Food Bill May Boost Freight Movement of Railways: Official

Indian Railways expects a huge movement of food grains across the country, once the UPA government’s proposed Food Security Bill is passed, a senior official said here today.

D P Pande, General Manager of South-Central Railway said the national carrier encourages private freight terminals under the PPP model to meet the future cargo handling demand from all sectors.

“As per our estimation, with Food Security Bill, there will be a major increase in the rail movement across the country. In Andhra, as a strong producer of food grains, there will be an increased movement,” Pande told reporters in a press conference.

The landmark legislation aims at giving legal right over a uniform quantity of 5 kg food grains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67 per cent of the population.

He said the cement industry in the country has made investments worth nearly Rs 30,000 crore to increase capacities which would be required for transportation.

According to him, the major constraint for Railways is terminals. Freight handling terminals have to be increased proportionate to tonnage.

“That is why we promulgated private freight terminal policy. Anybody, who can set up a terminal in a private property, we will provide the authority to handle goods and he can charge the customers,” Pande explained.

The Ministry of Railways, in 2010, had finalised policy on Private Freight Terminal (PFT) with the participation of the private sector.

The main objectives of this policy are to enable rapid development of network for freight terminals with private investment to integrate rail transport with supply chain to provide efficient and cost effective logistic to end users.

It would also provide a new business opportunity to the investor who gets rail access to handle third party cargo. This policy has become effective from 31st May, 2010.

Pande said South Central Railway aims to garner Rs 11,700 crore revenue in the current fiscal as against Rs 10,036 crore last year.

Guidelines to book a rail ticket through SMS

IRCTC’s ambitious SMS-based ticketing system is a reality now. Railways minister Mallikarjun Kharge launched this new system yesterday and said that the service aims to “empower the common man who does not have access to internet and cannot afford to buy smart phones.”

The SMS-based ticketing system, a pilot project by IRCTC, will also effectively eliminate the menace of touts fleecing unsuspecting travellers at the time of booking tickets. Kharge added that this new system will prove especially beneficial to labourers and workers when booking tickets to their native towns. Such a system is apt for them since it is quick and hassle-free.

This SMS-based ticket service can be availed through two numbers – 139 and 5676714. Those looking to book tickets by sending an SMS to 139 will have to first register their mobile numbers with IRCTC and their banks. Over 25 banks are offering this facility at the moment. Users will then receive an MMID or Mobile Money Identifier and OTP or one time password from the bank for payment authorisation. This SMS-based service is available to all mobile subscribers.

This SMS-based ticket service can be availed through two numbers – 139 and 5676714.

To book the ticket, an SMS will have to be sent in the following format –

BOOK [TrainNo][FromStn.Code][ToStn.Code] [TravelDate (DDMM)][Class][Passenger-Name][Age][M/F]

Upon sending this SMS to 139 users will receive Transaction ID alongwith other details. To make the payment, they will have to send an SMS to 139 in the following format –

PAY [Transaction ID as received][IMPS][Your MMID as received from the bank][OTP ][IRCTCUserID]

Users can also book their tickets by sending an SMS to 5676714. They will have to first register their mobile number with IRCTC and m-wallet, and send an SMS to 5676714 in the following format –

START [irctc user Id]

To book the ticket, users will have to send an SMS to 5676714 in the following format –

BOOK[From stn.code],[to stn.code],[DDMMYY], [Trainno],[Class],[passenger name],[age],[M/F]

Once they have sent that SMS, users will receive the transaction number on their phones. A second SMS will have to be sent to make the payment. The format is as below –

“PAY [transaction no], MPAY, [m-PIN]” for authorizing payment through MPAY


“PAY [mobileno],[mmid],[amount],[transaction Id],[OTP]” for authorizing payment through IMPS.

Once they’ve made the payment, users will receive a booking confirmation SMS on their phone.

The SMS-based ticketing service through BSNL will require users to have a BSNL SIM card, a Java-enabled phone and an Andhra Bank Prepaid card. This system in particular is a menu-based one, meaning the user will have to enter details in a step-by-step process. To register, they will have to first install the application and select the “Register” option to get the Mpin. To book tickets through BSNL, users will have to first click the BSNL Prepaid Card icon and select Ticketing > Train (IRCTC). They have to provide details of their journey such as the name of their starting and destination stations, train number, date of their travel, class, quota, and passenger details.

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How to book rail tickets by SMS?

With an aim to reduce rush at the booking counters, the Indian Railways today launched SMS-based ticketing with two dedicated numbers – 139 and 5676714.

Ticket booking through non-internet based mobile, launched as a pilot project by Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), will also help the railways overcome the menace of touts.

Online booking of tickets is now around 45 percent of total reserved tickets and has eased the rush at booking counters.

Since the mobile penetration in india has increased rapidly and more than 80 per cent people have mobile phones, the new system will be helpful in enabling booking of tickets by people themselves.

How it works

For availing of this facility, register your mobile number with your bank. The bank will provide a mobile money Identifier (MMId) and one-time password (OTP) for authorization of payment. Then register with the IRCTC.

For booking a ticket SMS travel details to the dedicated numbers (139 or 5676714). It should include train number, date of journey, boarding station and destination and Class of travel, besides name, age and gender of the passenger.

On receiving the SMS, the IRCTC will send a transaction ID.

The passenger has to reply to the SMS with PAY followed by the transaction ID and the bank password (OTP). This confirms booking and the ticket amount will be deducted from your bank account.

On successful booking of ticket, a message will be sent to the user by IRCTC which will be sufficient as the valid travel document along with photo ID card in original.

A text message to the dedicated numbers enough and there will be no need for internet at any stage – booking, payment, cancellation etc.

The scheme will not be available during 8 am-12 pm for booking ARP/tatkal/general tickets.

OneIndia News

Published in: on June 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Port to develop rail infrastructure

V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust is set to develop its rail infrastructure.

With Hare Island identified as the site for creating a cargo storage facility exclusively for berths (North Cargo Berths II, III and IV), efforts have been stepped up to develop rail connectivity from the existing marshalling yard to Hare Island at an estimated cost of Rs.70 crore, according to S. Natarajan, Chairman of the Port.

The project would involve laying tracks, signals, telecommunications and electrification. Work is expected to commence from November and will be completed by May 2015.

“Currently, around 70 per cent of cargo handled by the port is imported and evacuation is carried out mostly by road. The cargo moved by rail included industrial coal, pet coke, lime stone, MoP, urea and other containerised goods. But the total cargo movement by rail is only 3.5 per cent resulting in heavy congestion in evacuation by road. Hence, there is a necessity to augment railway infrastructure,” Mr. Natarajan said.

He added that a railway track from the Port marshalling yard to the VOC wharf would be modernised at an estimated cost of Rs.16.73 crore.

Work was expected to commence from September and the project would be completed by May 2014.

In addition, a 11.30-kilometre track between Milavittan and the Port marshalling yard will be strengthened at an estimated cost of Rs. 3.34 crore.

Soon, better food and facilities on trains

Very soon you can expect better food and facilities in trains as Northern Railways is going to implement a new catering policy.

Northern Railway General Manager Vijay Kumar Gupta announced on Saturday that the division will also contract a new caterer.

Releasing the new timetable, Gupta said: “The food quality on trains operating under the Northern Railways will be much better from now. It is a continuous process. We provide food to around a lakh people daily.” The new schedule will come into effective from July 1.

Gupta also announced 42 new trains, including 33 express trains and nine passenger trains. Frequency of nine trains have been increased while the routes of 15 express and two passenger trains have been extended. To curb the menace of touts in railway bookings, he said the Northern Railways has constituted a team of officers and inspectors of the commercial department and Railway Protection Force to check all important outlets. Additional general manager BP Gupta, chief operating manager Mohd Jamshed, chief commercial manager Vijaya Sinha, divisional railway manager AK Sachan and other senior officers were present on the occasion.

Smart card for smarter travel on the anvil

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will be reviving its smart card project for Metro, Monorail and public buses.

MMRDA commissioner UPS Madan said, “The Union government was working on the National Common Mobility Card called ‘More’ but the initiative is held up. We will now have to restart the process or revive our own smart card system.”

‘More’, being made by UTI Infrastructure Technology and Services Limited (UTIISL), was supposed to be a cashless way to travel in different modes of transport across India.

As part of the initial plans, MMRDA, through Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority, was to integrate Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Transport, Navi Mumbai Municipal Transport, Thane Municipal Transport, Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST), and Western and Central Railways.

However, currently, only Metro (Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar and Belapur-Pendhar), Monorail and BEST will be part of the plan.

Railways is not included at the moment because “decision-making takes a longer time there as it’s not a state-governed body”, but, the official added, it can be included at a later stage.

The development authority will approach UTIISL for their own card. As the plan is in initial stages, a name for the card is yet to be decided. UTIISL will be the technology aggregator for implementation, a company under the ministry of finance and approved by ministry of urban development.

MMRDA authorities claim that the smart card system in railways can also be included with their plans provided some modification in the software and hardware is carried out. Moreover, the under-construction Metro and Monorail already have ticketing systems as per the specifications to have a smart card.

Earlier, ‘Go Mumbai’ card was introduced for the BEST buses and railways but it had several technical issues and, eventually, had to be scrapped.

Later, WR and CR started their own smart card system, which is popular among commuters.

Railways to launch SMS-based service for hygiene complaints

An On-site Passenger Complaint Redressal System (OPCRS) is being developed as envisaged in the Rail Budget 2013-14.

Railways have decided to launch an SMS-based service for immediate response to passenger complaints regarding housekeeping service in coaches.

The service will be launched on a few select trains to facilitate passengers to contact onboard staff through SMS or phone call for complaints related to cleanliness in coaches, toilets and other problems faced during journey.

An On-site Passenger Complaint Redressal System (OPCRS) is being developed as envisaged in the Rail Budget 2013-14, a senior Railway Ministry official said.

The service is likely to be launched in either Mumbai Rajdhani or Bangalore Rajdhani as a pilot project soon.

As per the system, a passenger can send SMS for any issue related to coach housekeeping like dirty toilets, compartment or absence of liquid soap.

“Passengers will SMS his PNR on a common number like one being used for PNR inquiry,” the official said.

Railways have asked for a three-digit number from the Department of Telecommunication for the purpose.

Once the SMS is sent, the information will be registered on OPCRS connected with GSM network, and it will be immediately routed to a GSM hand held unit (mobile phone) available with house keeping supervisor on train.

Simultaneously, an acknowledgement would be sent on the mobile phone of the complainant with a complaint ID with instruction to disclose the ID to the house keeping supervisor after he attends to the problem to his satisfaction.

House keeping supervisor on receipt of passenger information would locate him, get briefing of his requirements and attend to the problem besides giving him feedback.

After the job is done, house keeping supervisor would request for complaint ID from the passenger and send it via SMS from the hand held unit back to OPCRS. It will send the feedback to the complainant for closure of his complaint.

“In case the passenger does not disclose the complaint ID, it is presumed that the complaint has not been disposed off to the satisfaction of passengers,” the official said.

Railway workshop to repair LHB coaches

The Carriage Repair Workshop (CRW) of East Coast Railway at Mancheswar is set to take up maintenance and repair needs of important long distance trains which are fast switching to the Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches.

This year only, the workshop achieved the capability to maintain LHB coaches which are modern, fire-retardant in nature, do not capsize during mishaps and have a longer shelf life. It was in May that one rake of Rajdhani Express was maintained by the workshop for the fist time.

In next few months, the entire rakes of Rajdhani and Duronto trains are targeted to be maintained at Mancheswar and need not be sent to far-off workshops. This will help better availability of coaches and problems can be better monitored too, Chief Workshop Manager of CRW SK Pankaj told mediapersons here on Wednesday.

He said ` 38 crore had been sanctioned by Railway Board to accommodate special facilities for maintenance of LHB coaches at the CRW and it has taken rapid strides. Indian Railways is fast switching over to LHB design steel shell and integral coach factory (ICF) bogie with air spring.

Earlier, these coaches were being repaired in West Bengal, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. Now complete overhauling of bogies, air brake system and roof mounted air-conditioning system including poly-urethane paintings, interior and renewal of berths of LHB coaches have been achieved and sent for passenger carrying.

Pankaj said the workshop is also targeting to achieve a capacity augmentation from the 100 periodic overhauls (POH) of coaches per month to 150 POH per month by next year.

The capacity augmentation, sanctioned by Railway Board in 2008-09 at an estimated ` 25 crore, would enable the workshop to repair upto 150 coaches per month. The workshop achieved a record of highest ever outturn of 134 coaches in April 2013.

The Mancheswar workshop under ECoR would celebrate three decades of its operation in December this year. The first off POH coach was turned out on December 31, 1983. For capacity expansion, procurement of machinery and civil construction work is under advance stage. The CRW is spread over 314 acres of land with its workshop occupying 121 acres.

The workshop had started POH of hybrid coaches in February 2012 with Duronto Express. It is also developing infrastructure for supply of wagons and locomotive wheels to divisions.

Pankaj said a work order has already been sanctioned at the cost of Rs 57.7 lakh to develop facility for freight wheels.

Supply of Bedrolls to Passengers for Improved Comfort

South Central Railway has taken up another initiative in the supply of Bed rolls in trains with a view to improve the levels of comfort to the passengers. Under this initiative, woollen blankets are being supplied directly wrapped full length in a cotton cloth cover for enhanced comfort in Train No. 12797/12798 Kacheguda-Chittoor-Kacheguda Venkatadri Express.

Passengers feel better and improved satisfaction since the fabric feel of the cover is softer than that of woollen blankets and gives more warmth. The aesthetic, eye pleasing pastel shaded cover of the blanket can be washed after every trip facilitating maintenance of the blankets with improved hygiene.

In addition, moth repellents are also being placed in the linen storage area in coaches to safeguard the blankets and to counter stale odour from blankets.

As there is positive feedback o­n this from the passengers, SCR is taking steps to expand this initiative by introducing this measure o­n other express trains also in a gradual manner.,5,268&dcd=2541&did=137233662866013010B74112A59947255A87965A3161B.web107

Published in: on June 27, 2013 at 3:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Innovative warnings to prevent track deaths

The Central Railway (CR) will introduce neuro science-based concepts to alter the behaviour of railway line trespassers in an effort to prevent fatal accidents on tracks.

The CR had implemented similar methods with reasonable success in 2009, but the idea soon faded away.

The CR has now decided to implement innovative solutions offered by Final Mile, a behaviour architecture firm, in phases.

“In the first phase, locations at Mulund, Ghatkopar, Kurla, Mankhurd and Wadala Road have been selected,” CR chief public relation officer Atul Rane said.

The measures suggested by Final Mile had first been introduced at Wadala Road, and the results were encouraging. In 2009, about 40 people died because of trespassing at Wadala Road, but the number of deaths came down to 10 in 2010, after the implementation of these initiatives by the CR.

“Despite our success, the concept died an early death as our officials implementing the project got transferred or promoted,” a CR official said.

In its renewed effort, the CR will paint the sleepers yellow at chronic trespassing spots. A CR official said the measure will help trespassers judge the speed of an oncoming train by the rate at which the yellow sleepers disappear below it.

“Most accidents happen as trespassers are unable to gauge the speed of the trains, resulting in accidents,” the official said.

Whistle boards will also be put up at trouble spots to serve as a sign to the motorman to honk intermittently.

“It has been observed that trespassers ignore the honking sounds coming from all directions, but intermittent honking a few metres before the vulnerable locations will warn the trespasser about the lurking danger,” the official said.

Scary images of trespassing-related accidents will also be put up to warn people of the dangers of crossing railway tracks.

These measures have also been introduced at trouble spots on the Western Railway line.


SLEEPERS PAINTED YELLOW | As large objects appear to move slower compared to smaller ones, people tend to misjudge the speed of an approaching train. People get a better idea of the train speed when they see how fast the yellow sleepers are disappearing under it.

WHISTLE BOARDS | The boards will be installed 120 metres before chronic track-crossing spots. Motormen must give two short, rapid honks instead of a lengthy hoot when they approach these signs. Staccato horns have been found to be more effective in discouraging crossing of tracks