SCR generates 86000 Berths/Seats by attaching Additional Coaches to several Express Trains during Summer

Secunderabad (SC):  In order to clear waitlisted passengers and extra rush of passengers, South Central Railway will temporarily augment the following Trains with additional AC II Tier / AC III Tier / AC Chair Car / Sleeper Class/General Second Class Chair Car coaches as detailed below:-

  1.  Train No. 12220 Secunderabad – Mumbai LTT AC Duronto Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 1st to 29thMay, 2015.
  2.  Train No. 12219 Mumbai LTT – Secunderabad AC Duronto Express (Bi-weekly)will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 2nd to 30thMay, 2015.
  3. Train No. 12774 Secunderabad – Shalimar AC Express (weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 5th to 26th May, 2015.
  4. Train No. 12773 Shalimar – Secunderabad AC Express (weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 6th to 27th May, 2015.
  5. Train No. 12784 Secunderabad – Visakhapatnam AC Express (weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 2nd to 30th May, 2015.
  6. Train No. 12783 Visakhapatnam – Secunderabad AC  Express (weekly)will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 3rd to 31st May, 2015.
  7. Train No. 12285 Secunderabad – Hazarat Nizamuddin Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 3rd to 31stMay, 2015.
  8. Train No. 12286 Hazarat Nizamuddin – Secunderabad Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 4th May to 1stJune, 2015.
  9. Train No. 17256 Hyderabad-Narsapur  Express (Daily)will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  10. Train No. 17255 Narsapur-Hyderabad  Express (Daily)will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  11. Train No. 17230 Hyderabad-Trivandrum Sabari Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 3rd May to 2nd June, 2015.
  12. Train No. 17229 Trivandrum-Hyderabad Sabari  Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 5th May to 4th June, 2015.
  13. Train No. 17016 Secunderabad-Bhubaneshwar Visakha Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  14. Train No. 17015 Bhubaneshwar-Secunderabad Visakha Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 3rd May to 2nd June, 2015.
  15. Train No. 17250 Secunderabad-Machilipatnam  Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  16. Train No. 17249 Machilipatnam – Secunderabad Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  17. Train No. 12764 Secunderabad-Tirupati Padmavati Express (5 days in a week) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  18. Train No. 12763 Tirupati-Secunderabad Padmavati Express (5 days in a week) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 2nd May to 2nd June, 2015.
  19. Train No. 12732 Secunderabad-Tirupati Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 5th to 27th May, 2015.
  20. Train No. 12731 Tirupati-Secunderabad Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 6th to 28th May, 2015.
  21. Train No. 17007 Secunderabad-Darbanga Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 2nd to 30th May, 2015.
  22. Train No. 17008 Secunderabad-Darbanga Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 5th May to 2nd June, 2015.
  23. Train No. 17002 Secunderabad – Sainagar Shiridi Express (on Sundays) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 3rd to 31st May, 2015.
  24. Train No. 17001 Sainagar Shiridi – Secunderabad Express (on Mondays) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 4th May to 1stJune, 2015.
  25. Train No. 12769 Secunderabad – Tirupati Seven Hills Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 1st to 29th May, 2015.
  26. Train No. 12770 Tirupati – Secunderabad Seven Hills Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 4th May to 2nd June, 2015.
  27. Train No. 12761 Tirupati – Karimnagar Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 2nd to 30th May, 2015.
  28. Train No. 12762 Karimnagar – Tirupati Express (Bi-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 3rd to 31st May, 2015.
  29. Train No. 17603 Kacheguda – Yesvantpur Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  30. Train No. 17604 Yesvantpur – Kacheguda  Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne AC II Tier Coach from 2nd May to 1stJune, 2015.
  31. Train No. 17651 Kacheguda – Chennai Egmore  Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  32. Train No. 17652 Chennai Egmore – Kacheguda Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 4th May to 3rd June, 2015.
  33. Train No. 17643 Chennai Egmore – Kakinada  Circar Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 2ndMay to 1st June, 2015.
  34. Train No. 17644 Kakinada – Chennai Egmore Circar Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC III Tier Coach from 3rd May to 2nd June, 2015.
  35. Train No. 17401 Tirupati – Machilipatnam Express (Daily) will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 1stto 31st May, 2015.
  36. Train No. 17402 Machilipatnam – Tirupati  Express (Daily)will be augmented with one Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  37. Train No. 17429 Hyderabad-Tirupati Rayalaseema  Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  38. Train No. 17430 Tirupati – Hyderabad Express (Daily)will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  39. Train No. 57477 Tirupati – Guntakal Passenger will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  40. Train No. 57478 Guntakal – Tirupati Passenger will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  41. Train No. 17206 Kakinada Town – Sainagar Shiridi Express (Tri-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 2nd May to 1stJune, 2015.
  42. Train No. 17205 Sainagar Shiridi – Kakinada Town Express (Tri-weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 3rd May to 2ndJune, 2015.
  43. Train No. 17204 Kakinada Town – Bhavnagar Express (Weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 7th to 28th May, 2015.
  44. Train No. 17203 Bhavnagar – Kakinada Town Express (Weekly) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 9th to 30th May, 2015.
  45. Train No. 17618 Nanded-Mumbai CST Tapovan  Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31stMay, 2015.
  46. Train No. 17617 Mumbai CST- Nanded Tapovan Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 2nd May to 1st June, 2015.
  47. Train No. 17688 Dharmabad-Manmad Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31stMay, 2015.
  48. Train No. 17687 Manmad – Dharmabad Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  49. Train No. 12715 Nanded – Amritsar Sachkand Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  50. Train No. 12716 Amritsar – Nanded Sachkand Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne Sleeper Class Coach from 3rd May to 2nd June, 2015.
  51. Train No. 12747 Guntur-Vikarabad Palnadu Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  52. Train No. 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Palnadu Express (Daily) will be augmented with o­ne AC Chair Car Coach from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  53. Train No. 12747 Guntur-Vikarabad Palnadu Express (Daily) will be augmented with two General Second Chair Car Coaches from 1st to 31st May, 2015.
  54. Train No. 12748 Vikarabad – Guntur Palnadu Express (Daily) will be augmented with two General Second Chair Car Coaches from 1st to 31st May, 2015.

The augmentation of Coaches will make available around 86490 additional berths/seats (6992 AC II Tier berths, 12928 AC III Tier berths, 39600 Sleeper Class berths, 13578 AC Chair Car seats and 13392 General Second Chair Car seats) for clearing extra rush and wait listed passengers.

GPT Infraprojects Ltd bags Rs.74.81 Crore worth order from NFR

Guwahati (GWH): North East Frontier Railway, Maligaon, Guwahati has issued an order to GPT Infraprojects Limited for construction of station yard, by earthing in cutting and filling at Ch. 35000m to 35340 m.Ch35820m to 36060 m & 361060 m to 36420 m and construction of minor bridge no.54,55 & 56 at Ch. 35220,35925 & 36420 including protection work and other ancilliary works under Dy.CE/CON-2/JRM at SCL in connection with the construction of new Broad Gauge Railway line from Jiribam to Tupul (Imphal). The work is planned to be completed in 11 months. Approximate order value is Rs.74.81 crores.

Several flaws in Mumbai Metro’s Model Concession Agreement rectified; Now Info about Mumbai Metro a Right

Mumbai: Getting information about the Mumbai Metro project is now a right under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) has appointed a public information officer following an order from the state chief information commissioner.

MMOPL has also made a provision on its website to find the names of the public information officer and first appellate officer.

Former central information commissioner (CIC) Shailesh Gandhi had asked the state CIC to declare the MMOPL a public authority.

Gandhi had said that section 2 (h) (i) and (ii) of the RTI Act states that if a government provides funds to a body directly or indirectly, that body is considered a public authority and comes under the ambit of the Act.

In case of the Mumbai Metro, the government has given financial assistance of Rs633 crore — Rs133 crore as equity and Rs500 crore as viability gap funding — Gandhi had said.

On March 19, a bench of Ratnakar Gaikwad and Ajit Kumar Jain said the MMOPL is a public authority under the RTI Act and hence should provide information under the RTI Act.

“There are several flaws in the concession agreement, which people should be aware of. Now, we can get the required information through the RTI,” Gandhi said.

An MMOPL spokesperson said, “MMOPL is following the process and procedure, in compliance with the RTI Act, and has accordingly appointed a public information officer.”

Delay in projects to cost Rs.2 Lakh crore to National Exchequer: observe Ministry of Statistics

New Delhi: Rs 111.9 crore. That was the initial cost estimated for Bankura-Damodar gauge conversion project of South-Eastern Railways in 2001. The very project is now estimated to cost the exchequer Rs 2,371.85 crore, a whopping increase of 20 times.

The slow pace in completion of infrastructure projects in the country and the cost overuns could well be gauged with a slew of examples like this. Sample this: a yet-to-be over bridge across Brahmaputra river was originally supposed to be commissioned in September 1997. Similarly Gondia-Jabalpur railway gauge conversion, approved in 1998, is now looking at another scheduled deadline in 2019.

In a presentation before a parliamentary panel, Ministry of statistics and programme implementation – which monitors Central projects costing above Rs 150 crore – has revealed that around 750 core sector projects involving roads, railways, power, petroleum, atomic energy, civil aviation, telecom, shipping and ports have a cost over-run of over Rs 2 lakh crore. The ministry has stated that as many as 315 projects were having time overruns, 224 cost overruns and 76 both, with respect to original implementation schedule. The original cost of 224 projects was Rs 2.54 lakh crore and now the anticipated cost is Rs 4.65 lakh crore. The total over-run cost calculated by the ministry comes to a whopping Rs 2,11,274.11 crore (82.99 percent). The presentation states that in absence of corrective measures, the cost of these critical projects is expected to increase by 20 times and would miss deadline by another 21 years.

The gauge-conversion project on the Gondia-Jabalpur stretch in Madhya Pradesh, undertaken by South East Central Railway, is facing a delay of 21 years. The Rs 590.63-crore project is now expected to be completed in 2019. The original cost was Rs 386 crore and the project was to be completed in 1998.

Of the delayed projects, 98 are national highway projects – the highest number in any single sector. Land acquisition, delayed clearances and financial constraints have plagued road building. The oil and gas sector has also seen some significant project delays and cost overruns. Twenty-four of the projects undertaken by the Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC) are witnessing delays. Its G1 and GS-15 oilfields off Andhra coast is facing the second-highest cost overrun of 820 percent and a delay of more than nine years.

In the power sector, 43 projects of state-run Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd are facing delays. Some 30 projects are facing delays, mainly due to forest clearance, right of way and land acquisition issues. Singareni Collieries Co. Ltd’s shaft project at its Adriyala mine has suffered a cost overrun of 479 percent and a delay of more than two years. A shaft project involves building a vertical tunnel to access the bottom of a mine. Two hydropower projects being overseen by North Eastern Electric Power Corp. Ltd (NEEPC) in Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh have suffered a cost as well as a time overrun.

The 31-member parliamentary panel headed by former union minister M Veerappa Moily and has former prime minister Manmohan Singh as member was amazed to know that the ministry which has been assigned to monitor projects has no power to suggest, recommend or use any kind of leverage to admonish those guilty of cost or time over-runs. They are all projects executed directly by the Centre and don’t involve private or state-owned projects.

224 – projects having cost overruns
Rs.2.54 lakh crore – original cost
Rs.4.65 lakh crore – anticipated cost

NHRC directs CRB to pay Rs.4 lakh Compensation in a case where TTE threw a man out of running train

Bhubaneswar (BBS): National Human Rights Commission has directed Chairman of Railway Board to pay compensation of Rs. 4 lakh to Benudhar Bhoi, who was thrown out of a running train by a train ticket examiner (TTE) for not having a valid ticket in Odisha.

Although NHRC had recommended the award of compensation more than two years ago, the Indian Railways was delaying the payment of compensation on different pretexts.

In its latest direction, the Commission asked the Chairman, Railway Board, New Delhi to submit the compliance report along with proof of payment of compensation within six weeks.

It was alleged that Mr. Bhoi sustained serious injuries after being pushed by on-duty TEE from train at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road under Khurda Road Division on May 11, 2009. The Government Railway Police that conducted the investigation found that there was prima facie evidence suggesting that the victim was indeed thrown out of the train. Mr. Bhoi, an unemployed youth, had lost one leg due to the injury.

Indian Railways, however, said the victim met with the accident while getting down hastily from the train. He was travelling without any ticket. The Indian Railways had submitted that there was delay in payment of compensation since a local court was adjudicating the matter.

NHRC observed that there is a prima facie case of human rights violation; and the results of the criminal case in the local court as well as the claims case before the Railway Claim Tribunal had nothing to do with the compensation recommended to the victim. The commission has ordered immediate payment of compensation.

HC ask Railways to expedite Ram Jhula project in Nagpur for the benefit of citizens

Nagpur (NGP): The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday asked Railways and others when it would grant permissions to Afcons Infrastructure to demolish the old British era bridge for completion of second phase of Ram Jhula project.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited demanding that work on Ram Jhula, the six-lane cable-stayed railway overbridge near Santra Market, gets rolling.

They urged the court to direct Afcons to execute the work as per the agreement on January 17, 2006. The work tender was allotted to Afcons on January 25, 2006, and it was to be completed in 42 months, but its first phase completed last year only, while second phase is only on paper.

Transfer tree plantation funds to state, NMC told

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Friday directed the NMC to handover 3.34 lakh to the State forest department for planting 100 trees on its land at Nara Nari.

The directives came while hearing a PIL filed by NGO Nature Conservation Association through its secretary Shrikant Deshpande.

The trees are to be planted in lieu of those felled during the four-laning of Koradi Road by NHAI.

NHAI counsels Ajay Ghare and Anish Kathane informed that they had handed over 3.34 lakh to NMC for planting trees, but the latter stated that they will plant it in the carriageway, which NHAI objected to.

Government pleader Bharti Dangre informed that they have two spots where trees could be planted at Nara Nari and Ambazari cantonment, but the NMC should first transfer the funds it got from NHAI

Delhi suffers a loss of Rs.6000 Crore worth Prime Railway Land due to illegal Encroachments

New Delhi: With squatters taking over nearly 150 acres (60 hectares) of unused prime land in the Capital, several important railway projects have hit a wall. Precipitating the crisis, thousands of these illegal settlers are gradually turning huge chunks of vacant railway land into permanent shelters. In all, the expanse of the usurped land can house 25 Parliament buildings.

As many as 52 slum clusters have come up on the usurped railway land and house nearly 47,000 dwelling units. More surprisingly, nearly 50,000 electricity connections have also been provided to these residential units.

According to real estate experts, the total worth of the railways’ occupied land in Delhi comes to Rs.6,000 crore if calculated on an average rate of Rs.1 lakh per sq m. The Northern Railways has admitted to the land encroachment in response to a Right to Information (RTI) query filed by Delhi-based activist Narendra Sharma.

A direct fallout of this illegal occupation is that all inbound trains are forced to slow down just when these enter the Capital’s periphery. “The presence of hundreds of shanties right on the tracks is an unnerving sight. It forces us to drive at a slower speed lest we ram someone, but it impacts our arrival and departure schedule,” a loco driver said on the condition of anonymity.

Some of the major projects affected by these encroachments are the expansion plans at the Anand Vihar and Shakur Basti stations. The proposed station at Bijwasan is also stuck because of this problem.

Illegal occupation

According to the railways, 6 lakh sq m of land has been illegally occupied by slum dwellers across the city. The worst affected areas are in North and North-West Delhi, which account for nearly half of the total encroached railway land. More than 24,000 jhuggis in 25 JJ clusters have been built in these two districts alone.

These are followed by areas in East, South and South-West Delhi, where nearly 18,000 jhuggis have been collectively raised over the years. The squatters have not even spared the New Delhi district, where two clusters with nearly 100 shanties have come up on railway’s land.

In Delhi, areas like Shakur Basti, Nizamuddin, Azad Colony, Wazirpur, Nangloi, Daya Basti, Zakhira, Tughlakabad, Seelampur and Shahdara are the worst affected. Thousands of slum dwellers have been living along the railway tracks for several years now.

No removals so far

The other areas where encroachment is rampant include Mayapuri, Prem Baadi Bridge, Kishanganj, Old Rohtak Road and Pragati Maidan.

Such is the penetration of squatters in these clusters that even railways and civic bodies have failed to get the land vacated. In reply to the RTI query, the railways claimed that it had paid Rs.11.15 crore to the three Municipal Corporations of Delhi in 2013 for removal of these encroachments from its land. However, the move failed to have the desired effect.

Railway officials said repeated efforts made to evacuate the squatters from government land had proved to be futile since local-level politicians intervened in the exercise with a view to encashing the votes of these slum dwellers. The railway officials were even pressured to abort the anti-encroachment drives in these areas, sources said.

On Friday, the matter pertaining to land encroachment was raised in Parliament too. Responding to the queries, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha said 59.88 hectare of land in Delhi was under encroachment while 930 hectare of railway land across the country was illegally occupied by squatters.

“About 930 hectare of railway Continued from page 1 land, which constitutes 0.20 per cent of the total railway land, is under encroachment in various parts of the country. In Delhi, 59.88 hectare of railway land is under illegal occupation,” Sinha stated in a written reply. However, he said steps were being taken to get the railway land cleared of the illegal occupants and prevent encroachment in the future.

“During the past three years, about 70.38 hectare of encroached land has been retrieved. The vacant land, which is not required by the railways for its immediate operational needs, has been entrusted to the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) during the interim period for commercial development through open competitive bidding,” the Minister of State for Railways added.

Meanwhile, railway officials said that human intervention on railway tracks didn’t only pose a safety hazard but also created unhygienic conditions.

With lakhs of people inhabiting the vacant land adjacent to railway tracks in Delhi, close to 4,000 persons have lost their lives during the last five years.

Railway officials said a majority of these victims were identified as slum dwellers, who were living in adjacent areas and were run over by trains while crossing railway tracks. The Railway Police, in response to an RTI query, said 3,833 persons were killed on railway tracks since 2010 in the Capital.

Areas near the Old Delhi railway station reported the maximum number of deaths with the tally standing at 1,469. The second highest tally was claimed by areas near Sarai Rohilla, where the number of deaths stood at 1,202 followed by 555 deaths being reported near Hazrat Nizamuddin. Areas near the New Delhi railway station reported 287 deaths, while 320 persons lost their lives near the Anand Vihar railway station.

According to the RTI reply, nearly 25,000 bodies could not be identified as they were mutilated after being trampled upon by trains. Overcrowding at railway stations, which often prompts passengers to cross railway tracks, is also a reason behind the deaths according to officials.

While crossing or walking along the railway tracks is a punishable offence under Section 147 of the Railways Act, most commuters remain unaware of the law. Officials claim that of the 47,000 jhuggis on railway land in Delhi, about 24,500 violate the safety zone, which stretches to 15 metres around the outermost track.

Coal Ministry asked to track Rail linkage projects

House panel says Rly support key to achieve 1-billion tonne output by 2020

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Coal and Steel, in its report tabled in the Lok Sabha on Friday, said that the production target of one billion tonnes by 2020 is ambitious and to achieve this, an evacuation mechanism is required by enhancing railway infrastructure.

On its part, the Coal Ministry informed the panel that it has made arrangements to hold meetings every month to sort out bottlenecks for three major rail lines — one each in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

“The Committee express its satisfaction at the proposed initiatives being undertaken by the government for development of required railway infrastructure for coal evacuation. However, at the same time emphasis on constant monitoring must be maintained,” the panels’ report.

Pending green clearance

The committee also expressed concern over getting environment and forest clearance for Coal India projects.

A total of 187 forest clearance applications and 23 environment clearance applications are pending for Coal India; five forest and 11 environment clearance proposals are pending for Singareni Collieries Company Ltd and three environment clearances are pending for Neyveli Lignite Corporation as of March 2015.

While the panel’s report expressed satisfaction over the setting up of the project monitoring group, it suggested that a mechanism to streamline the process of obtaining green clearances in a co-ordinated manner can be looked at by the Coal Ministry.

Rohtak-Bathinda Electrification work inaugurated by Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the commencement of electrification of Rohtak-Bathinda-Lehra Mohabbat Rail line costing Rs 294 crore at the railway station here in Haryana on Friday.

The railway ministry and Haryana government has also signed an agreement to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for setting up of the proposed rail coach factory in Sonipat, Prabhu said while inaugurating the commencement of electrification of the line.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was also present on the occasion. On the issue of setting up of the rail coach factory raised by Khattar, the Union minister said the factory would be set up on Public-Private-Partnership mode.

Prabhu gave directions to the railway officials on the demand raised by the chief minister to either make underground passage for the railway line track passing through Rohtak city or make passage over the bridge on the pattern of Metro through pillars.

He also assured to meet the demand of modernisation of Rohtak railway station and to start train between Bhiwani and Haridwar.

“Railway station in Gurgaon is also being modernised with the help of CSR,” he added.

For the smooth work-flow on the railway projects in Haryana, discussions would be held every month between senior officials of the railway and state government.

Prabhu said that in the near future, Rs 8.5 lakh crore of investment would be made on railways as in past not much investment was made on railways resultantly, rail and railway network instead of strengthening has weakened.

He said that in the next five years, target of electrification of 2,000 km of railway lines every year has been fixed which so far is the highest target.

It is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi that railway ministry works hand-in-hand with state governments on railway projects, he said.

Vizag Metro Rail DPR to be ready by end of May 2015

Visakhapatnam (VSKP): Detailed Project Report of Vizag Metro would take another month as the various surveys commenced late. Agencies involved in preparing the DPR have completed all studies and only the geo-technical survey has to be completed, said officials.

“All studies regarding Vizag Metro Rail Project such as topographic, environment impact assessment, social impact assessment and traffic studies have been completed. Only geo-technical survey has to be completed which is under process. It is expected to be completed in a month and the DPR would probably get ready by May end,” said an official connected to the project.

The geo-technical survey has been taken up to study soil conditions along all corridors in the city and it is vital for all civil works in case of huge projects like Metro Rail. Jaipur-based CEG Test House & Research Centre Private Limited has started conducting the survey along the three proposed corridors. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation engaged the CEG Laboratory for taking up these soil tests for every 1 to 1.5 km and the works are going on.

DMRC is planning three flyovers at NAD Junction, Satyam Junction and Maddilapalem for convenience of operations and geo-technical surveys are much needed for huge and important structures, officials said.

Set up district-level committees to monitor maintenance works in rail stations: MP

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suresh C. Angadi, MP (Belagavi), has urged Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu to set up district-level committees headed by Members of Parliament to monitor maintenance works in all railway stations.

He said here on Friday that setting up of such committees would go a long way in maintaining cleanliness on the premises of railway stations and in redressing grievances of commuters effectively.

He added that excepting a few, most railway stations in the country were in an unhygienic condition.

Setting up of committees would also ensure a regular check on maintenance works and make officials accountable for their dos and don’ts, he added.

Govt identified four Strategic Rail projects for Development in the Border areas: MOSR

New Delhi: Government has identified four strategic railway projects for development in the border areas. Proposal has been received from Ministry of Railways for release of funds for carrying out Final Location Survey of these projects. An allocation of Rs.1000/- crore was made for these projects in 2014-15. A sum of Rs.500/- crore has been allocated during 2015-16 for this purpose.

These railway lines will support the movement and sustenance of Armed Forces during war and peace. These lines would also lead to speedy mobilization, direct connectivity and also enhance strategic reach of the Defence Forces, thereby contributing towards the security and safety of the nation.

This information was given by Defence Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar in a written reply to Shri Nagendra Kumar Pradhan and others in Lok Sabha today.

IR’s Model Concession Agreement provides for Escalation of Base Tariff linked to WPI: MOSR

New Delhi: Ministry of Railways has issued Model Concession Agreement for Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model. Under this model, project will be bid out through competitive bidding to the private concessionaire who will Design, Build, Finance, Construct and maintain the project. Indian Railways will pay user charges to the concessionaire equal to 50 per cent of the apportioned revenue. The normal concession period will be for 25 years.

A minimum of eighty percent of the projected revenue has been guaranteed under this model.

Model Concession Agreement provides for escalation of base tariff linked with Wholesale Price Index (WPI) during the concession period, to take care of the inflationary risk.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Bibek Debroy’s Report in the stage of Feedback/Comments by Stakeholders; Final Report in Aug 2015: MOSR

New Delhi: The Committee headed by Dr. Bibek Debroy on Mobilisation of Resources for Major Railways Projects and Restructuring of Railway Ministry and Railway Board has submitted its Interim Report in March 2015 containing, inter alia, recommendations o improving the functioning and performance of Railways.

The Interim Report of Dr. Bibek Debroy Committee includes recommendations on separation of Policy-making , Regulation *& Operations setting up of a Railway Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI), unbundling of Indian Railways into two independent organizations one responsible for Track & Infrastructure and the other for operating trains, private participation in running freight/passenger trains and in various railway infrastructure services and non-core activities like production & construction, merger of Railway budget with the General Budget in a phased manner, bringing existing Production Units under a Government SPC under Ministry of Railways. Reorganization of the various organized Services and on decentralization & delegation of powers. The Interim Report is at the stage of feedback/comments of stakeholders before submission of the final report in August 2015.

The Committee headed by Dr.E.Sreedharan has submitted its final report on 11.3.15 for delegation of tendering and commercial powers to General Managers and other operating levels. The Final Repot of Committee of Dr. E. Sreedharan has been submitted on 11.03.15 which has recommendation for total delegation of powers to General Managers and operating level for calling tenders and finalization of all types of contracts with checks and balances. A Sub-Committee has been set up to evaluate the recommendations and suggesting a framework for implementation sequence duly taking into account the practical aspects.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

17 State Govts responded to Partner with Ministry of Railways for development of Rail Projects: MOSR

New Delhi: Ministry of Railways has approached all State Governments to form Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV) jointly with Ministry of Railways to undertake mutually identified rail infrastructure projects for project development, resources mobilization and monitoring. 17 State Governments have responded showing their interest in this regard.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

Periodical Surveys on Illegal Encroachments in Railway Lands helped IR take Stringent timely Action: MOSR

New Delhi: Indian Railways carry out regular surveys of encroachment and taken action for their removal. If the encroachments are of temporary nature (soft encroachment) in the shape of jhuggies, jhopries and squatters, the same got removed in consultation and with the assistance of Railways Protection Force and local civil authorities. For old encroachments, where party is not amenable to persuasion, action is taken under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorized Occupants) Act, 1971 (PPE Act, 1971) as amended from time to time. Actual eviction of unauthorized occupants is carried out with the assistance of State Government and Police. During last three years about 70.38 hectares of encroaches land has been retrieved.

About 930 hectares of railway land which constitutes only 0.20% of the total railway land is under encroachment in various parts of the country. In Delhi, 59.88 hectares of railway land is under encroachment.

At certain locations, encroachment cause bottlenecks & safety hazards in train operations and difficulties in track maintenance. Encroachment are also a nuisance to traveling public besides a bottleneck to create new infrastructure.

The vacant Railway land, which is not required by Railways for its immediate operational needs, is entrusted to Rail Land Development (RLDA) in interim period, for commercial development wherever feasible through transparent open competitive bidding process in which disabled persons among others can also participate. This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Manoj Sinha in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.

China-Pak Rail link through Islamabad-Karachi stir up controversy in Pak

Islamabad: With the USD 46 billion Sino-Pak Economic Corridor unveiled by President Xi Jinping stirring up a controversy in Pakistan, Chinese experts today waded into the debate by suggesting that the proposed railway route be built through Karachi and Islamabad for commercial viability.

A railway route along the eastern part of Pakistan is the most feasible for the railway artery of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), official media here reported today.

“The eastern route, which would go from Karachi to Islamabad and further north in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is obviously more convenient and will cost less,” state-run Global Times quoted a report as saying.

CPEC proposes to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar port in Balochistan close to Iran border with Xinjiang through highways, rail lines, gas and oil pipelines.

Considering that the projected investments amounts to USD 46 billion, the biggest by China in overseas projects, various political parties in Pakistan demanded details of the route over anxieties that the dominant Punjab province could garner most of the investments leaving poor provinces like Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Balochistan out of it.

The eastern route of Karachi to Islamabad and Xinjiang through Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), will leave Balochistan and KP, both of which are regarded as destabilised provinces due to the presence of militant groups.

Yin Xingmin, professor of the China Centre for Economic Studies at Fudan University, believes that the final project should be the eastern route, which crosses the more populous regions of Pakistan.

“A railway generates more economic impact when it passes through more populous regions,” Yin told the Global Times.

Chinese experts say that bilateral negotiation is vital in finalising the railway route, the flagship project of China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, launched by Xi during his just concluded visit to Pakistan.

China’s National Railway Administration and the Railways Ministry of Pakistan signed a MoU on a joint feasibility study for upgrading the ML1 railway line and the establishment of Havelain Dry Port of Pakistan Railways, the report said.

The deal was one of the more than 51 MOUs Pakistan and China signed in Islamabad during Xi’s visit.

A spokesperson with the National Railway Administration said there is currently no news concerning how the route will be finalised.

“A mechanism of bilateral negotiation should be worked out, balancing the interests of all the stakeholders, and this experience should be able to be copied to other countries and markets included in the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, highlighting the exemplary role of a flagship project such as the CPEC,” Ma Hong, a Shanghai-based analyst, said.

RPF nab three Fake TTEs at Secunderabad Railway Station

Secunderabad (SC): South Central Railway, Railway Protection Force (RPF) nabbed three fake Travelling Ticket Examiners at Secunderabad Railway Station on 22nd April, 2015. RPF Crime Prevention Detection Squad team while on confidential watch noticed three persons acting as TTEs and checking the general ticket passenger boarding Train No. 12791 Secunderabad – Patna Express. One of the fake TTE negotiated with general ticket passenger outside of Station and offered him to provide reservation in the Patna Express. Immediately RPF personnel apprehended the three persons and handed over to local police of Gopalapuram Police Station.

Fare Fixation Committee invites Commuter opinion over Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro fares

Mumbai: Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro passengers have been invited by the Fare Fixation Committee (FFC) to submit their opinion on what the fares on Mumbai Metro should be.

A notice has been put up by Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) on their website (, where it is stated: “The Fare Fixation Committee invites representations/ proposals from all interested persons, such as passengers, consumers, public bodies, MMRDA and all other organisations interested in the ultimate fare fixation that may be decided by the FFC.”

Those interested, will have to send their “representation, either in writing or by email” to FFC within three weeks. The notice was issued on Friday, April 17.

The FFC comprises retired Justice E Padmanabhan as Chairman, with other members including executive Chief Cecretary of Maharashtra Jayant Kumar Banthia and former Law Secretary Dr T.K.Vishwanathan.

On April 7, through an order, the union government appointed FFC specifically for Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar metro, and the committee will have to submit their report to the Supreme Court, where a petition is being heard on determining the fares of Mumbai Metro.

Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Reliance Infrastructure are on loggerheads over how much money should be charged to commute on metro rail. The development authority wants the fares to be at Rs9-11-13 depending on the distance of commute.

Reliance Infrastructure has been levying Rs.10-20-30-40 as well as nominally discounted fares through passes and smart cards.

The differences in opinion between MMRDA and RInfra led MMOPL over fares has been on, even before the services were commissioned on June 8, 2014. The justification of the latter to charge higher tariff is substantial increase in the project cost.

Where to Send?
Nodal Officer
Fare Fixation Committee
Mumbai Metro One Pvt. Ltd.
Metro Depot, D. N. Nagar,
J. P. Road, 4 Bungalows,
Andheri (W), Mumbai 400 053

Kochi Metro board meet to okay Axis Bank deal

Kochi: An urgent meeting of the board of directors of Kochi Metro Rail Limited will be held in New Delhi on Friday to approve the Axis Bank deal for automatic fare collection card.

The KMRL can go ahead with further steps only after getting the board’s approval. Recently, the Axis Bank had  won the national bid for developing and running the automatic fare collection system for Kochi Metro.

In a major deal that will save cost and ensure a future revenue stream, the bank has promised to invest for the system.  It  will also make a one-time royalty payment of Rs 209 crore to the KMRL.

The deal will help the KMRL  save Rs 500-600 crore, the estimated cost for the development and running of the system for all modes of transportation for 10 years.

Coaches of Kochi Metro to be decked with exotic interiors, colours

Exotic Kochi MetroThe coaches of Kochi Metro will sport beautiful design, colour and exotic interiors.

Tata Elxi, the consultant of the metro for comfort features and branding of coaches, has made an initial presentation at Kochi Metro Rail Limited office.

They say the proposed colour, design and interior features are at par with the international standards.

The next round of meetings with the KMRL officials will be held on April 28 and it will finalise the colour pattern and customer features.

As per the plans, the exterior will be steel coloured while the interior will be painted cool and comfortable colours.

There will be two types of seats, ‘normal’ and ‘priority’. The priority seats, with a different colour pattern, will be reserved for pregnant women, senior citizens and women carrying babies.

Bangalore Metro Reach-3B to open on May 1

Bangalore (SBC): The much-awaited commercial operations of Namma Metro between Nagasandra and Peenya Industry will commence on May 1. When this becomes operational, the entire North-South corridor from Mantri Square Sampige Road station to Nagasandra will be completed.

Union Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will symbolically flag off a train at 10 am from Nagasandra station while the first train with passengers will run from the station to Peenya Industry in the evening.

The three stations that will be connected along the 2.5 km stretch (Reach-3B) are T Dasarahalli, Jalahalli and Nagasandra.

Speaking to RailNews, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola said service trials (which involves the actual run) were conducted over last fortnight along the stretch after clearance was obtained from the Commissioner for Rail Safety on April 9. “We were also checking the ticket alignment and passenger amenities,” he added.

Kharola said Rs 50 crore was spent to set up each of the stations. A unique feature in these stations is that the passenger fare gates have been erected on the concourse at the upper level. “This has been done to provide more space for movement at the ground level inside the stations,” he added.

Presently, Reach-3 and Reach-3A connect Mantri Square Sampige Road to Peenya Industry. “Between 15,000 and 20,000 commuters use this stretch daily,” Kharola added. “We are expecting a good response to the service as many residential apartments have come up on the Reach-3B stretch.” A train will be run every 10 minutes on this stretch too.

Reach-3B was initially to be launched by May 2014. However, it was pushed to August that year due to safety issues and then to February this year. It was then pushed to March. Finally, it is now all set to begin operations on May 1.

3 Subways

To facilitate easy access to the station, three pedestrian subways will be constructed at Jalahalli, Nagasandra and Peenya Industry. “We have called for tenders in this connection” Kharola said.

IL&FS Engineering gets contract worth Rs.326.99 Crore from Bangalore Metro

Mumbai: IL&FS Engineering and Construction Company Limited has bagged a metro rail contract from Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) for a value of Rs 326.99 crore.

Company Secretary IL&FS said that the contract involves construction of elevated structures (viaduct) of length 3.945 Kms (approx) from Mysore Road Metro Station outer to Pattanagere Station including 4 Nos.of elevated metro stations viz.Nayandahalli Station, Rajarajeshwari Nagar Station, Jnanabharathi Station and Pattanagere Station in the west extension of E-W Corridor of Bangalore Metro Rail Project, Phase-2. The projectr is to be compleiensted in 27 months from the date of issue of Letter of Acceptance (LOA).

The Company has demonstrated expertise in executing Metro Rail projects across the country and is current executing two contracts for Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon (Phase-II) – one involving construction of double track elevated viaduct worth Rs.255.84 Crores, and the other involving construction of five elevated Metro Rail Stations in Gurgaon (South Extension) worth Rs.84.30 Crores.

Earlier, the Company successfull executed Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon (Phase-I) contract worth Rs.259.30 Crores that involved construction of single and double track elevated viaduct including six station buildings.

This information was also conveyed by the company to Bombay Stock Exchange and NSE Limited vide Scrip Code Ref: IL&FSEngg 532907 dated 24th April 2015.

IR still years away from its own High Speed Rail record – Thanks to former Rail Ministers under UPA Govt.

Highspeed railThe setting of a new High Speed Rail (HSR) record earlier this week by Japan, a breath-taking 603 kilometres per hour under test conditions, has led many to ask how long before India starts setting similar records in train speeds – many thanks to various politicians who served as Union Railway Ministers in the earlier governments viz.Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Mamta Banerjee and Pawan Bansal who all practiced the principle launching politically motivated schemes for their personal agenda, thereby contributing for an unenriched Railway System in India without looking at innovative and path breaking measures that eventually led to financial bankruptcy of Indian Railways.  World knew very well how sufficiently ex.Railway Minister Mamta Banerjee killed the very system of Indian Railways during her unique regime is better not to speak enough!  Surprisingly, the other politician who served as Railway Minister from under the same Party owned by Mamata Banerjee came out with a beautiful report speaks about their compromising character in the guise of politics.

And it does not take a genius to fathom the correct answer – let alone records, India may still be many years away from kick-starting High Speed Rail operations. While bullet trains have been talked about in India since the 1980s, the country has only just started with the planning process. Two feasibility studies are being undertaken for two separate stretches identified for initial HSR operations – Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Chennai corridors. So while the “maglev” train operated by JR Central was clocking the 603 kmph speed at a track near Mount Fuji, breaking its own 2003 record of 590 KPH, India was waiting for the two study reports to be delivered.

It is worth remembering that Japan had already developed the world’s first system of bullet trains as early as 1960s. The train that has set the high speed record last Tuesday runs on high-end Magnetic Levitation – or ‘maglev’ for short – technology that employs use of electromagnets to propel train cars above the tracks. That means there is nothing but air in between the tracks and the wheels as the car hovers 10 centimetres above the rails. For comparison, in India, large stones often get stuck between the wheels and the rails, leading to derailments.

Nevertheless, India has made a humble beginning. It is seeking to secure technology tie-ups with multiple nations which have proven HSR expertise and working out a detailed funding plan for the capital intensive venture. The success of the plan will depend critically on several factors – the model of HSR development (fully dedicated HSR lines, increasing speed on existing rail lines or a mix of both), accurate projection of demand (low footfalls have led to failure of HSR lines globally), planning the correct alignments (HSR systems are known to be financially viable in linear alignments) and an independent tariff setting process that could ensure financial health (all but a few HSR systems globally survive on massive subsidy support from national governments).

In the Indian context, these challenges are facing our railways in a rather disappointing backdrop. A parliamentary panel led by former rail minister Dinesh Trivedi has just submitted its report lambasting Indian Railways’ managers on grounds that are not easy to brush aside. The panel has said, after two years of healthy operations, a severe financial crisis has gripped Indian Railways once again. Tearing into the government’s claim of a visible turnaround in operations, the panel has highlighted declining system productivity, rise in unit cost of operation and an unrealistic Operating Ratio (OR) target based on “textbook solutions”.

In this backdrop, India must act carefully but quickly to identify the right approach for its grand HSR plans that includes constructing a diamond quadrilateral of high speed lines connecting its four metro cities, selecting the right technology to develop the new-age signaling systems necessary for running HSR lines and, most importantly, finalizing an effective methodology for selection of a private sector partner on its much-awaited high speed journey.

Not surprisingly, India lags behind both China and Russia in network productivity (as measured by net tonne per km/network length). Another symptom of the problem is the ceding of considerable share of freight traffic to roads. Think of the opening scene in the first part of Satyajit Ray’s great Apu trilogy.

As the object of awe, wonder, and thrill for young Apu, the onrushing train is a majestic metaphor for escape, opportunity and connectivity.

domestic freightThat deep, intuitive, and dare we say romantic, case for the railways underlay the prime minister’s speech in Varanasi last year when he spoke of the railways as the backbone of India’s development.

But there is also the more prosaically rational case for the railways made in Chapter 6 (Volume I) of this year’s Economic Survey.

To understand this case, consider the problem, symptoms, and consequences.

Today, the ‘lifeline of the nation’ operates over 19,000 trains carrying 23 million passengers, and over three million tonnes of freight per day.

But these big numbers obscure serious deficiencies, a major one being chronic under-investment.

The share of railways in total developmental expenditure has remained at less than 2 per cent since 1990s (whereas the share of roads and bridges has been at around 7 per cent).

The contrast with China is striking. Chinese investment in railways, especially over 2005-12, has been about 11 times higher in per-capita terms. As a result, China, which had lower capacity in 1990, overtook India by the mid-1990s and as of 2010, outstripped India by about 25,000-route km.

Passr & Freight IndexThis problem of under-investment manifests itself in several symptoms.

There is serious network congestion with 65 per cent of sections operating at above 100 per cent capacity.

With the same network being used by both freight and passenger trains and priority generally accorded to passenger traffic, average freight train speeds have almost stagnated between 2000-01 and 2012-13.

Not surprisingly, India lags behind both China and Russia in network productivity (as measured by net tonne per km/network length).

Another symptom of the problem is the ceding of considerable share of freight traffic to roads.

The modal share of Indian Railways in freight traffic has declined to around 33 per cent in 2011, and estimated to decline further to 25 per cent by 2020 if the current state of affairs continues.

The comparable numbers in China and Russia are significantly greater.

What are some of the consequences?

Efficiency IndicatorThe substitution of railways by roads entails large private costs in the form of worsening competitiveness and significant social costs in terms of more accidents, greater mortality, congestion and environmental pollution, including higher greenhouse gas emissions.

Another consequence, which relates as much to policy choices as under-investment, is the impact on the economy’s competitiveness.

The Indian Railways has had to shoulder social responsibilities defined largely by the ability to provide cheap and subsidised passenger services.

Over the years, passenger fares have increased negligibly compared to freight rates, resulting in rates that are among the highest globally (in purchasing power parity terms).

The neglect of freight has dented the competitiveness of Indian industry, which is very logistics-intensive.

Indian Railways transports only about a third of the amount of coal transported in China per hour, and does so at more than double the cost. It is then not surprising that Indian manufacturing and exports become less competitive.

We know that the consequences of under-investment are substantial because our analysis shows that additional investments generate over-size returns.

Based on input-output tables, we estimate in the Economic Survey 2014-15 (Vol I, Chapter 6) that the large backward and forward linkages related to the railways generate a railways investment multiplier of about five.

Similarly, other econometric evidence suggests that public investment in the railways, would positively and durably affect levels of manufacturing and aggregate output, with multipliers of around five: that is, Rs 1-increase in railways investment is expected to boost economy-wide manufacturing output by Rs 5 over the medium term.

While under-investment is a major problem, there are perhaps even deeper influences such as organisational structure, legacy factors and incentives that need to be addressed, which have been discussed in several recent reports on the railways, including that of the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC 2014).

A good start towards turning around the railways was begun in the recent Budget under new and dynamic leadership.

There is a long road – or rather track – to travel but an auspicious beginning has been made.

One of the lesser known facts about Chinese history is the importance of railways to Deng Xiaoping’s attempt to turning the economy around and ushering in the Chinese miracle.

After his third and final rehabilitation, he implemented famously the reform of Chinese agriculture. But after his second rehabilitation, he focused on improving the performance of the Chinese railways.

Should India and the government do for the Indian Railways what Deng did for China’s railways?

Should the government do for Indian Railways what the previous National Democratic Alliance government did for roads via the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the National Highways Development Project (NHDP)?

Our analysis suggests that the answers to both the questions are resoundingly yes.

Contributed by Rangeet Ghosh, Arora, Arvind Subramanian.  Ghosh is OSD to the Chief Economic Advisor, Arora is Assistant Director in the Ministry of Finance, Roy is a Fulbright Scholar at the JohnsHopkins University, and Arvind Subramanian is an Indian economist and the current Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India (Ministry of Finance), having taken charge of the position on 16 October 2014 succeeding Mr.Raghuram Rajan (currently Governor/RBI)

DRM/Alipurduar meets Moinaguri-Jogighopa New Railway Line Demand Committee

Sanjeev Kishore meets the delegation at Dhubri railway station on Thursday
Sanjeev Kishore meets the delegation at Dhubri railway station on Thursday

Dhubri (DBB): New divisional railway manager (DRM) of Alipurduar division of Northeast Frontier Railway, Sanjeev Kishore visited Dhubri railway station today.

Kishore met an all-party delegation, including New Moinaguri-Jogighopa New Railway Line Demand Committee, on the station premises.

Asked about the status of work on the New Moinaguri (West Bengal)-Jogighopa (Assam) railway project, Kishore said it was progressing but he could not give the details of the development between Gauripur and Jogighopa, the stretch which falls within Assam.

On the question of upgrade of Dhubri railway station, Kishore said the proposal was being pursued at the highest level of the department.

On the other demands like running of goods train up to Dhubri, drinking water facility at the railway station, opening more reservation and ticket counters and security of the passengers, he said the drinking water project would be completed within a couple of months and reservation counters, which were closed because of shortage of staff, would be opened soon.

Kishore later said there were many demands on which he could not comment on because they were outside his jurisdiction. But whatever was within his capacity he would try to do his best to fulfil them.

“I shall do my best to address the problems and inconveniences of the commuters and look into the demands raised by various delegations today,” said Kishore

Salem Railway Division launches Safety Campaign

To prevent loss of lives caused by electrocution
Shubhranshu, DRM, Salem Railway Division, flagging off electrical safety campaign van in Salem on Thursday
Shubhranshu, DRM, Salem Railway Division, flagging off electrical safety campaign van in Salem on Thursday

Salem (SA): The Salem Railway Division has launched a campaign to create awareness among the travelling public and the general public on the risks of going near the electrical structures and poles in the railway premises.

The objective of the campaign was to prevent the loss of lives due to electrocution.

Shubhranshu, Divisional Railway Manager, flagged off a safety propaganda van from the divisional office here on Thursday.

Besides warning the people from going near the electrical structures and poles, it also cautioned them from climbing atop the stationed / moving locomotives, coaches and wagons.

The safety propaganda van will visit 73 railway stations in Salem Railway Division starting from Tiruppatur to Podanur for three days from April 23 – 25. It will also stop at the level crossings en route to educate the public.

In an informal chat with presspersons after flag off, Mr. Shubhranshu said that the accident record of Salem division due to electrocution was very negligent. Only three persons were electrocuted in the entire Salem division during the last year (2014-15). All the victims were later found to be mentally unstable persons, he added.

He said that a majority of the accidents take place only due to lack of awareness. The awareness campaign has been launched for preventing the accidents by educating the people dos and don’ts.

In the three days, the personnel in the safety campaign van will interact with the general public to educate them on the risks of going near the electrified tractions, climbing over the electric locomotives, touching the traction poles and structures. They will distribute pocket calendars and student scales carrying safety messages and pamphlets.

Mr. Shubhranshu on Thursday undertook inspection of Erode Railway Junction and the yards. Maintenance work currently in progress on the second platform will be completed in a week’s time, the DRM said, and added that the division has sought nearly Rs. 20 crore for carrying out several other development works. A decision on funding was expected this month-end.

Summer specials will be operated from Coimbatore to Bengaluru and Chennai to clear the extra rush. Acknowledging water inadequacy for replenishment in long-distance trains, Mr. Shubhranshu said water-filling will be carried out at Salem, Coimbatore and Erode stations for assigned trains.

Referring to complaints of stagnation in drainages, the DRM said evacuation through underground drainage will be carried out in due course.

Power trip leads to 25 cancellations on Central Railway

Thane (TNA): The Central Railway (CR) saw a major disruption as 25 trains were cancelled and 55 delayed after the electricity power supply tripped between Thane and Kalwa during peak morning hours towards Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) on Thursday.

The incident occurred on the slow tracks due to which no trains were running on this track from 10.02 am to 10.54 am.

Sources from within the CR have said that the disruptions could have been avoided, but when workers tried to switch on a lever of the substation in order to take the electricity from another grid, the switch caught fire too.

“We usually have a back up plan in case of a power trip, but today when the alternate power was switched on the lever caught fire and we could not restore services for almost an hour,” an official said on condition of anonymity.

The trains were diverted on to the fast track until the supply was restored, but the damage was done with delays ranging from 15 to 45 minutes until the situation normalised.

Ashok Kamble (45), a marketing executive who travels from Thane to CST, was one of the many caught in the delays. “I was headed to my office at Fort area and was intending to catch the 10.35 am, which was delayed by half-an-hour and I went to CST standing in a jam-packed coach,” he said.

Railway LC gate damaged, morning traffic comes to a halt

Pondicherry (PDY): Traffic came to a halt in the morning hours on Thursday on the busy Puducherry-Villupuram Highway due to a damaged railway level crossing gate at Arumbarthapuram.

The railway gate was said to have been damaged after a lorry rammed into it on Wednesday night.

Work on the construction of a railway over bridge at Arumbarthapuram has been ongoing for couple of years. Former Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge had laid the foundation stone for works in 2013.

When Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Misra visited Puducherry in December last year, he had said that work was progressing on the construction of the railway over bridge at Arumbarthapuram, with the construction of girders nearly complete. He had added that the Railway was waiting for the Puducherry government to complete the remaining portions of the work.

Long closure of railway gate irks road users in Dindigul

Dindigul (DG): Road users struggled for about an hour as the second railway gate near Masilamanipuram on Siluvathur Road here remained closed on Thursday.

An IRCTC tourists’ special train was stopped on Dindigul-Karur track across the second railway gate as the railway work force was engaged in yard maintenance work at Anumantha Nagar railway gate near the station.

With no signal given for the train to enter Dindigul railway station, it stopped outside the station for more than 50 minutes.

With no alternative route to cross the track, all vehicles, including three town buses, one private bus, several autos, cars and two-wheelers, were stranded on both sides of Siluvathur Road.

“If there is any problem at the third railway level crossing, vehicles can cross Dindigul-Chennai track through an under pass near the gate. An unmanned level crossing, half km away from the first railway level crossing, will help drivers cross Palani-Dindigul track without much trouble. There is no such facility for the second railway level crossing across Dindigul-Karur track,” said autoriskhaw drivers.

The work force had planned to complete the work before the departure of Tirunelveli-Erode passenger train from Dindigul railway station. But they did not notice the arrival of IRCTC special at that time.

“If all coaches had crossed the level crossing, the gate could have been opened as it was being operated manually. Since the coaches were stopped on the level crossing nothing could be done,” a railway source said.

No intimation or announcement on the Yard works taken up by the Railway

Commencement of yard work without prior intimation led to such a chaotic situation, said local people.

Anumantha Nagar railway gate remains closed from April 7 for construction of an overbridge.

Pune-Kolhapur track restored in 24 hours, train services resumed

Pune: The Central Railway team took 24 hours to restore train traffic on the Pune-Kolhapur section that had halted since Wednesday morning after 16 wagons of the Guwahati-bound goods train derailed near Adarki station about 109 km from here.

About 200m of the track section was uprooted. The administration completed repairs and restoration around 4.20am on Thursday.

After a trial run, the track was opened for movement of passenger trains. No trains were canceled or diverted on Thursday, officials said.

The derailment on Wednesday at 5am near Adarki station led to cancellations and diversion of trains in the Pune-Kolhapur section. The administration had deployed about 500 labourers, a couple of cranes, earthmovers and other machinery to restore the track and remove the derailed wagons.

A senior official at the site said, “An empty goods train ran on the repaired track as a trial. The track was opened for passenger trains after all parameters were put in place. A team of officials and 150 labourers are still at the site to check the movement of trains and alignment of tracks after repairs. They are checking if there is any displacement and damage to the track after the restoration work.”

Trains will slow down on this stretch for the next few days. The derailed train was carrying sugar from Sangli to Guwahati. The official said the accident spot is in a difficult terrain. The area is hilly and the track also has six-degree bend. It was a challenging to move the derailed wagons, officials added.

The first train that passed over the repaired section was a passenger to Pune.

Meanwhile, officials said they would be conducting an inquiry. “Wagons placed in the middle section of the train derailed. We will have to study various points to find out the reason that caused this derailment. Wagons near the engine or the guard’s cabin remained on track,” they added.

GM/SER holds Strategy Planning Meeting

Kolkata (KOAA): A day-long Strategy Planning Meeting was held in the South Eastern Railway Headquarters, Garden Reach o­n 23rd April 2015 to review the performance of S.E. Railway during the previous financial year 2014-15 and to plan for the current fiscal year (2015-16) mainly for compliances of action points, proposals, targets etc. specially implementation of budget commitments. The meeting was chaired by the General Manager, Radhey Shyam and was attended by Addl.General Manager, D.Kamilla along with all principal head of the departments and all the four Divisional Railway Managers from Kharagpur, Adra, Chakradharpur and Ranchi.

Sri Radhey Shyam, General Manager, advised the Divisional Railway Managers to set a target of “Zero Complaint” in passenger sector and also to emphasize o­n asset maintenance and improve punctuality. He also laid stress o­n infrastructure inputs like, strengthening of tracks, terminals etc. to achieve the loading target of 138 million tones fixed by Railway Board. He said that the development would be planned and implemented within a fixed time frame prioritizing the maximum benefits to the train operations. He also instructed regular monitoring of o­ngoing projects like New Lines, Signal replacement works, doubling works and traffic facility works.

At the meeting it was decided to run passenger trains by attaching extra coaches to the maximum extent as per capacity and intensive ticket checking will be monitored by DRMs in regular measure. General Manager also mentioned to have a clear focus o­n environmental projects and its implementation viz. bio-toilets, recycling of water, solar energy etc.

The issues like passenger amenities and security were also discussed in the meeting. Radhey Shyam stressed o­n the passenger services at various stations and emphasized o­n cleanliness.

All the principal head of departments expressed their views and highlighted their achievements of previous year and detailed o­n the scope of further improvement.

Kerala Government has Full faith in Sreedharan, the Metro man, says Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The Kerala government has full faith in ‘Metro Man’ E. Sreedharan, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday after some legislators expressed doubt over Metro projects in the capital and in Kozhikode.

Sreedharan is working on the Kochi Metro and as per plans, the first train is expected to run on December 31 this year.

‘If he (Sreedharan) has been hurt in any manner, I express my apologies,’ Chandy said.

During a recent meeting, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) legislator V. Sivankutty asked a few questions on the proposed light Metro project, but walked out of the meeting without waiting for Sreedharan’s answers.

‘After the cabinet meeting, there was a high-level meeting and it was decided to give the nod for land acquisition in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode for a rapid transport system,’ Chandy said.

‘The Kerala government has full faith in Sreedharan and I apologise to him if he has been hurt in any manner,’ he added. Chandy.

The chief minister said an allo9cation of Rs.850 crore has been sanctioned for land acquisition for the Metro, and that he will meet Sreedharan on April 28.

East Central Railway to install new Signalling Equipment

Patna (PNBE): Patna: Keeping in view running of semi-high speed trains on a few select routes, railways is considering a proposal to install train protection warning system (TPWS), an advanced equipment for signalling system, on all crowded routes to ensure foolproof safety to passengers. Railway minister has also proposed implementation of the new technology in the current rail budget for safety reasons.

Since East Central Railway (ECR) is also likely to run semi-high speed trains, implementation of this proposal has become a must for ECR on Howrah-Patna-Mughalsarai-New Delhi and Howrah-Dhanbad-Gaya-Mughalsarai-New Delhi routes.

According to a Railway Board official, the Board has already received a proposal from ECR for the final approval to this plan. Board will implement it soon after getting approval and adequate funds for installation of the new system, particularly between Jhajha and Mughalsarai on the mainline route of Danapur division of the ECR, he said.

The Jhajha-Mughalsarai mainline route is important in the sense that several pairs of Rajdhani Express, running at the maximum 130 kmph speed, are passing through it. Under the new system, there will be an automatic application of emergency brakes in case loco pilots overshoot the red signal either due to human failure or poor visibility. Possibility of mishaps on tracks (head on collision) could be completely ruled out with the installation of the new device, the Board official said.

The estimated cost for installation of this system is likely to be about Rs 50 lakh per kilometre. Railways has decided to complete this project under a pilot project of railways. Railways intends to install it first in a stretch of about 200km distance on Delhi-Agra route on which semi high speed trains are running on trial basis, sources said.

According to a Board official, railways is likely to incur an expenditure of about Rs 250 crore in completing this project in the first phase. Under the new foolproof system, the new device is to be installed in the loco pilot cabin and another device in the signal pole all along the rail tracks to keep the TPWS operational uninterrupted.

Dinesh Trivedi panel cautions ‘severe financial crisis’ in Indian Railways

New Delhi: After two years of sustained healthy operations, Indian Railways is facing a severe financial crisis again, a Parliamentary panel headed by former railway minister Dinesh Trivedi has said in its report. Tearing into the government’s claim of a visible turnaround in operations, the panel has highlighted declining system productivity, rise in unit cost of operation and an unrealistic Operating Ratio (OR) target based on “textbook solutions”.

The 31-member panel lauded the railways for staging a turnaround to achieve an OR of 76 in 2007-08. “Unfortunately, the Indian Railways is once again reeling under a severe financial crisis. Its OR – money spent to earn Rs 100 – has deteriorated to 93.6, ratio of net revenue to capital is 5.6 and excess surplus of just Rs 3,740 crore in 2013-14,” the committee has said in its 85-page report tabled in Parliament. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power during that period.

While these ratios were projected to improve as per the Revised Estimate (RE) of 2014-15, the actual earnings are likely to fall short of the RE by nearly Rs 2,500 crore and thus the projected improvement in operating ratio may not materialise to any significant extent and the actual operating ratio may be in the range of 92.5-93.5, according to the panel.

Railways’ OR has come down from 93.6 in 2013-14 to 91.8 in FY15. It is projected to further improve to 88 in the current financial year. The Trivedi panel has said the OR for last fiscal would have been close to 100 if the Railways had made adequate provision for depreciation based on the actual requirement of replacement of over-aged assets.

This “under-provisioning” for depreciation is resulting in piling up of delayed works concerning renewal of over-aged assets of the order of Rs 41,871 crore. Appropriation for development fund, used for taking up traffic facility works for uninterrupted flow of traffic, has declined from Rs 7,800 crore in 2013-14 to Rs 1,305 crore in 2014-15.

“Under-provisioning for depreciation and the inability of Railways to generate enough cash flows for servicing and increased borrowings for financing of rolling stock have resulted in a sharp decline in track renewals, procurement of wagons, coaches and electric locos. Simply stated, presently the Railways are not generating enough cash flows for even running as a ‘going concern’ on a continuing basis,” the report said.

These factors have adversely impacted system productivity which had been increasing for the last many decades but has started falling after 2012-13. The input cost per Net Tonne Kilometer (NTKM) — the broad measure of systems productivity for freight operations — has gone up from 31.19 paise in 2011-12 to 32.61 paise in 2013-14, indicating a deterioration of nearly 4.5% in freight operations productivity. Similarly, unit cost per Passenger Kilometer (PKM) has gone up from 22.82 to 23.21 paise — a decline of 1.7% in passenger business productivity.

Further, NTKM per wagon day has come down from 9,261 in 2011-12 to 8,471 in 2013-14, wagon turnaround time has deteriorated from 5.08 to 5.13 days and NTKM per employee had declined from 0.55 to 0.53 during this period. “The Railways’ input cost per NTKM has gone up by around 15% each in FY13 and FY14 — one of the sharpest increases in unit cost of freight operation in the recent years. Similarly, passenger unit cost has gone up by nearly 13.4 per cent in 2013-14 over 2012-13 but the Railways unfortunately appears to be totally unaware of this disturbing trend,” the report has said.

According to the panel, growth in passenger earnings of up to 18% between 2012 and 2015 have been achieved on the back of a sharp increase in passenger fares and not due to improvement in throughput. “In their replies, Railways have admitted the originating passenger grew by 2.4 per cent in 2012-13, dipped by 0.3 per cent in 2013-14 and 2.12 per cent in 2014-15 (till February). The passenger throughput is likely to fall rather more sharply by over 3.5 per cent from 1,159 billion PKM to 1,117 billion PKM as per traffic plan of 2015-16,” it said.

Railways may get the benefit of the last passenger fare hike of June 2014 for the first three months of the current financial year but thereafter the entire growth of nearly 19% would have to be achieved through increase in the number of originating passengers and PKMs which appears extremely unlikely, if not Impossible, the committee said.

The panel also questioned Rail minister Suresh Prabhu’s decision of not announcing new trains and projects. “No new trains is not a good idea. People living in remote, under-developed, tribal and hilly areas have been waiting for decades for a rail link,” Trivedi said. On the ministry’s move to seek lending from multilateral institutions, the panel cautioned against falling into a debt trap and said railways must study the bankability of projects “in minute detail” before implementing any financing model.

America’s Valley Metro Rail slated to open world’s first Solar-Powered Rail Maintenance facility

Valley Metro SolarValley, AZ, USA: On Wednesday, Valley Metro will begin powering its new rail operations and maintenance center with solar power.

The new plant utilizes 2,800 solar voltaic panels that span 1.15 acres, and it’s capable of generating 1.3 million Kilowatt-hours of energy saving annually — the equivalent of powering 123 homes, Valley Metro officials said in a press release.

The agency received a Transit Investments of Greenhouse Gas and Emissions Reduction (TIGGER) federal grant to help fund construction and installation of the new solar power system. Additional funding was secured through the Arizona Public Service Company’s Schools and Government Incentive program.

Valley Metro did not disclose the project’s cost.

“From reducing greenhouse gases to improving fuel usage, we are proud to be involved in a variety of initiatives to protect and preserve our environment,” said Steve Banta, chief executive officer of Valley Metro. “Solar energy is a principal addition to our growing sustainability efforts.”

The agency also earlier received bronze-level status from the American Public Transportation Association for its commitment to making sustainability a part of its strategic investments, developing an awareness program and establishing a sustainability inventory, officials said.

Ghaziabad Metro Line comes under Supreme Court scruitny

Ghaziabad (GZB): The 9-km elevated Metro project from Dilshad Garden to Ghaziabad on Wednesday came under scrutiny of the Supreme Court which directed DMRC to place all records before it to show that no undue favour was granted to any company in awarding the Rs 600 crore contract.

A bench of Justices T S Thakur and R Banumathi directed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation(DMRC) to bring all records pertaining to giving contract to M/s GYT-TPL, a joint venture of Tata Projects and Guangdong Yuantian Engineering Co of China.

The bench said it would analyse whether any undue favour was given to the company while rejecting the tender of Gammon India which claimed it was unfairly barred from the project. It asked DMRC to file affidavit stating that same yardstick was followed for all companies in the fray while awarding the contract.

There will be seven stations on the metro stretch that will link Dilshad Garden with Ghaziabad. The court had earlier asked DMRC to maintain status quo with regard to construction work.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Gammon India claiming that DMRC’s decision not to grant it contract was ‘arbitrary and illegal’. It said DMRC rejected its bid despite being the most trusted infrastructure company of the country.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Corporation, told the bench that the decision was taken after considering the company’s past performance in metro projects in Delhi and Chennai where it had failed to complete work on time.

He said DMRC held Gammon India as an ‘unreliable contractor’ which always delayed projects.

The bench thereafter asked the SG whether the corporation had also considered the past performance of other companies while awarding the contract. It asked DMRC to substantiate its claim of fair play by placing all relevant documents before it on next date of hearing on April 29.

“How can you be so sure that other companies have not delayed in delivering the projects? Have you done study on other companies also? Did you ask for information from other companies? You must apply same yardstick to all companies,” the bench said.

Gammon India approached SC after the Delhi high court on April 15 dismissed its plea against DMRC. The HC had said that evaluation by the expert committee appeared to be bona fide.

No role in weighbridge tampering, claims Ramco Cement

Chennai (MAS): A day after media reported how the CBI raids across the country to unearth the railway freight scam was triggered by an instance in Tiruchirapalli, Ramco Cements Ltd., the alleged main beneficiary in the scam in Tiruchy, has denied any connection with the case.

In its FIR, the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the CBI had mentioned that the electronic in-motion weighbridge used to weigh clinkers – a raw material used in cement manufacture – sent to the company’s plant in Ariyalur had been tampered with to show less than the actual weight of the consignment.

Ramco has been named as accused number four in this case, after the two railway officials and a service engineer who allegedly tampered with the digital equipment.

“It is unfortunate that our name was dragged into this matter for reasons not known to us. We were not served a copy of the FIR,” said senior General Manager (Administration) of Ramco’s Ariyalur plant C Ravichandran, in response to an e-mail questionnaire sent by Express.

The response noted that the top management of the company was not aware of the alleged benefits accrued due to the manipulation of the weigh-bridge software.

Ravichandran claimed that the company had carried an internal investigation, but found no evidence to prove that any employee had colluded with the three named in the CBI FIR – two Railway officials and the service engineer of Senlogic Automation Pvt Ltd., the private company that supplied and maintained the digital weighbridge. Ramco had provided all details to the CBI during the agency’s investigation, he said.

Sources in the Railways said that the residence of one of the officials accused of being part of the racket was raided by investigators, but nothing was found. The key vigilance inspector of Southern Railways, who was part of the operation which unearthed the scam, was awarded during the recent Railway Week Celebrations, the sources added. The closure of the electronic in-motion weighbridge at Tiruchirapalli, which was sealed by Southern Railways after the malfeasance came to light, had not affected the business of Ramco Cements, the company said. “The company has suspended its clinker movement by rail,” the response said.

The company also noted, it had paid punitive charges of `68.3 lakh for over-loading to Southern Railways, albeit under protest, and had even notified the Railways regarding problems in the in-motion weigh bridge.

Rail yards at busy stations like Varanasi, Lucknow to be remodelled

Lucknow: In a bid to tackle complaints of trains running behind schedule and delay due to stoppages at outer signal, Northern Railway has decided to remodel yards of busy stations like Varanasi, Faizabad and Lucknow.

“The problem of trains getting late and delayed at outer signal for longer period at busy stations like Lucknow and Varanasi is mainly due to the yards. To tackle this, yards would be remodelled,” Divisional Railway Manager NR (Lucknow) Anil Kumar Lahoti told.

While Varanasi is parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh represents Lucknow in Lok Sabha.

Lahoti said that not only Lucknow and Varanasi, there would be remodelling of other stations under the jurisdiction of NR like Faizabad, Sultanpur, Pratapgarh, Rae Bareli and Prayag.

“This work will be completed in two to three years,” he said.

Lahoti said that yards at these stations were very old and the length of platform was insufficient due to which problems were being faced in train operations.

“Earlier trains used to have maximum of 14 coaches and the yards were modelled accordingly. Now, trains are of 22 to 24 coaches. Old yards and platforms are not compatible for long trains,” he said.

Asked about problems in train operation due to construction of yard at Varanasi railway station, the DRM said that trains would be run from Mahuadeeh and Varanasi City railway stations.

He said there was a need to develop facilities at these two railway stations and he has talked to DRM Varanasi of NER in this regard.

“The work will be executed in coordination with North-Eastern Railway,” he said. Regarding Faizabad, Lahoti said that it has mechanical interlocking and signals too were old.

“There along with constructing new yard, modern electronic interlocking and LED coloured signals will be installed,” he said.

He said that during the process of remodelling of yards, new washing lines will be developed, so that proper cleaning and maintenance of trains could be ensured. Lahoti said that as of now hurdles were being faced in receiving and dispatching trains in the yards.

He expressed hope that once the yards were remodelled, problem of trains running behind schedule would be sorted out effectively. Also, increasing the length of platform would facilitate passengers in boarding and de-boarding the trains.

CR’s Parel Workshop rolls-out 100th Non-Customer Engine

Mumbai: In a landmark achievement,Central Railway’s Parel workshop has rolled out its 100th indigenously manufactured engine in non-customer category, since its inception in 2007.

The engine comes with a micro-processor based control system,which activates the brakes and cuts off the fuel supply in case of any fault in the engine, Central Railway Chief PRO Narendra Patil told reporters here yesterday.

The system activates the brakes and cuts off the fuel supply in case of any fault in the engine.  The WDS6 diesel engine has 1350 HP and weighs 126 tonne, he said.

This is the 100th engine in the non-customer (non-passenger) category made at the workshop since it started in 2007, Patil said

Parel 100th LocoPassenger safety was given topmost priority while designing the new locomotive, Chief Workshop Manager of the Parel Workshop Mr.Sumit Sharma told. There could be a possibility of the engine driver being inattentive or not controlling the systems properly.

In the new engine (a WDS 6 loco), a vigilance-controlled device is active every 90 seconds. It can detect any fault in the engine, be it the pressure levels or the working of various components in the locomotive.

If there is a slight fault,it will indicate it on a computerized panel before bringing the loco to a halt.

The new engine,which was flagged off from the workshop recently, will be attached to long-distance trains. The workshop has already lined up 14 more engines with micro-processor based controls to be manufactured in coming months.

The Parel workshop,which was originally set up for repairs and rehab of diesel locomotives,has been manufacturing engines since March 2007.While this is the workshops 100th WDS 6 locomotive,it has also manufactured 43 WDG-3 A type engines (those used in goods/freight wagon trains).

The Parel workshop had recently set up a GPS-based remote monitoring and management of locomotive and train (REMMLOT) system to enable monitoring of the micro-processor locomotives location,health and faults.This workshop is the first-of-itskind in Indian Railways to install the REMMLOT system on locomotives.

Underground corridor work of Lucknow Metro Rail to begin by December 2015

Lucknow (LKO): The construction of Lucknow’s first ever underground metro corridor from Charbagh to KD Singh Babu Stadium will begin from December this year, said E. Sreedharan, principal advisor to LMRC ( Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation). The corridor will comprise three underground stations—Hussainganj, Sachivalaya and Hazratganj. Also, the first metro rail comprising four coaches will arrive in the city for trial run by November 2016.

Sreedharan said, once train arrives, its commissioning on track will take another 1-2 months. Total 20 trains of four coaches will be ordered which will be supplied in phases. Currently, LMRC is evaluating bids received for procurement of trains (rolling stock). Three companies have applied for the tender—French firm, Alstom which has been leading supplier of metro coaches in Chennai and Kochi metro; Chinese railway firm, CSR Corporation Ltd in alliance with Bombardier (for signaling) and the third is consortium of Rotem, BML and one of the experts in signaling systems, Ansaldo.

Tender of rolling stock would be finalised and awarded by June-end, after which procurement of trains will take 65 weeks. Sreedharan said, “Usually, tenders of rolling stock and signaling systems are floated separately. But in case of Lucknow metro, we merged both the tenders so that only one company takes care of both – trains’ supply and signaling system. This improves efficiency and speeds up work.

For building the 3.5km underground corridor, a detailed design consultant (DDC) has to be roped in for preparing preliminary scope of work.

RailTel’s RailWire set to become largest Cable, Video & Internet provider across the country

RailWireIn the past 65 years, cable has emerged from a fledgling novelty for a handful of households to the nation’s preeminent provider of digital television, movies and state-of-the-art broadband Internet service available to millions of Indians

Today, thanks to broadband cable and other breakthroughs, the technological landscape is unrecognizable compared with even a few years ago. Consumers now enjoy video content and Internet access from multiple services, multiple service providers and on multiple devices. They can go online anytime, anywhere with more options and opportunities than ever and arrival of the new millennium brought with it hopes and plans for acceleration of advanced services over cable’s broadband networks.  As the new millennium got under way, cable companies began pilot testing video services that could change the way people watch television. Among these: video on demand, subscription video on demand, and interactive TV. The industry was proceeding cautiously in these arenas, because the cost of upgrading customer-premise equipment for compatibility with these services was substantial and required new business models that were both expansive and expensive.

Indian Railways is all set to become your neighbourhood cable, video and broadband service provider. RailTel Corporation of India Ltd – the Telecom PSU arm of Indian Railways would soon take the project nationwide, which till now was tested in different states successfully.

RailTel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Railways, in 2013 began its project on a pilot basis to provide broadband and content to households particularly in remote areas in association with cable operators and other access network providers, by utilizing their last mile.

The project, now called RailWire, has not moved much since, being restricted to just about 30,000 households in southern states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh.

“We are now looking at going to other regions and looking for partners who will provide the last-mile connectivity,” RailTel Chairman and Managing Director R K Bahuguna said.

RailTel would be eyeing mostly the non-metro areas where reaching out to households is not exactly a profitable proposition for many of the MSOs (Multi-System Operators), he said. RailTel was formed in 2000 to commercially exploit the Optical Fibre Network laid along railway tracks, which then covered 47000 route kilometres.

“As of now we have laid OFC network of 47,000 km and within a year’s time we would reach 50,000-km mark,” Bahuguna said. Leveraging this network, RailTel provides services like connectivity to government departments and undertakings. It connects some remote mines of Coal India, provides networks like National Knowledge Network connecting IITs, IIMs. Banks and other research establishments, offers services to telecom operators as well in the short haul and long haul distances, and also provides services like telecom tower collocations.

RailTel’s revenue in the last fiscal was Rs 550 crore, and around 10% of it came from parent Indian Railways. Most of RailTel’s services till now are on an enterprise level. Its household broadband service would give it a retail face. But challenges lie ahead as the market is highly competitive, which makes entry into metros restrictive as such markets are already being catered to by the Multi-System Operators or MSOs.

In cities, RailTel plans to provide high-speed 10 mbps broadband services with the help of the MSOs who have the access network, he said.

These apart, RailTel is also banking on its recently launched HD video-conferencing service, called Telepresence in partnership with Cisco, offering corporates and government bodies to hold virtual meetings on a rental basis without having to invest in hardware or connections.

Bombay HC suggests ways to cut Overcrowding, seeks Casualty figures

Can’t Mumbaikars be disciplined to lessen overcrowding in trains? Bombay High Court asks railways to experiment

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Wednesday asked the Railways to furnish a list of the number of people who die everyday after falling from overcrowded suburban trains. Hearing a PIL seeking reservation of seats in local trains for senior citizens, a division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Justice V L Achliya asked the Railways to implement measures to reduce overcrowding.

The court was informed that though a compartment has a capacity of 86 commuters, there are over 500 persons in each coach during peak hours. The judges suggested that authorities could coordinate and work towards implementing staggered work hours for staff, especially in government offices. “Why does it have to be 9am and 5pm? Can some of the departments start work at 11am? Can some offices work on weekends and have holidays on weekdays?” asked the judges. “It shouldn’t be so that people have to use might and force to be able to enter trains during peak hours. Everyone should feel the comfort; there should be relief,” they said.

Can overcrowding in Mumbai suburban trains be reduced by disciplining citizens? Will this problem be solved if a reputed management institute does a detailed study? These are the questions the Bombay high court posed to the railways on Wednesday and directed it to experiment how proper crowd management can be done to ensure that citizens travel easily during peak hours. The court also asked if the crowd could be disciplined, by posting guards who will only allow a specific number of commuters to get into trains. Additional solicitor-general Anil Singh said, “Even if trains are late by a few minutes there are problems. In Mumbai, it would be next to impossible to restrict entry as every passenger wants to get inside the train.” The court asked if double decker trains could be deployed on suburban routes.

“Can the crowd be disciplined? For example, at one station you allow entry of a certain number of passengers only… will this work?” the court asked. Additional solicitor general Anil Singh replied, “In Mumbai, it’s next to impossible. Every passenger standing on the platform wants to enter the train which comes before him to reach his/her office on time.”

The bench then suggested change in office timings, asking whether the 9am to 5pm routine can be done away with. “What if some department begins work after 11am? Can some office work on weekdays and have holiday on weekends? The Dadar market is closed on Mondays. Can similar options be worked out? Would an integrated study by the state, railways, police and other partners (ie private sector) help ease overcrowding?” asked justice Patil.

The court also suggested that the railways consider having one coach reserved for senior citizens. Around 38,000 senior citizens travel daily on suburban trains. The railways has, after court orders, reserved 14 seats in a compartment for the elderly.

Advocate Suresh Kumar informed the court, “Awareness among travellers will be created to ensure that senior citizens are allowed to sit on the seats reserved for them. As earlier only a small area was reserved for the disabled but over time, after nine-coach trains gave way to 12-coach ones, the reservation increased. The same can be done for senior citizens once we get 15-coach trains.”

The bench, however, going back to its original issue of overcrowding, said, “During peak hours, can a senior citizen enter the compartment? If not, then how can s/he even be able to reach to his/her seat?”

“Have you tried sideway seating, like in Metro coaches? It allows more passengers to stand. Don’t be afraid to experiment because you might fail,” the judges added.

The court has given the railways time till June 30 to get back to it on the suggestions made.

The bench gave these ideas while hearing a public interest litigation after the court had taken suo moto cognisance of a letter written by a senior citizen, AB Thakkar, in 2009. Thakkar had said entering a jam-packed train during peak hours was a nightmarish experience for the elderly.

Around 4,000 people die every year on Central Railway, while around 3,500 perish on the Western Railway. Central Railway runs 1,600 services daily.

The PIL had claimed over 38,000 senior citizens travel daily on suburban trains. The railways said it had increased seats reserved for senior citizens from seven, to 14. The court asked the railways to consider if one compartment could be reserved for senior citizens in each train. “During peak hours it is impossible to get into a compartment, let alone being able to reach a reserved seat,” the court observed. “Awareness programmes should be conducted among passengers so that they don’t occupy seats reserved for senior citizens,” added the HC. The court has scheduled the next hearing of the case on June 30.

IRFC in talks with Bankers to understand Appetite & Pricing in the market for Rupee Offshore Bonds

Mumbai: Indian Railways Finance Corp, the finance arm of Asia’s largest rail network, plans to raise up to $1 billion through offshore rupee bonds, making it the first domestic issuer to eye so-called “masala” debt to diversify its source of funds.

The Reserve Bank of India gave Indian companies the green light to raise bonds offshore in rupees earlier this month, a move seen as a small step towards full rupee convertibility, one of the objectives set by Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan when he took charge in 2013.

Rajan has since said full capital account convertibility, which would allow foreign investors to repatriate money at will, could happen in “a short number of years”.

IRFC plans to use the cash to build and renew infrastructure, and is informally talking to bankers to understand the appetite and pricing in the market for rupee offshore bonds.

“We have a board approval to raise $1 billion from offshore market, but we are yet to decide how much to raise via rupee bond after we see the detailed notification from RBI,” said managing director Rajiv Dutt at IRFC.

IRFC plans to borrow a total of Rs 17,655 crore ($2.81 bn) in 2015-16 from domestic and offshore markets.

“We are trying to diversify our borrower base,” Dutt said, adding that cost will be an important factor to decide on the amount sought offshore in rupees.

Foreign investors’ appetite for Indian corporate bonds has been strong. They currently hold 77.6 percent of the $80 billion limit they are allowed in India.

The RBI’s move to allow the offshore rupee bonds this month follows the success of a “masala” bond issued last year by the International Finance Corporation.

However, views are mixed on the cost advantage, given a 5 percent withholding tax and hedging costs.

“Even a top rated Indian company will be BBB-, which is seven notches below AAA rated company like IFC. So, the cost advantage compared to domestic market will be not great,” said a banker.

New JVs to push rail connectivity in Odisha; says Ramesh Majhi

Bhubaneswar (BBS): The railway ministry is planning more special purpose vehicles (SPVs) or joint ventures (JVs) to augment rail connectivity and expedite implementation of pending railway projects in Odisha, said commerce and transport minister Ramesh Majhi.

He was recently in New Delhi to attend signing of the tripartite pact on a SPV for evacuation of coal from Talcher coalfields.

“I discussed railway projects for Malkangiri and Nabarangpur districts with Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu. He assured that these projects will be taken up through SPVs,” Majhi said.

To boost rail connectivity in Maoist-hit Malkangiri and Nabarangpur, the state government had proposed Jeypore-Nabarangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri railway projects. Besides providing land for free, it had announced to bear 50% and 25% construction cost of Jeypore-Nabarangpur and Jeypore-Malkangiri lines respectively.

Majhi said he demanded rail connectivity to all 30 districts in the state.

On January 8, the state government accepted the Centre’s proposal to partner in railway projects for expeditious implementation. The SPV, where both the ministry and the state government will have equity participation of 49% and 51% respectively, is a step in that direction.

The SPV will conduct techno-economic survey to assess the requirement of railway infrastructure in unconnected backward regions, besides that of industries, ports and mining areas. Industries, ports, business houses and infrastructure companies can also be part of the SPV, official sources said.

Due to fund shortage and other hurdles, a number of railway projects in the state are hanging fire. These include Khurda-Balangir railway project (289 km, sanctioned in 1994-95), Haridaspur-Paradip rail line (82 km, sanctioned in 1995-96), Angul-Duburi-Sukinda SPV project (90 km, sanctioned in 1997-98), Talcher-Bimlagarh (154 km, sanctioned in 2004-05) and Jaleswar-Digha rail line (40 km, sanctioned in 2010-11).

For 2015-16, the state got Rs 2,514 crore against its demand of Rs 3,200 crore for construction of new lines, gauge conversion, doubling, boosting passenger amenities, improving traffic facilities, safety and electrification.