Railway heritage show till May 1

TIRUCHI: The display of some rare photographs of railways and the milestones it had crossed over the years is an effort by the authorities here to showcase the rich heritage and history of the railway system to the general public.

The Divisional Railway authorities have exhibited the rare photographs at Tiruchi Junction to celebrate the 150 years of Railway in South India. Inaugurated by the Divisional Railway Manager S. Subramhanyan on Monday, the photo expo will go on till May 1 at Tiruchi Junction.


Over 50 photographs and portraits depicting different milestones of the railways along with railway stamps have been displayed at the station’s entrance and Platform 1. The pick is a photograph of passengers arriving from Sri Lanka by a steamer and boarding the Madras Boat Mail at the Dhanushkodi Pier.

Also on display are photographs of the famous Pamban viaduct and Scherzer Bridge with lifting spans; arrival of the first broad gauge passenger train at Tiruchi in 1929; passenger train from Tiruturaipundi to Nagapattinam; container freight service between Mumbai and Ahmedabad in 1966; interior platform view of Egmore Station besides photographs of different types of electric locomotives and that of an overhead electric travelling crane at the Golden Rock Railway Workshop in Tiruchi.

Portraits of various class of steam locomotives along with different types of signalling system; South Indian Railway’s narrow gauge mixed train operated in the 1930s; Nilgiri Mountain Railway opened from Mettupalayam to Conoor; first train between Mumbai to Thane in 1853 and the first AC locomotive ‘Bidhan’ commissioned in 1963 also form part of the photo exhibition.

The idea behind organising the expo is to enlighten the public about the origin and development of the railway system in the country and its rich heritage, said railway officials here.

The authorities have planned to display the photographs at other railway stations in Tiruchi division including Tiruchi Fort, Srirangam, Ariyalur, Villupuram, Puducherry, Vellore, Thanjavur, Kumbakonam, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuturai in the coming days.


Train service most attractive for kashmiris

Train service on Anantnag-Srinagar- Baramulla route, remained the most sought after mode of transport for people in Kashmir during strikes and holidays.

However, today hundreds of people who travelled from South and North Kashmir to Srinagar were disappointed after they learnt about the undeclared curfew restrictions imposed by the authorities.

Majority of them later travelled back to their homes by the return train.

”We do good business during strikes and other holidays, especially on Sundays when people along with their families enjoy the joyride of train,” said a railway official.

He said strikes or any other restriction did not have any impact on train service, which connects Baramulla with Anantnag through Badgam and Srinagar stations.

He said even during Amarnath land row and undeclared curfew and strikes during Assembly elections last year, train service remained unaffected.

A UNI correspondent who visited the Srinagar railway station at Nowgam saw a large number of people, along with their families, waiting to board train.

”I just want to take my family to Baramulla and travel back by the return train in the evening,” said Abdul Aziz, who has never crossed the Jawahar tunnel so far.

”My wife and children were very happy to see train for the first time today,” he said, adding strike and undeclared curfew provided him a chance to have joyride of the train.

However, another passenger Abdul Hamid who had come from Kakpora was very disappointed after he was told about the restrictions and strike.

He said he had come to deliver food to his family members in a hospital where his sister was admitted.

The passengers criticised the authorities for not making any arrangement at the railway station in the absence of private transport service. They said three-wheelers were charging several times higher fare against the normal rates.

A girl, studying in the Kashmir University said she had gone to his house on Saturday and returned only today. She too had to catch return train but she was told that she cannot reach to her rented house at Lal Bazar on the city outskirts.


New lease of life for High Speed Rail Link

Bangalore : The High Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is all set to pick up speed after initial hiccups. The
Rs 5,700-crore project is coming up for the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) review by the central government.

Notwithstanding the economic meltdown, 27 companies of international repute have applied for the public-private partnership (PPP) project.

Billed as one of the largest PPP projects, the proposal will be placed before the Centre for clearance to avail of Rs 1,040 crore, a grant to be released under VGF. The meeting, earlier scheduled for this week, has been postponed to May 10. Once the project is cleared, the VGF will be released during implementation.

The project was stalled for a while last year due to bureaucratic wrangles. Just when everything seemed on track, the infrastructure development department and ABIDe lobbied hard against it and suggested alternatives. However, the implementing agency, Karnataka State Industrial Investment Development Corporation (KSIIDC), and Delhi Metro Rail’s E Sreedharan, pushed for the project. Finally, the state cabinet, which met in Belgaum during the legislative session in January, gave its nod — all over again.

Earlier, tenders were floated for Request For Qualification in August but after cabinet approval, KSIIDC called for a second pre-bid meeting next month with the 27 firms which participated in the tendering process.

The 34-km rail link starts from M G Road and runs along the right side of the national highway to reach BIA. For the project, an estimated 162 acres have to be acquired, of which 130 are private and NHAI lands. Compensation of Rs 532 crore has been allocated for private lands and government/BBMP properties will be acquired free of cost.


Published in: on April 29, 2009 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

France railways delegates to meet GM Eastern railways

BL reported that a high level railway delegation from France, representing Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Francaias France’s state-owned and Europe’s major rail transport company is currently visiting India on a comparative study of rolling stock, engineering and maintenance.

Besides meeting the senior officials of the Railway Board and certain zonal railways, the team will also undertake field visits to railway workshops, RDSO, Lucknow and wagon manufacturing units in the private sector.

The delegation members also had met Mr Deepak Krishan GM of Eastern Railway who explained how top priority was being accorded in his zone to maintenance of rolling stock, to ensure reliability, safety and greater availability of the stock, more so because ER’s coaches, engines and wagons were running not only within the country but also in Bangladesh.


Video conference-based Unmanned enquiry booths at New Delhi

new delhi : In an effort to provide better passenger facilities in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games, Northern Railway has set up two automatic enquiry booths at the New Delhi and Old Delhi stations. The trial run, which began about ten days ago, has received tremendous response claimed Northern Railway officials.

“The new video conference-based enquiry system has been introduced at New Delhi and Old Delhi stations on a trial basis,” Divisional Railway Manager (Delhi division) B D Garg told Times City. According to Garg, the new system includes an LCD screen, a mike, a hotline, a monitoring machine, a camera and few other equipment and is operated by a person sitting at a distance. “We plan to establish a central call centre which will answer to these queries. In all probability, it is likely to come up at the DRM office,” said Garg.

A passenger has to simply speak out his question in the mike, which will be heard by the operator sitting in the control room. “The operator, whose image would be appearing on LCD screen at the counter, will resolve the query,” Garg said. He added the new system will help contain long queues at the counters.

Garg, who was transferred to Delhi Division recently, had earlier introduced such digital enquiry systems at several railway stations in the Danapur division. “If it appeals to people, we will introduce more such systems here in a phased manner,” he said.


Made-in-India coaches to run on Metro track

New Delhi The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has ordered eight new coaches, to be manufactured indigenously for the first time, to add to the carrying capacity of four trains in operation at present. The coaches will be manufactured by the Bharat Earth Movers Ltd in Bangalore.

The coaches will be designed to carry a maximum of 390 people — 50 sitting and 340 standing. “Two new coaches will be added to the four trains, increasing their carrying capacity by 780 each,” said a DMRC spokesman. The 70 trains operating at present run with four coaches each.

For the first time, the Metro coaches are being manufactured by an Indian company without any collaboration with a foreign firm, according to the DMRC. The coaches will be inducted after a test and trial session. The delivery of the first two coaches is expected by August.


Journalism on wheels

To provide an insight into the exhaustive electoral exercise in the world’s largest democracy, the BBC’s India Election Train was flagged off from Safdarjung Station here on Saturday.

Carrying a team of journalists working for its services in English, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil and Bengali besides Burmese, Swahili, Arabic and other foreign languages, the BBC will investigate stories and take a look at personalities behind the Lok Sabha po lls. Its mission is to explore how the Indian economy can resuscitate the global economy during recession.

Countrywide journey

Travelling from Delhi to Ahmedabad and then moving on to Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar, Kolkata, Patna and Allahabad before returning here, the team during its three-week journey will focus on whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has been able to change his image post-Godhra, e-governance and marginalisation in Hyderabad, the influence of Maoist insurgents in Bhubaneswar, caste wars and organised crimes in politics in Patna and Allahabad.

Leading the team, BBC World News Assignment Editor Mark Perrow said he developed a love for India while he was posted to Delhi alongside the legendary British journalist Mark Tully.

“I am thrilled to be back in India and will have to update myself as to how much your country has changed. India has a proud tradition of robust democratic debate and open campaigning. The real difference between Indian electioneering and the British one is in terms of colour and vivacity. The scale of enterprise across the vast country and the campaigning and voting is a huge exercise. People in the U.K. are impressed with how democracy functions here.”

Proper perspective

Asserting that British journalists cannot give a perspective of a multi-lingual and multi-cultural country like India sitting in Delhi or Mumbai, Mr. Perrow said the Indian political scene with its regional parties cannot be reflected properly unless one journeys across the country.


Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 4:43 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , ,

India to build rail line to Ladakh

NEW DELHI: The ambitious and strategically crucial project to link mountain-locked Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country by
train has moved a step closer to fructification with the Railways finalising the feasibility report in this regard.

The first rail link is proposed to be between Leh and Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh and six passenger trains and nine goods trains are planned on the 498 km-long section.

“The feasibility report of Leh-Bilaspur rail link project is almost ready and it will be submitted to Railway Ministry shortly for scrutiny. After the scrutiny, the report would be sent to the Planning Commission before being sent to Parliament for final approval,” said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the feasibility study.

The project is strategically crucial as it is part of India’s efforts to improve infrastructure in the border region considering that China has already built a rail link to Tibet.

China has also improved connectivity with Pakistan via the Karakoram highway which runs close to the Indian border.

The proposed Leh rail project came up for discussion at the Army Commanders’ Conference here recently in the context of improving supply lines along the border like China has done.

According to the study, the Leh-Bilaspur project, which is estimated to cost about Rs 22,000 crore, 6,000 passengers are expected to travel daily in the section, once the line is operational.


Published in: on April 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

Delhi Metro completes work on longest tunnel

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro achieved another feat by completing the construction work of its longest ever underground tunnel at Khan Market.

The tunnel, with a length of 1.775 kilometres, is part of the under construction corridor between Central Secretariat and Badarpur and is the longest ever constructed by single tunnel boring machine (TBM) in Delhi Metro, DMRC spokesman Anuj Dayal said.

Till now, two 1.45 kilometre long tunnels constructed between Malviya Nagar and Hauz Khas were the longest tunnels.

Another major achievement is that the construction was completed in just 152 days.

Dayal said of the 1.775 kms, 37.5 metres of tunneling was completed in a day with the installation of 25 rings which is an Asian record.

The tunneling work for this stretch was started on November 21st, 2008. The Central Secretariat — Khan Market stretch of 2.53 kilometres is actually the longest distance between any two Metro stations under Delhi Metro.


Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 5:04 pm  Comments (1)  

Longest railway bridge coming up

KOCHI: The 4.62-km railway bridge over the Vembanad Lake cutting across the island of Mulavukad will become India’s longest rail bridge when it is commissioned in November this year.

The bridge that snakes its way over the Vembanad Lake is part of the nearly 9-km railway link that is being built for the Vallarpadam International Container Transshipment Terminal.

The Vallarpadam bridge will beat the current longest rail bridge, the Nehru Setu Bridge near Dehri on river Sone in Bihar, by more than a kilometre.

“It is the longest bridge being built in the shortest time,” said an official of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which is executing the work. When it is commissioned, it would have taken 18 months to complete the work, with the efforts of an average of 500 labourers and 50 engineers daily.

The total cost of the rail link for the Vallarpadam project, including the railway station and goods yard at Edappally, is Rs.246 crore. The work is being funded completely by the Union government. A total of 11,000 tonnes of ordinary steel and 2,500 tonnes of high tensile steel will be required for the 133 spans of the bridge. Its 133 pillars are built on piles sank to depths ranging between 45 and 55 metres.

Just as ambitious as the bridge is the Vallarpadam transhipment terminal project that expects to handle three million TEUs of containerised cargo a year once it is commissioned.

A total of Rs.3,000 crore, spread over two phases, will be invested in the project, which will have a capacity to receive vessels up to 8,000 TEU.

The transhipment terminal will be run by India Gateway Terminals Limited, part of Dubai Ports World.