Swanky new trains to arrive only in Oct

The delivery of 72 alternate current (AC) rakes manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, is expected to miss the revised deadline again. As per the reworked deadline, the prototype rakes were to arrive by August, but Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation (MRVC) officials now expect them to arrive only in October.

The delay will hit plans to modernize the fleet and traction system, besides hampering service augmentation.
A senior MRVC official said, “Work on electrical fittings is on. We expected work on prototypes to be completed in July so that the rakes could reach in August. Thereafter, trials will have been carried out to ensure that subsequent rakes run smoothly on the suburban system.”

An agreement between MRVC and Bombardier Transportation was inked in November 2011. TOI had reported in December 2012 that the delivery of rakes had been delayed by six months. As per the original schedule, the rakes were expected by March 2013.

The shells are being built at the ICF and electrical infrastructure, including traction motors, are being supplied and installed by Bombardier Transportation at a cost of Rs 14.8 crore per EMU. The rakes are being procured under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (II).
The World Bank, which extended a loan of $385 million to MRVC for the project, is unhappy with the delay. An MRVC official said, “A World Bank team has sought a meeting next week to review progress of the project.”

Following a review in November 2012, the bank in a report on March 31, 2013, revised the rating performance of MRVC from ‘moderately satisfactory’ to ‘moderately unsatisfactory’.

MRVC may impose a penalty for the delay if Bombardier’s explanation is unsatisfactory; as per the agreement, the total penalty should not exceed 5% of the project cost.

A Central Railway official said, “Unless delivery of the rakes starts, Western Railway will not be able to give us AC/DC dual traction compatible rakes. Till then, CR will not be able to switch from 1,500 V DC traction to 25 KV AC current traction.” FASTER RAKES


The 12-car electric multiple units (EMUs) can run at a maximum speed of 120kmph, as against 100kmph of the present Siemens rakes (pictured above) Less susceptible to corrosion as they will be made OF stainless steel Shell exterior of rakes are white and a darker shade of purple, including the door, to camouflage paan stains Will look like Metro system coaches Improved ventilation as air blowers have been installed atop rakes

Agreement between MRVC and Bombardier Transportation for electrical fittings was signed in November 2011 Shells of rakes are being manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Perambur

Bombardier Transportation has been unable to deliver approved electrical fittings on schedule.


Rlys plans captive N-plants to cut rising fuel bil

Reeling under financial problems, the railways plans to set up captive nuclear power plants that will help it sharply cut its fuel bill and contribute to energy security. “We are in talks with Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC) to set up plants at existing sites,” Railway Board member (electrical) Kul Bhushan said. The transporter will sign an MoU with NPC and is also exploring options in UP, Haryana, Karnataka and TN.

The move is part of the railways’ strategy to revisit its energy usage after hikes in diesel price for bulk users. The railways spent Rs 8,000 crore on electricity and Rs 15,000 crore on diesel in 2012-13. The larger share of work is done by electric locomotives. Around 65% of freight and 50% of passenger traffic is carried using such locomotives.

Among the strategies being worked are to increase electrification of tracks, increase production of electric locomotives and to set up captive plants to ensure adequate and cheap power. The railways pays Rs 5.4 for a unit of electricity and hopes to get power at Rs 4 or less from its plants.The first phase of its power plant at Nabi Nagar, Bihar, may be operational by May 2014.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Alert rly driver spots crack, averts mishap

A major train accident was averted near Dharmapuri on Sunday morning after a crack that developed on the railway track between Palacode and Marandahalli in Dharmapuri district was spotted in time. The pilot of a passenger train reported to railway officials after he heard an unusual sound coming from the track while he passed through the damaged area, railway sources said.

A passenger train was plying between Yashwantpur near Bangalore and Salem railway junction. “The train usually leaves Salem railway junction at 5.20am and reaches Yashwantpur at 11am. It departs from Yashwantpur at 3.45pm and reaches Salem at 9.30pm,” said an officer from Salem railway division. On Sunday, the train was heading towards Yashwantpur when the pilot noticed the anomaly. “The pilot immediately informed Rayakottai railway station,” the officer said.

Railway officials found a crack on the track due to bolt damage. A bolt was fitted to connect tracks and the track was welded along with the clamp. But the bolt was damaged due to poor maintenance. When the train was crossing that particular area, the welding was damaged, resulting in a crack on the track, the officer said.

Technical staff sent from Bangalore repaired the track. Traffic was held up for about an hour and many trains between Bangalore and Salem were rescheduled.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Haryana to bear 50 % cost of Railways projects

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda on Sunday announced that the State Government would share 50 per cent of the Rs. 2515 crore required for the implementation of three railway line projects announced in the last Railways budget.

According to an official release here, Mr. Hooda made the announcement while addressing a rally at Hansi where he responded to a suggestion made by Union Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge at the same venue that the three important projects to construct rail lines would be taken up on a priority basis provided the State Government agreed to bear half the cost.

The rally was organised to mark the foundation stone laying ceremony of Hansi-Meham-Rohtak rail line and four-laning of Hisar-Hansi-Meham-Rohtak section of National Highway No. 10. Mr Hooda’s announcement cleared the early beginning of Delhi-Sohna-Nuh-Ferozpur Jhirka-Alwar, Hisar-Agroha-Fatehabad-Sirsa and Yamunanagar-Sadhora-Naraingarh-Chandigarh rail lines that would run 104 km, 93 km and 91 km respectively.

While Mr. Kharge appreciated the State Government’s initiative of contributing 50 per cent share, he assured personal intervention for expeditious planning and implementation of these rail projects. Responding to a demand by MP, Deepender Singh Hooda, the minister also announced that Delhi-Ludhiana Shatabdi would run on all seven days of the week and would also halt at Jind.

Heeding to another request by the MP from Sirsa, Ashok Tanwar, the Union Surface Transport minister, Oscar Fernandes announced to sanction a railway over-bridge at Dabwali that would cost 37 crore.

The Chief Minister in his address said that the three rail line projects were long pending demands of the State. He even recalled raising the issue in Parliament in 1991, when he was an MP from the State. He said that the projects would not only reduce the travel time to and from Delhi, they would usher in a new era of development in the concerned districts.

Mr. Hooda said that during the last eight years when he was at the helm, the State government had constructed 32 RoBs, while work on another 37 was in progress. He recalled that only 16 RoBs were constructed in Haryana during the previous 40 years, while not a single inch of rail line was laid during the INLD-BJP regimes.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Railway police organises workshops

The Railway police is organising a series of workshops for its personnel on identifying, rescuing and handling orphans and destitute children on trains.

A total of 35 railway police personnel from Egmore, Central and Chengalpet are undergoing the training, being held on five successive Saturdays. The resource personnel for the workshop are T. Tripurasundari of ‘Railway Children’, a United Kingdom-based organisation, and V.S. Valavan of Community Health Education Society.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TTEs are now ‘captains

To avoid confusion over which authority grievances on long distance railway journeys should be reported to, the Railway Board has decided to identify senior train ticket examiners (TTEs) as ‘captains’. As per the system, which will be introduced in long distance mail and express trains, the term ‘captain’ will be displayed on the left arm sleeve of TTEs.

Western Railway has complied with the Board’s directive and TTEs in three of its trains — Mumbai to Indore Avantika Express, Mumbai-Delhi-Amritsar Golden Temple and Mumbai Central Jaipur Superfast Express, will wear the arm bands.

A senior railway official said, “Badges have been provided to senior ticket checking staff. The arm band has to be worn on the left arm by the TTE on duty. In case of multi-leg journey, the ticket checking staff changes, causing confusion among passengers. This will now be avoided.”

For example, in Golden Temple Mail, the ticket checking staff changes at Ratlam Junction, Kota Junction, Delhi Hazrat Nizamuddin before arriving at Amritsar Junction. Midway into the journey, if passengers want to complain they find it difficult to locate the TTE.

Captains will be required to perform supervisory duties similar to train superintendents who accompany superfast trains such as Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto that operate as point-to point services. Captains will also be required to monitor on-board housekeeping crew.

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

Private guards can be hired to man ladies coaches: GRP

The authorities have resumed passing the buck on providing security to female commuters after the Saturday morning attack on a young nurse on a local.

The Government Railway Police (GRP), which has a strength of about 3,500 men, provides 388 constables for night escort on trains. But this is a severely low figure compared to the number of rakes on Western and Central railways.

The GRP complains the railways does not take enough interest in women’s security. GRP commissioner Prabhat Kumar said that given the dearth of manpower in his force, hiring guards from private security agencies should be an option.

“We have written numerous letters to the railways, with detailed computation of our requirement of 1,840 additional policemen for women’s security. If that comes through, we can secure women’s compartments day and night,” maintained Kumar. “We want the railways to take active interest in securing women commuters.”

“The Railway Protection Force, which currently escorts outstation trains, can work alongside our men to escort locals too,” said another senior GRP officer.

The dire lack of coordination between the railways and the GRP is evidenced by the fact that the latter’s personnel below the rank of senior inspector do not even possess duty-pass for operating on railway premises. “This means that by chasing a criminal across railway lines our constables are committing an illegal activity,” pointed out another officer.

Till May this year, there were 18 instances of molestation on the city railway network and two cases of rape. Apart from them, there was the horrific acid attack on Delhi resident Preeti Rathi at Bandra Terminus. Activist Sameer Zaveri said the GRP does need more manpower to curb crime and “there is no reason why the state government should not provide it with enough men”.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Free Wi-Fi at New Delhi railway station soon

Workaholics, Internet addicts and those who have time to kill will soon have something to look forward to while waiting at New Delhi railway station as the Indian Railways have announced free Wi-Fi connectivity at the station.

In the next three to four months, one of the country’s busiest stations will be the first one to be a Wi-Fi enabled station, a facility that is so far limited to major international airports.

A free Wi-Fi service, considered a value added amenity, is already available on board the Howrah Rajdhani. The proposal to extend it to the station is part of the Railway Ministry’s efforts to spruce its services at the New Delhi railway station and push it to the “world class” category.

Budgetary allocations for the project were announced in the last Railway Budget. There are proposals to replace the existing information kiosks, presently installed at the station with tablets at designated places. Through the “user-friendly” tablets passengers will get information about the train position, expected arrival time and other relevant details about their journey.

Once operational, passengers on all the 16 platforms will be able to access the internet through Wi-Fi services, which will cost the Ministry about Rs.80 lakh. The station was selected on a pilot basis and once the experiment is successful, other railway stations in the Capital will also be Wi-Fi enabled, said an official.

The process for making the station Wi-Fi enabled has already been started. “Tenders were invited for equipping New Delhi railway station with Wi-Fi, after which a Mumbai-based company has been assigned the job. We expect the work to be completed in three to four months. It would be a free service and we are eagerly waiting for the project to be completed soon,” said a senior official with Northern Railway.

The official went on to say: “New Delhi railway station handles as many as 300 trains and five lakh passengers in a day. So the free Wi-Fi service will certainly add to some of the attractive features which the station has. It would also go a long way in making the station a world class one as it will be the first Wi-Fi enabled station in the country to have such a modern facility like major international airports,” the official added.


Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 4:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Railways expects Rs 1 lakh cr investment in PPP projects

The Indian Railways expects Rs 1 lakh crore investment in PPP projects in the 12th Plan period (2012-17), said Manoj Singh, Advisor-Transport, Planning Commission of India, on Wednesday.

“During the 11th Plan period, the Railways received a mere Rs 3,000 crore investment through public-private partnership route. We expect PPP investments in the current plan Period to be worth Rs 1 lakh crore,” Singh said while addressing a CII seminar on logistics here.
The Government has chalked out six unique models to relax the norms to attract more PPP investments.

Singh added “underfunding” has been a major challenge in expanding rail connectivity.



Published in: on July 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Rly to rope in pvt players for electrification

With spiralling energy costs turning out to be a major challenge for the cash strapped railways, the transporter is planning to rope in the private sector for electrification of tracks in an attempt to reduce its energy bill and dependence on imported fuel.

The state-owned transporter will soon launch a pilot project to garner private investment in the sector. As per the plan, the private player will be handed over tracks to electrify, operate and maintain on annuity basis. The private players will be compensated with fixed annual payments for the investments. “Many private players and PSUs have shown interest as the project is bankable,” Kul Bhushan, member (electrical), railway board, told TOI.

“It will be a win-win situation for railways and private players as the gap between cost of diesel and electricity is widening,” Kul Bhushan said, adding, “Railways will be able to compensate private players with funds saved from shifting from diesel to electric traction.” While there is huge delay in several rail projects, the transporter exceeded the target for electrification of 4,500 km track during the 11th fiveyear plan (2007-12) and electrified 4,556 km.