TCI schedules maiden journey of Indian Maharaja – Deccan Odyssey for November 18, 2009

Travel Corporation (India) Ltd (TCI) has scheduled the launch of Indian Maharaja – Deccan Odyssey, a five-star deluxe train in India in November this year. The tourist train which will accommodate total 96 passengers has a total of 21 coaches, of which 11 are passenger cars. The train named Indian Maharaja – Deccan Odyssey has all modern facilities inside the train including spa, beauty saloon, restaurants and lounge etc. The train is scheduled to depart from Mumbai on November 18, 2009 and will cover several places like Aurangabad, Udaipur, Sawai Madhopur, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi. The tour itinerary also includes private luxury transfers, Volvos for groups, personalisd and multilingual tour guides, exclusive safaris, flea markets, cultural programmes and gala dinners. The Taj Hotels & Palaces will be the official F&B partner for this luxury train and will offer specialised catering services to guest on board.

TCI has already received good market response from UK, USA, Europe, Switzerland, Germany and Japan and is targeting up-market travellers from these countries. The basic cost of per passenger for a day begins from USD 525 to USD950.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Now charge mobiles in metro rail

The Delhi Metro is going to install 134 multiple mobile charging machines at its stations to be operational by July in a phased manner.

About 42 such machines will be installed in line I, 32 in Line II and 60 in Line III. The machines will have multiple sockets to enable commuters to charge their mobile phones of different brands and makes, free of cost. The mobile phone charging machine will have six sockets/chargers and will be mounted on the walls in the paid area of the station, a DMRC release said.

In addition, charging points will be available for laptops and mobile phones in the 131 new trains which are being inducted for Phase II of the Delhi Metro.

This mobile and laptop charging facility will be an addition to a line of advantages at the Metro stations already equipped with many such facilities like bill drop boxes, ATMs, Tea/Coffee vending machines, coin vending machines, eating joints, book shops, gift shops etc. Rent a cycle facility is also available at Patel Chowk, Pragati Maidan and Indrapratha Metro stations.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mobile vans to deliver train tickets

NEW DELHI: In a bid to make booking tickets more convenient, Railways are mulling introduction of mobile vans with ticketing facility.

The vans, up-linked to satellite, would be issuing railway tickets in reserved and unreserved categories primarily in rural and remote corners of the country.

“We are examining a proposal for launching mobile van service for issuing tickets at certain places,” a senior Railway Ministry official said.

“The purpose behind the system is to reach out every corner of the country. Facilities would be made available for not only reserved tickets but also for unreserved tickets,” the official said.

Railways had already announced its plan to book tickets through mobile phones. A pilot project for this is to be launched in Mumbai shortly.

“The modalities are being worked out for launching the pilot project,” he said.

In order to bring transparency, Indian Railway is also planning to display the status of the availability of tickets for reservation for important trains at the ticket counters.

Meanwhile, efforts are on to link all stations selling tickets across the country with the computerised system.

Railways have finalised a plan to add more reservation counters across the country in order to help passengers get tickets easily.

As per an estimate, there are about 1,800 such counters across various zones. As per the plan, about 500 more counters would be added and a decision in this regard is likely to be made in the upcoming Railway Budget.

The idea is to decongest the existing ticket counters so that people do not face difficulty in getting tickets, said the official.

Railways are likely to focus on passenger amenities besides revenue generation in the budget this time.

Rlys bank upon thermal, wind power generation

The railways plan to have another thermal power plant even as their Nabinagar project, to come up in a joint venture with country’s largest power producer NTPC Ltd, has remained a non-starter. In addition to thermal power generation, the railways also have mega plans for wind power generation, for which they are looking for suitable locations in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

The railways are in the process of hiring consultants for chalking out a captive power generation plan, which is likely to include thermal power generation for running trains and power from non-conventional sources for railway stations, sources said.

The Indian Railways consumes about 14 million units of electricity every year, at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore. The plan will also aim at reducing this cost.

The 1,000-Mw Nabinagar project in Bihar has been delayed due to problems relating to land acquisition, Chandan Roy, NTPC director (operations), told Business Standard. NTPC is a 74 per cent equity partner in Bharatiya Rail Bijlee Company, the joint venture that is implementing the project, with the railways holding the remaining 26 per cent stake. “We have not been able to meet the original schedule for the plant due to delay in land acquisition,” said Roy, adding that all other clearances were in place.

A railway official said the department was putting in equity of only Rs 417 crore in the Nabinagar project, while it would save Rs 400 crore annually when the plant became operational. The total project cost is Rs 1,605 crore.

Roy said the order for the main plant of the project had already been placed with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). The company expects to get 74-750 acres out of the 1,342 acres required for the project by August-end. The balance land is expected to be acquired by October. “Though a plant of 1,000-Mw capacity takes about 36-40 months to be constructed, we would work out the schedule for the plant only after the entire land has been acquired,” said Roy.

On the non-conventional energy front, the railways’ foray has been more successful with its 10-Mw wind farm in Chennai becoming operational last March. Suzlon had helped the railways put up the plant.

Southern Railway to chug along green way

CHENNAI: Travelling by train could soon be a green way with Southern Railway planning to replace polluting diesel with much more environment-friendly and indigenously produced bio-diesel in its diesel locomotives.

As a first step towards making the operation of trains environment-friendly and cost-effective, Southern Railway has signed a MoU with Indian Railways Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF) to set up a mega bio-diesel plant at the Loco Works in Perambur.

The plant, with a capacity of one lakh litres per day, is expected to meet the bio-diesel requirements of Southern Railway, South Central Railway and South Western Railway.

The railways is going ahead with electrification of tracks but several pockets in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are yet to be electrified and hence require diesel locomotives to operate trains. With the cost of diesel high, the railways has cosen bio-diesel as an alternative fuel.

Currently, about 600 kilo litres of diesel are used per day to operate trains on the southern trunk route from Chennai Egmore to Tiruchi, Madurai, Kanyakumari and also to Tuticorin.

“Many popular trains from Chennai Egmore are operated with diesel locomotives. The mega plant will be able to produce bio-diesel to fuel these trains as well as the diesel locomotives used for shunting,” said Southern Railway chief mechanical engineer V Carmelus.

The plant is expected to start production by 2010 and “will be able to meet the requirement of the green fuel for railways in the coming years,” he added.

According to a study conducted by the Golden Rock Workshop in Tiruchi, the green fuel has many advantages it reduces wear and tear of engine components, enhances the life of fuel-injection equipment, cuts the use of lube oil and reduces exhaust gas temperature.

The Loco Works in Perambur already runs a pilot plant and produces around 250 litres of bio diesel, used for a couple of locomotives and also for automobiles used by the factory.

As early as 2002, experimenting with bio-diesel began as part of a mission to find an alternative fuel. After trials, the New-Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express was run successfully on a five per cent blend of bio-diesel.

In 2003, Southern Railway started its experiments with trial production in a five-litre plant by procuring raw oil of Pongammia Pinnata (Karanja) at the Loco Works. Four automobiles were put on bio-diesel; one of them was fully run on bio-diesel while others used a 20 % blend of the green fuel.

In July 2004, a pilot plant of 100 litres was installed. The Loco Works uses cooking oil collected from star hotels as raw material to produce bio diesel. Currently, Southern Railway uses bio-diesel to run a broad gauge locomotive, a Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU), two metre gauge locomotives and industrial machinery like fork lifts, bulldozer, tipper trucks, cranes and others. Nilgriri Mountain Railway is also run using bio diesel.

Entire NE region to be covered by railway network soon

Indian Railways plans to bring the whole of North Eastern (NE) region on the country’s railway map within the next few years under Prime Minister’s ‘Vision 2020’ programme.

”Under the current mandate ‘Vision 2020’ all NE states will be brought under railway connectivity,” Mr Shiv Kumar, General Manager (Construction), Northeast Frontier (NF) Railways, told UNI here today.

Work has already progressed under the scheme as Tripura’s capital Agartala has been connected to Kumarghat in August 2008.

”Next we plan to bring Meghalaya into the railway map by connecting Azara in Assam to Byrnihat and from Dudhnoi (Assam) to Mendipatthar,” Mr Kumar said.

In Nagaland tracks exist upto Dimapur and would be further extended upto capital Kohima. In Tripura, capital Agartala will be connected to the southernmost tip of Sabroom. Incidentally, Sabroom is adjacent to the Bangladesh port city of Chittagong and railway connectivity will boost trade in the region.

”In Manipur tracks will be extended from Jiribam to capital Imphal while in Mizoram tracks will be laid from Bhairabi to Sairang which is just short of capital Aizawl,” Mr Kumar added.

In the eastern border state of Arunachal Pradesh, capital Itanagar will be connected to Harmuti in Assam while the Himalayan state of Sikkim too will not lag behind. Tracks will be laid from Sevoke in neighbouring West Bengal to Rangpo in South Sikkim.

”The whole project will take four to five years,” Mr Kumar informed.

”Plans are afoot for large-scale gauge conversion to facilitate trains like the Rajdhani to run in some stretches of the NE region.

Gauge conversion will be undertaken in Rangiya, Murkongselek, Lumding, Silchar, Badarpur, Kumarghat and Jiribam,” he confirmed.

Besides, the NF Railways plans to build another rail cum road bridge over the mighty Brahmaputra in Assam apart from the existing two.

— (UNI) — 24CA10.xml

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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GRP makes success of public-police liaison

Providing yeoman service at railway stations across Haryana, they have come to be the eyes and ears of the Government Railway Police (GRP). An initiative to make railway stations safer for passengers by appointing rail wardens from among the public by the GRP has made a success of the public-police liaison, the police department has been trying so hard to push.

And, the addition to GRP’s extended family stands as evidence of the initiative’s success. Beginning with 10 members each in all districts across Haryana, the GRP has as many as 1,200 rail wardens on its rolls less than 10 months after its launch and the family continues to grow.

To help the railway authorities curb the menace of unsafe journey, the GRP Rail Warden Association was registered in October 2008 at the behest of IG (Railways) KK Mishra. The work on ground by the rail wardens was ably executed by SP (Railways) Bharti Arora.

“The department was particularly worried about the incidents of pick-pocketing and drugging passengers and cheating, especially foreigners. The only way to check these incidents was to involve the public in policing. Accordingly, a meeting of the GRP authorities along with prominent citizens of the city was organised and the rail warden association formed,” says Vijay Kumar Vatsya, the nominated honorary general secretary of the association.

The association was instituted at the district level and SHOs of the Railway Police at respective stations were made presidents of the district association whereas respective RPF officers were made the vice-presidents while the GRP rail wardens were given the duty of secretary of the association.

The association maintains that it has made a good beginning and positive results have started pouring in. While information about the safety and security of the people and passengers in particular is being provided to the police authorities by the rail wardens, headway has been made in checking drug trafficking, chain snatching and theft of valuables while anti-social elements are being watched.

The police department admits their contribution in making rail travel safer for passengers. “Unclaimed bags with over 12 kg contraband was recovered by rail wardens in Ambala on two occasions. Besides, a number of pickpockets were arrested in the past few months and smuggling of liquor has been checked. We hold regular meetings with rail wardens to update them about our requirements and review the progress from time to time,” says Mishra.

Since the rail wardens are people from all walks of life and all age groups, including rickshaw pullers and vendors, who act as good informers to the department, the senior officers, through regular interface, also try to know the difficulties faced by the former in the execution of their duties. The next meeting of the secretaries of the rail warden associations of the districts is slated for June 21.

Meanwhile, the association has decided to publish a quarterly magazine named “Safe Rail” in which the efforts and achievements of the association will be elaborated and these will be displayed at the railway stations.

The idea is not only to provide a platform to rail wardens to exchange views but also to provide valuable information to check the modus operandi of the anti-social elements in the vicinity of railway stations. A non-government organisation, the members of association are doing social service on honorary basis.

In fact, so enthused is the police department with the response to this scheme that it was presented at one of the two most successful experiments in the field of community policing at a national seminar on the same subject in Bhopal last week.

“Community policing has been identified as an important micro mission by the ministry. In pursuance of this mission, the rail warden scheme was introduced wherein the rail wardens perform duties as patrolmen, witnesses, informers and mediators,” explains DG (Law and Order) VN Rai, who is spearheading the “Samvedi” police campaign in the state.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SECR provides 24 hr sanitary staff in moving trains

The South East Central Railways (SECR) have started a round-the-clock sanitary service in moving trains with a view to improve amenity facilities during travelling.

According to a spokesman of the SECR, contrary to the age old practice of clean up operation on arrival of trains at major stations, SECR would provide the round-the-clock sanitary service to passengers in the moving trains coming within its jurisdiction.

Besides one Supervisor for each train, there would be one sweeper for three reserved bodies, who would travel with the passengers and keep the train clean right from its originating station to its destination, the sources said. Initially, this service had been provided in five long-distance trains which include 8237/8238 Bilaspur-Amritsar-Bilaspur Express, 8233-8234 Bilaspur-Indore-Bilaspur Narmada Express, 8239/8240 Bilaspur-Nagpur-Bilaspur Shivnath Express, 2855-2856 Bilaspur-Nagpur Intercity Express, 2851-2852 Bilaspur-Chennai-Bilaspur Superfast Express and 2849-2850 Bilaspur-Pune-Bilaspur superfast Express trains, the spokesman said, adding that it would be extended to other trains in the Zone after a periodical review of its impact.

Indian Railways to manufacture stainless steel coaches

TOI reported that the railways have decided to manufacture low cost stainless steel coaches to improve the riding comforts of passengers. The Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala in Punjab has recently rolled out 28 such coaches, which would be first introduced on the Amritsar to Jaynagar route for the Shaheed Express train.

According to sources, these newly designed coaches are similar in looks to the LHB German coaches which are being currently used in the Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains across the country. The salient features of these coaches are that they have superior aesthetics, better riding comforts and low maintenance cost as well.

A Railway Board official said that the newly designed coaches are all set to herald an era of stainless steel coaches in the Indian Railways which would be used in all mail and express trains. The railways have, so far, introduced stainless steel coaches in the Rajdhani Express and Shatabdi Express trains only.

Official said that the coach factory has decided to replace the flat bogies currently being used in LHB coaches to indigenously manufactured bogies to bring down the manufacturing cost of stainless steel coaches. Use of German based LHB technology in manufacturing each air conditioned coach has been too expensive now. However, the use of new indigenous technology in manufacturing stainless steel coaches with a modified ICF type bogie is likely to reduce about 40% manufacturing cost being incurred on production of each LHB coach, adding that the railways would, thus, save a huge sum of money in manufacturing such coaches for mail and express trains.

According to source, that apart, the railways have decided to manufacture fireproof coaches from safety point of view. The RCF has been manufacturing new fireproof coaches which are likely to replace all outdated and general coaches in future. The railways have started manufacturing fireproof AC and sleeper coaches based on the technology and design of the LHB German coaches.

Railway Board official said under the new design approved by the Board, the curtain and other fittings inside the AC coaches are fire resistant. In the event of any incident, it is not much harmful for passengers. These fireproof coaches are being manufactured by super fine stainless steel materials.

Sourced further added that the railways have taken a policy decision to replace the existing ICF Swiss coaches with LHB German coaches to enhance safety measures on running trains. Currently, the ECR has more than 2500 coaches, including AC and sleeper ones, which need immediate replacement to maintain foolproof safety.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 11:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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RCF gets Golden Peacock Environment Management Award

In its pursuit to achieve excellence in Environment Management, Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala bagged the prestigious Golden Peacock Environment Management Award – 2009 consecutively for 2nd year, which was received by Shri. Pradeep Kumar, General Manager, RCF from Dr. Madhav Mehra, President, World Council for Corporate Governance, U.K. in the “Global Convention of Climate Security” held at Palampur (Himachal Pradesh) from 12th June 2009 to 14th June 2009. This convention was organized by the World Environment Foundation. The award jury was chaired by Justice P.N.Bhagwati, former Chief Justice of India and Member, UN Human Rights Commission.

About 1000 organizations including big corporate houses of the country filed their nominations for Golden Peacock Awards. A paper was presented by RCF on the environmental measures being taken to save the natural resources and conservation of energy to make RCF Residential complex as a model township.

To conserve energy, 7000nos.of 40 watts tube lights have been replaced with 28 Watts energy saving fittings while 6000 nos. of 40/60/100 Watts lamps have been replaced with 5/11 Watt CFLs. The AC units of Air-conditioned coaches will now be provided with the latest R-407 refrigerants (Chloro-Floro Carbon free) for their environment friendliness. Solar energy is also being harnessed for certain applications. Besides this, manual timers have been replaced with Astro based digital timers for automatic switching ON and OFF of street lights depending upon sunset and sun rise timings. To recharge ground water, RCF has constructed 20 nos of bore wells and connected it with storm drainage system. Effluent treatment plant is being used for treating 7500 KL of water per day, a part of which is recycled for use in non-drinking and non-bathing activities like watering of lawns and grounds.

Measures have also been taken to improve the design of RCF built coaches to make them environmental friendly by using Control Discharge toilets system to eliminate filth from the station area as this system operates when the train picks up a speed of 30 kmph. Further to achieve Zero discharge of toilet waste, eco–friendly biological toilets have been put on trials. To eliminate the environmentally hazardous painting process, paintless coaches have been developed, requiring no painting for next 25 years.

It is needless to mention that RCF is already ISO 9001-2000 certified and it was the first organization in the country to obtain ISO -14001 certification for both workshop and township. On this occasion, Shri Pradeep Kumar, General Manager, congratulated RCF officials for their contribution in achieving eco-friendly environment and said that this award bestows upon us even higher responsibility and commitment towards developing more and more eco-friendly products besides environment management in the plant and its township