Railways move to ensure zero mishaps

The rise in train mishaps has prompted the Ministry of Railways to follow Mumbai’s example and install a train protection and warning system (TPWS) in trains across the country.

However, the TPWS chosen for this exercise is a much advanced European version of train safety and will ensure zero accidents.
The Auxiliary Warning System (AWS), an old version of TPWS, has been operational in Mumbai’s Central and Western Railways for the past 15 years and there have been very few major accidents.

The national rollout plan released this month aims to complete the installation in three phases between 2013 and 2020 and will cover automatic signalling sections and high-density routes.
In phase one, 500km of the section between Mumbai Central-Virar-Vadodara and Ahmedabad have been included. The cost for the installation is estimated to be nearly Rs50 lakh per kilometre.

The decision comes after the railways set up a high-level safety committee comprising experts like former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar and DMRC chief E Sreedharan to conduct a safety audit and plug loopholes in the system.

While one of the components of the TPWS will be installed in the cabin of the locomotive or the train, another component is to be fitted along the rail tracks. The TPWS will take care of “human error” that, as per railway records, are responsible for around 60% of all train accidents.

Trials of TPWS have been underway on the 200-km Delhi-Agra route and the 60 km Chennai-Gumudipundi route under a pilot project for which the railways had earmarked Rs 250 crore.

The TPWS, common in trains across the UK, will be an additional safety feature for trains as they automatically activate brakes on a train that is speeding.

Konkan Railway plan
The anti-collision device (ACD) developed by Konkan Railway has taken a backseat after the railways gave preference to the European train protection warning system.

But railway engineers are in favour of the anti-collision device.
TPWS is not only expensive but also less efficient compared to the ACD system, said railway engineers. ACD is a no-signal equipment having superior wide-area safety-enhancing capability, while costing much less, they said.


Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Book a loco train to Alwar for Rs 2 lakh

Planning to go to Alwar or chill out at the Sariska National Park? Indian Railways has a heritage package for you. From December 17, the Delhi division of Northern Railway will run the queen of old times, the steam loco train, to Alwar in Rajasthan twice in a month for tourists. All you need to do is log on to the website and make an online payment of R2 lakh if you want to book the entire 40-seater heritage steam train.

“We often dream of booking a steam engine train for college trips or other functions. The dream is now a reality and it’s not that expensive,” a senior railway officer said.

If you do want to book the entire train, there’s another option for you. A heritage ride for one person will cost R3,100 per ticket.

“There are people who would like to book a steam engine train for marriage functions in Rajasthan or a group of foreign tourists who would want to enjoy their trip in a steam train,” the officer said.

Then, there’s a two-day package costing R10,000 per head. This includes travel, meal and stay in a hotel in the Sariska National Park.

The tickets can be booked online or at the Delhi Cantt and Safdarjung railway stations.

“We will run the train every fortnight from the Delhi Cantt station,” said Ashwani lohani, DRM, Delhi division.


Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Mumbai to London by rail in 24 days!

How about taking the rail route to London from Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus?

You can actually use the railroad for a 24-day travel between the two global cities, though it will involve a changeover of trains at international borders, small boat journeys ferrying the train coaches and a lot of determination.

Dr John Stubbs, a UK-based senior lecturer, who had undertaken the journey in 2005 to examine the problematic nature of international travel and future prospects for such international rail travel in the 21st century, is now willing to give the route a second shot.

“I would dearly love to make a second trip, though as a UK passport holder, I am rather concerned about security issues in Pakistan,” he said.

Stubbs, a 59-year-old senior lecturer from the Department of Geography at the University of Derby, whose research interests in transportation studies include rail transport development related to the Middle East and Central Asia.

“The railway route to India goes through Europe, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan. The entire journey from London to Mumbai took me 24 days. I actually travelled from my hometown of Derby, so I took 25 days.But the journey could potentially, at least, be done in slightly less time depending on train operating timetables,” Stubbs told DNA.

There was a gap between Bam and Zahedan in southern Iran, and Stubbs had undertaken a four-hour bus journey in 2005. But today, the missing rail link has been completed and freight trains are running, albeit irregularly between Istanbul and Islamabad.

“So, in principle, it is now possible to do the journey entirely by train, providing you exclude the ferry crossing of the Bosporus in Istanbul and the train-ferry across Lake Van in Eastern Turkey,” explained an excited Stubbs.

“Since 2005, train times in Europe have changed and the overnight Paris-Vienna (Orient Express) no longer operates. But you can still do the London-Istanbul journey today by taking a slightly different route.”


Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Western Railway introduced innovative concept of Rail Café

To fulfill its commitment to provide the best catering facilities to its customers, Western Railway has introduced an innovative concept of ‘Rail Café’ with ready to take away facility of multi cuisine and branded food items on affordable rates for the benefit of rail users. 1st such café named ‘Bellasis Rail Café’ commissioned at Mumbai Central station was inaugurated by Shri Mahesh Kumar, General Manager, Western Railway on Friday, 9th December, 2011.

Western Railway, has commissioned this new café at Mumbai Central local station premises. This café is located on the 1st floor near Bellasis Road over Bridge connecting Mumbai Central station near the south end booking office. Looking to the footfalls of suburban commuters and paucity of time at this station, all items in this café will be available in proper food packets, with ready to take away facility. Shri Kumar appreciated the efforts of Railway administration to provide best possible amenities to passengers and emphasized to ensure to make them better in the future.

This Rail Café will be managed by Western Railway departmentally and has five counters. Besides various branded products, the Café will also sell meal “Janata Khana” as per Railway Board’s policy. It is worth mentioning that Mumbai Central station premises is also having other food courts like Jan Ahaar, McDonald and Desi Delli outlets. ‘Jan Ahaar’ had been recently opened by Western Railway and now one more food outlet is also opened for the benefit of rail users. Shri Deepak Gupta, Addl. GM and Shri G.S. Banerjee, Chief Commercial Manager along with other senior officers were also present on this occasion.


Published in: on December 18, 2011 at 11:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Soon, rent a steam loco for Rs 6 lakh

To explore the huge tourism potential surrounding the nostalgia of steam locomotives, the Delhi division of the Northern Railways has planned to develop the iconic Rewari steam loco shed as a tourist destination.

According to the plan, a steam loco ferry service from Delhi cantonment to Rewari, Haryana, is on the anvil.
The railways not only want to attract local visitors but are also banking on the foreign tourists. “We plan to rent out steam loco trains to tourists and expect a lot of foreign tourists to rent a steam train. In Europe, this model is very popular and we are trying to replicate the same in,” said Vikas Arya, senior divisional mechanical engineer and in-charge of the Rewari shed.

“We’ll be earning decent revenue by doing that. Renting a train can cost some where around R6 lakh for a run,” added Arya. A coach lounge and salon have come up at the Rewari shed and other facilities are being developed in the area to make it tourist-friendly. A steam loco museum and a small library have been redone to showcase the 117-year history of the shed.

The full package, including food, stay and sightseeing may cost travellers around R10,000 each and one way trip can cost around Rs 5,000.

“The steam loco will run like the ferry queen. Tourists will get food in the train. We plan to make Rewari steam loco shed a picnic spot,” said a railway officer. At present, nine steam locos, along with their miniatures and a stem road roller have been parked at the shed and all of them are in working condition.

“All locos have been redone and given historical names such as Akbar, Azad, Sher-e-Punjab and Anghad. The shed has also become a favourite location for filmmakers,” said Ashwani Lohani, divisional railway manager, Delhi division.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘Rail Bandhu’: The railways’ new literary avataar

Barring potential issues with the election code of conduct for the upcoming West Bengal elections, this Rail Day on April 16 will bring about the fulfilment of one of Railways minister Mamataa Banerjee’s pet projects; the launch of “Rail Bandhu”, the first magazine by the Indian Railways.
To be distributed for free to passengers in premier trains, including the Rajdhanis and Shatabdis, the editorial content of the inaugural issue is at an advanced stage of planning.

“A write up on how Rabindranath Tagore lost and found the manuscript of the “Geetanjali’ in a London tube; vignettes of the saloon car travel during the British Raj, a story by famous novelist Ruskin Bond, these would be among the subjects that will be featured in the first issue”, magazine project head Derek O’Brian said.

The inaugural issue will also feature stories on the struggles of the Commonwealth and Asian Games gold medallists from the railway family.

According to the parameters set out, the publication will need to devote a minimum of 30 pages to news, events or features concerning the railways, while a total of another 30 pages of advertisements can be published.

Based on business models of in flight publications, the proposed Rail magazine will have the publisher bearing all costs.

With a print order of one lakh copies as an initial target, the publication is also being expected to carry articles and features that generate and sustain tourism interest in the domestic and overseas markets.

If the pilot project proves to be successful then a further ten lakh copies will be printed.

After stagnating on the drawing board for an entire year, the project moved forward last December, when the Northern Railways floated tenders inviting an Expression of Interest (EoI) for the publication on a turnkey basis.

The magazine’s editorial board will consists of Shuvaprasanna and Derek O’Brien, apart from senior railways officials.

“Previously, the governmental airways companies requested the passengers to leave behind the magazines distributed to them. But the Railways would like them to be carried back home by the passengers to magnify the image of Indian railways and grow confidence in their minds”, O’Brian said.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Soon, track trains on your 3G phone

Watching your train approach the city railway station on the screen of your 3G mobile phone may sound like a scene from a sci-fi Hollywood movie, but it is going to become a reality in India soon.

The Northern Railways, which is still not able to provide time updates of trains to passengers, is testing a technology which will enable passengers to track trains on 3G mobile phones.The plan is proposed to be implemented in 2012 and is currently undergoing trial runs.

“By just dialing a helpline number, passengers can watch live pictures of their trains moving towards the station. The technology will provide live feeds of trains,” said a senior railway officer who did not want to be named.

The technology will be of great help during foggy season when commuters have to wait for long hours for arrival or departure.

“Big screens will also be set up at the railway stations which will give the actual location of the trains. The technology would also help the passengers to know how much time their trains will take to reach that station,” said the officer.

The facility will also be available on the railways website. The technology will provide the speed at which the train is running and how much time it will take to reach the approaching station and its distance from the point along with the pictures.

“This is the next step of the existing SIMRAN technology through which we are currently providing real-time information of 12 trains through text messages and on website http://www.simran.in,” the officer said.

The technology, jointly developed by IIT-Kanpur and the Bangalore-based RDSO, would go a long way in reducing train accidents due to fog and unmanned crossing.

“The ambitious plan, if implemented properly, has the potential of changing the face of Indian railways. It will make railways safer and will cut the duration of average delays during foggy season,” the officer added.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways to roll out high speed coaches soon: Minister

The Railway Ministry is going to utilise German technology to roll out high speed stainless steel coaches soon, Minister of State for Railways Bharatsinh Solanki told the Rajya Sabha today. In a written reply, he said the Railways had entered into a transfer of technology agreement with M/s ALSTOM, Germany for manufacture of high speed stainless steel coaches with FIAT-Bodie in 1995. He said the coaches based on this German technology are being manufactured at Rail Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala since 2001 and are at present being run in the premium Rajdhani/Shatabdi and a few Duranto trains. He said one project has been executed at the factory in Kapurthala at a cost of Rs 114.96 crore to facilitate manufacture of the upgraded stainless steel coaches and one more project sanctioned at a cost of Rs 130.24 crore is in progress. A project has also been sanctioned for Integral Coach FActory, Chennai at a cost of Rs 249.58 crore to enable it to manufacture such coaches.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm  Comments (1)  

New Innovation By Western Railway To Improve Catering Services

Western Railway has decided to introduce the scheme of ‘meal coupons’ for selling of standard meals and breakfast in the trains running with Pantry Cars.It has been decided to first start this scheme with Train No.12955/12956 Mumbai Central-Jaipur Superfast Express with effect from 1st December,2011.

The pre-printed meal coupons will be sold in advance by the Pantry Car staff to passengers who want to have standard breakfast, lunch, dinner etc. in this train. The passengers will make the payment and collect the coupons.These coupons will be exchanged by the passengers at the time of service of meals by the Pantry staff.

The meals tariffs and the menu items alongwith the quantity to be served have been printed on these coupons.It is expected that with the introduction of meal coupons, the cases of overcharging of meals will be eliminated.The passengers will also get all the menu items printed on the coupons.This will also cut out the practice of unauthorized hawking by outsiders.

Western Railway has also nominated one Senior Officer from Commercial Department who can be contacted on Mobile No. 9004490971 by the passengers travelling in this train in case of any complaint.

Recently Western Railway has taken over on-board catering service from Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation to provide quality services to its passenger at reasonable and affordable prices.

Western Railway is working towards providing better onboard experience for passengers and in recent past it has taken several steps such as better menu for catering in trains.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm  Comments (1)  
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Audio-visual info system at Pune railway station

The Pune railway station has been provided with an innovative and passenger-friendly audio-visual system for information on train timings, platform numbers, and other important details. It is the first development of its kind in the Central Railway.

TVs, speakers
The information is displayed through 45 colour televisions, plasma screens and 100 speakers put up on the platforms, concourse and enquiry counters. The operation of the system has been awarded to an agency on a time-sharing basis, which means there is no expenditure of public money.

The agency shall disseminate information to passengers and also display advertisements. The initiative will also earn the Railways a certain amount of revenue. This will result in saving huge capital expenditure and also substantial saving towards staff costs.

CR to replicate idea
The system has received widespread appreciation and is being replicated at other major stations under the Central Railway. The Railways will also consider displaying public information advertisements related to the Railways and other social issues that NGOs and social organisations approach it with.


Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 2:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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