Konkan Railways’ ambitious Skybus structure to be erased, sold off as scrap

The ambitious Skybus project, after lying in limbo for nine years, is finally bidding goodbye as the Konkan Railway has decided to demolish the mammoth structure.

The 1.6-km-long test track structure placed at about 10 m above the ground at Madgaon in Goa is slated to be erased and sold as scrap.

Besides the structure, two air-conditioned coaches, part of the Skybus service, will also be sold off as authorities have decided to scrap the project in the absence of qualified bidders.

“It is a sad decision to scrap the project. But there are no other options as we tried for long to make it operational,” B P Tayal, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Konkan Railway, told PTI.

The Skybus project, first-of-its-kind in India, is a modified rail with overhead tracks on the underside of a concrete structure at a height of about 10 m from the ground. The concrete lane is supported by columns rising from the central verge of existing roads.

“We invited global expression of interest for the project twice but did not get any favourable response,” Tayal said, adding “now the maintenance cost is going up so we have to dispose it off before the corrosion sets in.”

The indigenous project had cost about Rs 50 crore. Konkan Railway has to spent about Rs 3 crore more for the dismantling the structure.

“It was the decision of Board of Directors to scrap the project. A technical committee will be set up now to suggest ways for dismantling the structure,” said the Konkan Railway CMD.

Konkan Railway is expecting to fetch Rs 5 crore from the scrap disposal of the project.

Besides scrap disposal, we will try to market the Skybus patents also, Tayal said.

The Skybus project was former PM A B Vajpayee’s New Year gift to Goa in 2003. The pilot project was to connect Mapusa to Panaji. It was supposed to be a 10.5 km route in the first phase.

Accordingly, trial runs were conducted at a 1.6 km long test-track at Madagaon. However, a mishap occurred on September, 2004 during the trial raising serious concerns about passenger safety, forcing the authorities to re-evaluate the system.

Though the Konkan Railway had tried to revive the project on its own after the global expression of interests failed to evoke the desired response, it could not be materialised due to financial constraint.


Published in: on August 4, 2013 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Konkan Railway introduces ‘green’ toilets

Regular toilets will be replaced by eco-friendly bio-toilets for disposing human waste at all stations of the Konkan Railway (KR), an official said here Wednesday.

Two railway stations, Chiplun and Kankavali on the KR route, had earlier been selected for installing the country’s first green toilets to bio-degrade night soil through technology developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

“The technology, while permitting eco-friendly and quicker disposal of human waste, is also economical. Passengers and locals at both Chiplun and Kankavali have appreciated the efforts of the railways,” the official said.

Encouraged by the public response, KR has now decided to set up such toilets at all the major stations on its network.

The bio-toilet uses the DRDO’s bio-digester technology, which is economical and can be implemented faster than the regular RCC (reinforced concrete cement) toilets.

“The technology is 100 percent maintenance-free and allows complete elimination of pathogens without requiring the night soil to be disposed through sewage line and septic tank,” the official explained.

Since the need for septic tanks and sewage lines has been eliminated in this technology, the bio-toilets can be installed and ready for use within just 48 hours, compared to two months for the conventional toilets.

Even the cost savings on bio-toilets are high, as much as 70 percent, compared to regular toilets. While a regular toilet costs around Rs.100,000, a bio-toilet can be put up at just Rs.30,000.

The bio-digester requires only an initial one-time charging with anaerobic bacterial inoculums if it is in regular use.

The bio-degradation of the night soil leads to generation of bio-gas which can be utilised for cooking.

The clean, odour-less water extracted after bio-degradation can be recycled for irrigation in gardens and other such places.

The DRDO bio-toilets are being widely utilised by the defence forces in remote locations.

The Indian Railways signed a memorandum of understanding with the DRDO in 2010 to develop a bio-toilet for use in railway coaches to improve the environment in and around the railway infrastructure.


Published in: on June 20, 2013 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Unique onboard shopping on Konkan Railway trains

In an endeavour to provide better customer services and to make the journey more pleasurable, Konkan Railway has launched yet another service oriented scheme to provide an unique experience for rail passengers — The On-Board Shopping Service in Konkankanya and Mandovi Express trains.

The service provides attractive and utility products for sale to passengers traveling by Konkan Railway. This unique service was enjoyed up till now only by Air travelers or though E- shopping. Now Konkan Railway passengers can also enjoy the pleasure of feeling the products and shopping right at their place of seat whilst their journey.

Commencing on February 14, which is coincidentally Valentine’s Day, this unique service of On Board shopping is being introduced in Konkankanya and Mandovi Express.

M/s Ava Merchandising Solutions Pvt Ltd has been authorized to sell various products at most discounted and competitive rates to the passengers. The items shall be vended during day time of journey between Mangaon and Madgaon stations. The items include lifestyle watches for ladies and gents, portable music system, neck band MP3 player, designer jewellery set, ladies clutches and handbags, multi media speakers. spy pen with video recorder, portable battery pack, car inverter, sun glasses, computer travel kit, belts and wallets, variety of perfumes, trendy toys and many more attractive products.


Konkan railway launches shopping in trains

For the first time, passengers on Konkan railway’s two trains will be able to shop for watches, music systems and jewellery onboard, an official said here Wednesday.

The new service, to be launched Thursday (Valentine’s Day), will offer attractive and utility products for sale to passengers of the Konkan Kanya Express and the Mandovi Express, which link Mumbai and Madgaon in Goa.

“This is an endeavour to provide better customer services, make the journey more pleasurable and enjoy the feel of the products while shopping in their seats during the journey,” said an official spokesperson for Konkan Railway Corporation (KRC).

Messrs Ava Merchandising Solutions Pvt Ltd has been authorised to sell various products at heavily discounted and competitive rates to the passengers, he said.

These articles on sale include ladies accessories, writing instruments, audio-visual products, perfumes and toys, among others, he said.


Published in: on February 14, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Konkan Railway’s Ro-ro Service Enables Easy, Fuel-efficient Transport

The ro-ro (roll-on roll-off) service by Konkan Railway started 13 years ago is a unique service that has enabled transport of loaded trucks directly by railway wagons. This is win-win project,” said deputy chief commercial manager of Konkan Railways Nandu Telang.

Addressing a press meet at the Konkan Railway Corporation service office on Tuesday July 24, Telang said that as of now, five rakes are operating, and soon a sixth one will be added.

The ro-ro service has reduced expenditure on diesel, wear and tear of tyres and maintanance of trucks for operators, and has lso ensured on-time and intact delivery,” he said, adding that in 13 years since its inception, there has not been a single case of accident.

“At the national level, this service has helped to conserve precious fuel and reduced pollution levels along the route,” he said.

The ro-ro service is currently functioning between Kolad and Verna in Maharashtra (417 km, 8-10 hours journey), Kolad and Suratkal (721 km, 24 hours journey), and Ankola and Suratkal (205 km, 3-5 hours journey).

On the Kolad-Verna route, 15 metric tonnes of load costs Rs 4,500, with every additional tonne costing Rs 300; on Kolad-Suratkal route, 15 metric tonnes costs Rs 6,900, with Rs 400 for every additional tonne.

“This year (2011-2012) as many as 35,000 trucks were carried in all the five rakes. All kinds of goods are transported, including perishable ones but excluding inflammable items like petrol,” Telang said.

“Over the 13 years, the ro-ro service has fetched a profit of Rs 205. 60 crore,” he added, lamenting that the only downside was the affect on the service due to ban on mining following Lokayukta reports of illegal mining in the state.

He said that at present, only Konkan Railway runs this service, while others are contemplating its introduction. “It is left to the railway ministry to decide on introducing the service across the country. The railway board of India is considering its practicability,” he said.

Listing out the advantages of the service to operators he said that some of the benefits include increase in profit margins, no risk of accident, fuel conservation, and less paper work. For railways, the advantages are that goods can be carried to-and-fro, there is no requirement of goods sheds, no possibility of detention on terminals even on holidays, and no additional overhead costs.

For the nation, the advantage lies in the fact that each ro-ro rake carries 40 trucks, saving approximately 10 litres of diesel per kilometer. “Hence, the service contributes to fuel conservation. It has also resulted in reduction of road accidents on NH 66,” he said.

“Road transport is mainly in the private sector. A large number of truck owners are looking forward to reaping the benefits of fuel efficiency of railways. This has also increased the number of trips undertaken to transport goods and enhanced the value of their assets,” he added.

“Earlier, goods on railways were suppplied in containers which needed machinery for their loading and unloading. However, ro-ro service has eliminated that problem and enabled door-to-door service to the end user,” he said.

Assistant commercial manager of Konkan Railway Corporation Sunil Narkar, assistant traffic mangaer Vinay, and manager and PRO V G Ghatge were present.


Konkan Railway gets patent for anti-collision device in US

Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) has been granted the anti-collision device (ACD) patent in the US for its ‘Track Identification System'(TIS) recently.

An official spokesman of KRCL told Business Line on Wednesday that this patent is in addition to the ACD patents that have already been granted to KRCL in India and abroad earlier. The same has been granted on June 1.

KRCL’s ACD network is capable of preventing head-on and rear-end collisions in mid-sections, collisions at high speed in the station area, side collisions with derailed vehicles obstructing adjacent line, collisions due to train parting/jumbling and collisions with road vehicles at level crossings.

This pilot project of ACD system, which was developed by KRCL, was commissioned in North-East Frontier Railway in June 2007.

The Ministry of Railways has now assigned the work of installation of ACD Network initially on other three Railways — South Western Railway, South Central Railway and Southern Railway.

The main functioning of TIS is to ensure that when a train fitted with ACD traverses a point and crossing zone of the station yard (from where it can switch from one track to another), the unique TIS residing in it will detect automatically whether the train has deviated to the other track or not.

KRCL has to its credit 18 patents granted for Sky Bus, ACD and TIS in India and abroad , added the spokesman.


Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Konkan Railway completes 11 years


Friday, 23 Jan, 2009

Konkan Railway will be completing 11 years of the commencement of its through line train operations on January 26th 2009.

It was on this day in 1998 that the trains directly connected Mumbai with Mangalore in shortest possible time, reducing the travel between these places from 36 to 16 hours.

In the 11 years, it is the first time that Konkan Railway has not reported any consequential accident on its route in 2008. Konkan Railway has achieved this feat by taking extra efforts to increase safety on its route by executing massive earthworks, widening the slopes, planting lakhs of Vetiver grass as soil erosion control measure, and various other geo-tech works to arrest boulder falls and soil slippage during the monsoon. The efforts have borne fruit. There has not been any major traffic disruption on the route in the past 3 years since the time these massive safety works were executed and a special Monsoon Time Table implemented on the route.

In these 11 years, Konkan Railway has also made significant strides in train operations and innovations. The innovative Anti-Collision Device, a patented technology of Konkan Railway is being implemented in phases over various zonal railways in India. KRCL has now formed a special `ACD Task Force’ to tap the immense potential that ACD has in the domestic and the international market.

However, Konkan Railway has also brought a financial turnaround in the last 4 years, displaying a significant increase in its earnings, total surplus and achieving the lowest net loss and highest Operating index so far. In the past, the World Bank has appreciated KRCL’s practices to bring down the cost of operation and maintenance and termed it a benchmark for others to follow. Further on, Konkan Railway aims at fostering marketing strategies for commercial implementation of its innovative technologies far and wide and nurture efforts to make the Corporation a profit making unit.

Further on, Konkan Railway aims at fostering marketing strategies for commercial implementation of its innovative technologies far and wide and nurture efforts to make the Corporation a profit making unit.