Port to develop rail infrastructure

V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust is set to develop its rail infrastructure.

With Hare Island identified as the site for creating a cargo storage facility exclusively for berths (North Cargo Berths II, III and IV), efforts have been stepped up to develop rail connectivity from the existing marshalling yard to Hare Island at an estimated cost of Rs.70 crore, according to S. Natarajan, Chairman of the Port.

The project would involve laying tracks, signals, telecommunications and electrification. Work is expected to commence from November and will be completed by May 2015.

“Currently, around 70 per cent of cargo handled by the port is imported and evacuation is carried out mostly by road. The cargo moved by rail included industrial coal, pet coke, lime stone, MoP, urea and other containerised goods. But the total cargo movement by rail is only 3.5 per cent resulting in heavy congestion in evacuation by road. Hence, there is a necessity to augment railway infrastructure,” Mr. Natarajan said.

He added that a railway track from the Port marshalling yard to the VOC wharf would be modernised at an estimated cost of Rs.16.73 crore.

Work was expected to commence from September and the project would be completed by May 2014.

In addition, a 11.30-kilometre track between Milavittan and the Port marshalling yard will be strengthened at an estimated cost of Rs. 3.34 crore.


US firm Harsco open to acquisitions in railway infrastructure

Harsco Corporation, a global industrial services company with revenues of $3 billion, is looking at forging alliances and acquisitions in India.

The company, which is into metals and minerals, infrastructure, rail and industrial businesses, is operating in India for two decades but reports small percentage of its global revenues.

The newly-appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pennsylvania-headquartered company, Patrick K. Decker, is in India to take stock of the company affairs and business opportunities here.

Decker said there was huge scope for business in railway infrastructure in China and India.

The old and worn-out rail infrastructure needs to be rebuilt. “We are in early stages of pursuing that business,” he said.

Addressing a press conference here, he, however, refused to put a number to the opportunities being pursedor the target for Indian operations. “We are open to acquisitions. But I am against acquiring any company for the sake of acquisitions,” he said.

The company runs a Global Innovation Park here with 220 staffers. Of the 19,000 employees globally, around 700 work for its India operations. It recently bagged a 15-year $100 million contract with Jindal Stainless. Harsco’s services are scheduled to begin in the second half of this year and will include the company’s specialised process technologies for recovering metal from stainless steel production by-products.

The firm acquired over 20 companies globally. With a cash back-up of $100 million, it also had credit lines and opportunities to raise debt for buy-outs, if any, he said.

Environmental issues

Refusing to comment on the country’s overall (mining and environment) policies, he said these trends would continue, making Harsco’s services more valuable.

On the growth projections globally, he said the company was cautiously optimistic


Ircon signs MoU with Chhattisgarh govt for rail corridors

Aiming at expansion of railway infrastructure for smooth movement of passengers and freight in Chhattisgarh, the state government has joined hands with Ircon and South Eastern Coalfields for construction of about 300 km of rail network.

A MoU envisaging the development two rail corridors in the state was signed between Chattisgarh government, South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) and Ircon in Raipur last week, said a release.

The rail corridors project will be implemented in joint venture model in which Ircon, a subsidiary of railways, will hold 26 per cent equity and the balance will be held by the state government and SECL.

The project — East Corridor and East-West Corridor — would come up at an estimated cost of Rs 4,000 crore.

While East Corridor will be about 180 km from Bhupdevpur—Gharghoda—Dharamjaygarh up to Korba, the 112-km long East-West Corridor will be from Gevra Road to Pendra Road.

The corridors are expected to facilitate movement of passengers as well as freight traffic mainly coal.

The preliminary work on the corridors will start this year.


Tiny device from IIT-Kanpur can prevent derailment

After fabricating Jugnu, the country’s tiniest satellite launched last month, Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur graduates have now come up with a matchbox-sized device to monitor wear and tear of railway tracks and prevent derailment.

The new device is aimed at replacing a bulky, box-like contraption that is currently used by Indian Railways.

“Our device is a supplementary system for monitoring track health, making it simpler to integrate with the existing railway infrastructure,” said Kshitij Deo, M.Tech in mechanical engineering, who developed the device with three others from the vibration and dynamics lab of the IIT.

For Railways, safety is important as thousands of trains use around 114,500 km tracks of its network – the world’s fourth largest. With regular use, the tracks develop cracks and fissures, including problems linked to loose nuts and bolts at the joints. If the tracks are less firmly anchored on the soil, it could lead to derailment.

All these faults can now be detected in real time and recorded automatically to prevent derailment thanks to the oscillation monitoring system, a cutting-edge device weighing just 100 grams.

The device has been designed and developed by a team of IIT-Kanpur’s mechanical engineering graduates, under the guidance of N.S. Vyas, professor and head, mechanical engineering, and the Railways’ Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO), Lucknow.

The device, based on micro-electro mechanical system, can monitor track health more comprehensively and enable efficient track maintenance.

“The extremely handy package locates and logs track faults accurately with the help of the GPS (global positioning system), eliminating human errors and making train journeys safer. It has a battery life of 10 hours and can be recharged by USB port on computers,” said Deo who developed the device with three others from the vibration and dynamics lab under Vyas.

On the other hand, the existing railway monitoring equipment is bulky and operated manually, with two people being required to feed the location into the bulky device.

It is mounted on a special coach, the oscillation monitoring unit. Since it forms part of a small train, the exercise cannot be undertaken frequently. Track clearances have to be sought and the routes planned and finalised in advance, said Deo.

“The biggest challenge lay in engineering a device that could pinpoint faults with a high degree of precision while simplifying use with a drastically reduced size. We did manage to reduce the number of buttons to one as against 50 required on the keypad of the railway equipment,” said Deo.

The device once placed on the floor of a running train’s coach measures and records vibrations. Any fault or irregularity on the tracks changes the pattern of vibrations. The device feeds all such data and locational faults into a fingernail-sized data storage card with the help of a GPS receiver.

If the vibrations cross a certain threshold, especially in case of a critical fault, the device alerts engineers with audio-visual signals (beeps and flashing LEDs). Post- journey, the storage card is retrieved from the device and plugged into the computer for reading the track’s actual condition and analysis by the railways.

The plan is to install at least three-four such devices on trains running on each route to monitor each track on a regular basis.

The project grew out of a visit by the director of the RDSO to IIT-Kanpur. “We were demonstrating a similar vibration measurement instrument developed by us. In subsequent meetings, the project was finalised and we designed the device in close coordination with RDSO officials,” said Deo.

“The project took a year to fructify, involving some 25 field trials on trains, including Shatabdi and Rajdhani Expresses. The RDSO has been optimistic about the project. Many times we actually walked on the track to verify faults as predicted by the device,” recalled Deo.

After the successful completion of the first phase, the RDSO is keen on going ahead with the second phase and testing the device on trains in all the railway zones. If its performance is found satisfactory, it would be approved by the Railways.


Railways draft 2 PPP models for line laying

New Delhi: Indian Railways (IR) have drawn up two distinct financing models to partner private sector players in its ambitious plan to add 25,000 km to its rail network of 64,000 km by 2020. Under both the models, the Railways would form special purpose vehicles (SPVs) with private players, but will have different revenue-sharing patterns and land acquisition methods.

Rail network expansion, hitherto being done through IR’s own funds and borrowings, is the single largest component of the proposed Rs 14-lakh-crore expansion of the railway infrastructure over the next 10 years.

By one financing model proposed in the ministry’s draft policy, the Railways will contribute 26% equity in the SPV. The land will be acquired by zonal railway at SPV’s cost but its ownership will vest with the Railways. In return to laying the rail lines, the SPV will get a share in the revenue for 25 years. For project related traffic, the SPV will get 95% of freight apportionment less maintenance cost for the first 10 years and 90% of freight allotment less maintenance cost for next 15 years. Of non-project related traffic, the company will receive 80% of the freight traffic after deducting the maintenance cost for 25 years.

The second model is what is called the ‘private line model’. Here, the private players will lay down new lines on their own land and will share the revenue for 30 years with IR, after which the ownership of the line and land will go to the Railways.

“Only those new line proposals which are 20 km or more in length shall be eligible under this policy. Further, the new line proposal would require to have an acceptable rate of return of minimum 14 %. This policy shall not be applicable to lines intending to provide connectivity to coal mines and iron ore mines directly or indirectly,” the draft policy states.

The Railways have added only 180 km a year on an average since Independence, when the rail network was 53,596 km. It now has a backlog of 11,985-km projects stuck for want of funds.

“Our target is to add 25,000 km of new lines in the next 10 years. This has to be achieved by removing various constraints. We have to make a beginning. The time has come for the business community to come and join hands to build partnerships with railways,” railway minister Mamta Banerjee had said while announcing Rail Budget.


Published in: on April 18, 2010 at 4:58 am  Leave a Comment  
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Germany offers technical help to Indian railways

New Delhi, Feb 6 Germany has offered technical support from its companies in areas of railway infrastructure and renewable energy projects to India, a visiting German minister said today.

“We are in continuous touch with the Indian Railways and have met them today for impressing upon them need for upgrading railway infrastructure projects,” German Minister for Transport, Building and Urban Affairs Wolfgang Tiesensse told reporters here today said.

“Our representatives had come last year to meet Indian railway board officials regarding technology transfer for various railway infrastructure projects including wagons and boogies,”he said.

He also offered his country’s support for India’s renewable energy sector and technology transfer.

He said by 2020, renewable energy would constitute 25-30 per cent of Germany&aposs total energy consumption.

” This is one area where again we can extent technology transfer support to India,” Tiesensse said.

On environmental issues, he said Germany is a strong supporter of a resolute policy against climate change.

“The German government stands by its commitment to reduce carbon dioxide emission by 40 per cent from the 1990&aposs level by 2020,”he said.

Source: PTI

Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 4:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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