Railway stations to rival airports

Five metros, including Bangalore, to get state-of-the-art stations

The Railways on Wednesday floated a new public sector organisation, Railway Station Development Corporation, to modernise stations in the country. In its first phase, the corporation will take up stations in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Bangalore.

Spelling out the concept of modern stations, Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi said, “Modern stations should look like airports and would be functional centres.”

The new PSU has come up as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) after IRCON International Limited and Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) signed an MoU on Wednesday.

It is proposed to provide the identified stations with well-designed concourses, high quality waiting spaces, easy access to the platforms, congestion-free platforms, state-of-the-art catering facilities, hotels and other amenities.

The redeveloped stations would be disabled passenger-friendly and would have provision for convenient entry, inter-platform transfer and easy access to all facilities for physically-disabled persons and senior citizens. They would also be provided with waste disposal facilities to improve hygiene and cleanliness. De-congestion would be a priority. For that, arrival and departure will be segregated as in airports, Trivedi said. Roof plaza and green environment are the other things that are being planned to make the stations vibrant, he added.

Existing vendors would not be displaced, Trivedi said. Besides, the modernisation programme would not burden passengers. The revenue will come through private investments by way of public-private partnership. Trivedi said it would be an imperative to have modern, functional stations which would be customer-oriented and equipped with proper circulation area and railway operation facilities.

The Railways has sent letters to state governments and local bodies to improve areas surrounding the stations and approach roads leading to them. The property and assets of the entity will remain with the Railways.

Railways to launch Blue-Fi facility at Bangalore City

A fortnight from now, when you enter the Bangalore City Railway Station and the your mobile phone Bluetooth is enabled, don’t be surprised to receive a host of information, including details of arrival and departure of trains, downloadable games, wallpapers and so on.

The Bangalore Division of the South Western Railway (SWR) is all set to launch Blue-Fi, a combination of Bluetooth application as well as Wi-Fi connectivity at the station, facilitated by RailTel Corporation of India, the Railway Ministry’s telecom arm.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Sudhanshu Mani told The Hindu that Blue-Fi was one of SWR’s several initiatives to enhance passenger comfort. The facility is free for passengers while the Railways plans to get revenue through advertisement.

A first for railways

While a private company is already providing Wi-Fi connectivity at the Mysore Railway Station, the Bluetooth facility is a first for Indian Railways, said K. Manohar Raja, General Manager, RailTel, Bangalore. He told The Hindu that the entire City Station — from Platform 1 to 10 — will be covered by the Blue-Fi network.

Passengers can access unlimited data for free through Bluetooth as data transfer takes place very quickly. For Wi-Fi, however, the passenger has to send an SMS to a number to be specified to get the password. Using the password, the passenger can surf for half an hour. To continue, another SMS needs to be sent.


IRCTC offer on Buddhist circuit special train

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited has extended the companion travels free offer for Indian nationals travelling on the Mahaparinirvan Express – Buddhist circuit special train for trips commencing on February 4 and 13.

This comprehensive tour package of seven nights and eight days includes journey by an exclusive tourist train, hotel accommodation, road transportation in AC Deluxe buses, all meals, sightseeing, entrance fee, tour guide service, travel insurance, onboard security etc.

The all inclusive price for two people would now be Rs. 45,500 for AC 2 Tier. This journey covers Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Sarnath, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Lumbini(Nepal) Sravasti & Agra, said a press release.

Tourist can avail this special offer by making bookings on website http://www.railtourismindia.com/buddha or contact: 040-66201263.


Raising a toast to steam railways

In an age of high-speed trains that help you reach your destination in double-quick time within the confines of air-conditioned luxury, there are still very many who believe that these modern contraptions can never match the romance of the steam engine trains. If you are one of them, then head towards the National Rail Museum this Saturday for the 9th National Steam Congress organised by the Indian Steam Railway Society.

The congress is being conducted to celebrate the transformation of the Rewari Steam Shed from a dilapidated structure with decaying engines into one of the finest steam locomotive sheds of the world.

“This event will give a fillip to the preservation of steam locomotives and also propel the growth of the niche Steam Heritage Tourism section in the country,” said Indian Steam Railway Society president Romesh Chandra Sethi.

In 1997, the Indian Railways revived the Fairy Queen which then entered the Guinness World Record for the oldest locomotive engine in the world, which brought steam locomotives into the limelight in India.

BBC’s Sir Mark Tully will be delivering the key-note address and Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society (U.K.) vice-chairman Paul Whittle will be making a presentation on the steam engine scene in the U.K.

Luminaries from various fields like the Archaeological Survey of India, British Council, INTACH, Aga Khan Trust, Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Railways are expected to participate.

A presentation by the Indian Steam Railway Society on the recent “resurrection of steam locomotives” will be then be made at the Rewari Steam Centre and nMOU will be signed between the Indian Steam Railway Society and the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Society (U.K.).


Luxury Trains of India – An Experience of a Lifetime

Embark upon a wonderful journey by train on any Sunday on the Palace on Wheels. Make every Sunday a fun day for you and your family. Travel through the mystical land of Rajasthan and its wonderful and magical cities that are standing testimony of beauty, vibrancy, and heritage.

All you have to do is feel like a King as you are bestowed upon with the best of the services possible. Feel pampered as you get a royal treatment. While you journey through places like Jaipur, Bharatpur, Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Madhopur, Sawai, Jodhpur, and Jaisalmer on one of the best luxury trains of India, let us look around the train and what it has to offer to its guests onboard. Aside from Royal Rajasthan on Wheels, this is a much sought after luxury train in India.

Facilities available on this Indian Luxury train

Let us find out how you can spend your time onboard when you are not admiring the Rajasthani havelis and forts outside your window.

If you want to rejuvenate and pamper yourself, you can avail the spa services onboard. As far as dining and cuisine is concerned, experience lip smacking Rajasthani cuisine as the chef dishes out few of the best dishes of Rajasthan. You also have the well stocked bar and if you just want to while away sometime, head for the lounge.

There are 13 coaches that are named after the well known palaces of Rajasthan. These include Lalgarh Palace, Umaid Palace, Kumbha Palace, Jogi Mahal, Phool Mahal, Kishori Mahal, Padmini Mahal, Jal Mahal, Sukh Mahal, Moti Mahal, Surya Mahal, Chandra Mahal, Hawa Mahal, and the super deluxe cabin is known as Taj Mahal.

Destinations covered by Royal Palace on Wheels

One of the best known luxury trains India can possibly have, you will be taken for an expedition to the following places. Also mentioned are the landmark for which each city in Rajasthan is well known for. Take a look at the following –

You will begin your journey from the capital city of India – New Delhi and travel to the following cities.

Jaipur – Also known as the Pink City
Desert in Jaisalmer
Forts and palaces in Jodhpur
Sawai Madhopur known for its wilderness
Chittorgarh – speaks volumes about the bravery of the rulers
Lakes in Udaipur
Bird Sanctuary in Bharatpur
Taj Mahal in Agra
Fast facts about Royal Palace on Wheels

Read on to know the fast facts of this luxury train of India.

The luxury train is Wi-Fi enabled
It is a no-smoking train
Super deluxe cabins are equipped with temperature control option
Laundry service onboard
Mobile charging electric sockets
Forex counters
Conducted sightseeing tours
Music system
Safe deposit locker
Derick Richards is a professional travel writer, who has travelled many places in world and India especially. Derick has written many reviews on luxury trains India and articles on royal Rajasthan on wheels. Enjoy reading.


Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

IIM Bangalore to give Indian Railways a makeover

IIM Bangalore overcame FMS (Delhi), SPJIMR (Mumbai) and IIM Ahmedabad who came in the second, third and fourth places respectively, in what can only be described as a hard fought final of ‘Lessons in Marketing Excellence’ (L.I.M.E). The finale was held yesterday at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai. The Honourable Minister of Railways Shri Dinesh Trivedi was the Chief Guest for L.I.M.E Season 3. In the last 2 years, L.I.M.E has become one of the most prestigious and hard fought competitions among India’s top business schools. SPJIMR – Mumbai was rated as the most entertaining presentation through an audience voting system. However, IIM Bangalore were selected as the winners of L.I.M.E. season – 3 by a jury comprising of Geetu Verma, Executive Director – Foods division, Hindustan Unilever, Sanjay Pugalia, Managing Editor, CNBC Awaaz, Piyush Pandey, Chairman Ogilvy South Asia, Devi Prasad Pande, Advisor, Indian Railways and Anjali Goel, ED, Indian Railways. They were announced winners of ‘Lessons in Marketing Excellence – Season 3’ because of the novelty and originality of the ideas they pitched for. The cases not only reflected an in-depth research and understanding of the challenge but also provided focused and relevant solutions that were cost effective and easily implementable. The case study was offered by the Indian Railways, which is not only one of the world’s largest rail networks but also the backbone of the Indian economy and a potent symbol of the nation. The teams from the respective B- schools chalked up plans to enhance revenue and better the brand image. Speaking on at the event, Shri Dinesh Trivedi, Honourable Minister of Railways said: “I would like to compliment the participating teams and the judges who were evaluating them, because they have done a fabulous job. This challenge is indicative of the fact that when our young minds are given a task, they will get involved and come up with solutions. In the time constraint, they have begun to think about the railways in a new light. It would take a lifetime to understand the complexity of a system which has 14 lakh employees and an agricultural nation to nurture, which has a large part of its population residing in remote villages. We have 129 new projects, out of which only 14 are financially profitable, which is indicative of a very complex social issue as well.”


Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 5:00 pm  Leave a Comment  

Railways plans to revamp catering system

Days after a catering manager at the New Delhi Railway Station got into a scuffle with a policeman after he was prevented from crossing the tracks to deliver food, officials are still debating the issue. While ground-level staffers say that racing against time to load food supplies into trains causes them to bend the rules, senior officials are of the opinion that the delivery system at stations needs a complete revamp.

The scuffle had resulted in the death of a 53-year-old Railway Police constable.

When the newly-inducted Ludhiana Shatabdi pulled in at the station on Monday morning, catering staffers tried to cross the tracks from platform no. 1 in their rush to meet deadlines. Policemen deployed at the site objected, leading to a tussle between catering manager Dhanpat and a policeman. Even as Dhanpat now cools his heels in police custody, the Railways have ordered an independent probe — sparking off a debate on streamlining the catering system.

Catering officials said that the New Delhi Railway Station services around 100 trains on a daily basis, and they could never meet deadlines if the supplies were to be carted through pathways. “Considering that the platforms are about 700 metres long, to cart food supplies one has to walk all the way down and then onto the respective platforms. It is time consuming, and not practical,” said a catering manager.


Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Railways plan new model for PPP projects

The Railway Board is planning to formulate a new model for public private partnership (PPP) projects in order to create a level playing field for private players without harming the interest of the railways.

“For the PPP models to succeed, private entrepreneurs who are going to invest money in the railway projects must also get a level playing field. Without compromising the railways’ interest, we must also take care of the private players because they are putting money into it,” Railway Board Chairman Vinay Mittal said.

“So it has to be made attractive enough. Otherwise, everything will remain on paper only. We are already in the process of finalising it,” he added.

Mittal admitted that the railways would fall short of passenger revenue this year.

“We had set a target of 8.2 billion passengers and achieve a target of Rs.30,000 crore as revenue. But we will fall short in that because the earnings have not come, although the figures are there,” he said.

“We hope to achieve an operating ratio of 92 percent in this financial year,” he said.

Mittal said an urgent plea has been made to the central government for funding in the Twelfth Plan.

“We have received Rs.20,000 crore budget support this time (2011-12). But if we want to do exponentially well and move forward, we need much more than that. We would be happy if we get more than that this year (2012-13 budget),” he added. (IANS)

Kolkata Metro to get automatic signalling system

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi Friday announced that the Kolkata Metro and the suburban system will get new automatic signalling systems and all the old trains of both systems will be changed soon.

“We will introduce TPWS (Train Protection and Warning System) in the Kolkata Metro by March-April. This system enables the train to stop automatically when there is a red light even if the driver fails to stop the train,” Trivedi told reporters.

“The Kolkata Metro will have all new rakes by the middle of this year, except a few rakes which can be refurbished. All the rakes have outlived their span,” he said.

The minister said most of the new Metro rakes will be air conditioned. “We want all the rakes to look bright, new and modern… All the rakes have outlived their utility,” he said.

Trivedi also lauded Kolkata’s sub-urban train system for surpassing the Mumbai suburban train system in terms of punctuality.

“We want to change all the rakes of suburban trains also. The suburban trains have surpassed the punctuality of Mumbai. In Mumbai, it is 96 percent. Here it is 99 percent,” said Trivedi.

However, the minister said the emphasis was more on safety than punctuality. “And 100 percent safety can only come once we automate the system. We need to modernize the entire suburban system,” he said.

Trivedi said a coordination committee has been formed to oversee the progress of the announced projects in West Bengal. (IANS)

Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Understanding the importance of Indian railway stations and their codes.

“Indian Railway is the second largest railway in the whole world. Indian railway is one of the most effective network established in1853 to operate both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad, metre and narrow gauges. The Indian Railway helps to unite the integral, social, economical, and cultural foundation of the country. Indian railway has around 114,500 kilometers of railway track with 7500 railway station. This Railway carries approximately 30 million passengers and 2.8 million tons of freight daily.
If someone is planning to take a tour of the country India, then it is must to get all the detail about the features of Indian Railways and Indian railway station code. The total number of Railway stations in India is estimated to be between 7000 and 8000. Out of these railway stations only 3,468 station codes are mentioned on all the official websites of Indian Railway. Similar to the airlines the Indian railway stations also have some codes. IR station codes are not so longer in digits or alphabets, these codes are listed in three or four letter codes.
Example: – Delhi the capital of India is also listed in the station codes. The station code of Delhi is DLI likewise Lucknow NR (capital of Uttar Pradesh) has also given the unique code for the identity and the station code of Lucknow is LKO .These station codes is used during the booking or reservation of seats in Indian Rail and also to get all information regarding Indian railway stations.

Indian railway is divided into different zones that are categorising as under.
The various zones of Indian Railways are Central Railway (CR) with headquarters at Mumbai, East Central Railway (ECR) with headquarters at Hajipur, East Coast Railway (ECOR) with headquarters at Bhubaneswar, Eastern Railway (ER) with headquarters at Kolkata, Konkan Railway (KR) with headquarters at Navi Mumbai, North Central Railway (NCR) with headquarters at Allahabad, North Eastern Railway (NER) with headquarters at Gorakhpur, North Western Railway (NWR) with headquarters at Jaipur, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) with headquarters at Guwahati.
These zones contain many different stations which are given some codes i.e. Indian Railway station codes. There are many railway stations in India but some of them are given codes that are for the unique Identity of the stations. You can also get latest information of nay type through the mobile facility of railway. Just type station code and related requirements and get the information through messages within a fraction of minute.


Published in: on February 1, 2012 at 4:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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