Gujarat regional rail project gets new wheels

Amid uncertainty over Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro rail, the Gujarat government has put the ambitious dedicated regional rail system project on the fast track. A special purpose vehicle to develop a rail network linking peripheral towns like Sanand, Viramgam, Dholka, Dhandhuka, Kalol, Kadi, Nadiad, Anand and Naroda has been floated last week with an initial authorized capital of Rs 200 crore.

First conceived in 2004, initial estimates pegged the project cost at Rs 2,500 crore. At current prices, it may cost Rs 5,000 crore. The state government has received the final feasibility report from government of India’s RITES.

“The SPV has been named as Ahmedabad Regional Rail Company (ARRC), which will closely work with Indian Railways, urban & rural local bodies as well as industries and mines department,” said a senior official. ARRC will be initially formed by the state government with an initial authorized share capital of the company of Rs 200 crore divided into two crore equity shares of Rs 10 each and the initial paid up capital of the company will be Rs 10 crore.

“The SPV will get approval from the Railway Board as well as Western Railway. The Railways will operate and maintain the tracks and provide access to commuter trains, besides leasing coaches,” he said.

440-km commuter rail network planned in Karnataka

The Rail India Technical and Economic Services (Rites) has submitted its final report on a commuter rail system (CRS) connecting the city with suburban areas. The directorate of urban land transport will convene a meeting within a week to examine the report with stakeholders concerned.

“After a draft report was submitted by Rites, we had given our comments. Now that they have submitted the final report, we’ll convene a meeting to examine it with other stakeholders,” Majula V, chief commissioner of the directorate , said.

In its 179-page report, Rites elaborated on linking the city with suburban areas which include Tumkur, Hosur, Bangarpet, and Chikkaballapur.

The three long routes proposed are Bangalore-Mandya (92.88km), Bangalore-Bangarpet (70.21km), and Bangalore-Tumkur (64km). Long distance routes include Yeshwantpur- Yelahanka (12.45km), Yelahanka-Baiyappanahalli (19.23km), Yeshwantpur-Baiyappanahalli (16.12km) and Yelahanka-Doddaballapur (20.72km). The project will cover 440.8km.

Rites has suggested following the fare module of the Mumbai suburban rail system.

Backing the project, Rites explained the need for a CRS. It costs less to the exchequer compared with the Metro. It costs between `15 crore and Rs20 crore per kilometre for a commuter rail system. On the other hand, the Metro costs `250 crore and monorail `175 crore per km. Occupancy rate can be increased by adding coaches and adopting dedicated train paths. The project can be taken up in phases depending on areas, density of commuters, and other issues.

Binny Mill land
Rites officials, who had surveyed railway and non-railway land, felt the available railway land near Binny Mill land must be used for the project. “Without the Binny Mill land, there may not be a commuter rail system (CRS),” the report said. Binny Mills land abutting the railway land is most promising. The terminal can be located here with easy access to the railway station. The place is also accessible by road. Thus, it can be designed into a multimodal terminal, the report said.

Airport link
Advocating that the commuter rail system (CRS) can be connected to the Bengaluru International Airport to help air passengers, the report said: “The CRS network passes very close to the airport.The track between Doddajala and Devanahalli stations lies just about 6km away from the airport.If this 6km track is laid out, the CRS can reach the airport too.

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.

Rail authority to soon bid for commercial use of land

Having got the Cabinet’s nod to go ahead with leasing land, the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) is all set to invite bids over the next few days to garner revenues from commercial use of land.

RLDA will follow three models of commercial utilisation, either directly or through joint ventures.

These are: multi-functional complexes (MFCs) , over 40 of which will be developed with Ircon and RITES, commercial sites and modernisation of five stations.

In the current fiscal, the authority expects to receive Rs 400 crore from commercial use of land.

But, out of this, Rs 330 crore is expected from Parsvnath Developers, from a contract awarded to it, a few years ago.

The Indian Railways’ land lease activities had come to a standstill after a Cabinet circular in 2011 had barred all Ministries from leasing land.

MFCs and commercial sites will be offered to developers on a 45-year lease period. In this model, the developer is required to make available facilities for rail users on at least 200 square metre land within the first nine months. On the remaining land, which could be 1,000-3,000 square metre in size, the developer is free to build shops, restaurants, book stalls and budget hotels.

During the demand survey, retail brands such as Pantaloon, Cafe Coffee Day, The Loot, Woodland, WH Smith (Travel News Services) had evinced interest to set up shops at the MFCs. RLDA has lined up 60 new MFC sites and six stand-alone sites for which the bidding process is being initiated in phases. Some of the MFCs will be bid out in joint venture with RITES and Ircon.

“Commercial sites will be offered at six locations – Katra, Amritsar, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Bangalore – with a 45-year lease. In commercial sites, we are not dictating the end-use of the land. For instance, we do not specify whether a hotel should be built or office space should be built,” an RLDA official said.

The authority has also been entrusted by the Rail Ministry for modernising five stations at Chandigarh, Anand Vihar (Delhi), Bijwasan (Delhi), Habibganj (Bhopal) and Shivajinagar (Pune).

These stations are being developed through the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation, a joint venture company created by Ircon and RLDA in which the former is the majority partner.

Commuter rail could be a reality within a couple of years

A commuter rail system that could solve traffic gridlocks in Bangalore could be a reality within two years on the existing railway network in and around the city.

The project will take concrete shape after RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Services), assigned to prepare a detailed report on the proposal, submits its report in a couple of weeks.

After the final report, all the stakeholders will meet and decide on the model to be adopted to execute the project, said Sudhanshu Mani, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of South Western Railway’s Bangalore Division.

Years of demand

Mr. Mani told presspersons on Friday that the demand had been there for years and many suggestions were made on the project. The State government’s Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) had asked RITES to prepare a feasibility report.

“The RITES has prepared a draft report that was discussed with the State government recently. It was decided to get a final report with some modifications within a couple of weeks,” Mr. Mani said.

The DRM made it clear that the commuter rail system will be operational on the existing rail network. “Operations can commence within a year once the project gets final approval of the State government and the Railway Board. Construction of additional lines along the existing single/ double lines to cater to commuter rail system would get completed within another year,” Mr. Mani said. The funding pattern of the project too will be decided after the RITES submits the final report.

The commuter rail system could cater to Nelamangala, Tumkur, Doddaballapur, Chickballapur — including Bengaluru International Airport — Whitefield/Bangarpet, Hosur and Kengeri/Bidadi, Mr. Mani added.

Coming soon: Trains of steel, speed

Trains in the country will sport new interiors, have more passenger comfort, will be faster and will be easier to maintain as the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai gears up to make stainless steel coaches using German technology in a new plant being set up in Perambur.

This is part of a long-term plan to phase out existing coaches that are made using 55-year-old designs and replace them with variants of German Linke Hofmann Busche (LHB) coaches that can run up to 200 kmph.

The railway ministry has sanctioned Rs 249.58 crore to ICF for the purpose. “Preliminary works to establish a new plant near one of our units has started. The new plant will be attached to the existing factory,” said ICF chief mechanical engineer Hemant Kumar.

Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops and Rites has invited tenders to identify contractors to build machine units, buildings and other facilities that are required to make the coaches.

“When production of stainless steel coaches starts, the capacity of ICF will increase to 1,700 coaches per year,” he said. The factory now produces nearly 1,400 coaches.

It looks like the conventional coaches made using ICF’s design may be on their way out even though they are cheaper than LHB coaches. Railways wants to go for the expensive LHB coaches because they are superior to the conventional coaches designed by ICF.

Railways imported 20 coaches from Germany in 2000 and started manufacturing LHB coaches at the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, after transfer of technology, from 2001. These coaches are used in Rajdhani Express, Shatabdi Express and a few Duronto trains.

As these coaches received good feedback and railways want to run faster trains, the ministry gave the green signal to manufacture more LHB coaches and sanctioned `130.24 crore to RCF and sanctioned a new plant at ICF in the 2011 Railway budget. A new coach factory planned at Rae Bareli will also make stainless steel coaches.

Metro to weave a ring around Delhi

Delhi’s transport department wants the city to be connected in a ring through the Metro network in the third phase of the construction plans. It has recommended changes to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation’s (DMRC) proposal that had earlier been cleared by the Delhi cabinet.

The new lines will intersect stations that are a short-distance apart.
The department feels that the changes, based on a study by the government agency RITES, would help ease traffic on the city’s congested roads. The department’s recommendations carry weight as it bears a quarter of the cost of construction. Another quarter is borne by the central government, while the remaining funds are arranged through loans and other resources, according to official sources.

The budget for the third phase, sanctioned by the state cabinet, is Rs 21,468 crore. The transport department is currently in charge of developing an extensive project report for the new corridors.

The report will have to be submitted to the state government. While the DMRC plan has 15 points where passengers can change over to another line, the transport department’s plan has 25. The six corridors proposed for phase III will cover an area of 70 km, including a 39 km underground stretch. The transport department’s plan is to bring the outer parts of the city within the Metro network.

It’s recommendations include extending the Mukundpur-Rajouri Garden line to Dhaula Kuan and connecting the Dilshad Garden and Anand Vihar stations. It also wants the Central Secretariat-Red Fort corridor to end at ITO, reducing costs by Rs 1,288 crore.

“Dilshad Garden is only a couple of kilometres away from Anand Vihar, but there By Kumar Vikram in New Delhi Metro to weave a ring around Delhi is no direct connectivity between the two stations. Anyone wanting to commute between the two has to travel via the Rajiv Chowk and Kashmere Gate connectors, increasing the distance several fold,” said a transport department official.

The cost of construction for the line is estimated to be Rs 761 crore. The department has rejected the proposed Malviya Nagar-Kalindi Kunj corridor, saying it will have few takers. It has also objected to the Ashoka Park -Delhi Gate corridor as it is parallel to another Metro line. Plans for the stretch have been shifted to Phase IV.

Other proposed corridors include the Outer Ring Road line covering Noida Sector 18, Okhla, Janak Puri and Transport Nagar.

The proposed lines

* Anand Vihar- Dhaula Kuan

Stations: Anand Vihar, IP Extn north, I P Extn south, Daulatpur, Trilokpuri south, Trilokpuri north, Mayur Vihar, Hazrat Nizamuddin, Ashram, Srinivaspuri, Lajpat Nagar, South Extn, Safdarjung Hospital, Bikaji Kama Place, Moti Bagh, Dhaula Kuan.

* Jahangirpuri-Badli

Stations: Sanjay Gandhi Transport Nagar, Badli.

* Mukundpur-Rajouri Garden

Stations: Mukundpur, Azadpur, Shalimar Bagh, Netaji Subhash Place, Shakurpur, Shivaji Park, ESI Hospital, Rajouri Garden.

* Ashoka Park-Delhi gate

Stations: Ashoka Park, Anand parbat, Sarai Rohilla, Karol Bagh north, M M Marg, Paharganj, New Delhi, Ramlila Ground, Lal Quila.

* Malviya Nagar- Kalindi Kunj

Stations: Malviya Nagar, Saket District centre, Pushp Vihar, G. K. West, G K East, Tughlaqabad Extn, Okhla Phase II, Jasola, Jasola Vihar, Kalindi Kunj.

* Central secretariat-Lal Quila

Stations: Firozshah Crossing, Mandi House Crossing, ITO Crossing, Delhi Gate, Daryaganj, Lal Quila.

SAIL to develop wagon unit with RITES

State-run SAIL on Wednesday said it will enter into a pact next month with RITES, a subsidiary of Indian Railways, for jointly setting up a railway wagon making unit in Kulti, in West Bengal.

“We will sign the agreement next month for the joint-venture unit with RITES,” SAIL Chairman CS Verma told reporters on the sidelines of a book launch function organised by the Dainik Bhaskar group.

Verma said the proposed JV unit will have an annual production capacity of 1,200 railway wagons.

The project is estimated to cost Rs 100-200 crore.

SAIL, which has an annual production capacity of about 14 million tonnes, will supply its specialised steel products to the proposed wagon-making unit, Verma added.

For the project, SAIL may give its surplus land in Kulti near Burnpur, West Bengal. The location of the plant could be near Chittaranjan Locomotive Works.

Earlier this month, Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee had said the tentative name of the factory would be Bengal Wagon Industry.

The present wagon demand in the country is around 25,000 and is expected to rise further, once the dedicated freight corridors start coming up.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Singapore model for Metro profit

CHANDIGARH: To make the Metro project a commercially viable venture, RITES is studying the Singapore model so that it could be replicated in
Chandigarh by finalizing the financial plan accordingly.

During a recent presentation given by consultancy firm RITES, certain UT officials had said the project must be a profitable venture. Working on this, the company suggested the Singapore model. Under this, income from parking fee and taxes charged on tickets would be utilized to break even the annual investment of Rs 3,000 crore.

Both Punjab and Haryana governments have already agreed to share the project cost on basis of Comprehensive Mobility Plan and Detailed Project Report. Both documents would be prepared by RITES.

In case of Singapore, a Metro Corridor Corporation was first constituted for developing the project and later a Metro Corridor Authority was entrusted the task of running its affairs, said sources.

The administration is keen on carrying out the project on private-public partnership model if the consultancy arm of Indian Railways finds it viable, added sources.

According to preliminary report prepared by RITES, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system would have as many as 17 corridors, covering most parts of Chandigarh region spread over 235 km.

For this, the firm has been asked to plan out the entire road engineering, spelling out need for widening, wherever necessary. The commuter rail would cover a distance of 194 km.

A traffic survey conducted by RITES has revealed that over four lakh people travel in and out of Chandigarh on a daily basis and at certain intersections on Madhya Marg over 12,000 to 15,000 vehicles pass in one hour.

The CMP would integrate mobility plan with land use plan and would spell out the projected mobility needs of the city as also the manner in which such mobility needs are proposed to be met.

The proposed pedestrian underpasses in the city would also be taken into account in the CMP, which would look at the overall traffic management in Chandigarh and its adjoining areas.

The administration has roped in Urban Mass Transit Company Limited (UMTC) to carry out a feasibility study and identify places where pedestrian underpasses can be best utilized.

Published in: on May 1, 2009 at 12:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Metre gauge locomotive converted into broad gauge

TIRUCHI: The Golden Rock Railway Workshop here has successfully converted a metre gauge diesel locomotive into broad gauge by carrying out necessary modifications in the engine.

The converted BG loco would be utilised essentially for shunting purposes. This is for the first time that the workshop has successfully converted an MG loco to BG.

The Rail India Technical and Economic Services Limited (RITES), a Government enterprise functioning under the Ministry of Railways, had entrusted the workshop with the task of converting an MG diesel engine into broad gauge as a pilot project.

Subsequently, an MG loco that had hauled passenger and goods trains was taken up for conversion purpose with the RITES supplying the BG bogie frame and under frame along with engine hood and radiator compartment to the workshop for the modification work.

The MG loco was completely stripped and fitted with the necessary equipment required for a BG engine. Workshop authorities said the MG engine’s power pack, generator, radiator, electrical controls were re-used. Necessary modifications were carried out in the water pipe lines and air brake pipelines. The engine was fitted with modified control stand and dual brake system replacing the vacuum system. The interiors of the driver’s cabin were improved with exterior of the loco given a fresh coat of polyurethane painting.

The conversion work was carried out at a total cost of Rs. 2.25 crore, said a senior workshop official, adding that the trial runs were found to be satisfactory.