Railways to run spic and span Janata Ahar plazas

NEW DELHI: Eating at railway-run outlets at stations will soon be a new experience. The new series of Janata Ahar eateries will present a bright and clean ambience along with an attractive price line menu.

Eleven such food plazas are in the pipeline and four of them will be opened during this month itself. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee will launch the model outlet at Howrah in the next few days, and the ones in Chennai, Bangalore and Secunderabad will come up by month-end.

The other seven in Patna, Sealdah, Lucknow, Kharagpur, Gorakhpur, New Jalpaiguri and Mysore will become operational in December. Other stations will get the facility sequentially.

“You can enjoy your food at as cheap a price as Rs.10 in a bright, fresh, happy and clean ambience,” said Passenger Services Committee chairman Derek O’Brien.

With a seating capacity of at least 50, these outlets will serve the Janata meal of poori-bhaji at Rs.10. Bread pakora and plain dosa will also cost Rs. 10 each, and masala dosa Rs. 15. Aalu chop is priced as low as Rs.3.

The costliest combination is fish curry and rice at Rs. 35 and chicken curry, at Rs.30. A cup of tea (bag) is priced at Rs.4 and coffee, Rs. 5. The menus will be in the regional language, Hindi and English.

Green tables will go with yellow chairs. Waiters will sport yellow T-shirts, green trousers and a cap with a similar colour combination. The logo, too, is a design mix of these colours.

No outsourcing

The new venture will be run by the railways and not be outsourced. The restaurants being run by various operators will be taken over as and when their contracts end, and the space utilised for setting up the Janata Ahar plazas.


Railways to track trains through satellite

The Railways on Thursday approved a scheme to track trains through satellite with the twin objective of keeping passengers informed about train movement and reaching information technology to villages.

The scheme was approved after a meeting between Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee and chairman of the Expert Committee on Information and Communications Technology Sam Pitroda, who maintained that the project had immense potential to increase the scope of e-governance and link villages with computers.

Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur and Impex Infotech Limited will design the Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation system.


The system will provide passengers travelling in the train information regarding its current location, speed, next destination, and approximate time to next destination.

The information will also be displayed on the station’s enquiry display board and be available with the person attending telephone enquiry for passengers who stand harassed for want of information about the delay in arrival and departure.

Anyone can avail himself of this information through Short Message Service (SMS).


Corporates rush for Golden Chariot

BANGALORE: The “Golden Chariot”, the luxury train run by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation has seen a rush of corporates as KSTDC has
launched a sales blitzkrieg to woo them with an attractive three-day package.

“We have received an excellent response to the package, with a group of 60 already confirming their bookings for December,” KSTDC Managing Director Vinay Luthra said.

He said the package was drawn up keeping in mind the sales potential of the corporate sector, who have the money, but no time at their disposal.

The package, priced at Rs 9,500 per person covers the tourist circuit of Bangalore-Mysore (Kabini/Bandipur/ Srirangapatna) -Hassan (Belur, Halebid, Shravanabelagola)- Hampi (Vittala temple, stone chariot)-Pattadakal-Goa”,he said.

“In case the corporate tourists wish to join the train at Hassan, we will take them from here to that city at our cost. If they wish to drop off at Hassan, it is our responsibility to bring them back to Bangalore,” he said.

Luthra said KSTDC was looking at occupancy of 40-45 per cent for Golden Chariot for 2009-10, as against 35 per cent last year (2008-09).

Luthra said the ‘Golden Chariot’ had last year contributed Rs nine crore to the corporation revenue of Rs 50 crore.

“We (KSTDC) hope to grow by 10 per cent and are working towards a target of Rs 55 crore this year. We are optimistic about 20 per cent growth in the revenue of Golden Chariot this year and are aiming a revenue target of Rs 11 crore”, he said.

In addition to the budget package tours, KSTDC has also introduced premium packages from November 1. While the target audience for the budget package was the “common man”, that of the latter is the “middle and upper middle class”.

“The concept is that though the tourists travel by the same buses, the hotels in which they are lodged are of much better quality. We have tied up with seven to eight private hotels for the purpose”, Luthra said.

KSTDC, he said, has gone online for all its bookings (www.karnatakaholidays.net) including hotels which will soon be made online”.

Luthra said the tourism industry which had taken a beating for over 10 months due to economic slowdown, Mumbai terror attack, H1N1 scare and recent floods, was slowly picking up now.


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Journey of Indian railways depicted through stamps

An Indian man with a penchant for collecting railway stamps has compiled a book “The Great Indian Railways Through Philately”, which has exclusive, pictorial story of Indian railways depicted through stamps.

The man behind this unique book is Mujibullah, who has a vast personal collection of rare stamps issued on the railways.

He feels that his book will not only visually appeal or generate interest in railways but also into the fantastic world of history of stamps.

“Just to focus this book because stamp collection is dying in the world. To promote this book is written on railways philately through railways,” said Mujibullah.

For the rail lovers and philatelists, the book contains stamps varying from Victorian Railways to Different Rakes, State Rail Stamps issued by Indian Postal Departments.

Mujibullah’s book has all the stamps from 1937 till 2009 issued by the Indian postal department.

“From 1937 onwards till 2009 all the stamps which have been issued by the Indian postal department on railways have been clearly described in this book and this book is going to help the young collector who wants to collect railways stamps is going to be good guideline for them,” said Mohammed Mujibullah.

He adds, he has 38 different collections of stamps varying from personalities to toys, manufacturing, railways, engines, super fast trains etc. It is complete 10 frames exhibit which shows history of steam locomotive from A point.

Among his rare collection, he owns the First Postal Currency Stamp, also called Fractional Currency, issued in 1866 during the Civil War in the Honduras.

Other rare pieces include the New Brunswick stamps of 1860, the first postage stamps in the world with locomotives. The steam engine on the stamp commuted between St John. to Mancton railway stations.

The eye-catching category of stamps includes cartoon rail stamps showing different cartoon characters in different locomotives. From Mickey Mouse in a parcel van or driving a steam engine. (ANI)


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mobile grievance redressal system for train drivers

In a novel initiative, the Pune Division of the Central Railway has launched a mobile grievance redressal system for its staff working on the field, like gangmen and rail drivers.

The objective behind the move is to provide some relief to the field staff and let them carry out their tasks without having to go to the administration for sorting out their problems.

The railway authorities have launched the project in a phase-wise manner in all parts of the division including, Pune city, Kolhapur and Baramati.

Explaining the logic behind the move, Assistant Personal Officer of the division U C Bodake said, “We have launched this special drive in which instead of our ground staff coming to the administration for any kind of grievance redressal, the railway authorities will do to them.”

He added, “For those who work on the field, it becomes difficult to take time off and go to their authorities every time. Workers like gangmen or technicians have to work in scorching heat as well as in rains. Therefore, we have embarked upon the system to provide them relief.”

“The grievances or problems faced by the workers could be anything like those regarding profession, servants’ quarters or even their personal matters, including health hazards. Children of many workers have to face educational problems due to lack of finances. There should be somebody to listen to these problems and try and help them overcome the problems,” Bodake said.

Another senior railway official said apart from approximately 500 administrative staff, there were no less than 10,000 field workers in Central Railway’s Pune division alone.

“We are going to implement the project in a phasewise manner. Each phase will not take more than 15 days to reach the field workers. In the first phase, the project will be carried out on Baramati-Hadapsar route, followed by Kolhapur to Saswad route, Malavli to Shivajinagar route and finally the stations in the city area like Ghorpadi,” the official said.

A team of personal officer, inspectors and two clerks are meeting the ground staff, hearing their problems, guiding them and directing them to seek further counselling.


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 3:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Yuva trains to have double decker AC coaches

New Delhi, Nov 8 (PTI) With a view to cater to the needs of students in the country, Indian Railways is planning to introduce AC double decker coaches in the new ‘Yuva’ trains, which would run at the speed of 150 km per hour.

Preparations are afoot to start the Howrah-New Delhi Yuva Express and Bandra Terminus-Hazrat Nizamuddin Yuva Express shortly on a pilot basis, said a senior Rail Ministry official.

While the Howrah Yuva will leave from New Delhi station at 4.10 pm on Sunday and arrive in Howrah the next day at 10.40 am, the Mumbai Yuva will depart from Nizamuddin station on Saturday at 3.50 pm and reach Bandra Terminus the next day at 8.20 am.

The modalities of the Yuva train are being worked out, he said.


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 3:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Thomas Cook to charter Deccan Odyssey

Beginning November 18, Thomas Cook India will launch “The Indian Maharaja” for foreign tourists covering the cities of Mumbai, Aurangabad, Udaipaur, Jaipur, Agra, Ranthambore and Delhi.The seven-night itinerary will attempt to show India in a snapshot with the core intention of promoting Brand India as an ideal tourist destination.

“The Luxury Trains are charterers of the Deccan Odeyssey while we are the exclusive sales and distribution partners. For us it is a fairly pioneering move. It’s the first time we have taken a risk on the inventory and to be operating rather than working as just pure agents,” Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, Executive Director–Travel Businesses, Rakshit Desai, told PTI here.

Thomas Cook India has a strategic alliance with The Luxury Trains, which in turn is party to contract with MTDC. “The train is about 75 per cent sold and has done better than we had planned. There is nothing left to sell for the months of January, February and the Easter (April) departures. We have got some capacity to sell in November-end and December,” Desai said.


Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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