Railways signs MoU with DFCC

To enable timely release of adequate funds for execution of works under Railways’ ambitious freight corridor project and land acquisition, the Railway Ministry has signed an MoU with DFCC.

The MoU was signed by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) and Ministry of Railways on March 15, officials said here today.

The freight corridor project entails construction of 3,300-km-long Eastern and Western freight corridors for exclusive movement of goods trains.

The 1,839-km-long Eastern dedicated freight corridor will traverse through Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

The 1,499-km-long Western dedicated freight corridor will start from Dadri in Uttar Pradesh and end at Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (Mumbai), passing through Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.


NID set to give heritage railway sites a facelift

The National Institute of Design (NID) and the Ministry of Railways is set to enter into a collaboration to give a facelift to heritage railway sites across the country.

The National Rail Museum (NRM) and its heritage wing in Delhi will soon partner with NID to sign an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) wherein design students will promote railway’s heritage sites in the country.

As part of the project, students of the design institute will disseminate information at rail museums through digital technology and light, sound and interactive media, designing souvenirs and outdoor signages. “The idea is to give railway museums a facelift and make them more tourist-friendly through effective design intervention, booklets and digital communication,” said Pradyumna Vyas, director of the NID.

The project will cover railway lines built in the nineteenth and early twentieth century by the British in India, like in Darejeeling, Kalka-Shimla, Kangra valley, Kashmir, Nilgiri mountains in southern India and Matheran in Maharashtra.

The railway lines in Darjeeling, Nilgiri mountains and Kalka-Shimla have already been designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The project will be part of the course for NID students. “Souvenirs form a big part of tourism promotion in any country. So it is a great work experience for design students to create relevant designs that showcase the same,” Vyas said.

Officials from heritage wing of the Indian Railways had visited NID last month to explore the possibility of partnering with the institute.


BG locos converted to cape gauge for first time

For the first time, Golden Rock Railway Workshop has converted two in-service broad gauge diesel locomotives to cape gauge for export to Mozambique railways soon.

A host of modifications and additional features have been incorporated as part of the conversion work in the two engines to suit the operational requirement of Mozambique railways.

The RITES, a Government of India Enterprise under the aegis of Ministry of Railways, had entrusted the cape gauge conversion work to Golden Rock Railway Workshop after purchasing two in-service BG diesel engines from Southern Railway.

The cape gauge conversion works are in the final stage in the two locomotives which would be exported to the African nation through RITES in the second week of November.

Each of the two BG engines with 1,676 mm gauge distance was converted to cape gauge with 1,067 mm gauge distance to suit the Mozambique railway network.

The other modifications incorporated to improve the horse power of the locos include provision of modified cam shafts, upgraded fuel injection pump and larger displacement of turbo super charger of ABB make.

The horsepower of one of the loco has been upgraded from 2,400 HP to 3,100 HP, while it has been upgraded from 1,800 HP to 2,400 HP in the other.

The excitation systems of both locos have been converted from electronic type to micro processor controlled system. Similarly, the engine governing system has been changed from electro-mechanical type to micro processor based.

Provision of plate type lube oil cooler to improve the cooling efficiency of lube oil system, cyclonic type air filtration system, panel mounted brake system and installation of maintenance free nickel cadmium battery are among the other additional features incorporated in the two engines.

One of the cape gauge loco has an air conditioned cabin.

Though the railway workshop had converted several metre gauge diesel engines to cape gauge and exported them to Mozambique and Sudan, this is the first time that the organisation had converted BG engines to cape gauge for export, say officials here.

The workshop had converted 34 in-service MG engines to cape gauge and exported them to Mozambique and Sudan.

In addition to this, it had exported 133 MG locos to countries, including Malaysia, Tanzania, Sudan and Benin over the years through RITES and IRCON, another government company.

Engaged in a myriad of activities, the over 80-year-old workshop also manufactures steam locomotives for Nilgiri Mountain Railway and container wagons for Container Corporation of India.

Locos to Mynamar

The RITES had supplied to the workshop four more in-service MG diesel locomotives for export to Myanmar. The six locomotives already supplied to Myanmar were working satisfactorily, the officials said.


Railways launches single window web portal for passengers

In a milestone measure taken by the Ministry of Railways, a comprehensive Indian Railway web portal with the URL http://www.indianrailways.gov.in has been launched with a view to consolidate all services and information on a single window web-interface for the public. This comprehensive omnibus single window web interface will be for the entire rail user community of India, including the Passenger, Freight or Parcel Service customers.

At a programme jointly organised by Eastern Railway and Kolkata Metro Railway yesterday at Kolkata, former Union Railway Minister and Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee launched the unique public friendly facility. Minister of State for Railways Mukul Roy was among those present on the occasion. The other activities inaugurated at this function included Automatic Fare Collection and Passenger Control System (AFC and PC) gates at all Kolkata Metro Stations. To curb the growing menace of railway ticket booking touts, the Indian Railways have come out with a unique initiative of providing rail tickets on mobiles. Called m-ticket, the facility can be availed by downloading the mobile ticketing application on the cell phone from the IR web portal. On completion of booking and payment formalities, an SMS containing the ticket details will be sent to user which is referred to as Mobile Reservation Message (MRM). Such passengers need not require to carry a print out of the ticket and instead can display the MRM on platforms, when asked for tickets. A similar facility has been provided for laptop and palmtop users, who can get a Screen-shot of the e-ticket from their laptops (referred as Virtual Reservation Message or VRM). According to official sources, “No Travel Agents” will be allowed to use the new web portal to facilitate convenient booking for passengers. The e-ticketing module of the Indian Railway Web Portal is expected be the most sought after facility by passengers.

The IRCTC operations will continue in parallel on the IR website. In the additional facility, no travel agents have been allowed so that passengers can book their tickets during the peak hours.

The Portal will broadly provide e-ticketing on the Internet (booking and cancellation) and e-ticketing on mobile phone (booking and cancellation). Individual users choosing the facility shall be required to register themselves for the first time for this purpose after submitting the mandatory details and shall be provided a unique user ID. This registration will be free of charge. Thereafter, they can avail the services of booking and cancellation of e-tickets and take a printout of the e-ticket, which is known as Electronic Reservation Slip (ERS).

According to the Ministry, it is mandatory that at least one passenger booked on the e-ticket/m-ticket carry at least one of the following eight proofs of identity (in original ) : These includes voter Photo Identity Card issued by the Election Commission of India, Passport, PAN Card issued by the Income Tax Department, Driving Licence issued by the RTO, Photo Identity card issued by the Central/State Government, Student Identity Card with photograph issued by recognised school/college for their students, Nationalised Bank Passbook with photograph and Credit Cards issued by Banks with laminated photograph.

ERS/MRM/VRM along with any one of the eight prescribed ID proofs in original and the indication of the passenger’s name in the Reservation Chart will entitle him to travel. The documents will be required to be produced on demand by Ticket Checking Staff on the platform.

The facility of booking e-tickets through IR Web Portal will be available from 0030 hrs to 2330 hrs daily. Booking for a particular train shall be permitted up to the time of preparation of reservation charts.

A maximum of eight PNRs per user ID per month is permissible, while no group booking is permissible on e-ticketing through the web portal.

The service charges levied by the Railways are Rs five per ticket for Sleeper Class (SL) and Second Sitting (2S) classes and Rs 10 per ticket for all other Reserved Classes.

The detailed procedure of cancellation and refund has also been mentioned in the portal.


Integral Coach Factory installs first Green energy project

Chennai: Integral Coach Factory (ICF), under the Ministry of Railways, Govt. of India, has embarked upon the first Green Energy Project of the Indian Railways by installation of 10.5 MW Wind Power Plant at Kasturirengapuram and Urumangalam Villages, Radhapuram Taluk, Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu. The Centre for Monitoring System of the Windmill was switched on by Shri Sukhbir Singh, Member/Electrical, Railway Board, New Delhi, in the presence of Shri.L.M.Sahore, Chief Electrical Engineer, ICF, Shri. S.P.Vavre, Chief Electrical General Engineer, ICF, and other senior officials of Railway Board, ICF and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

On the occasion, Shri Sukhbir Singh released a Project Design Document for the registration of this project with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) for claiming carbon credits. The wind power plant is expected to generate approximately 25.9 million units annually, which would completely offset the total annual energy requirement of 25 million units of ICF.

The Green Energy Project qualifies for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) benefits, which are expected to generate a revenue of Rs.2.5 crores per annum on account of carbon credits. The project has been completed in a record time of 4 months after the award of the contract. Tamil Nadu Electricity

Board authorities gave speedy clearance for the grid connectivity. The specific locational advantages of this site are ready land availability on free-hold basis, availability of grid connectivity with Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and the Centre for Monitoring System of the wind mill round the year.


Now train bookings become easier

With air traffic and inward tourist numbers declining, travel portals in India have decided to tap the mass market.

Keeping in mind that the number of people who travel by train every day is equal to those travelling by plane in an entire year, travel portals such as ezeego1.com, yatra.com and cleartrip.com, have tied up with e-commerce web site http://www.irctc.co.in to offer e-bookings of train tickets to their customers. As of now, if you wanted to book your train tickets electronically, you had to log on to the web site of the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), a public sector undertaking under the ministry of railways or book them over the phone or through an agent.

Rakesh Tandon, managing director of IRCTC said, “We will definitely lose our market share, but we are happy that we will succeed in expanding the online booking channels to more cities via the tie-ups with these travel portals (which also sell tour packages, hotel bookings, car rentals and so on).”

Simultaneously, IRCTC is also trying to enhance its brick and mortar reach. It wants more agents to enroll themselves so that it can beef up its market share in the face of competition.

“Over 60,000-70,000 bookings are done per day through our web site and the rest are through other channels. At present, 30 per cent of our revenue comes from travel agents and travel portals,” said Sanjay Agrawal, general manager — operations, IRCTC. The organisation facilitated Rs 594.97 crore worth of railways ticket bookings in February 2009, alone.

Under the present agreement, ezeego1.com and yatra.com will be charging Rs 10 for second-class sleeper and Rs 20 for air-conditioned ticket, over and above the charges of Rs 10 service charge for second class sleeper and Rs 20 for higher class by IRCTC.

Ezeego1.com hopes to see its rail ticket volumes come up to 2,000 to 2,500 tickets per day on all-India basis, initially. Neelu Singh, chief operating officer of Ezeego1.com said, “We will be sending e-mails and undertake below the line marketing activities to educate customers that they can now book rail tickets online through us. We may also look at some advertising campaign in the future.”
Yatra.com, which is eyeing to book 15,000-16,000 tickets per day through IRCTC, is planning to bring down the booking time to three minutes from around 5-6 minutes for its customers.

“Our users can view all available trains, timings, fares and seat availability for five days on a single screen, in addition to being able to book and cancel online. Tatkal seats and senior citizen quotas too are available for booking,” Mudit Khosla, business head, railways of Yatra.com told Financial Chronicle.


Railways to Develop Mega Multimodal Logistics Parks

The Indian Railways have planned a few mega Multimodal Logistics Parks (MMPLs) – hubs providing state-of-the-art integrated logistic facilities with mechanized handling and intelligent inventory management at selected locations along the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) to reduce the overall logistics cost in the supply chain for the customers, duly leveraging the modern, high-capacity rail connectivity of the DFCs capable of meeting time-sensitive freight transportation requirement.

To develop these MMPLs through Public Private Partnership (PPP), the Ministry of Railways has invited Expression of Interests (EOI) in this regard, seeking essential information regarding proposed locations, land area required and type/segment of logistics business to be development etc. from large logistics service providers, Real Estate Developers, Third Party Logistics players Warehousing investors, Container operators, Financial institutions, Industrial houses etc. who are willing to participate in the development of these MMLPs.

The Ministry of Railways has launched its flagship project, the dedicated Corridors (DFCs) entailing construction of approximately 3300 kilometers of mostly double, electrified, high axle load track, with liberal space envelope, fit for high capacity wagons and heavy haul freight trains at cruising speeds of 75 km/hr and top speeds of 110 km/hr, between Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Mumbai and Tughlakabad –Rewari (western route) and Kolkota to Ludhiana (eastern route. A number of industrial nodes are also being planned as a part of a related initiative by the Government of India along side the western route of the DFC.