ECoR meet to prevent death on tracks

The engineers of East Coast Railway have decided to hold deliberations on how elephant deaths on tracks and accidents at level crossings can be reduced. At the 11th zonal executive meeting of East Coast Railway Engineers Association (ECoREA) held here on Sunday, the association decided to holds its 5th annual general meeting (AGM) on May 5 during which a safety seminar on “Role of Engineers on Efficient & Safe Operation of Railway Systems” will be organised. A discussion to reduce the deaths of elephants and accidents at level crossings will also be initiated to mark the occasion.

Published in: on April 30, 2013 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Kudumbashree roped in for cleaning bogies

Impressed by the efforts made by the Kudumbasree members in cleaning bogies of trains which station at the Ernakulam South railway station, the Railways has decided to entrust them with the job of cleaning three more trains here including the Patna Express and Millennium Express trains.

As part of the trial run, Kudumbasree members were entrusted in cleaning the Mangala-Lakshadweep and Ernakulam-Nizamudeen trains from February 23. Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agarwal had said that the Railways would consider entrusting more trains to the Kudumbasree members if it proved to be beneficial.

The proposal was made by District Collector P I Sheikh Pareeth as part of the efforts to encourage self-employment.

Kudumbasree members are paid Rs 150 for cleaning a bogie.

The cleaning will be done between 8 am and 12 pm on Thursdays and Sundays. Kudumbasree members are involved in cleaning of exterior and interior of bogies and toilets and ensuring that water is filled in the above mentioned trains.

In order to encourage their efforts, the Kudumbasree logo will be stuck on these trains so that the message of cleanliness imparted by them will be carried across the nation.

Currently, there are proposals to set up kiosks run by Kudumbasree members at the railway station.

Published in: on April 30, 2013 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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‘Jal Sewa’ opened at Phagwara rly station

Jal Sewa’, being organised by the Janta Jal Sewa Samiti, Phagwara, today started with a havan yagya at the Phagwara railway station followed by an impressive function on the 27th year of the service. With the day temperature rising in North India, volunteers of the Janata Jal Sewa Samiti, Phagwara, performing this noble act at the Phagwara railway station since 1986, gathered here to quench the thirst of railway passengers.

As soon as a train comes to a halt at the station, volunteers with colourful plastic glasses of water run up and down the two platforms, offering cold water to passengers seated in the compartments. The empty glasses thrown by passengers are then collected by the volunteers, washed and then refilled with water. The service of offering water to train passengers continues from morning till late evening.

On festive occasions like, Ram Navmi, Baisakhi and Janamashtami, sweetened water is offered to passengers by the Janata Jal Sewa Samiti volunteers. Besides offering water in glasses, the volunteers also refillwater bottles and ”surais”(earthen pots) that passengers carry whiletravelling on trains.

Barring a few, virtually all mail and express trains make a brief halt at the station. It is because of the brief halt of trains that volunteers advise the passengers to throw the empty glasses on the platform as they cannot collect each and every glass from them in that short period.Though Manav Sewa Sangh activists, led by Ramesh Mata, worked hard to serve drinking water to train passengers in the past and several shopkeepers joined the sewa after closing their shops, but the Janta Jal Sewa Samiti, headed by local resident Vipin Khurana, was now being patronised by several philanthropists. of the area. ”Offering water to a thirsty person is the greatest service,” Khurana said. Khurana personally takes care to see that the water being offered is clean and he even checks the ice slabs before these are put into the large tubs of water that are placed at different places on the two platforms at the station.

A large number of glasses goes missing, but the next day local residents come to the station with more new glasses. Perhaps at no railway station in India is this form of service organized. The ‘jal sewa’ (offering water), this summer season, was inaugurated by Congress MP Santosh Chaudhary, while former minister Joginder Singh Maan and Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Ram Parshad were the guests of honour at the 27th annual function of the samiti held here today.

Santosh Chaudhary announced a donation of Rs 2 lakh from her discretionary funds to the samiti. Former Nagar Council president and philanthropist Malkiat Singh Ragbotra said while in summers ‘jal sewa’ is performed, in the winter the samiti activists serve medicines, fruits, bread and milk to poor patients at the local Civil Hospital.

Eyeing revenue, railways starts spade work to develop land in Mumbai

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has begun a survey to find out how portions of land owned by the railways on the city’s suburban network can be commercially developed.

The study would not only assess the market situation for development but also the impact it would have on the existing infrastructure like roads and underground utilities.

The survey, called the ‘best use option’ study, is expected to take six to seven months to be completed because its scope is extensive, said officials.

The first five plots the MRVC is looking at are in Mulund (West), Bhandup (East), Thane, Chinchpokli and Currey Road.The railways has almost 430 million square metres of land across the country. The officials said the survey is being conducted as the railway ministry is considering the view that the railways must commercially exploit its land to gets its dismal balance sheets back in the black.

“It is a desperate situation for the railways. It needs to run more trains every year because of the annual rise in passengers. Many of these run on diesel which is bleeding the railways. Second, staff salaries continue to rise. In such a situation, looking at commercially exploiting land instead of allowing them to get encroached due to lack of activity is important,” said an official.

Central Railway alone has some 4.7 lakh square metres of land either encroached or under litigation in Mumbai.

Officials said the survey is looking at Central Railway areas because the Western Railway lands are being locked in for the elevated corridor between Oval Maidan-Churchgate-Virar.

“The elevated corridor project would require commercial development of land to allow the private participant to recover costs. So around 1.4 million sqft of railway land between Churchgate and Virar are being held back as part of the elevated corridor calculations,” said an official.

IRCTC gets relief from state commission on compensation

The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has stayed an order of New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, which had directed IRCTC to pay Rs five lakh each to two railway passengers for selling soft drinks above the maximum retail price.

The district forum had imposed the punitive compensation on Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) on two separate complaints of overcharging fruit drinks.

IRCTC had appealed to the State Commission against the district forum orders. It said the complainants had produced fabricated invoices to prove that IRCTC had sold the fruit drink packets above the maximum retail price.

“This misled the Forum in awarding the orders of paying compensation,” a release said.

The matter when came up for hearing before the State Commission, it observed, “Grounds mentioned in the application were sufficient, therefore, application is allowed.”

It directed issuance of a notice to the respondents and stayed the operation of the orders during pendency of the appeal.

Trains stop for trucks

In the tech capital of the country, you would expect hi-tech trains zipping past with automated signals keeping things on track. But that’s not really the case. At Allalsandra rail cross, off Bellary Road, trains are stopped manually to control movement and avoid mishaps.

The gateman has to alert the loco-pilot of the approaching train to stop until the traffic congestion is eased. The Allalsandra rail gate opens to the busting satellite town of Bangalore, Yelahanka, but the single lane road is perhaps nobody’s concern.

Gateman Syed Zamiulla has lost count of the number of times trains have been stopped to allow road traffic to pass. “There have been instances when the loco-pilot can see the traffic and stops at a distance until the traffic is cleared on the road-rail intersection here. Otherwise, it’s my job to do it. This happens almost on a daily basis in the morning peak hours between 10.30am and 11.30am when there are a couple of trains which pass by at short intervals and the road traffic is also at its peak,” he said.

There have been cases when either a BMTC or lorry breaks down on this road or at the intersection and causes a heavy traffic pile-up on either side of the track. “We have to divert cars and make way for traffic to move. Sometimes, trains have been stopped until the BMTC bus is repaired or moved out or else we have push it to move it of the train’s path,” he added.

Zamiulla has a tough job on his hands. “When we start closing the gates, all the vehicles are in a hurry to cross the track and hitting the iron roads. Then we have to shut the emergency gates too,” he added.

Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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CMRL awaits sanction from ministry for MRTS takeover

Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has taken a step towards initiating the process of Metro taking over the MRTS in the city.

Sources in CMRL on Saturday said they had written to the ministry of urban development a few months ago, seeking sanction for the proposal.

“The government already suggested this integration. Now, the ministry of urban development in consultation with Railways will have to grant permission for this proposal. We wrote to the ministry, requesting them to nominate a committee to work out the modalities for this proposal,” said a CMRL official.

If the proposal receives approval, the groundwork for this project might begin in another two years once the Metro Rail is up and running by 2015, the official said.

“When the Metro project was given sanction, we received suggestions from the government that Metro could take over the MRTS system after working out terms and conditions. If the initial work commences in two years, it may take a long time for the project to take shape. We need cooperation from the Railways to carry out this process,” he added.

There were other issues, including that of manpower for the MRTS, to be considered, the official said.

Railway Enquiry No 139 receives record 120 crore calls in 6 years

The Indian railways national enquiry number 139 has received a total of 120 crore calls from railways passengers since its inception in July 2007 The number 139 received highest around 29.20 crore phone calls last year, coming around to an average of around 8 lakh calls per day, while its SMS service received around 7.50 crore text messages during last year, clocking around 2 lakh SMSes per day. The national enquiry number handles the call rush from its four call centres set up in Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Noida, and Mysore, representing all four regions of north south east and west of the country. The service providers have set up data centers at Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai to provide technical support to its call centres .

A call centre executive is made available to the callers in an average time of 30 seconds and additional call centres executives are deployed to handle traffic rush of holidays and festival season in respective call centers. The service receives a majority of the calls between 0900 hrs and 2100 hrs, out of which maximum calls are received during peak hours between 1400 hrs and 2000 hrs. Most of the passengers seek information on PNR status through phone on IVRS and around 62 per cent seek information about the confirmation of their seats, while around 24 per cent passengers look out for information about the arrival and departure of the trains.

The remaining 14 per cent seek information about accommodation and fare. However, passengers using SMS seek more detailed information on an array of topics.

A majority of around 86 per cent passengers using SMS mode and seek information about PNR status to know about the confirmation of their berths. The passengers also seek information about arrival-departure, accommodation,fare enquiry, help message ,train number, time table, spot train, platform enquiry.

It has also been noticed that a record number of around five per cent passengers send wrong SMSes.

The national enquiry number 139 gets around 10,000 wrong SMSes per day and most of the SMS senders do not know how to write SMS using proper syntax for getting information. The national enquiry number sends corrects syntaxes for all type of enquiry on sending a help message to 139 . The national enquiry service provides information in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Oriya and Assamese but the two main language speakers of English and Hindi dominate the utilisation of this service The national enquiry service 139 is maximum used by Hindi-speaking north Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and others, which contribute to around 75 per cent of the total calls or SMSes sent to the call centres while English(16 per cent) remains the second preferred language for the railways commuters for seeking information. Punjabi, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, Oriya, and Assamese each contribute less than one per cent of the call volumes, while Marathi, Gujarati, Tamil, Telugu each contributes less than two per cent of the call volume. UNI RL SV 1100 NNNN

— (UNI) — 28DI9.xml

Published in: on April 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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Rules for travelling with dogs by train

Travelling with dogs by train is cheaper as compared to air travel, but it is quite complicated at the same time. Railways allows dog in first air conditioned class coaches of the train, otherwise dogs will be put in the brake van of the train along with luggage.

However, despite permission to travel with your pet in the first class, if anyone objects to it, the pet will be put in the brake van irrespective of the fact the passenger has paid all the charges.

Even if one decides to keep one’s pets in the break van of the train, the owner will have to put the pet into a cage, make him wear a collar and a leash. Besides that, it will be the owner’s responsibility to feed the dog during traveling. So, during long journey, as it is not possible for the owner to go and keep a tab on the pet, it becomes difficult for both the pet and the owner.

Pets, especially dogs, who are accustomed to move freely in the house or sleep on sofas or beds do not like to be caged and so many pet owners do not prefer to carry their dogs by train.

There are few trains which has in-built coop in the guard’s coach of the train, where one can put his or her dog during travel. But the only hitch is that only one dog can be transported through this way as there is only one such coop in the train. Two dogs could be allowed, in case they belong to the same owner.

Two dogs of two different owners are not allowed in this one coop as there are chances of fighting between them.

A passenger who has decided to take the pet dog in break van or the coop is required to reach railway station well before in time and visit the cargo dispatch department, where charges according to weight of dog will be charged and name tag with other dispatch details written on a cardboard is put around dog’s neck.

The cost is quite cheap and it could be ascertained by the fact that for a dog weighing around 10kg, one will have shell out not more than Rs 100.

Rules for conveyance of dogs through train (courtesy Indian railways)

Dogs when carried in the break-van, air conditioned first class passenger compartments will be charged luggage rates on the basis of weights subject to a minimum charge of Rs10 per dog, but not allowed in air conditioned sleeper coaches, ac chair car coaches sleeper class and second class coaches.

When carried in break-van (dog-box) 30 kg is allowed, for passengers compartments 60 kg

Owners to provide collars and chains and make their own arrangements for food and water for the dog during the journey

A passenger travelling in first air condition class or first class may take a dog into the compartment only with the concurrence of fellow passengers on payment of charges

If fellow passengers subsequently object to the dog remaining in the compartment, it will be removed to the guard’s van, no refund being given.

A woman travelling alone with children under 12 years of age in a first class compartment may take with her in the compartment one dog on payment of charges at the dog box rates, provided that if another woman enters the compartment, the dog can only be allowed to remain in the compartment with her consent.

Grinding halt for ‘royal’ train soon?

After changing its colour thrice since its launch, the Royal Rajasthan on Wheels (RROW), a super luxury tourist train that can barely break even during its run, now looks at getting its haulage model changed. The fixed haulage charges, now applicable to luxury trains, are highly exorbitant.

Following a letter by chief minister Ashok Ghelot to railways minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, chief secretary C K Mathew and officials from the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC) are slated to meet member traffic, Railway Board at New Delhi, in this regard.

‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’ – touted as India’s most luxurious train – is a joint venture between RTDC and Indian Railways. At the moment, the Rajasthan government owes Rs 30 crore haulage charges to the ministry and with RTDC running in losses, it seemed adifficult thing to run the train on the current model.

In 2010, the railway board had increased haulage charges from Rs 1,000 per kilometre to Rs 2,000. If the RTDC had paid Rs 30 lakh per trip as haulage charges, it has to pay nearly Rs 60 lakh per trip now. While the railway board had offered a discount of 40% since 2011, the objective of the meeting would be to negotiate with the board to consider extending the discount by two more years i.e. till 2009 when the RROW was flagged off. The RROW which is parked for the season is said to have run on 50% capacity last season and generated Rs one crore which barely covered running expenses and commissions to general sales agents (GSAs). For the next season, only 25 per cent tickets are booked.

“The haulage charges are exorbitant and we plan to propose to the railways to run the train on revenue sharing basis as the Palace on Wheels (POW). While railways get 56% of the revenue, Rajasthan’s share is 44% is far more logical,” said Vinod Ajmera, managing director of RTDC. Besides there would also be discussion on POW coaches overhauling, he said. The average life of the train coaches is 18 years but POW has already done 18 years, well past its life.

Unlike POW which has been running on fixed itinerary for years, RROW has since its inception been a “victim of officials and politicians’ whims and fancies”. A stark example is when the train was running in losses, it changed its colour thrice. “Initially, it was painted golden to reflect the colour of the sand. This was when BJP was in power. In late 2008, Congress came to power and with it the train’s colour was changed to dark yellow. And then, the train’s colour was changed to blue. Initially, the RTDC was reluctant to change the colour since it had already bought yellow paint. But the train finally had to be painted blue at a cost of over Rs 4 lakh to the RTDC at a time when the train was incurring a loss of Rs 5 crore every season,” a source said.

Moreover, while POW for years maintains the same well-researched itinerary, RROW is now contemplating changing the itinerary, which will also be one of the issues listed on the agenda of the meeting.