IRCTC to launch special 7-day tour to Kathmandu

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is mulling to run a special train from Indore to Nepal to facilitate the people from the state to visit famous Pashupatinath temple. The train will start from Indore and halt at Raxaul in Bihar from where the passengers would be taken by road to Kathmandu by private operators.

Achyut Singh, regional manager IRCTC talking to TOI said, “The special train to Nepal would be flagged off from Indore tentatively around Independence Day. From Raxaul, which is about 100 kms from Kathmandu, private bus operators would take care of the passengers till Kathmandu.”

Vigilance control device fitted in locos

All ‘Alco’ type broad gauge diesel locomotives housed at the diesel loco shed here have now been fitted with vigilance control device (VCD), a safety gadget to keep the loco pilots in a state of alert all through the journey to prevent accidents and enhance rail safety.

The ‘Alco’ type diesel locos which constitute majority among the different variants of engines homed at the Tiruchi shed are used for hauling mail, express and passenger trains as well as goods wagons.

Consequent to instructions from the Railway Board, the exercise of fitting multi-resetting stand alone VCDs in ‘Alco’ type diesel engines commenced last year across Southern Railway.

Railway officials here say that the safety device has been fitted in all the 78 ‘Alco’ type BG diesel engines homed at the Tiruchi shed whose total holding is 144 engines.

Installed right in front of the loco pilot’s seat, the VCD provides cyclic warnings to the loco pilot and applies penalty brakes if the warnings are ignored by him. The VCD automatically resets the alerting cycle when the pre-defined locomotive operations were on or when the reset switch was pressed.

While piloting the engine, the loco pilot is to perform any one of the operations such as pressing the horn button; normal application of the formation brake; increasing or decreasing the level of dynamic brake; changing the notch position and throttle; operation of sanding valves and pressing the VCD reset switch.

Officials say the Light Emitting Diode yellow lamp in the VCD would start blinking after 60 seconds to alert the loco pilot in case he remains idle and fails to perform any of the operations.

The lamp would blink for 17 seconds to alert the loco pilot and further caution him with a buzzer sound for another 17 seconds if the VCD warning was still not acknowledged by the loco pilot.

In case the pre-defined warnings continued to be ignored, the buzzer gets switched off and the safety device applies penalty brakes. The Dead Man Relay (DMR) valve is de-energised to reduce the engine speed to idle and the governor cuts off fuel supply leading to the stoppage of the formation.

The official said the 4,500 horsepower EMD type loco have in-built VCDs. The Tiruchi shed which houses 15 EMD locos at present has been allotted 25 such locos additionally by the Board.

Mumbai to ‘pilot’ national rail smart card project

With automatic ticket vending machines and smart cards getting popular on the suburban railway lines, the ministry of railways has designed a national railway smart card — Go India card.

The ministry had decided to launch the pilot project along the Mumbai-New Delhi route and Mumbai Central station of Western Railway is one of the six stations on the launch list.

“The pilot project is at the development stage and is proceeding without problems,” said KH Muniyappa, minister of state for railways, in the Parliament on Thursday.

The pan-Indian, pre-paid card, based on London’s template of Oyster card, promises to be the future of railway ticketing. “The new Go India card is a fool-proof national smart card that can be used as cashless ticket on all trains of any type across the country, including city’s suburban trains,” an official said.

It is a reformed avatar of the cashless ticket card Go Mumbai that was in use on buses and trains till recently. But the scheme was discontinued in December 2010, due to technical glitches.

The Go India card would be a seamless card used for unreserved tickets/suburban tickets, booking of reservation tickets on all kinds of trains and even retiring and cloak rooms. A public sector bank has been shortlisted for its financial transactions.

At present, the smart card used on suburban railways is a pre-paid card, but is used for issuing physical tickets from automated vending machines.

“No physical ticket will be issued and the fare will be deducted from the pre-paid card (e-purse). The passenger will show the smart card at the exit validator, which shall debit the exact fare and transmit the details through the ticketing server. Ticket checkers and train ticket examiners will be provided with hand-held card readers,” the official added.

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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AC double-decker train’s trial done, to run soon

With the trial-run of the much awaited double-decker air-conditioned train between Jaipur and Delhi successfully completed, it is all set to have its maiden run next month. Authorities are now waiting for the green signal from the Railway Safety Commissioner for its maiden run.

The train ticked all boxes and passed all check parameters during its test-run. The trial run was continued for four days, in which its running was tested at different speeds.

The train will start running between Jaipur and Delhi Sarai Rohilla any day in the next month (May).

It will replace Jaipur-Delhi non-stop special train. The service period of the present non-stop trains is going to end on April 30.

The double-decker train can run only after April 30 as the commuters have reservations in the non-stop trains till late April.

Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as railway minister had announced the project in her budget for 2011-12.

The double-decker train was designed and developed indigenously by Research Development and Standard Organisation at the Kapurthala rail coach factory.

It will have 13 coaches with a seating capacity for 120 passengers in each coach. The lower floor of the train has a capacity of 70 passengers while the upper floor has a capacity of 50 passengers.

The train will have stops at Gurgaon, Delhi Cantt and Delhi Sarai Rohilla at the same timings. It will leave Jaipur at 6 am and reach Sarai Rohilla in Delhi by 10:30. It will return at 5:35 pm to reach Jaipur at 10:05 pm.

According to railway sources, the ride will cost Rs 347 from Jaipur to the last stop at Sarai Rohilla. The fare from Jaipur to Gurgaon will be Rs 327.

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 6:49 am  Leave a Comment  
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Railways to launch fireproof coaches

The Rail Coach Factory (RCF) at Kapurthala in Punjab has started manufacturing fireproof coaches. The railways intends to replace all outdated and general coaches with fireproof coaches.

According to a Railway Board official, fireproof coaches made of stainless steel have been produced on trial basis. Their design and other safety measures have been approved by technical experts. Under the new design, approved by the board, the curtains and other fittings inside the AC coaches are fire resistant. These fireproof coaches are being made of superfine stainless steel, he said.

Published in: on April 28, 2012 at 6:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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AC coach vestibules to remain closed to prevent robberies at night

To prevent robberies on trains, the Vijayawada railway division has decided to close the vestibule (passage) between the AC bogies in the night. This decision comes in the wake of increasing number of robberies on trains. Divisional railway manager Anurag hoped this step would curb the movement of robbers on trains, especially in the AC bogies.

“We have decided to block the vestibule between AC bogies between 10 pm and 6 am so that the unauthorized movement could be restricted,” Anurag told TOI on Thursday. Besides this, GRP and RPF escort parties would be deployed on trains for the safety of the passengers at night.

As summer is more convenient for thieves and robbers to strike, the DRM cautioned the passengers against wearing expensive jewellery during train journeys. “Passengers should keep in mind that robbers would always be waiting for an opportunity to strike,” he said. CCTV cameras have been installed at key locations at various stations to keep a watch on suspects, he said.

Asserting that the recently-introduced tagging of luggage in the reserved bogies has been well received, the DRM said that they would take up more passenger-friendly measures.

Railways have introduced refrigerated vans for perishables

Indian Railways have introduced service of refrigerated vans with a view to facilitate transportation of perishable commodities including fruits, vegetables, frozen foods, frozen meats/poultry, chocolates, milk products, pharmaceuticals etc. in temperature-controlled condition. This information was given by minister of state for railways K H Muniyappa in reply to a written question in Lok Sabha on Thursday.

At present, Indian Railways have a fleet of 10 refrigerated parcel vans, which are attached to long distance mail/express trains as per demand. In addition to this, Container Corporation of India Ltd (Concor), a public sector undertaking under ministry of railways, has procured 98 insulated-ventilated containers, which are running on Indian Railways as special trains as per demand.

Reducing Carbon Emissions from Running Trains

Indian Railways have taken up a clean diesel project, to reduce the emissions from diesel locomotives and to bring them in consonance with the international emission standards. As part of the project, an initial feasibility study has been completed. Phase-II of the project for developing a prototype system for a locomotive is under process.

Indian Railways consumes about 2.5 billion liters of diesel annually. A work for Rs. 4.39 crore has been sanctioned for consultancy for reduction of exhaust emissions from diesel locos of Indian Railways.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways, Shri Bharatsinh Solanki in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

Communication-based train control (CBTC) system likely

The railways are toying with an ambitious plan of changing the face of the Mumbai suburban railway traffic network, courtesy a communication-based train control (CBTC) system.

The CBTC gives the exact position, speed, breaking distance and other information of a train service more accurately than the traditional signalling system.

If things go as planned, say experts, trains on a route will run in less than two minutes, and thereby cut down on the number of commuters jostling for space.

The idea was mooted at a convention at Delhi on ‘Modern Train Control for Capacity and Safety Enhancement. Kul Bhushan, a member of the railway board (electrical), said, “The railways are considering provisions of the CBTC system for running trains at close headways of about two minutes to meet the increased commuter traffic requirements.”

The Mumbai suburban railway system has reportedly the highest passenger density in the world, as it carries more than 7.5 million passengers each day.

The traditional system of signalling is based on track sections, each identified by ‘fixed blocks’. A signal on a block does not allow a train to pass till the block is occupied by it. A second train is allowed on the block only after the first one has gone on to the next block.

With the CBTC, though, a train will keep the control room in the loop on its speed, position, breaking distance and other details at all times. The control room will then ask other trains to adjust their movement according to the one ahead and thereby, keep a safe distance.

Loco factories to be built under public-private partnership mode

It is official now. Two locomotive factories proposed to be built at Marhaura (diesel) in Saran district and Madhepura (electric) in Bihar will now be built under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Railway minister Mukul Roy made this clear recently during a meeting with the Railway Board officials.

According to a Board official, there was no question of these major projects getting shelved. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had already approved them in 2007. “It is good that the railways has taken a firm policy decision to go ahead with these two projects in Bihar,” he said adding the railways would now shortlist bidders for these two factories through International Committee Bidding (ICB).

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 4:57 pm  Leave a Comment