Indian Railways’ need for speed

There are multiple agencies working towards building high-speed rail corridors and the Railway Ministry is doing pre-feasibility studies.

That India needs high-speed rail systems — trains running at approximately 250-350 km per hour-speed is known. But, it would augur well for different agencies of the Government to identify one dense stretch, pool in all efforts to implement such a project fast. The lessons from this stretch could be applied to some other stretches.


At present, there are multiple agencies working towards building high-speed rail corridors. The Railway Ministry is doing pre-feasibility studies for six stretches across the country. Then there are some State Governments which are doing parallel exercises for running high-speed trains. The Kerala Government has commissioned a pre-feasibility study for high-speed rail (HSR) along the West coast of Kerala — Thiruvananthapuram-Kasargod. Similarly, the Haryana Government is evaluating running of high-speed trains on the Delhi-Sonepat-Panipat route.


The costs involved are huge. The Thiruvananthapuram-Ernakulam link is expected to cost in the range of Rs 40,000 crore. Similarly, the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor is expected to cost more than Rs 50,000 crore. How will they be funded?

In this context, it is important to note that for the Railway Ministry proposals, even the cost of the pre-feasibility studies is being shared with the various State Governments, who are likely to benefit.

Given such costs, all implementing agencies have admitted that these projects will have to be taken in public-private partnership (PPP) mode with private participation. The exact model of PPP will have to be evaluated and decided. That process itself could take four years at the minimum — going by the time taken by the Government to decide such issues for railways’ factories and highways in India.

Should the whole project be given out to a consortium on design-build-finance-operate-transfer basis? Or should the project be unbundled — by breaking it up into station management, train operating companies — with the network being owned and managed by another agency?

“Which agency should run the trains? Who should then build and maintain the infrastructure,” asked Mr V. K. Dutt, former additional Member (Electrical), Indian Railways’, while speaking at a seminar on high-speed trains, jointly organised by the Institution of Engineers (India) – Delhi State Centre, IET (UK) – Delhi Local Network and Institution of Railway Electrical Engineers (IREE).


Then there are some technical issues. Should the new lines be made interoperable with the current system? Simply put, should the new rolling stock be such that they can move on the existing railway lines, something that France did? This is desirable because it would allow the new train sets to access much deeper areas on the existing network.

But this requires a lot of extra time and money because the existing railway lines and signalling systems have to be upgraded. It also means that the new network has to be built on a broad gauge — globally, the railway lines and rolling stock are on standard gauge.

Many experts who are outside the Indian Railways’ system per se, favour a non-interoperable standard gauge network.

The views of DMRC, which is doing the study for the Kerala Government, are well known. They are all for standard gauge — Mr E. Sreedharan has publicly stated his disappointment with the Indian Railways for not allowing the initial Delhi Metro network to be built on broad gauge. But Indian Railways has traditionally been quite rigid on this issue, insisting on interoperability.

What should be the proposed revenue box model? What share of the revenue can be taken out by monetising land? Who should be made to pay for the development — there have been examples like Manchester, where all beneficiaries — corporates and users — were made to share the cost.


Pricing of tickets is another issue. The high-speed trains — while requiring Government support — cannot be allowed to become a tool for populist measures.

“Do you want to target the aam admi (common man)? TGV — the high-speed train of French Railways — is approximately 20-30 per cent cheaper than some other European railways running high-speed trains. It enjoys an 80 per cent load factor,” says Mr Michel Testard, Indian Business Development Consultant to the SNCF (French Railways).

Mr Testard suggests: “Target a stretch — which is on an even terrain — that connects two cities separated by a distance of 300 km or so; and each city should have a population of at least 10 million.” The even terrain is important because of the cost implications — the cost of building one km of railway line could double in difficult terrain, such as mountainous region or those with water bodies.

These are just some key questions that have to be addressed before the projects start getting implemented. After all, it took almost 30-35 years for Delhi to get its metro system, after it was first proposed in 1972-75.

Metro training its staff to handle abandoned persons

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is training its officials on how to effectively handle cases of children and adults found abandoned on metro premises. On Friday it organised a workshop at its Training School in Shastri Park to sensitise the station staff on how to deal with abandoned adults or children.

According to the DMRC officials, a lot of times children get separated from their parents or individuals mostly women and older people get left behind at metro stations. These people are then taken into the care of the Station Managers who then are entrusted with restoring them with the families and notifying the law enforcing agencies.

“All the Metro Station Managers and Assistant Station Managers attended this workshop. Senior DMRC officials along with experts from an NGO dealing with such issues addressed the employees,” said a DMRC spokesperson.

Communication skills

The workshop included sessions on the necessary communication skills for interacting with the abandoned individuals, immediate liaison with police and other agencies concerned and rehabilitation in secured environs.

“Experts from the NGO were invited to the workshop for an in depth presentation to the metro staff regarding help and assistance in such cases. During the workshop, the station staff were instructed on how to immediately contact the police by dialling 100 if they come across people who have been left behind at the metro premises. They were also provided with the telephone numbers of NGOs for the homeless,” said the spokesperson.


The DMRC also plans to sensitise the Metro Citizens Forum volunteers on how to render help to the people left behind or abandoned.

“There are more than 500 volunteers working with Delhi Metro currently and they can be of great assistance in dealing with such cases. People seeking assistance from the metro staff inside the metro premises can also call on the Metro’s helpline number (011) 128128 and the metro security number 011-22185555,” the spokesperson said.

Published in: on December 11, 2010 at 11:18 am  Comments (1)  
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DMRC Wins Civil Engineering Project Award

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has won the Outstanding Civil Engineering Project Award for the year 2010 specially for completing various infrastructural projects in record time, an official said Tuesday.

The award will be given by the international Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council (ACECC). The council works for the promotion and advancement of the science and practice of civil engineering and related professions for sustainable development in the Asian region.

The award is given to agencies involved in infrastructural projects that have made exemplary contribution to the progress of civil engineering works.

The project taken up by the agency should contribute to the nation where the project is located and they should have impacted on or spread through other Asian nations or ACECC member economies.

Work on a 125-km stretch of the Delhi Metro is in progress in Phase II and will be completed before the Oct 3-14 Commonwealth Games. Large sections of this have already been opened for the public.

Published in: on July 17, 2010 at 1:04 pm  Comments (1)  
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DMRC to launch Cycle Feeder Service at stations

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has announced to start Cycle Feeder Service at its stations to promote the usage of non-polluting vehicles.

”Cycle Feeder Service will be launched from the Rohini East metro station later this month as it is an eco-friendly mode of transport,” the DMRC said in a statement issued here today on the occasion of World Environment Day. Apart from a cycle stand at the metro station, four cycle sub-stations will be set up in the nearby localities of Rohini East. Commuters will be able to take the cycles from the sub-station near their residence and reach the metro stations.

”They can register for the service with a refundable deposit of Rs 300,” the statement added. For a time slot of 15 minutes Rs three will be charged.

— (UNI) — 05DI14.xml

Published in: on June 6, 2010 at 10:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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Delhi Metro to soon flag off AC feeder buses

Metro commuters have a reason to smile. Soon, Delhi Metro’s much awaited air-conditioned feeder buses will ply on 20 routes, promising a comfortable ride this summer.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is yet to finalise the contractor, though routes have already been charted out.

“We are in the final stage of selecting the operator. It’s difficult to set a time frame as of now, but we are expecting to flag off the operation pretty soon,” said Anuj Dayal, spokesperson, DMRC.

For the project, an Indo-Asian auto giant, Swaraj Mazda is building as many as 300 buses. A 26-seater bus will cost around Rs 19.8 lakh and will have features like pneumatic air suspension for more comfort, wide doors between 800 to 1,000 mm for better traffic movement and semi-low floor design.

“We had started a trial bus service on Shastri Park- Vasundhra Enclave route for a few months. The successful trial run helped us chalk out the bus routes and other operational modalities,” said an operation’s department official.

The official said, it will be mandatory for the bus operator to run buses on the schedule prepared by the Delhi Metro and also to maintain a log of the operations between 8 am to 8 pm. “However, the period of two hours in the morning between 6 am to 8 am and in the evening from 8 pm to 10 pm, the operator will decide on the number of buses to be plied by checking the viability option,” added the official.

The official said that the buses will be monitored through GPS system and a dedicated Metro officials’ team will oversee the operation. “A few buses have already arrived and we will ensure that the bus system does not go the Blueline way. There will be checks and balances in the system,” said the official. “To start with, there will be two clusters comprising 20 routes. The area where Delhi Metro has already reached will get the priority,” said an official.

DMRC building highest automatic washing plant in Asia

New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) It’s being built on a ramp at a height of 6.7 meters from the ground level and can clean two metro trains in a span of just 5 minutes.

The Automatic Train Washing Plant, which DMRC claims the highest in Asia, is coming up at the Sultanpur depot on the under-construction Central Secretariat-Gurgaon Metro corridor.

The plant will wash the external body of the metro trains and side walls of the cars with the help of vertical brushes and takes about 4 to 5 minutes for complete washing of two four-car metro trains.

The trains are usually washed during the night after the metro services come to a close at 11 PM and maintained at the depots.


Published in: on April 28, 2010 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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ISO certification for DMRC staff training institute

New Delhi Even as the Delhi Metro faces an acute shortage of skilled labour, its training school located in Shastri Park received a shot in the arm recently through the ISO 9001:2008 certification, a validation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), for maintaining a Quality Management System in its training programmes.
Established in 2002, the Delhi Metro Training School is the only specialised training institute in Metro operations and maintenance technology in South Asia. The programme was initially developed with the help of the Hong Kong Metro.

The institute has already trained more than 5,000 employees of the Delhi Metro’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Wing, CISF and Delhi Police personnel, Bangalore Metro personnel, contractors’ staff (ticketing, customer facilitation, etc), customer relation assistants (CRAs) and other departments of the organisation. “So far this year, 1,160 new staff members have joined the institute and 550 have already undergone training,” Anuj Dayal, DMRC spokesperson, said.

“TUV SUD South Asia Private Limited, a testing and certification body, found that the Delhi Metro Training Institute has established and applies a Quality Management System (QMS) for design, development and delivery of its training programmes. An audit was performed by the body, which found that the institute fulfilled quality requirements according to ISO 9001:2008. All training activities, including the training need analysis, designing module, pedagogy, feedback analysis and evaluation were audited by the certifying body,” Dayal said.

The training school has specialised working model rooms — for understanding the functioning of the signalling and automatic fare collection (AFC) systems.

The institute plans to procure one more simulator by the end of this year so that train operators can have more hands-on experience of driving a Metro train.

The institute’s expertise in training Metro staff is expected to come in handy for other cities like Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Pune, which are planning to have Metro rail projects in their cities soon.

Published in: on August 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Now charge mobiles in metro rail

The Delhi Metro is going to install 134 multiple mobile charging machines at its stations to be operational by July in a phased manner.

About 42 such machines will be installed in line I, 32 in Line II and 60 in Line III. The machines will have multiple sockets to enable commuters to charge their mobile phones of different brands and makes, free of cost. The mobile phone charging machine will have six sockets/chargers and will be mounted on the walls in the paid area of the station, a DMRC release said.

In addition, charging points will be available for laptops and mobile phones in the 131 new trains which are being inducted for Phase II of the Delhi Metro.

This mobile and laptop charging facility will be an addition to a line of advantages at the Metro stations already equipped with many such facilities like bill drop boxes, ATMs, Tea/Coffee vending machines, coin vending machines, eating joints, book shops, gift shops etc. Rent a cycle facility is also available at Patel Chowk, Pragati Maidan and Indrapratha Metro stations.

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 4:14 pm  Leave a Comment  
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DMRC Metro volunteers impart training

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation on Thursday imparted training to the second batch of the Metro Citizens Forum which will volunteer to help instil better behaviour, etiquettes and discipline among commuters.

The Forum was started recently by DMRC after continued efforts to streamline passenger movement and ensure discipline while boarding and de-boarding failed to reign in errant commuters.

Various aspects

The training-cum-orientation programme called “Sahyog” was conducted at the DMRC headquarters where volunteers were informed about various aspects of the Metro operations such as customer orientation, etiquettes, cooperation with passengers, vacating seats for the elderly and ladies, ticketing procedures, boarding and de-boarding procedure, security mechanism, disaster management and cleanliness.

About 100 volunteers attended the programme and were handed over the Metro Citizens Forum badges after the programme.

The first such training programme was held in January this year when over a hundred volunteers joined the Forum. Since then, the number of volunteers has risen to about 250, said a DMRC official, adding: “Members of the Forum cut across all age and social groups such as students, doctors, retired Army officers, teachers, businessmen and elderly citizens.”

The Forum initiative came as a follow up of the Delhi Metro’s plans to start the value guide programme in association with the Foundation for Restoration of National Values, a non-government social service organisation.

Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 7:34 am  Leave a Comment  
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Metro rail, the pride of Delhi

The Metro rail will not be a success till all the passengers are educated and respect the rules and regulations of the project in a civilised manner. Defacing of the trains by vandals must be checked severely.

SURFACE TRANSPORT in Delhi is in a state of chaos. There are more vehicles in Delhi than in any other metropolitan city and they are congesting the roads day by day. The result is long waiting time, traffic blockages and numerous road accidents. So what is the answer? Pollution has nearly pushed Mother Earth onto its deathbed. Thousands of factories and vehicles are pouring tons of pollutants into our atmosphere every day. At this juncture, the Metro rail comes as a breath of fresh air. The Metro is providing a valuable service. Metro rail is indeed a boon for the existing traffic scenario. It would certainly provide us with a smooth, efficient and eco-friendly transport system in the Capital.

December 25, 2005, was the inaugural day of the Metro. On this day Delhi got a much-awaited gift of comfortable and dignified mode of travel — the Metro rail. Thousands thronged the station to enjoy a ride in the air-conditioned coaches. It is cheaper and faster than any other mode of transport. Ticketing is fully automatic. All entrances to the Metro stations are controlled through automatic flap gates.

A training school for drivers and other operating staff has been set up. The Delhi Metro has been equipped with the most modern communication and train control system.

The work of Metro rail project is being undertaken in different phases by the DMRC. The government is taking every possible step to complete the project as soon as possible. Though tight security arrangements have been made, the concerned agencies must ensure the implementation and enforcement of rules and regulations. The Metro is a technological marvel that promises an international experience of travel.

The launching of the Delhi Metro is a result of team effort, hard work and dedication of the entire Metro team and the work is still going on war-footing in many parts of Delhi. The Metro rail will not be a success till all the passengers are educated and respect the rules and regulations of the project in a civilized manner. Defacing of the trains by vandals must be checked severely. Let us hope that the Delhi Metro fulfils all its promises and comes up to the expectations of the people.

Published in: on March 23, 2009 at 3:28 pm  Comments (1)  
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