Two rail coach makers in race to provide air-conditioned rakes

Two Indian Railway coach-makers are keen to provide 14 air-conditioned rakes to Metro Railway, Kolkata.

Titagarh Wagons (TWL) and JV partner Japan based Nippon Shariyo, have expressed interest for the contract. The other company is a consortium of Bharat Earth Movers (BEML) and Chinese company, CAF India. However, contract value has not been disclosed. Metro Railway has taken up four extension projects entailing an investment of nearly Rs 11,000 crore. These rakes are likely to feed the Phase I of 17-km metro extension line connecting Joka near IIM Calcutta with BBD Bag, central business district of the city. Construction works of nearly 9 km elevated stretch of this route is nearing completion. This line is expected to be fully operational by 2016.

Meanwhile, tenders have also been issued for two other Metro Railways extension projects. These two are the Dum Dum to Barasat and Dum Dum to Barrackpore lines. However, names of the contractors have not been disclosed. Tenders for two other routes, the New Garia to Airport line and Joka to BBD Bag have been awarded to Afcons Infrastructure, Gammon India, Simplex Infrastructure and L&T Infra.

Metro smart cards to stay valid for a year

Metro Railway has decided to make smart cards issued from Friday valid for a year.

The move, the authorities hope, will make the smart cards more popular and decrease the pressure on ticket counters and flap gates, which had been causing snaking queues at stations.

So far, the smart cards were valid for a period of 30 days to 150 days, depending on the amount with which these were recharged.

Since the new radio frequency identification system was introduced on July 8, The Telegraph has been highlighting the need to increase the validity of smart cards.

Metro commuters who have already purchased smart cards needn’t worry. Their cards will be valid for a year from the next time they are recharged.

Till Tuesday, 1,58,000 of the new smart cards have been issued.

The move could also benefit infrequent commuters and those making one-way journeys on the Metro each day. It was these people, sources said, who were most hesitant in buying smart cards, preferring to queue up to buy tokens before each journey. The reason: they feared losing money once the validity of the smart cards expired.

“Our motto is to sell more smart cards, as that will solve all the problems we’ve been facing since introducing the new system,” said Protyush Ghosh, DGM (general), Metro Railway.

Nine more escalators will be installed — one each at Shyambazar, Sovabazar-Sutanuti, Mahatma Gandhi Road, Esplanade and Park Street and two each at Maidan and Rabindra Sadan stations — by the end of this year.

Published in: on August 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Satellite signal link for Metro

A satellite-based signalling system is key in a large scale upgrade of the Metro, including auto-fire detection and a better evacuation plan.

“The cab-signalling system will make life easier for motormen. Once the frequency of trains increases, there will be a large number of signals that motormen will have to lookout for. In the new system, they will simply keep their eyes on the cabin panels. This will improve reaction time. On the surface and elevated stretches, they won’t have to worry about spotting signals in bad weather or fog,” said S K Das, chief operations manager, Metro Railway.

The signals will be linked to satellites that will beam messages to receivers in the cabins. Indian Railways also wants to implement this system along routes where fog is a major pain.
The Metro will also upgrade the communications system between motormen and the control room. Das said that the Global System for Mobile Communications-Railway (GSM-R) technology will be used. It is an international wireless system for trouble-free connectivity on high-speed trains .

“Our communications system is old. Motormen and controllers often complain that the signal breaks quite frequently. For any urban railway network, like the Metro, it is important for the control room to keep in touch with the motormen,” said Das.

The Metro system, even after 25 years, doesn’t have an automatic fire detection system. Officials admit that they still have to rely on people to raise the alarm. Unlike other locations, firefighting in the Metro would require special skills. Power in the third rail would have to be switched off before water can be used.

“We have chalked out and practiced an evacuation procedure and allotted specific responsibilities to staff,” Das said.