Indian Railways to get its most powerful diesel locomotive

Locomotive major Electro-Motive Diesel Monday said it has completed the design for a high-horsepower locomotive for the Indian Railways.

According to the company, the new design – WDG5 – would be developed into the most powerful diesel locomotive in the country with a power output of 5,500 bhp.

“This diesel locomotive has an output of 5,500 bhp, which will make it the strongest diesel locomotive ever to run on the Indian rail network,” the company said in a statement.

The company further said that the locomotive has a tractive effort of 560 kn and can pull more load at higher speeds with less emissions than engines which are currently in use.

“We have great confidence that the WDG5 will be the locomotive of tomorrow for Indian Railways,” said Glen Lehmann, chief marketing officer, international, Electro-Motive Diesel.

The design entails the usage of modern technologies like electronic fuel injection and more.

“It includes electronic fuel injection, radial grids and high adhesion, lightweight fabricated bogies,” Lehman said.

The interiors of the locomotive would have crew-friendly features and modern controls.

“It has modern driver interface and crew-friendly features, such as an air conditioned cab and toilet, which is another first for the Indian Railways’ fleet.”

The new design was completed in collaboration with the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) and Diesel Locomotive Works (DLW) of the Indian railways.

Currently, the company provides service support to Indian railways’ locomotive facilities at multiple locations.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 4:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sam Pitroda to Help Modernise Railways

Close on the heels of an expert panel on safety last week, the railways Wednesday announced another one headed by technocrat Sam Pitroda to modernise the national transporter.

“The entire world is looking at us,” said Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi. “We want a big leap forward for the railways.”

He said Pitroda, who played a key role in revolutionising the telecom sector in India two decades ago, “will suggest ways to take the railways to the 4th generation technology”.

Recalling the days, Pitroda said: “The task would be easier today as technology, qualified people and better systems are in place than in the 1980s.”

The panel will outline strategies for modernisation of railways — with focus on tracks, signalling, rolling stock, stations and terminals — using information technology for improving efficiency and safety.

“The need for railways will only increase in the coming decade,” said Trivedi. “We need revenue generation to expand and modenise as a service provider.”

The panel is expected to submit a report by December this year.

Besides Pitroda, adviser to the prime minister on information innovation, other members of the panel are HDFC Bank chairman Deepak Parekh, former State Bank of India chief M.S. Verma, IIM-A faculty G. Raghuram, IDFC managing director Rajiv Lal and economist Vinayak Chatterjee.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TVs to light up Shatabdi travel

The journey on board the Shatabdi Express is no longer going to be boring. The railways is planning to provide each passenger seat in executive class as well as chair car an 8inch LCD screen and the passengers can choose from a bouquet of entertainment comprising Bollywood movies, songs, news channels and sports channels.

The New Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi Express would be the first train to be part of this unique infotainment initiative by Northern Railway.

Apart from the 80-odd television channels, passengers aboard the Shatabdi would also have the option to enjoy music from all over the world.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

GPS-based information system in Howrah, Mumbai Rajdhanis

A GPS-based passenger information system will be installed in the Mumbai and Howrah Rajdhanis from this month, enabling passengers to find out the exact location, speed and arrival time of trains on real-time basis.

GPS receivers are being acquired to be installed and once the installation is completed, the Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) system will be operational in four trains (two rakes each of Mumbai Rajdhani and Howrah Rajdhanis), a senior Railway Ministry official said.

Developed by the Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO) in collaboration with IIT-Kanpur, SIMRAN will replace the manual tracking system by connecting about 8,000 trains and 8,177 stations through GPS across the country in a phase-wise manner.

A campus on wheels

In a partnership worth Rs207m, the Indira Gandhi National Open University and the Department for Science & Technology are to develop an exhibition train to tour Indian Railways’ broad gauge network, offering educational activities and information to prospective students across the country.

The Gyan Vigyan Mail is expected to spend eight months touring 65 to 70 stations on a pre-defined route, offering at each one ‘interesting activities including quizzes, puzzles, audio-visual programmes, CDs, posters, handouts and workbooks’, according to Prof Avadhesh Kumar Singh, Director of the School of Translation Studies & Training at Ignou.

The train will be formed of 16 coaches, of which 10 would be dedicated to Ignou’s ‘knowledge panels’, which would include more than 20 liquid-crystal display units, onboard internet provision and a ‘mobile planetarium’.

Ignou expects the train to receive more than 500 000 young visitors during the 250-day tour, and the university hopes the project may address the high rate of educational drop-out in India by emphasising the potential employment benefits of degree-level study.

Published in: on September 26, 2011 at 4:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Central Railway may flatten station platform slopes to check mishaps

Central Railway (CR) may eliminate slopes at the end of station platforms on its suburban divisions to curb accidents due to trespassing on railway tracks.

Subash Gupta, member, National Rail Users’ Consultative Committee (NRUCC), said, “Even though foot-overbridges (FOBs) have been provided, many commuters prefer crossing tracks to enter the platform through the slopes, instead of using FOB.”

A senior official said, “The suggestion, which was made during the divisional rail user’s consultative committee (DRUCC) meeting, is worth considering. The members have assured us that they will create awareness and also make efforts to pacify those who oppose this move.”

Around 2,500-3,000 trespassing accidents are recorded on the Mumbai suburban network every year. This means that on an average, 12 to 13 accidents occur every day on both, CR and WR. Of these, 7 to 8 accidents per day take place on CR.

The official said, “There is no need for slopes to be provided on suburban stations. Slopes are needed for transfer to goods or parcels via trolley at stations like Lomanya Tilak Terminus which caters to mail/express traffic.”

Though many platforms do not have slopes, commuters have tried to gain access using short cut methods. For instance, at Kurla, stones are placed at the edge of the platform to reduce height in relation to the track level. A person steps on the stone to climb the platform, instead of walking a few steps further to use the FOB.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mobile Ticket Vans at Vapi introduced.

Yet another endeavour to provide rail reservation tickets to its passengers at their own convenience, WR is going to introduce Mobile Ticket Van service at Vapi from Tuesday, 13th September, 2011. This facility is being introduced under the “Mushkil Aasaan” scheme of Ministry of Railways.

The Mobile Van service will start a new chapter in providing convenience to the passengers by reaching them so that they can get their tickets easily. For this purpose this Mobile Van will reach the public at prominent places like market, tourist place, industrial hub etc. With this facility now the passengers will not have to cover a distance to go or stand in queues at reservation office. The Mobile Van will operate in one shift from 10.30 hrs to 16.00 hrs for issuing rail reservation tickets in Vapi and its nearby locations to the passengers at their place. This Mobile Van will operate six days a week except Sunday.

The locations of Mobile Van have been decided according to the demand of local representatives and railway officials. The schedule is made on provisional basis for one month and will be reviewed after one month.,4,268

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

IRCTC looks at facility management to boost revenue

With the Railways taking away catering of 236 trains from Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the government undertaking is finding its revenue under squeeze. To address the issue, IRCTC is venturing into facility management services.

IRCTC’s earnings from non-railway catering that was just Rs 6 crore last year is projected to increase to Rs 54 crore this year. The change in the railway catering policy last year had pulled down its own PSU’s revenue by 30 per cent to Rs 436 crore from Rs 730 crore during 2009-10.

Of the total business that IRCTC generates, catering forms 80 per cent and at present, 70 per cent of it comes from providing catering services to the Railways.

“Several government departments are looking for a single service provider for catering, house-keeping, landscaping and security in a building. So, IRCTC sees a great opportunity in facility management,” said to a senior IRCTC official.

IRCTC provides catering services to the ministry of finance, Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, Indian Institute of Public Administration, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Airports Authority of India, Udyog Bhawan and Krishi Bhawan. It recently opened its 17th non-railway catering unit in Delhi at ministry of corporate affairs.

The Railways’ New Catering Policy 2010 had taken away catering services of 236 trains of the 260 trains. Now, IRCTC is left with the catering services of 24 trains, including six Rajdhanis and 18 Durontos. The Railways intends to take the catering services of these 24 trains also in the long run. As soon as it is able to redeploy the departmental staff of IRCTC to some other place, the Railways will take over these trains forcing IRCTC to look to non-train catering.

On the argument of increasing the number of complaints that people had against catering services of IRCTC, the official said the Railways did not raise catering charges since 1999. The pricing of eatables were not in sync with the market dynamics.

This impacted the quantity and service.
In the course of subsidisation, the catering business was losing its financial viability and customer were on the receiving end.

In response to the allegation that tenders were given repeatedly to a few parties, the official admitted that 32 parties provided services in 264 trains, but among them three to four were dominant.

According to the New Catering Policy, 2010, the railways intends to take over catering services of all trains, leaving food plazas, food courts and fast food units on the railway station to IRCTC. The departmentalisation of mobile catering units, including base kitchens, is supposed to take place in phases.

To control the monopoly, the Railways have put a ceiling on the number of licensees to whom the Railways can give contract. The menu and tariff of Rajdhani, Shatabadi and Duronto trains will be fixed by the Railways board, else it would be handled by the respective railway zones.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Now, railway officers to monitor upkeep of trains

For ensuring better upkeep and maintenance of trains, North Central Railway has launched Own Your Train Scheme (OYTS). Under the plan, senior railway authorities would be allocated trains. They would monitor the upkeep of coaches and the facilities being provided to passengers. Complaints would be forwarded to the department concerned of Railways for action.

The trains selected under NCR include Prayag Raj Express, Allahabad-New Delhi Duranto Express, Kanpur-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, Allahabad-Haridwar Express, Allahabad-Mathura Express, Sangam Express, Link Express, Sharm Shakti Express, Kanpur-Pratapgarh Express, Jhansi-Lucknow Intercity Express, Barauni-Gwalior Express, Chambal Express, Agra Fort-Ajmer Intercity Express, Allahabad-Faziabad Express, Chindwara-Jhansi Pathankot Express, Bhopal-Gwalior Express, Chindwara-Gwalior Express and Lucknow-Agra Intercity Express.

Under the OYTS scheme, officers of senior administrative grade would be allocated a particular train for monitoring its maintenance and upkeep. The officers would also inspect the facilities being offered to passengers, prepare a report and send it to the department concerned for action.

GPS-based display boards on trains soon

Encouraged by the recent successful trial of a new Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)-based electronic display board, which would flash the names of passing stations on running trains, railways intends to introduce the device in all mail and express trains across the country soon.

According to a Railway Board official, Northern Railway (NR) has planned to introduce it first in the New Delhi-Guwahati Express train. Under the new system, passengers will get information like speed of running train and name of the next station. Besides, the new system will also have voice announcement system which could be used in emergency, he said, adding NR is likely to introduce the new system during the current fiscal in most of the mail and express trains originating from New Delhi.

The official said that Eastern Railway (ER) was also keen to introduce it in most long-distance trains originating from Kolkata on a priority basis. The ER is likely to introduce it first in the Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express latest by September. Besides, the Research Design and Standard Organization (RDSO), Lucknow, has successfully installed the new device in a few coaches of the Kanpur-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, he said.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment