Now, luxury chartered train for foreign tourists

In order to attract foreign tourists in the region, the Indian Railways Catering Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is set to introduce a luxury chartered train from Kalka to Shimla.

The first such train in the northern region is likely to leave the Kalka railway station on January 16 and the tourists will be able to soak up the scenic beauty of the “Queen of Hills” and other tourist spots along the way. The tourists will have to shell out between $ 120 and $ 150 for a one-way trip.

Talking with The Tribune, IRCTC Chief Regional Manager RK Sondh said the train was being introduced with a view to target foreign tourists who visited the capital city of Himachal Pradesh throughout the year.

He said the chartered train would leave the Kalka railway station in the morning and return in the evening.

Sondh said they were also planning to provide drinks to their travellers during the trip. Steps were being taken to seek liquor licences from the authorities concerned in this regard.

He said the chartered train to South India as part of the Bharat Darshan initiative would leave on January 7. The train would visit Tirupati and Mahabaleshwaram. The first halt of the train would be at Shirdi and those wishing to travel on the train would have to shell out Rs 5,500 for the 11-day tour, he added.

A team of doctors would be provided on the train to take care of the devotees in case of an emergency.

Arrangements would also be made to accommodate passengers, who want to leave the train on health grounds, in other trains, subject to availability of seats, for their return journey.

He said over 10,000 persons had travelled on these chartered trains under their Bharat Darshan initiative.

To put Railways on track, minister visits IIMA, NID

Years after former union railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav visited the lush green campus of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) to share his ‘success story’ about Indian Railways, the current railway minister- Dinesh Trivedi was at the mecca of management, on Friday as a guest, albeit without much fanfare.

Far away from the much hooplah that was created before the visit of maverick Yadav, Trivedi’s visit to the premier institute was a quiet affair. His visit to the institute was aimed at finding ways for the betterment of Indian Railways, through brainstorming sessions with senior faculty members.

Talking about the brainstorming session Trivedi had with around 25 students,10 faculties and director prof Samir Barua at the IIM-A, one of the faculty member who attended the meeting said that since the budget session is inching closer, Trivedi sought ideas on what should be included in the budget. There was also discussion on issues staring at Indian Railways and how to confront them. “He said that his focus is on increasing revenue for Indian Railways and make it self-sustained. This will enable them to introduce 130 new projects which are in pipeline for the railways without taking money from central government,” said a student who attended the session at the KLMDC at IIMA.

Student said one of the faculties proposed that railways should also go for public private partnership (PPP) model as many corporate houses have benefited from the model. “There was also discussion on requirement of a separate regulatory body for the Indian Railways like the DGCA for airlines,” said another professor. However, since it was an informal interaction, what would he choose to implement was not discussed. Trivedi also went to National Institute of Design (NID) to get an idea of new designs which will suit the railways. Director of NID Pradyumna Vyas said Trivedi’s visit to the campus was very good. “In the new era, there needs to be design change in the Indian Railways. We discussed about new design for uniform, coach, railway station etc. We will now formally prepared a proposal and submit it to work with the Indian Railways,” he said.

Published in: on December 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coming soon: Trains of steel, speed

Trains in the country will sport new interiors, have more passenger comfort, will be faster and will be easier to maintain as the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai gears up to make stainless steel coaches using German technology in a new plant being set up in Perambur.

This is part of a long-term plan to phase out existing coaches that are made using 55-year-old designs and replace them with variants of German Linke Hofmann Busche (LHB) coaches that can run up to 200 kmph.

The railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 249.58 crore to ICF for the purpose. “Preliminary works to establish a new plant near one of our units has started. The new plant will be attached to the existing factory,” said ICF chief mechanical engineer Hemant Kumar.

Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops and Rites has invited tenders to identify contractors to build machine units, buildings and other facilities that are required to make the coaches.

“When production of stainless steel coaches starts, the capacity of ICF will increase to 1,700 coaches per year,” he said. The factory now produces nearly 1,400 coaches.

It looks like the conventional coaches made using ICF’s design may be on their way out even though they are cheaper than LHB coaches. Railways wants to go for the expensive LHB coaches because they are superior to the conventional coaches designed by ICF.

Railways imported 20 coaches from Germany in 2000 and started manufacturing LHB coaches at the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, after transfer of technology, from 2001. These coaches are used in Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and a few Duronto trains.

As these coaches received good feedback and railways want to run faster trains, the ministry gave the green signal to manufacture more LHB coaches and sanctioned `130.24 crore to RCF and sanctioned a new plant at ICF in the 2011 Railway budget. A new coach factory planned at Rae Bareli will also make stainless steel coaches.

A film to showcase metro rail benefits

The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), on behalf of the state government, has prepared a documentary on metro rail to create awareness among Chennaiites on the need for the project and the unavoidable traffic diversions with which the public will have to cooperate.

Of late, the city has been seeing an increase in traffic diversions due to the metro rail project. Actress Anuja Iyer (of ‘Ninaithale Inikkum’ and ‘Unnaipol Oruvan’ fame) will anchor the film.

“The documentary, made in Tamil and English, runs for nearly 20 minutes. Post-production work is on and the documentary will be screened in theaters and public places. It has been shot by ad filmmaker Poogundran. It took two days to film the documentary,” said Iyer.

As the work on the project will continue till 2015, the documentary will focus on a range of things it would impact. “I will be touching upon the points like why such a project is required, and how it will help us in the future. Shot at landmark spots with heavy traffic like the Egmore railway and the Koyambedu market area, it will also show actual construction sites of metro rail. While including complaints from people, the documentary will stress on how the agencies have taken care to keep the green cover of the city as undisturbed as possible. It would say that no tree would be felled unless it is absolutely necessary,” Iyer said.

A senior metro rail official said that the film would help the corporation educate the people about the benefits of the project and to address any concerns they would have.

Published in: on December 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mysore railway museum gets country’s first miniature trains

Don’t get confused. The South Western Railway (SWR), Mysore division, is shortly opening refurbished heritage gallery with five miniature trains.

The matter of pride here is Mysore will be the first city to boast of such a facility in the country. The miniature trains imported from the US will run on digital command control system along a track length of 600 metres, Dr Anup Dayanand Sadhu, senior divisional commercial manager, SWR, Mysore division, told Deccan Herald.

A model of a township, comprising Mysore city, Kodagu, mining areas and other prominent tourist attractions, is being recreated at the gallery. The miniature trains will run on tracks covering all these places.

Sri Ram Associates of Mysore have designed and executed the project on their own, at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh. They had been working on the model for the past six months. Railways have provided space in the heritage gallery that earlier had photographs pertaining to the evolution of Railways. Once the work is completed, Sri Ram Associates will be handing over the same to railways.

The model has miniature replicas of the Mysore Railway Station, Amba Vilas Palace, Hotel Lalita Mahal Palace, St Philomena’s Church, Doddagadiyara, K R Circle and Chamaraja Wadiyar Circle, Chamundi Hill with the temple at the top, Srirangapatna Railway Junction, footover bridges and tunnels among others. Tiny houses and also the prominent high-rise buildings in the vicinity of the Railway Station can also been seen in the form of models.

Mention must be made of the century-old Wesley Bridge, and KRS Dam in Srirangapatna taluk, which have also been recreated. The effect of flowing water will be made using imported rexin, the officer said.

As said earlier, it is a recreation of the railway system. The miniature trains will automatically run and stop according to the signals. The brass pole lamps will glow, lighting up the entire model and enhancing the beauty of the architectural wonder.

Chicago and Hamburg have similar miniature trains but on a much bigger scale. The Science and Technology Museum in Chicago has 500 miniature trains, while at Hamburg, it is even more, said Sadhu, recalling his visit to Chicago. The model is made using foam (for trees), plaster of paris (for stones and mounts), cardboards and other available materials.

The entry to the gallery situated on platform one is free for passengers who have tickets. For others, it will be through platform tickets.

Apart from professionals, five students from Chamaraja Academy of Visual Arts (CAVA) have lent their expertise in making the model.

Sadhu said: “If all goes well, the gallery will be opened either by the end of the year or in January as a New Year gift.”

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:19 pm  Comments (1)  
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Train Management System (TMS) to display real time status of trains

Commuting will soon be a breeze for those travelling from Sandhurst Road station which is all set to become the first station on the Central Line to be completely integrated into a computer-based information system called Train Management System (TMS) which will display accurate train schedules.

Hundreds of computers and signal points on tracks will be connected so that the movement of every train towards or away from Sandhurst station will find its way on indicators installed at the station.

Once the lock-in of Sandhurst station with the TMS is complete, train timings which were earlier manually fed, will automatically be displayed by indicators.

A countdown leading to the arrival of a train on a platform will help commuters assess the arrival time with more precision.

What is TMS

THE TMS IS a multi-crore computer-based information system that collects realtime information on signals, tracks, points, routes, and circuits.

It transmits the timings of trains to controllers, who can then take decisions in realtime for diversion of trains, and other emergency train operations.

The TMS will help authorities generate punctuality reports, graphs and other operational reports to manage trains better.

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rlys launches pilot projecton fire alarm

Indian Railways has launched a pilot project to install fire and smoke detection alarms on trains and equip the coaches with fire-retardant material, government told the Lok Sabha today.

In a written reply to a question, the Minister of State for Railways, Mr K.H. Muniyappa, said, “As a pilot project, Indian Railways has installed early fire and smoke detection systems on the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani train.”

The technical specification of the system will be reviewed on the basis of the report prepared after completion of its initial trials, he said.

On installation of the system on other trains, Mr Muniyappa said further action would be planned after successful field trials and design validation of the alarm and smoke detection systems.


On steps taken by the Railways Ministry to check recurrence of fire mishaps, Mr Muniyappa said several measures were adopted.

“In Railway carriages, fire retardant cables and multi-tier electrical protection systems are provided to prevent incidents of fire due to electrical defects,” he said.

To stop fire from spreading, he said fire retardant furnishing materials have been introduced in train coaches and their standards are regularly updated as per international standards.

The Minister said that there is a provision for installing fire barrier and thermic lock in vestibule doors to delay fire propagation.

Replying to a question on strengthening the railways security, the Minister said, “a high-level committee had submitted its report on Composite Security Plan in 2008.”

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

‘Intelligent’ toilets in trains to keep rly station tracks clean

Fed up with passengers using toilets when the train is stationary despite requests not to do so, the Indian Railways (IR) has come up with a novel technique to keep tracks at stations free of human waste.

Smart toilets for trains: The new system has a mechanical contraption connected to the wheels of coaches that automatically closes toilet outlets with flaps when a train halts. Representation pic

Automatic system

Engineers have installed flaps covering the outlets under toilet seats that automatically open when the train is moving. As the flaps remain closed when the train is stationary, it prevents faeces from falling on the railway tracks at stations.

According to railway officials, people prefer visiting toilets during halts since the train is stable when stationary. “Tracks at all stations throughout the country are a disgusting sight, particularly for people waiting for their respective trains. They are the first piece of railway infrastructure that you see the moment you stand on a platform.

It becomes extremely difficult as well as dangerous for railway staff to keep cleaning the tracks since they are also tasked with other maintenance work both on and off the tracks. Moreover, they have to immediately replenish the train’s water tanks the moment it arrives at a station,” said a Central Railway (CR) official from the city, requesting anonymity.

A year in the making
The new technique was mooted a year ago after the issue was discussed with senior railway engineers and officials. It was then decided to integrate the technique with the train’s abdominal mechanics. Technicians at the Indian Railways’ Research and Design Standards Organisation (RDSO) at Lucknow then developed a mechanical contraption which is connected to the wheels of the coaches.

“The flaps remain completely shut when the train is stationary but gradually start opening after the train reaches a particular speed, and vice versa. People can still flush and use water taps,” said an official, also requesting anonymity.

On Rajdhanis already

The facility has already been installed on the new Rajdhani and Shatabdi coaches and the Railways plans to standardise it on coaches in other trains as well. Both CR PRO Y K Singh and Additional Divisional Railway Manager A K Gupta confirmed the development and appealed to people to refrain from spoiling railway property.
“Engineers from the Chief Design Engineer in Punjab have also participated in the development. It is already functional on the Pune-Hyderabad Shatabdi and will be installed on all future trains,” said Gupta

CR wins National Energy Conservation Award 2011

In appreciation of the achievements in Energy Conservation in the Zonal Railway sector for the year 2011, Ministry of Power (Government of India) has awarded 2nd prize to Central Railway. The award was given by Union Minister for Power at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi o­n 14.12.2011. Central Railway has taken various steps to conserve the energy in traction and non-traction areas resulting in to reduction of specific energy consumption. SEC is a unit consumed for handing o­ne Gross Traffic km (GTKM) goods. It is also a representation of efficient utilisation of electrical assets.

Few important steps taken to achieve this objective are:

* DC to AC conversion

* Increased speeds o­n Suburban and ghat sections

* Induction of new AC-DC rakes in suburban section

* Switching off of standby electrical circuits in case of delay to trains

* Replacement of neon tube lights by more energy efficient CFL light fittings, energy efficient fans

* Switching off locomotives after a specific time.

* Providing coasting boards by identifying the locations.

* Optimum deployment of locomotives for specified train level

* Maximising the use of renewable energy resources wherever feasible.

* Controlling the utilization of high mast lighting towers by timers.,4,268&dcd=497&did=13240349133547959E40FDDDA0C18335143560585FE2C.web103

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Integrated Fire and Smoke Detection System in Trains

As a pilot project, Indian Railways has installed early fire and smoke detection system on one rake of New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani train. Based on this initial trial, technical specification of the system will be reviewed. After successful field trials and design validation, further action will be planned.

The following steps have been taken/proposed by the Railways to check the re-occurrence of fire accidents in future:

(i) In Railway Carriages, fire retardant cable and multi-tier electrical protection systems are provided to prevent incidents of fire due to electrical defects.

(ii) Introduction of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches and regular upgradation of specification to international norms to delay fire propagation in coaches.

(iii) Provision of fire barrier and thermic lock in vestibule doors to delay fire propagation in Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) type of coaches.

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

Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment