Now info on Tatkal quota seats just a call away

Rail passengers will soon be able to get all necessary information on Tatkal quota seat availability, cancellation and refund rules and many more services with just a phone call. Adding on to its existing passenger services, the Indian Railways have started an advanced ‘138 services’ providing commuters with additional facilities over those provided on the existing ‘Rail Sampark 139’. According to railway officials, the 138 service is awaiting to be launched. Once started, commuters will also get to know information on trains between two stations, concession rules and ticket booking through cash cards and getting them delivered through courier or e-mail. Moreover, unlike the 139 services, callers will not have to wait for long on the telephone in order to speak to a customer care executive. Now, the same facility will be available by just pressing the ‘*’ (asterisk) button, officials said.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:21 am  Comments (1)  
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Now, passengers may email complaints to railway officials

If you have a complaint related to your experience while travelling on NER trains, now you may write an e-mail to a senior railway official.

This would be possible through a ‘complaint management system’ started by the Lucknow division of North Eastern Railway.

The division has assigned e-mail IDs to the heads of various departments so that the passengers could lodge their complaint online.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:17 am  Comments (2)  

Namma Metro is a Geek train

You can drink your coffee without spilling a drop: that’s how stable the Bangalore Metro will be.

On October 20, when South India’s first Metro chugs in, the journey will be one that has used a wide range of the latest technologies used by metro rail systems worldwide. “The Bangalore Metro, in terms of technology, is comparable to any metro rail system in the world — in Europe, USA or China — and is even ahead of some of them,” BMRCL MD N Sivasailam told TOI.

Sivasailam said Bangalore Metro runs on the ballast less track system used by 70% of the world’s metros. In layman’s language, this means the track does not require stones used on traditional broad gauge track systems to build the track and run the train, as the load is lower than that of a conventional train. The tracks are laid on a concrete slab after assessing the engineering factors. Stones on the conventional track help in balanced construction, while in metro systems concrete slabs are enough,” he said.

The advantages of ballastless (stoneless) track systems are faster travel, longer lifecycle of the track, ride comfort, and no maintenance. Even at speeds of over 300km/h, your coffee will stay in your cup.


The Bangalore Metro is standard gauge, a system used by most metros worldwide. Narrower than the broad gauge, it allows for greater manoeuvrability, easy ride along curves, laying of tracks even on narrow stretches and control. The standard gauge has a track width of 4ft, 8.5inches, or 1,435mm, while the Indian broad gauge is 5ft, 6inches, or 1,676mm.


The rolling stock (coaches/cars) are three stainless steel-bodied wagons. Though equipped with automated functions, the train will be under the driver’s control. The seating capacity per train is approximately 1,000, giving more floor area to standing passengers.

The coaches are world-class, manufactured by Hyundai Rotem Korea and Mitsubishi Electric Company. BEML has the licence to manufacture the coaches in Bangalore. While Mitsubishi supplied the traction for the coaches, Hyundai Rotem supplied the rolling stock and BEML the coaches.


Electricity for the train will run on a third rail next to the main track. It has an opening at the bottom at certain points from where the train draws its power. The third rail is covered with a yellow shroud, and a person falling on the track won’t be electrocuted. ABB will design, supply, instal and commission four substations to receive and distribute electricity at 66/33 kV, as well as auxiliary and traction substations.
ABB will also provide an integrated network management, or SCADA (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) system to monitor and control the installations.


Cameras will be installed inside the train as well as stations, and people’s movements will be monitored by an operations control centre at Byappanahalli. In case of any help or emergency, the control room will be able to see what went wrong.

Trains will be Wi-Fi enabled, so passengers can use laptops, tablets as well as mobile internet.Passengers will also have emergency voice communication with train staff through a speaker system. Passengers can press a call button to communicate anything urgent to the driver or control centre. Help will be at hand at the next station.

The integrated control centre will have direct communication with trains and stations which will be CCTV-fitted with visual and audio service information. Bangalore Metro also has automatic train supervision, protection and operation systems – if there’s a train on the same track ahead, the approaching train will sense it and come to a halt at a safe distance.

BMRCL officials told TOI the only aspect that could have been automated but was not, was the opening and closing of doors. “We felt the driver needs to be alert. If everything is automated, the driver need not be in the train. So we’ve manually given the driver the option to open and close doors,” they said.

Ticketing, too, is completely automated with just a swipe of the ticket, token or card at a particular point near the entry and exit, enabling the gates to open and close.,curpg-2.cms

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:16 am  Leave a Comment  
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Delhi Metro is First in the World to Earn Carbon Credits

India has always boasted the longest rail network in the world. That network is also the fourth most heavily used in the world, transporting over 6 billion passengers and 350 million tons of freight annually.

Many cities, however, are in desperate need of a public transport overhaul and the sector is riddled with issues like outdated infrastructure, lack of investment, corruption and an increasing population which creates increased demand. According to recent Goldman Sachs estimates, India will need to spend US $1.7 trillion on infrastructure projects over the next decade to boost economic growth.

Transportation contributes a significant amount of carbon emissions and to tackle the problem of growing transportation needs, there needs to be a two-pronged effort. In cities, every effort must be made to improve public transportation, encourage alternatives like walking, biking and car-pooling.

There are several cities in the world where transportation systems are so good that you do not even need a car. In fact, owning a car becomes cumbersome. New York, Chicago, Paris, San Francisco, London all have excellent public transport systems. Asian cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing have the some of the greenest public transport systems that are not only efficient but also less carbon intensive.

The Indian capital of New Delhi can now join these ranks and boast that it is now the world’s first railway network to earn carbon credits from the United Nations for helping to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The Delhi Metro opened in 2002 and has helped reduce pollution levels in the city by 630,000 tonnes a year. Air pollution is part of a urban lifestyle, but it comes with serious health consequences. The WHO estimates that over 2 million people a year die prematurely from bad air. Delhi has rated consistently high on the pollution index, therefore any move to make the air cleaner is sure to be appreciated.

The Delhi Metro caters to 1.8 million people who use it daily and it will get $9.5m (£6.1m) in carbon credits annually for seven years. As the number of passengers increase, so will this figure. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) scheme run by the UN generates carbon credits and this gives developing countries financial incentives to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The certificate for carbon credits was recently issued and the UN statement asserted that:

“The United Nations body administering the clean development mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol has certified that Delhi Metro has reduced emissions. No other Metro in the world could get the carbon credit because of the very stringent requirement to provide conclusive documentary proof of reduction in emissions.”

According to the UN, every passenger who uses the Metro instead of cars or buses helps to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 100gm of carbon-dioxide for every trip of 10km (6 miles). Similar systems are being planned or already under commission in other Indian cities – Bangalore is a notable example. If the Delhi Metro is any indication, planned infrastructure improvement is what India needs to tackle the dual problems of traffic congestion and pollution.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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New Delhi Lost in Metro station? Follow the pugmarks

The introduction of colour-coded pugmarks on the floors has made changing trains at the busy interchange Metro stations a trouble-free affair for lakhs of commuters. Following the pugmarks, which have been pasted on the floors of all the existing interchange stations, will easily take one to their destination platform.

Flooded with complaints from commuters about difficulty in identifying the right platforms at busy interchange stations such as Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate and Central Secretariat, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has come up with the innovative idea of putting coloured pugmarks, alongwith directional signage on the floors at all levels of the stations.

“One may miss the signage, but the pugmarks will definitely attract attention,” said a Delhi Metro official, who is posted at Rajiv Chowk Metro station.

To catch a Metro on the red line (line 1), a commuter has to follow the red coloured pugmarks. Similarly, for yellow line (line 2) one has to follow yellow coloured pugmarks, blue pugmarks for blue line (line 3/4), green pugmarks for green line (line 5) and violet pugmarks for violet line (line 6).

The pugmarks, which were introduced a week ago, have been pasted at all the seven interchange stations – Rajiv Chowk, Kashmere Gate, Central Secretariat, Central Secretariat, Yamuna Bank, Kirti Nagar and Ashok Park.

“We have already started getting positive responses. Commuters often miss signages and get confused while trying to find their desired platforms. Illiterate people especially get very hassled. Now, commuters will just have to follow the pugmarks to lead them to the respective platforms,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

Rajiv Chowk Metro station is the busiest interchange station as it provides interchange opportunities between line 2 (Gurgaon-Jahangirpuri) and line 3 (Noida-Dwarka).

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:11 am  Leave a Comment  

India to increase LHB coach production

Indian Railways plans to switch its entire coach production to the LHB design by the end of the 2012-17 five year plan, according to Minister of State for Railways KH Muniyappa.

Approval has been given for upgrading the Kapurthala Rail Coach Factory and the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai to increase the production of LHB coaches.

The LHB design was acquired from Germany under a technology transfer agreement, and offers a longer service life with higher comfort, capacity and safety than indigenous designs. LHB coaches currently cost up to Rs10m more than ICF designs, but this is expected to reduce with volume production.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Duty-free shops at railway stations

With the aim of mopping up additional income, railways is mulling to develop a revenue model to have duty-free shops and multiplex at stations.

“Our stations can be developed into a hub of commercial activities. There can be a mall, multiplex, library, food plaza and even duty-free shops at stations,” Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi told the Economic Editors’ conference here today.

There are more than 7000 stations across the country. “We have to develop a revenue model for commercial utilisation of our stations and for that we are planning to constitute Station Authority of India like the Airport Authority of India,” Trivedi said.

He said the vertical development of stations as commercial hubs would create at least 50,000 jobs. “Our core responsibility is to run trains and now the time has come to develeop a revenue model for stations. Staions are out huge assets and it will create job opportunities.”

Referring to the problematic land issue, he said “land is a big issue not only for railway but for the whole country. Most of our land is parallel to the track. But if we could commercially exploit the land, then our earnings would jump.”

Railways have identified more than 300 sites across the country for commercial utilisation of the land. “To begin with, we are creating a land bank by digitising the land record of railways as it will help us in planning in a better to utilise those land,” he said.

Faced with a large number of complaints, railways is planning to strengthen the e-ticketing system including booking ticket through mobile phones to deter tout operation at stations.

Railways is also planning to set up more kiosks at several places to decongest rush at ticket counters. “Technology is the solution,” Trivedi said when asked about the steps undertaken to deal with touts operating at railways stations. There are a large number of complaints against touts cornering bulk tickets, leading to harassment of passengers.

“We are also planning to set up more kiosks at several places for the publc to get train tickets. One should also get tickets through mobile”, he said. Admitting certain irregularities in Tatkal tickets sale, he said there is an improvement in the system but its still needs to be improved technically. Chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal said railways cancelled the licences of many travel agents for indulging in wrong practices.

Referring to high speed train, he said railways has selected six corridors for conducting pre-feasibility studies. “We are constituting a national High Speed Rail Authority for planning and monitoring the high speed train project. In order to have a better coordination with states, the Railway Minister is intercating with Chief Ministers of various states, Trivedi said.

“I have started the exercise of meeting chief ministers along with MPs to understand their requirements”, he added.…-stations.html

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:03 am  Comments (1)  

Railways plans ‘dynamic fares’

Indian Railways is planning to go the way of the airlines. Railway Board officials are working on the pros and cons of introducing ”dynamic fares”, a concept which is elastic and based on demand.

“We are looking at various avenues, including dynamic pricing policy,” Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi said while addressing Economic Editors’ conference here on Wednesday. Under the dynamic fare system, ticket prices go up when the demand goes up and vice versa.

Dynamic fares will mean more that the prices of tickets will go up on busy routes. The Railways is also working on a formula for hiking the fares for all categories of passengers. There are also indications of an increase in the fare of second class travel in unreserved compartments.

Though Trivedi has been giving such signals since he took charge of the ministry, he has started revealing the modalities being worked out Railway Board manadarins. During an interaction with media persons on Wednesday, he said that there was an urgent need for “rationalisation” of fares for all categories. It is clear that ‘rationalisation’ will have all-round effect on passenger fares and freight charges. The Railways is considering making up for fuel cost and other expenses on passenger amenities.

While second class passenger fare has not been hiked for the past several years because of political considerations, the ministry is emphasising that an increase has become an imperative, especially because of the financial targets it wants to achieve over the next few years.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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New enquiry number for premium trains

The integrated railway inquiry number 139 may soon be a thing of the past. On Wednesday, the railways introduced a new mobile number (09415139139) to get information and exact position of six premium trains.

“Being launched on trial basis, if it goes well, the number will be introduced for all passenger trains,” a senior commercial department official of Central Railway told TOI. enquiry number for premium trains

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 6:59 am  Comments (1)  

RPF wants to know what women want

Rattled by the increase in crime against women on local trains, the Railway Police Force has started the first-ever real time survey among commuters to get a grip on the problem.

On Saturday, RPF officials from Western Railway (WR) were seen interacting with women commuters and distributing feedback forms, which have been designed to understand the kind of problems they face every day while commuting on local trains and what their expectations were from the police. The drive will continue for a few days more and cover the entire suburban network.

WR Senior Divisional Security Commissioner, Rajendra Rupnawar said, “While we do take steps to provide security to women passengers, we wanted to understand it from their point of view. And the best way to do it is by carrying out a real time survey.”

The team led by senior inspector Yash Mishra, boarded several trains late in the evening, interacted with the commuters and also pasted stickers in the compartments with the RPF and GRP emergency help line numbers.

The feedback form that was distributed is easy to fill on the go, says Rupnawar, adding that the commuters could even fill it up later and hand it over to any RPF official at a railway station or drop it at the RPF post. An email id has also been created for those who wish to give an e-response HYPERLINK “”

Unlike most feedback forms that go from dust to dust, the RPF claims it is serious about the survey.

“The data obtained at the end of this survey will be properly studied and tabulated. It will help us to strengthen our security network and also look into the issues which may not be obvious to us.”

Though the RPF is yet to tabulate the responses, a quick recap of the flash survey revealed that most women were not aware of the emergency help line numbers. For those who were, there weren’t exactly many positive things to be said about the service.

Yash Mishra however is optimistic. “The ladies were appreciative of the effort and we are sure some constructive suggestions will come our way,” he said.

Published in: on October 26, 2011 at 6:55 am  Leave a Comment