IRCTC to begin advance bookings for RIRTL

The Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is gearing up to open bookings for the Royal Indian Rail Tours (RIRTL) – a joint venture between IRCTC and Cox & Kings to operate and manage the first pan-India luxury tourist train – the Maharaja Express while unveiling it at ITB Berlin. The train is scheduled to roll out towards the end of this year.

Dr Nalin Shinghal, director (Tourism & Marketing), IRCTC, said, “It is a latest state-of-the-art train with pneumatic suspensions, eco-friendly toilets and the largest cabins. Qualitatively, it will be a much better product compared to other luxury trains and we aim to compete with other international luxury trains.” IRCTC will co-market this product with Cox & Kings at ITB Berlin and open advance bookings followed by extensive campaigning for eight to nine months in focus markets of UK, USA, Russia, Australia and Japan.

For the domestic market, IRCTC will continue working on Bharat Darshan, popularly known as ‘Village on Wheels’ – an all-inclusive itinerary for Rs 500 per person per night available for various parts of the country. For the mid-market segment, which is IRCTC’s biggest market, it is tying up with ground partners across the country to offer all-inclusive packages. “We are looking at three times growth than last year with our hotels now being available on the website, launch of Ginger hotel and recently the Buddhist trail winning the National Tourism Award,” he added.

Maharajas’ Express super-luxury train unveiled at ITB Berlin

Maharajas’ Express, India’s first pan-India super luxury train, was unveiled at ITB in Berlin in the presence of Sujit Banerjee, secretary, tourism, Government of India, Rakesh Tandon, MD, IRCTC and Peter Kerkar, MD of Cox & Kings India.

The luxury train has 23 coaches with a passenger capacity of 82. It is the first luxury train that boasts of four distinct configurations. It has five deluxe carriages, six junior suite carriages, two suite carriages and one presidential suite. Dining options include two fine dining restaurants that seat 42 persons at a time, a bar, a lounge with its own bar, game tables and a club.

S Railway Loco Works gets top safety rating

First Published : 31 Mar 2009 12:40:00 AM ISTLast Updated : 31 Mar 2009 09:55:38 AM ISTCHENNAI: The Southern Railway Loco Works, Perambur, has obtained the Occupational Health and Safety Management System Certificate (OHSAS) 18001:2007.

Loco Works, Perambur, is the first workshop in the Southern Railway to achieve the distinction of obtaining the OHSAS 18001-2007 certificate for Occupational Health and Safety performances from the International Certification Service (P) Ltd, Mumbai accredited by the Joint Accreditation System (JAS-ANZ) of Australia and New Zealand, consequential to the successful completion of stage two audit.

Loco Works has implemented a Quality Management System – QMS (ISO 9001-2000) for its products and services and also an Environmental Management System – EMS (ISO 14001-2004) for its environment performance in line with the International System Standards. The maintenance of these systems has been conformed through periodical internal surveillance audits.

The certificate was given at a function held at Loco Works, Perambur, on Sunday. Rakesh Chopra, General Manager, Southern Railway, who was the chief guest on the occasion, received the OHSAS certificate from S Subramanian, General Manager, International Certification Services (P) Ltd. (ICS), Mumbai in the presence of V Carmelus, Chief Mechanical Engineer, Southern Railway.

This achievement could have been possible without the dedicated co-operation of the Railway Medical Department under the leadership of Dr A Elangovan, Chief Medical Director, Southern Railways. To maintain these systems, Loco Works has implemented an integrated documentation from October 2008 by merging the documents of all systems together and the same has been named as Integrated Management System (IMS).

OHSAS is an international health and safety system specification, which will help the organization to control or eliminate its occupational health and safety hazards, and associated risks involved in its process, service and transactions.

Now cockroach free trains can be a reality

In the middle of night a passenger shrieking at the sight of a cockroach is enough to give sleepless nights to others in the coach. Knowing, the creature is not for damage, travelling with the swarming cockroaches can never be a happy journey.

To have pests in railway compartments is never a welcome experience. But with the Railways awarding a three-fold contract to a private agency to rid trains of the pesky creatures there could be a respite in sight.

The effort has started from January this year. The agency will be responsible for warding off rats, cockroaches and also mosquitoes from the compartments much to the passengers’ relief.

The pests are not confined to non-AC coaches but are common in AC coaches as well. Keep open a pack of biscuits and there they come, all around it. But, avoiding the unwanted creatures is not possible for passengers who have no choice left but to board the trains full of pests and rodents.

So far Railways have extended a plea that it has made lot of efforts to rid the trains of rodents and pests but they always keep coming back. However, now there could be some change expected for all the trains originating from Lucknow division of Northern Railway (NR).

Chartered coaches for pilgrims

The Sangamitra Express will be the first in South Western Railway (SWR) Division to introduce this venture from the City station to Mughal Sarai, located 16 kms from Varanasi.

In all, 288 pilgrims will undertake the journey in two batches on March 18 and 19. The group is affiliated with the Adichunchanagari Mahasamsthana Mutt, based in Mandya district. The members are heading to Varanasi to take part in a function to inaugurate the mutt’s branch in the holy city.

Four coaches (sleeper Class) will be attached to the train, two on each day. This will be an integrated package tour organised by Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) and includes the return trip, road transport to the destination, accommodation and food for the pilgrims.

IRCTC had earlier allotted exclusive coaches for school children and corporate employees but it will be the first time that coaches dedicated to pilgrims were being introduced, said the Chief Regional Manager, SWR Division, IRCTC, S Gagarin. Enthused by the demand, IRCTC now plans to earmark atleast 50 such coaches in the next financial year.

Ramachandra of the Mahasamsthana mutt, who is overseeing the arrangements said, “Devotees from all over Karnataka will board the train at the City station. We planned to book an entire train to transport over 1,000 devotees and approached the Hubli Railway Divisional Office. They suggested this option and we feel it is a better deal,” he said. This package would ensure that all the requirements of a sizeable number of devotees would be entirely taken care of, Ramachandra added.

The devotees will return to the City on March 23 and 25 from Mughal Sarai. The cost for the entire batch works out to Rs 7 lakhs.

“Chartered coaches will be charged as per full tariff tate specifications, issued by the Railway Ministry,” said Deputy General Manager, B S Kiran. This means there would not be any concessions for any category of passenger, including senior citizens and children.

Automated ticketing machines at DMRC stations

new delhi : With Delhi Metro running packed to capacity, the queues at ticket counters in Metro stations are getting longer and longer. To
provide relief to passengers from these long queues Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is now installing automated ticketing machines at busy stations.

The new machines will enable commuters to insert money in exchange for tokens. People can also recharge their smart cards by tendering cash or using credit cards. To start with, 16 such machines are being installed at busy stations at a cost of Rs 20 lakh per machine. “The automated ticketing machines will be installed at Barakhamba Road, Central Secretariat and Vishwavidyalaya stations by the end of April. In all, 16 machines have been procured,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

Using the vending machine is simple. A commuter needs to select the destination on a touchscreen computer and insert the required amount of money into slots provided in the machine. Commuters can insert coins of Re 1, 2 and 5 denomination and notes of Rs 10, 50 and 100 value. If the cost of the token is lower than the money inserted, the machine will automatically tender change too.

Those with smart cards will be able to recharge them at the machines. For these commuters, the machine is also designed to accept payment by credit cards. Such vending machines are very popular at Metro stations abroad and the ones procured by DMRC have been adapted to Delhi needs. “A token vending machine was installed on a trial basis at the Rajeev Chowk metro station about two years ago and based on commuter feedback, certain modifications were incorporated. The improved model is now being tested at the Shastri Park metro station,” added the spokesperson.

The corporation also plans to install the machines at new Metro stations at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and Jangpura as these are going to be busy during the Commonwealth Games. Rajeev Chowk station will also be fitted with a vending machine soon.

The automated machines are also expected to reduce the load on the existing ticketing system, which is totally manual at present.

Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
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DOOHM launches live digital hoardings

City based DOOHM, a leading dynamic digital out-of-home company, has launched live digital hoardings at Chennai Central, Egmore and Madurai Railway Stations.

As Tamil Nadu Government banned hoardings in the State, DOOHM’s digital hoarding’s offers advertisers an alternative solution to run their TV commercials in lieu of static branding.

Digital hoardings were powered with live feature, give news,weather, cricket scores, stocks and other real time updates.

This medium was also compatible with playing other formats like digital posters, ticker tape and infomercials, a company release here today said.

It said digital hoarding dimensions ranged from a minimum size of 10 sq ft and recently, DOOHM launched one of India’s biggest digital hoarding of 300 sq ft in Bangalore.

Spurred by positive response, DOOHM was planning to add 11 more digital hoardings at MRTS stations in the city and suburban Tambaram, it said.

The company had built a platform for both big and small advertisers. It has also drawn out a pan India network of LCD screens for advertisers across Airports, Business Locations like IT parks and BPOs, Malls, Clubs and Gyms.

Metro’s first standard gauge train arrives in city

India today moved a step closer to integrate with the international Metro technology with the arrival of the country’s first standard gauge train at the Delhi Metro’s Mundka depot, which became the first depot of Phase-II to receive a standard gauge train set.

The standard gauge train, to be used on the Inderlok-Mundka corridor of the Phase II of the Delhi Metro, was transported by road on four trailers from Mundra port in Gujarat and arrived at the Mundka depot this morning after a 10-day journey. The train was brought by a ship to India last week from South Korea where it was manufactured.

The train, consisting of two driving trailer coaches and as many motor coaches, was unloaded by a heavy-duty crane at the Mundka depot in an operation that lasted about six hours. The crane, which can lift a maximum load of 100 tonnes, unloaded the coaches, weighing 40 tons each, one by one on to the tracks that had been specially laid for the purpose.

The train will now be tested on technical parameters in the depot. Later, it will undergo testing on the main line for load and braking, etc. The Mundka depot is one of four DMRC depots being constructed for Phase-II, the others being Yamuna Bank, Sarita Vihar and Sultanpuri.

Till now, the DMRC had only broad gauge lines (5 ft 6 inches) but three lines of Phase-II are being built on standard gauge (4 ft 8.5 inches), which are Inderlok-Mundka, Central Secretariat- the Badarpur and the Airport Express Line.

The DMRC will be getting 48-standard gauge trains from a consortium of Mitsubishi, ROTEM, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and Bharat Earth Movers Ltd (BEML). While 46 trains will have four coaches each, two trains will have six coaches each.

Of the 48 trains, only the one that has arrived was to be manufactured in Korea while the rest are being manufactured in BEML’s factory in Bangalore and delivery of these trains is expected to start from May 2009 onwards and will be completed by the end of 2010.

AC Metro feeder buses in Delhi on trial

NEW DELHI: Feeling hot after alighting from a Delhi Metro? Don’t worry! Now, you will be able to enjoy the comfort of air-condition even while travelling in the Metro feeder buses.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has introduced AC feeder bus service in the Shastri Park Metro Station to Mayur Vihar Phase-I route on a trial basis and may extend the facility to all the routes in the city.

“The AC feeder bus has been introduced on a trail basis and we may extend it across the city based on the response we get from the present service. The trial began on March 12,” DMRC Chief Public Relations Officer Anuj Dayal said.

Dayal said as of now no decision has been taken with regard to extending the AC service. “A decision has to be taken in this regard. As of now, nothing has been decided.”

He added that the response received from the commuters so far was “good”. Asked about the ticket price in the AC bus, Dayal said: “It’s slightly higher than the normal ticket. But it seems to be working.”

The DMRC currently runs 120 feeder bus services from various metro stations in the city and it is being used extensively by the commuters. The current routes passes through areas such as Geeta Colony Road, Akshardham Temple and Noida link road.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Metro rail, the pride of Delhi

The Metro rail will not be a success till all the passengers are educated and respect the rules and regulations of the project in a civilised manner. Defacing of the trains by vandals must be checked severely.

SURFACE TRANSPORT in Delhi is in a state of chaos. There are more vehicles in Delhi than in any other metropolitan city and they are congesting the roads day by day. The result is long waiting time, traffic blockages and numerous road accidents. So what is the answer? Pollution has nearly pushed Mother Earth onto its deathbed. Thousands of factories and vehicles are pouring tons of pollutants into our atmosphere every day. At this juncture, the Metro rail comes as a breath of fresh air. The Metro is providing a valuable service. Metro rail is indeed a boon for the existing traffic scenario. It would certainly provide us with a smooth, efficient and eco-friendly transport system in the Capital.

December 25, 2005, was the inaugural day of the Metro. On this day Delhi got a much-awaited gift of comfortable and dignified mode of travel — the Metro rail. Thousands thronged the station to enjoy a ride in the air-conditioned coaches. It is cheaper and faster than any other mode of transport. Ticketing is fully automatic. All entrances to the Metro stations are controlled through automatic flap gates.

A training school for drivers and other operating staff has been set up. The Delhi Metro has been equipped with the most modern communication and train control system.

The work of Metro rail project is being undertaken in different phases by the DMRC. The government is taking every possible step to complete the project as soon as possible. Though tight security arrangements have been made, the concerned agencies must ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules and regulations. The Metro is a technological marvel that promises an international experience of travel.

The launching of the Delhi Metro is a result of team effort, hard work and dedication of the entire Metro team and the work is still going on war-footing in many parts of Delhi. The Metro rail will not be a success till all the passengers are educated and respect the rules and regulations of the project in a civilized manner. Defacing of the trains by vandals must be checked severely. Let us hope that the Delhi Metro fulfils all its promises and comes up to the expectations of the people.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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Delhi Metro to run through mall

Delhi Metro line cutting through the centre of a state-of-the-art building complete with office space, shopping outlets with a roof-top cafeteria. And that too it being a `green’ building. Sounds too good to be true?

Soon, this will shape into reality as the last station of the Gurgaon Metro line at Huda City Center is going to be developed like this. The construction of the building, spanning across 30,000 square metres, has already begun and will be ready before the line gets operational in January next year.

The seven-storeyed station building will have a parking for over 1,000 cars in the basement, shopping area on the ground floor and half the first floor, which will also double up as the concourse for the Metro station. The second floor will house the platform for the elevated Metro line. Three floors over that will be let out for offices and about 429 sq metres of space on the roof top is being converted into a cafe, which will provide a scintillating view of the millennium city.

The building, which is being constructed by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), is eco-friendly and the architectural and engineering details have been finalized in consultation with TATA Energy Research Institute. To make it a green building, it’s being constructed with 100% natural clay tiles which are high on thermal insulation. There is optimum use of natural light inside to minimise power consumption and the noise levels have been designed to conform to BIS levels.

There will be provision for recycling of waste water and rain water harvesting too. The building has been designed in a manner that there is optimum utilisation of climatic factors like wind loads, use of solar energy and air movement patterns to save energy. The new building is modelled on the lines of DMRC’s IT Parks in Shastri Park.

This is the first time a Metro station is being built in the middle of a building, which has a retail area and offices also housed in it. The idea is to utilize the land for property development, to add some extra money to DMRC’s coffers. And for those working or shopping in the space, they will have the convenience of a Metro station in the same premises.

The look of the building is “international”, in keeping with the character of new Gurgaon. The design is such that the running trains will be visible even from outside the building.

This is the last station of the Central Secretariat-Gurgaon line.