly, the impact logistics can have on the course of operations and the contribution it can make towards their outcome. General Pagonis’s “Iron Mountains”, hailed as great logistics feats and acknowledged as major contributors towards the lightening victory, are in retrospect, not considered to have been the most cost efficient approach to providing logistic support to the Coalition Forces. What would have been the verdict of history on this superhuman effort, had the operation not succeeded so brilliantly, or worst still, failed, will remain an unanswered question. Surely however, a more cost efficient logistics support would have been poor consolation for an adverse outcome. Logistics sufficiency and in fact a measure of over-insurance have their own force multiplier and morale boosting impact, which cannot readily be measured in economic terms and need not necessarily qualify as wasteful expense. Logistics superiority remains a powerful war winning factor.

Supply chains of the Armies are being rapidly and almost radically transformed. Commanders, users and logistics service providers, convinced of the centrality of logistics in the trilogy of war, need to give the ongoing transformation, their best support to realise the desired economies and ensure value for money for the Nation.

Taking off from on the above backdrop, this seminar on military logistics focused on the entire gamut of military logistics and logistical issues at the national level with a view to achieve user and industry perspective on a suitable supply chain strategy for meeting the futuristic operational needs of the services especially in the wake of the existing military industrial infrastructure and government’s “Make in India” initiative, and to deliberate and recommend structural and organisational changes for establishment of a framework for coordination of logistics at national level, integration of intra service logistics and theatreisation aspects, while also deliberated to bring out cogent recommendations on the infrastructural, planning and finance dimensions for an efficient and responsive logistics system and the best business practices such as transportation, and Enterprise Resource Planning for military logistics.

Bombardier’s anti-collision system for trams receives certification

Bombardier Transportation announced their innovative Drivers Assistance System (DAS) received homologation for passenger service in Germany. Starting in August 2015, trams equipped with this innovative tram safety platform will enter service in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The DAS is an anti-collision system that gives trams drivers advanced warning of a potential impact with pedestrians, bikers, other vehicles or objects obstructing the tram tracks. The system uses a network of stereovision cameras to identify and track the movement of objects on or near a tram’s path. Should a potential collision be identified, the system issues an audio alert for the tram driver and can even perform and automatic braking function.

This new safety platform compliments the recent development of Bombardier’s BodyGuard(TM), a type of external airbag for trams that prevents pedestrians from being trapped under a moving tram, which is typically the cause for the most serious injuries (also developed in collaboration with AIT). Both technologies demonstrate Bombardier’s commitment to developing cutting-edge technologies that improve vehicle safety for operators, passengers and pedestrians, according to the company.

The highly-complex DAS platform was made possible with technical support from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and Frankfurt am Main’s transport authority the Verkehrsgesellschaft Frankfurt am Main (VFG), who provided testing opportunities. Following approval by the technical supervisory authority, VFG’s vehicle no. 272 is now the first tram in the world to operate normal service equipped with DAS. It is currently being used for training and VGF will soon equip its other 73 “S” tramcars with the DAS, making the Frankfurt fleet the first to be completely equipped with this new safety technology. This upgrade will run until December 2016.

Additional information about the Drivers Assistance System download the accompanying technical documentation here: Bombardier DAS Data Sheet

HCC wins Rs.785 Crore contract from Northeast Frontier Railway

Guwahati: Infrastructure firm HCC said on Tuesday it has been awarded a Rs 785-crore contract by Northeast Frontier Railway in joint venture with Coastal Projects. The contract is for developing a 9.5-kilometer tunnel between Tupul-Imphal for new Railway line project from Jiribam-Tupul. The share of HCC in the JV is 60 per cent which is Rs 471 crore, the company said in a statement. The firm said it is the fourth successive order received by HCC from Northeast Frontier Railway on the new railway line between Jiribam and Tupul.

The first project was to construct a 3.25-km tunnel between Dholakal and Kaimai Road stations and second was construction of a 3.3 km tunnel between Kambiron Road and Thingou stations and the third order was to develop a 4.9 km long railway tunnel between Kaimai Road and Kambiron Road stations, it said.

HCC is also constructing the 4.315-km long Bogibeel Rail-cum-road Bridge over river Brahmaputra near Dibrugarh, Assam for Northeast Frontier Railway.  “HCC is proud to receive the fourth order from Northeast Frontier Railway. It is testament to the confidence enjoyed by the Company in successfully executing complex tunneling work. HCC with its sound engineering expertise and committed team is all set to leverage the opportunities in the infrastructure space,” HCC President and CEO- E&C Arun Karambelkar said.


A lot of thrust is being given on building infrastructure and developing connectivity in the Northeast Region by Narendra Modi government. In Manipur, the on-going construction work for the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal Railway line was recently inspected by a team of Railway officials who also inaugurated few tunnels that are part of the project. The train service on this line is expected to begin by 2017.

The company said it has a strong track record in construction of roads, highways, bridges, railways and MRTS (Mass Rapid Transport System) in the transportation segment.

HCC claims to have constructed 28 per cent of India’s Hydel Power generation and over 65 per cent of India’s nuclear power generation capacities, over 3,600 lane km of expressways and highways, more than 300 km of complex tunneling and over 356 Bridges.

It is also developing Lavasa City, a planned hill city and one of India’s largest urban development and management initiatives. The HCC Group, with a group turnover of Rs 10,353 crore, comprises HCC Ltd, HCC Infrastructure Co Ltd, Lavasa Corporation Ltd and Steiner AG in Switzerland. The shares of the company today closed at Rs 23.60 apiece on BSE, down 2.68 per cent from the previous close.

Slovakian Railway Wagon manufacturer Tatravagonka picks minority stake in Kolkata based Jupiter Group

Kolkata: Slovakian railway wagon manufacturer Tatravagonka A.S., has picked up a significant minority stake in Kolkata-based Jupiter Group, for an undisclosed amount. The Jupiter Group manufactures railway switches, wagons and crossings.

It received funding through primary infusion as well as secondary transfers from the existing promoters of the company. Initially, Tatravagonka has picked a minority stake and plans to invest more money in Jupiter’s two companies—Jupiter Wagons Ltd and Jupiter Alloys & Steel Ltd in tranches to acquire up to 50 per cent stake.

The first round of the deal closed last week.

Jupiter is a manufacturer of railway wagons, wagon components and casting in India. It has also ventured into manufacturing of AC EMU/MEMU and passenger coaches for Indian Railways. Besides, it manufactures railway turnouts for Indian Railways and global markets.

The company’s unit is located at Shahgunj, Bandel on a 100 acre area.

Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co acted as the legal advisor to the Jupiter Group on this deal while Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India was the financial advisor.

From Tatravagonka’s side, Khaitan & Co acted as the legal advisor and Alpen Capital was the financial advisor.

RRI/Itarsi Restored: 34 day-long major disruption in Train movement via Itarsi becomes normal

Itarsi: The new Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) panel at Itarsi Railway Station in Madhya Pradesh has started functioning at 14:50 hrs on 21.07.2015. As a result of the functioning of the new RRI, train movement via Itarsi is now becoming normal which was badly disrupted for the last 34 days. However, very few trains will still remain cancelled for next 2 – 3 days due to rake imbalance on account of sudden cancellation of trains. Only 15 trains will be cancelled on 22nd July 2015 and only 11 trains will be cancelled on 23rd July 2015.

Itarsi is a critical 4 directional junction station/yard, in Bhopal Division of West Central Railway. Itarsi situated strategically in the central part of India linking North-South and East-West parts of India through trains. Itarsi is the critical junction station on Bombay-Bhopal, Bhopal-Nagpur and Bombay-Jabalpur-Allahabad route.

It may be recalled that on 17.06.2015, an incidence of major fire occurred at the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) Panel at Itarsi station fully destroying the existing RRI installation. Signalling Relay Room system is a system by which all the signals and the points/crossings which are used for changing of routes at junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices. As a result, complete automatic train operation at Itarsi Station was disrupted leading to severe detention to trains passing across Itarsi Station.

As per normal schedule, about 145 scheduled Mail Express and Passenger trains and 50-60 freight trains are dealt with at Itarsi station in UP and DN directions. The destruction of RRI immediately resulted in much reduced running  of only 35 trains per day via Itarsi through manual operation,  However within 3 days time, Railway Engineers and Technicians worked round the clock and  a temporary panel was installed which enabled handling of 110-120 trains per day in place of 35 trains per day  with manual operation. This, although an interim arrangement, provided substantial relief to train operations. There was long detention to trains as the route for all passing trains had to be manually set and verified for safe passage at Itarsi yard. This resulted in 50% reduction in train handling capacity at Itarsi.

The situation warranted cancellation/diversion/short termination of trains for smooth and safe operations. Consequently, trains had to be cancelled due to operational and safety constraints.

Summary of the train services cancelled, diverted and short terminated from 17.6.2015 to 21.07.2015 is given below:

  • Number of Scheduled Trains viz. Itarsi: 5016 Trains
  • Number of Cancelled Trains: 2404
  • Short Terminated Trains: 17
  • Trains Diverted: 259

Indian Railways took a decision to stall a new RRI panel room and started work on a war footing deploying a substantial number of officers and staff. . For this very complex, giant and high-tech task, teams of competent officers and staff from the West Central Railway, as well as from other zonal railways were mobilized at lightning speed to enable round the clock working across full spectrum of activities.

At one point of time there were as many as 1000 officers, supervisors, technicians and the other staff working for the commissioning of the RRI round the clock. With as many activities in parallel, as possible, to squeeze the time frame to minimum, the target date for commissioning of new RRI was fixed as 23/7/15. And, WCR has succeeded in commissioning it two days earlier i.e. on 21/7/15.

The work was supervised and monitored intensely at Railway Board level, Zonal Railway (WCR) level, Division (Bhopal) level.The Railway Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu personally monitored and sought regular reports about the progress of the work. Senior Railway Board officials from Delhi visited Itarsi to supervise the work. GM, WCR and DRM Bhopal had to personally camp at the site to ensure expeditious completion of this work.

New RRI incorporates important yard remodelling which will further eases the flow of traffic and flexibility in yard operations and handling of trains with 24 coaches. Multi Section Digital Axle Counters will increase the system availability during monsoon season. Fire alarm system has been provided and fire suppression system is being planned to avoid such fire incidences in future.

The mammoth installation of this new RRI system consists of 700Km of underground cables, 108 points, 78 (Main-42 & Shunt-36) signals, 144 detection points of digital axle counters forming 89 track sections, 32 track circuits, 9000 relays, 60000 jumpers of length more than 200Km and more that 2 lakh wire connections.

After completion of physical work, testing of such an installation was a challenge and a critical path for its commissioning. Due to safety considerations, the testing was to be comprehensive. Any small error in connection could become a potential safety threat; hence, there was no choice but to do comprehensive testing even during such challenging situations of time shortage. This challenge was met by employing the best human resource at all levels round the clock, carrying many activities simultaneously and very close monitoring at several levels.

Indian Railways comes of age, KFC will be served to you during travel

New Delhi: People travelling in trains can now enjoy KFC’s meals on board as the fast food chain has tied up with IRCTC to start a delivery system for passengers. A person travelling on train can order KFC meal, while booking ticket through IRCTC from July 20 onwards, under e-catering service initiatives, KFC said in a statement.  Presently, this facility is available only on 12 trains passing through New Delhi railway station. However, it will be expanded to Vishakhapatnam, Hyderabad (Kacheguda) and Bangalore (Yeshwantpur) stations over the next 10 days, the statement added.  “Consumers will have to visit the IRCTC website or call on 18001034139 (Toll Free) to place their order. A password will then be sent by KFC to the consumer’s mobile phone which will have to be mentioned at the time of delivery,” it said.  The service will initially be limited to trains which do not have pantry cars and subsequently would be expanded to trains like Rajdhani and Duronto. E-catering service is a joint effort from KFC and IRCTC to provide fresh food to the passengers on trains.  “As a much-loved restaurant brand, we think that this initiative gives us a great opportunity to bring the craveable taste and quality of KFC to our fans, even when they are travelling. We intend to expand the service to other stations over the next few days,” KFC India Chief Marketing Officer Dhruv Kaul said.  KFC Corporation is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands and has 19,400 outlets in 120 countries.

New IRCTC Package for visit to Vaishnodevi from Chennai

Chennai: For the first time, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will operate a train tour from Tiruchirapalli and Salem via Chennai, to Vaishnodevi in Jammu and Kashmir, starting July 28. The 14-day tour will cover Kannadurga (Vijayawada), Manikyamba (Rajahmundry), Kolkata and Ambaji in Gujarat as part of the tour package that costs `11,600 per person, an official IRCTC press release stated. Along with sleeper class travel, IRCTC will also provide South Indian vegetarian food, non air-conditioned accomodation, a tour escort and a public address system and security for each train coach. Central and State Government employees can avail LTC for the pilgrimage tour.

Bookings can be made by contacting IRCTC at 044-64594959 and 9003140681/82.  Meanwhile, with a number of Buddhist tourists from Sri Lanka visiting India every year, IRCTC has started operating Shri Ramayana Yatra for Indian tourists interested in visiting Sri Lanka. The four day/five nights package will cover important tourist and pilgrim spots like Nuwara Eliya, Kandy and Colombo in Sri Lanka. Starting on August 8 and September 19, the package, inclusive of flight tickets, accomodation, sightseeing, meals and visa, will cost `34,00 per person on a twin sharing basis, an IRCTC release stated. Further information can be sought at 9840902918 and 9840902919.

The 34 day-long major disruption in Train movement via.Itarsi becomes Normal

Big relief to passengers travelling North-South and East-West within country

Itarsi RRI Inaug1Itarsi: The new Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) panel at Itarsi Railway Station in Madhya Pradesh has started functioning at 14:50 hrs on 21.07.2015. As a result of the functioning of the new RRI, train movement via Itarsi is now becoming normal which was badly disrupted for the last 34 days. However, very few trains will still remain cancelled for next 2-3 days due to rake imbalance on account of sudden cancellation of trains. Only 15 trains will be cancelled on 22nd July 2015 and only 11 trains will be cancelled on 23rd July 2015.

Itarsi is a critical 4 directional junction station/yard, in Bhopal Division of West Central Railway. Itarsi situated strategically in the central part of India linking North-South and East-West parts of India through trains. Itarsi is the critical junction station on Mumbai-Bhopal, Bhopal-Nagpur and Mumbai-Jabalpur-Allahabad route.

It may be recalled that on 17.06.2015, an incidence of major fire occurred at the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) Panel at Itarsi station fully destroying the existing RRI installation. Signalling Relay Room system is a system by which all the signals and the points/crossings which are used for changing of routes at junction station are operated centrally from a cabin through electrical devices. As a result, complete automatic train operation at Itarsi Station was disrupted leading to severe detention to trains passing across Itarsi Station.

Itarsi RRI Inaug2As per normal schedule, about 145 scheduled Mail Express and Passenger trains and 50-60 freight trains are dealt with at Itarsi station in UP and DN directions. The destruction of RRI immediately resulted in much reduced running  of only 35 trains per day via Itarsi through manual operation.  However within 3 days time, Railway Engineers and Technicians worked round the clock and  a temporary panel was installed which enabled handling of 110-120 trains per day in place of 35 trains per day  with manual operation.

This, although an interim arrangement, provided substantial relief to train operations. There was long detention to trains as the route for all passing trains had to be manually set and verified for safe passage at Itarsi yard. This resulted in 50% reduction in train handling capacity at Itarsi.

Itarsi RRI Inaug3The situation warranted cancellation/diversion/short termination of trains for smooth and safe operations. Consequently, trains had to be cancelled due to operational and safety constraints.

Summary of the train services cancelled, diverted and short terminated till 21.07.2015 is given below:

Date – 17.06.2015 to 21.07.2015
Scheduled trains via Itarsi – 5016
Cancelled – 2404
Short terminated – 17
Diverted – 259

Indian Railway took a decision to stall a new RRI panel room and started work on a war footing deploying a substantial number of officers and staff. . For this very complex, giant and high-tech task, teams of competent officers and staff from West Central Railway, As well as from other zonal railways were mobilized at lightning speed to enable round the clock working across full spectrum of activities.

At one point of time there were as many as 1000 officers, supervisors, technicians and other staff working for the commissioning of the RRI round the clock. With as many activities in parallel, as possible, to squeeze the time frame to minimum, the target date for commissioning of new RRI was fixed as 23.07.2015. And, WCR has succeeded in commissioning it two days earlier i.e. on 21.07.2015.

Itarsi RRI InaugThe work was supervised and monitored intensely at Railway Board level, Zonal Railway (WCR) level, Division (Bhopal) level.The Railway Minister Shri. Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu personally monitored and sought regular reports about the progress of the work. Senior Railway Board officials from Delhi visited Itarsi to supervise the work. GM, WCR and DRM Bhopal had to personally camp at the site to ensure expeditious completion of this work.

Itarsi RRI Inaug4New RRI incorporates important yard remodelling which will further eases the flow of traffic and flexibility in yard operations and handling of trains with 24 coaches. Multi Section Digital Axle Counters will increase the system availability during monsoon season. Fire alarm system has been provided and fire suppression system is being planned to avoid such fire incidences in future.

The mammoth installation of this new RRI system consists of 700 KM of underground cables, 108 points, 78 (Main-42 & Shunt-36) signals, 144 detection points of digital axle counters forming 89 track sections, 32 track circuits, 9000 relays, 60000 jumpers of length more than 200Km and more that 2 lakh wire connections.

After completion of physical work, testing of such an installation was a challenge and a critical path for its commissioning. Due to safety considerations, the testing was to be comprehensive.

Any small error in connection could become a potential safety threat; hence, there was no choice but to do comprehensive testing even during such challenging situations of time shortage.

This challenge was met by employing the best human resource at all levels round the clock, carrying many activities simultaneously and very close monitoring at several levels.

EXIM volumes of CONCOR grew at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate of 7 per cent amid Economic Slowdown

Economic revival for CONCOR anticipated; limited upside for stock seen in short term

Mumbai: Ministry of Railways owned PSU – Container Corporation of India (CONCOR) has a strong balance sheet, near monopoly position, ongoing capex, and high barriers of entry. However, its current stock valuation appears to reflect the positive impact of a much-anticipated economic revival on its growth potential. It means there could be a limited upside to the stock price in the short term. In addition, future growth from the capacity expansion is still a few years away.

Over the last two years, CONCOR’s stock has grown more than 2.5 times. Between FY10 and FY14, export-import (EXIM) volumes grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 7 per cent amid economic slowdown. The volumes grew sharply by 11 per cent in FY15. However, given the slower pace of overall economic recovery, the management has guided for a moderate 10 per cent growth in FY16. CONCOR’s key growth driver will be the investments along the dedicated freight corridor (DFC). The company will be spending about Rs 1,500 crore over the next couple of years to set up logistic parks along the DFC. However, the benefit of these investments is long-term in nature as DFC is expected to be commissioned by 2018.

In March 2015, Indian railways raised haulage charges by 25-41 per cent for containers across various slabs. However, due to slow economic recovery, the company may not be able to pass on the entire cost to its customers at once. Besides, it may face competition from road transporters for shorter distances in case of a drastic hike.As a result, CONCOR’s operating margins may remain weak for this fiscal.

At Monday close of Rs 1,717, the stock is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 32.Given its strong balance sheet and nearly 80 per cent market share in rail freight segment, the company has commanded a premium valuation. But, a moderate EXIM volume growth may limit upside in the short-term. In addition to this, the government’s intention of divesting stake in the company may affect the stock price.

China witnesses 285% increase in Freight Traffic through its 8 international Rail Freight Routes linking China & Europe

The Sino-Europe rail linking Chongqing and Duisburg
The Sino-Europe rail linking Chongqing and Duisburg

Beijing: The eight international rail freight routes linking China and Europe together conducted 308 trips last year, up 285% from a year earlier, as the “New Silk Road” runs its course, reports China Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

China’s promotion of the international rail freight routes is chiefly aimed at developing its central and northwest economy. The only way to effectively boost these regions is by integrating Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, said Zhou Yun, research fellow at the German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

Hans-Jorg Schimdt-Trenz, CEO of the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce, welcomed China’s construction of bridges, roads and rails linking its neighbors, saying it will contribute to the economic development of neighboring countries, benefiting both China and the world.

The Sino-Europe rail began from the route linking with China’s Chongqing and Duisburg of Germany in 2011, and now four freight trains make the trip every week.

The Chongqing-Europe rail is helping Chinese enterprises export their products to the European market. In fact, North Rhine-Westphalia, where Duisburg is based, is the most concentrated area for Chinese investors, having received investments from more than 800 Chinese enterprises.

The international rail freight is faster than by sea and costs lower than air transport, a double bonus for inland countries and areas. When the Sino-Europe rails began operations, transport volume was low and less frequent. Now most trains are usually full when they start out from China, and empty when they return.

Schimdt-Trenz attributed the imbalanced freight to China’s ‘world factory’ status, which makes it a largely export-oriented country. China should further expand imports and adjust its economic structure to achieve a balance, said the report.

Although rail freight is becoming more popular now, it still cannot replace cargo by sea, said experts.

Since China advocated the “Belt and Road” initiative, Germany has been supporting calls to establish the Silk Road. In general, the German public has a positive evaluation of the project, said the report.

Third Bombardier Rake arrives Mumbai City from ICF/Chennai

The much-awaited rake has finally arrived from Chennai today and will be added to Western Railway’s fleet; officials claim it will ensure smoother, faster service

Bombardier rake at ICF poojaMumbai: The much awaited third Bombardier rake has arrived the city today morning. The new rake is modified to give Mumbaikars a smoother and easier commute, will soon be added to the fleet of Western Railway.

The rake left on July 16 from Integral Coach Factory in Chennai, where the Bombardier rakes are being manufactured and assembled. On its day of departure, the train was draped in flowers and officials also performed a puja before sending it off to Mumbai. This train will now be added to the 94-strong fleet of WR which operates 85 rakes a day, with the rest making up the reserve stock to be used in case of technical failures or any other time of need.

Under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), 72 Bombardier rakes will be added to the city’s suburban system – 42 to WR and 30 to Central Railway (CR). According to sources, WR will begin transferring their older rakes, which have completed 12-15 years of operation, to CR.

The latter operates 121 rakes across three lines – Main, Harbour, and Trans Harbour – and keeps an additional 12 rakes as spares. “We will be getting 30 new rakes from ICF by March 2016,” said Prabhat Sahai, chairman and managing director, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC), which is procuring them for Mumbai.

These new Bombardier rakes are touted to provide a faster, more comfortable commute to Mumbai’s citizens – what with their wider seats, bigger luggage racks, double handles and more.

Bombardier rake at ICF pooja2
A puja was performed at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai before sending off the Bombardier rake to Mumbai

Demand for local trains has seen a drastic rise in the last decade. Ten years ago, the suburban system carried 62.03 lakh people; it presently ferries 76.76 lakh every day, as per railway data. “Expectations of people are growing every year.

We have made rectifications in the new rakes in the seats, windows, ventilation, and even handles,” said a railway official. In 2005-06, 31.64 lakh people used CR’s network; this number has reached 41.67 lakh in 2014-15, a whopping 31.7 per cent increase.

Similarly, the number for WR has jumped from 30.39 lakh to 35.09 lakh in 2014-15, a 15.4 per cent rise. Railway officials added that this increase in commuter traffic has forced them to convert 9-car rakes to 12-car rakes, and now, even 15-car trains WR operates two 15-car trains while CR runs one such rake.

The number of train services has not been able to match up to this demand. “We are running more 12-car trains to allow us to carry more people in the limited number of services,” said a WR official. 75 rakes of the total 85 operated by WR are 12-car rakes; CR runs 86 12-car trains out of the total 121 rakes pressed into service every day.

Exploiting real estate, besides fare hike – the only option left for Mumbai Suburban Rail to recover from losses

Mumbai: Mumbai’s suburban railway system is deep in the red. Cumulative losses over the last five years have touched Rs 4,150 crore, and losses for the year 2013-2014 alone amounted to Rs 1,111.8 crore. The situation has sparked fears that the quality of services may be affected if a turnaround does not happen.  The situation has been deteriorating at an alarming rate since 2008-09, reveals a white paper on the entire suburban system – the Western, Central and Harbour lines – that the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) is preparing.

The losses had not breached the Rs 50 crore mark till 2006-07, but they zoomed to Rs 328.6 crore in 2008-09, the year in which the Central government announced payment of Sixth Pay Commission salaries with retrospective effect from January 1, 2006. An MRVC official said, “This dealt a body blow to the finances of suburban railway.”

After that, it has been all downhill, and according to the official, “from a profit of Rs 80 crore in 1999-2000, we are bleeding by more than Rs 1,000 crore per year. I suspect the losses may cross the Rs 1,400 crore mark for the financial year 2014-15.”

The introduction of more rakes and services over the years and the fact that the suburban system’s non-fare revenue is only 6.5% of its total revenue are among the factors that have contributed to the losses.

Another reason for the losses is the absence of political will to increase fares at periodic intervals. For example, there have been only three fare revisions since 1999: in 2003, in January 2013 and June 2014.

The white paper is being prepared on the directions of railway minister Suresh Prabhu, who himself is from Mumbai.

According to railway officials, the benefits of important projects like the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-I) began to accrue around the same time as the losses mounted, but it has proved to be a costly affair. The first MRVC rake under the MUTP-I arrived in July 2007 and was put into service by November that year.

“In 1999-2000, there were only 123 12-car equivalent rakes. As the MUTP-I rakes began rolling out, the railways began not only to augment more 9-car services into 12-car and 15-car ones, it also introduced more services, increasing operation and maintenance costs,” an official said.

In 2008-09, the capacity of 12-car equivalent rakes increased to 148. The fleet strength is now 197, a 60% rise in rakes since 1999-2000. The number of services too has jumped from 1,544 in 1999 to 2,679, an increase of 73%.

Railway officials said the lack of finances is posing a problem for the upkeep of the system. MRVC’s chairman and MD Prabhat Sahai said, “We need innovative solutions to shore up finances. Not only a fare hike, but other options of beefing up finances are also necessary to increase passenger comfort.”

Railways must look for out-of-the-box solution – should exploit for revenue streams from Real Estate and fare hike

The railway ministry and the state government need to look for out-of-the-box solutions, including a fare hike, exploitation of real estate and subsidies to shore up finances of the suburban railways, which cater to almost 75 lakh passenger per day.

Affordability and sustainability are key to ensuring commuters are willing to pay the right fare and the operator is able to run the services without compromising on safety, maintenance and comfort.

A fare hike is a solution but not panacea for all ills. An official said, “A survey revealed that commuters are comfortable with only a 15% hike. This should be the first step, even though it will give us Rs 250-300 crore more, which still leaves the suburban railways with a loss of around Rs 800 crore.”

The official said the railways was subsidizing the cost of private enterprises by charging low fares.

He said, “If higher fares are charged, traders and corporates will have to increase conveyance allowance to retain their workforces.”

Mumbai is the costliest city in terms of real estate but the railways has failed to exploit its potential.

A senior MRVC official said, “In Mumbai, only 6.5% of the revenue is through fare box revenue. Of this, only 27% of it is through rentals from stall-owners. We need to create more commercial space at stations to earn good revenue. It is challenging as we cannot open a mall or shopping centre, even though people would find it convenient. But it may add up to congesting the station building.”

He said, “The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is able to earn almost 20% from non fare-box revenue. The Hong Kong Metro earns 41% through exploitation of real estate.”

The DMRC also got transit-oriented development approved, which will allow it to further earn revenue through real estate development and help keep fares affordable.

The official said, “The electricity tariff is Rs 9 per unit, which is costly, as power utilities are assuring uninterrupted supply. On the other hand, the DMRC is getting power at Rs 6.50 per unit. The power that the suburban railways consumes is for public benefit. The government should step in and subsidize the cost of power.”

The government must also set up a dedicated fund by levying a cess, tax or parting with revenue earned from real estate-related transactions by way of stamp duty and registration. He said, “The property value increases when a mass rapid transport is efficient in a city. The railways has never benefited from this property boom. The dedicated fund can be used to subsidize all forms of public transport.”

The official felt it was futile to expect the railways to bear the burden.

Mumbai Metro’s minimum fare to remain same at Rs.10; maximum fare may touch Rs.110

Mumbai: The Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has issued a statement saying that there would be no fare hike until October 31 this year after which the maximum fare would be hiked from Rs 40 to Rs 110. The minimum fare, however, will remain same at Rs 10.

The decision regarding the likely increase in the fares for the Mumbai Metro was decided after the MMOPL conducted a board meeting on Monday morning, consisting of six members of Reliance Infrastructure, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), a state and a Union representative. The decision for a fare hike was reached after the decision got a majority vote.

MMOPL has stated that the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) has recommended this new fare due to increasing operational costs, “It has recommended that the minimum fare be retained at Rs 10 and the maximum fare be increased to Rs 110. The FFC has recommended the fare after taking all aspects into consideration enriched by the reports of four experts appointed by the committee,” said the statement.

Abhay Kumar Mishra, CEO, MMOPL said that the body welcomes the fare hike. “We welcome the recommendations by the FFC, which has taken into consideration the cost to operate the line, business viability and the value propositions that metro brings-in to its commuters.

While at the business level, MMOPL continues to make significant cash losses, considering the interest of commuters it is decided to maintain the existing fare for the time being while we engage with the government of Maharashtra and other authorities to progress on leads given by the FFC/experts,” he said. MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan, who replied to a message sent by this newspaper, said, “We oppose the Rs 110 fare hike as proposed by MMOPL.”

MMOPL has then suggested that that the state should provide an annual subsidy of Rs 100 crore or a one-time settlement of Rs 1,000 crore. “To bridge the cash deficit, it has been suggested that MMOPL be granted an annual subsidy of Rs 100 crore per year or a one-time grant of Rs 1,000 crore to stop the company from bleeding,” said fare fixation committee consultant G. Raghuram from IIM-Ahmedabad in the release.

Regard the subsidy Mr Madan said, “The proposal has not been sent to us yet.” Senior MMRDA officials point out that just as MMOPL has been spending money on operations, even the MMRDA has been spending a lot of money on security at Metro stations, so the MMOPL’s demand is unjustified. “The demand is frivolous since MMRDA has been spending Rs 700 crore annually on the security agencies it has hired at all the stations,” said the official.

Now, Intelligence Bureau objects to Mumbai Metro-III station near ATC Tower

Mumbai: Months after airport security division of Airports Authority of India (AAI) objecting to coming up of Metro III railway station near the new ATC tower in Vile Parle, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) has now raised a similar objection to it.

The Metro station’s entry and exit points are dangerously close to the tower, which manages the air navigation system around Mumbai airspace.

In a security review meeting held last month, which had all stakeholders, the IB put forth its disagreement over the project design. The objections are now expected to be analysed at the highest level of ministry of civil aviation and ministry of home.

AAI – a partner in the private-run city airport, recently wrote to many agencies, including operator Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), to make the required changes in the plan. “Otherwise, it could be disastrous for the safety of the new ATC tower,” it wrote.

According to sources in the know of the meeting, the distance between the entry/exit of the proposed Metro and the tower is not more than 15-20 metres, though MMRDA officials claimed it to be around 40 meters. It should ideally be more than 100 metres, as per Bureau of Civil Aviation Security rules amended in 2011.

A MIAL spokesperson had said in March, “MIAL will discuss the issue raised by AAI with all the agencies involved in the Metro III construction and revert to AAI.”

The ATC tower located near the domestic terminal in Vile Parle is a key installation. Any terror attack on it will likely have a cascading effect on air traffic across the globe.

As per MMRDA’s website, Metro III (Colaba–Bandra–Seepz) is 32.50km-long and fully underground, with 27 stations. It connects major business districts of Nariman Point and Bandra-Kurla Complex, domestic and international airports, and industrial areas of MIDC and Seepz in Andheri. It will also connect various areas in the island city that are not served by the suburban railways — Kalbadevi, Worli and Prabhadevi.

The project is funded by the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), which will provide about 70% of the loan. The rest will be provided by the central and state governments and the MMRDA in the form of equity and subordinate debt and funds from MIAL. The project is estimated to cost Rs23,136 crore.

In and out of line

  • Metro I (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar) is now functional.
  • Metro II (Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd) stands more or less shelved.\
  • Metro III is expected to start later this year and will get completed by 2019-20.

Reliance Infra-led Mumbai Metro One to seek Metro Operational Subsidy to keep fares low

Fare fixation panel experts suggest that subsidy be granted by the Maharashtra Government

Mumbai: Reliance Infrastructure-led Mumbai Metro One on Monday said it will seek metro operational subsidy from the state government to keep the fares lower, even as the Fare Fixation Committee has recommended its revision in the range of ₹10 to ₹110 for the over 11-km-long corridor.

Meanwhile, Mumbai Metro One (MMOPL), which is operating the network, has decided to continue the current fare range of ₹10 to ₹40 till October 31, after which it will review the fare structure and gradually increase the ticket costs depending on the government response.

“The recommendations by the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) havetaken into consideration the cost to operate the metro line, business viability and the value propositions that metro brings in to its commuters.

Cash losses

“While at the business level, we continue to make significant cash losses, considering the interest of commuters, it is decided to maintain the existing fare for the time being while we engage with the government and other authorities to progress on leads given by the FFC,” MMOPL chief executive Abhay Mishra said.

Reliance Infrastructure, in a statement, also said that experts appointed by the FFC has also suggested that MMOPL should be granted metro operational subsidy by the government to keep the fare affordable and should fully monetise the potential of real estate available at metro properties, to ensure business viability.

The FFC on July 8 submitted its report recommending the revised fare after analysing all aspects, including the cost to operate the line and alternate modes of transport, sustainability and affordability.

It had recommended retaining the minimum fare at ₹10 and increasing the maximum fare to ₹110.

The committee, while fixing the fares had said, “MMOPL is not strictly comparable with other metros in the country, which have the distinguished advantage of concessional interest and lower power tariff, whereas Mumbai Metro is paying commercial rate of interest and a very high electricity cost.”

“It is a common practise across the globe to provide operational subsidy to transportation services which leads to business viability and fare affordability for a larger section of commuters,” Mishra added.

Other View

Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) wants state government to pay Rs.100 crore annually or Rs.1,000 crore as one-time payment so that Metro fares aren’t hiked further. However, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) is already bearing the security cost for Metro, which is Rs.22 crore annually. Also, the government has paid Viability Gap Funding (VGF) of Rs.650 crore to make the project feasible, besides giving car depot plot worth at least Rs.700 crore.

“The government has already paid VGF to make the project feasible on the premise that fare of a maximum of Rs13 is charged. Now they want us to pay more but not lower the fares,” said a state official.

VGF is a one-time grant provided to make projects economically and financially viable and reduce the gestation period.

“Once the project is operational, again asking for funds from the government is equivalent to asking for more VGF. What’s the point of bidding for the project on the basis of VGF?” questioned an MMRDA official.

Besides the Rs650 crore the government has provided, it has contributed in the form of a prime plot in Andheri West at Four Bungalows for the car depot. The plot is worth at least Rs700 crore. In all, the government has contributed a minimum of Rs1,350 crore, apart from the ongoing cost.

Every year, the MMRDA is bearing a cost of Rs22.05 crore to foot the security bill. Maharashtra Security Force is deputed at all stations, along with the sniffer dog squad, on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor.

“The cost incurred to resurface the road below and repair the drainage-sewerage lines that had got damaged due to Metro construction has not even been included. Even this cost should be accounted for,” added the official.

Centre kick-starts FDI, PPP in Railways; begins work with Model Concession Agreements

New Delhi: Attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Railways is finally getting the push with the government. The Railways ministry is initiating a move to create model concession agreements in order to kick-start the process of attracting FDI and private investments, close to 8 months after it came up with sectoral guidelines for such investments in November.

The ministry has just started the process of appointing consultants for preparing model concession agreements for those areas where private and foreign investments have been allowed.

Areas where such investments would be allowed are operation of private passenger trains, concession of standalone passenger corridors, construction, upgradation and maintenance of any new or existing freight terminal owned by the Railways, setting up of technical training institutes, testing facilities and laboratories and technological solutions for level crossings and for improving safety and reducing accidents.

“For the purposes of this assignment, the consultants are expected to go through best possible international and domestic agreements of a similar nature and suggest a framework which will be acceptable to stakeholders including financial institutions,” the document for consultants who would prepare model concession agreement said.

For concession of standalone passenger corridors, the asset would be transferred to a special purpose vehicle at a pre-specified nominal value and the concession period will be for a period between 10-15 years.

For freight terminal projects as well there would be a transfer of assets and the revenues would be shared under the concession agreement.

While model concession agreements already exist for urban rail systems and construction of private lines, many of the permissible activities detailed in the sectoral guidelines will require preparation of concession agreements under which investments can be made.

According to the Dibek Debroy committee which submitted its report in June, earlier policies of Indian Railways for private ownership of rolling stock have not brought in the desired level of investments, primarily due to the perception of a lack of level playing fields.

The government had earlier decided to allow FDI in areas like suburban corridor projects through PPP, high speed trains, Mass Rapid Transport Systems, dedicated freight lines, rolling stock including train sets, locomotives or coaches manufacturing and maintenance facilities, rail electrification, signaling systems, freight and passenger terminals and facilities to manufacture railway lines or sidings.

JICA submits Final Report of Ahmedabad-Mumbai Highspeed Rail Corridor at a Projected Cost of Rs.1 Lakh Crore

Ahmedabad: The final report of the feasibility study of the proposed Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed rail corridor by Japan International Cooperation Agency has pegged the cost at about Rs 1 lakh crore.

The stretch is about 505 km long for which French Rail Corporation had already submitted a business viability study report in 2014.

The corridor, if undertaken, would cut the travel time from current seven hours to two hours, besides spurring industrialisation and urbanisation on the line. Japanese ambassador to India Takeshi Yagi led the official JICA delegation, which submitted the report to railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday.

The report estimates that the bullet train, running over 300 km per hour, will cost Rs 988,050 million.

It has also apparently suggested that its fare would be higher than that of a first AC coach seat of Rajdhani to make it commercially viable. It states it would take six years to complete the construction of the corridor and another year to operationalise it.

The ministry of railways did not officially comment on the report, while only maintaining that it has been submitted. It will now study the report for further action.

The report claims that there could be a footfall of 40,000 passengers a day by the time the corridor is operationalised and with fare at one and a half time of the Rajdhanis, it could be commercially viable as well.

The ministry of railways did not officially comment on the report, while only maintaining that it has been submitted. The ministry will now study the report for further action.

Meanwhile, the French Rail Corporation had noted in its report that the bullet train project could not be executed in public-private-partnership mode, which incidentally is the first choice of the government. The report had argued that such projects world over had been built by the government. With Railways financially stressed and focus of the NDA government more on capacity augmentation, there appears a big question mark if it would seriously pursue the dream bullet train project. The NDA government appears more keen for semi-high corridors, which would not incur cost as estimated for bullet trains.

Kochi Metro to become Symbol of Modern Kochi

Kochi: Welcome to Kochi Metro that is changing the landscape of the city beyond recognition led by ‘Metro Superman’ E Sreedharan, 83,  Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Kochi Metro Rail Limited and the Kerala government. Till three years ago, Kochi was identified with Chinese nets and placid backwaters, but now it has a new icon:  the Metro corridor running high above the citizens’ heads along the 18-km first reach from Aluva to Maharaja’s college ground through which trains are scheduled to roll along from June 2016. When the French-built gleaming coaches make their appearance finally, they are guaranteed to provide a world-class travelling experience for Kochiites, nay the entire Keralites in fact.

This will be in contrast to their experiences so far, which  have been very local and almost brutal: the red killer buses driven by the most undisciplined drivers in the world  through  potholed roads and  causing a high number of accidents; unwary passengers being robbed of their valuables by pickpockets in the huge rush; women subjected to harassment; bikes and cars going on the rampage through congested roads; pedestrians getting knocked down  and  autorickshaws running  without meters and overcharging. All these would hopefully be a thing of the past by June next year when, as promised by Sreedharan, Kochi Metro trains will run, bringing in comfort,  convenience and reliability. When the rigs started digging deep into the Kochi soil for pile foundations in June 2013,  Kochiites couldn’t have imagined such dramatic changes so rapidly in their surroundings. Sreedharan and Kochi Metro are set to rewrite the national record by finishing the work within three years after its launch, the fastest for any metro. The Chennai Metro took six years to complete the 10-km stretch, Delhi Metro four years for the 8.5-km stretch and Bangalore six years for the first six-km route.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had entrusted the work with Sreedharan and the DMRC against all opposition, just like he has done in the case of Vizhinjam port project now, which will be executed by  Modi-friend Adani.

Neither hartals and rains nor other umpteen hurdles, including land acquisition issues, prevented the Metro from racing ahead. The old landmarks have given way to new ones, roads have been widened, new bridges built and obstructing buildings pulled down to pave way for the metro corridor. The Metro has actually become a people’s movement and the citizens have  put up with all the inconveniences of rebuilding and reconstruction, traffic jams and diversions in the wake of the 25-km, Rs 5,200-crore mega project going full steam. Also, even the militant local labour have abandoned their negative attitude, though there are scarcely any Malayali workers carrying out the work. They gaze at the tall and mighty pillars coming up fast and the huge piers and girders being mounted overnight with effortless ease by contract companies’ men who go about their work with military precision and discipline alien to the Malayali work culture.

 Those who have travelled in metros in major cities like Dubai, London or Delhi know what make them world-class.  The spotlessly clean and air-conditioned  coaches are inviting and there is no feeling of rush or exhaustion. Most city dwellers prefer the metro, which in  Dubai presents a colourful microcosm of the world with different nationalities rubbing shoulders with each other.   There are no hassles involved in buying tickets, boarding or alighting,  and checking is automated at the entry itself with no conductors and cleaners breathing down your neck, like in Kochi buses.

That Kochiites have already imbibed the Metro spirit is quite evident from a poster that appeared on the sidewall of the north overbridge built by the DMRC a year ago. It said, “This is the symbol of modern Kochi, don’t dirty this area with graffiti.” Nevertheless, the notice was pasted not by the DMRC, but by Youth Congress men

Maharashtra to levy Surcharge on Stamp Duty for urban Metro Rail projects

Mumbai: Maharashtra residents will have to bear the burden of the upcoming mass rapid transport projects such as the Metro Rail in their cities.  The state government will soon levy additional surcharge on stamp duty for implementing of such vital important urban transport projects.

Currently Metro Rail projects are proposed for Mumbai, Nagpur and Pune cities in Maharashtra.

According to the draft legislation, the state government has proposed one per cent surcharge on the stamp duty on certain instruments such as sale, gift and usufructuary mortgage of immovable property in the cities, where such projects are to be executed. The idea is to facilitate the infrastructure projects by means of required funds.

The funds would be used for mass rapid transport system such as Metro Rail, monorail, sealinks, freeways and Bus Rapid Transport System. The funds would be passed on to the municipal corporation or any other agency that has undertaken the project to ensure its timely implementation.

This would be done by amending the Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act. A bill pertaining to this is expected to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Recharge your Metro Smart Card the Mobile Way on Delhi Metro

Helping commuters avoid long queues at ticket counters, the Delhi Metro on Monday launched smart card recharge facility at ICICI Bank’s Business Correspondent Networks (outlets) across the national capital

New Delhi: Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) today launched a top up (recharge) facility of Metro Smart Cards through ICICI Bank Business Correspondent Network (Outlets) located across the Delhi and NCR region.

“These outlets are not to be mistaken with ICICI bank branches. They are outlets which can be located at your neighbouring mobile recharge shop or some other store enabling you to add value to your card in a way mobile top ups are done,” a metro spokesman said.

An official said that these outlets were not the bank’s branches and can be located by commuters by sending an SMS -METROPin Code – to 9222208888.

A metro statement elaborated the process as part of which a customer will have to provide the Metro Smart Card Number (at the back panel of the card), the recharge amount in cash (minimum is Rs.100 and maximum Rs.3000 at present) and mobile number to the agent at the outlet. The customer can pay in cash.

Once done, the customer will receive status update of the transaction through SMS; and for a successful transaction will need to validate the top up amount in the smart card at any of the automatic vending machines installed at 86 Metro stations in order to complete the process.

But the only hurdle is that recharges done through this route will have to be validated by tapping the card in add value machines (AVM-white colour machine) installed near customer care centre of selected stations.

In case of a failed transaction, the customer would be notified of the reason.

DMRC data says, about 70 per cent of metro commuters use smart cards presently while around 16,000 smart cards are sold every day from the various stations of the 190 km long network.

India’s Loco, Rolling stock, Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical, Traffic, Signal and its parts exports down by 62.52%

InfodriveIndia.com, India’s premier research company in export import market research, announced today that India’s Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts exports in June- 2015 has fallen to US$ 5.25 M a decrease of 62.52% compared to May 2015

New Delhi: InfodriveIndia.com, India’s premier research company in export import market research, announced today that India’s Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts exports in June- 2015 has fallen to US$ 5.25 M, a decrease of 62.52% compared to May 2015.

This finding is based on India Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts export data of InfodriveIndia.com and is based on export shipping bills filed at Indian customs by exporters from India through June- 2015 at more than 170+ ports in India like JNPT, Bombay Air and Sea, Chennai Air & Sea, Delhi IGI Air, Delhi Tughlakhabad ICD, Delhi Patparganj, Kolkata Air and Sea, Bangalore Air and many more.

InfodriveIndia.com India Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts Export database is considered to be the most comprehensive, up-to-date and authentic information on India’s foreign trade of Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts.

According to Pradeep, Chief Research Associate of InfodriveIndia.com, compared to May 2015, a decrease of USD 5.25 M in June- 2015 has been noticed. He further gives a analysis and break up of India export items like major product categories, major countries and major Indian ports under Railway or Tramway Locomotives, Rolling-Stock, Rail Way or Tramway Track Fixtures, Fittings, Mechanical Traffic Signal and its parts as follows :

  • Exports of Parts of Railway or Tramway Locomotives or Rolling Stock has fallen month on month basis by -22.54%.
    Total value of exports in June- 2015 was 3.95 M, compared to May 2015, there is a decrease of -1.15 M in June- 2015, growth rate in percentage terms is -22.54%, the major destination countries were United States, Korea, Republic of, Germany, China and France and major Indian ports were JNPT, Bangalore ICD, Delhi TKD ICD, Delhi Air and Hyderabad Air.
  • Exports of Railway or Tramway Track Fixtures and Fittings and Mechanical Signalling has fallen month on month basis by -14.76%.
    Total value of exports in June- 2015 was 0.61 M, compared to May 2015, there is a decrease of -0.11 M in June- 2015, growth rate in percentage terms is -14.76%, the major destination countries were South africa, United Kingdom, Saudi arabia, Malaysia and Korea, Republic of and major Indian ports were Madras Sea, JNPT and Calcutta Sea.
  • Exports of has grew month on month basis by 3.1%.
    Total value of exports in June- 2015 was 0.36 M, compared to May 2015, there is a increase of 0.01 M in June- 2015, growth rate in percentage terms is 3.1%, the major destination countries were Singapore, Belgium, Turkey, Malaysia and Tanzania and major Indian ports were Bombay Sea, Vizag Sea, JNPT, Delhi TKD ICD and Tuticorin Sea.
  • Exports of Other Rail Locomotives and Locomotive Tenders. has grew month on month basis by 632.71%.
    Total value of exports in June- 2015 was 0.3 M, compared to May 2015, there is a increase of 0.26 M in June- 2015, growth rate in percentage terms is 632.71%, the major destination countries were United States and Sierra Leone and major Indian ports were JNPT, Bombay Air, Bangalore ICD and Bangalore Air.

Pradeep says that the above information is on major product categories, and users requiring detailed analysis and reports on their specific products can contact Sales team at InfodriveIndia.com with detailed description of their product, brand names and its uses.

According to Pradeep, usually InfodriveIndia.com team delivers most of the projects within 3 working days.

InfodriveIndia.com analysis and research is done from India export shipment data from Indian customs which is based on export shipping bills filed at various ports, InfodriveIndia reporters collect this data from every Indian port, and InfodriveIndia database yields the most timely, accurate, comprehensive information available on trade through India Ports. Recently after a long and persistent lobbying with Indian Govt, InfodriveIndia.com has been able to release export import data almost on realtime basis, bringing the backlog time to just 3 days, compared to Govt sources which are around 6 months old. Another unique feature of InfodriveIndia.com database is unparalleled coverage of 170+ ports in India.

Company Profile :

InfodriveIndia.com is market leader and primary source of India Export statistics in India. The India Import Export data bank, which is at the core of InfodriveIndia.com trade information services is unique and has been categorized by Harmonized system in over 25,000 product codes. InfodriveIndia researchers provide expert data analysis and interpretation tools, Charts, Pivot reports in MS Excel and detailed item wise records to support decision-marking for International Trade, understanding India export market, competitive intelligence and brand protection.

World’s top market research companies, Export promotion councils, trade associations, domestic and foreign governments, and over 18,000 corporates from more than 80+ countries rely on InfodriveIndia.com for meaningful export import trade intelligence to guide their International business strategies.

Media & Sales Contact :
Prashant Kumar
Vice President – Marketing & Strategic Alliances
Infodrive India
E-2, 3rd Floor, Kalkaji Main Road, New Delhi, India
Tel: +91-11-40703045
Email : mrktg@infodriveindia.com
Web : www.infodriveindia.com

China plans to extend Qinghai-Tibet Railway network upto Kathmandu in Nepal

Khatmandu: China is proposing to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway network right next to Nepal border with a long-term vision to enhance connectivity between the two countries.

China has begun a feasibility study to expand its rail network further 540 km from Shigatse to Jilong (near Kerung) and Yadong towns near Nepal and India border respectively, according to an official of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

During a meeting with visiting Nepali and Indian journalists in Lhasa a few weeks ago, Ji Guogang, director of TAR for development and reform commission, said that the works on railway expansion to the towns would begin once the feasibility study is completed.

Kerung is less than 35km from bordering Rasuwa district, while Yadong 100km from Gangtok, the capital of Indian state of Sikkim. Kathmandu is around 100km away from Rasuwa.

Tibet has the lowest density of railway network in China. But TAR officials are keen to change it for the better.

“TAR has been important channel for China-Nepal interaction. Therefore, connectivity of highway, railway and aviation are important aspects of bilateral relationship between China and Nepal,” Guogang said in the presence of other senior officials of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) TAR committee, including Wu Yinggjie, the first deputy secretary of the committee.

As China prepares to expand railway network to Jilong, the Nepal government has also unveiled a plan to develop the Jilong port as an alternative trade route.

During the budget presentation last week, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat said the government has put promotion the Jilong inland port as an alternative route for Nepal China trade.

The TAR official said that the railway network could be extended to Kathmandu, even to Lumbini based on the willingness of the two governments.

China has agreed in principle to extend the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to Nepal border and its extension inside Nepali territory has become subject of bilateral discussions on many occasions.

The Press Trust of India reported on July 2 that China had proposed a trilateral economic corridor with India through Nepal and a railway line linking the three nations via Tibet.

The news agency has quoted Huang Xilian, deputy director general of the Asian Affairs Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, as saying that the India-Nepal-China Corridor is a major initiative to promote the connectivity in the region especially between China and India and help quake-hit Nepal.

Experts say China wanted to link up with India and other South Asian countries through this border post. The 265-km long road linking Rasuwa-Trishuli-Raxaul is the shortest route over land between India and China. The Chinese leadership has also pledged to construct an alternative cargo route alongside Arniko highway.

Connectivity of highway, railway and aviation between Tibet and Nepal are critical aspects for bilateral relationship between China and Nepal, the TAR officials said, adding that the railway network expansion is taking place as the long-term railway plan of the central government of China.

Responding to a pointed question if the railway network will reach upto Kathmandu, Guogang said: “Chairman Mao [Mao Zedong] already said that the railway network should be connected to Kathmandu.

I believe your wish will come true.”

Construction works on the railway link connecting Lasha to Nyingchi are under way, Chinese officials said. Nyingchi is a Chinese prefecture close to Indian state of Arunachal.

Railway Ministry and Odisha Govt sign MoU for cost-sharing on Dasappla-Bolangir Railway Line project

Bhubaneswar (BBS): A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed today between the Ministry of Railways and the Government of Odisha on implementation of Dasapalla-Bolangir segment of Khurda Road – Bolangir New Broad Gauge Railway Line on cost sharing basis. The agreement was signed in the presence of Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu, Minister of State for Railways Sh. Manoj Sinha, Speaker, Odisha Legislative Assembly, Shri Niranjan Pujari, Minister of Commerce & Transport, Govt. of Odisha, Shri Ramesh Chandra Manjhi, Members of Parliament from Odisha namely Shri A.U. Singh Deo, Shri Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, Dr.Prasanna Kumar Patasani, Ms. Pratyusha Rajeshwari Singh, Sh. Baishnab Parida were among those present on the occasion. Signatories to the MoU were Shri Ved Parkash Dudeja, Executive Director (Works) Ministry of Railways and Shri Sanjay Rastogi, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Commerce & Transport Deptt., Govt. of Odisha.

Khurda Road-Bolangir (289 km) new line project has been taken up by Railways at an anticipated cost of Rs.3050 cr. To complete this important infrastructure project, Government of Odisha has consented to partner with Railways by providing land free of cost and sharing 50% of the construction cost for Dasapalla to Bolangir(177 kms) part of this project. The present MoU has been signed for this cost sharing arrangement.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu said that signing of this MoU will go a long way in developing infrastructure in Odisha, as Khurda-Bolangir new line running from East to West across the state will accelerate the development in the districts falling on this line. The State of Odisha, being a mineral rich state, has a special place in today’s economic scenario of our country and Railway is aware of its responsibility to cater to the needs of transportation of people and goods. He also assured that Railways will complete the projects expeditiously. He called upon Railway Board officials to implement all Railway projects using the management practice of PERT (project evaluation and review technique) so that proper timelines and proper task assignments can be ensured in implementing the projects.

Sh. Suresh Prabhu pointed out that Odisha got special attention since formation of the new government at Centre. We enhanced the outlay for development of railway network in Odisha in 2014-15 (Rs 1073 cr.) by about 40% as compared to 2013-14(Rs 754 cr.). This year, it has been further enhanced to 3 times (Rs 3310 cr ) as compared to last year. He emphasised that Railways will continue its efforts to develop infrastructure in remote and backward area of the country. Sh. Suresh Prabhu said that we are also working on setting up a dedicated company for implementation of railway projects in collaboration with Govt. of Odisha. I already held discussions with Chief Minister of Odisha who has agreed for the same. Once this dedicated company comes into being, it will have focused attention on implementing projects in Odisha.

In his speech, Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha said that Odisha stands prominently in Indian Railways network having total length of 2516 km. Rail network density in Odisha is 6.00 km/ lakh of population against national average of 5.44 km/lakh of population. The signing of the present MoU will help in creating job opportunities in this naxal affected and under developed area. It is railways endeavour to strengthen the congested network in the country, particularly near the East Coast to meet the growing need of transportation.

Speaking on the occasion, The Speaker , Odisha Legislative Assembly, Shri Niranjan Pujari said that the project will open new vistas of opportunities in this area served by in this railway line. It is, in fact, a lifeline for Odisha. It will bring socio-economic development of most backward area of KBK .

In his address, Minister of Commerce & Transport, Govt. of Odisha, Shri Ramesh Chandra Manjhi said that the Railway line running across the state from east to west will usher the six districts viz. Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh, Boudh, Subarnapur and Bolangir into a new era of development.

The MPs from the State participating in the programme appreciated the initiative of Minister of Railways in getting this important MoU signed. They also acknowledged that the Odisha has got more allocation for railway projects in this year’s Railway Budget.

In his address Chairman, Railway Board Sh A. K. Mital said that this MoU is a welcome step and will go a long way in infrastructure development in the state of Odisha. The project will be completed in three years of time after handing over the land by the state.

Railways to run Bengaluru-Kamakhya Flexifare Special Trains via Chennai Central

Bangalore: Railways will operate flexi-fare Suvidha weekly special trains between Bengaluru and Kamakhya, via Chennai Central, to clear extra rush.

No 02509 Bangalore Cantonment-Kamakhya Suvidha special train will leave Bangalore Cantonment at 10.15am on July 31, August 7, 14 and 21 (Fridays), leave Chennai Central at 4.25pm on the same day and reach Kamakhya at 11.25am on the third day (Sundays).

No 02510 Kamakhya-Bangalore Cantonment Suvidha special train will leave Kamakhya on 8.30pm on July 28, August 4, 11 and 18 (Tuesdays), leave Chennai Central at 3.15pm on the third day (Thursdays) and reach Bangalore Cantonment at 9.15pm (on Thursdays).

The trains will have two AC 2-tier, four AC 3-tier, nine second class sleeper and two luggage-cum-brake van with accommodation for the disabled and will stop at New Bongaigaon, New Jalpaiguri, Kishanganj, Malda Town, Rampurhat, Howrah, Kharagpur, Bhubaneswar, Vizianagaram Junction, Duvvada, Vijayawada, Chennai Central and Katpadi.

The railway ministry has announced Suvidha special trains to meet the demand for travel on highly popular routes. These trains have dynamic fares which are flexible depending on demand.

RailTel bags prestigious MPLS-VPN Order from State Bank of India

MUMBAI: Western Region of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd (RailTel) have bagged the prestigious order from India’s largest banking organisation – State Bank of India (SBI) for connecting 3000 SBI branches (including the associate banks) spread across the country.

SBI has placed the Letter of Intent on RailTel on nomination basis. The total value of the deal could be more than INR 60 Crore per annum, said a source from SBI/Belapur on the condition of anonymity.

As part of the deal, RailTel will offer a premium class of services to SBI in 3000 branch locations on the MPLS-VPN.  The delivery at branch sites will be envisaged through OFC/RF whichever is feasible, on RailTel’s networki, however in RF connectivities, RailTel will be using its existing Digital/Analog Microwave towers as well as by constructing new GBTs with the help of the empaneled System Integrator with whom the Rate Contract was signed.

RailTel’s MPLS VPN will support any to any connectivity of the SBI and will be a closed user group for Bank and will not have any physical and logical interference with other customers of the TSP or Internet route/traffic. The architecture used for the complete solution will be end to end enabled with layer-3 routing domain (end to end transparent layer-3 routing using static and dynamic routing) with Latency not more than 120 ms (End to End) for a 1500 byte packet size measured for a minimum of 1000 packets.

SBI also sought special approval from the Strategic Executive Board to empanel RailTel in lines with BSNL to directly place order for Primary 2 Mbps MPLS to branch without tender.  For secondary / alternative links, SBI has already floated a RFP and online reverse auction was conducted on 15th July 15.

State Bank of India has a Wide Area Network (WAN) known as State Bank Connect (SB Connect), connects its branches/offices and that of Associate Banks predominantly on BSNL MPLS which connects around 20000 branches/offices, and additionally around 3500 branches connected through VSATs. The Managed Services for this entire existing network is with Dimension Data India Ltd. (an NTT Group Co.,).  SBI sought to provide alternate connectivity to about 22000 domestic branches/offices of the State Bank Group by June 2016, and for this purpose it is proposed to use Wireless solutions from Telecom Service Providers, except BSNL/MTNL.  State Bank Group (SBG) for the limited purpose of this RFP means State Bank of India, and it‟s Associate Banks.

As part of the deal, RailTel shall submit the details of the technology used related to end to end connectivity from the branch to SBI data center in the following domains:

  • Devices used for end to end connectivity
  • Different type of authentication used at different points of connectivity
  • Level of security and authentication process for providing the connectivity
  • Details of the features available/integrated for Guaranteed availability of service for providing end to end connectivity even during failures at multiple points between branch to Data Center.

The Bank will arrange for UAT & SAT for each type of technology offered by RailTel and clearance will be given only if the Bank finds the technology to be acceptable from a functional, performance and security point of view.  The links at the data center shall terminate on a layer 3 device which will be provided by the Bank. The responsibility of the RailTel for managing the connectivity shall be from the Branch/Office site up to the layer 3 devices, provided by the Bank at the Bank’s data centers. Laying of cables up to the device shall be the responsibility of the RailTel.

The duration of the contract is valid for five years from the date of first Purchase Order yet to issued by SBI. RailTel shall have the option to agree for the extensions of the solution (from the date of expiry of the contract) for any period not less than one year at a time and for any number of times at the request of SBI and at mutually agreed commercials.

.

Chinese Metro Rail team visits Vijayawada, inspects Andhra NCR

Delegation meets VMC chief; promises to complete Metro project provided VMC gives necessary support

Vijayawada: A Chinese delegation representing China Railway 23rd Bureau Group Company Limited Overseas Metro Rail Project headed by its Deputy General Manager Lee Ming visited different locations in Vijayawada and Tullur across the Krishna river on Sunday.

The delegation was in the city on the invitation of the state government to scout the region for investing in the proposed metro rail project in Vijayawada and the New Capital Region (NCR) named as “Amaravathi” by the State Government recently, in a phased manner and also for high speed Metro rail connectivity between Gannavaram Airport and the NCR.

Lee Ming and others explained their company’s track record to Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) commissioner G Veerapandian  and showed the brochures and photographs of various projects they had executed in different companies. The company representatives expressed willingness to partner in Vijayawada Metro Rail project. Already the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the metro rail project and the government’s decision as to whom to award the contract of executing the project is awaited.

The delegation visited old bus stand area, Besant Road, Museum Road, Eluru Road, Penamaluru, Gannavaram Airport and Tullur. DMCR Project Director G.P.Ranga Rao, VMC city planner S Chakrapani, executive engineers Bhaskar, Dhanunjay and others were present.

Detailed Project Report

A Detailed Project Report (DPR) on the first phase of the Vijayawada Metro Rail project, estimated to cost Rs. 6,823 crore, has already been submitted to Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Principal Advisor and Advisor to A.P. Government on Metro rail projects, E. Sreedharan.

According to the report, Corridor-1 will be linked to the capital city of Amaravati, and Corridor II will be connected to the Gannavaram airport. While, Corridor 1, between Pandit Nehru Bus Terminal and Penamaluru, covers a distance of 12.76 km, Corridor II (Pandit Nehru Bus Terminal to Nidamanuru) covers 13.27 km.

During their visit, the delegation inspected the proposed Metro line track and station points in the city. The delegation also called on Vijayawada Municipal Corporation Commissioner G. Veerapandian. Mr.Ming said the company would complete the Metro rail project in 18 months, if the Corporation provided the necessary assistance. During the meeting, the delegation also discussed the DPR.

Berhampur BJP leaders submits Memorandum to Rail Minister for better Rail links, Wagon Unit in Ganjam

Brahmapur (BAM): The Visakhapatnam-Amritsar Express which is the only direct train for Delhi from Brahmapur should run daily, said a memorandum by senior BJP leader Ram Chandra Panda to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu during his visit to the State recently.

“We appreciate the fact that for the first time, a token budgetary approval has been granted for the proposed rail wagon factory at Sithalapalli near Brahmapur city, which eventually can be developed as a train washing facility center, so that all the trains which are meant for originating from Brahmapur can be started from the city instead of being taken to other stations like Palasa for washing.

Similarly, till date there is no direct railway communication between Brahmapur to Rourkella. Since a large number of people from Ganjam district are working in Rourkella, the Rourkella-Bhubaneswar Rajarani Express may be extended to Brahmapur to serve the needs of the people of south Odisha,” the memorandum urged.

Around five lakh Odia people from Ganjam district are currently working in Surat in Gujarat and the only communication for them is Puri-Ahmedabad Express which runs only four days in a week, while the train connecting Puri-Jagannath dham with Dwaraka Peetha runs only once in a week causing a great deal of inconveniences to the people of south Odisha, including Ganjam district, the memorandum pointed out, demanding that the Puri-Ahmedabad train be made regular and Puri-Okha train be made tri-weekly for convenience of the passengers and pilgrims.

It further said that people who reach Brahmapur Station in the early hours suffer a lot due to lack of toilet facilities for which in front of the GRP office, a “Sullabh Souchalaya” should be opened.

The memorandum further pointed out that a narrow gauge from Palasa to Gunupur via Paralakhemundi (Gajapati district) was converted to a broad gauge at the initiative of the NDA Government. Now only a passenger train is running from Puri to Gunupur and returns back which takes about 12 hours to cover a distance of about 250 km. This being the only train catering to the needs of the people of Andhra Pradesh (Sreekakulam district) and Odisha (Gajapati district) covering a substantial portion tribal area is not useful for office goers. Hence, an Intercity Express from Gunupur to Bhubaneswar with limited stopovers may be run to facilitate the passengers of Gajapati and Rayagada districts of Odisha as well as Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh to reach Bhubaneswar, it urged.

The memorandum also demanded for extension of rail link from Gunupur Theruvali, an industrial pocket of Rayagada district, to connect the hinterland of the KBK districts to provide port connectivity to Gopalpur port. With this new link, the distance between KBK districts and Brahmapur will be reduced by 70 km, besides facilitating the running of Delhi-Raipur bound trains in this route. Further, the proposed extension will not only provide connectivity to the Gopalpur port and the proposed port “Bahuda Muhan” on the river mouth  on Bay of Bengal, but can also serve the interior and the backward districts of Odisha, it said.

Ailing Railway Minister of Bangladesh shifted to Singapore

Dhaka: The Railway Minister of Bangladesh Mr.Mazibul Hoque has been flown to Singapore for better treatment of the stomach ulcer and resultant internal bleeding he was suffering since last a week. The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the ministry Md Shariful Alam said the minister had been undergoing treatment at National University Hospital.

An air ambulance left Dhaka with the 68-year-old minister at 5am on Saturday. Hoque’s wife Honufa Akter Rikta and the Minister’s personal secretary and other team of doctors were accompanying him.

He had been taken to a Comilla hospital after having fallen sick on Thursday night before being transferred to Combined Military Hospital (CMH) in Dhaka.

Ministry’s PRO Alam said the minister was suffering from stomach ulcer, diabetic and high blood pressure.

Earlier, the hospital’s Director Rois Abdur Rob said a unit of blood was transfused into Hoque to compensate for internal bleeding caused by stomach ulcer. He was later transferred to the CMH.

The minister Hoque hails from Chouddagram in Comilla. He got married last year.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, while exchanging Eid greeting at Ganabhaban, requested the people to pray for his recovery.

“The minister has fallen sick following the hard work he did to make the Eid journeys by railway hassle-free,” the Prime Minister of Bangladesh said.

India’s Union Minister of Railways Mr.Suresh Prabhu inquired about the health condition of his counterpart in Bangladesh.

Railway Employees should be Stress-free for better Rail services: CCM/SECR

Raipur (R): Railway is one of the key organisations playing important role indevelopment of nation and therefore it is needed that railway employee are stress-free for providing better services expressed Chief Commercial Manager SECR GD Sharma while addressing a special workshop on stress management.

The workshop was held at Railway officer’s club ‘Ullas’ in WRS Colony on Saturday. The aim of workshop was to help railway employees in managing stress so that it could have positive impact on Railway services, officers said.

Addressing the gathering GD Sharma said that stress has become one ofthe major problems of present day life. It is necessary that every person should be stress free for moving ahead in life. “For making services provided to commuters better and smoothfunctioning of railway system this special program over stress management has been organized,” he said.

Several key tips for dealing with stress were provided during the workshop. The occasion was marked with presence of Divisional Railway Manager Rahul Gautam and long with others.

Identity Proof not required to book Tatkal Tickets from 1st Sept, 2015

New Delhi: Passengers booking tatkal train tickets would not be required to produce identity proof anymore as the railways have decided to discontinue with this provision. The modified provision could come into effect by 1 September.

“Under the modified rules, there will be no need to furnish photocopy of proof of identity while booking Tatkal ticket from computerized reservation counter or to indicate its number at the time of booking of tatkal ticket at the counter or through internet,” said a railway statement.

However, one of the passengers has to produce the original proofs of identity during the journey to avoid being penalized.

Officials said the decision to do away with producing identity card while purchasing tatkal ticket was taken to avoid any duplicity as the passengers had to produce identity proof at the time of the journey, too.

The present provision also led to harassment of those passengers carrying a different identity proof at the time of the journey than the one produced at the time of booking tickets, thus being penalized in the process, they said.

Currently, passengers at the time of booking a ticket have to provide a photocopy of identity card which he/she will carry during the journey. The number of this identity card is indicated on the ticket as well as reservation chart and during the journey the passenger has to carry the same original proof of identity during the journey.

MoS (Home) launches all-India Railway Helpline No: 1512

New Delhi: MoS (Home) Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary launches “Delhi Police Railway Helpline No.1512” The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary launched the Centralized Delhi Police Railway Helpline No.1512 at a function here today. Lauding the innovative step, MoS (Home) asked the Delhi Police to arrange extensive publicity for its Railway Helpline to raise awareness among the commuting rail traffic. Shri Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary also commended the Delhi Police for its grand plans to make “SMART” all Police Stations in the National Capital.

Delhi Police Railway Helpline No.1512 will serve as a very useful mechanism for rail passengers. The passengers now can file complaints and make suggestions from moving trains without deboarding. Any person can make calls on this all-India Helpline Number from anywhere across the country. An FIR will be lodged on fax/email and copy of the FIR sent to the complainant through fax/email/post.

This Helpline will deal with cases related to problems faced by passengers at Railway Stations and on moving trains. Cases can also be lodged on Police Control Room No.100 and the Delhi Police Railway’s dedicated What’sApp No.875081512 where related Photos and Videos can also be received. STD facilities have been provided in the Delhi Police Control Room to contact anybody in distress and also talk to any concerned Control Room of States/Police Stations. The Delhi Police Railway Control Room will promptly transfer the complaint to escort duty staff in running train for immediately attending to the passenger’s grievance. Police Officers will remain in touch with complainants till their problem is resolved.

For passengers serviced by cellphone service providers in Delhi-NCR Region, 1512 is an all-India number; for passengers having their mobile phones registered anywhere else across the country, they can also access the Delhi Police Railway Helpline by dialing 1XXX-XX-1512.

A phone call on 1512 from anywhere in India will land in the concerned Control Room of Government Railway Police (GRP), thereby leading to swift response to attend the distress call. This service provides single number on a pan-India basis for GRP related issues.

The Delhi Police has also initiated interstate coordination meetings to evolve measures for passengers’ safety and redressal of grievances of the public and also to share information relevant to other states.

Delhi Police Commissioner Shri BS Bassi attended the function in addition to senior officials from Delhi Police and Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Consultant to aid Western Railway RPF in checking e-ticket fraud

Mumbai: The Western Railways unit of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has hired a consultant who can give specific tip-offs on e-ticketing fraud.

“The aim of hiring a consultant is to monitor the activities of ticketing agents without arousing suspicion. The consultant coordinates with our teams and keeps looking for areas where the activity is high and helps us zero in on malpractices,” said a senior official of the security agency.

The latest arrest made by the RPF in this regard is of 38-year-old Vishnukant Mishra from a cyber cafe in Kandivali East. Mishra had a history of booking 14 e-tickets worth Rs 35283. Mishra used to charge Rs 50 as his commission for booking each e-ticket. A raid was conducted on Mishra’s house in the same neighbourhood and several visiting cards of a travel agency were found.

The RPF has also recently cracked the whip on authorised agents who breach regulations and create personal log-ins for booking e-tickets. Investigators have been writing to the IRCTC to cancel the registration of such agents and blacklist them.

“There are regulations in place for authorised agents to function. For instance, they can only start booking tickets online after a gap of two hours from the opening time accorded to the public. This means, where reservation starts at 8am for regular buyers, agents can only book 10am onwards. Similarly for tatkal tickets, agents can start booking only after 12 noon. Some agents, however, create personal log-ins and start booking at the same time as the public,” said the official. “Everytime an authorised agent is arrested, we mail the IRCTC to cancel his registration, penalise him more than is prescribed in the Railway Act (over Rs.20000) and blacklist him so that he loses business. We want to warn passengers against approaching such agents and are appealing that a warning be printed on tickets which could make conniving passengers liable for prosecution,” he added.

3200 trains cancelled, 50000 tickets refunded by Indian Railways since June 17 due to RRI/Itarsi Fire mishap

Trains operated by various Zonal Railways across India are failing to maintain their time schedules even a month after the fire accident that destroyed the Route Relay Interlocking System at the Itarsi Railway Station in Madhya Pradesh last month – perhaps one of the biggest crisis of such magnitude ever faced by a Railway system across the world in the recent past!

New Delhi: Indian Railways train services operated by various Zonal Railways across the country are failing to maintain their time schedules even a month after a fire destroyed a RRI signaling system at the Itarsi railway station in Madhya Pradesh.

On June 17, a fire broke out in the Indian Railways route relay interlocking (RRI) cabin at Itarsi, sparking off one of country’s biggest transportation crisis.

Nearly 3,200 trains have been cancelled since June 17, resulting in 50,000 ticket refunds per day, causing massive revenue losses to an already fund-starved state-run Indian Railways network.

“A team of 950 engineers under the leadership of 50 officials are on the repair job,” said Piyush Mathur, chief spokesperson, WCR. “Our officers have been working day and night and we are trying our best to get the job done before the deadline. But given the nature of complications and the job, it is not possible to say anything conclusively.”

Ankit Jain, a passenger, said, “People are facing a lot of problems due to the delay in trains. The biggest issue is that they have not been able to fix the signal system even after a month. It means if such a problem were to arise in another city, India would come to standstill.”

“We have to unnecessarily pay hotel bills, lodging and family face problems and our work gets delayed,” added Ajay Kumar, another passenger.

Defending the work ethic of the Indian Railways, Shailesh Khandelwal, a senior official, said, “It is an unprecedented accident. All the departments of the railway are working round the clock in tandem to restore the system. We are trying to fix this problem as soon as possible so that passengers don’t have to face many problems. I think that it will be restored within three to four days.”

Around 275 Indian Railways trains pass through Itarsi daily to connect north, central and western India.

SER inaugurates new Pit Lines at Tikiapara Car Shed; gears up to increase 12 Coach EMU Fleet

Tikiapara (TPKR): The South Eastern Railway has inaugurated six examination pit lines at Tikiapara car shed on Kharagpur Railway Division. This will facilitate maintenance of 12 coach EMU rakes and will help improve suburban services.

Radhey Shyam, General Manager, South Eastern Railway inaugurated the extension of six examination pit lines at Tikiapara Car Shed under Kharagpur Division today to facilitate maintenance of 12 coach EMU rakes and increase the number of rakes in coming months towards the improvement of suburban services and better mobility.

Of the 188 EMU services in SER; 43 trains ply per day with 12 coach rakes. Radhey Shyam, General Manager, SER, during his inspection has stressed the need of enhancement of the holding capacity of 12 coach rakes to meet the increasing demand of the days.He has also asked for the induction of two more rakes (of 12 coaches) by August. SER, has already commissioned three new EMU rake, with Public Information System in EMU services. The 4th rake is under commissioning.

Since today, out of 188 EMU services in S E Railway 43 trains ply per day with 12 coach rakes which were 35 in number earlier. The further increase of one rake from date the total holding will amount to 8 rakes, he said.

Radhey Shyam, during his intensive inspection has stressed on the need of enhancement of the holding capacity of 12 coach rakes to meet the increasing demand of the days. He advised to induct another two 12 coaches rakes by August 2015.

South Eastern Railway has commissioned 3 new EMU 12 coaches’ rakes during the year 2014-15 with Public Information System in EMU services. The 4th rake is under commissioning.

To provide hassle free and comfortable journey to the senior citizens 07 and 08 nos. of seat have been earmarked for senior citizen commuters in both the driving motor coaches of EMU and MEMU trains respectively over South Eastern Railway.

The General Manager also inaugurated Electronic Interlocking System at Tikiapara. D Kamilla, Additional General Manager, Gautam Banerjee, Divisional Railway Manager/Kharagpur, Sri Ambrish Gupta, Chief Operations Manger, D K Gayen, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Ratan Kumar, Chief Administrative Officer/Construction and other Principal Officers of SE Railway accompanied the General Manager during the inaugurations.

Later, Radhey Shyam inspected Sankrail Freight Terminal Yard, Andul- Baltikuri Doubling work and Padmapukur pit lines construction work. He advised the officer concerned to complete the works within targeted time maintaining the quality of works.

Railways to increase Permissible Limit of Coaches in Express Trains from 24 to 26

The capacity expansion would be first carried out in about five trains on different routes where existing infra can handle such trains

New Delhi: Faced with the ever-increasing passenger rush, Railways have decided to increase the permissible limit of coaches in express trains from 24 to 26 to create additional berths. The capacity expansion would be first carried out in about five trains on different routes where existing infrastructure can handle such long trains.

Though Railway officials remain tight-lipped about the likely trains to be augmented, there are indications that a couple of Rajdhanis plying on Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes could be picked up. An announcement would be made after the clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety.

“The move would increase the berths available for reservation by about 100-150,” they said. At present, a train rake comprises 18 to 24 coaches depending on the patronage enjoyed by them. The talk of raising the permissible limit to 26 coaches has been going on for quite some time but plans could not be brought on the ground owing to lack of required infrastructure.

“But the beginning has been made and we are identifying which are the routes where we can run trains with 26 coaches,” they said. The length of platforms at stations which can accommodate such trains and the length of the loop lines are some of the requirements that are being looked into before the services are launched.

According to the Rail Budget for 2015-16, Indian Railways’ earnings from passenger traffic were estimated to rise 16.7 per cent to Rs 50,175 crore for the current fiscal year, envisaging more people travelling by trains. It estimated 860 crore passengers to travel by trains. To cope with the rush, Railways have added 130 coaches in as many trains during this fiscal apart from running special trains.

Economy will grow 2-3% faster if more investments are made in Railways: Suresh Prabhu

Pune: The Indian economy will register an increased growth by 2-3% if the country’s railway network is pumped with a massive investment to boost the connectivity, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.

“The Indian economy will grow by 2 to 3% more with increased investments in the railways as reforms in transportation sector are vital to exploit full growth potential of the country,” Prabhu said at a function in Pune last night.

Citing the example of China, he said, “China made massive investment in the railways and showed that a country can accelerate development by boosting connectivity.” Pointing out that congestion was one of the main problems faced by the Indian railways, the minister said doubling and tripling of the lines can happen only with a hike in investment in the sector.

He said the tendering process of the railways and other commercial decisions were not being handled by the railway minister in the NDA government, as far as the delegation and decentralisation of power to the departments is concerned.

“This has resulted in less loitering by agents in the Rail Bhavan,” he said.

“The Railway minister now works only on policy execution. Decentralisation of power of decision making, if necessary, is in the interest of a transparent administration,” he noted.

The cabinet had recently cleared development plans for 400 railway stations, Prabhu said, adding that the railways should be seen as a new medium of development for the country in future.

Private Sector to play a Big Role in Redevelopment of 400 Railway Stations

New Delhi: The proposal to let the private sector play a big role in redeveloping 400 railway stations is a very good one given how cash-strapped Indian Railways (IR) is. Even at a conservative estimate of R100 crore per station, the revamp will cost Rs 40,000 crore, which IR is unlikely to be able to spare given its other commitments. In a slightly different approach to PPP (public private participation), IR wants to try out the Swiss Challenge method for bidding out projects.

A couple of states — Gujarat and Rajasthan, for instance — have tried out this route. Typically, such auctions are used to build roads, ports, bridges or railways in the core sector, with the private sector taking the initiative to execute the project. The way this works is that there is first an unsolicited bid which can be subsequently matched, or bettered, by other players, following which the government awards a contract — the idea is to encourage innovation and high-end engineering capabilities.

While on the face of it, re-designing a railway station may not call for a very high degree of skill, it might nonetheless be worthwhile to try out the Swiss Challenge process because accommodating hotels, restaurants, shopping arcades, car parks and so on within the limited space will require enhanced architectural competence, and any innovation cannot hurt.

However, to make sure the PPP route works, IR must ensure the developer has all necessary clearances in hand before the work begins; there’s little point in playing the blame-game after the project is on the verge of being stalled as has happened in some other sectors. Given that the developer will earn the bulk of his revenues by monetising real estate, IR needs to design contracts carefully.

The last thing it wants is the kind of dispute that arose in the case of the Delhi airport where there was a dispute over whether revenues from developing commercial real estate in the airport area were ‘revenue’ or ‘debt’. At the same time, the developer must be allowed to make a reasonable return on the investment because there will be few takers otherwise for such projects in the future.

IR must eschew the typical government mindset which views the private sector suspiciously believing it is out to make a quick buck. Given interest rates remain relatively elevated at 11-12% today, developers would be looking to earn a rate of return of 16-17% for the project to even be worthwhile.

Also, any developer would be looking for a steady stream of business over the next few years, else it would not be worthwhile for it to develop any expertise in the field; IR cannot have rules that cap the number or value of projects that developers can hope to participate in for fear of allegations that it has behaved in a partisan manner. The cash-strapped IR will also do well to keep in mind that modernising railway stations are its best bet for involving the private sector, and will probably involve the least resistance from the unions.

Rail accidents claimed 25,006 lives in 2014 in India: NCRB

New Delhi: Over 25,000 people died and 3,882 were injured in railway accidents in 2014, a government report has said. The majority of railway accidents (61.6%) was due to fall from trains or collision with people on the tracks (17,480 out of 28,360 cases), the report said.

Maharashtra reported the maximum such cases, accounting for 42.5% of total cases of fall from train or collision of trains with people. A railway official said most such cases were reported from suburban services in the state and railways was running a campaign to educate people not to cross the tracks.

Of the total 25,006 deaths in railway accidents, 14,391 persons died due to either fall from trains or collision of trains with people on the tracks, accounting for 57.6% of total deaths in railway accidents.

A total of 469 cases of railway accidents occurred due to mechanical defects like poor design, track faults, bridge/tunnel faults during 2014. In Andhra Pradesh, 385 persons died in railway accidents due to mechanical defects.

Sabotage by extremists/terrorists/others caused 13 and five railways accidents in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh respectively that led to loss of 18 lives.

It was found that around 60 accidents were reported due to fault of drivers that killed 67 people.

The NCRB said 2,547 cases of ‘railway crossing accidents’ were reported which led to deaths of 2,575 people and injury to 126 people. Telangana (1,061 cases) reported the maximum number of railway crossing accidents, accounting for 41.7% of the total.

The report also said that 836 deaths took place at unmanned railway crossings and 78.2% of such incidents were reported in Assam alone during 2014.

Interestingly, most railway accidents (4,966 out of 28,360) were reported between 6 am and 9 am, accounting for 17.5% of the total. Between 9 am and 12 noon, 16.9% of railway accidents were reported.

Maharashtra reported the maximum accidents between 3 pm and 6 pm and between 6 pm and 9pm, accounting for 23.9% (11,902 cases) and 28.7% (13,927 cases) respectively.

Railways focusing on investments for decongesting rail traffic on IR: Prabhu

Pune: Pointing at lack of investment in the Indian Railways in the last 60 years, Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu said that his team is focused on bringing massive investments in the next five years which would help complete the pending infrastructure works, decongest traffic on existing routes by doubling and tripling tracks and maintain daily schedules of trains.

Prabhu was delivering a lecture on ‘Indian Railways contribution to Indian Economy’, at the city-based S P college on Saturday. The college is celebrating its centenary year.

Prabhu said the work of dedicated freight corridors on east and west sides was on at full swing and the allotment of tenders was expected to get over in the next nine months. About the work done so far, Prabhu said his ministry made 67 announcements in the last rail budget; the railways have made efforts to strengthen two trunk routes — Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata — which will ensure smooth running of trains on all connected routes.

Prabhu said, “Investments in the railways have been below expectations in the last six decades. Over three crore people travel by trains every day. It is a challenge to provide adequate infrastructure to manage daily movement of passengers and goods. Several tracks are congested which are carrying traffic about 150% above their capacity. Infrastructure constraints at the ground level lead to delays, accidents and substandard services,” he said.

Prabhu said, “The modernization of railways will play a vital role in Indian economy. Better investment would generate more employment, business opportunities and will establish better connectivity within the country. The country’s economy would grow by at least 2% to 3% more every year if the railway network is modernized. The ministry has floated a plan for next five years and is expecting an investment of over Rs 8.5 lakh crore,” he said.

Prabhu also said that he has taken some landmark decisions to improve daily working within the organization. One of the transformative decisions in the ministry was the delegation of powers, concerning commercial decisions, to the divisional railway managers and general managers. He also said that the minister’s work is restricted to policy-making and not of tendering.

“The railways have emphasized on the use of solar power at stations to curtail power bills. The ministry would conduct water audit to ensure its judicious use and there is a plan to install RO machines at more stations to provide clean water to passengers,” said the minister.

Prabhu used the platform to appeal to users to contribute in keeping the railway premises clean.

Direct local trains services between Lonavla-Pune-Daund by next financial year, says Prabhu:

The long-pending proposal of a direct local train service on the Lonavla-Pune-Daund section could materialise after March next year, said railway minister Suresh Prabhu on Saturday.

“The electrification of the Daund-Pune section is expected to get over by end of the current financial year. This will be followed by running of direct local trains between Lonavla-Pune and Daund,” Prabhu said.

The railways, with the Maharashtra government, has constituted a company to implement projects. “A meeting was recently held to expedite public transport projects along with rail projects within the Mumbai area. A similar meeting will be held for the Pune region. This will not only ensure implementation of rail projects, but will also look into other public transportation services like buses and autorickshaws,” said Prabhu.

The minister was speaking at a function organized in the city to inaugurate the divisional railway manager’s new administrative building. He also opened two foot-overbridges at Jejuri and Daund through a remote control.

Prabhu said, “We are making efforts to improve the rail network in Maharashtra, particularly around Pune. Two projects have been sanctioned for the city in the current budget: a third line between Pune and Lonavla and doubling of the Pune-Miraj-Londha track. The work has started. Besides, there is a plan to develop links between Karad-Chiplun and Kolhapu-Vaibhavwadi.”

Pune has been listed among 430 stations identified for redevelopment. “I would suggest the local railway authorities to work on priority for development of the Pune station,” he said.

The minister said that the ministry has set up a separate mechanism to receive complaints from passengers. The divisional mangers are told to look into complaints to ensure hassle-free journeys.

The local MLAs and MPs, including Anil Shirole, Amar Sable, Vandana Chavan, Vijay Shivtare were present. General manager of Central Railway Sunilkumar Sood and Pune divisional railway manager Suneet Sharma were also present.

Prabhu’s plan for better passenger services:

* 114 additional trains to Konkan for Ganapati festival
* Base kitchen at stations to serve fresh, cooked food to on-board passengers
* Mechanized laundries at maximum divisions to ensure clean linen
* Escalators at stations for senior citizens
* Tout-free reservation centres

Nine Railway Stations of Jharkhand are chosen for modernisation into world-class

Ranchi (R): Nine railway stations from Jharkhand are a part of the Centre’s list of 400 chosen for modernisation into world-class infrastructure through private-public partnership (PPP) mode, getting the seal of Union cabinet’s approval on July 16.

Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu has promised a web-based bidding process and evaluation by independent experts to ensure transparency in this ambitious exercise, which is likely to see mega investments from private partners.

Of the 400 A or A-1 category stations across India with focus on metros, major cities, pilgrimage centres and tourist destinations, Jharkhand’s nine are Ranchi, Hatia and Bokaro of South Eastern Railway, Daltonganj, Gomoh, Koderma and Parasnath of East Central Railway, and Jasidih and Madhupur of Eastern Railway.

Sanjoy Ghosh, Chief Public Relations Officer of the Calcutta-headquartered South Eastern Railway (SER), said all the nine were Category-A Railway stations.

An official from SER, Calcutta, said though the final modalities of revamp were yet to be known, the stations would be developed on the Swiss Challenge approach, which is by inviting open bids from interesting parties.

“For instance, a real estate developer may give a detailed proposal of redevelopment of a railway station, which would be uploaded on the official website. If someone comes up with a better proposal, that new proposal would be accepted, and this process would go on, till a special railway committee selects the best proposal,” the SER official said.

“Developers will leverage real estate development of the land and air space in and around the stations,” he added.

Niraj Kumar, senior divisional commercial manager of Ranchi division under SER, also maintained they were yet to formally get modalities of the project.

“Ranchi and Hatia railway stations are under our division. We are looking forward to out-of-the-box ideas from interested parties for redevelopment of these railway stations,” he said.

Prabhu, during his visit to Ranchi in June, had also maintained that they planned to convert Ranchi station into a world-class facility.

Reminded of the minister’s promise, senior divisional commercial manager Kumar said: “Making Ranchi station world class will take time but a dedicated team has already started working in this regard.”

Elaborating on the proposal, he said: “A world-class station is one that has proper transport linkages with other stations, high-end passenger amenities, including shops, restaurants and lounges, etc. All these will have to be done on the PPP mode. For this, you need to have land so that a private player can work uninterrupted.”

“We (the railways) have enough land but at various places we don’t have title deeds. Therefore, we have activated a dedicated team that is in constant touch with state government to transfer title deeds. The government is very positive and is cooperating with us. But it is a time-taking process and needs meticulous planning and paperwork on all fronts,” Kumar stressed.

Lifeline Express to stay on track for emergencies

Nashik: With three medical coaches having mini operation theatres, the Lifeline express will stay put at Nashik Road Railway station during the shahi parvani days to help those in need of medical help.

The Indian Railways had decided to deploy one health unit and three medical booths — two at Nashik Road and one at Odha — along with an ambulance at Nashik Road to treat people. The railways will now increase the number of medical booths to five. Altogether two ambulances will be stationed at Nashik Road to ensure timely medical help.

“However, the most important factor will be Lifeline express at Nashik Road railway station for providing all the necessary healthcare facilities during the period. With mini operation theatres at its disposal, the Railways will able to deal with emergencies more efficiently,” a senior railway official said on the condition of anonymity.

Besides, the Indian Railways has decided to start 29 trains — 15 of them being long distance — for taking the passengers from Nashik to the far off places. Besides 38 regular trains, there will additional 10 trains for the people moving outside the city during shahi pravani days. “There will ample number of trains for the pilgrims,” the official said.

The catering services for the passengers will also be upgraded during the shahi parvani days.

For providing additional facilities to the passengers, the railways has decided to set up 22 additional booking counters. Nearly seven booking counters are already functional. Three holding areas at goods shed and two at Nashik Road railway station will have 16 booking counters, while Sinnar and Trimbakeshwar will have four and two booking counters respectively.

For making reservation, the railways has started two new centres at Trimbakeshwar and four at Nashik.

IRCTC to install 4615 Water Vending Machines

New Delhi: Taking forward the Railways plan to provide clean drinking water at stations in low cost, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is installing more than 4500 vending machines in the first phase across the country.

To begin with, the IRCTC plans to install 4,615 water vending machines (WVMs) in the first phase at various stations in the National Capital Region including Agra and Jhansi divisions besides the divisions of Lucknow and Varanasi among others.

Passengers can avail the water at affordable rates which will be Rs 1 per glass, Rs 3 for half a litre, Rs 5 for one litre and Rs 20 for a can from these vending machines, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha said.

The move aims to benefit passengers at all stations and is a follow-up action to the 2015-16 railway budget that proposed provision of clean drinking water at low cost by installing water vending machines (WVM) at railway stations across the country.

We are using latest technology in the vending machines to minimise wastage of water, Manocha said.

UDF failed to get Rail Factory: says Kodiyeri, CPI(M) State Secretary

CPI (M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday accused the Oommen Chandy government of failing to make the Palakkad railway coach factory a reality. “When the UPA was in power, the factory was not established because the UDF failed to exert pressure on the Congress high command and the Centre. After the Narendra Modi government took over, the State government never took it up with the Railway Ministry. It seems that the Central and State governments have abandoned the project,” Mr. Balakrishnan said at a meeting here.

Bangladesh-India rail link on fast track after PM intervention

New Delhi: After opening a direct bus route between Tripura and Bangladesh, the Centre has stepped in to lay a direct rail link between the land-locked state and Dhaka. Top sources told that Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped in to remove bottlenecks in the project.

The government will build a 15-km-long broad gauge rail line from Agartala to Akhaura, a city in south-east Bangladesh, which will give India’s northeastern states a key link to Chittagong ports and large markets in Sylhet and Dhaka.

The plan had almost come to a standstill after the Tripura government expressed its inability to pump state funds for the project. But after meetings between Modi and chief minister Manik Sarkar, the Indian Railways have decided to bear the cost.

“After its preliminary survey, the railways had told us to bear Rs.350 crore for land acquisition. We put our foot down.

Now the railways have made a revised plan, whereby the entire rail line would be constructed on pillars—like the Delhi metro—above ground. The requirement of land and its cost will now be significantly low,” Sarkar told.

Currently, Bangladesh’s lone rail link with India passes through Kolkata. The British-era rail corridor between Agartala and Dhaka was snapped after Partition of Sub-Continent in 1947.

Sarkar is also hopeful for an early resumption of train services. “This Bangladesh government has never objected to any development plan that involves Tripura. Sheikh Hasina has a soft corner for Tripura and she want both the regions falling on the Bangladesh and India areas should be developed” said Sarkar.

Apart from attending the meeting of North-East CMs with Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday, Sarkar has so far held two exclusive meetings with the prime minister. Putting aside their political and ideological differences, the four-time CM maintains a cordial working relation with him.

Chennai Metro begins work to restore caved-in portion of GST Road

Chennai: On Saturday, Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) workers swung into action to restore the portion of the GST Road that had caved in on Friday due to excavation work being carried out between OTA and Meenambakkam.

The traffic police — which had to manage traffic for most part of Friday — helped the CMRL restore the lane on the Meenambakkam-Guindy side.

After the road caved in, Metro Rail workers did temporary patchwork with concrete mixture. For now, traffic has been diverted to one side of the road, and sources say it will remain so till the restoration work is complete.

“Work is being carried out on GST Road and unexpectedly, the road caved in last evening. We are not sure about the reason. Even though we have placed beams to prevent the road from caving in the soil here is very loose and the showers yesterday should have loosened the soil further. The amount of traffic on the road could have also contributed to the crack,” a CMRL official said, adding: “We have filled in cement in the side of the road to prevent the crack from expanding and the cement will act as a solid wall and will support the road. Once the filling of cement is completed the road will be permanently repaired.”

There was not much traffic on Saturday as, the traffic police said, many motorists avoided the road on hearing about the incident.

CONCOR’s Perishable Cargo Centre now fully operational at Azadpur

Azadpur: The Container Corporation of India’s (CONCOR) Centre for Perishable Cargo, at Kela Godown, New Sabzi Mandi, Azadpur, Delhi is now fully operational, with the fruit ripening chambers completely utilised.

The facility was inaugurated by Mr Suresh Prabhu, Union Minister of Railways, on March 24, 2015, informed a release.

It has 12 fruit ripening chambers with capacity of 240 tonnes for fruit ripening, 200 tonnes of cold storage, and three banana washing tanks, the release pointed out.

CONCOR has taken the initiative to provide health hazard-free fruit by adopting the safe and worldwide accepted method of fruit ripening by using ethylene gas, a natural plant hormone, done under controlled temperature and relative humidity conditions.

The cold storage chambers of 200 tonnes are equipped with automatic temperature and humidity control and air purification systems, and will be available to farmers/traders for short-term storage of fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid distress sale. Farmers can take out their produce when prices are favourable in the wholesale market, the release said.

Rahul Gautam appointed as DRM/Raipur of South East Central Railway

Raipur (R): Rahul Gautam, the newly-appointed Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Raipur of South East Central Railway (SECR) reached Raipur on Friday.

Gautam is 1987 batch IREES officer and had completed B.Tech from IIT Roorkee. While working for Indian Railways he had provided his services for Engineers India Limited and DLW workshop.

He had also worked on several important posts in Vijayawada, Gutkal division, Hoogly Division and SECR.

The newly appointed DRM had completed three-phase technology training from Chicago (USA), Canada and Germany.

He was Deputy General Manager in North East Railway and Chief Electrical Loco Engineer in West Central Railway (WCR) along Chief Electrical Distribution Engineer in WCR. Gautam has also worked as Additional Railway Manager, Adra.

While working as Group General Manager of Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited, New Delhi he had visited China.

200 Women Cops to add muscle to Shakti Squad

Mumbai: The Railway Police Force (RPF) of the Central Railway (CR) will add another 200 woman constables to its Shakti squad giving a fillip to the security of women in Mumbai locals.

The CR sees at least 45-lakh commuters everyday, of which one-fourth are estimated to be women. Five new groups comprising six to seven women constables will be added to the existing squad.

Besides, another company, consisting of 100 women constables will be added to the total strength of the RPF. The 100-woman constables company has currently been sent to Nashik for security at the Kumbh Mela. They were recruited as part of the 1,450 acquired by the Railways in the country, out of which, 800 have been sent to Mumbai. They will be stationed at various railway stations throughout the city.

“This will give us a major advantage by increasing the presence of women constables at stations. This will help us to deploy more women cops at stations known to have dense traffic such as CST, Dadar, Thane and Kalyan,” he said.The RPF is also trying to the curb the number of chain-snatching incidents on railway stations. “We are trying to curb chain-snatching incidents by asking these constables to be present in ladies compartment during early morning or late night,” said the official.

IRCTC asks Banks for implementation of OTP process in e-Ticketings

New Delhi: Concerned at the problems faced by people in online booking of railway journey tickets, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has asked banks to help ensure smooth transactions on its website. For this purpose, IRCTC has asked the banks tied up with it to take steps by August 15 so that booking tickets online could be hassle-free, said IRCTC CMD A K Manocha.

Manocha said complaints have been received about problems in getting one-time password (OTP) from banks while booking tickets online. IRCTC has tied up with 50 banks for e-ticket booking. While 24 banks have OTP facility, the rest are yet to introduce it, he said. A high-level meeting was held recently with bank officials and the problems facing passengers were discussed, he said. IRCTC has set the deadline of August 15 for the remaining banks to ensure OTP to customers.

IRCTC GM (software) M Srinivas said the e-ticketing portal has facility for transactions with 50 banks. Out of them, the arrangement with 28 banks is for net banking, for payment gateways with six, debit cards for 10, four for cash cards while one each is EMI-based and IRCTC prepaid card system. All banks tied up with IRCTC are collecting service charges for e-tickets. Most of these banks are having OTP facility for online transactions. “We need to implement OTP system by all the banks with a view to checking fraudulent transactions on the IRCTC website. Railway crime branch has also put the IRCTC on alert about fraudulent transactions,” he said.

According to sources, IRCTC is committed to maintaining transparency in its transactions with customers. Introduction of OTP system is also in consonance with RBI guidelines. Besides, this system is likely to check avoidable interventions of touts in booking online tickets on the IRCTC website.

RDSO to expedite Anti-Collision System

Lucknow: Railway Board chairman AK Mittal on Friday directed Research Designs and Standards Organization to give top priority to the Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). Mittal was in the city for governing council meeting at RDSO.

Trains run inordinately delayed during fog. “At present, drivers have no technical assistance available to safely operate the trains during such conditions. TCAS will fill in the gap,” he said. The trail is underway for last one year in Secunderabad division of South Central Railway.

TCAS will upgrade level of safety by several notches if implemented all over Indian Railways because it generates derailment alerts and apply emergency brakes in critical situations like two trains coming on the same track.

Since TCAS works on both signaling and non-signaling technology, it can control ‘human error’ too. At present, trial for TCAS is on in 250km section with onboard equipment in 40 locomotives.

It is a train control system with additional features like generating SOS alerts, applying emergency brakes, controlling over-speed, cab signaling, preventing driver from jumping red signal and ensuring safety in fog when visibility is reduced by several meters.

LMRC expecting EIB’s letter to fund metro in next 10 days

Lucknow: The state government had already given Rs.100 crore to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC)  last week to fulfill the financial necessities of the project.

LMRC claims it has enough funds to sustain the civil work and few others tenders this year, however it is waiting for other agencies like LDA, UPSIDC and UP Housing and Development Board to give their due share of funds.

“EIB has verbally assured in principal approval to funding the project but the formal approval is dependent on PIB’s clearance”, said an official.

For PIB’s clearance to Lucknow metro, LMRC’s proposal is waiting for nod at the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry has reportedly sought some clarifications from the Ministry of Urban Development on the project pertaining to how the cost structure would be shared between Centre and the state government. Loan of about Rs 3502 crore from a foreign agency like European Investment bank (EIB) for metro is only possible if PIB gives its nod to the project.

Tenders involving hefty investments like buying coaches would need assistance from foreign agency. EIB is expected to send its approval on tenders of trains too by next week, confirmed officials.

Officials close to the development said, “The delegation during its visit on last week had apprised our tenders, contracts on procurement of coaches, track and systems and was quite satisfied with the progress. The team had assured that now there is no need of further inspection or review of the progress as the project is moving at a satisfactory pace.” The team had assured to send a letter soon saying that it has no objection to funding LMRC for metro.

During its last visit and inspection of the project on July 6 & 7, EIB delegation had given positive reviews to the Lucknow metro project.) This makes LMRC hopeful about getting letter from the foreign institution in next 10 days about in principal agreeing to funding Lucknow metro soon.

DMRC mulls Domestic Borrowing for Phase-IV Metro

With Japan International Cooperation Agency’s revised terms and conditions on funding the Phase-IV Metro project not ‘acceptable’ to the government

New Delhi: With Japan International Cooperation Agency’s revised terms and conditions on funding the Phase-IV Metro project not ‘acceptable’ to the government, the Delhi MetroRail Corporation (DMRC) may go for domestic borrowing to finance the proposed 103.93-km corridor that would increase the length of Delhi Metro network to around 400 km.

“Funding of Phase-IV may be done through domestic borrowings. We are also contemplating tax-free bond issues, but a final decision is yet to be taken,” said DMRC managing director Mangu Singh.

The detailed project report for the corridor has already been readied and talks on funding the project were on with JICA. But the lending agency’s condition for the ‘step’ loan — that a portion of materials for the project must be bought from Japanese companies — hasn’t found favour with the government.

The government is now looking at the possibility of developing the project through the PPP model, he said.

DMRC plans to construct six new stretches, which include a 21.73-km link connecting Rithala to Narela, 28.92 km from West Janakpuri to RK Ashram, 12.54 km from Mukundpur to Maujpur, 12.58 km from Inderlok to Indraprastha, 20.20 km from Aero City to Tughlakabad and 7.96 km from Lajpat Nagar to Saket G Block.

“We may go for the PPP route in construction of phase four, but the entire project cannot be executed through it,” he said. Asked whether DMRC would consider going public, Singh said,”We may go public, but that does not seem probable, as we are still negative in our balance sheets.”

Singh, who succeeded R Sridharan in 2012, said there was a need to raise passenger fares as they have not been hiked since 2009. He, however, evaded a direct query on whether a rise was imminent.

China’s Rail-cum-Economic Diplomacy pushes Chinese Business to Global Stage

Shanghai: Chinese experts and business executives have lauded Beijing’s proactive rail economic diplomacy, saying proposals such as the Belt and Road initiatives and Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will help facilitate Chinese companies’ global reach.

China’s participation in EFSI will benefit Chinese enterprises in securing a foothold in European infrastructure construction and improving technologies and products through collaboration with developed countries, Yu Weiping, Vice President of China’s state-owned high-speed rail maker CRRC Corporation Limited, said in his speech at the forum.

This week, China’s first advanced multiple unit train to be exported to Europe finished construction at a subsidiary of CRRC Corporation Limited. It will be delivered to Macedonia.  In addition, the recent move of CRC setting up of its US Subsidiary with initial assets worth US$ 10 million has actually stunned its nearest competitors from the US and Europe.

High-speed rail diplomacy has become one of the features of Chinese leaders making visits abroad, as they seek to export the technology that has transformed rail travel in China in a few short years.

Premier Li Keqiang, known as the high-speed rail salesman, has promoted China’s rail technology on almost every overseas visit. While on a recent visit to Russia, Lin signed nearly 40 cooperation deals, including a memorandum of understanding on high-speed rail.

As of this year, CNR’s rolling stock and related production technology had been exported to more than 90 countries, including France, Brazil, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, Argentina, Thailand, India and the US. It achieved its best performance overseas during the first half of the year, with signed deals totaling US$2.0 billion.

In early November, a consortium of Chinese companies led by CRCC won a $3.7 billion contract to build a bullet train in Mexico; that contract was canceled a few days later due to suspected corruption on the Mexican side. But the aborted deal is still a sign of overseas demand for China’s rail technology.

Nor are rail deals limited to developing nations: In October, Boston’s transit authority signed a $567 million contract with China’s CNR Corp. to build 284 subway cars.

In addition to stimulating domestic manufacturing demand for steel and rail equipment exports, China’s leaders hope the flurry of railway deals will have soft power benefits as well. The Nigerian railroad will be “a mutually beneficial project,” as CRCC Chairman Meng Fengchao told Xinhua. He pledged to hire at least several thousand workers from Nigeria; in the past, Chinese companies have been criticized for bringing in Chinese workers to complete large engineering projects, thus denying work opportunities to local populations.

China’s proactive rail-cum-economic diplomacy has provided Chinese enterprises with trade and investment opportunities in most parts of the world, Wu Jianmin, Executive Vice Chairman of China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy, said at the China and Globalization forum on Sunday.

Since 2013, Beijing has been promoting the Belt and Road initiatives, projects of international trade and the AIIB and established the Silk Road Fund in 2014.

China has global ambitions to export its technology, with the twin objectives of securing access to energy and other commodities in return for financial and technical support. The Indian ventures would be a stepping stone towards realising ambitious proposals to build high-speed railway lines from China to Europe, North America and Southeast Asia, and across South America and Africa. These are all practicable. In the space of five years, China has become a world leader in the technology, amid hotly disputed claims by Japan of theft. China has already built 10,000km of track, and expects to have built five times that much by the end of the decade.

Building high-speed railways across borders is another matter, politically and economically, however, and visions are not easily turned into reality. For example, since Thailand approved two high-speed lines with China, part of a planned link between Kunming in the southwest and Singapore, environmental and social concerns have thrown doubt on a section between Myanmar’s Rakhine state and Kunming. Such huge projects are also costly, raising questions about the cost-benefit equation for China and the ability of foreign governments to pick up a big enough share of the investment. Funding, technical and operational issues are magnified by distance, geography and the number of countries involved.

Premier Xi’s visit to India recently concluded with the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Beijing and New Delhi for co-operation on railways, following talks between a Chinese delegation and Indian railway officials. Chinese companies are making joint bids for five high-speed-rail projects in competition with Japan.

That said, cross-border high-speed rail is more than a practical tool of China’s resources diplomacy. It has rich potential for economies, for business in cargo and passenger transport, and job creation. But the new age of rail calls for persistence and resilience to setbacks as well as vision.

That said, cross-border high-speed rail is more than a practical tool of China’s resources diplomacy. It has rich potential for economies, for business in cargo and passenger transport, and job creation. But the new age of rail calls for persistence and resilience to setbacks as well as vision.

Cao Dewang, president of Fujian-based Fuyao Group, the world’s second largest automotive glass maker, told Xinhua he considers today’s changes in economic diplomacy a “great opportunity” for enterprises similar to China’ s opening-up and reform policy in 1980s.

According to statistics released by Ministry of Commerce, Chinese investors have made direct investments in 3,426 enterprises in 146 countries and regions around the world from January to May this year, with a combined non-financial investment of US$45.4 billion, increasing 47.4% year-on-year.

At the forum, Cui Mingmo, president of the China Association for International Economic Cooperation, described the increase as a “welcome and huge leap forward.”

Wu, also former China’s Ambassador to the United Nations and France, suggested that increasingly intertwined interests would bond China and its neighboring nations together in economic cooperation despite escalating territorial and maritime disputes.

In March, Xi called on Asian countries to “move towards a community of common destiny and embrace a new future” in his keynote speech at this year’s Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference.

More than 60 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe have vowed to participate in the Belt and Road initiatives.

The AIIB is anticipated to begin formal operations by the end of 2015 after its 57 prospective founders signed its charter in June.

During Chinese premier Li Keqiang’s European trip last month, leaders from both sides expressed great interest in China’s involvement in the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI).

CRC sets up US Subsidiary with initial assets of US$10 Million

Shanghai: China Railway Corporation, China’s railway construction firms and vehicle manufacturing companies have set up a company together in the United States.

The new company, China Railway International (US) Group with initial assets of US$10 million, will serve as a platform for exchange and cooperation among railway-related businesses in China, a company spokesperson told.

He said that with 24% of the shares, CRC is the holding company of the new firm. CRC and its subsidiary, China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Company, made a combined investment of US$2.4 million.

CRRC Corporation, a state-owned rolling stock manufacturer, has been closely following the CRC’s efforts to branch out, a CRRC source said. The source said the establishment of the new company can be seen as a prelude to the Chinese railway sector’s attempt to bid for a California high-speed rail project.

Stressing that the United States will be a major market for CRRC Corporation, the source said the company has been paying special attention to the opening of bids for high-speed rail, railway and urban light rail projects in the United States, hoping to explore the great potential of that market.

Before the merger of China CNR Corporation and CSR Corporation into CRRC on June 1, 2015, CSR last October submitted a letter of intent to the California High Speed Rail Authority to bid for the project, which will operate trains at a maximum speed of 350 kilometers per hour, the source said.

CRC hopes to take the lead in coordinating the efforts of railway-related businesses to explore overseas markets. A company spokesperson said CRC will establish a mechanism to integrate its management, research and resources.

Indian Railways calls for Bids from Power producers to supply 1010 MW of Electricity over 3 years

Trying to take advantage of its position as the largest consumer of power in the country, Indian Railways has stepped up efforts to reduce electricity costs

New Delhi: At a time when cash-strapped state electricity boards (SEBs) are averse to buying power, Indian Railways has emerged as a potential saviour for idling power projects.

Railways, the state-owned transporter, has stepped up its efforts to reduce electricity costs and has called for bids from power producers to supply 1,010 MW of electricity over three years.

Indian Railways has floated the tender through Railway Energy Management Co. Ltd for sourcing electricity in the eastern region (350 MW), west (440 MW) and north (220 MW). This is in addition to 500 MW it plans to buy from the Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd’s Dabhol plant in Maharashtra.

“The electricity is to be supplied for three years from March 2017 to March 2020,” said a person aware of the development. The person didn’t want to be named.

The railways is trying to take advantage of its position as the largest consumer of power in the country to bring down its electricity costs. The national transporter needs about 12 billion units of electricity a year, with consumption growing at an average 5% per year. Its power bill is estimated at Rs.11,000 crore for the current fiscal year.

By calling for competitive bids, the railways expects to benefit from lower tariffs. The transporter is seeking to reduce its electricity cost to less thanRs.5 per unit from the present average of around Rs.7 per unit.

Queries emailed to an Indian Railways spokesperson remained unanswered till press time.

Cash-strapped SEBs have been unwilling to procure electricity, given the low tariffs they earn for power supply, slow progress in reducing losses and higher power purchase costs. SEBs are laden with debt of Rs.3.04 trillion and accumulated losses of Rs.2.52 trillion.

“Progress w.r.t. (with reference to) tie-up of new long term PPAs (power purchase agreements) by state owned distribution companies continues to remain slow with sizeable generation capacity having no long-term PPAs; timelines for implementation of tariff compensation for the affected thermal IPPs (independent power producers) remain uncertain,” rating agency ICRA Ltd wrote in a 7 July report.

“In Icra’s view, the financial position of state-owned distribution utilities in many states continues to remain weak, with large subsidy dependence, and limited progress in loss reduction against the regulatory targets in some states and high debt levels,” the report said.

Indian Railways plans to buy electricity from the Dabhol plant, offering a lifeline to the 1,967 megawatt (MW) power project now owned by Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt. Ltd, RailNews reported in the recent past.

The national transporter plans to reduce electricity bills by nearly one-third by seeking competitive bids from power producers, sourcing from electricity exchanges and reaching bilateral arrangements. This plan was articulated in this year’s railway budget.

“Although a bulk consumer, railways pays extremely high charges for traction power,” railway minister Suresh Prabhu said in his budget speech. “It is proposed to procure power through the bidding process at economical tariff from generating companies, power exchanges and bilateral arrangements. This initiative is likely to result in substantial savings of at least Rs.3,000 crore in next few years.”

Proposal for Conversion of Mumbai-Goa section into Semi High-speed Corridor slows down due to encroachments

Mumbai: Work on converting the existing railway line between Mumbai and Goa into the proposed semihigh-speed corridor has slowed down due to encroachments near the Roha Nagothane stretch. The encroached land was required for the expansion of tracks but the affected parties approached court, delaying the entire process. The railways are now planning to change the tracks’ alignment to avoid further delays.

Last year, the railway ministry had announced that it will convert a few corridors, including the Mumbai-Goa stretch, into semi-high-speed corridors to enable trains to run at speeds of up to 160kmph. While Konkan tracks ahead of Roha are can run trains at that speed, Central Railway (CR) had started upgrading its infrastructure before Roha to upgrade to those speeds. “As per the initial plan, the encroachments were to be removed and tracks were to be slewed [joined together] to increase the speed. But now the railways have decided divert the tracks and go by a different alignment altogether,” said a senior official.

Trains on the existing Mumbai-Goa Konkan railway stretch run at 100kmph at certain stretches and it takes about 12 hours to cover the distance. If 160kmph becomes achievable, the distance will be covered in a much lesser time. The railways are also in the process of conducting a final study on the high-speed Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor to start bullet trains.

Gateway Rail Freight Ltd sets up its 4th ICD in Viramgam

Viramgam (VG): Gateway Rail Freight Limited (GRFL) – subsidiary of Gateway Distriparks Limited (GDL) announced its fourth Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Viramgam, near Ahmedabad in Gujarat. This terminal will be on the confluence point of the two double stack routes between its flagship hub at Garhi Harsaru in Gurgaon (Haryana) and two main ports on the west coast at Mundra and Pipavav in Gujarat.

The company will soon start construction of railway siding and its container yard. It is expected to be operational within a year. The company has all the necessary regulatory approvals from Western Railway for this purpose.

Gateway Rail has acquired 35 acres of land for developing the second hub for its container train services. The railway hub terminal will be built over 25 acres of land and initially will have a capacity to handle two trains simultaneously. It will have a capacity to handle 150,000 TEUs annually. The balance 10 acre land will be used for developing an ICD to cater to the needs of Gujarat trade. The terminal will cater to the need of Ahmedabad, Sanand, Mehsana and Becharaji EXIM market by providing ICD services such as customs clearance and storage of cargo.

Prem Kishan Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Gateway Rail and its promoter company GDL said, “This will be our fourth ICD and will provide world class service to Gujarat trade besides our cost optimisation efforts by way of double stack operations between Garhi and Viramgam terminal.”

Gateway Rail has its presence in two locations in NCR at Gurgaon and Faridabad and one location at Ludhiana in Punjab. It also operates the Tata Steel Private Terminal at Kalamboli in Navi Mumbai.

MOU for setting up the Rail Research Centre at IIT-Roorkee shortly: Director/IIT-Roorkee

Roorkee (RK): Union Ministry of Railways will soon set up a rail research centre at IIT, Roorkee. Giving the information at a press conference here today, Director of the institute Pradipta Banerjee said the process for establishing the rail research centre has already begun at the institute. An MoU in this regard will soon be signed between the Ministry of Railways and IIT, Roorkee, he said. Also, we want to start M.Tech program in Railway Engineering.The whole idea is to train our students for future.

About Pradipta Banerji, Director, IIT-Roorkee

Pradipta Banerji is currently the Director of Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, a post he has held since October 2011. He also is Professor of Civil Engineering at IIT Bombay and at IIT Roorkee.

He graduated with a BTech degree from IIT Delhi in 1981, securing the Director’s Silver Medal as the topranked graduating student in Civil Engineering. He has also received the National Science Talent Scholarship. He completed his MS and PhD degrees in Structural Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, USA. During his studies at Berkeley, he was awarded the UC Regents’ Fellowship twice, the prestigious Popert Research Fellowship, and a Distinguished Teaching Award.

He joined as an Assistant Professor in IIT Bombay in April 1988 and spent more than 23 years there as a faculty member, during which period he has also been awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award, and was the Dean (Alumni & International Relations) for two terms. He has been Visiting Research Professor at the Institute of Statics and Dynamics for Aerospace Structures at University of Stuttgart and the Mechanical Engineering Department at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. His areas of research specialization are Earthquake Engineering and Structural Health Monitoring, and he has been active in guiding research, publishing scholarly papers and developing technology that has been applied in practical situations in both areas. Notably, he has helped the Indian Railways by developing a technology for “Bridge Asset Management under Increased Axle Loads”.

He is a member/fellow of several professional societies including IISHMII, where he is also a member of the Executive Council from the inception of the society. He is an Editor of the Journal for Civil Structural Health Monitoring published by Springer. He is also a member and/or chairman of several national and internal level boards and committees for capacity building and research.

During his term as Director here, IIT Roorkee has won several National Awards for being an Outstanding Engineering Institute, students have participated in several International Competitions and brought laurels to the Institute. IIT Roorkee has also been ranked amongst the top three or four universities in India in the QS and Times Higher Education Rankings in both 2012 and 2013.

Indian Rail Port Company Limited launched as a New PSU under Ministry of Shipping

New Delhi: The Shipping Ministry has taken up an initiative to have a company that would work on last-mile connectivity projects between Indian ports.

Rajive Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, said a company called Indian Rail Port Company has been registered and the Ministry is in the process to select the first Managing Director.

The company would take up last-mile connectivity projects first for the major ports, and eventually for the non-major ports. It will construct, operate and maintain rail and road infrastructure to facilitate connectivity for transportation of goods from ports in India.

(Access PPT on the activities IPRCL by MD/IPRCL here: IndianPortsRailConnectivityinIndia-AnoopAgrawal

Kumar said the first tranche would be contributed by the major ports and the initial equity is about INR 100 crore. Shipping Secretary is the Chairman of the company that would be head-quartered in Mumbai.

He said that “We have identified 30 projects, and three detailed project reports (DPR) are ready. We hope to start the tendering process by October and the balance DPR would follow.”

Indian Rail Port Company Limited is envisaged to boast the most modern, production-optimising rail logistics information system in the world and co-ordinates train trips and track occupation, supports train loading processes in the Indian Ports and ensures the transparent exchange of data between all parties involved. All railway undertakings operating under the Company will be able to rely on automated communication via a data interface.

The share of cargo moved by rail in the Indian Ports will continue to grow in the coming years. As a flagship project for the railway as a mode of transport in the Shipping business, Indian Rail Ports Company Ltd will pave the way for more efficient port railway operations, thus securing the long-term future of the business in the Indian Ports with an efficient and transparent port railway information system.

MRVC opens tender for Rs.6.04 Crore Skywalk connecting Andheri Metro Station with WR’s Andheri Station (East)

Mumbai: Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has opened tender for the Rs 6.04-crore skywalk connecting Andheri Metro Station with Western Railway’s Andheri Station (east). The skywalk will also have an elevated booking office for commuters entering Andheri (east) station and will connect the north side of the foot-over-bridge (FOB) of Metro station.

Confirming the news, MRVC Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Prabhat Sahai, said, “Yes, the tender has been opened and the amount has been given to us from the MMRDA. Although I cannot tell you when the project will begin, bids for the tender will be opened until August 20 after which, we will carry out the usual process and decide the company to which we will award the contract.”

Work is expected to begin by October of this year. “The skywalk will be six metres wide and 75 metres long. A skywalk already exists on the same side but that is as long as one km and people are finding it too long when they are in a hurry to catch either modes of transport,” said a MRVC official.

Titagarh Wagons bags €220 million order book boost post Italian firm buy

Kolkata (KOAA): Titagarh Wagons’ acquisition of Italian passenger rail engineering firm Firema Trasporti S.p.A has given a €220-million order book boost, said Umesh Chowdhary, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Titagarh Wagons Ltd, at a press conference.

Firema has designs and technology for manufacturing of metro coaches, semi and high-speed trains, propulsion systems such as traction motors and converters, shunting locomotives and trams.

This is the second overseas acquisition of TWL since 2010, when it acquired French company Arbel Fauvet Rail (now Titagarh Wagons AFR). These two acquisitions catapult TWL as a global player in advanced freight and passenger rolling stock technologies.

“Our plan is to synergise the technologies with our low-cost manufacturing capabilities in India,” Chowdhary explained. A large part of TWL’s current order book worth ₹870 crore has come from overseas.

TWL has just begun to utilise Titagarh Wagon AFR’s design and technologies to produce railway freight cars in India for marketing them in Africa. “We also plan to utilise Firema technologies in India. We have decided to upgrade our Uttarpara plant (in West Bengal) for metro coaches and high-speed trains”, Chowdhary added.

Paid-up capital

TWL said on Thursday that it has added ₹3.5 crore to its paid-up capital after raising ₹150 crore through the recent qualified institutional placement. The balance ₹146.5 crore came to the company as a premium.

Chowdhary said that six institutional investors with which 1.51 crore shares were placed would have a combined stake of around 14 per cent in the enhanced paid-up capital of ₹23.5 crore. The promoter stake will come down from 53 per cent to around 47 per cent.

Chowdhary said the proceeds would be used partly for investment in its new Italian acquisition and partly to upgrade its Indian train manufacturing unit. “As of now we have invested €10 million. We have trimmed the workforce of Firema from 501 to 340 and signed an agreement for wage cut. We would require some local borrowing for working capital,” he added.

Nagpur Metro: Financiers expresses dissatisfaction over delay in sanction of increased FSI

Nagpur (NGP): Work on one stretch of Nagpur metro rail has already started and tender for the second one will be floated in a day or two. Nagpur Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (NMRCL) is soon going to need money for paying the contractors. The state urban development department seems oblivious of the fact as it is taking its own time in approving a proposal that will open up a revenue stream for NMRCL, Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC).

It has not yet okayed hike in FSI along the corridors the premium charges on which are expected to part finance the metro project. Sources said the delay was specially inexplicable because the department was headed by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is from Nagpur and fully aware of the problem. European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) and German financial agency KfW have shown interest in funding the project. Officials of all three agencies have expressed dissatisfaction over delay in sanction of increased FSI. Many metro rail projects have witnessed huge cost escalations due to red tape.

Sources in NMRCL said the officials had a difficult time explaining the delay. “The UD ministry was apprised of this fact but so far there has been no impact,” a source said.

The civic agencies have proposed to increase the FSI up to 4 along the metro rail corridors. People wanting to utilize the increased FSI will have to pay a premium for it. Half the money will go to NMC and NIT (depending on the owner of the land) and remaining half to NMRCL. NMC has to bear 5% cost of the project. In case of cost escalation, the burden is likely to fall on NMC and NIT. Cash-strapped NMC is not in a position to bear its share. The only source for it is the premium from extra FSI.

While CM Fadnavis could not be contacted even after repeated attempts, Nitin Kareer, principal secretary (UD I), told that the proposal was under consideration of the department. “The proposal submitted by NMC is not consistent with international norms of transit oriented development (TOD). We are making the necessary changes and it will be approved soon,” he added.

Another department held by the CM is causing trouble for NMRCL. The special reserve police force (SRPF) is taking its own time in handing over its firing range. NMRCL needs the 26.7 acre land for its Lokmanya Nagar metro rail depot. It has been seeking this land since February. Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC) had given land for the Mihan depot in February itself. NMRCL issued the work order for Mihan depot.

MMRC finalises Consultant for redevelopment of project-hit buildings

Mumbai: Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) has finalised a consultant to recommend how redevelopment of buildings, which are getting affected in Girgaum-Kalbadevi due to the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz project, should happen.

“Work order will be issued to Catapult Realty Consultant, which has been picked up from among three firms, on Friday. The firm will be submitting its report within four months from the date of its appointment,” said sources in MMRC, adding that the contract was of Rs45 lakh.

The consultant will examine the existing rules and regulations pertaining to redevelopment of buildings. It will also recommend if there is any need for amending or modifying Development Control Regulations (DCR) for the benefit of project affected families.

There are a total of 26 buildings with 737 families that are getting affected due to the construction of Kalbadevi and Girgaum Metro stations on the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz corridor.

According to an official, the consultant is supposed to come up with alternatives on rehabilitation plan, to figure out if it is possible to house them in a single cluster or multiple clusters and the likely locations for rehabilitation.

The MMRC is likely to award bids worth Rs11,000 crore for the construction of Colaba-Bandra-Seepz underground Metro by September end. Technical evaluation of bids is likely to be through by mid-September, followed by awarding of work orders.

However, the construction on the underground project will commence only during the first quarter of 2016.

Railway Board shelves off twelve of the 32 completed surveys for new lines sanctioned for Kerala

A clear message to the State to equally share the cost of the sanctioned projects as done by the other States

Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): Twelve of the 32 completed surveys for new lines sanctioned for the State over the years in the railway budgets have been shelved by the Railway Board. The decision of the Railway Board to shelve these completed surveys had been communicated to the State government, official sources said. But, the reason to abandon the completed surveys had not been intimated.

The majority of the surveys had been announced on the basis of political considerations and on the basis of the memorandum given by the State and the MPs.

A Southern Railway official said it was not surprising as it was part of an effort to prioritise projects and expedite the last-mile projects.

“It is part of the turnaround and consolidation being carried out after the change of guard in Railways. Resource allocation is for national priority projects,” he said.

The board’s decision is also a clear message to the State to equally share the cost of the sanctioned projects as done by the other States in view of the resource crunch faced by Railways.

Ambitious projects, like the one to put Sabarimala on the rail map, are dragging on due to lack of fund allocation by Railways. The Anagamly-Sabari rail has been given just Rs.5 crore in the 2015-16 budget. The Guruvayur-Thirunavaya rail line has been given just Rs.1 crore.

The rest of the completed surveys include Angamaly-Sabari, Nilambur-Nanjencode, Guruvayur-Thirunavaya, Edapally-Guruvayur, Angadipuram-Kozhikode, Kanhangad-Panathur, Madurai-Kottayam, Chengannur- Adoor- Kottarakkara, Panathur- Kaniyoor, Kaniyoor-Kuttikkulam, Kozhikode-Beypore, Ernakulam- Shoranur, Podannur- Palakkad third line, Balaramapuram-Vizhinjam to link the proposed ICTT at seaport, Angadipuram- Ottapalam, Chengannur- Thiruvananthapuram, Sabarimala- Chengannur, Sabarimala-Punalur- Thiruvananthapuram, and Shornur-Mangalore third line.

The decision of the Railway Board to abandon the projects may lead to public protest as commuters are aggrieved over the neglect of Railways in sanctioning trains, rakes, and funds for development projects in the State.

Chennai Metro Rail defends move to end Russian Mosmetrostroy contract

Chennai (MAS): Metro Rail on Thursday dismissed the claims of Russian contractor Mosmetrostroy that it walked out of the project due to a tussle on payment, confirming that the ‘contractor-less’ Anna Salai stretch would be completed by 2017.

“They just walked out of the project and now they are making statements that don’t sound sensible,” said a senior Metro Rail official.

The statement from the official comes after Chennai Metro terminated the contract with both Mosmetrostroy and Gammon who were jointly awarded the contract to build underground stations at Government Estate, LIC building, Thousand Lights, Gemini, Teynampet, Chamiers Road and Saidapet along with twin bored tunnels covering over 6.4 km.

“Just for Rs 50 crore to Rs 60 crore, they walked out of the project leaving behind Rs 100 crore bank guarantee as well as Rs 100 crore of equipment. They had all the provisions in the contract to go in for adjudication or arbitration,” the official said.

Metro is now looking ahead. “Our concern is to finish the work at the earliest,” said a Chennai Metro Rail official.

“Fresh tenders would be called by the end of this month. The project on the Anna Salai stretch could be finished by 2017,” he said.

He also said the elevated stretch would be completed by the end of this financial year and the underground stretch from Chennai Egmore to Thirumangalam would be done by June next year.

In their defence, a Mosmetro India official said the firm abandoned the project due to pressure from sub vendors to whom Mosmetrostroy owed money.

“They changed the alignment and we had to dig an extra three metres. The soil below 13 metres was rocky and it affected our equipment and this led to cost escalation. Chennai Metro did not incorporate the difference in prices despite changing the alignment,” said the Metro rail official.

French development agency AFD may fund Kochi Metro extension

Kochi: A two-member team from the French development agency AFD (Agence Française de Développement), who is on a two-day visit to the city, held discussions with Kochi Metro Rail Limited authorities on the possible funding options for extending Metro Rail to Kakkanad.

AFD, which is funding the Metro project, had earlier expressed interest in funding the extension plans of the Metro proposed by KMRL.

Ms Priscille De Coninck, project manager, sustainable and transport division AFD, Paris and Ms Juliette Le Pannerer, project coordinator, AFD, Delhi visited the Metro sites and evaluated the project’s progress.

They visited the Metro corridor and the L&T casting yard near HMT Junction, coach maintenance depot at Muttom and Metro station work at Cochin University of Science and Technology.

The officials expressed satisfaction over the progress of the works and said that they were keen to associate with the project in all possible ways.

During the meeting with KMRL managing director Elias George and other senior officials, the team discussed the extension plans and possible cooperation in water transport and urban place-making projects.

The team also discussed the Metro social and environmental impact assessment reports. On Friday, the team will visit Vyttila mobility hub, a major transport convergence point.

They are also visiting the proposed Kakkanad extension route to assess the alignment. As part of funding the project, the AFD has already promised capacity building and technical support for urban transport development with the support of urban planning experts of CODATU, French non- profit organisation.

Experts of CODATU were in the city last month to study the city’s urban landscape and prepared a detailed road map for an integrated transport system for Kochi.

Rail line brings Odisha CM, advisor-turned-foe face to face

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his advisor-turned-foe Pyari Mohan Mohapatra on Thursday shared the dais — three years after the hiatus.

The two leaders met in Khurdha district during the Khurdha-Begunia rail line inauguration by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu and Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

However, neither did they make an eye contact nor exchange any greetings and courtesies, sources said.

Patnaik, who is the Biju Janata Dal chief, expelled Rajya Sabha member Mohapatra from the party after he allegedly attempted to dethrone Patnaik in 2012 while the chief minister was in London.

On the occasion, Prabhu said the ministry would provide all possible assistance to the state to ensure better railway facilities.

He said the railway ministry has allocated over Rs.3,400 crore to the state in the current budget, which was the highest allocation to Odisha by any central government.

Prabhu also announced the setting up of a special skill development centre under the Skill India mission at Begunia.

With Odisha celebrating the Nabakalebar festival of Lord Jagannath temple, Prabhu said 216 special trains would be run to the temple city of Puri.

Railway Minister inaugurates New Building Complex of Malatipatpur Railway Station amid BJD din

rm at malatipatpurMalatipatpur (MLT): Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated a new building complex of Malatipatpur railway station on Thursday evening. He was accompanied by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Prabhu said since lakhs of pilgrims are expected to throng the pilgrim city to witness and participate in the Rath Yatra, the Railways had taken steps to facilitate their transport.

Prabhu said since lakhs of pilgrims are expected to throng the pilgrim city to witness and participate in the Rath Yatra, the Railways had taken steps to facilitate their transport. He was accompanied by Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

As soon as the Ministers arrived at the Malatipatpur railway station, hundreds of slogan shouting BJD activists gathered there out of the blue, demanding resignation of Petroleum Minister Pradhan for his alleged links in the Vyapam scam. The BJD workers holding placards and party flags were shouting slogans. They said since the BJP-led NDA Government had not released funds for the Nabakalebar ritual and Rath Yatra, they had no right to attend the inauguration events.

Scores of BJP workers who had gathered there to welcome their leaders came face to face with the BJD activists. The police personnel had a tough task in restoring normalcy while the BJD workers went on a rampage soon after the Ministers left. The situation remained tense for hours. The sudden development surprised the police officers who had no prior information about the development.

During the inaugural function, Prabhu also announced plan for a joint venture for rapid growth of rail infrastructure in the state, said, “Spread of rail infrastructure will ensure rapid economic growth of Odisha and the country as a whole.”

Noting that rail sector in Odisha remained neglected for decades, he said railway ministry would initiate steps to enter into a special understanding with the state for forming a joint venture company.

Stating that the proposed joint venture company would go a long way for Odisha’s progress, the railway minister said profit generated from the venture would be invested in the state for development of rail infrastructure.

Referring to a similar venture between railways, Coal India Ltd and Odisha Government for transshipment of coal from Talcher belt, Prabhu said huge funds would be invested in the state in next five years for rapid growth of rail network.

During his whirlwind visit today, the Railway minister inaugurated a new rail line between Khurda Road and Begunia, which forms 32-km stretch of the 289-km Khurda-Balangir track at Begunia.

Prabhu along with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also flagged off the first passenger train on the new line which chugged on from Begunia to Khurda Road.

The railway minister also inaugurated new railway station buildings at Begunia and Khurda town as well as the second entry and passenger facilities at Berhampur. Later Prabhu inaugurated the newly built railway station at Malatipatpur near Puri.

The Railways had taken a number of steps for the convenience of pilgrims during Nabakalebar festival, he said, adding, as many as 216 pairs of special trains would be run keeping in mind massive rush to Puri from Rath Yatra on July 18 till the ‘Bahuda’ yatra (return of chariots).

The railway minister also held meeting with officials in Puri to review various projects in the state.

Pledging Centre’s commitment to speedy growth of rail network in Odisha, Prabhu said Rs 195 crore had been sanctioned for Khurda-Balangir line and efforts were made to complete work up to Rajsunakhala beyond Begunia by September.

Describing rail infrastructure as the key to development, he said steps were being taken to start work for different other projects like Haridaspur-Paradip and Telcher-Bimlagarh lines.

Establishment of a skill development centre in state was also on the cards, Prabhu said.

Southern Railway gives green signal for development projects in Kollam

Kundara and Eravipuram railway overbridges prioritised

Kollam (QLN): The construction wing of the Southern Railway has endorsed the railway development projects for the Kollam Parliamentary constituency announced by the Thiruvananthapuram Railway Division authorities earlier.

In their first review meeting with N.K. Premachandran, Kollam MP, here on Thursday, the construction wing officers decided to give top priority for constructing road overbridges across the railway tracks at Kundara and Eravipuram.

Mr. Premachandran had requested priority for these two projects in view of the difficulties endured by people in these areas when the level crossings get closed for the movement of the trains. He informed the officers that the situation in Kundara was serious as more trains will move along that stretch once the Punalur-Shencottah gauge conversion is completed.

The railway team was led by chief engineer of the construction wing, D.S. Chauhan. The team has also approved the second entry point project for the Kollam railway station.

The project will comprise a 135-metre-long foot overbridge from the second entry point connecting all the platforms of the station and also linking the NH 47 near Puthiyakavu temple at the existing entry point and the NH 208 near Craven LMS High School where the second entry point will be constructed.

The project will comprise a parking area where 750 vehicles can be parked at a time. There will be ticket booking offices too.

Mr. Chauhan informed the MP that once the work is tendered, the project will be completed in a time-bound manner. As part of modernising the railway station, lifts and escalators will be added. Officials said that the new design for the Perinad underpass has been approved.

The development plans for Kollam railway station include a 135-metre-long foot overbridge, parking area for 750 vehicles, and escalators.

Railways starts collecting feedback about basic amenities through phones using IVRS based system

IRCTC entrusted with this task of collecting feedback

New Delhi: With a view to improve passenger amenities in running trains and stations, Indian Railways has started collecting feedback from the public about the basic amenities from this month. Collecting this kind of feedback is in line with the emphasis given by Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu on the best connect between railway administration and railway users.

The job of collecting this significant feedback has been entrusted to its own PSU namely “Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC)”. The feedback is being collected by IRCTC through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) with the number +91-139. Under this system, travelling passengers are being contacted randomly on their mobile phones to gather their feedback about the facilities provided by the Railways in six areas, namely, cleanliness of station/platform/train, quality of catering, level of cooling of AC, quality of food, punctuality of train and quality of bedrolls.

Out of the six facilities, a passenger is asked to send his/her feedback on only two facilities. They are given three options of pressing on mobile – 2 (Two) for Good, 1(one) for Satisfactory and 0(Zero) for unsatisfactory/Bad – with regard to a particular amenity.

On an average 60-70 calls per day per train are being made and efforts are done to make approximately one lakh successful calls per day to passengers of mail / express trains.

The feedback will help improve passenger amenities and also help fix accountability of service providers.

DRM/Waltair seeks feedback on Pushkaram arrangements from Passengers

DRM Chandralekha Mukherjee interacting with passengers at Visakhapatnam Railway Station on Thursday
DRM Chandralekha Mukherjee interacting with passengers at Visakhapatnam Railway Station on Thursday

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Divisional Railway Manager Chandralekha Mukherjee inspected the Visakhapatnam Railway Station on Thursday to oversee the arrangements made in view of the heavy flow of passengers for the Godavari Pushkarams.

She interacted with the passengers at the station and in the trains and took their feedback on the arrangements made for the Pushkarams like regulating the flow of passengers at the booking counters, help desks, and other amenities. She directed the Station Manager to keep the sanitary staff in readiness and to deploy them to empty the dustbins frequently and to clean the platforms.

She also directed the officials to issue frequent announcements to the public seeking their cooperation in maintaining cleanliness at the station.

She concentrated on the free circulation of passenger platforms for quick dispersal of passengers and hassle-free boarding.

Additional DRM Madanlal Meena, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager M. Yelvender Yadav, Senior DEN Ch. Vishnu Murthy, and ASC (RPF) Amit Das were present during the inspection.