Visit Rewari Heritage Steam Locomotive Museum for heritage info

Many may not know it, but the 120-year-old Rewari Heritage Steam Locomotive Museum has played a starring role in several Bollywood blockbusters, the most recent being Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.

Besides promoting heritage, the museum is also making big bucks for Northern Railway. The erstwhile locomotive shed is a tourist attraction and also rents vintage locomotives for film shoots. The railways charge `4 lakh per day besides a security deposit of `2.5 lakh for a four-coach train and steam engine for shoots.

Several films such as Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Guru, among others, have been shot here.

“The shed was refurbished as a heritage tourism destination in October 2010. Its heritage edifice was restored and a museum exhibiting Victorian-era artefacts used on the Indian rail network along with the old signalling system, gramophones and seats was added,” says Ashwani Lohani, chief mechanical engineer, Northern Railway.

The antique shed has been granted heritage status and has been renovated while keeping its original character alive. A half-a-century-old salon has been converted into a dining salon with a bar to attract tourists.

“The engines are also available for live demonstrations. There’s a saloon and lodge in this shed as well,” says Lohani.

Spread across 15 acres, this steam loco shed is home to nine locomotives and has earned the distinction of being the only surviving repository of steam locos in the country. The classic engines help recreate an era gone by and provide the ideal backdrop to shoot period films. Apart from several Bollywood biggies, a Malayam movie, too, was shot here recently.

“Farhan Akhtar starrer Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was shot in the Rewari loco shed and the Farrukhnagar railway station in Rewari. Also, some of Milkha Singh’s childhood sequences were shot in the railway colony of Rewari station. This movie, directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, is based on the life of legendary athlete Milkha Singh, who spent his childhood residing along the railway tracks after he came to India hiding inside a train full of corpses during the 1947 partition,” says a museum employee.

Some sequences of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag were shot in a four-coach train driven by the broad-gauge steam engine Angadh. Made in 1930, it is the oldest working steam engine in the country.

Built in 1893, this was the only locomotive shed in north India for the longest time and part of the track connecting Delhi with Peshawar (now in Pakistan). After steam engines were phased out in 1990, the loco shed lay in disuse for many years before the Railways decided to revive it as a heritage museum. But every Sunday, the shed comes alive with whistles and chugs of steam engines as these beauties are brought out for visitors to admire.

The heritage museum has preserved these old machines for posterity, says Lohani. “The younger lot should know what it was like to ride in a steam train.”

Sonia, PM to launch rail link to Kashmir on June 26

The much-awaited railway section linking Kashmir valley with rest of the country will be launched on June 26 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi will jointly flag off the first train.

The 18-km-long section between Banihal in Jammu and Qazigund in Kashmir will provide an all-weather surface link to the Valley which often gets cut off from the rest of the country due to snowfall during winters.

Northern Railway is coordinating with the Jammu and Kashmir government to arrange bus service from Uddhampur to Banihal for passengers to avail train service for the Valley.

“The bus service will be available from Udhampur to facilitate passengers availing train from Banihal next month,” a senior Northern Railway official said.

The Banihal-Qazigund section, which includes an 11-km-long tunnel, will reduce the distance from 35 km (by road) to 18 km. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs 1,691 crore.

“It was a challenging task. Besides the difficult terrain, land was acquired for the Kashmir rail link project in adverse law and order situation in the state,” the official said.

Train service is already operational within Kashmir valley in the 118-km-long route between Qazigund and Baramulla in north Kashmir.

“The mandatory inspection of the track by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is being done and the clearance is awaited. The line is expected to open on June 26,” the official said.

Trial run on this section was successfully done on December 28 last year and since then trains carrying stones are running on regular basis.

Work on this section was executed by IRCON, a PSU under railways. It will have two main railway stations – Banihal in Jammu division and Qazigund in Kashmir division.

In addition to these stations, a halt station is also being provided at Hillar village in Anantnag district for the convenience of local public.

IRCON Director (Works) Hitesh Khanna said commissioning of this section would help realise the dream of connecting Jammu region with Kashmir valley. He said it was Maharaja Pratap Singh who first explored the possibility of connecting Jammu to Kashmir Valley with a railway line way back in 1898.

Solar lights for New Delhi rly station

Very soon, New Delhi railway station would be lit by solar energy. As a pilot project to tap alternate sources of energy, Northern Railway has decided to install solar panels at the main railway station in the city.

According to railway officials, the power project, that would be implemented on a public private partnership model, is a part of the railways initiative to convert station premise into a ‘green building’.

To start off, solar panels with a capacity to generate 10 KV of electricity per day would be installed at the station premises. Northern Railway has appointed a consultant that would conduct a feasibility study of the project.

“Koto Power Systems has been appointed as the consultant to conduct a feasibility study of the power project. The mandate of the consultant is to identify the exact locations on the station premises where the solar panels could be installed, apart from the cost of installation. It would also advise about the modalities of the agreement that the railways would get into with the private firm for implementation of the project,” said a Northern Railway official. Officials said work on the project would start after the consultant submits its report by September-end.

New Delhi railway station is spread over an area of the 6,38,467 square metre, including the yard area. Around 4,21,388 square metre of the total is built-up area. The officials said solar panels are likely to be installed on the roof of the built-up area, including the rooftop of platforms.

As the average cost of installing 1 KV solar power unit comes to around Rs 15 lakh, the project at New Delhi station is likely to cost Rs 1.5 crore, officials said. Apart from taking initiatives to tap alternative source of energy, they are also taking several other measures to conserve energy at the station building.

“Automated lighting system has been installed at platform number 4 and 5 on experimental basis. They operate as per the requirement of light at the station during daytime as well as at night,” said an official.

Intensive drive against Monthly Season Ticket (MST) Holders creating nuisance In trains

In view of the complaints from the passengers regarding nuisance by the ‘Monthly Season Ticket’ (MST) holder passengers in the reserved compartments of long distance trains, Northern Railway has launched intensive drive against passengers travelling o­n MST and creating nuisance in the trains. Northern Railway’s Commercial department along with Railway Protection Force (RPF) caught 43 MST holder passengers creating nuisance in trains from 01.05.2013 to 07.05.2013 from south bound Trains and an amount of Rs. 43,000/- (Rs.1,000/-from each) realized from them. Such drives will continue so that such passengers who create nuisance in the trains could be checked.

Northern Railway appeals to the passengers to cooperate railway staff so that long distance passengers do not face inconvenience during their journey in long distance trains.,4,268&dcd=2733&did=13679237955817D99FD07B2E12598E9EC7169DFAE9523.web91

Efforts on to make stations garbage-free

In a bid to clean railway stations in the Capital, the Northern Railway has helped NGO Chintan to set up a bottle-crushing machine at the New Delhi station.

“The units has become functional and is handling 6,000 bottles a day,” said a senior railway official. The NGO is also running a garbage segregation facility at the station.

The four major railway stations, including New Delhi, generates 80 tonnes of solid waste, mostly used water bottles, per month. The Northern Railway has provided a site for waste segregation to the NGO, where 135 waste-pickers help recycle about 30 per cent of the total waste.

“Two machines — one for cutting bottles from the cap area and another for crushing —have started operating at the New Delhi station. Every day, we are now handling nearly 6,000 bottles taken off 20 trains coming to the station. They then sent for recycling. Earlier, we used to take bottles to places where these machines were available,” said Nidhi Mishra of Chintan.

On the occasion of Earth Day, senior railway officials inspected these facilities and promised further help. Hundreds of passengers took pledge that they will not litter the station premises and will always crush water bottles after use.

“Of the total waste generated, 40% is wet waste. The South Delhi Municipal Corporation takes this bit to its landfill at Okhla. The rest is dry and comprises paper, aluminum and plastic. This is sent for recycling,” said Mishra. The railways allowed Chintan to pick up waste and segregate it three years ago.

Northern Railway to bring out a timetable for special trains

In a major relief to rail passengers, the Northern Railway will be drafting a separate timetable listing only the special trains introduced to cater to the festival rush. The decision has been taken in the wake of some glitches and operational delay in the running of special trains, Railways officials said.

“A separate timetable will be maintained for special trains. This will minimise the inconvenience faced by passengers. Since special trains are run on a need-basis and their numbers cannot be fixed, we were not able to prepare a concrete schedule so far,” a senior Northern Railway official said.

According to statistics available with the Northern Railway, 80 pairs of special trains were introduced this season, which made around 1,800 trips. Of this, 35 special Patna-bound trains were run for Chhath Puja over a span of four days.

Around 16 to 22 additional coaches were added to special trains. On regular trains, on an average, about 24 additional coaches are being attached.

Officials said the timetable will also include the special train arrangement to be run for Holi next year.

The train schedule for next year will also have provisions for including schedules of special trains.

“The annual train schedule, which is made in June, will also take into consideration the special train arrangements made to tackle the festival rush. Usually, the planning of festival trains is done four to five months in advance. If an additional special train is sanctioned at the last moment, these will be included in the special train timetable,” the official said.

Railways look to solar power New Delhi station

In what could crown the New Delhi railway station as the first ‘green’ station in the city, the Delhi Division of Northern Railway is looking at the option of using solar energy to power the premises.

Under the pilot project, solar panel of 1 megawatt (MW) capacity will be installed in the non-utilised portion of the rooftop. Authorities highlighted the need to conserve energy and reduce the power bill of the station.

At present, New Delhi pays around Rs 1.5 crore as its monthly power bill and draws 5 MW electricity. “The solar panels will help reduce the dependence on the conventional source of power. We will install higher capacity solar panels in a phased manner,” Divisional Rail Manager A K Sachan said.

The panels will be installed on private public partnership. A private company will install the panels and the Railways will purchase the power from it on a fixed rate.

Solar panels will be installed above the roof of foot overbridges, terrace and other shelters of the station. “The private party will install and maintain the solar panels. The agreement would be for 5 to 10 years. The power tariff will be fixed so it benefits Railways and allows the concessionaire to recover initial investment,” Sachan said.

For the pilot project of 1 MW solar panel an expenditure of Rs 1.5 crore is expected.

The Railways will first have to invite bids to appoint a consultant to examine the modalities of the solar panels. The consultant will provide the technical assistance. “The consultant will study the load-bearing capacity of the rooftop to ascertain if pillars need to be strengthened. It will also check in the location where the maximum solar heat can be captured and the wind pressure,” another official said.

The consultant will be appointed by December-end and, based on the study, installation of solar panels would start next year, Sachan said.

Tatkal reservation on ‘pink’ forms from today

The tatkal reservation tickets will be available only on ‘pink’ coloured requisition forms from Saturday at Lucknow station. The forms have been specially printed by the Northern Railway to break the network of touts. The pink forms will be numbered and signed by reservation supervisor on duty. Passengers will be required to fill the detailed form along with their ID number and mobile number and produce it at the reservation counter along with a copy of self-attested photo ID. Ticket for maximum four passengers can be booked in a single form. In case of a family, ID of only one person will have to be submitted at the time of booking while in case of a group where passengers do not belong to the same family, ID of every individual passenger will be required. In case the address/phone/mobile number are found fake, ticket will be cancelled without any prior notice.

Now, separate form for tatkal bookings to check misuse

Stepping up efforts to check misuse of tatkal bookings, Railways today said a separate reservation form for passengers booking tickets under this scheme will be introduced soon.

The pink colour form has to be filled up by the passenger at the booking counters providing details of his/her address, contact number and ID.

At present a single requisition form is available for booking both normal and tatkal tickets.

The form also carries a set of warnings including deboarding at the next station, imposition of fine or imprisonment as per provisions of Railway Act if address and other details furnished are found to be false.

Announcing the move, GM Northern Railway V K Gupta said more than five lakh multiple personal IDs and 44,000 IDs created by agents have been deactivated since February 2011 by the IT anti-fraud team of IRCTC as part of efforts to check misuse of ticketing service.

Opening time of tatkal booking was changed from 8 am to 10 am earlier this year.

Gupta said 62 pairs of special trains would be run this festive season to clear the rush of passengers.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in major city stations with augmentation of workforce and ensuring proper crowd management, he said.

The arrangements also include timely placements of the rake at the platform and keeping a check on elements cornering seats in coaches.

Revamped Rail Car set to scale Heritage Shimla-Kalka route again

The Northern Railway has revived the 1927 Rail Motor Car, which was about to be phased out due to the non availability of vital spare parts. A trial run of the revived rail car was successfully conducted on Saturday. The three other rail cars would also be upgraded soon and put in operation early next year.
The move will definitely bring cheers to the thousands of tourists flocking the hills as the Kalka-Shimla route is the only section in the country where rail car services are still in operation.

A railway official stated that little make over has been given to toy car as the rail cars will have a transparent fibre glass roof. The seats have been ergonomically redesigned while interiors will boast of wooden flooring, wider windows with blinds, a digital clock-cum-temperature display unit and a music system. The rail cars will also be fitted with an altimeter to indicate height of the route being traversed. However, a conscious effort was made to not to overhaul the outer design, which will remain as it is to keep alive the heritage character of the British make. The electrical circuitry will also been renovated with a provision for laptop and mobile chargers and air brakes put in for safer operation.
The rail car traverses 96 km from Kalka to Shimla, completing the journey in four hours and 25 minutes, passing through 864 bridges, 102 tunnels and at least 900 sharp curves and turns. A group of 14 passengers can be accommodated in one rail car.

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Published in: on October 13, 2012 at 4:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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