Commuters enjoy ride in first AC double-decker train

olkata, Nov. 23 : The West Bengal Government has launched first air-conditioned double-decker train and people from all walks of life enjoyed the ride in ten coaches that included eight double-deckers and two power cars.

Run by Eastern Railways, between Howrah in West Bengal and Dhanbad in neighbouring Jharkhand, the double-level stainless steel coaches have been introduced to cater to heavy rush of travellers on high-density routes, offering air-conditioned travel at a lower cost.

The train has several safety features such as fire retardant upholstery on the seats, as well as a crash worthy design.

“The Reverse Osmosis (RO) system has been installed in it. Air spring has also been installed, which is the secondary suspension in the coach to rectify the problem of maintaining buffer height,” Rabi Ranjan, one of the Eastern Railway officials said on Monday.

“Water is being purified through Reverse Osmosis system, so that the commuters get pure water for drinking. The luggage rack is the one used in Shatabdi Express and the interiors are also good,” he added.

The passenger-carrying capacity has also been increased to 128 passengers in comparison to 78 in trains such as the Shatabdi Express.

The new coaches are capable of running at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour.

The overall height of double decker-coaches has been increased marginally by four-and-a-half inches, keeping in view constraints like overhead structures, bridges, electric traction equipment and platforms.

The Rail Coach Factory manufactured 30 non-air-conditioned double-decker coaches in 2001 that are presently being run between Pune and Mumbai. (ANI)

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rly magazine for elite train travellers soon

As part of the move to make train travel more enjoyable, the rail ministry has decided to launch an all-colour magazine—Rail Dost—to be provided free to passengers of elite trains. The magazine, which will be launched in January, will be similar in look and feel to those provided by airlines for in-flight reading. Rail Dost will not be sold and passengers can take it home.

The idea of a monthly magazine to be given to all passengers of Durantos, Rajdhanis and Shatabdis was mooted by the railways’ passenger services committee headed by quiz master Derek O’Brien. “Unlike airlines, we expect passengers to take the magazine home,” O’Brien told TOI. Initially, the magazine will be in English and Hindi and later, some sections will have writeups in different languages like Tamil and Bengali.

Work on the first issue is already on and TOI has learnt that it will feature a story on Rabindra Nath Tagore’s rail journey in England where he lost the manuscript of his famous work ‘Geetanjali’ on a railway platform. The first issue will also have a write-up by Ruskin Bond.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SCR launches laundry plant

The South Central Railway (SCR) has installed a first-of-its-kind laundry plant at the unused old goods shed of Nizam era at the Kacheguda railway station on Tuesday. The laundry plant with a one-tonne capacity has been installed at a cost of Rs 89.96 lakh. Inaugurating the facility, SCR general manager MS Jayanth said the machine could wash 2,000 bedrolls per day.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 3:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways take Measures to Generate more Surplus

In order to improve services and to generate more surplus, Railways are striving to increase loading through dynamic, differential and market responsive freight tariff policies. The initiatives under freight business segment include plans to improve throughput, reduction in wagon turn round time, simplification and rationalization of freight structure and goods tariff, discount on incremental traffic in empty flow direction and lean season etc. The initiatives under passenger segment include introducing new trains, running of special trains, speeding up of trains, review of trains with low patronage, attachment of additional coaches in well patronized trains, extension of PRS and UTS facilities to more and more locations, additional leasing of parcel space in certain nominated trains, leasing of vacant luggage compartment of SLR, Assistant guard lobby etc. Further, measures are being taken to control expenditure viz., areas such as fuel/power consumption, contractual payments, purchase of materials, productive use of manpower and efforts at better utilization of assets, improvement in inventory management and various steps to reduce the cost of operation and maintenance of rolling stock etc.

The position has been explained in detail in the White Paper placed in Parliament in December 2009. The impact Sixth Central Pay Commission on payment of salary, pension and their arrears has placed an additional liability of Rs. 55,000 crore on the Railways up to financial year 2010-11. Of this, Rs. 13,267 crore and Rs. 25,311 crore have been paid in 2008-09 and 2009-10 respectively. This has increased the expenditure, affecting the surplus for these years.

While the above measures will help in increasing earnings and containing expenditure, the impact of Sixth Central Pay Commission will also stabilize since Railways have already paid arrears in the years 2008-09 and 2009-10. It is expected that the ‘Excess’ will improve gradually in the coming years with increasing freight and passenger earnings.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways, Shri K.H. Muniyappa in a written reply in Lok Sabha today.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why people cross railway tracks?

A recent article about loss of young lives while attempting to cross railway tracks depressed me and so I decided to write this blog. I am surprised why people cross railway tracks even at stations like Parel. Here, the cost of a mistake is extremely fatal and still people take the risk. The economic value of the time you save by crossing the railway tracks can never, I repeat never be more than the economic value of your life.

Years ago, I used to stay in Malad East. Regular commuters are aware that trains from Churchgate are most likely to halt at platform No 1. If people wanted to go the Eastern side, many would tend to jump off the train on to the opposite railway track and save a couple of minutes. The time consuming option of taking the available foot bridge was conveniently discarded. During my commute those days I witnessed an accident at Malad station and made a firm resolve never to even attempt to cross the railway tracks. Your colleagues and train mates may make fun of you but using the footbridge significantly reduces risk to your life and at the same times gives you a little exercise.

What irritates me is that when someone dies because of their own fault, why is there is so much anger against the motorman and the railways. What can a GM sitting in Churchgate do to prevent such things? If the RPF gets stricter and imposes fines or wields the stick, there is uproar against them. The railways do their part of building fences and track dividers. In fact, to create awareness about the risks associated with crossing railway tracks, Western Railways even coined smart SMSes which it sent out like – ‘If you are fond of donating blood, do not do it on the tracks’ and ‘Short-cuts can cut your life short. Use FOBs and subways’.

Pantry Cars in Long Distance Passenger Trains

Presently, 316 pairs of Express trains are scheduled to run for more than 24 hours on various routes in the country. Attachment of pantry cars to the trains is based on various factors such as operational feasibility, priority of the train, journey time, commercial justification, availability of pantry cars, load of the train, etc. among others. As per the new Catering Policy 2010, the priority for allotment of pantry cars is premier, superfast and mail/express trains with running time more than 24 hours each way and trains provided with vestibuled coaches.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways, Shri E. Ahamed in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

CR to install New system to manage Light

Nature will now decide whether the lights at platforms will remain switched on. The Central Railway (CR) is looking at introducing a system by which power supply to tube lights on platforms and concourses at railway stations will depend on the quantum of natural light available.

A software called as ‘lighting management system’ would be installed at all stations. This means that the lights would turn off in the morning and automatically switch on in the evening. “We are considering a software which would eliminate manual operation of switches,” said a senior CR official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

The system will have a sensor fitted to it, which will gauge the natural light outside and command the software to automatically turn on or off. The CR will incur a cost of Rs 29.66 lakh for installing this system.

“We will complete work of installing these new lighting management systems by March 2011,” said S Mudgerikar, chief PRO, CR. A solar-based system at level crossings is also proposed between Kalyan-Igatpuri and Kalyan-Lonavla sections at a cost of Rs 8.89 lakh.

Published in: on November 28, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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CR to spend lakhs to shoo away birds

his summer, the Central Railway is likely to spend more than Rs 2 crore to keep birds away from overhead wires and pests out of railway coaches. Railway authorities are scouting for repellents and gels that will keep birds, especially crows, away from overhead equipment (OHE) and pantograph of
trains, which are preferred nesting places.

On Friday, the Central Railway invited tenders for supplying insulating non-toxic bird repellent gel and paint on OHE structures beyond Kalyan towards north (up to Karjat and Kasara). The cost of applying the repellent gel and painting the overhead equipment will be at least Rs 39 lakh.

Tenders for similar work on the 60-km stretch between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) and Kalyan will be called for soon. The approximate cost will be Rs 60 lakh.

“The problem of birds becomes acute during summer when it’s nesting season, especially along creeks. Birds build nests on portals that hold overhead wires. This causes a short circuit and power failure that delays services,” a senior Central Railway official said on condition of anonymity.

When overhead wires or a train’s pantograph come in contact with twigs used to build nests, it could disrupt power supply and affect the running of trains.

Crows often get caught between the train’s pantograph and overhead wires causing serious damage to the pantograph that supplies power for the train to run on.

“Even small scraps of wire and strings found in nests can cause a short circuit. So we will apply non-toxic repellents, which will prevent birds from sitting on wires or building nests,” said S Mudgerikar, chief public relations officer, Central Railway.

The Central Railway has carried out research on what chemicals it could use so that the birds are not harmed.

The railways will also treat coaching depots at CST, Kurla Terminus and Wadi Bunder, where trains are kept for maintenance and other works, with pesticides. The railways will be spending Rs 1.76 crore to get rid of rodents, cockroaches, bed bugs and mosquitoes.

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Private company to ensure Ahmedabad station is clean 24/7

Ahmedabad railway station is all set to look as spic-and-span as our international airport. The railway authorities will be assigning the daily cleaning job to a private company. Tenders have been issued for the three-year cleaning contract and Rs 3.4 crore allotted.

The contract licensee will ensure not just clean platforms but even tidy railway tracks, retiring rooms, waiting halls, offices and yards. Cleaning up of the station is a Herculean task considering the fact that it registers a footfall of 1.5 lakh passengers.

As many as 120 people supplied by the company will work in three shifts at the station. They will be supervised by two full-time supervisors who will remain in contact with station authorities.

The concourse halls will be cleaned by uniformed men every two hours, 24/7.

Rag picking will be done on a daily basis. The company will also arrange for 240 dustbins of 150 litres and 120 big spittoons besides mechanised machines to be used for sweeping, scrubbing, drying and water jet cleaning.

In case any of these machines don’t work, these will have to be replaced within three days subject to condition that quality of cleanliness is not affected.

The spittoons will be cleaned and dustbins emptied daily at a designated place in the station area. The work will also be carried out in such a manner that it shall not affect the routine activities in the station area, running of trains or inconvenience passengers.

“Once the private contractor takes over, the existing railway safai karmacharis will be shifted to other departments. Cleanliness is top on the agenda of western railway,” said a source.

Of late, the railways have been making efforts to spruce up their image by ensuring cleaner trains.

A private firm has already been given contract to clean train toilets, basins, floor and mirror when the train halts at Ahmedabad station.

High pressure water-jet cleaning of the trains take place in depots regularly. Recently, on board housekeeping services were also introduced in trains whereby passengers could summon a safai worker whenever required.

Divisional Railway Manager Ashok Garud said: “For the past several years, railways have been focussing on safety, security and cleanliness. We have now floated tenders inviting companies to take up the daily cleaning job of station and tracks. A clean station is a passenger’s right and ensuring it stays that way, his duty.”

Engineering students in Bangalore to design metro feeder services

Four engineering students will design a feeder bus service for the Namma Metro. They will use the latest technologies like satellite imaging, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information System (GIS) to plan the routes.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) is geared up to provide feeder services once Namma Metro commences operations, by deploying 64 buses on 26 feeder routes at a frequency of 10 minutes, said Transport Minister R. Ashok. Speaking at a press meet, Ashok said that buses will be operated to various localities up to 12 km from each metro station. These feeder services will operate to and from six stations on Reach 1 of Namma Metro between Byappanahalli and M.G. Road.

Also a group of transport engineering students have been commissioned to design a seamless feeder network to the Metro from different parts of the city to enable commuters to move from one transport system to another without any hitch. The design will be ready just ahead of the transport system getting underway. Post-graduate students from BMS and RV College of Engineering have been commissioned to undertake it under the guidance of BMRC, BMTC and overall coordination of the Department of Urban Land Transport.

The students are planning to design a system that will integrate Metro with BMTC, KSRTC and Railways. Commuters disembarking at Metro stations should be able to catch buses to different bus stands and railway stations within the city as well as to major points leading to residential areas. “The study will determine the number of buses required. It will factor in existing travelling density, how each Metro station is located vis-a-vis the destination location, stations that enable connectivity and distances over which buses have to be operated,” Said the urban development department officials.

The BMTC, meanwhile, has tentatively planned to introduce 1,000 buses as feeder services to the Metro during the night. These buses will be available for commuters between 11pm and 12.30am from different Metro stations to a variety of residential localities directly and via central points. Buses are expected to operate to central points like Majestic, Shivaji Nagar, K R Market and Jayanagar. Some key locations to which passenger flow post-10 pm is high are Kengeri, Vijayanagar, Nagarbhavi, Banashankari, Jayanagar, Yelahanka, K R Puram and Marathalli. Services to these areas from stations will get priority along with new localities that may also have high passenger flow once Metro begins.

Features of feeder service

1. Network alignment is worked out using GIS with up to four loops for each station
2. The routes are within 1.5 km radius from the stations
3. Buses will be available every five to 10 min
4. Travel time will be from 10 to 20 minutes
5. Bus stops are located between 300 metres and 750 metres from stations
6. Speed of the bus will be 40 km/hr
7. Emergency management provides users of Namma Metro access to hospitals, fire stations and police stations