Cox & Kings, IRCTC to launch luxury train by Jan 2010

The Cox and Kings (India) Ltd, the country’s leading travel and hospitality firm, in a 50:50 joint venture with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), will launch luxury train–Maharajas’ Express–by January 2010.

The project entails an investment of Rs 45 crore and ”the train will cover pan-India,” company CFO Anil Khandelwal said here today, adding that the train has the capacity to carry 84 passengers.

The train, featuring luxuriously 23 carriages equipped with every modern amenity and comfort, will run between Mumbai and Kolkata and traverse through Gujarat, Rajasthan, Delhi and in the next step, it will cover Agra, Khajuraho, Bandhavgarh, Varanasi and Gaya. The travel and hospitality company is planning to raise up to Rs 610.39 crore through an initial public offer, which opens on November 18 and closes on November 20.

Railways to unveil special tourism package

MYSORE: For the ensuing holiday season, the Railways will unveil a special tourism package originating from Mysore to different parts of South India.

Buoyed by the response to its tourism promotion, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to include Mysore — a major tourist centre — as the embarking point for different tours to be launched by the corporation in due course.

Speaking to The-Hindu, S. Gagarin, Chief Regional Manager, IRCTC, South Western Railways, said the package tours will be launched by the second or third week of December and tourists visiting Mysore who wish to venture and explore further south at an affordable rate, as also people of Mysore and surrounding region, can avail themselves of the facility.

The package has been well designed and for the tourists hard-pressed for time as also those looking for a break, and it includes confirmed train tickets, transportation apart from lodging and boarding. “Catering to the residents of Mysore, IRCTC will roll out a new package operational to Chennai-Puducherry-Mahabalipuram-Tirupati-Kanchipuram” circuit”, Mr. Gagarin said.

Giving details of the itinerary which will become operational from December, he said the Mysore-Puducherry-Mahabalipuram-Tirupati-Kanchipuram trip will be covered in five nights and six days. Mr. Gagarin said the prices were competitive with assured accommodation on trains and onward journey by road apart from accommodation.

The IRCTC is also coming out with the rail tour packages for Madurai-Kanyakumari and Rameshwaram circuit with embarkation by train no. 6732 Tuticorin Express. This package will be operational by January 2010. These are special packages to cater to special needs of the tourists, said Mr. Gagarin and pointed out that in addition there were other packages from Mysore, which had proved to be popular.

This includes the Mysore-Tirupati package and also Bangalore-Shirdi package for which however, the boarding point is Bangalore. Mr. Gagarin said the pilgrimage circuit to Shirdi was immensely popular and there was daily departure by the Karnataka Express, and people of Mysore could avail themselves of it.

A few more circuits could be rolled out in future depending on the response to the new packages, said Mr. Gagarin who pointed out that IRCTC — which is a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) of Indian Railways — was on the fast-track to develop rail-based tourism in India ( and was hence exploring new vistas to spread its footprint and make itself the obvious choice for tourists.

Punjab to launch tourism train originating from Delhi

MOHALI: Punjab Jail and Tourism minsiter Hira Singh Gabria Friday said that a master plan has been prepared for promotion of tourism in the state. He said that a foreign firm was engaged to prepare master plan.

The company has selected Ropar, Nangal and Ananadpur Sahib for tourism development in the first phase. He said that toursim train, an ambition project of state government was ready for launch. He said that train would be launched with participation of Punjab, center government and railways. He said the train will start from Delhi and directly go to Amritsar. After two days stay in Amritsar train would go to Pathankot, Nangal, Anandpur Sahib and Ropar. It will go to Chandigarh Patiala and back to Delhi. He said that theme of Punjab would be focus of train.

Northern Railway introduces smart card

New Delhi, Nov 13 (PTI) Daily commuters no more need to stand in long queues to purchase tickets for local trains as Northern Railway has decided to introduce smart card-based ticketing system in 30 stations in the NCR region from next week.

The system, which has entailed an investment of Rs 3.21 crore will ensure that suburban passengers need not stand in long queues and instead use smart cards to buy ticket to their destinations, sources said.

“In all, 75 vending machines have been installed in stations falling between Delhi and Palwal and they will start functioning from next week onwards,” they said.

The smart card will be available in ticket booking counters and will come in denomination ranging from Rs 50 to Rs 1000.

Official figures indicate that at present, 70,000 to 80,000 tickets are sold in the Delhi region per day.

McML Systems plans foray into train control solutions

Bangalore, Nov. 16 Bangalore-based railway infrastructure solutions provider McML Systems Pvt Ltd plans to venture into advanced train control technologies, rolling stock, operations and maintenance for the global rail industry in the next couple of years. The company has already completed 70 signalling projects including the Delhi Metro, two projects in Malaysia, the Madarail in Madagascar, Sudan Railways, Saudi Railway, the London Underground and projects in Australia.

“We want to provide cost effective and safe solutions to railroad operators to make freight and public transport affordable and competitive,” said Mr J. Senthil, Joint Group MD – Strategies, McML Group.

McML Systems recorded a turnover of Rs 149 crore in 2008-09 and is working towards a topline growth of 100 per cent every year. “We want to be a Rs 500-crore company by 2011,” said Mr G. Sreenivasa Rao, Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director.

The company was recognised as a ‘High Growth SMB (small and medium businesses)’ by the Karnataka Government recently. The 10-year-old company has 13 offices and six design houses across the country.

Railways launches Jan Ahaar for passengers at affordable price

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee’s dream project to provide hygienic and tasty food to passengers at subsidised rates came true on Friday.

Named Jan Ahaar (commoners’ meal), was formally launched at Howrah Station Ahaar, a self-service cafeteria, provides snacks and meals at affordable prices, ranging from rupees 3 to 38 rupees.

“The Railway Minister in her budget speech had announced the opening of Jan Ahaars. These would be cafeterias spread across the country where affordable meals would be available. The focus of these cafeterias is four things – quality, service, cleanliness and value,” said Derek O’Brien, Chairman, Passenger Services Committee, Howrah Railway Station.

The cafeteria at Howrah Station will provide ‘Jan Meal’ and ‘Economy Meal’.On an average, a filling meal would cost around rupees 20.

A plate of fish and rice meal is priced at 35 rupees while a chicken and rice meal will cost 38 rupees.

For 19 rupees, passengers can avail Rice-Dal-Achaar. The non-rice eaters can opt for seven Puris and Sabji for just 10 rupees.

The passengers expressed their happiness at this novel Jan Ahaar concept. They said that besides the bona-fide passengers, these Jan Ahaar cafeterias would be a boon for the poor persons such as the porters.

Initially, the Jan Ahaar at Howrah will remain open from 6’o clock in the morning till 10 in the night. By Ajitha Menon (ANI)

Published in: on November 22, 2009 at 6:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rlys to roll out track management system

New Delhi, Nov. 20 Indian Railways is introducing Track Management System (TMS) to help field engineers in optimal, efficient and effective resource allocation (man, machine and material) and decision making.

Six divisions have been identified to implement the TMS facility on a pilot basis. The Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) has been charged with the responsibility for procurement of requisite hardware and software for this work. This information was given by the Minister of State in the Ministry of Railways, Mr. K.H. Muniyappa in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Track management system will work as a useful tool to make the inspection more focused and objective. Indirectly, it will also bring out the effect of heavy haul trains on the track.

Depending upon the results of pilot project, decision on TMS’ rollout on entire Indian Railways shall be taken, said the Minister.

In addition, Railways have also taken following steps to ensure longevity of Railway tracks – use of concrete sleepers, use of heavy section of rails, development of corrosion resistant rail by improvement of metallurgy of rail, anti corrosive treatment of track components, rail lubrication, improved rail pads and ballast deep screening.

The Minister pointed out that the other steps to increase longevity of railway tracks include introduction of wheel impact load detector, change of alignment of train toilet chutes so that discharge does not fall on track rails and track fastenings, trial with environment friendly coach toilets and weigh bridges to ensure overloaded wagons are not present in goods trains.

Locomotive Train Management System likely

A new system in locomotive engines that will provide data with a single point access through internet to railway officers at remote locations is in the final stages of being introduced. The Locomotive Train Management System (LTMS) that is presently being tested on trial basis in four engines in Northern and Southern Railways will soon be introduced in Western Railway engines.

The reports generated by the 24×7 service provider can be used by the railway authorities for decision-making, fault analysis, trouble shooting or diagnosis and check performance of a locomotive.

Through the GPRS and GPS systems, railway officers sitting at a station will be able to access every movement of the engine such as speed, fuel, whether the driver is doing what he is supposed to do and more.


THE VIGILANCE Control Device (VCD) that has been linked to the engine’s microprocessor monitors every movement of the engine driver. If the driver does not respond for 70 seconds, a small light starts blinking. A beep then follows.

If the driver still does not respond in the next 94 seconds, the automatic brakes will be applied, stopping the engine completely after 3.5 km.


THE RECORDING in the microprocessor can determine whether the driver was sleeping at the time or something happened to him during journey.

During the time of an accident, it can be ascertained through the online data whether it was the driver’s fault or the train went out of control.

Earlier, it would take time to detect a problem in an engine, and many days to fix it. Now, an engine with a minor irritant will be immediately relayed online to the concerned authority and the problem can be fixed immediately. If there is a major problem in the engine, an SMS would be immediately sent to the concerned officer. New look for locos

The Vatva Diesel Shed, where engines are serviced, have created a new look for the 141 locomotive engines of Ahmedabad division. The loco will have a purple and white colour on the engine with yellow and black stripes on its bumper. The logo has been changed with the number and code on the top in radium colour that will be visible during the night. The bottom lights have been replaced with LEDs.

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Railways mulling in-house magazine for passengers

New Delhi, Nov 11 (PTI) Passengers getting bored during train journeys will now have something to look forward to as Indian Railways is considering launching an in-house magazine to keep them entertained.

“The magazine will have stories that have something for everyone and devote space for vital railway information for the benefit of all,” said sources in Railways.

The plan is at the drawing board stage but they expressed confidence that “the project will become a reality soon.”

The plan comes in the backdrop of the Railway Passenger Amenities Committee recommending the PSU behemoth launch its own dedicated television channel broadcasting railway related information besides telecasting programmes related to the tourism sector.

Sources said the in house magazine would be distributed in prestigious trains like Rajdhanis and Shatabdis.

Indications are that Railway will be soon floating a tender inviting bidders for publishing the magazine.

Railways mulling in-house magazine for passengers

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Soon, TTEs will check tickets, intentions

Delhi: In a move to enhance security on board Indian railways, the ministry of railways has decided that travel ticket examiners (TTE) will be trained to detect suspicious looking behaviour and be the first line of security on trains.

“Under this plan, ticket checking staff will be instructed to be vigilant to suspicious behaviour by any passenger or doubtful objects in trains and report the same to the escorting Railway Protection Force (RPF) party or post at the next railway station. Zonal Railways have been instructed to comply with these measures,” an official said.

In the last few months, there has been an enhanced security and threat perception on trains which the ministry wants to combat.These railway ministry directives follow recommendations of a high-level committee of officers drawn from NSG, IB, Delhi Police, RPF, CISF and Railways, which have been constituted to formulate a Composite Security Plan for Indian Railways.

Published in: on November 14, 2009 at 10:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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