Now, railway police to accept complaints on board trains

Rail travellers will no longer have to take the trouble of going in search of the railway police to lodge complaints such as missing or stolen belongings during their train journeys. Realising the difficulty faced by passengers , the Government Railway Police (GRP) has introduced a new system of accepting complaints from the travellers in running train now.

The latest initiative has been put into operation by the GRP on the instruction of the Additional Director General of Police, Railways R.Sekar. Police officers and field-level constables serving in GRP, Tiruchi Railway Police District, have been sensitised to the new system .

Under this system, passengers on board trains could prefer complaints regarding their missing / stolen belongings or any other problems they encounter midway to the beat constables of GRP on train escort duty.

Upon obtaining the complaint, the beat constable on board would hand over a receipt issued by the GRP to the passenger concerned affixing his signature as well as taking the signature of the traveller. Every such receipt given to the passenger contains a serial number and information such as complainant’s name, address and PNR number; complainant’s cell phone number; name of the train and number; date, time and place of complaint; railway police station jurisdiction; property lost; any information given to railway police helpline- 9962500500 and rank, number and name of the beat constable and the railway police station he currently serves.

While one copy of the receipt will be given to the passenger, the other copy along with the written complaint would be handed over to the jurisdictional railway police station by the beat constables themselves.

The case would then be registered by the jurisdictional railway police station based on the complaint received and a copy of the First Information Report would be sent through post to the passenger’s address mentioned in the receipt.

The new system is aimed at helping passengers to prefer complaint in running train itself without having to take the trouble of going in search of the jurisdictional railway police station, says the Deputy Superintendent of Police, GRP, Tiruchi sub division, K.Rajavel. The information could also be conveyed to the railway police helpline number.

Even if the passenger is unaware of the jurisdictional railway police station to prefer the complaint, the beat constable would help the traveller in filling up the column in the receipt with respect to railway police station jurisdiction and hand over the complaint as well as the receipt to that station, says DSP Rajavel.

The GRP, which is one of the wings of the State Police, is divided into two railway police districts with one at Chennai and the other at Tiruchi. The jurisdiction of the Tiruchi Railway Police District is vast starting from Villupuram to down south up to Kuzhithurai near Kanyakumari and from Nagore to Kodumudi. Besides it also has jurisdiction up to Bhagavathipuram railway gate on the Tirunelveli–Tenkasi route and Komangalam in the Palani–Pollachi route.

Passengers could lodge complaints on missing or stolen belongings to beat constables of GRP on train escort duty, writes R.Rajaram

Railways to refurbish enquiry Web site

The popular train enquiry website of railways will soon get a facelift, complete with a host of passenger friendly information, including the latest train position.

The likely time of arrival at the next station in the event of the train running late will also be provided in, helping passengers schedule their plans accordingly.

Search options

The search options have also been made much easier, relieving the passengers from the burden of remembering the train number etc.

“The other unique feature is that passengers visiting the site can get to know the latest position of the train they are searching for,” said a railways official.

Train running information

Indian Railways, which is the fourth largest railway network in the world, is already in the process of developing smart solutions to keep passengers informed about the real time train running information.

According to, which is powering the refurbished site, the new version has been designed after a study of various user focus groups which include regular passengers, savvy/non-savvy computer users and railway folks over months.

In a posting in an Indian railways fanclub website, it said: “The current version is an outcome based on several rounds of iterations and fine-tuning based on the feedback from such groups and experts from various design schools.’’

It said the goal would be to keep the screens less cluttered as opposed to the existing one and focus more on information which the user is specifically looking for.

RTIS project

The development comes as the railways is also testing with its The Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project based on the much talked-about GPS-based Satellite Imaging for Rail Navigation (SIMRAN) technology.

Through this system, people can get information about the movement of trains, their speed, delays, the approaching station, the coach position and other details through SMS or by Internet.

While information about 36 trains such as the Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto class of trains can be accessed by clicking, plans are afoot to include all trains in the railway network by 2013.

The sources said the railways will be entering into an agreement with IIT Kanpur soon, which has pioneered the project along with RDSO, to take the project to fruition.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 4:46 pm  Comments (1)  

Railway workshop to make rubber plates for tracks

Engaged in major rolling stock activities including manufacture of container wagons and steam locomotives besides carrying out periodic overhaul of diesel engines, the Golden Rock Railway Workshop here will soon embark on a new activity of producing grooved rubber sole plates for track application.

The over 85-year-old nodal workshop of the Indian Railways has received in principle sanction for the latest activity from the Southern Railway headquarters.

The workshop would be investing Rs.1 crore sanctioned by the Southern Railway towards procurement of machinery to execute the new work using its well-established infrastructure and skilled technical workforce.

Milling machine, kneading machine, calendaring machine, and hand moulding machine are proposed to be procured for the manufacture of grooved rubber plates, each of which would be four to five millimetre thickness.

To start with, the workshop intends to produce five to 10 lakh grooved rubber sole plates per annum and supply them to the Southern Railway. Natural rubber would be used as one of the basic raw materials for the production.

The grooved rubber sole plates are placed between concrete sleepers and the track to absorb vibrations and shock when a train runs on the railway line. The plates provide a cushioning effect ensuring better riding quality.

The rubber plates were being supplied by private manufacturers to the railways, officials say adding that the workshop had evinced interest in producing them. The production is expected to start before this year.

Alongside approving the new project and earmarking funds, the Southern Railway has also sanctioned Rs.1 crore each for extending the electrical maintenance shop; carry out improvements to the toilets; and for the construction of a gas storage shed inside the workshop.

Housing over 25 different types of shops, the sprawling workshop also carries out periodic overhaul of air-conditioned and non air-conditioned passenger coaches besides constructing stainless steel body BOX-N wagons.

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Smart card to replace your ticket

Govt all set to commission universal ticketing system to make ground travel easier
After universal identification development (UID) project, government may look at universal ticketing system wherein one chip based smart card is all one has to carry to travel by any mode of ground transport nationwide including railways.

Centre is serious about the project and it is set to commission a feasibility study shortly in three months or so, a government official, who did not want to be quoted, said adding it however at a very preliminary stage.

Though there are several global players like Siemens, General Electric, it was Thales, into military equipment and transportation solutions, is among the first to provide universal ticketing to cover all public transport systems nation-wide including railways in Netherlands.

“We have heard of such a development and there is a thinking on those lines in government,” Thales India managing director and country director Eric Lenseigne told Financial Chronicle.

Thales, a 13 billion euro company with operations in 56 countries, has installed nation-wide contact less fare collection system across Netherlands several decades ago, he said.

This meant with just one charge card, a person could travel by metro to railway station in Delhi, travel by Indian railways to Mumbai and then local suburban train and bus to reach home in Mumbai.

The same card could be utilised for inter-city and intra-city bus travel anywhere in the country. Lenseigne said it is technically possible to have one card for both UID and the smart card for nation-wide travel but it would be better to separate the two, as functions are different.

Thales has set up the ticketing system for the Delhi metro. It is also looking at providing highly sophisticated communication based trains control (CBTC) system for phase lll of Delhi metro and Hyderabad metro, which is being implemented by Larsen and Toubro. Under the CBTC system, trains will run on their own without a driver and is believed to be totally safe and near-zero accidents, which are usually due to human error.

With metros and monorails planned across length and breadth of the country in 22 cities, companies like Thales see India as a huge opportunity for signalling and other transportation systems despite stiff competition from several global players like Siemens, General Electric, Alstom and Bombardier.

Indian Railways too provided ample opportunity as it has embarked upon modernisation of signalling system on the basis of Anil Kak-odkar report on Rail safety and Sam Pitroda’s report on modernisation of railways particularly 19,000 km of trunk routes, acco-unting for nearly three-fourth of the railway earnings.

Based on recommendation of these reports, Indian Railways proposed to spend Rs 20,000 crore to upgrade signalling system in existing trunk routes and an additional Rs 20,000 crore for installing state-of-the art signalling system for bullet trains.

For the old system, Thales has what is called European Train control system (ETCS) level l, which has been installed in several main lines in Europe where trains can run at 150 km. For bullet trains, which run at speed beyond 200 km, ETCS level ll system is installed, Lenseigne said adding his company expected to get orders of upgradation of the some of the signalling systems in the Indian Railways.

Haldia DMU Factory to be functional from November

The ambitious project of Union Railways of Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) factory at Haldia is likely to be commissioned by the end of November this year. The unit will be spread over 42.5 acres of land, according to Railway sources.

At a high level meeting in Kolkata the Railway Minister Mukul Roy reviewed the progress of work with senior officials of South-Eastern Railway. A team of officials also visited the site and took stock of the situation.

Efftronics develops device to ensure safe passage of trains

A City-based private firm has developed and manufactured an instrument to ensure mishap-free and safe passage of trains between two railway stations.

The microcomputer-based electronic solid state block instrument, developed by technology designer Efftronics, has been tested in Vijayawada rail division.

During a press conference held yesterday, Efftronics general manager of G V Krishna Rao claimed that they have received an approval from Research Designs and Standards Organisation, Lucknow of the Indian Railways.

Published in: on April 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

IRCTC targeting 750000 bookings a day by 2015

Indian Railways Tourism and Catering Corporation, which runs Indian Railways’ online ticket reservation site has claimed that the portal makes 360,000 to 370,000 bookings at present, compared to 40,000 bookings in 2008. IRCTC is now targeting 750,000 bookings a day by 2015. To maintain its lead position in the domestic travel booking space, it wants to make the portal a one-stop shop for planning tours and introduce innovative facilities such as branded card and booking through SMS.

IRCTC is also taking seat blocks from airlines to be marketed and sold directly through its portal. “We will expand our airline ticket booking operations by offering corporate travel and also provide a complete package. This would be a major thrust area for us now,” said Rakesh Tandon, managing director, IRCTC.

The company owned by the Indian Railways became an agent of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in 2010. “Initially, when you enter a market, you tie up with the existing player or agency. Now, we are directly tying up with the airlines. We have already tied up with Air India and Jet Airways,” Tandon said.

The ticketing business constitutes 40 per cent to the company’s total revenue of Rs 550 crore. One of the major initiatives in reaching the goal would be to introduce booking through SMSes and rolling out deposit scheme for frequent travelers. With the scheme, IRCTC aims to reduce the payment time by half.

Currently, while booking tickets, payment transaction takes 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. According to Tandon, failure rate at the transaction stage is about 20-25 per cent. And in case of certain banks it is as high as 40 per cent due to lack of state-of-the-art arrangement with them.

Super AC class may offer comfort, easy fare mix

Mamata Banerjee had floated the concept in her last railway budget and Dinesh Trivedi is expected to take it forward, when he tables it in Parliament a month later. According to sources in the Railway Board, air-conditioned travel is expected to get more expensive but sleeper and general class fares will remain largely untouched.
As a balm for those who travel in AC coaches and crib about the poor quality of service, Trivedi is expected to unveil the concept of the Super AC Class that will be an intermediary between the ACI and ACII classes. Though this class will be cheaper than ACI, it will have amenities like drop-down video screens and sub-pantries in all coaches. The new coaches will be of world class standard, an official said.
In May 2011, the Railway Board had written to Railway Coach Factory (RCF), Kapurthala, directing it to develop a prototype for a Super AC Coach. In the first phase, 25 of these coaches will be built and distributed. In addition to this, 25 existing ACII coaches of Western Railway will be converted to Super AC ones. The cost for refurbishment of each coach is expected to be nearly Rs 18 lakh.
For the new coaches, the carrying capacity will be 44 passengers. The older coaches (converted into Super AC ones) will have lower capacity as the designers plan to do away with the side upper berths. Every cabin will have its own regulated temperature control system. The sub-pantry will have a water cooler and food warmer to accommodate a food trolley with a capacity of 70 trays and a water boiler.
“Space availability, ergonomics and ‘world class’ comfort is the concept behind the new coaches. These coaches may also be the first in Indian Railways history to provide on-board infotainment. They may be fitted with drop-down screens to telecast pre-recorded programmes. The fares will be lower than ACI but higher than ACII. The coaches are expected to start rolling out in 2012.
“This class is expected to be very popular among people who want something better than an ACII tier but don’t want to pay almost double for the ACI class. Once this class becomes popular, most long distance trains will be fitted with the new coaches,” an official said.

Published in: on April 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways’ double-decker souvenir for Jaipur

In last year’s railway budget, the then Railways minister Mamta Banerjee announced two first-of-their-kind AC, double-decker trains — one connecting Delhi with Jaipur and the other linking Ahmedabad with Mumbai. Over a year later, only one of the two double decker trains have arrived and its halted in Congressman Ashok Gehlot’s state, giving Gujarat a miss.

Especially designed red and yellow coaches of the Jaipur-Delhi AC double-decker arrived in Jaipur on Wednesday.

The German LMB design train with AC chair-car coaches was manufactured by the Railway Coach Factory in Kapurthala. The 15-coach train comprises 13 double-decker AC chair-car coaches and two electric power cars. Each chair-car comprises 120 seats — 48 seats on the lower deck, 50 on upper deck, six near Door 1 and 16 near Door 2. Every coach has 10 emergency exit windows.

There will be 1,560 seats in — 67 per cent more than Shatabdi Express train presently connecting Ajmer with New Delhi. “Also, the comfort quotient of these coaches will be at least 1.5 times more than Shatabdi,” sources in North Western Railway said, adding that the train, which will replace Jaipur-Delhi special and will have better catering facility.

As per the time table announced in July 2011, it will depart daily from Jaipur at 6 am and reach Delhi Sarai Rohilla at 10.30 am. It will return from Delhi at 5.35 pm and reach Jaipur at 10.05pm and halts briefly at Delhi Cantonement and Gurgaon.

But it remains to be seen when the double-decker would make its first journey from Jaipur to Delhi.

“Several safety tests have to be performed. Only after getting clearance from the Commissioner of Railway Safety can the train become operational. It could take four days or a month,” an NWR official said.