Railways moot suburban corridor, automatic signalling

A suburban corridor and automatic signalling have been mooted by the Railways to introduce more trains and Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) to end hardship faced by commuters, especially short-distance commuters.

Participating at a meet-the-press of the Press Club here on Wednesday, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Rajesh Agrawal said the Railways had submitted a proposal to the government on automatic signalling, which could be justified only for such corridors.

Thiruvananthapuram is an ideal location for setting up a suburban corridor and the first one could be Thiruvananthapuram–Kayamkulam. Taking into account the special situation in the State and the overdependence on trains, the DRM said special passenger trains and air-conditioned MEMU services would have to be operated for short-distance commuters.

In reply to a question on the fate of the coaching depot at Nemom, the DRM said the proposal was still under consideration. “The division will move ahead with the proposal,” he added.

On the crackdown on season ticket travellers in reserved coaches of long-distance mail and express trains, Mr. Agrawal said complaints from reserved travellers had compelled Railways to take strict action. He said travellers should reserve tickets or travel in de-reserved coaches.

To a query on the shortage of travelling ticket examiners and stationmasters, Mr. Agrawal said accountability-levels had increased and hence the station masters were required to do additional jobs and take up additional responsibilities. “There will be opposition and some levels of discomfort, but everything has been done objectively. But if need be, additional staff will be provided,” he added.

Detailing on the upgrade of facilities at the Kochuveli and Kazhakuttam railway stations, the DRM said Kochuveli had been upgraded from level D to B category.


Bigger, faster & slicker trains to connect cities

With rising demand for inter-city travel, railways is stepping up production of diesel electric multiple unit (Demu) trains with better interior design, increased capacity and more pulling power suitable for connecting smaller towns. An advanced version of such a train was flagged off on Monday at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The 10-coach train with 1,600HP engine is made for South Central Railway.

“The new stainless steel Demu can run faster and carry more people than conventional ones. We have given importance to aesthetics while designing the train. The interior is screw-less like the interior of Anubhuthi (a new premium coach railways is planning to introduce for high-end travellers). This shows that the factory is capable of making premium coaches,” said ICF general manager Abhay K Khanna.

Demu and mainline electric multiple units (Memu) are coaches with their own motor cars and are used for shuttle services in semi-urban and rural areas. There are more than 1,000 trains in service. These are slower than the 105kmph the new Demu can reach.

“ICF has made the three phase AC transmission Demu indigenously. There is demand for a few hundred such trains across the country because they do not need a locomotive,” said Railway Board member Keshav Chandra.

The coach factory will make one more such train this financial year and more than seven such trains are in the pipeline. The trains will be made Euro II emission compliant in the future. “We may upgrade electric multiple units (used in suburban trains) to three phase AC transmission with switching technology,” he said.

Research Development and Standards Organisation was part of the project since it was conceived six years ago. “The train will have emission rate of 147g per brake horse power hour as against the 155g in 1,400HP Demu,” said RDSO director general V Ramachandran.

ICF launched a self-propelled accident relief train that can travel at 155km per hour and has an operation table and post-operative ward for Bilaspur division. ICF plans to make 15 such trains this year as Indian Railways plans to station one accident relief train at 59 divisions.

ICF produced 1,620 coaches this year and surpassed its target by 19 coaches, a 7.2% increase over 2011-12. ICF is planning to make 75 LHB coaches this year.


First diesel-electrical multiple unit with 10 coaches
Concealed screws, cushioned seats with stainless steel frame and bottle holder, polycarbonate handholds with nylon straps, stainless steel chequered anti-slip flooring for better interior aesthetics
Aluminium windows with polycarbonate louvers, digital display boards and audio announcements
Can carry 2,900 commuters
Maximum speed of 105kmph
Digital fuel sensor
Remote monitoring system equipped with GPS and GPRS to detect fault