Railway land to be exploited to fund revamp of stations

The railways has decided to commercially exploit its land to generate funds for the improvement of facilities at suburban stations in and around the city.

The idea is to generate revenue by offering establishments the use of space not required by the railways. The Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) has been entrusted with the task of inviting bids for the land and airspace above stations.

“On July 16, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between the MRVC and the Railway Land Development Authority to carry forward the process of identifying the stations and inviting and finalizing bids for the project,” Railway Board member (engineering) Subodh Jain said.

To begin with, the MRVC will explore the possibility of commercial exploitation of land at Mulund, Bhandup and Thane stations.
Around a third of the funds generated will be used to improve suburban railway facilities. The remaining twothird share will be allotted to the Indian Railways for use within and outside the state.

Price water house Coopers has been appointed the consultant for the project, said an MRVC official.
“We will also put the proposal before the state government to enable the change of land use from operations purpose to commercial purpose,” the official said.

Jain said the MRVC had also identified seven other suburban stations for a major overhaul. “The MRVC will be able to finance this work through the MUTP funded by the World Bank,” he said.

It is also learnt that the Railway Board is likely to grant the sanction for turning Parel into a terminus within a fortnight.


THE IDEA | An MoU is to be signed between MRVC and Railway Land Development Authority for commercial exploitation of land or airspace above stations. A third of the funds generated will be used to improve suburban infrastructure


The railways has land at Bhandup, Mulund and Thane stations
The quantum of land available for exploitation will be identified by the consultant, Price water house Coopers
Thane, Mulund, Bhandup identified for improvement
Station upgrade includes relocation of booking and administrative offices, better platforms and toilets, and facilities to aid dispersal of commuters.


Rlys wants your view on new rakes

A team from the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, on Monday started collecting commuter feedback on new rakes plying the suburban rail network.

The survey was kicked off on Monday. The feedback form comprises 33 questions on issues such as the present seat design, the quality of cushions and handles, ventilation, illumination, etc. The questionnaire also seeks to know if commuters would like the new rakes to be equipped with sockets for charging cellphones and laptops.

“This is a preliminary survey and we aim to collect feedback from at least 500 commuters in the next couple of days,” a senior ICF official said. “The responses will be analyzed and presented in the form of a report to ICF’s chief design engineer.”

The report is expected to be prepared in two months.

Managing director of Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) Rakesh Saksena said, “Based on the commuter feedback, changes can be made in the design of future rakes.”

The MRVC has already suggested changes for 72 rakes that are to delivered after two years. These suggestions include cushioned seats in second-class compartments, better-quality cushioned seats with more comfortable backrest and more leg space in firstclass compartments.

It has already been decided that the new rakes will have stainless steel bodies instead of the current Corten steel ones as it requires less maintenance. The first two prototype 12-car rakes will run on a trial basis in Mumbai by early next year. If the trials are successful, four such rakes will be supplied per month from December 2013 onwards.


Rlys to offer short-term contracts for advertisement on trains

With few takers for long-time advertisement deals on suburban trains, both Western and Central railways have decided to offer short-term advertisement contracts. The new Siemens rakes offer less space on its exterior compared to old rakes and the railways are facing a dip in advertisement revenue.

Both the railways have chosen to ignore the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC) objection to defacing the new Siemens rakes. The Western Railway, which is not plying any old rake in its suburban section after the completion of the DC-AC conversion, has decided to give its 10 Siemens rakes of its 78-rake fleet on advertisement contracts for vinyl wrapping on their exterior. The Central Railway, which has 44 Siemens rakes, has given a rake on a trial basis for advertisement. It also plans to give the rest of the rakes for advertisement on a first-come-first-serve basis.

“Similar to TV and newspaper advertisements, those on trains also target potential consumers to recall the product. Compared to other mediums, the span of exposure to the target audience is less as trains are in motion. Railway will have to change the rates, which are high at present, particularly in the sluggish market conditions,’’ a senior Central Railway official said.

“As far as the MRVC objection is concerned, we are here to increase the earnings of railway and we are going in that direction. The duty of the MRVC to provide us Siemens rakes, which they did and are doing. Now, we have to think what to do.’’

The Western Railway has earned Rs 9,65,656 lakh in short-term contracts for eight Siemen’s rakes between December 2011 and February 2012.

The licence fee for 2,910-sq ft area — the space available for advertisement — is Rs 1,0,7694 for a month, Rs 1, 93,849 for two months, Rs 2,69,233 for three months and Rs 3,44,618 for four months.

The CR official said: “Now, 69 old rakes have been given for exterior window panels for short term from February 9, 2012 to March 8, 2012 at Rs 8 lakh. One Siemens rake has also been given on a trial basis at Rs 458 a panel per month.”


Now, a local that will will break the 100kmph speed barrier

This month, the suburban railway will break the 100kmph speed barrier for the first time in its history.

Although voices are being raised in city’s railway circles whether the train can be allowed to run at such high speed given the closeness of stations within the city limits, the first train is being readied at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai and will be brought to Mumbai by month-end.

“The 102nd train is already in Mumbai and the 105th, which is being manufactured, is likely to be the city’s first hi-speed train. While a few of its coaches are ready, the entire train should be ready and should be in city by October end or early November,” said PC Sehgal, managing director of the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

The new train is being procured under the Rs4,500-crore Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP), funded by World Bank and coordinated by the MRVC.

While the train will be similar to the existing ones, its high-speed bogie (wheel sets) will make all the difference. The bogies frames and technology has been bought from Siemens Australia.

A senior railway official said, “It has taken the railways six years to study and design the new train bogie. We are making a limited number of them and city should get just four to five of such trains which will be divided between Central and Western Railways.”
Officials said the train could achieve high-speeds on longer journeys beyond Kalyan, and in a few months when they start the run to Dahanu.

Officials said it is the track condition that allows higher speeds. In today’s context, the new high-speed train can achieve a speed of 110kmph on suburban local track and a speed of 130kmph on the track beyond Virar and Kalyan.

“Once the new train arrives, it will be subjected to heavy trials and oscillation tests. We will be loading them with sacks of sand to match the weight of a crowded train,” he added.


Railways puts suburban train travel on fast track

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: In what can provide succour to lakhs of commuters, Indian Railways (IR) has provided Rs 5,300 crore for modernisation and
improvement of suburban services under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP-II).

The railways intends to start 300 suburban services using improved infrastructure and new trains under the World Bank-funded MUTP. Although railway minister Lalu Prasad had sanctioned MUTP-II in principle last year, ministry officials said allocations would be made in real sense from this year.

“In the last four years, the railways has allotted Rs 9,000 crore to Mumbai under different phases of MUTP,” Lalu Prasad told TOI.

Under MUTP-II, the railways intends to lay the fifth and sixth lines from CST to Kurla and Thane to Diva. As of now, work is on in full swing to lay an additional pair of tracks between Thane and Kurla as part of MUTP-I.

MUTP-II also envisages laying the sixth line between Borivli and Mumbai Central. Work on extending the Harbour Line from Andheri to Goregaon has

already started using surplus funds from MUTP-I, said officials in the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC).

Railway officials said laying additional tracks under MUTP-II would segregate suburban train operations from the Main Line mail/express trains and freight services.

MRVC would also use part of the funds under MUTP-II to convert power supply from 1,500-volt direct current (DC) to 25,000-volt alternate current (AC) to run suburban trains faster. MRVC has finished DC to AC conversion on a majority of the Western Railway (WR) network under MUTP-I. “The funds under MUTP-II will be used to finish the DC to AC conversion on the Thane-CST section of Central Railway,” said officials.

MRVC would continue to get new rakes under MUTP-II. “Mumbai will get 72 12-coach trains,” said an official.