IRCTC plans budget tours from Chennai, Mumbai

Kolkata, Jan. 12 India Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation
(IRCTC) will shortly launch `Bharat Darshan’ tour programmes for
budget travellers from Chennai and Mumbai. The details are being
worked out.

“These will replace similar tour programmes earlier operated from
these two cities by private tour operators,” Mr Vivek Srivastava,
Chief General Manager of IRCTC, East, told newspersons here on
Monday. “This time the tours will be operated by IRCTC

IRCTC has been running Bharat Darshan tour programmes for budget
travellers from the East (Howrah station) since October last year.
So far, three tours have been organised — two to North India and one
to Rajasthan. The fourth one, to South India, will start on January
15 to Visakhapatnam, Pondicherry, Madurai, Rameswaram, Kanyakumari, Bangalore, Mysore and Chennai.

`Just breaking even’

“It will be rash to claim that the response so far has been as good
as anticipated,” Mr Srivastava observed. “At 60 per cent occupancy,
we’re just breaking even.”

Despite the tours being very “reasonable cost-wise” — only Rs
500/person/day covering all expenses, rail fare, meals, tea and
sightseeing — the response had not been up to the mark, presumably
because not many people knew about it . “Since we charge modestly
for the tours, we cannot spend heavily on publicity and
advertisements,” he added.

Luxury train tourism fast picking up in India

JAIPUR: The much talked about “Royal Rajasthan on Wheels”, flagged
off from Safdarjung railway station in New Delhi on Sunday, is the
second luxury train launched in the desert State to attract the high-
end tourists and bring to them sheer opulence and comfort while
traversing through the heartland of erstwhile Maharajas.

The seven-day sojourn of the train – which arrived here on Monday –
will be a heady mix of Rajasthan’s pristine historic experience on
the royal journey showing the amazing architecture, fascinating
festivals and exquisite crafts. The regal train is comparable to the
best trains in the world such as the Orient Express of Europe and
the Blue Train of South Africa.

Flagging off the new train, Union Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said
the immense success of the country’s first luxury train, “Palace on
Wheels”, had spurred her Ministry, the Railways and the Rajasthan
Tourism Development Corporation to launch the Royal Rajasthan on
Wheels as a joint venture. “It is an incredibly beautiful tourism
product,” she affirmed. Ms. Soni said the luxury train tourism was
fast picking up in the country as evident from the success of the
Incredible India special train for visiting the Buddhist sites,
Golden Chariot and Deccan Odyssey. The coaches for the Northern
Splendour are being fabricated for running in Punjab. The Union
Minister said the first 1,000 tourists boarding the train should get
a special discount.

TTEs in Shatabadi get palmtops

LUDHIANA: In order to provide ultramodern facilities to the railway employees, the authorities have equipped the ticket checkers of Shatabadi Express 2030, with palmtops that have helped them to complete their work easily. Till now, this facility has been provided in this train only, but the authorities are planning to extend it in other trains too.

Delhi headquarter has provided this facility to all the ticket checkers on duty in Swarna Shatabadi and the department is considering the possibility of extending the facility to several other trains. This would reduce the work load of the railway department as well as increase their efficiency.

One of the employees at the reservation centre said the facility to the ticket  checkers in Shatabadi has helped them to complete their work in half the usual time. He said earlier, they had to prepare charts for the TTs, but now they just need to transfer data from their main server to these palmtops, which includes information regarding the passengers travelling in the train. This makes it easy
for the TTs to check tickets of the passengers. He said it has also helped them to register all information directly with the department and papers are just prepared for records’ sake.

Dharmendra Kumar, senior divisional commercial manager (DCM) said they had provided these palmtops to the ticket checkers in Shatabadi around three months back on trial basis, but now as it is helping the department, they are thinking of providing this service in other express trains too. This way it would become
easier for them to check the passengers as well as to keep their records.\

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dedicated Freight Corridor work in progress

It is reported that after Japan International Cooperation Agency presented the final study report on Dedicated Freight Corridor to the Ministry of Railways, the work is in progress at various stages.

The DFC projects are the flagship projects of Indian Railways and are certainly one of the most ambitious infrastructure projects in the country. Railways have proposed a 2700 kilometer long railway line project (Eastern Corridor 1279 kilometers and Western corridor 1483 Kilometers as an augmentation of capacity of Indian Railways network to handle the large increase in volume of traffic expected over the coming years.

However, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has already given approval in principle for the projects. Indian Railways have decided to upgrade the entire feeder routes of proposed Dedicated Freight Corridor initially for 25 tonne axle load and subsequently to 30 tonne axle load. 4 of these proposed feeder routes falling on Western Railway are Pipavav, Surendranagar, Viramgam, Mahesana, Viramgam, Samkhiali, Kandla Port, Gandhidham, Palanpur and Mundra Port, Gandhidham. The bridges falling on these feeder routes are also required to be upgraded for making them fit for 25/30 tonne axle load train operation.

High air fares spell boon for railways\

16 Jan 2009, 0455 hrs IST

MUMBAI: The astronomical rise in air fares, coupled with the financial slump, has proved profitable for the railways. Both the Central and Western Railway have shown a healthy growth in revenue earned by long-distance trains. Extra
winter and summer trains were pressed in both the sections to tackle the rush of passengers.

CR ran 54.9% extra special trains in 2008 and WR saw a 33.4% hike in takers to favoured destinations like Goa, Delhi and Jaipur. CR ran 1,221 specials as compared to 788 last year while WR ran 929 specials as opposed to last year’s 696. CR also ran 600 short-distance specials to popular destinations in their jurisdiction.

“One of the reasons for the shift in frequent air passengers’ loyalty to trains is the high airline prices. Indian Railways has kept fares prices stable and areas of demand have been identified and more services pressed there,” CR chief PRO S C Mudgerikar said. CR saw an excellent growth in winter specials, from 121 in 2007 to 338 last year. “There has been an increase in the three-tier airconditioned section as it is economical and comfortable,” he said.

WR chief PRO S S Gupta said he did not see too many train passengers going back to flights even though air fares had dipped recently . “Air fares are competitively prices only with first AC fares and this is a very small section and the economic situation is bad,” he reasoned.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 1:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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New Delhi, Jan 15 Aimed at curbing train accidents, the Railways have undertaken various safety measures, including installation of anti-collision device (ACD).

As a result of sustained efforts over the years, the number of consequential train accidents remained below 200 during the last two years.

There were 195 accidents in 2006-07 and 194 in 2007-08 despite substantial increase in traffic volume carried by the the Indian Railways.

In the current year also during April to November 2008, the number of consequential train accidents decreased from 138 to 117 in comparison to the corresponding period of the previous year.

ACD has been installed on 1,918 km of the Northeast Frontier railway and its further installation on more routes is being considered.

Under the safety drive, most of the work of replacement of over-aged assets like tracks, bridges, rolling stock and signalling gears have been completed from the non-lapsable Special Railway safety Fund of Rs 17,000 crores.

Production of crash-worthy coaches has already started and their production will be further increased in the coming years, according to a release.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 12:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘High-speed trains are need of hour’

MUMBAI: After optimising the potential of fright and passenger trains, Indian Railways is now focusing on running high-speed trains on short routes to compete with the growing aviation sector.
But railway planners feel the capital-intensive high-speed train project can be feasible only if commercial hubs are developed near stations in urban areas.

S K Vij, member (engineering) in the Railway Board, Delhi, said high-speed trains were the need of the hour for inter-city travel. “Our survey on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route shows there is enough traffic for high-speed travel. But the catch is the ticket price,” he said. The railway official was speaking to TOI after inaugurating a seminar by the Institution of Permanent Way Engineers here on Thursday.

Vij said a normal long-distance train journey costs just 30 paise per km. But a high-speed train journey would cost anywhere between Rs 3 and Rs 5 per km, making the ticket costly, he said. “The idea is to have enough passengers travelling on a reasonably priced ticket,” he said. A techno-economic feasibility study has already been commissioned by the railways for a high-speed corridor between Mumbai-Ahmedabad and Delhi-Amritsar.

‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’, luxury train flagged off

The train was flagged off in the presence of Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, Union Minister of State for Railways Naranbhai J. Rathwa, Rajasthan Tourism Minister Bina Kak and other dignitaries.

“Rajasthan is known world-wide for its heritage tourism. People want such lavish train, where they can aware themselves with the culture and traditions of Rajasthan,” said Soni.

The Indian Railways and RTDC have been already operating another luxury train, the ‘Palace on Wheels’ since 1982.

“It has better facilities, food varieties, there are more restaurants and bars. It is more luxurious than the ‘Palace on Wheels’,” said Kak.

Foreign tourists, who embarked their royal journey, said that they would enjoy travelling in the luxury train.

“Well, it seems so wonderful. We will see more of India by his wonderful way of travelling in train. It is supposed to be a very-very special train,” said Ana Cock, a tourist from England.

The new luxury train, which is an advanced version of the ‘Palace on Wheels’ will follow the same itinerary that is Delhi-Japiur-Jaisalmer-Jodhpur-Sawai-Madhopur-Chiitogarh-Udaipur-Bharatpur-Agra-Delhi.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hype Integracomm to set up LCD screens in Western Railway trains

OOH media company Hype Integracomm has installed LCD screens in all the Western Railway trains. The network of these screens, named as Smile TV, will relay a mix of entertainment, information and advertising 18 hours a day in all the
Western Railway trains. Hype Integracomm has entered into a five-year contract with the Western Railways to install and market LCD screens in suburban railways. There will be six screens per coach for all the 67 trains of the
Western Railway.

Hype Intgracomm is implementing this innovative idea for the first time in India. These screens will show advertisements, run contests, display SMS jokes, travel clips and will also show non-commercial content like safety messages and
other public interest messages.

To start with, the screens will show recorded content, but the company is developing solutions for real time content as well. Apart from being an innovative advertising medium with a great reach, these screens will also be a
good medium to present socially relevant messages. Once the real time content relay becomes possible, these screens would play a critical role in times of emergency. The potential of this medium is immense and it has not been explored so far in India.

L Vinay Reddy, MD, Hype Integracomm informed that these screens had gone through various tests and had been made tamper proof, damage proof and absolutely secure.

Hype Intgracomm owns international standard media assets in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Pune in the form of bus shelters, bus bays, green kiosks (tree guards), mobile toilets and regular toilets. In Bangalore, Hype is associated with the ‘Nirmala’ chain of toilets, a project of Infosys Foundation. Hype owns all the media assets that it markets and follows the BOT model in conjunction with the local governing bodies.


Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  

Railways to showcase Kashmir train in R-Day Parade

NEW DELHI: The Railways will showcase a tableau depicting the the train that
runs in the Kashmir Valley during this year’s Republic Day parade. The train was
inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in October last.

A tableau depicting the train operating between Rajwansher to Anantnag in
Kashmir will have a reflection of the snow covered Srinagar railway station, an
aerodynamic shaped DMU rake and a tunnel, sources said.

As a special feature, the train selected to be run on this stretch with the
1,400 HP diesel EMU engine has been provided with a heating system for quick and
trouble-free start in winter.

The train is also equipped with a snow-cutting type cattle guard at the driving
end of diesel engine for clearing snow from tracks during winter.

The coaches with a distinctive colour scheme have a passenger carrying capacity
of 90 persons in each coach. Besides, the coaches have heating arrangement for
passenger comfort through roof-mounted heating units. Wide unbreakable splinter
proof windows for a panoramic view and sliding doors at the doorways have also
been provided.

The tableau is a perfect thematic depiction of this beautiful Kashmir railway
system, a Railway official said. The tableau, which will be mounted on a tractor
and two trailers, will also have a group of artists performing during the

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment