Bombardier takes Lesson from Planes to cut Cost of making Trains

Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B)’s new method for making trains will follow its stripped-down approach to designing planes: use simple building blocks to reduce costs.

Bombardier Transportation, whose status as the top train builder is under threat from China, will offer products as “platforms” with far more commonality, said Laurent Troger, president for Western Europe, the Middle East and Africa. That mimics production in the aerospace industry, where Bombardier is the No. 3 planemaker, after Boeing Co. (BA:US) and Airbus Group NV. (AIR)

“This is a significant change in the way you engineer a train,” Troger said in an interview at Bombardier’s plant in Derby, England. The standardization drive will introduce a “catalog of building blocks,” slashing costs yet providing the basis for a vehicle that the purchaser can still customize.

While airlines buying planes essentially get identical aircraft, with modification limited to interiors, train manufacturers often design entirely new models just to win a single order. That’s left Montreal-based Bombardier with about 50 rail plants, including 10 capable of full integration, seven or eight of which are located in Europe, Troger said.

Lutz Bertling, who heads Bombardier Transportation, said he aims to deliver a standardized approach by 2017 under a strategy dubbed “OneBT.” He joined last year from Airbus with a mandate to boost profit. Rail accounted for 52 percent of group revenue in the first quarter, with the backlog reaching a record $38.4 billion.

“The issue today is the level of investment in technology needed to reach an operator’s requirements, which I don’t think can be sustained,” Troger said. “That means we’ll see more proposals from different players based on platforms.”

Aventra Win

Bombardier’s Aventra model, which won a 1.3 billion-pound ($2.2 billion) order for London’s Crossrail project, saving the Derby plant from closure after Siemens AG (SIE) scooped an earlier Thameslink deal, brings a new level of standardization, with 65 percent of the train made with basic building blocks.

“It’s like an aerospace program rather than a rail project,” Troger said. “Our ambition now is to generate more Aventra applications in the U.K. and other parts of the world.”

Simply closing plants and concentrating output to cut costs is not necessarily an option, partly because the train market tends to be dominated more by state buyers eager for a slice of production than the airliner sector, and also because of the world’s wildly differing railroad systems, Troger said.

“Planes are flying in the air where the constraints are the same wherever you are,” he said. “The problem with rail is that infrastructure is massively heterogeneous — whether it’s the gauge, power supply, signaling, telecoms, whatever.”

U.K. Gauge

For the same reasons, train factories are less likely to specialize in single processes than are aircraft plants.

“This is a scenario that’s emerged in the aerospace industry and it could happen in trains, but it’s too early to say,” Troger said.

The more realistic aim is for Bombardier’s plants to remain focused on local markets while forming a global engineering network working on foreign contracts even if they’re not directly manufacturing trains for export, he said.

That’s already happening in Derby, where the 175-year-old Litchurch Lane facility has been particularly vulnerable to closure because it’s equipped only to build U.K.-gauge trains narrower than those found in much of the world.

While the plant’s direct exports have been largely limited to South Africa, its engineers are currently working on overseas deals from Switzerland to Brazil, Troger said.

Derby’s future is guaranteed for “years to come” thanks to the Crossrail work, though a rail plant can never be assured for decades, Lutz said in the May 1 interview.

“You will always see an adaptation of the size of our footprint to the opportunities,” he said. “If a dry period gets too long, then you have to take action.”

Dutch Railways to introduce Wind-powered Trains to replace Traction

अमस्टर्डम Amsterdam: All traction power for the Dutch railway network will come from wind turbines under a new energy contract signed on May 15 between power company Eneco and Vivens, an energy procurement joint venture which includes Netherlands Railways (NS), Veolia, Arriva, Connexxion and railfreight operators.

Under the contract, which runs from 2015 to 2025, wind will provide 100% of traction power on the ProRail 1.5kV dc electrified network from 2018 onwards, compared with around 50% today. The contract forbids the sourcing of electricity from the existing energy market, meaning only new-build wind farms can be used to meet the 100% target. It is estimated that after 2018 about half of the electricity demand will need to be covered to be covered by foreign, wind farms.

The total consumption of electricity on the Dutch rail network is about 1.4 terawatt hours (TWh) per year, and NS reportedly consumes 1.2TWh of this.

Operators are trying to reduce their traction energy consumption through the procurement of new trains and the adoption of more efficient driving techniques. NS claims that since 2005 the consumption of electricity per passenger kilometre has been reduced by about 30%.

CRIS makes Indian Railways systems more customer responsive

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Established in 1986, the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Railways. It is headquartered in Delhi with regional offices in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Secunderabad.

The company develops and manages the Indian Railways’ (IR) technology applications. It also provides applications for other government and public sector organisations. Currently, its project portfolio includes a host of functions of IR, including passenger ticketing, freight operations, train dispatching and control, crew management, e-procurement, management of the railways’ fixed and moving assets, and production of rolling stock.

The projects under execution include the development of a ticketing system on mobile phones, linking tickets to the Aadhaar facility, tracking trains in real time through the global positioning system, rolling stock using radio frequency identification, and setting up a geospatial database for the railways and a data centre to house the company’s communication system. With the aim of streamlining information throughout its network, IR adopted a step-by-step approach to modernise its communications set-up.

Communications Infrastructure

According to CRIS, IR had established electronic data processing (EDP) centres in the 1960s for batch processing of payroll, inventory control and revenue management. However, these data centres had no connectivity until the 1990s.

Today, the EDP centres are being used for payroll and financial applications. They are connected to local area networks via the Railnet network, which functions on IR’s and RailTel’s optic fibre cable backbone as well as copper networks for last mile connectivity.

In the 1980s, the passenger reservation system (PRS) used DECNet, a suite of network protocols created by the Digital Equipment Corporation, and 9600 bps channels connecting all the servers to each PRS counter. In 1997, this set-up was upgraded and a core network using 64 kbps leased lines was established to connect the central servers to provide ticketing facilities. Although this system is still in use, its bandwidth has increased manifold.

Currently, ticketing services are offered through a resilient and hierarchical two-tier IP network. The counters for the reserved and unreserved ticketing systems are connected via Ethernet and 2 Mbps leased lines to the central servers, which are interconnected through a network of leased lines.

The network comprises IR’s existing leased lines and those obtained from RailTel Corporation, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited and other telecom vendors.

Other railway applications such as the freight operations information system (FOIS), integrated coaching maintenance system, crew management system and control office application are launched through a mesh network running on redundant leased lines with VSATs to connect remote network nodes. Last mile connectivity is achieved via digital subscriber lines.

The FOIS is the primary logistics management system of IR. Its components include a rake management system, a terminal management system, an e-payment gateway and web query systems. The system is used for electronic data exchange with partner organisations, ensuring interface with other information systems, and data analytics and warehousing.

The leased line network consists of about 30,000 nodes. The company has also installed dedicated high-bandwidth networks for data replication, which is critical for disaster readiness.

The central data centre is secured through the use of firewalls and intrusion protection systems with a demilitarised zone separating the secure zone from the internet. A high-bandwidth gateway is provided by several telecom vendors to access the internet as well as private secure networks.

Moreover, several customer-centric applications such as the SMS gateway are being used to provide various updates to customers. In addition, there are initiatives for purchasing tickets through mobile phones.

Challenges and Benefits

“Being a large organisation which works 24x7x365, the implementation of multiple telecom and IT applications was challenging for us,” says a senior official of CRIS.

However, these upgraded communications networks have helped the company become more responsive to its customers. “For instance, tickets can be purchased online and passengers can avail of information on the internet and through SMS. Internally as well, accurate information is made accessible to managers to help them in quick decision-making. In addition, facilities such as SMS alerts and kiosk-based sign-on/sign-off have simplified the processes.”

Going forward, several initiatives such as deploying mobile ticketing services, setting up self-service ticketing kiosks, collecting field data through mobile devices and wayside equipment, and launching mobile applications for the maintenance and operating staff have been proposed. (Courtesy: TeleNet wing).

Kharge retains victory from Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency

गुलबर्गा Gulbarga (GR): Senior Congress leader and outgoing Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has retained the Gulbarga Lok Sabha constituency with a resounding victory over the former Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Revu Naik Belamagi.

Mr. Kharge, who established a good lead in the first round of counting, built it up steadily in all the 19 rounds and won with a handsome margin of 74,733 votes. His margin in 2009 was just over 13,400 votes.

Mr. Kharge established substantial leads in five out of the total eight Assembly segments in the constituency.

While the Gulbarga North Assembly constituency represented by Municipal Administration and Waqf Minister Qamarul Islam gave him a lead of 27,503 votes, the Gurmitkal Assembly segment represented by Textile Minister Baburao Chavan gave him a lead of 19,090 votes.

His lead in the Sedam Assembly segment represented by Medical Education Minister Sharanprakash Patil was 18,836 votes, and in the Chittapur Assembly segment represented by Priyank Kharge was 14,339 votes.

He also had a slender lead of 269 votes in the Gulbarga South Assembly segment represented by the BJP’s Dattatreya Patil Revoor. Mr. Belamagi had a lead of 4,125 votes in Afzalpur represented by Congress’ Malikayya Guttedar. His lead in the Jewargi Assembly constituency represented by Congress’ Ajay Singh was 1,038 votes and in the Gulbarga Rural Assembly constituency represented by G. Ramakrishna was 84 votes. The BJP also got a lead of 67 votes in the postal ballots.

The Aam Aadmi Party candidate and the former Minister B.T. Lalitha Naik lost the deposit as she got just 9,074 votes. Janata Dal (Secular) candidate D.G. Sagar got 15,690 votes.

As many as 9,888 votes have been cast in favour of NOTA. Congress activists and supporters of Mr. Kharge distributed sweets outside the main campus of Gulbarga University.

The ‘Robin Hood’ of Murshidabad, MOSR Adhir Chowdhury wins in Bahrampur

बेहरामपुर Behrampur:  While the Congress Party has lost almost all its bastions, the Union Minister of State for Railways Mr.Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury (Indian National Congress) won the Baharampur Loksabha constituency by a margin of more than 160,000 votes.

From a Congress ‘strongman’ to, a Union Minister of state for Railways and PCC chief, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has come a long way to be a prominent figure in Bengal’s politics. The ‘Robin Hood’ of Murshidabad, who once was under the shadow of other Congress heavyweights, rose to his present position to be a saviour of the organisation which has been losing ground to its offshoot, the Trinamool Congress for the past several years. It is Chowdhury, who is credited with holding the Congress forte in Murshidabad district even in the hay days of the CPI(M) that ruled the roost during the three-decade regime of the Left Front Government. Also during the high time of the ruling Trinamool Congress, he is a known baiter of Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee, daring her off and on and pulling high the partymen’s sagging morale. This time Chowdhury defends his Baharapur seat against the challenge of Trinamool Congress candidate and famous singer Indranil Sen, Revolutionary Socialist Party’s strongman and former MP Promothes Mukherjee and the BJP’s Debes Adihikari. In 2009 he defeated his nearest rival, Promothes Mukherjee by a margin of nearly 2 lakh votes to win the seat for the third time in a row. However, the situation has somewhat changed since then.

Even though Chowdhury is said to be ‘still in control of the affairs’ in Murshidabad district, where more than 50 per cent people belong to the minority community, a split in his following, engineered by Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has been the thorn sticking out from his otherwise clear field. His one time close aide Humayun Kabir defected from the party to set up a base for the Trinamool Congress in the district.

But again, the strong image of a ‘friend of the poor’ that Chowdhury has grown over the years and the service he is said to have rendered to the people, are hardly to be obliterated fast.

‘My work in Berhampore has been recognised. That is why my opponents are getting nervous. They have a problem because while they merely doled out promises, I proved my intentions by action,’ Chowdhury says.

He takes special pride in fighting religious bigotry and rewards youths who have proved their secular credentials. Among his immensely loyal supporters, Muslims constitute at least 50 per cent, his supporters claim.

‘The people will vote for Adhirda because of his tireless, selfless work for all sections of people belonging to all political parties. It is not a win for Congress but for Adhirda,’ one of his supporters said.

Rail stocks rally on Modi’s promise to improve sector

Investors are excited about the rail stocks as Modi has been stressing on improvement on beleaguered Indian railways. In his campaign speeches, he also highlighted about modernising the railway system, just like Japan.

मुंबई Mumbai: Shares of rail stocks are gaining in full steam as Narendra Modi heads to become the next Prime Minister of India.

A massive landslide win of NDA swept the nation as the BJP-led NDA powered by Modi has, for the first time, crossed the 300-seat mark with the saffron party alone crossing the half-way mark of 272.

Rail stocks Titagarh Wagons, Kalindee Rail Nirman, Kernex Microsystems, Hind Rectifiers, Texmaco Rail and Engineering and BEML are popping in buyers’ list on Friday.

Investors are excited about the rail stocks as Modi has been stressing on improvement on beleaguered Indian railways. In his campaign speeches, he also highlighted about modernising the railway system, just like Japan.

Another big trigger, that the sector is looking for is introduction of bullet trains as he had mentioned in his election pitch.

Railway stocks (% change)
Titagarh Wagons 5%
Kalindee Rail Nirman 11%
Kernex Microsystems 7%
Hind Rectifiers 2%
Texmaco Rail and Engineering 4%

Delhi Metro plans to loop Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is planning to extend the Blue Line from Noida City Centre into a 60 km-long loop, covering various parts of Noida and Greater Noida.

The loop line will also be linked with Line 8 (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden) of Phase-III by a 9-km stretch connecting Sector-143 and the proposed station near Kalindi Bird Sanctuary on the banks of the Yamuna.

“The loop will consist of one extension from Noida City Centre to Gaur City Square in Greater Noida West, for which the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is currently being prepared. This will then be extended to Bodaki village in Greater Noida. Finally, Bodaki will be connected with Noida City Centre via stations at Pari Chowk and Sectors-147, 143, 85, 101 and 50 in Noida, among others,” a source said.

According to DMRC officials, the DPR for the Noida City Centre-Pari Chowk-Bodaki stretch has been approved and work is scheduled to begin in a couple of months.

Sources said the Noida Authority had asked the DMRC to prepare the DPR for the stretch connecting Line 8 and the loop about two months ago and that it was likely to be ready by October this year. The DPR for extension of the Blue Line to Greater Noida West too is likely to be ready by October.

Apart from these extensions, the Blue Line will also be extended to Sector-62 from Noida City Centre, for which the DMRC has received the requisite approvals, and then further to DPS Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.

Sources said the DPR for the 3.5-km Sector 62-Indirapuram stretch has already been prepared by the DMRC and was awaiting approval of the Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA).

Santosh Yadav, GDA vice-chairman, said approval would be granted once work on the Sector 62-Noida City Centre stretch was complete, which was likely to take about two years.

After the completion of the loop, Vaishali is likely to be connected to the upcoming Dilshad Garden-Ghaziabad New Bus Depot line at Mohan Nagar, via a stretch along the Meerut Road.

MTS to provide free Wi-Fi services to commuters on Rapid Metro Gurgaon

MTS-Logoगुरगाव Gurgaon (GGN): Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) has partnered with Rapid Metro Rail Gurgaon Limited (RMGL) to provide free Internet over Wi-Fi starting Wednesday on all trains operational on the six-station Rapid Metro corridor in Gurgaon.

Apart from the 5.1 km Rapid Metro stretch, SSTL, which provides services under the brand MTS, will also provide free Wi-Fi access at four other locations in Gurgaon — Sikanderpur, IndusInd Bank Cyber City, Phase II and Micromax Moulsari Avenue, a company statement said

Through this initiative, 30,000 daily commuters of Rapid Metro will get to experience Internet speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps, it said.

The service will remain free for six months.

“This one-of-its-kind service will enable commuters to access fast and consistent data speeds of up to 9.8 Mbps on MTS` 3GPLUS network,” Dmitry Shukov, chief executive officer, MTS India, said.

MTS had commissioned an internal research to gauge consumer interest in using Wi-Fi services while travelling in Rapid Metro.

The study, undertaken by AZ Research, highlighted that more than 95 percent of commuters wanted to have access to Internet while using the Rapid Metro. The percentage was highest amongst travellers in the age-group of 15-35 years.

Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) spurts on BSE after turnaround results

मुंबई Mumbai: Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) jumped 10.38% to Rs 87.70 at 10:00 IST on BSE after the company reported net profit of Rs 12.65 crore in Q4 March 2014 as against net loss of Rs 1.29 crore in Q4 March 2013.

The result was announced after market hours on Thursday, 15 May 2014.

Meanwhile, the BSE Sensex was up 1347.50 points, or 5.64%, to 25,253.10.

On BSE, so far 69,000 shares were traded in the counter, compared with an average volume of 92,328 shares in the past one quarter.

The stock hit a high of Rs 92 and a low of Rs 83.65 so far during the day. The stock hit a 52-week high of Rs 94.20 on 28 April 2014. The stock hit a 52-week low of Rs 48 on 16 May 2013.

The stock had outperformed the market over the past one month till 15 May 2014, rising 11.90% compared with 6.32% rise in the Sensex. The scrip had also outperformed the market in past one quarter, rising 38.78% as against Sensex’s 17.38% rise.

The small-cap company has an equity capital of Rs 16.51 crore. Face value per share is Rs 10.

Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers)’s net sales rose 59.33% to Rs 100.09 crore in Q4 March 2014 over Q4 March 2013.

The company reported net loss of Rs 7.11 crore in the year ended March 2014 as against net profit of Rs 8.09 crore in the year ended March 2013. Net sales declined 1.26% to Rs 253.99 crore in the year ended March 2014 over the year ended March 2013.

Kalindee Rail Nirman (Engineers) is a construction company dedicated to building infrastructure for rail transport under one roof on turn key basis. It has been active in fields of signaling, telecommunications, track and information systems.

Germany keen on investment in India’s Railway Sector and Industry

Rainer Schmiedchenकोलकता Kolkata (KOAA): A 20-member delegation from Germany will arrive in the city next week to meet the officials of Eastern Railway.

The team will explore and assess the possibility of future partnerships and collaborations with companies engaged in the railway sector here, German Consul-General Rainer Schmiedchen said today.

“A delegation of 20 businessmen from the railway sector of Germany will arrive on Wednesday for official talks with Eastern Railway. They will see production sites. The delegation will have officials from the German government, the economic ministry and companies,” Schmiedchen said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of an Indo-German business conclave organised by ASSOCHAM and the German Engineering Federation (VDMA).

In January, the German engineering industry witnessed an over 6 per cent rise in orders compared with the same period a year ago.

Flow of orders to Germany grew 2 per cent compared with a 5 per cent contraction of orders to the Eurozone .

According to Rajesh Nath, managing director of VDMA’s India liaison office, the challenge for the German mechanical engineering industry would be to reduce costs and maintain profitability in the face of increased competition from low-cost countries.

In 2013, Germany exported machineries worth 2.8 billion euros to India. Major demand came from power transmission, textile machinery, machine tools, valves, air handling system sectors.

There are 1,400 German companies in India with around 600 in the engineering sector. Of that, close to 300 have manufacturing bases across India. There are 140 German companies operating in Kolkata.

Elections 2014 results: Railways expect new govt to expedite bullet train projects

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Bullet trains will soon be a reality. If Narendra Modi takes charge as Prime Minister, as predicted by a slew of exit polls, the Railways could well begin work on high-speed corridors — the Gujarat CM’s pet project. Modi repeatedly referred to bullet rains during his campaign speeches and high-speed trains found a prominent space in BJP’s election manifesto.

According to sources, Mumbai-Ahmedabad and New Delhi-Patna (via Varanasi) corridors are on top of the list and the national transporter is planning to accelerate these projects.

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad high-speed corridor, expected to cost Rs 63,000 crore, is on track as the Railways have announced that a feasibility study will be completed by May, 2015. The train will run at a maximum speed of 320kmph and will traverse the 534km distance between the two cities in two hours.

A top railway official argued that the costs of high speed train travel can be brought down in the country because of the economy of scale and indigenization.

“The company is geared up to implement the project. We are waiting for the new government to take a call on high speed trains,” said Satish Agnihotri, CMD, Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd (RVNL) and Chairman of the High Speed Rail Corporation (HSRC).

Agnihotri claimed bullet train projects are financially viable, despite being capital intensive as costs could be brought down by pursuing an indigenisation policy. He said coaches for bullet trains could be manufactured in India by transfer of technology which would cut down the costs.

He also contested the idea that high-speed trains are meant for rich as high speed travel costs can be brought down by working on the economies of scale, considering massive passenger traffic.

As Modi has promised to connect the country with high-speed trains, the national transporter is optimistic that the capital intensive project would be fast-tracked if the saffron outfit comes to power in Centre.

The corporation is already working on a project to raise the speed limit on Delhi-Agra section to 160 kmph for bringing down total journey time from 130 minutes to less than 100 minutes while ensuring superior riding quality and pleasant travel experience.

As a next step, the corporation has planned to accelerate the upgrading of speed potential to 200 kmph on other sections by applying the knowledge and experience gained from Delhi-Agra project.

The corporation has planned running trains at a speed higher than 200 kmph by building a new dedicated corridors.

Sales Tax raid at Railway Stations in Kerala

Officials seized Goods without proper tax receipts worth about Rs.25 lakh in the raid that began at 3 a.m.  Clothes, Cosmetics and other Goods seized in the raid.

एर्नाकुलम Ernakulam (ERS): Officials of the Sales Tax department conducted surprise raids at Ernakulam North and South railway stations here on Thursday. Officials seized goods worth about Rs.25 lakh in the raid that began at 3 a.m.

Several electronics goods, readymade clothing, cosmetics, and other substances were seized in the raid.

These items were brought in bundles on the trains mainly from Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru. “A lot of these goods are brought early in the morning. None of the goods we seized had any documents and sales tax had not been paid for them.

More raids planned

“The goods do not have to pass through any check post when they are on trains and so it is difficult for us to catch them,” said Sales Tax intelligence deputy commissioner K. Sundar.

The goods brought here without paying sales tax were to be taken for retail trade at various parts of the city. Officials said that more raids would be conducted and strict action would be taken against those violating norms.

Some of the goods seized were released after penalty was paid for evasion of tax. Meanwhile, the department raided a lorry carrying vegetables near Broadway to find that it contained hardware items and cosmetics concealed inside.

Hidden goods

The lorry was supposed to contain a load of vegetables from Coimbatore. Underneath crates of vegetables, Sales Tax officials found hardware items, cosmetics, hair dye and other items stashed in boxes. The goods were seized and taken to the offices of the department.

Lack of basic amenities puts Pudukkottai station in a mess

Extension of trains has led to rise in commuter traffic

Pudukkottai Stationपुदुक्कोट्टै Pudukkottai (PDKT): Lack of basic amenities at the railway station here for the past several years has put commuters at their wit’s end . Although tall promises had been made by railway authorities, nothing has improved on the ground, lament commuters.

Lack of drinking water has been a major problem. And the fact that taps remain disconnected speak volumes on the problem.

The absence of high-mast lamp and coach display board at the station make it difficult for commuters, particularly senior citizens, women and children, to locate trains. The problem has become acute over the last six months as commuter traffic has increased many fold due to the extension of several express train services to Pudukottai, says A.M.S. Ibrahim Babu, secretary, Pudukottai district railway users’ committee. R.Sivakumar, president of the committee, points out that the station should be upgraded into a junction to increase the duration for reservation. Presently, the reservation service is available only between 8 a.m. and noon, and from 2.00 p.m. to 5.00 p.m. Those willing to reserve tickets through tatkal are the worst hit, as no exclusive tatkal counter is available at the station. The office-bearers of the committee pointed out that although top officials from the Dindigul division of the railways had inspected the station way back in October 2012, nothing has materialised so far. Action must be taken to restore drinking water supply to the station by drilling a borewell at Vellar – the nearest point of supply– they said.

Villupuram-Vellore electrification work on right track, says CRS

Authorisation for passenger trains soon on this route

विल्लुपुरम Villupuram (VM):  “The general condition of the work on electrification of the Villupuram-Vellore Cantonment section in the Tiruchi Railway Division is satisfactory and I shall soon give the authorisation for the operation of passenger electric trains on this route,” Satheesh Kumar Mittal, Commissioner for Railway Safety (CRS), Bangalore Circle, told newspersons at the Vellore Cantonment Station after completing his two-day inspection of the electric traction on the 150-km route on Thursday.

Mr.Mittal said that the electric traction installed on the route was charged with 25 Kilovolts power during the rear window inspection carried out from a diesel train during the team’s inspection starting from Vellore Cantonment and culminating in Villupuram station on Wednesday.

“Starting at 10 a.m., we reached Villupuram at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, when we took some measurements. Today, we carried out an inspection in an AC loco train (electric train) starting from Villupuram to the Vellore Cantonment Station.”

In reply to a question, the CRS said that through some minor defects were noticed during the inspection, the electrification work was satisfactory enough to operate trains. The authorities have been asked to rectify the minor defects.

The overhead electric traction wire snapped between Tiruvannamalai and Thurinjapuram, and the authorities have been asked to attend to it immediately, he said.

Mr. Mittal, who belongs to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, said that he would submit his report to his Ministry which has been engaged for the inspection, and the Civil Aviation Ministry would forward his report to the Ministry of Railways which would act on it. He was accompanied by Manjula Rangarajan, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Tiruchi, R.S. Raj Purohit, Additional DRM, Tiruchi, R.P. Udayakumar, Chief Project Manager (Railway Electrification), Chennai and J.S.P. Singh, Chief Electrical Engineer, Southern Railway.

Work on the electrification of the Vellore Cantonment-Villupuram- section commenced in 2010.

There are 12 stations on the route, namely Vellore Cantonment, Kaniyambadi, Kannamangalam, Arni Road, Polur, Agaram Sippandhi, Thurinjapuram, Tiruvannamalai, Thandarai, Tirukkovilur, Mambazhapattu and Villupuram.


  • Electric traction installed on the route charged with 25 Kilovolts power during inspection
  • Minor defects noticed, but work satisfactory enough to operate trains after rectification

MMOPL says it has Robust Security set up for Metro Rail

मुंबई Mumbai: The Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) has created a security team called the “Intelligence Gathering Unit” or IGU to provide foolproof security to the operations of the Metro rail and its passengers.

The team, in plain clothes, will keep a close eye on commuter movement and gather information related to the safety and security of the metro and its passengers.

“The trained unit will keep an eye in the vicinity of Metro stations in plain clothes, posing as common men. The unit will be on the lookout for mischievous activities in Metro stations by miscreants and take necessary action. Depending on the kind and level of trouble and threat posed by such people, action will be taken against them,” said a senior Metro official.

“Senior security personnel will take a call if these persons can be punished or penalised under the Central Metro Act, or should be handed over to the local police for necessary action.”

A minimum of two IGU personnel will be present at each Metro station at any given time, with one of them being a woman.

They will be further monitored by the Quick Reaction Team (QRT) or security staff in the station.

Furthermore, these stations will have the Mumbai Security Force (MSF) for regular security checks and handling of insurgencies.

“It gives us immense pleasure that we have set up the best practices of security,” said an MMOPL spokesperson.

Yurembam villagers protest over construction of railway line and station

इम्फाल Imphal: People of Yurembam in Imphal West district have affirmed not to give even an inch of land in the construction of railway line/train station.

A protest rally was staged by around 200 people of the locality under the joint aegis of Yurembam Apunba Club and Yurembam Apunba Meira Paibee Lup.

Placards that read as ‘We object acquisition of land’, ‘We object construction of train station at Yurembam’ and ‘Consider our demand’ were held by the rallyists.

After staging the rally, the gathering hold a public meeting at Yurembam community hall.

Among others UCM president Y Nabachandra and All Manipur Progressive Farmers Association president Joy Nongmaithem also attended the meeting.

Y Nabachandra while speaking at the meeting said that the people of Yurembam had been affected earlier with the acquisition of land for the construction of Power Plant.

Now, the Government is planning to acquire more land in the same village for construction of train station which has brought tension in the area.

As such, acquisition of land at the locality must be protested by one and all, he said.

GRP on lookout for rogue TTE

कुर्ला Kurla (CLA):  The Kurla GRP is on the lookout for a serving Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) of the Central Railway in connection with an intimidation and assault case registered against him earlier this week.

The TTE has been accused of robbing a ticketless traveller of his belongings and then assaulting a cobbler over a minor argument. Both the incidents took place on the same day within a span of a few hours.

On Tuesday, the TTE, identified as Anand Singh caught Mumbra resident Amit Verma (30) without a ticket and took him aside and began demanding a fine of Rs.5000/-. When Mr Verma said he did not have enough money on him, Singh forcibly took his wallet which had cash worth Rs.180 along with his cellphone which cost Rs 3,000.  “He also manhandled him and intimidated him by telling him to keep his mouth shut, before going away with his belongings,” said senior PI Shivaji Dhumal of Kurla GRP.

A few hours after robbing Mr Verma, Singh went to the station’s platform number four to get his shoes polished when he got into an argument with the cobbler Gupteshwar Ram (21).

“Singh was wearing sports shoes and Ram told him they could not be polished, which led to an argument between the two. Singh then assaulted him too and walked away with his hard-earned money,” Mr Dhumal added. Meanwhile, Mr Verma came to the GRP police station where the police registered an FIR charging Singh with criminal intimidation and robbery.

“In Ram’s case we registered a non-cognizable offence,” he added.

Singh has been attached to the Kurla station for the past two years and is also suspected to have been under the influence of alcohol when the incidents took place.

“He is on the run and was also not found to be at home when we went to pick him up. He will be traced soon and we are speaking to his colleagues and relatives to know more about his possible whereabouts,” added Mr Dhumal.

Study identifies Mumbai’s most dangerous Railway Spots

मुंबई Mumbai: A new study has identified 20 spots between railway stations that see a high number of trespassers, who not only endanger their lives by crossing tracks, but also compromise rail safety.

The spots have been identified on the Western Railway’s suburban network (WR) and on the Central Railway’s (CR), including on Harbour and Trans-Harbour Lines. Three of the sites – Matunga-Mahim, Jogeshwari-Goregaon and Thane-Kalwa – see dozens of deaths linked to trespassing every year.

The study was commissioned by Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC), an Indian Railways subsidiary that works to improve suburban networks, and conducted by students of Sir JJ School of Arts and Architecture.

It is part of a Rs 120-crore ‘trespasscontrol’ project funded by the World Bank. The project, first proposed in 2010, was formally launched by Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge on October 27 last year.

It seeks to not only identify problem areas along tracks, but also build new infrastructure such as pedestrian bridges to discourage people to cross tracks. On an average, more than 4,000 Mumbai commuters die every year and an equal number get injured after either falling off crowded trains or getting run over on tracks.

“It is widely believed that trespassing happens mostly at stations when people cross the tracks to get from one platform to another. However, this study assessed trespassing patterns between stations,” a senior MRVC official said. “We have found that a number of casualties occur between two sets of stations that are close to each other or have housing societies and slum settlements nearby.”

Many people who live in colonies or hutments along tracks cross the rails to get to stations or return home. They pose a serious risk to rail safety. Of the three said sites, Thane-Kalwa stretch witnesses on an average 34 deaths a year, while 33 casualties are reported between Jogeshwari and Goregaon. The Matunga-Mahim stretch records 18 deaths.

The study began late last year and its suggestions to tackle the problem will be implemented this year.

An earlier study on the problem of commuters crossing tracks at stations had recommended construction of 31 foot overbridges, six escalators and five elevators. “Footover bridges will be constructed at the worst spots so people can safely walk between their homes and stations. In fact, one of the biggest components of the project is to build a pedestrian bridge over Thane creek,” the official said.

Other solutions could include railings, reinforced concrete walls and ‘reorganising built spaces’.

MRVC Managing Director Rakesh Saksena said in most trespassing cases, the offenders were people living near tracks. “We will now determine what can be done to deal with the problem,” he said.

Subhash Gupta, a member of Zonal Railway Users’ Consultative Committee, said there was an urgent need to build bridges at identified sites. “The JJ school team met us and we told them the same,” he said.

Railway land development back on track in Mumbai

मुंबई Mumbai: After several years of dilly-dallying and lack of coordination between the state government and the railway ministry, ambitious plans to commercially develop railway land is finally beginning to take off.

A fortnight after the Rail Land Development Authority — the railway’s apex body for such commercial development — put a 43,000 sqm plot in Bandra east for a long lease to build a commercial complex, the RLDA is making its first moves on similar land in Mahalaxmi, Wadala and Kurla Terminus.

The RLDA is getting consultants to evaluate the worth of these properties as per the current market scenario in Mumbai and then in the months to come help it put these lands out on long lease for private sector entities to build commercial complexes on them. The RLDA is also leasing out a plot of land at Vasai station to make a commercial complex, called Multi-Function Complex in railway lingo.

Railway officials in the city are particularly optimistic about the vast spread of land at Kurla especially after the terminus — previously plagued by complaints of poor-connectivity — now has the Santa Cruz-Chembur link road going right through it.

Railway land development in Mumbai came to a standstill thanks to the protracted fight between the state government and the railways over the ownership of the 43,000 sqm Bandra plot. The fight made the rounds of several courts before the state government agreed that the land belonged to the railways.

“But the Bandra land fight showed the railway bureaucracy that in Mumbai the issue of land involves many factors, both legal and illegal, which even government agencies like the railways find tough to surmount,” a senior WR official said.

A senior railway ministry official told that unless the railways looks at revenue from land development in Mumbai, expecting enough money to flow in for the development of the suburban network is tough ask. “Ticket revenues cannot go beyond a point unless there is large-scale addition of tracks and rail infrastructure. That looks remote at the moment,” said an official.

Under railway rules, any land that gets developed this way, the money break-up is such that one-third of the money gets spent on Mumbai, another one-third on any railway project in Maharashtra and the third part in any railway project nationwide.

P.G.Rao is new COM for South Western Railway

हुबली Hubli (UBL): P.Ganeshwara Rao has assumed charge as the Chief Operations Manager of South Western Railway recently, a release said. He has come in place of N.C. Sinha, who has been transferred on promotion as Additional General Manager (AGM), Central Railway, Mumbai (CSTM).

Before taking over as Chief Operations Manager, SWR, Mr. Rao, was Chief Commercial Manager (Passenger Service & Catering), South Central Railway, Secunderabad. An Indian Railway Traffic Service (IRTS) officer of the 1983 batch, Mr. Rao joined Indian Railways in 1985. He has done post graduation in Public Policy and Management and also holds M.Sc degree. He has undergone training in Management Development Programme.

Evacuation drill planned for Namma Metro commuters

बेंगुलुरु Bangalore (SBC): In case of an emergency, Namma Metro passengers have to walk to the nearest station on the one-metre walkway along the boundary wall of the metro line supported by railings.

Soon Namma Metro will conduct evacuation drill in order to educate commuters on procedures to be followed during emergencies. According to Managing Director of Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Pradeep Singh Kharola, Namma Metro has developed standard operating procedure to be followed in case of any emergency. And, in the next 10 days, evacuation drill will be held.

The procedure to deal with the emergency will differ depending on the cause of breakdown. “A power outage is usually restored within a few minutes. In case of a malfunction, the train will be dragged to the nearest station by a rescue train,” Mr. Kharola explained.

In the worst case scenario, evacuation has to be carried out midway. Unlike in Delhi Metro, people cannot alight from Namma Metro and walk on the track as power line runs alongside. Commuters have to walk to the nearest metro station on the one-metre wide walkway along the boundary wall of the metro line supported by railings.

Tender process for Phase 2 soon

Pradeep Singh Kharola, Managing Director, BMRCL, has said tenders for Namma Metro Phase II will be called in a month’s time. He was speaking at an interactive session organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) here recently.

According to him, Namma Metro Phase I will become operational by September 2015. Reach 3 and 3A now operational till Peenya would be extended till Hesaraghatta Main Road and this stretch would be thrown open to public by November 2014.

Reach 2 covering a distance of 6.52 km between Magadi Road and Mysore Road would become operational by December 2014.

Mr. Kharola said the entire East-West corridor between Byappanahalli and Mysore Road terminal would be completed by March 2015.

Islamist group claims responsibility for China railway station attack

बीजिंग Beijing: A group named ‘Turkestan Islamic Party’ has claimed responsibility for the attack in Urumqi train station in northwest China), in which three people died, SITE international anti-terrorist intelligence service reported on Thursday.

The Islamic group carried out the attack April 30 with explosives and bladed weapons.

According to SITE, which tracks internet communication of suspected terrorist groups, the Islamic group released a video in which they are seen preparing a bomb hidden in a bag.

According to the group, this bomb was used in the attack, in which three people died and 79 were injured.

The claim supports the Chinese authorities, who said the attack was carried out by two religious extremists who died in the explosion.

The Xinjiang region often sees confrontation between authorities and extremist groups, many of them led by the people of Uyghur ethnicity.

The Uyghur ethnic group is one of the majorities in the area and seeks independence of the region as “East Turkestan”.

In the last few months, several attacks on civilians have also taken place in busy train stations, which are also linked to Xinjiang-based terrorist groups by Beijing.

In an attack March 1, the worst of these attacks, 33 people (including four attackers) died and more than 140 were injured in the train station of Kunming in southern China.

Xinjiang shares its border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, and is home to many Muslim ethnic groups linked to the people of Central Asia, such as Uyghurs.

According to the Chinese government, the terrorist groups operating there are linked with the radical Islamic organisation Al Qaeda.

However, exiled Uyghur groups accuse Beijing of using terrorism as an excuse to surpass their religion and culture.

In July 2009, ethnic conflicts between Uyghurs and Chinese Han (majority in the country) claimed more than 200 lives in Urumqi, the worst ethnic violence in China in decades.

Haryana to Fund Metro from YMCA Chowk to Faridabad

चण्डीगर्ह Chandigarh (CDG):  The Haryana government on Wednesday approved a proposal to fund the extension project of the Delhi Metro from YMCA Chowk to Faridabad in order to provide Metro rail connectivity to the commuters in the state.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the state Cabinet in Chandigarh on Wednesday, an official release issued here said.

The Central government has given in principle, an approval for the project, it said.  A sum of Rs.130.80 crore would be the financial implication of this project. The Badarpur-Faridabad Metro line till YMCA chowk is likely to be completed by September 2014, it said.

Nepal requests China to extend the newly built Tibet Rail link upto Kathmandu

काठमाण्डू Kathmandu: CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal has requested the Chinese government to extend the railway system in Tibetan autonomous region up to Kathmandu.

A railway link with China would ease many inconveniences Nepal has been facing as a landlocked country, Khanal said during his meeting with the Chinese leaders in Beijing.  The UML Chairman, who is currently on China visit, met with Wang Jiarui, vice chairman of National People’s Consultative Conference of China and Chen Fengxiang, vice-minister of International Department of Communist Party of China , in Beijing on Wednesday .

Khanal also told the Chinese leaders that the second Constituent Assembly will complete the long overdue task of constitution writing, giving the much-needed impetus to development of the country.  Wang hoped that the Nepali would complete the constitution in time so that the country could catch up in the economic development. ” China is ready to assist Nepal as per the wish of Nepali people and the government,” Wang told Khanal.

Chen emphasised on China ‘s readiness to encourage more Chinese citizens to visit Nepal.  Milan Raj Tuladhar, one of the UML delegation members, said that the Nepali team also visited Xiwang village in Shandong province, which has emerged as an industrial estate.

The delegation that left for a 10-day China visit is expected to return home on Friday.

China’s Jaw-dropping Ambition of Rail link to USA via Russia on the Fast Track

China is considering plans to build a jaw dropping 13,000km high-speed railway line to the United States, the country’s official media reported last week. The proposed “China-Russia-Canada-America” line would begin in north-east China and run up through Siberia, pass through a tunnel underneath the Pacific Ocean, then cut through Alaska and Canada to reach the US. It would be almost 3000km longer than the epic Trans-Siberian railroad and the entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350km/h (220mph).

There may be plenty of scepticism regarding the feasibility of what will be an engineering marvel, given the fact that crossing the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska would demand roughly 200km of undersea tunnel. If it materialises, it would be the world’s longest and four times the length of the Channel Tunnel that connects the UK with France. Admittedly, except for an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, no one else has come out in support of the project. However, a dream project like this undoubtedly shows that the centuries-old romance associated with the railways is still going strong.

In all likelihood, speed and efficiency could well forge a common link between a set of the most powerful nations though history and political schisms may pit them against each other. Besides, the reported claims by China indicating that it has the means to accomplish such a grand project indicate the supreme confidence in what is an extremely efficient railway system. The Asian giant boasts  of a high-speed network that is one of the world’s most ambitious public works projects. An intercontinental stride forward could be read as further proof of the growing network. By contrast, the Indian Railways, which is grappling with a declining share of passenger traffic and is in dire need of modernisation and revamp, could look at the Chinese for inspiration and be back on track.

Parliamentary Panel insists installation of Alarm Buzzer in all local Ladies Coaches’

मुंबई Mumbai:  A parliamentary panel has asked the railway board to install an emergency alarm system, CCTV cameras and ensure 24/7 presence of women security guards inside ladies’ coaches of suburban trains to prevent crimes against women.

The February 2014 standing committee report—Suburban Train Services of Indian Railways, with Particular Emphasis on Security of Women Passengers—has recommended a number of measures to improve women commuters’ safety.

The committee has recommended an alarm or a warning bell in the ladies’ coach that must be connected to the loco cabin and guard cabins. “It should immediately indicate the coach number and, if feasible, a link should be provided to the RPF booth of a nearby station.”

The committee has also asked the railways to speed up activation of a uniform helpline. The report said different zones have different helpline numbers, which creates confusion. “The number should be displayed outside schools, colleges, offices and women’s hostels.”

The panel has suggested that coaches be guarded by women personnel “at all times”. It has also asked the railways to ensure a visible security presence at stations and on trains.

It also observed that representation of women in the RPF is a negligible 1.7% even as the policy specifies 10% reservation for women in the force. It added, “Underrepresentation of women in the RPF is one of the reasons for lack of security. The process of recruiting women constables should be expedited.”

The report has also taken a dim view of unauthorized vendors in ladies’ coaches. It has recommended security cameras inside coaches and on platforms. The panel, though, cautioned that such surveillance should not compromise privacy.

High-speed train bought from Austria in 2011 for Rs.60 Cr lies wasted in Mumbai yard

Astria Trainमुंबई Mumbai: A high-speed train bought from Austria for Rs 60 crore in 2011 to be introduced on the Churchgate-Dahanu route has become a virtual piece of junk. The train, which is capable of hitting 140 kmph, has been cannibalised in the three years it has been lying on platform 14 of the Mumbai Central car shed, with the railways stripping it of lights, fans, seats and electrical equipment as replacements for other running trains.  Capable of hitting 140 kph, the train would have helped bolster choked networks.  The train would have covered the Churchgate-Dahanu distance, which now takes 4 hours, in 3 hours. At such speeds, five extra services in each direction could have been added to the network.

The train is also blocking the introduction of five more rakes to the network. When the MRVC-1181 Siemens train was ordered, the trials were supposed to be conducted within three months and officials had prepared the ground to order four more trains if they were satisfied with the prototype’s performance. But now, officials are not sure if the train can be used at all even if it clears the trials.

The train, which was made in Austria with a bolster-less suspension that will ensure a jerk-free ride, was procured by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation under the Rs 4,500-crore World Bank-funded Mumbai Urban Transport Project-1.

Worse, recent months have seen both Central and Western Railways, which are struggling to put enough AC-DC trains on the tracks, desperately flog some life out of trains that are way past their designated shelf life. The recent months have also seen an increasing number of accidents, some of which have had to do with the trains’ age.

Insiders said the problem lay in technical issues with the bogies, which they said were not compatible with the Indian rail structure. With no department ready to take the blame, they have all been passing the buck and made the asset a junk at last.

Sources said if the safety departments stick their neck out and declare the train unfit in its present form, efforts can then be made to introduce the bogies after modifying them locally. In fact, for the last seven months CR, which is short of trains, has been asking WR to give the Siemens train but they have not got any response.

“The project is still very much on,” said Rakesh Saksena, MRVC MD, when asked him if the train will ever run on Mumbai’s tracks. “There are certain decisions that need to be taken about its trials and the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) will take the decision shortly.”

RDSO is the Indian Railways’ Lucknow-based national technical advisory body for design, standardisation and maintenance. Sources in the RDSO said a string of changes at the top of the organisation, which was burdened with several important projects, has left the top brass with no time to put the Siemens train on trials.

RDSO’s ED (Power Supply and EMU), in-charge of local trains, Nasimuddin, however, insisted the project was alive. “The trials of the hi-speed train in Mumbai will be taken soon. But there is no time-frame that I can give you right now.”(Courtesy: Rajendra B Aklekar, Mumbai Mirror)

IB suspects a New Module of Indian Mujahideen to be behind Chennai blasts

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS):  South Indian Mujahideen (SIM), a hitherto unknown separate module of the Indian Mujahideen, is now suspected to be behind the twin blasts on the Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai Central on May 1, according to investigators.

Although initially the Indian Mujahideen was thought to be directly involved in the blasts, the police are currently investigating if the person they are looking for, Abubacker Siddique, had formed an independent self-styled South Indian Mujahideen. The operatives behind the train explosions are believed to be home-grown Islamist terrorists.

While the blasts are seen as retaliation for the recent arrests of secret operatives in Chennai, whether they are linked to a larger transnational plot remains unclear.

Siddique, the police say, is known for precision killing, aiming only specific targets in Hindutva outfits. After sustained interrogation of Islamist extremists already under arrest, Panna Ismail, Bilal Malik and Police Fakrudeen, investigators believe that he might have been roped in to plan the blasts for triggering panic, and not claiming lives.

The low-intensity explosives placed in the train were facing the floor so as to minimise the impact of the blasts. They were triggered by a timer and not a remote control. Had the train been on time, the explosives would have gone off at Sullurpet in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, where the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, was to speak at an election rally in the evening in Nellore.

Ismail, Malik and Fakrudeen were arrested in the Puthur operation on October 5, 2013 in connection with a series of communal murders in Vellore, Salem and Madurai and the planting of a pipe bomb on the Rath Yatra route of the BJP leader L.K. Advani.

Going by the “signature of the blast” (the remnants and pattern of explosion), the police have identified similarities with the blasts in Patna.

Delhi Metro’s Huda City Centre line to extend up to Manesar

The stretch will be over 30-km long and will run alongside the northern and southern peripheral roads

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  The Delhi Metro’s Yellow Line, from Jahangirpuri to Huda City Centre, will now go all the way to Manesar/Gurgaon.

The detailed project report (DPR) for the extension will be ready in another six months, a senior official of the Haryana government said. Once the DPR is ready, the Haryana government will approach the Centre for project approval, the official said.

He said the stretch will be over 30 km long. It will run alongside the northern and the southern peripheral roads, which are around 16 and 10 km long, respectively.

“About five months ago, we awarded the task of preparing the DPR to US-based Aecom, one of the leading consultant firms in the field of structural engineering. The company was given a deadline of 11 months. Six months are already over and, if things remain on schedule, we will approach the Central government for approval soon,” he said.

According to officials, the extension is part of the Mass Rapid Transport System connecting Gurgaon, Manesar, Bawal, Rewari and Neemrana —  an “early bird project” of the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor Development Corporation in the Manesar-Bawal investment region of Haryana.

According to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) officials, the Haryana government had asked them about a year ago to prepare the DPR for the extension. The request was retracted later without any official explanation.

“We never heard anything on the subject after that. They never explained why they didn’t want us to take forward the work on the line,” a DMRC official said.

Haryana government officials, however, denied having written any such letter to the DMRC.

Metro trials on east-west corridor soon: BMRCL

बेंगुलूरू Bangalore (SBC): The trial runs on east-west corridor of Namma Metro will begin in four months, according to BMRCL Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola.

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday, Kharola said that the tunnelling work on the route had been completed.

However, he admitted that the work on north-south corridor had slowed down owing to the rough terrain and rocky features. Kharola said that though metro had been operational on two stretches (MG Road-Baiyyappanahalli and Swastik-Peenya stations), commuters were not preferring the facility for want of connectivity.

“At least 50 trains will ply at an interval of two minutes once the work on the entire stretch of 114 km is completed in five years. The metro fares will be on a par with that of ordinary buses of the BMTC,” he said.

Naxal hand feared in Freight Train derailment in Chhattisgarh

कॅक्लूर Kaklur (KKLU): Suspected Naxalites are said to have removed fish plates from railway tracks on the Vishakhapattam-Kirandul route that led to the derailment of thirteen bogies and two engines of a freight train on Wednesday in Chhattisgarh’s Maoist-hit Bastar District.

The empty freight train derailed between the villages of Kaklur and Kumar Sandra this morning, leading to rail traffic disruption on the route, media reports said.

The bogies and two engines fell from the bridge located on a small rivulet in the area.

Police are currently not ruling out the hand of Naxals in the incident.

Electric Traction Inspection on Villupuram-Vellore section completed

विल्लुपुरम Villupuram (VM): Commissioner of Railway Safety (CSR) of Bangalore Circle S K Mittal commenced a two-day inspection of the 25,000 volts electric traction provided in Villupuram-Vellore Cantonment section.

Mittal began the inspection in diesel loco from Vellore Cantonment on Wednesday. He inspected the outside and inside curves, bridge mast, railway over bridge (ROB), relay rooms, isolator operation, engineering gang, FOB, level crossing gates, power line crossing and short circuit test along the section, said the railway authorities.

On Thursday, he will contact the current collecting test by using electric loco. He would start from Villupuram and conclude it in Vellore, added the officials.

Public cautioned

The Southern Railway on Wednesday cautioned the public living along the railway track in Villupuram-Vellore Cantonment section not to venture close to the railway track.

The public are warned that no person should come in contact with high voltage AC traction within two metres. They should not stretch any pole or material or come in contact with overhead installations, which is highly dangerous, said a release.

“The drivers and road users are requested to be extra cautious at unmanned and manned level crossings in the section. Vehicles should not be overloaded with goods which make them come in close contact with high voltage AC traction lines,” the release added.

Special Cover on 150 Glorious Years of Western Railway in Mumbai released

Special Postal Cover Rail Philatelyमुंबई Mumbai:  To commemorate the 150th year of the Western Rail Network in Mumbai, a special postal cover was released recently. The first train on the western lines in the then Bombay chugged in on November 28, 1864, heralding a new era of seamless and direct connectivity with Gujarat and other states. We are trying to imagine what kind of existence would be possible if we started our day at this kind of Churchgate station, with its flowerbeds and wooden fretwork decorations, instead of the cavernous building through which one million people rush at peak hour!

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Western Railway (erstwhile Bombay, Baroda & Central India Railway) reached Mumbai (Grant Road Terminus) on 28th November 1864. It ushered a new era in the city and has been a harbinger of progress of Mumbai and the Western region. This year Western Railway is celebrating the 150th year of Western Railway.
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India Post, Maharashtra and Goa Postal Circle issued a Special Cover to mark 150 Glorious Years of Western Railway (erstwhile BB&CI) in Mumbai on 21st April 2014 at Mumbai. (Sp. Cover approval no. MH/09/2014). Shri Hemant Kumar GM Western Railway and Shri H. C. Agrawal Postmaster General Mumbai Region released the special cover at the function held at Y.B.Chavan Auditorium, Churchgate, Mumbai.

Cost of Special Cover Rs. 15/- with stamp. Please contact Mumbai Philatelic Bureau for requirement.

MEGA notifies for recruitment at Senior Managerial positions

अहमेडाबाद Ahmedabad (ADI):  Gujarat Metro Railway is inviting application from eligible candidates for Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail project undertaken by Metro Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd.

Vacancies and Eligibility:

Senior Manager (IT): Minimum 15 years of work experience and minimum of 3 years experience at Manager/Senior Management. Upper age limit is 40 years.

Assistant Manager (IT): Minimum 5 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Middle Management level. Upper Age limit is 30 years.

Manager (IT): Minimum 10 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Manager/Middle Management level. Upper age limit is 30 years.

Senior Manager (HR): Minimum 15 years of experience and minimum 3 years of experience at Senior Management level. Upper age limit is 40 years.

Manager (HR): Minimum 10 years of experience and minimum of 3 years of experience at Senior Management level. Upper age limit is 35 years.

How to Apply:

Interested Candidates may forwards their completed application to the below mentioned address:

DGM (HR, Systems & Processes),
Metro Link Express For Gandhinagar And Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Limited
5th Floor. Nirman Bhavan, Opp. Gate No.4,
Sachivalaya, Sector – 10A,
Gandhinagar 382010 (Gujarat)
email: hr@gujaratmetrorail.com

Important Dates:
Last Date to Apply : May 27, 2014

Metropolis On Go: Journey of Chennai Metro Rail

Pankaj-Kumar-Bansal‘We have given top most priority to the safety and security of passengers in Chennai Metro Rail project,’ says Pankaj Kumar Bansal.

What lead to the city of Chennai have its own metro rail system?

Chennai metropolis has been growing rapidly and the traffic volumes on the roads have also been increasing enormously. Hence the need for a new rail based rapid transport system has been felt and towards this objective the Government of Tamil Nadu has decided to implement the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This project aims at providing the people of Chennai with a fast, reliable, convenient, efficient, modern and economical mode of public transport, which is properly integrated with other forms of public and private transport including buses, sub-urban trains and Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS).

Please give us some details about the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).

The Government of Tamil Nadu created a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for implementing the Chennai Metro Rail Project. This SPV named as “Chennai Metro Rail Limited” was incorporated on 03.12.2007 under the Companies Act. It has now been converted into a Joint Venture of Government of India and Government of Tamil Nadu with equal equity holding.

What are the steps being taken by you to ensure a safe and secure metro rail system in Chennai?

Passenger safety and security has been given the top most priority in Chennai Metro Rail project. Keeping in mind the safety concerns, we have systems in place which ensures that platform gates will open only when a train enters a platform. On the other hand, train can move only when the gets are closed. This reduces the chances of accidents. All these steps also help us in energy consumption, along with ensuring safety. It is noticed that the air-conditioning required for tunnel cooling near platform or track area is far more than what is required for the remaining part, due to the heat generation for using brakes. But, if we are able to cut down the unnecessary brake movement near the platform area, it will help in efficient use of energy.

The land disputes or infrastructural issues are associated with most of the big infrastructure projects in our country. How have CMRL dealt with these kinds of issues?

We have in our possession all the lands necessary for the project, except one. But there are some small litigation problems in some places. Luckily for us these minute problems have not hampered our work. This is a public project and moreover court takes well concern of the legalities. Though there were few challenges initially. Due to the sluggishness in the market some companies engaged with us could not able to complete the work on time. It forced us to terminate their contract as all these were affecting progress of our project.

Please brief us about the energy efficient air-conditioning system installed in the Chennai Metro Rail.

We have installed air conditioning system which is more energy efficient. For example I can say that in any air conditioning system there are two cycles- primary and secondary. There is the need of energy or cooling transiting from one cycle to another. But here we are focusing on single cycle only. This will save nearly 30 percent of energy as compare to earlier air- conditioning system. It will result in more energy efficient air-conditioning system in metro rail.

Various other metro projects in cities like Delhi and Kolkata are utilizing their stations to showcase art and culture. What about CMRL’s plan on this?

Our stations are developed on varied concepts. So each and every station will be depicting various forms of art and cultures. For example I can tell you that one station will be decorated with the photos of classical Bharatnatyam dance form and other station might be showcasing flowers or wildlife particularly associated with our state.

We often see glitches in the car parking places for metro projects in other cities. Share with us the plans of CMRL to tackle this problem. Also throw some light on CMRL’s bicycle parking and renting initiative.

We are trying to do things differently in Chennai. There are separate sub lines inside our stations for pick up and drop points or parking places. This will result in fewer chances of blocking up main roads near the metro station areas. There will also be escalator system in place which will be connected to the parking areas. In our stations area we are providing separate space for cycle parking. We have tied up with Chennai Corporation and they have provided free cycles.

Before moving to CMRL, you have served various other important government departments. How do you find working for Chennai Metro Rail project?

I thank the government for giving me the opportunity to work for this project. I am happy to be part of CMRL as I have handled similar kinds of projects for Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank. I had also worked earlier in the major infrastructure projects, like Hogenakkal water supply project, which was a Rs 2000 crore project.

What are the core values being followed by Chennai Metro Rail Limited?

We are always trying to give safe, clean reliable and courteous service to our customers. Apart from this, we want to uphold Integrity and our focus is also on sustainability for reducing green house emissions. Trust factor is important for us and we are committed to honour the trust reposed in us by the public by managing CMRL resources (financial and non-financial) with highest degree of responsibility. Creativity and innovation also excites us.  (Courtesy: eLets)

Mundaga Kanni Amman Koil railway station on the MRTS Section inaugurated in Chennai

चेन्नई Chennai (MAS):  Mundaga Kanni Amman railway station in the MRTS section, located between Light House and Tirumayilai railway stations alongside the Buckingham Canal became operational on Wednesday.

Commuters who were forced to go to Tirumayilai or the Light House stations on the section now could use the new station.

Railway sources said the work on the station began in 2003 and it was completed nearly a year ago. A senior officer said there was an inordinate in completing the work as a couple of contractors abandoned the work at this station.

On the first day today nearly 90 tickets were sold, fetching a revenue of Rs 1,006. Officials at the ticket counter said they expect the ticket sale to improve in the coming days. “On both directions the response was very good on the first day,” they said. It will exclusively the commuters from the northern Mylapore, Santhome and Royapettah extensively.

Mundagakanniamman Koil station is the 18th MRTS station to be operational. Work on the station began in 2002, at an initial estimated cost of ₹ 85.5 million. The station is built as an additional one in the first phase of the Chennai MRTS network completed much earlier. Initially slated to be completed in April 2009 at a cost of ₹ 350 million, the construction was delayed due to land-acquisition issues. The next deadline was set as 2012 and again it was delayed due to getting approval for the name, which has got all its final touches by today. The cost of construction was ₹ 100 million.

The station is an elevated one built on the banks of the Buckingham Canal like most other MRTS stations. The station building consists of 2,400 Sq.m of parking area in its basement. The design of the station is similar to that of the Thirumailai station. The station has only one entrance as the Buckingham canal runs alongside.

Controversy on Station’s Name

The station has been courting controversy ever-since it was first slated to be completed in 2009. The station’s name ran into controversy in June 2013 when over 80 per cent work was over, since some local Muslims residents started opposing the christening of the station after the Hindu goddess Mundagakanniamman. A temple of Goddess Mundagakann­iamman is almost in the vicinity of the station, which covers Ganesh­apuram and Slatterpuram that have a good number of Muslim and Christian population. The station’s name boards were whitewashed by some residents, and the inauguration of the station, which was earlier scheduled for 15 May 2013, was deferred indefinitely. Later the Tamil Nadu government decided to retain the name since the station is located on the very street where the temple is situated since the time immemorial and various organisations in the city argued that the temple was existent even prior to Vijayanagar Rule and hence there should not be any linking of the name with any religious sect., but should be considered as one of the historical landmark location to identify and name the newly built station.  Finally Southern Railway had named the station as “Mundagakanniamman Koil”.

Train Schedules

The first train will be a Velachery-Beach service at 6am after which regular services will continue. Residents of Loganathan Colony, Subburayan Street and a few others along with hundreds of pilgrims to the Mundakakanni Amman temple will benefit.

A senior railway officer said, “We sent the name of the station to the state government for approval after protests against naming it Mundakakanni Amman. The government approved the name.” A booking clerk will be available at the station, the 18th on the line, to issue tickets. It will cost 5 to travel to different stations on the line from here.

The first EMU leaving Chennai Beach at 4.10am will arrive here at 4.28am on week days and on Sundays, the first EMU leaving Beach at 6am will arrive here at 6.18am. On week days, the first EMU leaving Velachery will arrive here at 5.20am, and on Sundays, the first EMU leaving Velachery will arrive here at 7.10am.

On week days, the last EMU leaving Chennai Beach at 10pm will arrive here at 10.18pm, while on Sundays the last EMU from Chennai Beach will arrive here at 10.18pm. On week days, the last EMU leaving Velachery at 11pm will arrive here at 11.20pm, and on Sundays the last EMU train from Velachery will arrive here at 11.20pm. The booking office will function during operation of all services on the section.

CRS to inspect newly electrified Villupuram-Vellore section today

तिरुचिराप्पल्ली Tiruchirappalli (TPJ):  Electric loco hauled passenger and freight trains is all set to become a reality on the Villupuram Vellore broad gauge section falling within the limits of Tiruchi Railway Division.

With electrification works in the 152 kilometer (km) Villupuram — Vellore section having been completed, the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is scheduled to inspect the segment on May 14. The safety clearance from the CRS is mandatory prior to throwing open the electrified section for operation of passenger and freight trains hauled by electric locomotives.

The CRS, Southern Circle, Bangalore S.K.Mittal will carry out a two-day inspection on this electrified section on May 14 and 15. Accompanied by top railway officials, the CRS will commence the inspection from Katpadi to Villupuram on May 14, Railway sources said.

The Villupuram — Vellore section is one among the major broad gauge sections falling within the jurisdiction of Tiruchi Railway Division.

The electrification works were carried out as part of the gauge conversion work from Villupuram to Vellore and completed at a cost of around INR 190 crore, the sources said. The Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), Chennai Project Unit, was entrusted with the responsibility of electrifying the section.

As part of the electrification project, two power substations were established — one at Arni Road and the other at Thandarai.

Power substations are already functioning at Villupuram Junction and near Katpadi Junction.

A senior CORE official said the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited had begun to provide power supply to the Arani Road substation.

Electrification would improve acceleration of trains, say officials adding that some of goods trains bound for upcountry destinations from central and southern regions could take the electrified route in the long run to avoid the congested route via Chennai.

Ministry releases Rs.233 Crore for Gadag-Wadi broad gauge works

The Ministry of Railways on Tuesday sanctioned Rs 233 crore to construct newly announced Gadag-Wadi broad gauge railway line in the State.

हुबली Hubli (UBL):  The project is coming up with 50:50 cost-sharing between Railways and the State government. The land for the project will be provided by the State free of cost, Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters here.

The total cost of the project is Rs.1922 crore and the Ministry released Rs 16 crore for the current financial year. Once the State government hands over substantial land to the Railways, work will start, he said.

Hubli-Guntakal

The new line will link main lines of Hubli-Guntakal and Mumbai-Chennai routes, passing through Gadag, Koppal, Raichur, Yadgir and Gulbarga districts via Kuknur, Yelburga, Kushtagi, Lingsugur, Gurgunta, Devapur, Shorapur, Shahpur and Biral Buzurg.


Speedy rail connection

Once the project completes, industries in these five districts of North Karnataka will also get convenient and speedy rail connection with ports on the Western Coast and also other parts of the country, enhancing the socio- economic development in the backward areas of Hyderabad-Karnataka, he said.

The new line will also help in faster movement of goods and passengers between Wadi and Hubli. With this line, distance between Gadag and Wadi stations will come down by about 147 km, in comparison to the existing routes via Guntakal and Hotgi.

Good Train derails on Mumbai-Howrah route; traffic unaffected

Dongargarhडोंगरयर Dongargarh (DGG): Four bogies of a goods train derailed on Tuesday near a railway station on the Mumbai-Howrah railway route in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district.

Nobody was reported hurt in the mishap. Four bogies of the container-loaded cargo train coming towards Raipur from Nagpur derailed near Dongargarh railway station, which lies around 100 km from Raipur station, this evening, a railway official said.

“However, no injuries were reported due to the incident,” he said.

The mishap took place as the train departed Dongargarh railway station and crossed its platform’s signal leading to damage of track numbers four and five, he said.

However, railway traffic on the upline Howrah-Mumbai route was not affected due to incident, though traffic on Kurla-Howrah downline route was delayed for sometime after the incident, he said.

Meanwhile, railway traffic on the route resumed smoothly after sometime and train movements were on time.

The exact cause of the mishap would be known after the investigation, he said.

Railways face hurdles in crucial coal linking rail projects in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Railways today informed the Union Cabinet about the difficulties it is facing in sticking to the timeline for the completion of three crucial rail link projects in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

In order to evacuate and transport about 300 million tonnes of coal from the mines to industries, Coal Ministry had last year approached the Prime Minister’s Office for expediting the three rail projects — two in Jharkhand, one in Chhattisgarh.

The three rail links, planned with a view to solving the problem of coal availability in the country, are expected to facilitate the movement every year of around 300 million tonnes of the valuable mineral.

The rail corridors include Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura in Jharkhand and Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh.

At the Cabinet meeting, the problems on the ground were explained like delay in getting land acquisition and forest clearances from the state governments, sources in railways said.

Earlier, the PMO had ordered Railways to execute the three projects within three years of the necessary clearances being obtained.

“Besides, law and order problems are also there… So, it is unlikely that the projects would be completed in time,” they added.

No train movement in night in Rajula forest area

राजुला Rajula (RLA):  The forest department is thinking of sending a proposal to the railways to stop movement of trains at night through forest areas around Rajula (Amreli district) where lions are known to move between 7 pm and 7 am. As most trains that pass through the forests in these areas are goods trains, they can be loaded in Surendranagar and sent off to their destinations before nightfall.

The forest department decided to send this proposal after a number of lions were run over by goods trains in three different incidents recently. Officials said that they had noticed that these accidents tended to take place just before sunrise or early in the morning.

The officials further said that movement of the lions increases in the morning when it is still slightly dark. At this time, it becomes difficult to spot the lions if they happen to be on the railway tracks. By the time a driver sees the animal, it is too late as it is not possible to stop a train suddenly.

After the second incident, forest department officials had carried out a count and found that more than 40 lions had been living around the railway tracks along the coast near Rajula. After the second incident, the officials had organized training of train drivers but this had not worked as the drivers of goods trains had refused to reduce their speed. This had led to another accident – the third – in this area.

After the second incident, a detailed lion population count was also undertaken in the areas. It was found that 40-odd lions had been living in the region along the tracks, said the officials. This area has 4-5 lion prides.

In the wee hours on Sunday, a male cub, which was about seven months old, was found dead beside the track between Bherai and Pipavav port. Later at around 6 am that day, some villagers spotted the carcass and informed the forest department.

An official said that as most trains that pass through this area at night are goods trains, the forest department was thinking of restricting the movement of trains in this area in the wee hours or late at night.

Such incidents are avoidable, said officials. Railways have been told to reduce the speed of the trains and drivers have been given maps too but the drivers refuse to slow down their trains. Further, the track is constructed in public-private partnership. Officials said that the state forest department plans to force the railways to set up high fences along the railway tracks. This would ensure that lions and their cubs keep away from the railway tracks.

World’s first satellite-based railway management system tested in Italy

The world’s first railway management system communicating with satellites has been tested in Italy.  Train drivers will be able to receive information from control centres via satellites

इटली Italy: The system, a joined project between the European Space Agency, UK satellite operator Inmarsat, Ansaldo STS and Vodafone, is designed to improve data transmission about the location of trains travelling across remote areas.

Currently, railway traffic controllers in Europe receive data about trains through the European Railway Traffic Management System (ERTMS). The system uses electronic beacons, located along the track every 500 to 1,500 metres, transmitting information about the train’s position via a dedicated terrestrial cell network. The centres then transmit route data back to the train drivers, providing recommended speed and other information important for safe operations.

The currently tested satellite-based system, called the Train Integrated Safety Satellite System project, or 3InSat, will not only help improve communication with trains in remote areas but will also help reduce costs, as installing expensive track equipment and building additional communication infrastructure will no longer be needed.

Recently, the system has been put to test on the Italian island of Sardinia with further trials scheduled for this autumn.

“The new telecom service we have been testing in Sardinia as part of 3InSat is unprecedented for train control systems,” said Francesco Rispoli of Ansaldo STS.

“It paves the way for realising cost-efficient and rapidly deployable signalling systems using, for the first time, non-dedicated telecom networks.”

If all goes well, satellite communication links will be integrated into the railway traffic management system in Sardinia with further deployment across Europe expected in the upcoming years. A similar project is underway in Australia.

The 3InSat project is co-funded by Esa’s Integrated Applications Promotion programme.

Bullet Trains on Top of Modi’s to-do List

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  With the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi putting emphasis on infrastructure development, ministries such as tourism, railways and national highways are likely to be given a new look in keeping with the BJP’s governance model if the National Democratic Alliance comes to power.

Modi’s desire to prepare a blueprint for running high-speed bullet trains on the lines of Japan and China is likely to be given top priority by the Ministry of Railways as it would involve massive investment.

The BJP-led government would work towards evolving the public-private partnership (PPP) model into a people-public-private partnership (PPPP), or the 4P model, that will involve citizen groups, professionals and retired experts in designing, implementing and monitoring public service projects.

The Urban Development Ministry is likely to come out with a new approach of building on concepts like twin cities, satellite towns and fulfil Mr. Modi’s desire to build 100 new cities across the country.

Other key ministries such as finance, commerce, corporate affairs, industry and environment are also likely to be given a fresh look, stressing economic activity, simplifying and rationalising the tax regime and leveraging technology to cut red tape and corruption.

On foreign relations, BJP leaders have ruled out any radical change, but the party manifesto has stressed the need to revive “Brand India’’ by building on tradition, talent, tourism, trade and technology.

Double Decker Train from Kachiguda to Guntur chugs off

Excitement grips passengers and those who came to see them off. On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by a train lighting helper

Double Decker Train kcg gntकाचीगुड़ा Kacheguda (KCG): Practically every one of the 350-odd passengers was getting himself/herself photographed with his/her near and dear ones, with the colourful train serving as the backdrop, as the electric locomotive blew its horn before beginning its journey, early on Tuesday morning.

As South Central Railway’s first air-conditioned, chair-car, double-decker superfast express to Guntur left Kacheguda, there were cheers all around. For most of those on platform no. 4, those who boarded the train and those who came to see them off, the sight of a double-decker train was a first time experience and hence the high-level excitement.

It was driven by loco pilot Karimullah, who has 18 years of experience behind the locomotive wheel and assistant loco pilot Ramakrishna (three years). On its inaugural run, it was flagged off not by a ‘neta’ or a senior official, but by Abdul Rehman, a train lighting helper, as he would retire from service this month-end. With the model code of conduct in force, inaugural by a Minister or a political leader was ruled out. A senior official informed that SCR’s General Manager P.K. Srivastava wanted the inauguration of this train to be done differently.
14HY_DOUBLE_2_1891891g

Schedule

The Kacheguda-Guntur train no. 22118 will leave on Tuesdays and Fridays at 5.30 a.m. and reach at 10.40 a.m. with halts at Malkajgiri, Nalgonda, Miryalaguda and Piduguralla. On the return, no. 22117 will leave Guntur at 12.45 p.m. and reach Kacheguda at 5.55 p.m. The 10-rake train can carry 120 passengers in each, totalling to a whopping 1,200 passengers, the equivalent of 55 to 60 trains.

Starting from Wednesday, the same rake will leave for Tirupati at 6.45 a.m. and return by Thursday night, in time for its run to Guntur on Friday, said Chief Public Relations Officer K. Sambasiva Rao, pointing out that the rake would be used to its optimum, with eight services, four each to Guntur and Tirupati. “Depending upon the patronage, we will work out how to expand our service,” he said.

The unique selling proposition of the rake is that for the first time in Indian Railways, it comes with VESDA (Very Early Smoke/Fire Detection with Alarm System). There are 17 sensors at different points in each coach for the purpose. Each chair-car coach can seat 120 persons and as against the conventional chair-car coaches that cost Rs. 1.54 crore each, the new ones cost a whopping Rs. 2.86 crore each. The fare to Guntur is Rs. 415 and Rs. 720 for Tirupati.

Meanwhile, the members of the Suburban Train and Bus Travellers’ Association, Malkajgiri welcomed the newly-introduced Kacheguda-Guntur superfast double-decker train on Tuesday at Malkajgiri railway station. The Association members thanked the railway authorities for arranging stoppage at Malkajgiri and also requested the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited authorities to call fresh tenders for MMTS Phase 2.

double_decker_train KCG Double Decker Train DUBLE DECKER_0 1npoATGBH100 Double Decker Train kcg gnt2

Frauscher showcases expertise at the Rail Solutions Asia 2014

Frauscher kuala lumpurKuala Lumpur: The Rail Solutions Asia 2014 (RSA) was held from 7th to 9th May in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and was attended by over 2000 participants.

Frauscher Sensor Technology has been participating and sponsoring the conference for three consecutive years now. During the two-day exhibition, Frauscher presented its wheel detection and axle counting technology at its booth. Visitors at the conference had the opportunity to meet with the Frauscher team and also gain an insight into Frauscher products.

This year’s RSA conference, witnessed many interactive workshops on different railway segments. David Townsend, Managing Director, Frauscher Asia, held one of the key presentations at the Signalling and Communications workshop. In his presentation, David highlighted the reliability of Frauscher wheel detection and advanced axle counting system for track vacancy requirement. With the help of case studies, David pointed out how the use of reliable inductive wheel detection and axle counting technology can offer performance improvements and increased safety, compared to the usage of traditional track circuits within the harsh railway environment.

Frauscher has a strong footprint within the Asian railway market with its products successfully implemented at many Asian countries including China, Hongkong, Thailand, India, and many others. In Malaysia, Frauscher has also delivered a key project of supplying axle counting system for Kuala Lampur International Airport – Express Rail Link.

Goods shed in Tirupur to be developed: DRM/Salem

तिरुप्पुर Tiruppur (TUP): Goods shed at Tirupur railway station will be improved at an outlay of Rs. 3 crore before the end of the current financial year to facilitate quicker movement of cargoes, according to Divisional Railway Manager, Salem Division, Mr.P.N.Ram.

Speaking to The Hindu after inspecting the railway station here on Thursday evening, he said that as part of the project, the track meant for goods train would be lengthened by another 300 metre and two-side entry would be provided at the goods shed, among other works. At present, about 80,000 tonnes of load mainly inward freight comprising oil cakes, maize and other food grains are being handled every month at the goods shed in Tirupur railway station,” he said.

Mr. Ram said that following the inspection, it was decided to carry out improvement works to the tune of Rs. 30 lakh to give an aesthetic touch to the front view of the main building. “We have also decided to shift the reservation counter to another location near the Parcel office to ease the congestion in the concourse area in the main building,” he added.

The other decision taken after the examination of facilities was to open an additional counter for issuing daily tickets complying with the requests from the public.

Senior Divisional Commercial Officer S.T.Ramalingam and Senior Divisional Engineer (Co-ordination) Nandakumar accompanied Mr.Ram during the inspection.

Parcel Trains and Logistic Parks high on CRWC’s Priority: Vinod Asthana, MD/CRWC

Central Railside Warehouse Company LtdAs part of its diversification activities, CWC developed a warehousing facility of Railway land along a Railway siding as a Pilot Project at Whitefield Goods Terminal at Bangalore after entering into an agreement with Indian Railway. This project started operation since February 2002 and resulted in attracting additional traffic to the Railways, improvement in customers service and an increase in the volumes of cargo handled by CWC. The success of this project led CWC to consider developing Railside Warehousing Complexes at other centres also throughout near identified Rail Terminals.  Ministry of Railway also in the meantime had identified land near various Railway Terminals for development of warehousing complexes with handling facilities in order to improve the utilization of the Railway facilities in the country and to give a boost to the transportation for meeting the logistics requirements of its customers with a view to improve the service.

A memorandum of understanding between the Ministry of Railways and Central Warehousing Corporation was signed on 20.12.2003 for development of warehousing complexes by CWC near 22 railway terminals to provide better service through total logistic solution to rail users, it was agreed that Railway administration will lease out land to CWC for said purpose.  To give a thrust to this line of activity it was decided to bring all the Railside Warehousing Complexes under administrative control of a New Company which is to be a subsidiary company of CWC.

Accordingly “Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd” has been incorporated on 10.07.2007. Subsequently company received certificate of commencement of business under Section 149(3) of the Companies Act 1956 on 24.07.2007.

Vinod Asthana, MD, CRWCVinod Asthana, Managing Director of Central Railside Warehouse Company Limited, a Miniratna under the Department of Food and Consumer Affairs, speaks about the company’s performance, priorities and plans.

1. ON THE NEED FOR A SEPARATE ENTITY FOR RAILSIDE WAREHOUSING:

The facility of the full-train warehouse with the capacity of 5- 6 train loads has helped the stakeholders, especially during hostile weather conditions, traffic restrictions on road, non- existent facility of unloading in late night hours and non- availability of adequate trucks and labour.

2. ON INVESTMENT FOR INFRASTRUCTURE:

CRWC has invested more than Rs 250 crore in warehousing and terminal development.

We are trying to reduce the overall cost of logistics by leveraging economies of scale to the advantage of all stakeholders.

3. ON QUALITY ASSURANCE:

Terminals are being operated round the clock, with trained manpower. Most of them are ISO- certified and have proper procedures in place. Customer satisfaction surveys are also undertaken.

4. ON DIVERSIFICATION PLANS:

We have two ambitious plans: to launch parcel trains and develop logistic parks. As the Railways looks to decongest its stations by detaching parcel unit from passenger trains, CRWC wants to launch parcel train services across various warehouse complexes.

5. SIGNING OF MOU BETWEEN CRWC AND IWAI

MOU has been signed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) – a statutory body under Ministry of Shipping, Government of India with Central Railside Warehouse Company Ltd., (CRWC), New Delhi – a Public Sector Undertaking under Department of Food, for developing a Multi-Model Logistics Hub (MLLH) at Jogighopa, Assam on Brahmaputra river, to facilitate inland vessel movement on National Waterways.  It has been agreed upon that the MMLH will be jointly developed by both parties.  The project will be useful for handling bulk commodities viz. coal including imported coal, food grain, fertilizers, jute, tea, bamboo etc.  The project will give a big boost to local trade in North-East Region.

6. ON EXPANSION PLANS:

The work on the Mumbai RWC has been taken up. The plans for setting up RWCs at Cochin, Guwahati, Malda and Gandhidham are under process. We’re also developing a multichamber cold storage chain operation.

CRWC Map

V.K.Gupta takes over as Member Engineering, Railway Board

VK-Gupta-MEनयी दिल्ली New Delhi: V.K.Gupta has taken over as new Member Engineering, Railway Board & Ex-officio Secretary to the Govt. of India. He succeeds S.K.Jain who has superannuated from Railway Services. Prior to this appointment, Mr.Gupta was General Manager, Northern Railway from 15.6.12 to 12.5.2014.

Belonging to the Indian Railway Services of Engineering of 1976 batch, Mr.Gupta has graduated from Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh with a Bachelors in Civil Engineering. Mr. Gupta has held several important positions viz. General Manager, North Central Railway, Secretary, Railway Board Advisor, Land & Amenities, Railway Board, Divisional Railway Manager, Northern Railway, Ferozepur, Chief Engineer, Construction, Northern Railway.

As General Manager, Northern Railway he holds the distinction of spearheading the zone to achieve significant benchmarks on various fronts. Under his able leadership, Northern Railway marked a noteworthy fiscal year 2013-14 carrying a record freight of 53.37 Million Tons notching incremental growth of more than 5 Million Tons over the previous fiscal year (48.01 Million Tons) marking 11% growth in Freight Loading which is the highest growth achieved in a financial year. Northern Railway retained the first position amongst all the Zonal Railways in terms of originating earnings registering Rs.16787 crore for 2013-14, compared with Rs.14289 crore last year notching an unprecedented growth of 16%. The share of Freight earnings increased to Rs.7309.41 crore during 2013-14 is more than Rs. 1,000 crore over last year. On the passenger services front, the zone retained its premier position in providing greater connectivity and enhanced passenger conveniences. The construction of the 11.2 Kms long Tunnel T-80, being the longest transportation tunnel in Asia which pierces through the Pir Panjal mountain range and the commissioning of the Banihal-Qazigund section in the Kashmir Valley on 26.06.2013 was one of the defining moments of the zone. His tenure was also remarkable for completion of many important new lines, doubling & electrification projects.

Adding momentum to the reform process, Mr.Gupta brought out new organizational measures through the issue of compendium of Check-lists of Inspections for operational and managerial convenience of Officers and Supervisory staff. Other initiatives include the introduction of Legal Management Information Systems (LIMS) for better house-keeping of official records and updates of court cases on the zone..

Tunnel No.12 of Lumding–Silchar GC project completed

सिलचार Silchar (SCL): In a major feat of 2013–14, the Construction Organisation of N.F.Railway has successfully completed work for yet another tunnel, tunnel No. 12 in the Lumding – Silchar gauge conversion which is an important milestone. The length of the tunnel is 590 mt and is situated between chainage 113094m & 113684m. on Jatinga–Lumpur–Harangajao section. This D shaped tunnel is 5.20 mt. width in straight alignment & 5.53 mt. in curved alignment. The work of this tunnel was started in 2006 & due to several Geological Problems; work did not progress well initially. However during 2012–14, the work of remaining portion of the tunnel could progress well & now it has been opened. The balance work of tunnel i.e. benching, lining & invert will be completed by July 2014 & this tunnel will be available for track linking by August 2014.

This is one of the 17 tunnels in the entire alignment of Lumding–Silchar gauge conversion project having total of 11168 running meters out of which with tunnel no.12 tunneling work for 10486 mt. has been completed. The longest and most difficult tunnel in the section is tunnel no.10 at Haflong which is 3235 mt. in length work in which is progressing satisfactorily.

Other works like land acquisition, earth filling, construction of major and minor bridges, road over bridge, road under bridge, station buildings etc are going on satisfactorily. Track linking is also in progress. Present overall progress of work is 80%. This was stated in a press release.

70 Km Rail Line by Iran can help Central Asia open Trade and Commerce with India: IFFCO

Earlier FICCI also suggested Government to explore possibility of constructing Undersea Rail Link connecting Mundra or Kandla Port (India) with Chabahar (Iran) for permanent connectivity to Central Asian Region, with Chinese help, to strengthen trade ties.

Mumbai:  A few years ago, fertilizer major IFFCO dabbled with the idea of sourcing rock phosphate from Kazakhstan, which sits on 2 billion tonnes of the mineral. But the Indian cooperative giant had to drop the plan midway discouraged by the high cost of logistics. IFFCO is not alone; several Indian companies had to drop plans to trade with Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan. But not any longer, it seems.

A proposed 70-km railway line in an obscure patch of northern Iran could change all that.  Once ready, the railroad could help India save crores of rupees in logistics to Central Asia, the 55-million-people market. One of the most prosperous and fastest growing regions in the world, Central Asia is a key source for Uranium and Fertilizers.

The line links the Iranian city of Gorgan to the Iran-Turkmenistan border. Gorgan lies 400 km away from Iran’s capital, Tehran, and is some 30 km from the Caspian Sea.  The line will link another recently-built railroad that goes right upto Uzen town in southern Kazakhstan.

FICCI also suggested the Indian Government earlier to explore the possibility of building Undersea Rail link from India’s Mundra Port or Kandla Port to Chabahar Port in Iran and the possibility of taking Chinese Government help in construction of undersea rail link and asked India to initiate dialogue on the project.

In fact, the Central Asian republics are closer to India than many of its trading partners — a flight to the farthest point in the region will take no more than three hours — but the presence of the Himalayas and Pakistan’s refusal to allow Indian goods to pass through its territory make getting goods from Central Asia a logistics nightmare for India.

Doulat Kuanyshev, Kazakhstan’s Ambassador to India, stresses that the economic relations between the region and India have been rather low due to difficult logistics.

For instance, a company exporting uranium from Kazakhstan should take it by land to the Black Sea and ship it all the way through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The process could take 25 days. If the same comes through China’s Lianyuangang port, 40 days.

In contrast, the Iran route could take just about 15 days. And India is now accelerating efforts to build a port in Iran’s Chabahar. Gorgan is not too far from Chabahar. India’s trade with Central Asian markets stood at $746 million in 2012-13 against China’s $46 billion.

“Iran is an important and trust-worthy factor, but unspoken, in India-Central Asia relations,” says Arvind Gupta, Director-General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses. Now that the Islamic republic has entered a nuclear pact with a host of western nations, experts hope the railroad project will also get a fillip. According to former Chief Economist of Fertilizer Association of India Mr.Uttam Gupta, the proposed railway line could help India diversify sources of fertilizers and control subsidy.

CR, WR face ambitious targets, yet again

मुम्बई Mumbai: Railway officials are expecting another year where resources of the suburban and long-distance networks in the city will be stretched to the maximum as they chase down another set of ‘ambitious’ targets. This is despite both Western and Central Railways’ Mumbai divisions missing their targets for the financial year that ended on March 31.

As reported earlier, these stiff targets are resulting in the railway resources — rakes, locomotives and tracks — being stretched thin, and in turn raising fears about the safety of the network itself.

CR’s Mumbai division has been given a target of Rs.928 crore for its suburban section, up from the Rs.789-crore target for 2013-14. Its non-suburban section has been given a Rs.2,042-crore target up from the Rs.1,666-crore target for last year.

WR’s Mumbai division has a suburban passenger earning target of Rs.854.36 crore, up from the Rs.715.91-crore target for last year. The target for the long-distance section has been kept at Rs.1,747.41 crore for 2014-15, up from the Rs.1,414.37-crore target for the financial year that ended on March 31.

These stiff targets come despite both the railway units missing their targets by a whisker and officials call this one of the most intensive train-movement programmes in recent years.

On CR, against a target of Rs.789.30 crore for passenger earnings on the suburban network, the authorities managed to earn Rs.755.99 crore for the year that ended on March 31. Against a target of Rs.1,666.61 crore for the long-distance segment, the earnings for the year ending March 2014 was Rs.1,662.20, a shortfall of just Rs.4.41 crore. In all, CR’s Mumbai division earned Rs4,188 crore against a target of Rs.4,283 crore.

The situation is much the same on WR. Against a target of Rs715.91 crore in passenger earnings for the suburban section, authorities managed to rake up Rs.693 crore, a shortfall of Rs.22.91 crore.

While the target for the long-distance segment was Rs.1,414.37 crore, the revenue earned by WR was Rs.1,426.05 crore, a surplus Rs.11.68 crore. WR’s Mumbai division’s total earnings missed the target of Rs.2,372 crore by a paltry margin and ended up at Rs.2,356 crore.

According to officials, the year has started on a bad note with both CR and WR facing the brunt of the election months which generally brings down traffic. “Moreover, the number of election special trains that we need to run for the movement of paramilitary troops also affects the holiday specials we run during summer,” said an official.

This year, CR ran 11 election special trains from Mumbai, because of which the number of summer holiday specials it ran came down from 641 between April and June last year to 606 this year so far. WR on its part ran 16 election specials though it managed to keep its summer holiday special numbers robust by running 132 such trips in April this year against 92 in April last year. Officials said figures for May were being tabulated and the numbers could see a dip.

“The downside of all this target-chasing is that resources are taking a beating. We are trying to stretch already thinning resources. Rakes, locomotives, tracks and maintenance schedules are getting hit. It is not a good sign,” said an official.

Targets for 2014-15:-
CENTRAL RAILWAY:
Suburban – Rs.928 crore
Non-suburban – Rs.2,042 crore

WESTERN RAIWLAY:
Suburban – Rs.854.36 crore
Non-suburban – Rs.1,747.41 crore

Experts Team defuse Explosives seized near Chittapur

चित्तापुर Chittapur (CT):  A seven-member team arrived on Monday to investigate the recovery of explosive material on the railway track on the Secunderabad-Wadi section near Mogala tanda and Malkhed Bridge.The team from the Bomb Disposal Squad was headed by two officers, Shivakumar and Shashikumar.

Lab Test

Police sources said that the two officers who arrived with the latest scientific gadgets and the equipment to defuse the explosive material took charge of the situation and inspected the seized material and conducted laboratory tests to ascertain their intensity of the explosive materials seized from the two spots.

They visited the two spots twice and questioned keyman Tuljaram, who foiled the attempt to blow up the track.

According to information available, the officers will take the help of Mr.Tuljaram to prepare sketches of the four men who were found near the track.

Keyman Tulajaram expects no reward for Bravery

चित्तापुर Chittapur (CT):  He was alone, but they were four. Yet railway keyman Tulajaram fought with the miscreants, risking his life to save passengers of the Falaknuma Passenger from Secunderabad to Solapur. The train passes via Sedam, Malakhed, Chittapur, Wadi, Shahabad, Gulbarga and Ganagapur in Gulbarga district.

The Railway Department and local police admit that if he was not alert and had not removed the live explosives on the track near Moghala thanda, three km from Chittapur town, there was every possibility of a blast.

South Central Railway Divisional Railway Manager Secunderabad S K Mishra, ADGP (Law and Order) M N Reddy spoke with Express at the site where explosives were kept near Moghala thanda. They acknowledged the bravery of Tulajaram and said they would recommend a reward for his act. The keyman’s job is to ensure the safety of tracks.

In an interview with Express, Tulajaram said his duty began at 8 am on Saturday and he had gone to Malakhed town, near Moghala thanda, when he came to know that explosives were found on the track at about 7 am.

Keyman Mohan, who was on duty till 8 am told him that as per instructions from the higher-ups, he had thrown the explosives away from the track.

When Tulajaram went to check the track from Chittapur station to Moghala thanda, he noticed two people sitting on either side of the track.

Tulajaram asked them in Telugu about what they were doing. Instead of replying, they wanted to know what time the Falaknuma passenger arrives.

“I got suspicious and checked their bag which had 10 gelatin sticks, detonators, a battery and wires. I realised they had planted explosives. It was 10 am and the train was about to arrive. I jumped into action and disconnected the explosives from the wire connected to the battery and threw it away. At this point all the four attacked me,” he said.

“I feared they would throw me on the track when the train approached. Thankfully, the train passed while I was being beaten. Some people in the train saw them and they fled in a black car as the Chittapur railway station is very close,” he added.

When asked if he is expecting any reward for his timely action, Tulajaram   said he was only doing his duty.

Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode Monorail works to begin by November

तिरुवनंतपुरम Thiruvananthapuram (TVC): The preliminary works of the monorail project for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode cities are expected to commence by November 1, Minister for Public Works V.K.Ebrahim Kunju has announced.

The international bidding to select a turnkey contractor for the project would close by May 31 and the other formalities would be completed by October, he told reporters here on Monday. The project will be taken up as a priority scheme under the Pubic Works Department’s Mission 676 and the first reach of the monorail network in the two cities would be completed by March 31, 2016.

Pointing out that the land acquisition for the monorail project had reached nowhere, the mission document has called on the government to sanction negotiated purchase by the Kerala Monorail Corporation Ltd on the lines of the permission given to Kochi Metro.

It warns that the project could falter if the State government failed to provide its share of funds in time. The Union government was yet to clear the project and commit financial assistance. The Kerala government also has to submit a comprehensive mobility plan for the two cities to the Ministry of Urban Development.

Designed to relieve the traffic congestion in the two cities, the Rs.6,000-crore project would be taken up under the Navaratna scheme included in Mission 676, Mr.Kunju said. Extending from Pallipuram to Karamana, phase 1 of the Thiruvananthapuram monorail is expected to cost Rs.3590 crore and will have 19 stations across a distance of 22.2 km. Covering14.2 km from Medical College to Meenchanda, the Kozhikode monorail will have 15 stations and is estimated to cost Rs.1,991 crore.

The government is planning to take up the development of the Medical College- Mananchira reach in Kozhikode and Pallipuram- Kazhakoottam reach in Thiruvananthapuram in the first phase of the monorail project.

The State and Union governments each will foot 20 per cent of the project cost, with the remaining amount to be mobilised through banks.

Citizen Forum points out coordination-gap between Metro and Railways at Ghatkopar

घाटकोपार Ghatkopar (GC): Though the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar Metro will improve east-west connectivity, there is a slight catch The Ghatkopar railway station and the Ghatkopar Metro station are not connected to each other despite being side by side.

This means railway commuters wanting to switch over to the Metro will have to get down from the skywalk and climb another flight of 25 steps to the Metro station.

Further, people living in Ghatkopar east will have to buy a railway platform ticket to use the railway foot overbridge leading to the west, where the Metro station is situated.

These lapses were pointed out by the Citizens Transport Forum (CTF) to MMRDA commissioner U P S Madan two months ago. They have yet to get a reply. On Sunday, the CTF invited journalists to see it for themselves.

Said Jitendra Gupta of the CTF, “They could have easily connected the metro station to the skywalk. People using the skywalk could have easy access to the metro station and it would have also reduced the crowd below on the streets.’’ He wondered what kind of planning had been done.

The road outside the Metro station has a bus stand, rickshaw stand and an informal pavement market. The CTF wondered how the Metro passengers would enter/exit the station from this congested road.

P N Shridharan, another member of the CTF, said, “Ideally, the Metro and the railway station should display each other’s indicators for the benefit of the commuters. If in the High Court we can get to know which cases are being heard in other courts, why cannot the same be done at a station?”

The CTF said that there was no coordination between the various transport bodies. For instance, the BEST has yet to change its bus stops or to start feeder routes. The MMRDA, which is supposed to be a planning body had failed to achieve coordination between the various transport bodies, they said.

Amit Biswas, PRO of the Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd, which built the Metro, said, “Connectivity between Metro and the Railways are conceived and planned by the MMRDA as part of their planning obligation. Metro as concessioner follows the plan of MMRDA as per the concessioner Agreement.”

No clarity on procedure in Govt’s Order for purchase of land directly: Kochi Metro

कोची Kochi: Amid criticism that Kochi Metro rail project was delayed due to land acquisition hurdles, the state government had allowed Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to purchase land directly from the owners. But the government order issued last week lacks clarity on the procedures to be adopted while purchasing land. Also there is confusion whether the registration fee and stamp duty will be waived off. Due to this, the revenue officials are unable to start procedures to acquire the remaining land required for the Metro project.

On April 29, the state government had given a special permit to KMRL to purchase around nine hectares of land directly from landowners. But officials with the revenue department are still unsure whether a meeting of the district level purchase committee (DLPC) and state-level empowered committee (SLEC) should be convened for fixing price of the land. Avoiding them will save time.

“There is a meeting with KMRL managing director and revenue secretary on May 17 wherein we will discuss the guidelines to be followed while purchasing land directly from the owners. Then there will clarity on the procedures to be followed,” said district collector M G Rajamanickam.

Normally for purchasing land, 7% of the land value should be paid as stamp duty in rural areas whereas it is 8% and 9% in municipal and corporation areas respectively. Moreover, 2% of the land value should be paid as registration fee. There were suggestions that stamp duty and registration fees should be waived for the land purchased for metro rail project.

“KMRL managing director Elias George has written to the state government seeking tax waiver for the land purchased for the project. We expect that the government will soon take a decision,” Rajamanickam said. It is up to the registration department to give waiver on registration fee and stamp duty.

Earlier, land acquisition for coach repair yard of the metro rail was hit after landowners raised a protest sine there was a delay in providing their compensation. Of the 40 hectares required for the viaduct and stations of the Metro, around 31 hectares have already been acquired. Then the new Land Acquisition Act introduced by the Union government in January this year had obstructed the acquisition process. For avoiding the complications resulted by the new act, the state government had allowed KMRL to purchase land directly from landowners.

Train service to Arunachal suspended following Security Advisory from State Govt: DRM

रंगिया Rangiya (RNY):  Train service to Naharlagun in Arunachal Pradesh was suspended four days ago following a security advisory from the state government following threats to harm and stop trains going to the state, a letter written by the NF Railway’s Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of Rangiya to authorities, revealed. The state also informed the Railways that it was short of police force in view of the elections.  The threats were issued last month. The DRM mentioned this to Negi on April 28 and again on May 8.

“There has been threat given by All Nishyi Students’ Union and All Papum Pare District Students’ Union to harm and stop trains going to Naharlagun,” the DRM said in the letter to Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi.  The threats were issued last month. The DRM mentioned this to Negi on April 28 and again on May 8.  The train service to Naharlagun was finally suspended from May 9 after the DRM received a phone call from the SP of Papum Pare and another from the deputy commissioner on May 8.

Ludhinana Railway Health Unit fails to ink agreement with Private Hospital

लुधियाना Ludhiana (LDH):  The proposed tie up of the Railway health unit Ludhiana with a private hospital didn’t materialise, leaving the long-pending demand of the pensioners hanging again.

Dr Chetna, Medical Superintendent of Railway Health Unit, Ludhiana, said, “Ludhiana Railway health unit was trying to get a tie up with Oswal Hospital, but at the last moment terms and conditions were changed by the Oswal Hospital, which hanged the things further.”

“Now, the new proposals of the tie up with other hospitals have been sent to the headquarters, and this process can take six more months. Pensioners’ organisations of Ludhiana Railways have highlighted the issue with higher authorities, but to no avail,” Chetna said.

MS Gill, president of All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation, Ludhiana, said, “We have given our blood and flesh to the railways during our years of service. Now, when we are demanding our right to medical facilities, Railway has nothing to provide us, not even an ambulance or tie up with better hospital in case of emergencies.”

He said even list of chronic diseases had been shortened, and several diseases that an oldage person could suffer from have not been included in the list. The demand of specialist doctors had been pending since long, he added.

The hospital was also not doing various tests for which, patients had to go to other hospitals. The association demanded that quarterly test of blood, urine, lipid profile and ultrasound tests be done at the hospital.

But chief medical superintendent (CMS) Fero z e pur Division, Dr Mool Narayan, said, “How can we provide ultrasound facilities, when we have no radiologist? Moreover, there is no provision of specialist doctors under the Railway Act in health units, then how the pensioners can blame us for this?”

He said tie up with a private hospital and providing ambulance service was under process, but that was also delaying because most of the organisations were afraid of the Railway Employees’ Union, as in the past they had created nuisance.

He said recently Ferozepur Railway division had floated a tender notice to provide ambulance service at six stations, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Jammu, Udhampur and Pathankot, but no one turned up. Now, this tender would be floated again with some changes, he added.

Dr Mool Narayan said the department was doing its best to provide better medical facilities to pensioners and employees, but nothing beyond the railway act could be provided.

NO REPLY TO RTI FROM CMD/NR

All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation has filed an RTI’s to chief medical director of the Northern Railway and Divisional Railway Manager on September 12, 2013 and to the Ministry of Railways, General Manager of Northern Railway on September 13, 2013. It’s copies were sent also to MP Manish Tewari and to director general medical of Northern Railways, but didn’t get a single reply.

MS Gill, president of All India Retired Railway Men’s Federation, sent an RTI to the ministry of railways on May 8 again. He said perhaps the ministry was not providing the necessary medical facilities, thus they were not replying to the RTI.

Delhi Metro’s Phase-III ‘too close’ to Okhla Bird Sanctuary

Okhla Bird sancओखला Okhla (OKA): The Okhla Bird Sanctuary, already threatened by real estate development all around it, is facing another threat, this time from Delhi Metro. An elevated Metro track, as part of Phase III, is likely to pass very close to it, and green crusaders are seeing red.

An RTI enquiry revealed that Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) doesn’t have the National Board of Wildlife’s (NBWL) permission for construction. And the RTI activist says that Metro construction has been going on rapidly despite that: a claim contested by DMRC, which says that the bird sanctuary will not be affected by construction.

“The Metro bridge is about 400 metres away from the nearest point of sanctuary. The sanctuary is located 1.5 km away from main casting activity, where we are using silent generator sets. The Metro projects in any case are not in the notified list of projects requiring prior environmental clearance as per a government notification of 2006,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

Vikrant Tongad, who had filed the RTI query, however claims that a large part of the Metro line (from Botanical Garden to Kalindi Kunj) is barely a few metres away from the sanctuary.

Anand Arya, a birder who has been frequenting the sanctuary for over 15 years, says now it’s mandatory for any project coming up within a 10km radius of the sanctuary to have clearance. “This is obviously going to affect the sanctuary very badly. The Metro always says that they are not required to get environmental clearances, but now things have changed. NGT had recently directed that any project coming up within a 10km radius of Okhla sanctuary needs a clearance. Also, Supreme Court had directed all sanctuaries to notify eco-sensitive zones of about 10km around them. But many sanctuaries, including Okhla, didn’t do anything about it. MoEF had said those who fail to notify eco-sensitive zones (ESZ) will be forced to have a 10km ESZ around them. DMRC’s project clearly falls within this radius,” said Arya.

He claims that there used to be lakhs of birds in the sanctuary in 1987-88, but the diversity and population started dwindling because of a continuous onslaught of infrastructure projects around it. “There are birds that travel huge distances for food. An eagle, for instance, can travel up to 150 miles and come back to its perch in a day. With such disturbances, obviously, birds can’t survive,” he added.

‘Influence Zones’ proposed near Hyderabad Metro Rail Stations

हैदराबाद Hyderabad (HYD): If Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority’s plans materialise, only high-rise buildings with minimum 40 metre height will be encouraged in ‘influence zones’ (an area in a radius of 300 to 800 metres) around metro rail and MMTS stations soon. Also, mixed land use, where property developers can exploit real estate for commercial, residential, recreational and other purposes, will be allowed in these zones.

The HMDA has prepared development regulations (building rules) for 19 proposed influence zones in the city. The authority has already decided to promote Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around the metro rail stations. To take it further, the development regulations have been formulated by the HMDA.

Officials said the influence zones would focus on all-round development. In the influence zones, commercial space, hotels, coffee shops, day-care facilities, restaurants, service apartments, hospitals, cyber cafes, health clubs, entertainment centres apart from residential purpose would be allowed. Banquet halls, car showrooms, bus depots, electrical sub-station and automobile repair shops would not be permitted in the zones.

“The authority will encourage minimum 2.5 hectares plot area with 40-metre height (10 to 12 floors) buildings in the area. The developers will be given concessions. For instance, instead of 12-metre setback, only eight metre will be insisted upon. Parking space requirement will be reduced in the development regulations,” a senior HMDA, who is involved in preparation of rules, told.

Since open spaces were not available in many areas in the city, the authorities would encourage plot owners to go for amalgamation of plots and redevelopment. “Building permission in below one acre will also be given, but the builders and owners have to follow the guidelines in the influence zones. If the owners want to exploit their space, they can go in for redevelopment on the lines of Road No. 36, Jubilee Hills,” the official said.

Officials said the aim of TOD and influence zones was to make use of public transport and discourage personal vehicles. People should walk to the nearest station and take the public transport like citizens do in some developed countries. Over a period of time, the initiative would result in less usage of personal vehicles and reduce pollution to a great extent. “Pedestrian-friendly environment is being created like the frontage of buildings (six-metre setback) will be used for footpaths,” sources said.

To create a model for the influence zone development, the HMDA has asked a consultant to prepare a concept plan for its 18.5 acre land at Moosapet, where the Authority plans to construct multi-storied structures. “The draft development control regulations will be approved by the HMDA at its meeting on May 9. The draft regulations will then be sent to the government for approval. Later, a notification will be issued seeking objections and suggestions from the public before notifying the rules,” a senior consultant of the authority said.

INFORGRAPH:

Proposed Influence Zones: Miyapur, Kukatpally, Balanagar, Moosapet, Bharatnagar, Ameerpet, Punjagutta, Erramanzil, Khairatabad, Nampally, Nagole/Uppal, Tarnaka, Mettuguda, Parade Grounds, Rasoolpura, Hi-Tec City, Raidurg, LB Nagar and Moosarambagh

*Locations have been tentatively finalized based on parameters like densification, scope for redevelopment, pedestrian facility, parking space, access to transit stations and multi-modal transportation

Two Railway employees electrocuted while one duty in separate incidents in Mumbai

मुंबई Mumbai:  In an incident, in what railway officials are admitting as a very disturbing case of miscommunication, a Western Railway workman was electrocuted and left severely burnt because the power supply to the overhead wire he was supposed to repair was not turned off.

According to WR officials, workman Avinash Pawar got electrocuted moments after he climbed up a local train stabled on line 7 of the Mumbai Central car shed around 11.45pm on Saturday. According to car shed workers, the power supply was switched off on line 5, but due to miscommunication, Pawar thought the power block — railway lingo for turning off of power supply — was on line 7.

The workers added that Pawar turned into a ball of fire the moment one of the equipment he had in his hands touched the overhead wire crackling with 25,000 volts of electricity. He fell from the roof of the train and, in the process, also severely injured himself.

Pawar was rushed to WR’s Jagjivan Ram hospital from where he was shifted to Masina hospital in Byculla, which has a specialised burns unit.

Incensed workers at the car sheds in Mumbai Central, Kandivli and Virar, the three places where city’s local trains are repaired, struck work for more than two hours on Monday demanding that authorities get a hold over the deteriorating safety scenario at such workshops.

A senior workman from the Mumbai Central car shed said, “In the earlier days, there was a token and key system, which wouldn’t have let a miscommunication like this happen. As per the system, the workman climbing up to repair an overhead wire was give a token by the electrician who switched off the power. The power remained switched off till the workman returned and deposited the token at the electric section.”

Later on Monday, officials from WR’s electrical department as well as various unions held meetings to ensure that no such mishap occurred in the future. Officials said newer safety mechanisms would have to be thought of as the number of trains coming in for repairs on a daily basis at the three car sheds is increasing with every passing day.

Yet in another incident, Mohan More (25), a Khalasi (Helper) was electrocuted when he came in contact with live overhead equipment (OHE) wires between Kalwa and Mumbra stations. The workers’ union blamed negligence on the part of supervisory staff for the mishap and threatened to disrupt train services if appropriate action was not taken against those responsible for the incident.

Mohan was busy cutting branches of trees to prevent them from infringing the railway tracks when he met with the accident. Safdar Siddiqui, divisional secretary, Central Railway Mazdoor Sangh (CRMS), said, “The junior engineer should have taken the power block on the section, which is running on 25kV alternating current (AC). How can such risky work be carried out with the power kept on?”

CRMS has demanded those working on the AC section be properly trained so that there is no repeat of Sunday’s incident. He said, “The victim was not experienced as he had joined the profession only three months ago.”

Rs.118 Crore Diesel Loco Shed foundation stone laid at Garhara

गार्हरा Garhara (GHX): East Central Railway (ECR) General Manager Madhuresh Kumar on Saturday laid the foundation stone for the construction of a high-power diesel locomotive shed at Garhara, Barauni, in Begusarai district. The project is likely to cost about Rs.118.70 crore. Railways has fixed the deadline for its completion in March 2016.

Speaking on the occasion, Kumar said the shed was the need of the hour for ECR for proper maintenance of locomotives. At present, the ECR is forced to send its diesel locomotives to Siliguri for even routine maintenance. The shed at Garhara would enable the ECR to send its diesel locomotives for their maintenance work in time, he said, adding it would also save railway revenue.

According to ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak, the proposed shed, to be constructed with latest technology, will have the capacity to accommodate about 250 locomotives at a time. But railways would start with a capacity of 125 locomotives for maintenance work in the first stage, he said. The shed will have an administrative block, section rooms, training school, hostel, rest rooms, staff rooms, canteen, store ward and residences for both railway officials and staff of the shed. It will have the capacity for maintenance of high-power diesel locomotives, the CPRO said.

Meanwhile, the ECR GM announced that Samastipur division of ECR had completed gauge conversion work up to 1,250km so far. Railways is carrying out gauge conversion work under the division on a priority basis and it will streamline the running of passenger trains in the division, he said. ECR’s chief mechanical engineer D Kamila, chief engineer Jitendra Kumar, chief mechanical engineer (workshop) A K Chandra and railway officials of Sonepur division were present on the occasion.

Alstom’s train future is with Siemens, not GE

alstomप्यारिस Paris: General Electric’s bid for Alstom’s power unit could indirectly help transform the French engineering group into the train-building equivalent of Europe’s aircraft maker Airbus. The French government seems to think the way to achieve this is to oppose the American’s bid and favour a rival approach by German group Siemens. At the very least, Paris suggests GE should sell its own train unit to Alstom in exchange. But the ideal solution would instead be for Alstom to use GE’s money to buy Siemens’ own train business. And, it would still be left with Euro 5.4 billion to return to its shareholders.

The strategic logic of a Franco-German train merger is strong. Separate, the two businesses struggle to compete on a global scale with upcoming rivals from China. With expected joint 2015 sales of Euro 11 billion, Alstom-Siemens trains would be a strong global No. 3. Siemens is already preparing a counterbid whereby it would acquire Alstom’s energy assets and bring the French its own train unit. But the potential deal is shrouded in regulatory uncertainty due to the large overlap between Siemens’ and Alstom’s power businesses. Getting Brussels’ approval for “Trainbus” might prove tough if it is associated with a big-bang consolidation in the power industry. On the other hand, the GE bid – favoured by Alstom’s board – would increase competition in many markets and may be approved more easily.

GE is offering Euro 9.9 billion in cash. Assume Euro 3 billion go to lowering the remaining Alstom debt to 0.5 times Ebitda. Siemens’ trains are worth around Euro 1.5 billion. That would leave some Euro 5.4 billion – Euro 17.50 per share – for Alstom to pay out a special dividend or launch a share buyback. True, Siemens might be reluctant to play ball if it is rebuked in its bid for Alstom. But the German group has long had problems with its train unit. With sales of Euro 3.1 billion, it is a mid-sized player and it has been dogged with technical issues.

Alstom, on the other hand, makes a 5.4 per cent operating margin on trains. French expertise, higher purchasing volumes, and more efficient R&D could generate Euro 300 million in annual synergies. If the French do not seize the opportunity to buy their big European rival, the risk is that someone else will.

Lion cub run over by train in Amreli district of Gujarat

अमरेलि Amreli (AE):  A six months old lion cub was run over by a goods train near Uchaiya village in Amreli district today.

The incident took place at around 5.30 in the morning.

A senior forest official said that it was possible that a four to five lions were crossing the tracks at the time.

This is the third such incident in the area in the last eight months.

In September 2013, a cub was run over by a train in the same area, while two lionesses, one of them pregnant, were run over at a spot near Pipavav port in Amreli district last month.

A report of the incident had been sent to the Pipavav Railway Corporation Ltd, which looks after the 271-km-long railway line connecting the Pipavav port with Surendranagar, the official said.

HLL launches multipurpose condom vending machines at Delhi Metro stations

The machine uses ‘Vend Sensor’ wherein if the user fails to get the product due to any reason, he/ she will get the money back

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: HLL Lifecare (HLL), a Govt.of India owned large manufacturer of contraceptives, has decided to associate with Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to make available male and female condoms at its sprawling spick and span stations across the national capital.

Kerala-based HLL, a Central PSU of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, will also provide its array of products like sanitary napkins, oral contraceptive pills, deodorants and Ayurvedic products (joint pain cream and hair oils) — through vending machines.

The first multipurpose vending machine was inaugurated by Lov Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at Central Secretariat Metro Station. Dr M Ayyappan, Chairman and MD of HLL, and Gautam Guha, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Health, were also present.

“This is a novel initiative of making available contraceptives and other healthcare products to the commuters of Delhi Metro,” said Verma after the launch. “I’m sure this will further strengthen Government of India’s initiatives towards stabilising population,” he added.

Delhi Metro is India’s first modern public transportation system, operating about 2800 services every day with its daily ridership averaging 24 lakh commuters. Such an initiative will be a surefire attraction for the travellers to replenish their stocks of contraceptives even if they miss their date with a chemist’s shop or government dispensaries.

Dr Ayyappan said HLL would, in the first phase, install 25 vending machines at 21 metro stations. “Our endeavour is to make condoms, sanitary napkins, deodorants and contraceptive pills available to the commuters of Delhi Metro, who can avail this facility while on move. It will also contribute to social issues of family planning, HIV/AIDS prevention and women hygiene leading to their overall health,” he pointed out.

Operated by Instago, a leading vending company in India, the fully automatic multipurpose vending machines dispense the product at the press of a button after inserting Indian currency. A unique feature of the machine is that it accepts all Indian currency, both in paper and coin forms. It also returns the excess credit, if any, inserted by the user.

The machine uses ‘Vend Sensor’ wherein if the user fails to get the product due to any reason, he/she will get the money back. HLL also plans to install two electronic vending machines for sanitary napkin and condoms in corporate offices, schools and college washrooms, and various other public locations to make these products available for the people.

“The need for making condoms at the right place, right time and with minimum of embarrassment calls for an innovative method of condom distribution. Multipurpose condom vending machines are a novel way to address this situation,” Dr Ayyappan said.

Pune metro project now headless!

पुणे Pune: In a major hiccup, the city’s ambitious Pune Metro project is now without any Officer on Special Duty (OSD). The present incumbent Shashikant Limaye has quit after his contract with PMC ended on April 30. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has failed to float the tender in time for the fresh appointment of an OSD.

Limaye’s departure from the project comes at a time when the PMC is racing against time to form the special purpose vehicle (SPV) to garner financial resources to kick-start the project. Limaye, one of the backbones of the project, was closely associated with the creation of the SPV. His sudden departure could delay the SPV formation. The retired Indian Railways engineer, who has vast experience, had closely worked with the Metro Man E Sreedharan on different projects.

PMC insiders said that the office of the Additional City Engineer (projects) had moved the file to the Municipal Commissioner’s office seeking permission to float tenders for the OSD appointment in the first week of March, when the Model Code of Conduct for the general polls was already in place.

So the file was sent back on the grounds that no appointments could be made that would violate the Model Code of Conduct.

However, civic activists have questioned the delay in the movement of the file.

“This shows how serious the PMC is about this important mass transport project. How can such an important project go ahead without an OSD. It displays the lethargy of the civic body,” alleged activist Vivek Velankar.

According to Velankar, the new OSD will surely take time to understand the nitty gritty of the project.
“I am apprehensive that the implementation of the project could get further delayed,” he said.

However, Municipal Commissioner Vikas Deshmukh said that civic officials are capable of managing the project without an OSD.

“The PMC could not have extended Limaye’s term for the second time as it was against the rule. Additional City Engineer Srinivas Bonala has been entrusted with the work of the OSD,” he added.

He also said that after the Model Code of Conduct is over, the tender for the appointment of an OSD will be floated.

Traffic on Ajjampura-Hosadurga Railway Gate hinders vehicle movement

अज्जमपुरा Ajjampura (AJP): As the traffic on Ajjampur-Hosadugra railway gate is causing hindrance to the movement of goods and passenger vehicles, the passengers and general public have appealed the authorities concerned to construct a railway under-bridge in Ajjampur, on Wednesday.

Including a number of goods trains, Bombay-Delhi, Nizamuddin, Intercity, Bangalore-Hubli, Davangere-Arsikere and other 60 plus trains ferry the passengers through the route.

The people from the villages of Hebbur, Narayanapura, Gowrapura and other adjacent villages, have to pass through the railway gate to get connected to the town.

Especially, the farmers and passengers are held up for at least 10 minutes when each train passes through the gate, which has been causing a great matter of inconvenience.

Members of the public allege that the construction of the railway gate is unscientific and there are no passages for water to flow out of the village, during rains.

Due to this, hundreds of houses at Shivaji, Banashankari and Shrirama roads fear inundation, said a resident Mohan Das.

Though letter correspondences have been made with MPs, MLAs and Railway division officials, regarding the problem, there has been no response, they allege.

The passengers are made to suffer owing to the attitude of officials concerned. Village leader S Shivanand warned that protest, dharna or a bandh will be staged if a railway underbridge is not constructed.

As the present railway gate is situated in the corner of the town, the Guru Siddarameshwara Circle which was once busy with business transactions has been deserted today.

Gram Panchayat President Jogi N Prakash urged the officials concerned to construct the railway underbridge, as an alternate way for the passengers.

Explosives Haul: Internal Security wing takes over probe

Police team from Bangalore visits Gulbarga district

मलखैड रोडमलखैड रोड Malkhaid Road (MQR): The internal security wing of the State police has taken over the investigation into the recovery of explosives from two places on the Secunderabad-Wadi railway section on Saturday.

Amarkumar Pande, Additional Director-General of Police in-charge of internal security; Seemanth Kumar Singh, Inspector-General of Police in-charge of operations; and M.N. Reddy, Additional Director-General of Police in-charge of law and order, visited the spots from where explosives were recovered.

They were accompanied by Suresh Kunhi Mohammed; Inspector-General of Police (North Eastern Range); Amit Singh, Superintendent of Police; Shahajadar, Deputy Inspector-General, Railway Protection Force; and S.K.M Mishra, Divisional Railway Manager.

The officials visited the spot near Malkhed bridge and the area near Mogala tanda in Chittapur taluk in Gulbarga district. Initial investigations have not ruled out the involvement of Naxalites in the incident in an apparent attempt to blow up the track. Mr. Mohammad told that they would examine if the materials were meant to blast the railway track as a revenge for the arrest of Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba by the Maharashtra police in New Delhi for his alleged links with the Maoists.

The officials also spoke to railway keyman Tuljaram who first noticed the suspicious movement of four persons speaking in Marathi on the railway track and foiled their attempt to connect the explosive material with the wires. Mr. Mohammad said one of the explosive materials found near the Mogala tanda bore the seal of Indian Explosive Factory. “These are generally used in mining and the people who planted them might have got it from anti-national elements,” he said.

Mr. Mohammad said a team of experts, bomb disposal squad, and officials attached to the operations and internal security were coming to Gulbarga on Monday. Sources in the investigating team said the Anti-Naxal Force had started investigating into the alleged involvement of Naxalites in the incident.

The Karnataka police were also in touch their counterparts in Maharashtra.

Live Television in Shatabdis soon

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi: Passengers on select Shatabdi trains operating from here will soon be able to watch their favourite programmes on live television while onboard.

Aimed at providing infotainment to passengers free of cost, the Northern Railway has decided to install LCD television screens behind seats that will stream entertainment and news channels live.

While the Delhi Division of Northern Railway had conducted a pilot project on Kalka Shatabdi three years ago, the authorities have now decided to introduce the facility in the Amritsar and Kalka Shatabdis on a permanent basis.

The project will be implemented on a Public-Private-Partnership model, for which tenders have been floated. Officials said three companies have submitted bids for the same. “The Delhi Division had floated a tender. The project will be implemented after assessing the technical and financial viability as per the bids,” said Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma.

An eight-inch LCD TV screen will be installed behind every seat in the two Shatabdi trains operating from the Capital. “The service provider is likely to beam around 80 channels on these screens,” said a senior Northern Railway official.

The service provider will be allowed to air advertisements during 20 per cent of the travelling time for revenue generation as the railways, for now, will not charge the passengers for the facility.

Sources said the project will cost the service provider Rs.5 crore to Rs.6 crore per train. The Shatabdis, on an average, have 900-1,000 seats, depending on the number of coaches attached to the train.

While officials claim it will take five to six months to implement the project once the tender is allotted, attempts to implement the project in the past after the trial run three years ago failed to kick off due to differences between two railway departments.

“There were some differences between the technical and commercial department over who will monitor the project. However, such differences have been ironed out this time,” an official added.

Cargo operations at new terminal inaugurated

VOC Portटूटिकोरिन Tuticorin (TN): Pacific International Line’s (PIL) M.V. Kota Nabil made a maiden call at Dakshin Bharat Gateway Terminal (DBGT) in Tuticorin after Chairman of VOC Port Trust A.Chandrabose formally inaugurated the cargo operations at the DBGT on Sunday.

This maiden call of PIL’s vessel heralded the opening of the DBGT for operations for the vessels using ship’s gear.

Dakshin Bharat Gateway Terminal is a special purpose vehicle incorporated by ABG Container Handling Private Limited, Mumbai, and is the concessionaire implementing this Private-Public Partnership project at Berth Number 8 of VOC Port Trust in Tuticorin.

The DBGT has appointed a subsidiary, Bollore Africa Logistics (BAL), as its Management Contractor, who will be responsible for project implementation, including operations, maintenance, commercial/marketing and day-to-day running of this container terminal.

This modern container terminal is expected to be completely ready for commercial operations next year. This is BAL’s first foray into the container terminal business in India.

Bolloré Africa Logistics is the leading integrated logistics network on the African continent and the leading operator of public-private partnerships in the port and rail sectors, having its presence in 55 countries.

Incorporated in 1967, Pacific International Lines is ranked 16th amongst the top containership operators in the world, offering container liner services and multi-purpose services at over 500 locations in 100 countries, according to an official statement from the VOC Port Trust said.

MMRDA, Reliance Infrastructure war over fare

मुंबई Mumbai: The issue of fares for the soon-to-be inaugurated Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar (VAG) metro is expected to get knotty in the days to come with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Reliance Infrastructure (Rinfra) taking diametrically opposite positions on the subject.

The MMRDA contends that the terms and conditions of the original concession agreement will have a say in the issue even as the Metro Railway (Operations and Maintenance) Act, 2002, under which the Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has been made metro administrator gives the latter the right to fix the first set of fares without outside interference. MMRDA chief UPS Madan told the metro fares will be subject to the notification issued recently. “The notification was issued recently with a revision in ticket prices. The fare notification is final and binding,” he said.

The MMOPL, in its interaction with the press last month, made it clear that since the project was brought under the Metro Railways Act (MRA), 2002, the state government notification for the implementation of the project under the Tramways Act is ‘deemed to have been superseded with effect from November 18, 2013’. According to the MMOPL, it means the first fares would be governed by sections 33 and 34 of the MRA.

Madan, however, said that even as MRA, MMOPL will be subject to terms and conditions of the concession agreement. “After all its existence as MRA is because of the concession agreement, which cannot be ignored because the Metro Railway Act has come into force now. State government officials will meet RInfra officials soon to discuss the fare issue,” Madan said.

Trains to Arunachal suspended on ILP issue – Locals claim migrants entering the state

ANSU and APPDSU demanded for immediate suspension of train services alleging that illegal migrants were pouring into the state

इटानगर Itanagar: The newly commissioned train service in Arunachal Pradesh has been temporarily suspended from yesterday by the Indian Railway Department over security and inner-line permit (ILP) issue, according to the Chief Secretary Ramesh Negi.

The decision for suspension of much awaited train services was taken by the higher authorities by the Railway Department following demands made by the student unions as they were demanding for suspension of train service till the security and proper checking of ILP arrangements have been sorted out.

Notably ILP is required to every non-Arunachalee before the entry into the state.

The Indian Railway introduced regular passenger train services from Naharlogun in Arunachal Pradesh to Tezpur in Assam from April 7 last last.

Talking to UNI, Mr Negi informed today that the Railway authorities did not inform the state government in well advance for the commencing of regular train services into the state.

Beside that the state administration was busy for maintaining the model code of conduct for the single phase simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections held on April 9, he added.

Considering the situations, the state government was not fully prepared to arrange proper security arrangements as well as thorough checking of ILP of train passengers, the chief secretary informed.

However, the state administration with its limited resources had tried its level best through various means to maintain security and checking of ILPs to the railway passengers, he said.

After receiving the order from the higher authorities of the Railway Department, the Naharlagun and Gumto railway stations in the state have been sealed, the Chief Secretary informed.

The train service will now terminate at Harmuti instead of Naharlogun and will continue to do so till the proper security arrangements have been made, Mr Negi said.

Since inception of train service in the state, different student organisations and civil society organisations have expressed serious concern over large scale of reported migration of outside people into the state.

The students’ unions and civic society were pointed that the state was needed rail services from Naharlogun to National Capital Delhi instead of local passenger train services to Tezpur, Mr Negi said.

They also pointed that with the introduction of local train services, the Arunachalee people will not be benefitted as they badly needed connectivity with Delhi on various purposes, he added.

The rail project was commissioned under PM’s special package to bring the land of the rising sun into the country’s railway map and also to augment better communication system to the people of this land locked state.

Namma Metro moots mid-air interchange station at Jayadeva Circle

बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): A six-level super-infrastructure at Jayadeva Circle, the intersection of Bannerghatta Road and Ragi Gudda Road, may be a reality if a proposal by the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRC) passes muster.

The BMRC has planned a two-level elevated interchange Metro station at the circle where a three-level grade separator is already in place. The BDA has proposed building an elevated expressway above it and the station will come up above the expressway, way above ground level.

Confirming the proposal, BMRC managing director Pradeep Singh Kharola said, “We’re trying to integrate the BDA elevated road with the Metro lines and station to reduce land acquisition.”

This plan is subject to the feasibility tests and other clearances, BMRC officials said.

The BMRC has been forced to innovate as the Jayadeva Metro station has been mired in controversy. The Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences is reportedly against the station close to its campus, but relocating the station a few feet away will involve acquisition of land on which are located several residential and commercial buildings. About 98 properties would have to be acquired for it.

To minimize land acquisition and satisfy all stakeholders, BMRC has come up with this plan to construct the interchange station above the junction. The station will be built at the intersection of the Gottigere-Nagawara and RV Road-Bommasandra lines proposed under Phase II of the Namma Metro project.

Chief minister Siddaramaiah had, in his last budget, proposed an elevated expressway to link Jayadeva Circle and the Central Silk Board junction at a cost of Rs 150 crore.

Six-level plan

The existing three-level grade separator

First level: Bannerghatta Road below ground level, linking Dairy Circle with Bannerghatta

Second level: Ground-level Marenahalli Road, linking Jayanagar with BTM Layout.

Third level: Elevated arms for vehicles coming from Jayanagar and Bannerghatta Road and heading towards BTM Layout.

Fourth level (proposed): Elevated road from Jayadeva Circle to Central Silk Board Junction

Two-level interchange station: Two Metro lines — Gottigere-Nagawara and RV Road-Bommasandra — will crisscross at two levels here

Puducherry Railway Station faces ‘Open’ Threat

पुदुचेरी Puducherry (PDY):  At a time when security is being strengthened in railway stations across the country, Puducherry Railway Station is lagging behind.

The station, which caters to 106 trains weekly (up and down), does not even have a compound wall and is open from all sides. Though there is a proper entrance on the northern part of the station, people can easily enter from all sides.  In fact, many people trespass the road adjoining the goods train track on the station premises and some have even apparently  encroached upon the sheds, east of the FCI godown.

Ever since the station opened after gauge conversion in April 2004, it has remained without security though number of trains has grown to 17 on different routes. Some trains are plying to and fro to major destinations including New Delhi, Kolkata (Howrah), Bhubaneswar, Mumbai, Bangalore,  Tirupathi, besides daily trains to Chennai and Villupuram.

Security and policing on railway stations are shared by three different agencies,  Government Railway Police (GRP), District Police and  Railway Protection Force (RPF). It is the RPF and GRP, which share the bulk of the duties here. Unfortunately, there is no GRP in Puducherry to maintenance of law and order, which includes security of passengers and their baggage, control and prevention of all crimes on trains and railway premises and registration, investigation and prosecution of all such offences.

The RPF, which also takes care of railway properties, has a limited  strength of 10 personnel placed under a Sub-Inspector. Since they work on shifts, at any given point of time there are hardly two or three RPF men on duty at the station.

Though there exists a metal detector at the entry and exit points, which are the same, there is no system of putting it into use and no one is checked. There are no CCTV cameras to cover the platforms and other areas in the station, though police have put up two CCTV cameras at the entrance and exit. Even checking platform tickets is meaningless as no one bothers to buy one.

The Puducherry unit of BJP on Saturday urged railway authorities to provide adequate security at the Railway Station.

In a memorandum forwarded to the Divisional Manager of Tiruchy Division of Southern Railways, a copy of which was submitted at Puducherry Railway Station on Saturday, BJP secretary R Swaminathan pointed out to ‘terrorist threat to all railway stations’ and urged the authorities to first build a compound wall and provide adequate security personnel in the station.

Being a tourist spot and because of its French legacy, Puducherry attracts many people from across the country as well as international  tourists,  therefore, there is need for extra caution.

Railway keyman foils attempt to blow up track

Gelatin sticks found on Secunderabad–Wadi line, near Mogala tanda

मलखैड रोड Malkhaid Road (MQR): An alert Railway keyman foiled an attempt by a group of persons to blow up a section of the Secunderabad–Wadi railway track, near Mogala tanda, in Chittapur taluk of the district on Saturday. According to reports reaching the district headquarters, the keyman, Tuljaram, saw four persons on the track who were behaving suspiciously, and questioned them. The four were conversing in Marathi and Urdu among themselves, but answered the keyman in Telugu, saying that they were just moving around the track.

According to Mr. Tuljaram, they asked him about the arrival time of a Hyderabad passenger train. When Mr. Tuljaram became suspicious and asked them why they wanted information on trains, they allegedly assaulted him and ran away.

Later, Mr. Tuljaram found gelatin sticks on the track and informed his higher-ups. Senior officials of the South Central Railway and police officers rushed to the spot and removed the gelatin sticks. Inspector-General of Police Suresh Kunni Mohammad and other senior police officials spoke to Mr. Tuljaram and the public.

Another incident

Earlier, on information provided by the public, Railway authorities and police removed gelatin sticks placed on a rail track, near Malkhed, in Sedam taluk of the district. The bomb disposal squad from Bangalore is expected to visit the two spots where the gelatin sticks were found.

China plans 13000 km High-Speed Rail link to USA through an Under-Ocean Tunnel

bullet-train-090514Beijing: China plans to build an ambitious 13,000 km rail line to operate bullet trains to America through Russia passing through a tunnel underneath the Pacific Ocean to reach the continental US via Alaska and Canada.

The proposed line beginning from China’s north east could go through Russia’s eastern Siberia, the Bering Strait, Alaska, Canada and then reach the contiguous US, Wang Mengshu, a tunnel and railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Chinese official media.

Once the line is put to use, bullet trains can run at 350 km per hour, enabling passengers to travel from northeastern China to the US in less than two days, he said, adding that Russia, which is heavily dependent on rail transport like China, is also progressively advocating the idea.

Crossing the Bering Strait in between Russia and Alaska would require about 200km of undersea tunnel, the Beijing Times newspaper reported, citing Wang.

“Right now we re already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,” Wang said.

The project – nicknamed the ‘China-Russia plus America line’ – would run for 13,000km, about 3,000km further than the Trans-Siberian Railway.

The entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350kmh.

Meanwhile, the official said the construction of ambitious Trans-Asian Railway Network connecting China with Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore is set to commence next month.

The plan will begin with the construction of a 30-km long tunnel, stated to be the longest in Asia connecting China with Myanmar.

The engineering difficulties equivalent to those found in the construction of rail lines on the permafrost in Tibet, Wang said.

China has already built a rail network up to Xigaze close to Arunachal Pradesh border.

China has completed 11028 km of high speed train network and another 12000 km tracks under construction.

Chinese officials in 2010 spoke of China’s wish building a high speed train network connecting India and Pakistan.

The National Development and Reform Commission approved the project, and engineers and worker representatives have come up with techniques to overcome geological complexities that could pose challenges, Wang said.

“Another important project, the Nujiang River Rail Bridge, will also be launched soon,” Wang added, noting that both the bridge and the tunnel are elements of the Dali-Ruili Railway, which will extend 330 km to link China with its neighbour Myanmar.

China has already commenced a oil and gas pipeline from Myanmar. The rail lines constitute the southern part of the Trans-Asian Railway, which was initiated in the 1960s and began to take shape after 18 countries endorsed an agreement in November 2006, it said.

Some sections of the railway suitable for high-speed operation will allow trains to run at 250 km per hour. Other sections will hold speeds to a maximum of 180 kph, Wang said.

Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang who is currently touring Africa, has offered to construct a host of high speed railway.

While railway construction engineers are pushing for more grand projects, some officials have warned the government to think seriously about them as the Chinese railway is in red with losses to the tune of billions of dollars.

Experts in Beijing Jiaotong University said China should make sure it has enough money for such a massive project.

“China s railway sector is still being haunted by deep debts. Therefore, even with the government s support, it must persuade banks to lend a colossal amount of money,” he said.

China could loose out from these ambitions railways plans as it will take decades for the countries where the rail lines are laid with Chinese money could take decades to pay back, Zhao Jian, a profession at the same University said.

Other Chinese officials consider the rail network construction as a stimulus to revive growth rates of Chinese economy which slowed down to 7.8 per cent last year.

Goods train derails at Ghoradongri near Betul in MP; Delhi-Chennai route affected

घोडाडोंगरी Ghoradongri (GDYA): Eight wagons of a goods train derailed at Ghoradongri railway station in Betul district — 175 km from Bhopal — leading to disruption of railway traffic between Betul and Nagpur section of Central railways.

All trains to New Delhi, Patna and Chennai have been affected. The accident took place at 9.15pm when a goods train hauling coal suddenly rolled back at a high speed from Sarni station to Ghoradongri station knocking down several electrical poles and overhead equipment.

“Train rolled 18 km from Sarni to Ghoradongri with its 58 wagons loaded with coal. Signal systems were badly damaged on the section. It will take hours to restore services,” said a railway officer wishing anonymity. Trains on the up and down lines are being held up at Itarsi, Ghoradongri and Amla railway stations, he added.

Schedule of Gorakhpur Express, Patna Express, Rajdhani Express, Gareebrath Express, Chhattisgarh Express and Samta Express were affected by the incident.

Gorakhpur Express would have rammed into the derailed good train if power supply was on. The train stopped a few distance from the Ghoradongri station, he said. Personnel and equipment were rushed from Itarsi and Betul to undertake track restoration work. Rescue teams are also working to clean up the coal that spilled on the railway tracks.

Karnataka Railway Police to recruit for 850 new vacancies

बंगलोर Bangalore (SBC): The state government has decided double the number of Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel across the state.

A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held by Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Umesh on Thursday.

ADGP (law and order) M N Reddy said: “Presently, around 900 policemen are stationed at railway stations across the state. We have decided to add 850 personnel more.

The Central Railway Station in Bangalore will also get additional staff and security will be enhanced”.  Fifty per cent of the cost of hiring additional personnel will be borne by the Railway Board. A senior official said around 363 railway stations and 1,100 platforms are in the state.

A decision was also taken to deploy government railway police with Konkan Railways. Till now, stations under Konkan Railways were manned by the local police.

CRB releases ‘India Junction – A Window to The Nation’ book at a function

नयी दिल्ली New Delhi:  Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Arunendra Kumar released a book, titled ‘India Junction – A Window to the Nation’ at a function here today.  Railway Board Members and senior railway officials among others were also present on the occasion. There was also a panel discussion with panelists- Shri Arunendra Kumnar, Sir Mark Tully and Shri Sandipan Deb. The book has been brought out by Public Relations Directorate, Railway Board.

ABOUT THE BOOK:-

The Indian Railways provides us with a practical, convenient mode of transport, but its contribution to Indian life goes much beyond that. The Railways is the lifeline of the nation and, in many ways, its development has been deeply intertwined with the destiny of India. India Junction—featuring in-depth, analytical essays that are rich in history; delectable travel pieces; and some truly amazing and rare photo features—celebrates the changes the Railways has brought about in our lives; and examines how the Railways itself has transformed over time.

‘The Great Indian Railways’ takes us to 1853—the year train travel began in India—and analyses how it strengthened British rule; ‘Railways’ Filmy Chakkar’ recounts how Mahatma Gandhi, who was first opposed to the Railways, went on to effectively use it in the freedom struggle. The travelogues, too, are delightfully evocative, and bring to vivid life the sights and sounds of train travel in India, some contemporary, others long consigned to memory. ‘When the Train Came to DeyraDhoon’ remembers the furore caused by an engine chugging into a sleepy little town for the first time; ‘On Board the Bombay Express’ recreates the tangy, savoury smells that are released into the carriage—and the keen appetites that they awaken—when women crack open the tiffin boxes which they have brought from home.

Featuring award-winning and renowned authors, including Sir Mark Tully, Ruskin Bond, Gillian Wright, Ian J. Kerr, Jerry Pinto, Omair Ahmad, Kartik Iyengar, Shoba Narayan, Sandipan Deb and Sharmila Kantha,India Junction will interest readers of all hues: students of history, travel buffs, and everyone who loves a good railway yarn.

From the pages of INDIA JUNCTION:-

Without the railways, the three great cities of Calcutta, Bombay and Madras would have remained small colonial trading ports.
—Sir Mark Tully 

‘Railways was the greatest force of modernization and unity that India had ever seen.’
—Sandipan Deb

‘The development of the railways has been deeply intertwined with the destiny of the Indian subcontinent.’
—Sharmila Kantha

‘In Mumbai locals, there is even a new subgroup of intimacy: the train friend.’
—Jerry Pinto

‘No Railways, no India.’
—Ian J. Kerr

DRM/Waltair inaugurates state’s first Multi Modal Logistics Park in Vizag

VIZAG LOGISTICS PARK

विसाखपटनम Visakhapatnam (VSKP): The facility is being set up by Container Corporation of India Limited. In the first phase, facilities have been developed on a 10-acre site and provision of railway infrastructure with five full-length lines for handling inward and outward rakes will be developed in two years.

The first Multi Modal Logistics Park (Phase-1) in Andhra Pradesh, established by the Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR), was inaugurated by Waltair Divisional Railway Manager Anil Kumar at Viman Nagar, opposite Visakhapatnam International Airport, here on Friday.

Deputy Chairman of Visakhapatnam Port Trust G.V.L. Satya Kumar, Director (International Marketing and Operations) of CONCOR Yash Vardhan, Executive Director, CONCOR, V. Kalyana Rama Rao, Joint Commissioner of Customs M.S. Reddy, and CONCOR Senior General Manager G.R. Seshagiri Rao participated in the inaugural.

The container handling and storage facilities, being provided on 4 lakh sq. ft., besides a 50,000 sq. ft. temperature-controlled warehouse, would give a fillip to export and import trade as also domestic trade. It would provide seamless connectivity for transport of cargo to the hinterland.

In the first phase, facilities have been developed on a 10-acre site and additional facilities, including provision of railway infrastructure with five full-length lines for handling inward and outward rakes, would be developed in two years in an extent of 100 acres at an estimated cost of Rs.370 crore.

Describing the setting up of the MMLP as a “big day in the history of Visakhapatnam and the VPT,” Mr. Satya Kumar said though the VPT was identified as a hub port for container traffic four years ago, it had not happened so far due to lack of logistics infrastructure. He said the port had achieved 23.6 per cent growth in container traffic last year and the existing container terminal capacity was reaching its saturation point.

Mr. Anil Kumar expressed the view that the MMLP would help the Railways in regaining the freight traffic share it had lost to road transport over the years. The doubling of R-V line beyond Rayagada was progressing and doubling and electrification works were also being undertaken.

Mr. Yash Vardhan said this was the first MMLP in Andhra Pradesh and the greatest advantage was it was situated close to the airport and the seaport.

Another MMLP would be set up near Hyderabad and the target was to set up 15 MMLPs in the country.

Kochi Metro to use Geographical Information System

Kochi:  Kochi Metro Rail Limited will make use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and geo-reference maps to understand traffic conditions and the demographic characteristics of Kochi.

The Union Urban Development Ministry is using the system for drainage mapping and the details have been circulated to all States. The project is being done in tie-up with the National Remote Sensing Centre to quickly spot problematic areas in a drainage system using data stored in GIS.

Kochi Metro takes up measures to smoothen traffic flow in the city

Declogging of drains to prevent flooding of roads a priority

KOCHI_METRO_S_DIREKochi Metro Rail Limited will initiate measures to ensure that Kochi Metro’s civil works go on undisrupted during the impending monsoon.

Steps will also be taken to prevent water logging on roads in the Aluva-MG Road-Pettah stretch of Kochi Metro since it will throw traffic into disarray, it was decided at the KMRL’s 17th director board meeting that was held here on Friday. Speaking to media persons, Union Urban Development Secretary Sudhir Krishna said that apart from experiencing water logging at piling sites during rain, traffic is held up in narrow corridors along the metro alignment, which are yet to be widened.

The State government had recently allotted Rs 1 crore to the Kochi Corporation to declog drains in its jurisdiction, while nearby municipalities and panchayats were given a total of Rs 60 lakh. A committee headed by District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam was entrusted with supervising the task. Traffic movement can be streamlined once a Unified Metropolitan Transportation Authority (UMTA) is constituted for Kochi. The State government’s recommendation in this regard is pending before the Centre. Aimed at encouraging cheap, safe and eco-friendly modes of transport, JNNURM funds will be made available shortly for purchasing ‘water buses’ along Kochi’s backwaters, with special emphasis on West Kochi. Other modern commuting modes too will be introduced alongside metro, to augment inter-modal transport, Mr. Krishna said.

Tripunithura extension
The board also took stock of the expected Central nod for extending the metro up to SN Junction in Tripunithura, as an extension of the project’s first phase.

The directors also discussed the extension of the last date to submit tenders for procuring coaches for the metro, to June 4. A re-tender had been called since only a single bidder was in the fray when tenders were floated early this year.

The sub committee constituted to solve problems regarding earth filling at metro’s coach repair yard in Muttom will meet on Saturday. Mr Krishna also suggested proper disposal of debris from metro work sites, to prevent it from being dumped into drains. Later, he visited the metro sites to evaluate the progress of work.

Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan and KMRL’s managing director Elias George were among those who participated in the meeting.

New SECoR Zone with Vijayawada, Guntur, Guntakal and Vizag Divisions soon

The new zone will have Guntakal, Guntur, Vijayawada and Vizag divisions

As June 2, the appointed day for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh nears, proposals for carving out a new South East Coast Railway Railway (SECoR) zone – the 18th in Indian Railways, are being firmed up.

Indian Railways had only nine zones till 2003 and later seven more – Hubli, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Bhubaneswar, Hajipur, Jabalpur and Allahabad – were added.  More recently, the Metro Rail in Kolkata was made a zone and the new zone under active consideration now will be the 18th.

While the South Central Railway (SCR), that now has six divisions, will be left with big three viz. Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Nanded and probably the Gulbarga Division will also be added to South Central Railway, the new South East Coast Railway (SECoR) zone will have Guntakal, Guntur, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam (that will be detached from East Coast Railway).

“In the creation of a new zone, it is but natural for the adjoining zones to be reorganised and while we send out proposals, it is for the Railway Board and Union Government to take a final call. In this case, the inclusion of Visakhapatnam into the new territory is necessary,” said a senior SCR official. SCR now has about 6,000 km length of track and the proposed new zone is expected to get approximately 3,500 km. Paperwork for allocation of the 93,000-odd existing employees (sanctioned strength is 1.03 lakh) in the SCR is already said to be done.

It will have Guntakal, Guntur, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam divisions

Chennai Blasts: Was Bomb planted in train between Byappanahalli yard and City Station?

चेन्‍नई Chennai (MAS): The Crime Branch (CB)-CID police from Chennai are not ruling out the possibility that the bombs, which exploded in the Kaziranga Express in Chennai, were planted much before the train reached the Bangalore City Railway Station and are trying to locate CCTV cameras installed in houses and buildings on the route.

“If there are CCTV cameras en route, they may provide vital clues into whether something happened on the train before it reached the City Railway Station,” a city police officer said.

“The team is particularly looking at whether some of the coach doors on the train were open before the train reached station, which would indicate that someone was on the train before it reached the station and picked up the passengers,” he said.

The Kaziranga Express was stationed at the Byappanahalli yard, from where it came to the City Railway Station and picked up passengers traveling between Bangalore and Guwhati.

On Thursday, the CB-CID officials, along with the city police, took a recce of the route in a motor trolley. They have also requested for a detailed map of the railway station from the General Railway Police (GRP).

The lack of security at railway yards was identified as a risk soon after these twin blasts. In a circular issued to all the Inspectors, Sub-Inspectors and Circle Inspectors in the Railways in Karnataka on May 1, the Railway SP has asked both RPF and GRP to mandatorily inspect the railway yards regularly.

“Railway yards, where many trains are stationed, barely have any security. Apart from the RPF, the GRP should also, consistently, check yards and be on the lookout for unidentified or suspicious persons or objects. Night rounds should also be mandatorily done by both RPF and the GRP,” the SP directed, recommending the usage of binoculars and search lights to do so.

The twin blasts in the Kaziranga Express killed a 24-year-old techie from Bangalore and injured 14 others. The blast took place at the Chennai Railway station on May 1.

Skoda Transportation plans for setting up of Metro Coach Manufacturing Plant near Vizag

हैदराबाद Hyderabad: Czech company Skoda is exploring possibilities of establishing a manufacturing unit for metro rail coaches in India, according to the Czech ambassador in India Miloslav Stasek.

“Skoda Transportation is exploring different locations (for the metro coach facility) and is close to making a decision.  We have identified two locations – near Vizag and the other near Tada in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh”

By building coaches locally Skoda Transportation hopes to price them more aggressively for the India market.

These coaches are currently flown into the country in large transport aircraft.

The report suggests that Skoda, which already supplies coaches for the Delhi Metro, is keen to manufacture them within India as several cities like Jaipur, Kochi, Bangalore, Lucknow and Mumbai have embarked upon metro projects.

Kochi Metro: Residents near Metro Yard face flood threat

Kochi: Even as steps have been initiated to clear the choked city drains ahead of monsoon, the threat of water clogging looms large over the people residing in the vicinity of the metro yard in Muttom.

Locals said the reclamation of land at Chavarpadam, site for the proposed metro yard, was posing a threat to the natural drainage system connecting the low-lying area with river Periyar. “The land filling operations have considerably shrunk the size of drainages while the Punchathodu Periyar Valley canal, a major water body in the locality, has been levelled partially, resulting in an artificial flooding during the monsoon,” said K.K.Sivanandan, a local resident and a member of Choornikkara Panchayat.

“At least 400 families residing in the areas of Muttom, Ambattukavu and Thayikkattukara fear that their houses will get inundated in the upcoming rainy season,” Mr. Sivanandan said. To back his argument, he also pointed to the flooding caused by a release of excess water from the Idukki dam, last year.

The locals also said that they wanted the land reclamation to stop immediately and had even staged protests at the spot. They said that if the reclamation could not be stopped, then they wanted a proper retaining of drainage systems.

Confirming that land filling operations led to narrowing of drainage channels, Santha Unnikrishnan, president of Choornikkara panchayat, said that the situation would worsen if the government and the metro authority failed to act in time. “They have already reclaimed acres of land and despite the assurances earlier, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited is yet to work on the construction of drainages to accommodate the excess water flowing to here,” she said.

Despite approaching the district administration and the State government seeking urgent action, the local body was yet to get any assurances regarding the setting up of a canal system before the onset of monsoon. “Notwithstanding the fact that the authorities are already late working on it, the issue will be raised as a matter requiring urgent action during a meeting to be held at the office of the Chief Minister on May 7,” the president added.

Commenting on the issue, a top official with the metro authority said that a committee would be formed comprising representatives of the Panchayat, Kochi metro authority and the district administration to execute the work on an alternative drainage network. “We have already constructed several stretches of the canal system in the area and the remaining work will be taken up on a priority basis in the wake of a fast approaching monsoon,” the official said.

Hundreds take to the streets demanding end to traffic woes

Protesters demand time-bound completion of Kochi metro

kochimetro protestsHundreds of activists of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI (M)] and the All India Youth Federation (AIYF) took out a march to the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) office on Tuesday demanding time-bound completion of Kochi metro and steps to streamline traffic flow in the vicinity of metro work sites.

Speakers at a dharna organised in front of the KMRL office in Revenue Tower said traffic problems could have been avoided if the State government, the Kochi Corporation and the KMRL had widened narrow roads, developed alternative roads and bridges that were planned years before metro works commenced. Currently, even ambulances are stuck in traffic for long periods.

The suspicion is rife that metro works are being delayed at the behest of vested interests. The statement by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan that the metro might not be commissioned on time because of different obstacles pointed to the State government’s inability to speed up works, they said. Those who spoke include P. Rajeeve, MP, and CPI(M) district secretary C.M. Dinesh Mani.

Rail Insurance: Railway Accident victims deserve better than Arbitrary ex-gratia Relief

It happens over and over again. After a gruesome train accident — the last being the one near Mumbai on May 5 — the Railway Minister announces ex gratia relief, experts repeat their lines on rail safety and everything is forgotten in a week. What is rarely, if ever, discussed is the absence of a fair, clear-cut system of compensation, rather than one that starts and generally ends with an ex gratia dole.

It is true that the bereaved can make a claim at the Railways Accident Claims Tribunal, which awards a maximum of ₹4 lakh for death and slices disability into 34 categories to award compensation ranging from ₹32,000 to ₹3.6 lakh. But the process is cumbersome and discourages people from applying for compensation. The logical step would be to migrate to a system of rail insurance — a rights-based system that reinforces the rights of the bereaved while also keeping the interests of insurers and the Railways in mind.

The Railways carries 24 million passengers daily. While there are far too many accidents, thanks to a callous disregard for safety, less than three passengers lose their lives to accidents daily (about 900 in a year). A generous insurance cover can be generated out of a modest premium built into the train ticket.

An attempt was made in 2008, when some private Insurance Cos., provided a cover of ₹4 lakh on a premium of five paise per ticket. Strangely, this did not sustain because the Railways was opposed to an increase in premium and the two parties failed to agree on how the corpus should be used. A premium of just ₹2 from 24 million daily passengers can mop up close to ₹1,800 crore annually. Even if compensation for death was raised from ₹4 lakh to ₹20 lakh, the outgo per year would be only ₹180 crore. Compensation for disability should vary not just with the seriousness of injury but also the age of the passenger. A young individual below 40 years should be compensated to the extent of, say, 75 per cent of the life claim if his injury robs him of his capacity to earn a livelihood. For other cases of injury, the categories should be reduced to a minimum in order to reduce red tape. Even if this simplification leads to higher compensation levels, the sums involved are likely to fall within 10 per cent of the annual premium collection.

Higher compensation levels are desirable not merely in principle; they could spur the Railways into showing some more concern about safety.

The modalities of premium-sharing can be worked out by setting up a committee with the Railways, the IRDA and private players as members. Perhaps, a joint venture arrangement could work well in the initial stages, with a portion of the premium being used for safety measures.

These details can be worked out later; the immediate need is to put an agreed upon framework in place.

Chennai Metro Rail: Rupee depreciation, Construction costs make the project costlier

चेन्‍नई Chennai (MAS): The cost of the Chennai’s Metro Rail project may escalate from the current estimate of Rs.14,600 crore to nearly Rs.20,000 crore due to a variety of factors, including Rupee depreciation and increase in the construction and labour costs. Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) that is executing the project is seeking additional fund to complete its work.

In the five years since work started, this is the first time that CMRL has decided to seek additional funds, said officials. So far, CMRL has exhausted about Rs.8,000 crore of the Rs.14,600 crore and wants about Rs.6,000 crore more to complete the work on the 45 km-stretch by the end of 2016, an official said.

One of the reasons for the nearly 40 percent cost overrun, the official said, was the depreciation of the Rupee against the Dollar. For instance, in the case of the purchase of Metro Rail coaches from Alstom in Brazil, there was a significant appreciation of the Dollar in the duration between the signing of the contracts and the delivery. Also, while CMRL had initially proposed to spend about Rs.800 crore for land acquisition, it finally ended up spending almost Rs.2,500 crore, he added.

The delays in the construction of stations both in the underground and elevated stretches have also pushed up the cost.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is to contribute 59 percent of the project cost of Rs.14,600 crore for phase I, the Centre 20 per cent and the State, the rest of the amount.

CMRL has begun discussions and will soon send a proposal for further sanction.

Although, cost escalations are part of huge infrastructure projects, overruns as much as 40 per cent can be avoided. N.S.Srinivasan, former Director of National Transportation Planning and Research Centre said, “Time is money in such large projects. Firstly, we run into such high expenses because we still depend on foreign expertise even after the construction of Delhi Metro Rail. Then, as soon as planning is done, the land acquisition must immediately be sorted out by paying the right value instead of indulging in negotiations. It is our own inbuilt delay. It can be avoided with systematic planning and regular audit,” he added.

S. Santhanam, former member, chief urban planner of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) said the kind of cost escalation was bound to occur since the soil conditions were quite challenging and rupee depreciation pretty acute.

Chennai Metro begins Trial Runs on Second Track

Chennai Metro railचेन्‍नई Chennai (MAS): A trial run of a metro rail train was conducted on the second line between Koyambedu and Ashok Nagar. The line was recently electrified.

“We operated a train once soon after electrification. This is the second trial. Regular trials began from Thursday on the parallel line from CMBT to Ashok Nagar,” said a senior Chennai Metro Rail Ltd official. The stretch is part of the CMBT-Alandur-St Thomas Mount elevated line scheduled to be opened for traffic early next year.

Two trains were pulled using a diesel locomotive at different speeds. Overhead power cables will be tested, after which rakes with metro rail engines will be tested. Officials will monitor performance of the tracks and the different parameters of the train in the coming days.

Several trials will have to be carried out before the line can be opened. The line till Ashok Nagar is ready and work on laying tracks and installing overhead cables from Ashok Nagar to Alandur is underway. The viaduct till Alandur station over Kathipara flyover is complete. Sources said CMRL officials planned to extend trials to Alandur as early as possible.

Trials on the first track, began in November last year. The train is also being run as a showpiece.

Meanwhile, trains manufactured at Alstom’s facility in Sri City have started to arrive at Koyambedu depot. The third set of trains, of the 33 to be made at the factory, reached the depot a few days ago. These trains are first tested on a test track, then hauled to the elevated line using a diesel locomotive before being run as part of routine trials.

CMRL has awarded contracts to new companies to complete station work that the earlier contractor could not finish on Koyambedu-St Thomas Mount stretch.

Adani gets nod for $15.5bn Coal, Rail projects in Australia

Adani_Enterprises_190मेलबोर्न Melbourne: Energy-to-ports Adani Group on Thursday won approval for a massive Aus$16.5 billion (USD 15.5 billion) coal and rail project in Australia’s Queensland.

Mumbai-listed Adani Enterprises’ Carmichael coal mine and rail project in the untapped Galilee Basin is perhaps the largest in the world.

The mine will produce 60 million tonnes a year of thermal coal used in power stations. The project also includes a 189-kilometer rail line north-west of Clermont.

The Australian state of Queensland on Thursday gave approval to the project, deputy premier Jeff Seeney said. The coal mine and rail project in central Queensland will be subject to dozens of environmental and social conditions and still is to get federal government nod.

“This project has the potential to be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world,” Seeny said in a statement.

Among the conditions that Adani will have to meet include compensating landholders affected by any harm to water supplies.

Adani welcomed the approval and said it could now move to the next stage of the project.

“We remain committed to delivering the multi-billion dollar project,” Adani Chairman Gautam Adani said in a statement.

The Indian Group will use Abbot Point port to export 60 million tonnes of coal a year mined from Carmichael using a combination of open-cut and underground mining.

“The project has the potential to create up to 2500 construction and 3900 operational jobs,” Seeny said adding “jobs would be significant to the future economic prosperity of that region and to all of Queensland.”

“It also includes a 189-kilometre rail line, water supply infrastructure, coal handling and processing plant, and off-site infrastructure including workers’ accommodation village and airport”.

Seeney said the coordinator-general’s report will be handed to the Federal Minister for his decision on issues pertaining to the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act under the assessment bilateral agreement.

“The coordinator-general has thoroughly assessed all matters of national environmental significance issues and recommended conditions to address every matter,” he said.

“The proponent will also need to obtain a water licence, mining lease and environmental authority.

“The stringent and wide-ranging conditions set by the coordinator-general also include protections for local flora, landholder interests, groundwater resources, the quality of surface water leaving the project site, air quality, and noise and dust levels.

“In relation to groundwater and water bores, Adani will be required to reach make-good agreements with all affected landholders including the identification and provision of alternative water supplies.”

Seeney said the decision represents another major step forward to unlocking the resource potential of the Galilee basin for the benefit of all Queenslanders.

Adani, GVK, Lanco seek to cut stake in Australian coal mines

Plan is to reduce debt and get financial and technical partners on board

The Adani, GVK and Lanco groups are looking to sell part of their stakes in Australian coal mining projects to reduce debt and get financial and technical partners on board.

Senior executives of the Adani and GVK groups confirmed they were in talks with contractors and customers to pick up stakes in their coal, port and railway projects because that would help them get technical and construction experts on board. Coal mine stakes are also being offered to companies that have set up power plants across Asia and want guaranteed coal supplies.

“We may look at selling a stake in the railway project to a railway company and a stake in the port project to a port operator,” said a GVK Group executive, who did not wish to be named.

The Adani group plans to invest $15.4 billion and the GVK group $10 billion in Australia to develop coal mines, railway lines to transport the output, and dedicated ports. Both groups were over-leveraged which made it difficult for them to raise debt \(see chart) for the projects, and hence the plan for stake sales, bankers said.

On the other hand, the Hyderabad-based Lanco group might sell its holding in Australia’s Griffin Coal Mining Company as it tried to lower its Rs 34,000-crore debt, bankers added. The group expects a valuation of Rs 3,100 crore for Griffin Coal Mining Company, which it bought for $750 million in 2011. An email to the Lanco group did not elicit a response.

A senior Adani executive who did not wish to be named said the group was looking to sell a 50 per cent stake in its australian coal mine and railway and was in talks with Chinese and South Korean investors.

In August 2010, Adani Enterprises spent $490 million to acquire the rights to develop the Carmichael coal mine in Queensland and has invested close to $2 billion, including on a dedicated port. Last year, the coal mine project was taken over by the group’s promoters to reduce Adani Enterprises’ debt.

In September 2011, the GVK group spent $1.26 billion to acquire the rights to develop the Alpha, Alpha West and Kevin’s Corner coal and infrastructure projects.

But energy experts say the projects will not be viable and the cost of electricity produced by imported Australian coal will be very high for Indian consumers. Tim Beckley, director of energy finance studies at the Institute of Energy Economics, Sydney, said both the Adani and GVK coal basin proposals were running three-four years late, with financing not in place.

“A power purchase agreement of Rs 5.4-5.70 per kWh would be required, plus price indexation of four per cent a year to justify the construction of a power plant in India based on Australian coal. This is double the last reported average sales price of electricity across India of Rs 3 per kWh and triple the local coal-fired power purchase price signed over recent years,” he said.

Heavy rain in Kerala, railway cancels many trains

एर्नाकुलम Ernakulam (ERS): Heavy rain and inundation of tracks at Ernakulam area has resulted in signal failure and forced Railways to cancel/short terminate trains today.

A railway press release today said the Karaikal-Ernakulam Express reaching Ernakulam Jn at 0625 hours terminated at Ernakulam Town.

The Ernakulam-Kottayam Passenger scheduled to leave Ernkulam Jn at 0730 hrs started from Ernakulam Town.

The Ernakulam-Guruvayur Passenger scheduled to leave Ernakulam at 0600 hrs is cancelled.

The Guruvayur-Trissur Passenger scheduled to leave Guruvayur at 0900 hrs is cancelled.

The Trissur-Guruvayur Passenger scheduled to leave Trissur at 1045 hrs is cancelled.

The Guruvayur-Ernakulam Passenger scheduled to leave Guruvayur at 1320 hrs is cancelled.

The Ernakulam-Alappuzha passenger scheduled to Ernakulam Jn at 0730 hrs is cancelled.

45 clips found removed from Railway tracks

इतवारी Itwari (ITR): City police are probing the removal of about 45 Pandrol clips from the railway tracks between Kalamna and Itwari stations near Dipty Signal on Wednesday that endangered the life of many passengers. The clips were found strewn around the tracks. Pandrol clips are used to fasten tracks to sleepers.

The matter came to fore when the railway gangmen were patrolling the tracks between 9 and 9.25 am. The clips were in place earlier in the day but were found removed later. The technicians restored the clips within a short period as several trains were supposed to pass the stretch. Apart from railway and city police, state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) too is learnt to have started an independent probe into the incident.

The South East Central Railway (SECR) Nagpur Divisional Security Commandant (DSC) D B Gaur said, “We are assisting Lakadganj police investigating the matter.” Gaur ruled out sabotage and stated that some local scrap sellers or those into business may have stolen the clips. The thieves had scattered these clips across the tracks with a view to have them cut into pieces by passing trains. They would then pick them up and sell it as ordinary iron pieces without suspicion.

Double-decker trains to chug out of Secunderabad soon

Trains feature early smoke detection system, a first for the Indian Railways. They would enhance connectivity between the twin cities and Guntur and Tirupati. The double-decker trains will consist of 10 double-decker air-conditioned chair cars and two power cars.

DOUBLEDECKER5eसिकंदराबाद Secunderabad (SC):  Having received the nod from the Commissioner for Railway Safety after successful trial runs recently, the South Central Railway will run the new air-conditioned double-decker bi-weekly superfast trains from Kacheguda to Guntur on May 13 and to Tirupati on May 14.

The services were announced in the interim Railway Budget-2014. Accordingly, train no. 22118 will leave Kacheguda at 5.30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays, starting from May 13 and reach Guntur at 10.40 a.m. On its return, train no. 22117 will leave Guntur at 12.45 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays and reach here at 5.55 p.m.

Train no. 22120 will leave here at 6.45 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday and reach Tirupati at 6.15 p.m. In the return direction, no. 22119 will leave Tirupati at 5.45 a.m. on Thursdays and Sundays and reach here at 5.15 p.m.

SCR General Manager P.K. Srivastava said the trains were being introduced without delay so that they could meet the summer rush and traffic demands of the busy season.

DOUBLE-DECKE TRAIN

Better connectivity

They would enhance connectivity between the twin cities and Guntur and Tirupati. The double-decker trains will consist of 10 double-decker air-conditioned chair cars and two power cars.

An important feature of the double-decker trains is that it comes with the new VESDA (very early smoke/fire detection with alarm system), for the first time in Indian Railways. Advance reservations for these trains will commence at 8 a.m. on May 9 (Friday) and the fare structure would be similar to that of other air-conditioned chair car coaches on normal superfast mail and express trains.

Mumbai Death Traps: Asst.Station Master dies after falling in Platform Gaps

ASM Choudhary with familyबोइसर Boisar (BOR): In yet another avoidable platform gap tragedy, Railways lost its own gallant folk – an Assistant Station Master at Vangaon station died after slipping under a long-distance train at Boisar on Wednesday night.

Ashishkumar Chowdhary (34) lost his balance after managing to get his wife and two children inside the coach. The family was on the way home after celebrating the couple’s wedding anniversary at a mall in Boisar.

According to Palghar GRP, Chowdhary, wife Sugandha and two daughters aged four years and six months, were on platform number 2 at Boisar railway station around 8pm. They were to board the Mumbai Central-Valsad Passenger to travel to their railway quarters outside Vangaon, the station after Boisar.

When the train arrived around 8.30pm (20 minutes late), Chowdhary managed to get his family and kids inside the crowded First-Class compartment. He was still on the platform when the train began to move soon. He tried to get in but slipped in the gap between the train and the platform. He was crushed underneath, said Palghar GRP inspector Ravindra Naik. A case of accidental death has been registered.

Sugandha assumed her husband may have missed the train and would arrive by the next. She alighted at Vangaon after 10 minutes and returned to their railway quarters when news of his death reached her. Sugandha rushed to Tarapur Primary Heath Centre where the body was sent for autopsy.

Sugandha, a housewife, kept slipping in and out of consciousness. Chowdhary’s parents who live in Sitamarhi district of Bihar were expected to arrive by Thursday night. The Vangaon posting was Chowdhary’s first job in railways after he cleared Railway Recruitment Board exam in 2010. He was due for promotion, his colleagues said.

Chennai blasts probe: Clean chit to suspects; no fresh leads

चेन्‍नई Chennai (MAS):  The suspect in the Chennai railway station blasts case, a man captured on the CCTV, has been given a clean chit by the probe authorities. The man was traced down to Sri Lanka where he is on vacation.

The CB-CID, which is probing the case, said that the man in the CCTV foo‎tage had come out of the train moments before the blasts and was seen making a hurried exit. This man, belonging to Kerala, had boarded the Bangalore-Guwahati express and from Chennai was to leave for Sri Lanka on a vacation.

The police prepared sketches of this man and had pasted in important locations. The man, however, called the Chennai cops on seeing his hazy images being flashed on television. He was asked several questions and he said he had rushed out only because he was running late to catch his flight to Sri Lanka.

CB-CID Deputy Superintendent of Police Venkatraman S informed that his replies were convincing and he is no longer being treated as a suspect.

The police officer informed that the other suspect, who was questioned too, has also been given a clean chit. This suspect was seen with a tablet near his face.

The police at first thought that he was intentionally hiding his face from the camera but later it was found that he was speaking on the tablet, ‎Venkatraman S said.

The probe is now back to square one and all the investigators are still clueless. There is a great deal that the officers are yet to find out. They are still not sure from where the bomb was loaded.

The organisation behind it is also unknown and the police are basing a lot of facts on the bomb signature. There are similarities to the Patna bombs, but that is hardly even a strong point for the police to come to any conclusion.

The police have also requested the help of their counterparts in Madhya Pradesh to try and ascertain if some splinter group of the Students Islamic Movement of India coordinated with the modules in Bangalore and Kerala to undertake this attack.