Keep in touch with rly officials while on wheels

At times, complex problems have simple solutions. The Sealdah division of Eastern Railway has come up with such a solution for the benefit of passengers of Rajdhani and Duronto Expresses. During the journey period, they can now be in constant touch with a railway staffer on board as well as the control room in Sealdah.

“Stickers with two numbers have been pasted inside coaches of Rajdhani and Duronto Express that ply between Sealdah and New Delhi. One of these is a mobile number of an official travelling on the train and the other one is of the Sealdah control room that is manned round the clock. In case of emergencies, passengers have been asked to call up these numbers and seek help. We also encourage passengers to call up with suggestions and general complaints. This will help us to provide better services,” said Purushottam Guha, divisional railway manager, Sealdah.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:14 pm  Leave a Comment  

Flash your mobile phone to check your train tickets

Ever thought of the day when you wouldn’t carry your train ticket and instead got it checked through your laptop? Does flashing your cell phone to the ticket checker sound too good to be true? Not anymore.

The Indian Railways has allowed a new mode of ticket verification.

The newly introduced scheme of allowing the display of a screenshot of the e-ticket through laptops, palm tops and mobile phones along with the prescribed identity proof in original has come into force, according to the railway website IRCTC.

According to the website, “ERS (electronic reservation slip)/VRM (virtual reservation message) along with any one of the eight prescribed ID proofs in original and the indication of the passenger(s) name(s) in the Reservation Chart will authorize the passenger(s) to travel on train.”

The ERS is the regular ticket printout which contains the PNR, name, age and berth details of the passenger.

Now all one needs is a ‘VRM’ to travel.

According to IRCTC, “a screenshot of the e-ticket displayed through laptops/palmtops/ mobile phone is referred as VRM.”

The VRM, combined with one of the accepted IDs in original will be treated as an instrument on par with the ERS.

Prashanth Mukundan, an engineering student and frequent traveller, said, “I have heard about this VRM, I can now easily transfer the screenshot to my phone. This will save me the hassle of getting a printout.”

Although the IRCTC claims the enforcement of this rule, the Railway has not given any promotion for the VRM yet, leaving travellers unaware.

When presented with a VRM, a train ticket examiner (TTE) aboard the Vaigai Express said that the examiners have not yet got the notification of the rule enforcement although they are aware of it.

He further went on to say that there was a lack of coordination, since IRCTC has advertised this system and TTEs are yet to get intimation.

The TTEs are aware of the VRM, but are the other ticket-checking personnel? An official at the junction was shocked when a screenshot was presented to her. When she was made aware of the system, she had a confused look on her face.

The notice further goes on to say, “ERS/VRM along with any one of the prescribed proofs of identity in original will also authorize the passenger to enter the platform on the day of journey and he/she will not be required to purchase platform ticket. ERS/VRM along with original ID proof will be required to be produced on demand of ticket checking staff on the platform.”

The Divisional Railway Manager, Tiruchi, P.V.Vaidialingam said, “We have already passed the notice for accepting VRMs with IDs as valid tickets. The rule is in place and all employees concerned have been issued circulars regarding this. Passengers can now use the ticket screenshot accompanied by the prescribed ID for ticket verification.”

Next time when you are in a hurry and are unable to take a printout, you can avoid paying fine by using a VRM. However, a valid original ID proof is a must in all cases to authenticate the ERS/VRM.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:13 pm  Comments (1)  

Solar power to be supplied in trains soon

India will soon be only the second country in the world to get supply of solar power in trains. Successful trial run of train bogies having electrical equipments running on solar power was done on the Pathankot –Jogindernagar narrow gauge on July 26.

Railway officials say that solar powered train coaches would help save millions of unit of power every month. The Railway department at Pathankot has been working on the project for last eight years.

Officials also said that passengers will be able to recharge their phones and laptops in these coaches. The solar powered coaches will also reduce the load on the engine. Apart from solar power, the coaches will also be fitted with rechargeable batteries as a fall-back option.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Trains soon to be equipped with DRDO’s bio-digesters

The technology developed by the premier defence research organisation was used to decompose biological waste generated by soldiers deployed in high-altitude regions such as Siachen and Ladakh.

“The pilot project to install bio-digesters in trains has been completed successfully. Necessary modifications have been made as per Railways requirement and soon the technology will be implemented on a mass scale,” DRDO Chief Controller William Selvamurthy told PTI here.

Keeping in mind the specific requirements of passenger trains, Railways and DRDO signed a MoU to co-develop these bio-digesters to keep railway tracks clean.

“Our Gwalior-based lab, Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), has developed this technology wherein a special form of bacteria is used to treat human waste in zero discharge toilets,” Selvamurthy said.

The DRDE deals with micro-organisms and hazardous material. Besides developing technologies for soldiers, it is also working on other concentrations of bacteria and zero discharge toilets for various projects.

“In future, bacteria for charging of bio-toilets will be available in packets and pouches. In zero discharge toilets effluent will be recycled for flushing purpose,” said Director, Life Sciences, G Ilavazhagan.

DRDO has also modified the technology to deal with the problem of people throwing all kind of waste materials in train toilets.

The bacteria which is used in these bio-digesters is found in Antarctica and has been modified to suit the different projects of DRDO to make bio-digesters for different climatic regions.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wi-Fi fittings for Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express

The Indian Railways is planning to make the New Delhi-Howrah Rajdhani Express the first Wi-Fi-enabled train in the country. “Internet browsing using the Wi-Fi technology is planned to be introduced in the Howrah- Rajdhani Express as a pilot project by December-end,” a member of the Railway Board said. The Wi-Fi facility, available at the international airports in the country, enables laptop users to access the Net without plugging into a regular connection, or having to use a data card.
“Both business travelers and commuters will be interested in using wireless services on trains as it will enable them to productively use the nearly 24 hour travel and be in touch with the global community and share their experiences in real time,” the official said. They said the facility would be initially available in three rakes of the train and extended to other trains depending on the success of the project.

The estimated cost of the project is Rs 6.30 crore, and the railways have awarded the contract for the equipment and their installation. The officials said browsing of the Net would be through a satellite-based system using Wi-Fi for the distribution of Internet bandwidth.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 4:48 pm  Comments (2)  
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Production of LHB coaches to be increased

Indian Railways plans to progressively increase the manufacture of new LHB (Linke Hofmann Bush) design coaches, the Lok Sabha was informed today.

A complete switchover to new manufacture of only LHB design coaches, the technology for which was acquired through a Transfer of Technology (TOT) agreement with M/s ALSTOM, Germany, is envisaged by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa said in a written reply.

The existing conventional Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches would, however, still remain in service. These coaches have some superior features as compared to the conventional ICF design coach — like having a longer service life, enhanced safety standards, particularly crash worthiness, high carrying capacity of about 10-12 per cent, high speed potential, superior riding comfort, aesthetic interiors and lower maintenance – no corrosion owing to stainless steel body.

He said the average differential in the cost of manufacture of LHB design coach and the corresponding Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coach is at present approximately Rs 75 lakh to Rs one crore, but this is expected to reduce significantly with volume production of LHB coaches.

Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala is already a Coach Production Unit of international standards. Projects have also been sanctioned to further upgrade the facilities at Rail Coach Factory there and at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, to increase production of LHB design coaches, the Minister informed.

Published in: on September 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rail booking boost for villages

When chief minister Nitish Kumar was heading the railway ministry, he had a vision to install Internet ticket counters in rural Bihar. His dream is about to be fulfilled.

The Indian Railways has decided to open 400 Internet ticket counters in the next five months in Bihar with the help of Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC). It has come to light that Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee took the initiative to execute the plan before leaving the railway ministry.

Sources said the decision to start the Internet ticket counters was taken in the wake of frequent complaints lodged by people from rural areas regarding the unavailability of tickets.

Patna IRCTC regional manager Anand Kumar Jha said: “Indian Railways has received several complaints from villagers on procuring tickets. So, the railway has asked us to set up ticket counters in the rural areas. We will install 400 ticket counters in the next five months with an aim to provide railway tickets to villagers who otherwise need to travel to the city to buy them.”

Jha said: “Rural areas will have one ticket booking counter at every 5km. In the beginning, the counters will be installed at Darbhanga, Katihar, Bhagalpur, Rohtas, Samastipur and Hajipur regions and would benefit around 1,000 villages. Later, the facility would be extended to the other places.”

Jha also put all worries regarding the possible inability of villagers to fill up the forms mandatory to purchase the Internet tickets to rest. He said: “There would be dedicated IRCTC employees, who will be assigned to fill the forms on behalf of the villagers. The employees would also provide the villagers with all kind of information, including train schedule and timings. Apart from booking regular tickets, the villagers can also book tour packages like Bharat Darshan and Bharat Tirth, offered by the IRCTC.”

The service would be a boon to villagers who will no longer have to travel miles to book tickets and would receive them at their doorsteps.

“Often, people living in the cities are unable to send train tickets to their parents in the village. But now the parents just need to visit the nearest ticket counter in the village with the PNR number and get a printout of the ticket.” said Jha.

Although the IRCTC officials accepted that starting the facility was not going to be an easy job, they said it would be accomplished at any cost. “In rural areas, the most common problem is electricity. So, there would a dedicated line for the Internet service and power back-up for at least 10 hours. The service would be available from 6am to 10pm daily,” said Jha.

AC double-decker train gets safety clearance

The first ever air conditioned double-decker train is likely to be launched shortly on the Howrah-Dhanbad route as it has obtained all necessary clearances from the Chief Commissioner Railway Safety (CCRS) after successful trial runs.

“The problems encountered during trial runs like coaches touching the edge of the platform have been sorted out and the Howrah-Dhanbad AC double-decker train with eight coaches would be flagged off soon,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

The train will have complete sitting accommodation with each coach having a capacity of 128 passengers as compared to 78 passengers in Shatabdi chair cars, thus increasing the sitting space by almost 70 per cent.

Bhopal rail workshop to start rolling out luxury coaches soon

Get ready to travel in more style and comfort on India’s favourite carrier—the railways. And when you do, don’t forget to thank Bhopal.

Indian Railways has come out with an ambitious pilot project to revamp the interiors of the rail coaches of all reserved classes in a bid to create a ‘homely’ atmosphere during rail journeys.

The railway ministry has entrusted the West Central Railway Zone to design model coaches for bringing about this massive changes in trains.

And Bhopal’s coach rehabilitation workshop (CRW) has been asked to bring model rakes on tracks for the entire country by the end of this year.

“We cannot create a sense of aestheticism in train journey unless we change the interiors of the coaches”, insists a senior railway official.

Initially, the CRW will design 111 coaches of all reserved classes including AC and non- AC. The designs would be based on the best coaches available internationally.

The interiors of the new coaches would have screw-less modular walls and panels made of fibre.

They will have new bucket-type seats and special berths that can be turned into single beds.

The model coaches will have noiseless fans, LCDs to guide passengers and toilets that resemble those in aircrafts.