IIT-B re-designing Railways’ platforms, coaches

In a bid to improve the infrastructure and ease public movement at some of the major stations, the Railways has decided to rope in the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B) to redesign its platforms and coaches. Sources say the Railways has already entered into a contract with the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) of the IIT and asked for unique designs for all its stations, not just in Maharashtra but for other states too.

Prof. G.G. Ray, head of department, IDC, IIT-B, said this is one of the biggest projects that the IDC has undertaken, and work on the designs is being carried out round the clock at the institute.

“Creating designs for infrastructure that is of international standards is a huge task. But we hope to come up with designs to accommodate the movement of passengers entering and exiting trains as well as stations,” Prof. Ray said. He added that the designs would be holistic and would also entail making completely new designs from scratch for the coaches. In making the designs, cost and feasibility will be the foremost factors considered, but Prof. Ray declined to name a figure for the overall cost the Railways would incur.

Sources in the Railways said the institute has been provided with blueprints of the existing stations to expedite work. “The designs for the stations will be done in a phased manner, with priority being given to stations that have the maximum footfalls in a day,” said the source.

According to Prof. Ray, the designs for the first phase will be ready by the first week of June and after they are approved by the Railways, work will begin on the second phase.

The IDC has been responsible for providing innovative designs to the government and the industry, with its biggest contribution being the design of the rupee symbol that was drawn by Uday Kumar, a student of the institute.


Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rlys hologram to battle fraudsters

Now, the railways have started using holograms on office orders dealing with appointments, postings and transfers. The step has been taken to prevent illegal recruitment in the railways.

“In spite of our best efforts, fake job rackets are continuing. While we have taken measures to raise awareness about such rackets, certain internal precautions also need to be taken. We are now using special security holograms that have our logo and a special number embedded. Any office order pertaining to appointment, posting or transfer is not considered valid without the hologram,” an Eastern Railway official said.

Though fake recruitment has been going on in the railways for decades, the matter first came to light about 10 years ago. Officials were shocked to learn that thousands of youths are being duped by miscreants claiming to provide jobs in the railways. The unsuspecting youths often took loans to pay the touts. In return, they were given appointment letters on stationery that matched those by the railways.

“By the time the railways became aware of the situation, some people may already have got jobs with fake appointment letters. Trouble is that the railways is such a large organization that it is difficult for one official to cross-check all communication with those sending it. Now, our stationery has a distinctive watermark with the Indian Railways logo and a hologram,” another official said.

Trouble is that the crooks have always managed to stay a step ahead of the railways. Even recently, a racket was busted in which ‘candidates’ claimed that they were made to sit for written exams at a hotel in the Esplanade area.

“Things have improved since we introduced holograms. We will have to come up with something new if the crooks start replicating the holograms. But, this will be more difficult for them,” a South Eastern Railway official said.


Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

High Speed Rail to Connect Udupi – Kerala in 3 Hours

The ambitious high speed corridor project of Kerala government will commence next year, according to Kerala chief minister Ooman Chandy. The 1.20 Lac crore project will have 80% private funding through loans, and remaining amount will be invested by state and central government jointly, he stated.

Chandy was in Mumbai for a road-show to showcase the forthcoming ‘Emerging Kerala 2012′ global investor meet, which would be held from September 12 to 14 in Kochi.

The first phase of the project will be completed in 2018 when Thiruvananthapuram – Cochin route for high speed rail is ready.

Though the initial plan was to establish high speed rail project only up to Cochin – Kasargod, later it was decided to extend Mangalore and Udupi. In 2020, high speed corridor high speed project will be completed with Thiruvananthapuram – Udupi route.

Currently 634 km Thiruvananthapuram -Udupi route is travelled by train for about 15 hours, but high speed rail will enable passengers to complete this route within three to four hours.

Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation chief T Balakrishnan said that high speed rail facility is available in Japan and China for years, we would initially introduce 200km per hour speed rails here. He said that, in Japan high speed rails run for 350 km per hour.

Wait-listed tatkal passengers to get preference over others.

Railways on Tuesday decided to give preference to wait-listed passengers under the tatkal ticket scheme over other passengers while clearing the waiting list in the event of addition of extra coaches to the train.

To clear the extra rush of passengers, railways have introduced many summer specials as well as resorted to adding extra coaches in trains.


Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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More comfortable journeys on double-decker train in the offing

More comfortable journey for passengers travelling on the new coaches of double- decker train is in the offing as many changes have been incorporated in them, including the number of seats that have been reduced to 120 from 128 after their redesigning at Rail Coach Factory here.

Several crucial changes have been made by RCF engineers based on the feedback received from passengers and railway officials who travelled on the first double-decker train operating between Howrah and Dhanbad stations since October 2011.

Senior RCF PRO Virender Kumar Vij said that 17 newly-designed coaches were rolled out from the factory on March 31 and had undergone field trials on the Delhi-Jaipur track.

“Basically, we have reduced the width of coaches by 80mms as there was some operational problem with the previous coaches as platforms were extended at some stations due to repair or other reasons. By reducing the coach width, this problem has been sorted out,” he said claiming that “this is the optimised standard design prepared by RCF officials”.

Apart from reduction in the number of seats, reclining chairs have been installed. Also, half of the seats would now be in one direction and others in opposite direction, with a snack table in the centre, added Vij.

Interiors of the coaches have been worked upon to improve aesthetic aspect.

Another rake is ready to be rolled out in the first week of June to be run between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. By the end of this year, two more rakes for Southern Railway (Chennai to Bangalore) and for West Central Railway (Habibganj to Indore) would be rolled out from RCF, he added.

“Senior railways officials are highly impressed with the newly designed coaches and it is expected that these coaches will replace the existing Shatabdi coaches all over the country in the near future,” he said.


Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Railways to help city out of ‘waste’ crisis

The city, reeling under severe waste management crisis, seems to have found a redeemer in Railways, which has proposed to use the garbage as filler material for its railway station development works.

Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali says the State government has already reached at an understanding with Railways on implementing the proposal in the stations on city outskirts.

“Within two days, we will be able to move out a sizeable amount of waste, accumulated in the city, as part of this project,” he says.

Mr. Ali also convened a meeting of top Government and Suchitwa Mission officials on Thursday to discuss the implementation of the proposal, which could provide the city Corporation and State government the much-needed relief from the crisis and save crores of rupees for the Railways.

“Using waste as filler material is an eco-friendly, cost effective and energy efficient option in the construction sector and it has been experimented in many other places. It has abundant possibilities in Railways, where we have an ongoing requirement for filler material to carry out construction works in railway stations on city outskirts. We will ensure that that the filling is done compactly and there is no issue of pollution or stench,” says Divisional Railway Manager, Rajesh Agrawal.

“We found in our research that municipal waste, especially non-biodegradable waste, suits the purpose of construction filler materials. If we make deep pits, we can also use biodegradable waste, which will eventually putrefy and blend into the soil,” he says.

Filling process
The multi-layer filling process involves compact filling of garbage over a layer of soil.

The garbage layer, which will be treated with inoculum, will then be covered with layers of soil, geotextile (a permeable fabric made out of coir) and plastic lining to avoid any leachate leak.

The multiple layers will be finally capped using concrete.

A senior government official says around 500 tonnes of waste will be used as filler material for the pilot project to construct a new platform terminal at a satellite railway station near the city.

The government official adds around Rs. 1 crore, which has been earlier allocated for a quarry land-filling project, will be reallocated for this.

An amount of Rs. 12 lakh advance has already been made to the Corporation to purchase geotextile, transportation of garbage and for carrying out preliminary filling works.


Published in: on May 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Central Railway implements new e-ticket refund system

Central Railway has implemented a new, Advance Coaching Refund System (ACRS) recently to reduce the time taken for e-Tickets refunds.

According to this system, all the e-ticket data is uploaded directly from IRCTC server to ACRS directly and dealt by the refund section in Chief Commercial Manager’s Office, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai.

The cases, in which the refund amount is sanctioned, it is transferred to IRCTC through pay order for payment to the party and pay orders are made manually. This has reduced the transaction time from 30 days to 15 days. All e-tickets refund cases will be disposed off within a period of 15 days.

Out of total refund cases, 60 per cent are of e-tickets at present, which constitutes about 2500 cases per month. CR is one of the few railways where Advance Coaching Refund System is implemented, a release from Nagpur division of Central Railway said on Friday.


Now RAC passengers to get bedrolls in Central Railway

Now train passengers in air-conditioned coaches having reservation against cancellation (RAC) will also get bedrolls. They will be made available in passenger trains across Central Railways.

Central Railway general manager Subodh Jain announced this after the issue was raised by Pravin Dabli, zonal railway users consultative committee (ZRUCC) member and others. RAC passengers are not entitled for bedrolls despite paying full fare.


Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 6:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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Travel fare cheaper than platform tickets

Passengers” at Koderma station are making the most of the latest railway offer — book a train ticket, don’t travel and save a few pennies.

Starting May 1, the cash-strapped railways raised the cost of the platform ticket from Rs 3 to Rs 5. But in Koderma, those who drop in at the station to receive or see off their dear ones have worked out their math to dodge the hike.

Thanks to Indian Railways of the fare-freeze fame, the ticket charges to four destinations, all within 25km, from Koderma are either Rs 2 or Rs 3.

No wonder, visitors to the station are simply buying tickets to the four nearest halts, namely Gajhandi, Sarmatand, Hirodih and Dilwa, rather than coughing up more on platform tickets.

Mohan Yadav, who stays near Purnima Talkies in Koderma did the same when he had come to the station to send off a relative this morning.

Asked whether he purchased a platform ticket, he smiled, saying, “Why buy a platform ticket when the fare to the nearest station is cheaper?”

Mohammad Shamshad Yusuf, a resident of Hazaribagh, went to receive a few relatives from Koderma station with two hours in hand. “I purchased a ticket to Gajhandi for Rs 2 and got the licence to stay inside the station for the next 24 hours,” he added.

Railway sources said that tickets to the four destinations were available on only three passenger trains, which halt daily at the small stations. The surge in ticket sales has not posed any problem for those actually willing to visit the four places, as it is easy to pile into coaches for a short trip.

But Koderma station master Awadhesh Singh admitted there was a 50 per cent dip in the sale of platform ticket, an unsung hero in terms of garnering rail revenues.

He said that 252 tickets to Gajhandi were sold from May 1 to 3, though earlier barely around 50 passengers purchased tickets daily. Similarly, Hirodih (156), Dilwa (57) and Sarmatand (101) registered nearly twice the normal figures of sales.

When asked, Singh told The Telegraph: “If fares to the nearest stations are cheaper, why would anyone purchase platform tickets?” Also, train tickets are valid for 24 hours while platform ticket let one be at the station for not over two hours, he added.


Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 6:24 am  Leave a Comment  

Free phenyl pouch for AC passengers

Buy an upper-class ticket and get a phenyl pouch free to clean the toilet before use. It’s the railways’ solution to a problem they have not been able to solve for decades.

“Some of our trains take up to 40 hours to complete a journey. Though efforts are made to clean the toilets at intermediate stations, there are regular complaints from passengers about hygiene. After all, the toilets are used by all passengers and one can’t ensure that everybody maintains the same standards of hygiene. As a pilot project, we have decided to start distributing phenyl pouches to those travelling in AC coaches. If they have any problem, they can mix the phenyl with water and sprinkle it around the toilet. This will not only sanitize the toilet but also remove any foul odour. Gradually, we shall extend this facility to all trains,” said A K Verma, general manager, SER.


Published in: on May 12, 2012 at 6:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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