Railways Take Steps to Ensure Better Passenger Amenities

Regular analysis and review of occupancy pattern of passenger coaches is undertaken and efforts are made for introduction of new trains, enhancement of extra coaches in the existing trains and running of special trains subject to operational feasibility, commercial justification, availability of resources etc.

Coaches for passenger services are provided with a certain level of amenities and fittings, which conform to laid down safety benchmarks. The amenities provided in coaches include:

• Cushioned seats/berths, toilet & washbasins facilities etc. in all mainline coaches.

• Looking mirrors, snack tables, magazine bags, water bottle holders, coat hooks, small luggage racks, luggage securing arrangements, mobile/laptop charging sockets etc. in reserved coaches (including sleeper class coaches).

• Curtains for aisles/windows and dustbins etc. in all AC coaches.

• Lights, fans, night lights and emergency lights in all passenger coaches. The Safety Standards in coaches include:

• The coach shell structure is of an “Anti-telescopic” design to enhance safety.

• Coach furnishing materials conform to stringent fire retardant parameters.

• The interior fittings/furnishings of the coaches are with ‘injury-free’ design features.

• Emergency Alarm Chain apparatus in all coaches for stopping the train in emergency.

• Emergency windows in all coaches for faster exist/evacuation.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.

http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=98872

Published in: on August 30, 2013 at 3:42 pm  Comments (1)  
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Railways may decide on passenger fare hike in October

A decision on a possible hike in passenger fares will be taken by the Railways in October, when it will review the fuel adjustment component (FAC) in the wake of rising fuel and energy costs.

While the freight rate will go up by about 5.7 per cent from April 1 due to the linking of the FAC to the freight tariff, the Railways will examine its applicability in its passenger services in October this year.

“There is a policy now and the FAC is linked with energy and fuel prices and calculated accordingly,” Railway Board chairman Vinay Mittal said at a conference.

Passenger fares could go up by 2 to 3 per cent if the FAC is linked to the basic fare in passenger services in October.

“The FAC will be reviewed after six months for both freight and passenger fares. Whether the FAC will be reduced or increased, it will be examined in October and a decision will be taken only then,” he said, adding, “by that time, the Rail Tariff Authority is also expected to be constituted.”

The Rail Tariff Authority, the first of its kind for the Railways, will suggest the level of tariffs for both freight and passenger services from time to time, taking into account input costs and market conditions.

Mr Mittal said currently the RTA is in the inter-ministerial consultation stage and a Cabinet note will be prepared for it shortly.

“The FAC for passenger and freight are calculated separately. While we decided to link the FAC with freight tariff from April 1, we absorbed the increased fuel cost of Rs. 800 crore and did not hike passenger fares,” he said.

“Since we raised the passenger fare in January we did not consider it again, and the FAC was implemented for freight only,” he said.

Asked repeatedly whether or not the FAC will be imposed in October, Mr Mittal, however, said “I am not in a position to say that now because it will be reviewed and then a decision will be
taken.”

The FAC, which takes into account both electricity and diesel costs, is about 16 to 17 per cent of the total expenditure. There is a 39 per cent hike in fuel cost and an 8 per cent energy hike till January 2013 from April 2012.

Mr Mittal also said that the Railways is focusing on fiscal discipline by curbing expenditure.

Referring to passenger amenities, he said measures are being taken to bring down the accident rate and improving passenger amenities at rail premises.

http://profit.ndtv.com/news/economy/article-railways-to-decide-on-passenger-fare-hike-in-october-319963?pfrom=home-otherstories

Highlights of Indian Railway Budget speech 2013

Presenting his maiden railway budget, Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday announced a slew of passenger-friendly measures including better e-ticketing facilities and no rail fare hikes.

Here is a look at the key highlights of his Rail Budget speech:
Thrust 1. Safety; 2. Consolidation; 3. Passenger Amenities; 4. Fiscal Discipline.

Some Achievements/Initiatives

> IR enters the one billion tonne Select Club joining Chinese, Russian and US Railways;

> IR also joins Select Club running freight trains of more than 10000 tonne load;

> ‘Fuel Adjustment Component’ concept to be implemented linking tariffs with movement of fuel prices;

&; Target of Rs 1000 crore each fixed for Rail Land Development Authority and IR Station Development Corporation to be raised through PPP in 2013-14;

> New fund – Debt Service Fund – to be set up to meet committed liabilities of debt servicing for WB and JICA loans for DFC and other future liabilities.

Measures for improving Safety & Security

> Making a Corporate Safety Plan for a ten year period (2014-2024).

> Elimination of 10797 level crossings during the 12th Plan and no addition of new LCs to the IR system henceforth.

> Introduction of Train Protection Warning System on Automatic Signalling Systems.

> Rigorous trials of the indigenously developed Train Collision Avoidance System.

> Using 60 kg rails, 260 meter long welded rail panels and improved flash butt welding technology.

> Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains.

> Induction of crash worthy LHB coaches with anti-climb feature.

> Rehabilitation of identified 17 distressed bridges over next one year.

> Provision of comprehensive fire and smoke detection systems.

> Provision of portable fire extinguishers in Guard-cum-Brake Vans, AC Coaches and Pantry Cars in all trains.

> Use of fire retardant furnishing materials in coaches.

> Measures initiated to deal with elephant related accidents.

> Four companies of women RPF personnel set up and another 8 to be set up to strengthen the security of rail passengers, especially women passengers.

> Recruitment to RPF with 10% vacancies reserved for women

Rail Based Industries

New factories/workshops to be set up:

> a new Forged Wheel Factory at Rae Bareli in collaboration with Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited.

> a Greenfield Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) manufacturing facility at Bhilwara (Rajasthan) in collaboration with State Government and BHELBSE -2.63 %.

> a Coach Manufacturing Unit in Sonepat District (Haryana) in collaboration with State Government.

> a Midlife Rehabilitation Workshop at Kurnool ( Andhra Pradesh) in collaboration with the State Government.

> Bikaner and Pratapgarh workshops to undertake POH of BG wagons.

> a workshop for repair and rehabilitation of motorized bogies at Misrod ( Madhya Pradesh).

> a new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi (Odisha).

> a modern signaling equipment facility at Chandigarh through PPP route.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news/by/industry/transportation/railways/Highlights-of-the-Railway-Budget-2013-14/articleshow/18690293.cms

‘Anubhuti’ coaches, executive lounges to up comfort level

Rail passengers can now look forward to some comfort not only while travelling but also during the long wait at stations. Keeping in mind the demand for higher comfort while travelling on trains, the Railway Minister announced the introduction of an ‘Anubhuti’ coach with “modern facilities and excellent ambience” in select Shatabadi and Rajdhani trains at a “commensurate fare structure”.

Rail Tourism

Also, the Railways will extend the concept of ‘executive waiting lounges’ at the New Delhi Railway station to seven more stations — Agra, Nagpur, Jaipur, Bilaspur, Visakhapatnam, Patna, Bengaluru and Jaipur. Passengers in these cities can look forward to some luxury while waiting on stations. If exactly modelled on the lines of the executive lounge at the Delhi station, they will get buffet meals, snacks, soft beverages, recliners for short naps, access to Wi-Fi besides business facilities for a fee.

Indian Railways will also tie up with Jammu and Kashmir State officials to launch a multi-modal travel package for tourists to travel from Jammu through Udhampur, Qazigund to Srinagar through a common rail-bus ticket. Also, it is looking at the feasibility of issuing “yatri-parchee” (passenger slips) to pilgrims in co-ordination with the Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, as it has commissioned a railway line till Katra.

Cleanliness, Hygiene

The Minister, referring to constant complaints about cleanliness and hygiene in trains and stations, said, “As a frequent rail-traveller, I have experienced this personally. Resource constraint cannot be a reason for subs-standard services.” Among the slew of measures announced for enhancing passenger amenities is identifying 104 stations that serve more than one million persons and upping the cleanliness quotient. Other initiatives will focus on extend mechanised cleaning facilities and on-board housekeeping schemes to more stations and trains. The Railways will also set up eight-10 mechanised laundries for quality washing of linen.

Rail Neer, Food

To increase availability of clean packaged water, the Railways will also invest in setting up six additional “Rail Neer” bottling plants at Vijayawada, Nagpur, Lalitpur, Bilaspur, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. Also, on the cards is upgrading 60 additional stations as “Adarsh Stations”. Efforts will also be made to include more facilities for announcements and electronic display boards on-board trains for information dissemination.

Passengers can also get lodge food-related complaints to the Centralised Catering Services Monitoring Cell on a toll-free number — 1800111321 — for real time solutions. For effective quality control of meals, Railways is also tying up with food testing laboratories and getting third party audits done, besides setting up state-of-the-art base kitchens in railway premises.

Meenakshi.v@thehindu.co.in

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/logistics/anubhuti-coaches-executive-lounges-to-up-comfort-level/article4455932.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home

Railways to exploit LTT land to fund CST makeover

Railway authorities are expecting revenue of around Rs.600 crore through commercial exploitation of around 20 acres of open land at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT).

Sources said this was the Railways’ Plan B in its effort to hasten the ambitious project of developing CST as a world-class station that has been stuck in a heritage tangle for the past three years.

Although it was announced in the railway budget of 2009-10, the development of CST, tagged as a world heritage site, as a world-class station, failed to take off as UNESCO turned down the Railways’ plea to rationalise the buffer zone around CST. A few months ago, it had asked railway authorities to carry out a heritage impact study. Concerned about the future of the project, authorities started exploring other avenues to fund the project.

The Railways had first planned commercial development of its land at Carnac Bunder, to generate revenue for the CST project. Now, authorities are mulling the commercial exploitation of land at LTT. At Carnac Bunder, authorities were planning budget hotels, malls, multi-storey parking and food courts. A top CR official said, “Our estimate is that through commercial development at LTT, we can generate at least Rs600 crore in revenue.”

The ‘Railway Land Development Authority’ (RLDA), the apex body that decides about commercial exploitation of railway land, is now going to study the actual valuation of land through consultants. Pankaj Jain, vice chairman of RLDA, was in town recently to explore the possibility of commercial development of land at LTT, Thane and Haji Bunder.

Jain inspected Thane station and discussed with CR general manager, Subodh Jain, various issues related to the commercial development of railway land.

“At Thane station we have planned to develop a multi-functional station with various passenger amenities such as dormitories, waiting rooms and food courts,” Subodh Jain said.

Subodh Jain also said they had asked RLDA to appoint a consultant to study what could be done to develop railway land at Haji Bunder, where the Railways have another huge piece of land.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/Mumbai/Railways-to-exploit-LTT-land-to-fund-CST-makeover/Article1-951181.aspx

Suggestions can now be SMSed to CR

MUMBAI: Central Railway (CR) wants you to help it serve you better. It has started, on a trial basis for six months, a scheme in which passengers can participate and help the railway management by messaging or e-mailing their feedback.

Feedback and suggestions can be SMSed to 9004411111 or e-mailed to feedback@cr.railnet.gov.in.

Officials said it would help them align resources and priorities to customers’ need. “We need to know what commuters want and this will reduce the gap between commuters’ expectations and our performance,” CR chief PRO, S C Mudgerikar, said.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Mumbai/Suggestions-can-now-be-SMSed-to-CR/articleshow/4411846.cms