Tram-like train will cut tedious trek to Matheran

Travellers lamenting the lack of an efficient transport system to reach Matheran have reason to rejoice. By the end of 2012, tourists who had to make an arduous 3-km trek, will be able to travel from Dodhani Village till Sunset Point in the comfort of a funicular train. The Mumbai Metropolitan
Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will float tenders next week for setting up the system, which will cost more than Rs 100 crore.

“The project will boost tourism and improve connectivity to Matheran, the most important tourist attraction in the region.” Joint Metropolitan Commissioner Ashwini Bhide said. The project will cover a route of 1.3 km from Dodhani Village near Panvel to Maillot Sunset Point. Currently, travellers can access the hill resort through a narrow-gauge railway line connecting Neral and Matheran on the Central Railway’s Mumbai-Pune route.

This line is 20-km long and takes about two hours of travelling and is sometimes closed during the monsoon. The other option is the road route from Neral, which is 9 km of hilly terrain to Dasturi Point. It takes 30 minutes and as motor vehicles are not allowed in Matheran, visitors have to undertake a 3-km walk that takes about 45 minutes.

Once the funicular railway is in place, the distance will reduce to 15 minutes. During non-peak hours, the funicular railway can also be used for transporting goods.

MMRDA officials claimed they are likely to finalise tenders by the year-end and passengers can use the service by December 2012.

‘Fairy Queen’ Ready to Haul Heritage Train

The ‘Fairy Queen’, the oldest surviving functional steam engine in the world is once again ready in this season to haul a heritage train from National Capital Delhi to Sariska National Park, Alwar, Rajasthan. This train, which is a great attraction among steam engine lovers across the globe, will run between Delhi Cantt. Station and Alwar from 23rd October 2010 to 12th March 2011. However, Northern Railway plans to run an additional trip on 9th October 2010 during the Commonwealth Games.

In this heritage travel, Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation will provide a comprehensive two-day tourist package including on ground catering, boarding, lodging transfer facilities, visit to Sariska National Park, cultural programmes etc. The Fairy Queen train would depart from Delhi Cantt. on day one at 09.00 a.m. to reach Alwar at 3.00 p.m. the same day, and the passengers would be lodged in Hotel “Tiger Den” at Sariska, as has been done in the past. On day two, the train will depart from Alwar at 1.00 p.m. (noon) to reach Delhi Cantt. at 6.45 p.m. the same day. It will stop for 10 minutes each at Garhi Harasuru, Pataudi Road, Rewari, Ajarka and Khairthal stations enroute in both the directions.

Tariff for full package would be Rs. 10,200/- per adult & Rs. 5,100/- for a child (half fare). Journey between Delhi and Alwar with sight seeing and stay at Sariska would be Rs. 7,100/- per adult and Rs. 3,550/- for a child while one way train journey between Delhi and Alwar only would be Rs. 3,200/- per adult and Rs. 1,600/- per child.

The tourist train will take about 2 trips every month from Oct 2010 to arch 2011. The first trip will commence on 23rd October 2010 and the subsequent trips will be on 13th Nov, 27th Nov, 11th Dec., 25th Dec., 8th Jan 2011, 22nd Jan, 12th Feb., 26th Feb. and the last rip would be on 12th March 2011.

Railway drive reduces track deaths in Mumbai

The number of fatal accidents on the Mumbai suburban railway network tracks has dropped by 493 in past two years. The fall in figures — from 2,603 in 2007 to 2,110 in 2009 — is attributed to the construction of concrete walls on both sides of the tracks by the railway administration.

In 2009, tracks in Kurla witnessed 259 fatalities (549 in 2007), Thane witnessed 197 (334), Borivli 284 (471) Kalyan 205 (347), and Vasai 180 (318), revealed a railway police officer.

TA Chavan, Mumbai railway police commissioner, said, “The railway administration has started constructing concrete walls on both sides of the tracks on a war-footing for the past two-and-a-half years to prevent people from trespassing.”

“We have carried out a sustained drive against trespassers since July 2004. We collected over Rs75.76 lakh as fine from 25,999 trespassers in 2009. Besides, 196 people were jailed. Our aim is not only to collect the fine, but also to save precious lives,” pointed out a senior RPF (Railway Protection Force) officer. He added that awareness programmes have been held at various stations to pass on the safety messages to commuters.

The WR started ‘Anmol Jeevan’ in February 2009. Under this drive, it conducted sessions in various schools in the western suburbs for two months to educate parents via their children about the hazards of crossing railway tracks.

“Two employees from the public relations department, with the help of NCC and NSS students, conducted 20-minute sessions that include lectures, displaying educational posters and statistics of deaths and injuries due to mishaps on tracks,” said CNK David, public relations officer (PRO) of Western Railway. He added that in a drive against the trespassers in 2009, the RPF had collected over Rs55.29 lakh as fine from 18,244 people. Besides, 414 people were jailed.

Srinivas Mudgerikar, chief PRO of Central Railway, said, “We have been constructing boundary walls on the both sides of the railway tracks for the past two and half years to block illegal entries and prevent people from trespassing. The boundary walls are seven-feet high and one-foot wide. More than 80% work of these walls has been completed.”

Mudgerikar also said that CR has been giving advertisements in various English and vernacular newspapers frequently narrating the hazards of crossing railway tracks.

High-speed trains between Delhi and Meerut soon

To accommodate the rush of passengers commuting between Delhi and Meerut, an ultra-modern high-speed train service connecting the two cities is going to start soon, official sources said here on Tuesday.

The high-speed trains will run at 100 km per hour between Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi and Begum Pul via Pallavpuram in Meerut, they said.

“The proposed route will enable the commuters to cover the distance between Delhi and Meerut in one hour,” said N. K. Chaudhary, Vice-Chairman, Ghaziabad Development Authority.

Teams from the Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd (DIMTS), Ghaziabad Development Authority (GDA) and National Capital Region (NCR) gave the green signal for the underground route from Anand Vihar to Meerut at a meeting here on Monday, after the proposed route was surveyed.

Under the project, new railway stations will be built at Begum Pul and Pallavpuram.

Apart from an underground corridor, there will also be elevated tracks at some stretches.

For the huge workforce commuting between Delhi and Meerut, the new train service will come as a relief, connecting areas like Vaishali, Dabar Chowk, Mohan Nagar and Modinagar.


Track-monitoring system introduced in Bangalore Division

Railway Bangalore Division has completely computerised its track-monitoring system, becoming the first division to do so in South-Western Railways and the fourth division in the country.

Disclosing this to Express, Divisional Senior Engineer (Coordination), V Haribabu, said now that the computerisation was over, they could monitor any activity happening around 1,000 km of the railway tracks belonging to Bangalore division.

“At the time of derailment or any other crisis, we were unable to take any decisions unless we went to the spot and assessed various things, including visibility and availability of manpower. Now everything can be known through the net and we can take decisions on the spot,” he said.

He added that with computerisation, employees could not skip work after marking attendance. Elaborating, he said the system enabled the authorities to see how many people were working.

This way, they have done away with 15 registers. Also, with a bit of calculation, the authorities can asses how much work can be done by each individual and ensure that it is done.

As there are many vacancies in the department, computerisation will enable the authorities to move the surplus manpower from one place to another as per the need. Even the stores have been computerised. This enables tracking the actual stock position of the accessories and the place where they are.

“Now it will not be easy to pass the blame on someone else whenever something goes wrong as everything and [all the] actions of all the employees in the division, including the track inspectors, artisans, gangmen and officers, are documented,” Haribabu said

The other three division that are completely computerised are Agra, Secunderabad and Salem.

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways’ Dedicated Freight Corridors: Backbone of Country’s Infrastructure

In order to augment the rail transport capacity to meet the growing requirement of movement of freight traffic, the Indian Railways have decided to develop freight corridors along its busy trunk routes with the objective of improving the railways’ share in the total land transportation of goods in the country and enhancing customer satisfaction. The Indian Railways’ quadrilateral linking the four metropolitan cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Howrah, commonly known as the Golden Quadrilateral; and its two diagonals (Delhi-Chennai and Mumbai-Howrah), adding up to a total route length of 10,122 kilometres (kms) carries more than 55 per cent of revenue earning freight traffic of Indian Railways. The existing trunk routes of Howrah-Delhi on the Eastern Corridor and Mumbai-Delhi on the Western Corridor are highly saturated, line capacity utilization varying from 115 per cent to 150 per cent. The surging power needs requiring heavy coal movement, booming infrastructure construction and growing international trade has led to the conception of the Dedicated Freight Corridors along the Eastern and Western Routes.

Rlys to launch own portal for e-ticketing

The Indian Railways, following frequent complaints, has decided to launch its own portal for e-ticketing to cater to the needs of the people. The new portal is likely to be launched by September-end. However, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will continue to issue e-tickets to passengers on its website.

According to a Railway Board official, the railways will start issuing e-tickets online on its own website from the last week of September providing an option to the needy and computer savvy passengers to procure their e-tickets either from IRCTC or Indian Railways website as per their convenience, he said.

The board official said the railways’ move would end monopoly of private sectors, who have been given franchise by IRCTC to book e-tickets from different places across the country. At present about 30 per cent of all rail ticket bookings are being made by the IRCTC. The railways is, in fact, considering to provide multiple e-ticket booking choice to passengers at a time of computerisation and globalization, he said.

The Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), which is a wing of railways, has been working hard to make e-ticket booking functional on its own portal. Recently it became difficult for most of passengers to access the IRCTC website for booking their tickets through e-ticketing system. The recent scam related to e-ticketing booking and fake cancellation of trains in Samastipur division of East Central Railway (ECR) has forced Indian Railways to work out an alternative website for procuring e-tickets across the country, the board official said.

The official admitted that railways was forced to ban about eight lakh e-ticketing agents at the country level for booking Tatkal tickets between 8 am and 9 am on the IRCTC portal due to glaring misuse of this facility by these agents. These agents have been grabbing berths to sell them at a premium at all important stations. The ban imposed on them to access the IRCTC website in the first one hour has so far yielded good results. The new railway portal will become an easily accessible portal for the common people to procure e-tickets by any mail and express trains, he said.

It may be recalled that the Indian Railways has, of late, stripped the IRCTC of catering services on all long distance mail and express trains. Railways intends to take up the catering responsibility on itself to serve passengers with meals and breakfast on running trains, sources said.

Indian Railways finalizes 1000 Cr wagon order

The Indian Railways has finalized its wagon order for sourcing about 17,500 to 18,000 wagons. Railway Ministry officials said that the total order value will be over INR 1,000 crore, though official sources were unwilling to comment.

The order is important for wagon manufacturers as the Indian Railways had not been able to place major part of the wagon procurement for 2009-10 fiscal till date. The price bids for the wagon had been called earlier this year.

The order will accrue to companies including Texmaco, Titagarh Wagons, Hindusthan Engineering and Industries, Cimmco Ltd, Modern Industries. But, the Ministry officials declined to share the exact break up of the order.

A ministry source said that “The decision was taken on Wednesday evening.”

The Railways proposes to procure another 18,000 odd wagons in 2010-11 fiscal. The bidding process for the current fiscal has not yet been initiated.

The cost for each wagon will depend on the kind of wagon to be procured. An industry source indicated that the cost per wagon will be roughly INR 2.5 million for the Railways.

The industry source that from a wagon manufacturer’s perspective each wagon order should be around INR 1.7 million or so since there are free supply items as well.

Free supply items are those components required in wagon manufacturing that are procured by the Indian Railways and supplied to wagon manufacturers. The free supply items include steel sheets, wheels and ball bearings.

(Sourced from BL)

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

GRP to train commuters to fight terror

Mumbai: To be able to fend off a crisis, the Government Railway Police has decided to train regular commuters in basic counter-terror and disaster management techniques. The training sessions will start in October on station premises. Titled ‘Operation Savdhan’, the project has already received a good response from commuters, wanting to get themselves registered for training.

“Training sessions will be conducted for three to four hours by senior policemen. The time and venue will be fixed after consulting the participants. Stations like CST have large halls where more than 400 people can be coached at the same time,’’ additional DGP Raj Khilnani said.

People will be instructed on staying alert and what they need to look out for. A briefing will also be given on habitual criminals. “We won’t impart any physical training. Our officers will demonstrate how commuters can use common sense during a crisis. If people are willing to go for advanced training, we will give it a thought,’’ an official said.

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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5-digit train numbers from December

Passengers booking tickets in Mail and Express trains need to add prefix 1 before the existing four-digit numbers while checking the reservation position through the enquiry system.

Aiming at bringing uniformity and logical basis for numbering of trains, the Indian Railways has decided to introduce five-digit numbering system for all passenger trains.

The new five-digit numbering system will be effective from December this year.

Currently, trains have varying numbers including three-digit, four-digit and alpha-numeric ones.

Five-digit train numbering has become necessary as the four-digit system has been exhausted, a senior Railway Ministry official said. However, the official clarified that the names of the trains are not being changed.

The five-digit scheme proposes to cover all passenger carrying trains including Duronto, Rajdhani, Shatabdi, Garibrath and suburban holiday specials. However, it will not cover freight trains.

“CRIS (Centre for Railway Information Systems) has been instructed to make necessary changes to modify the software accordingly,” said the official.

After the software is ready, the new numbers will be reflected in the passenger reservation system and the train enquiry system.|10146418|10145563|10145038|10145039&nextIndex=1

Published in: on September 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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