Green signal for suburban train system

Soon you may be able to hop on suburban trains to travel to cities around Bangalore.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah gave the green signal to the suburban rail system connecting Bangalore to nearby towns and cities, in his budget for 2013-14 presented on Friday.

He said the government had conducted a feasibility study for suburban rail system connecting Bangalore to Tumkur, Ramanagaram, etc. The project cost was estimated at Rs. 8,759 crore. A detailed project report for phase one of the project would be prepared, he said.

The government has proposed to set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV), Bangalore Suburban Rail Corporation, to implement the project.

Feasibility report

According to the feasibility report submitted by RITES Ltd., a Government of India enterprise, phase one of the project would have a network spread over 200 km and cover Mandya, Ramanagaram, Bangarpet and Tumkur.

Praja, a public advocacy organisation, has been pushing for the development of a commuter rail network for the past two to three years. According to Muralidhar Rao from Praja, the announcement has come at a good time.

He hailed the commuter rail or suburban rail system as being a cost-effective mode of transport that would benefit the common man.

“When Praja started working on this, we called it Namma Railu. Since the city roads are all cluttered, we looked at rail lines around the city and worked out a proposal on the lines of the commuter rail system between Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Thane in Mumbai,” he said.

Mr. Rao said that with the implementation of the suburban rail system, there would be uniform growth in cities around Bangalore such as Tumkur, Mandya, Chickballapur, Ramanagaram, Bangarpet, Doddaballapur and Hosur, besides reducing congestion in Bangalore.

He said that according to Praja’s estimates, the investment in the project would be less (around Rs. 20 crore a km) as the rail tracks were already in place. The running cost could be met, as the SPV could decide on the fare. “The advantage is that the SPV will not be dependent on the Railway Budget to determine the fare, unlike the Mumbai commuter rail system,” he added.

Closed-door coaches for locals soon?

Concerned over thousands of commuters dying every year due to falling off the suburban trains in Mumbai, the railways has proposed to introduce for the first time Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes with closed-door system controlled by motormen or the guard.

Though these new series of coaches will not be air-conditioned, they will have better ventilation compared to the existing rakes. The doors will be operated either by the guard or motormen according to the stoppage timing at each station. The train will not ply till all the doors are closed.

A senior railway official said, “The electrical directorate of the Indian Railways has already asked the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation to consider introducing such rakes on the city’s suburban system.” No AC but better ventilation in new coaches

The Indian Railway’s Research Design and Standards Organization is in the process of formulating specifications for these rakes. The MRVC will float the tenders after the specifications are approved by the railway board,” he added.

As of now, automatic door close system exists in air-conditioned Metro trains though Kolkata Metro also operates rakes which are not air-conditioned. To begin with, the MRVC plans to introduce twelve 12-car rakes with automatic door closing system.

Till now, the electrical system of MRVC rakes were procured from transportation majors like Siemens and Bombardier, while the shell of the rake was manufactured at Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai.

Confirming the development, MRVC managing director Rakesh Saksena said, “The closed door system will bring down the number of fatalities due to falling down from the train. Everything else, including the seating arrangements will remain the same.”

The cost of procuring these new rakes is yet to be worked out. Asked for the funding pattern, an official explained, “Central Railway is likely to switch to 25 KV AC current from 1500 Volt-Direct Current (DC) in a couple of years. The DC compatible rakes will then become redundant on CR’s main line. These can then be use on Harbour line, while main line can be adequately compensated once pure AC compatible rakes begin to roll out in coming months for which orders have been placed by MRVC.”

The official said, “Instead of spending money on buying DC coaches, we will use this fund to buy new ones that will have automatic door closing system. We will be able to purchase around 153 coaches that will allow us to make a formation of twelve rakes of 12 coaches. The balance nine coaches can be used as a replacement if some of the coaches are set aside for maintenance.”


Advantage Prevent fatalities as people will not be able to travel on foot board
Acts of vandalism can be prevented as access to the coaches will blocked when trains are in the yard
The closed doors will stop people from spitting Features The doors will be operated by the guard or motormen
Train will not ply till all doors are closed
Advanced technology will be installed for better ventilation
The new rakes are expected to arrive by 2016.

First phase of CRS will benefit four lakh passengers daily

Using the City’s existing rail infrastructure, the Commuter Rail Service (CRS) proposal offered suburbs-bound commuters a quick and cheap alternative, an escape from the gridlocked roads.

But, finding no mention in the Railway Budget 2013-14, CRS was destined for the cold storage. Informed experts and concerned citizens now want at least the first phase launched as a pilot skeletal service, with a few modifications to the project as envisaged by infrastructure consultants, Rail India Technical and Economic Solutions (RITES).

First, where the project stands today. The RITES had submitted its final report on the project to the State Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT) in August 2012. The BJP government in the State had reportedly cleared the CRS project in March 2013 in a Cabinet meeting and the proposal sent to the Railway Board in Lucknow.

However, the Board could not take a quick decision on the funding. Result: It found no mention in the railway budget.

But the project need not wait another year. Eager to resurrect the eminently workable CRS, Satinder Pal Cho­pra, a seasoned researcher on railways, has suggested a few modifications to kickstart the project’s Phase 1A.

Four lakh to be benefitted

“About three to four lakh passengers will be benefitted by just this initial phase alone,” he told Deccan Herald.

Citing the Railways’ policy of giving operational priority to suburban trains (over long distance Express trains) while framing railway time-tables, Chopra recommends that all trains under CRS should halt at the City and Cantonment railway stations for not more than five minutes. This would ensure that the schedule of other trains is unaffected.

Since Platforms 3, 7 and 9 at the City station are occupied only less than 50 per cent of the day, Chopra says the suburban trains on the Bangalore City-Malur section could berth at Platform 3, the City-Ramanagara section on Platform 7 and the City-Yeshwantpur-Tumkur section on Platform 9. At the Yeshwantpur station, all these trains could stop at Platform 3. This arrangement would require only minor changes in timings / berthing of two to three long distance trains.

Designed this way, the CRS first phase could accommodate 20 suburban services on the City-Malur section, 16 on the City-Ramanagara section, six each on the City-Tumkur, Yeshwantpur-Tumkur and Yeshwantpur-Hosur sections, and two services on the Cantonment-Hosur sector.

The RITES report, however, had sought the construction of two more platforms at the City station, exclusively for commuter trains. Its rationale: The 10 platforms are fully occupied and there is hardly any slot on any platform for handling additional trains.

Suburban trains are operated with Main Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) and Diesel Electric Multiple Units (DEMU). These trains accelerate and decelerate much faster than the normal trains. Currently, the South Western Railways operate six MEMU and 10 DEMU services as passenger trains daily.

In all, the SWR use only one MEMU rake (combination of coaches) and three DEMU rakes. Chopra’s recommendation is to add three more DEMU and four more MEMU rakes to join this fleet, for the first phase of CRS.

The four additional MEMU rakes could be shared between the City-Malur and City-Ramanagara sections. The three DEMU rakes could operate on the Cantonment-Hosur, City- Yeshwantpur-Tumkur, and Yeshwantpur-Hosur sectors.

DH News Service

Chain-pulling delays 25 Central Railway trains every day

Chain-pulling incidents on long-distance trains are behind Central Railway (CR) trains running late during rush hour, said officials.

CR officials concede that since the onset of summer peak season, at least 20 to 25 suburban services run behind schedule daily, said CR officials. “There has been a huge rush on platforms at CST, LTT and Kalyan to board trains, especially those heading towards North Indian, Kokan and Goa. It has been observed that a passenger fails to board a train due to overcrowding in compartments and on platforms,” said a senior CR official.

There have been instances when passengers indulge in Alarm Chain Pulling. The official said, “Most of the incident occurs at CST, LTT or Kalyan. AS a result, the trains gets held up, because of which the train scheduled to leave behind the affected mail/express train also gets held up.”

So far, number of ACP case registered in March and April stood at 134 and 135.

“Fifty-four cases of chain-pulling were registered till May 12. Of these, passengers had a genuine reason to halt the train in only 20-25% instances,” he added. The official said, “In more than 50 per cent of cases, the actual reason for chain pulling in not known as the offender cannot be identified. In suburban train, most of the ACP cases are originate from compartments reserved for handicap commuters. In Long distance trains, the cases are in general as well as reserved classes as many failed to board the train due to late arrival at stations.”

The Railway Protection Force wants the administration to reduce people crowding on platforms due to ensure quicker entry and exit of passengers. “One measure that needs to implemented is stopping the sale of platform tickets,” said an RPF officer.

A total of 11.65 lakh people bought ticket in 2012-13 compared to 9.55 lakh in the preceeding year.

CR runs total of 1,600 services daily, including long-distance trains, from Mumbai. “A chain-pulling incident will delay a train by five to 10 minutes. The loss of time is significant at Suburban trains in Mumbai run at frequency of 4 minutes. A delay of 10 minutes can have cascading effect on other services too.”

Bigger, faster & slicker trains to connect cities

With rising demand for inter-city travel, railways is stepping up production of diesel electric multiple unit (Demu) trains with better interior design, increased capacity and more pulling power suitable for connecting smaller towns. An advanced version of such a train was flagged off on Monday at the Integral Coach Factory (ICF). The 10-coach train with 1,600HP engine is made for South Central Railway.

“The new stainless steel Demu can run faster and carry more people than conventional ones. We have given importance to aesthetics while designing the train. The interior is screw-less like the interior of Anubhuthi (a new premium coach railways is planning to introduce for high-end travellers). This shows that the factory is capable of making premium coaches,” said ICF general manager Abhay K Khanna.

Demu and mainline electric multiple units (Memu) are coaches with their own motor cars and are used for shuttle services in semi-urban and rural areas. There are more than 1,000 trains in service. These are slower than the 105kmph the new Demu can reach.

“ICF has made the three phase AC transmission Demu indigenously. There is demand for a few hundred such trains across the country because they do not need a locomotive,” said Railway Board member Keshav Chandra.

The coach factory will make one more such train this financial year and more than seven such trains are in the pipeline. The trains will be made Euro II emission compliant in the future. “We may upgrade electric multiple units (used in suburban trains) to three phase AC transmission with switching technology,” he said.

Research Development and Standards Organisation was part of the project since it was conceived six years ago. “The train will have emission rate of 147g per brake horse power hour as against the 155g in 1,400HP Demu,” said RDSO director general V Ramachandran.

ICF launched a self-propelled accident relief train that can travel at 155km per hour and has an operation table and post-operative ward for Bilaspur division. ICF plans to make 15 such trains this year as Indian Railways plans to station one accident relief train at 59 divisions.

ICF produced 1,620 coaches this year and surpassed its target by 19 coaches, a 7.2% increase over 2011-12. ICF is planning to make 75 LHB coaches this year.


First diesel-electrical multiple unit with 10 coaches
Concealed screws, cushioned seats with stainless steel frame and bottle holder, polycarbonate handholds with nylon straps, stainless steel chequered anti-slip flooring for better interior aesthetics
Aluminium windows with polycarbonate louvers, digital display boards and audio announcements
Can carry 2,900 commuters
Maximum speed of 105kmph
Digital fuel sensor
Remote monitoring system equipped with GPS and GPRS to detect fault

India and France Sign M.O.U. to Strengthen Cooperation in Railway Sector

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on here on 14.2.2013 between the Ministry of Railways, Government of India and the Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer Français (SNCF), the French National Railways, for Technical cooperation in the field of Railways. The MoU was signed by Shri Vinay Mittal, Chairman, Railway Board, from Indian side and Mr G.Pepy, Chairman and CEO SNCF from the French side. The MoU was signed in the presence of H.E. Francois Hollande, the President of France.

Four areas of cooperation have been identified in the MoU. These are:

1. High speed and semi-high speed rail;
2. Station renovation and operations;
3. Modernisation of current operations and infrastructure;
4. Suburban trains.
Under the High Speed Cooperation Programme, the Parties have decided to carry out jointly an ‘operations and development’ feasibility project on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail. This project will be funded by SNCF with a support from the French Ministry of Finance.

The MoU is valid for a period of 5 years and is extendable by 1 year with mutual consent. Specific cooperation projects would be undertaken under the MoU as agreed by both the parties.

The French delegation led by SNCF Chairman Mr G. Pepy is visiting Central Railway and Western Railway installations in Mumbai today i.e. 15.2.2013 and holding meetings with the Railway officials.

Published in: on February 18, 2013 at 4:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Pay in multiples of `5 for your train ticket

For nearly 75 lakh Mumbaiites dependent on suburban trains, the recent fare hike announced by railway minister PK Bansal will end up pinching their pockets more than they expected. Instead of the present practice of rounding off the ticket rates to nearest rupee, the railways have decided to round it off to multiples of Rs5.

This means, if the revised fare is Rs12, it will be rounded off to Rs15. Similarly, if the revised fare is Rs26, it will now be Rs30.

First-class commuters will have to pay Rs1 to Rs4 more and suburban commuters will pay Rs2 to Rs3 more in addition to the revised fare. In case of second-class commuters, the fare will be rounded off to immediate lower multiple of Rs5 if the last digit is 1 or 6. (see graphic).

The new fares will be effective from January 22.

However, there may be some relief for passengers if the development charge that is levied on tickets is removed completely. In that case, the hike may not be too steep.

But lack of clarity on the issue has left the city’s railway officials in a dilemma.

A circular issued by the railway board said that rounding off the fares to multiples of Rs5 would be done after levy of taxes and surcharge. It also said not to add the development charge that gets levied on every train ticket across the country.

What is unclear is whether the development charge should be merged with present fare or completely removed.

According to railway officials, if the development charges are abolished, the

first-class ticket prices may go down even after the fares are increased.

Currently, development charge of Re1 is levied on a single journey second-class ticket and Rs20 on a first-class ticket.

The development charges is Rs30 for a second-class quarterly season pass and Rs60 for a first-class pass.

Passenger associations are not too pleased with the development. “The railway is trying to loot the middle-class suburban commuters,” said Subhash Gupta, member, National Railway Users Consultative Committee.

Published in: on January 19, 2013 at 8:03 am  Leave a Comment  
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ICF mission to raise Railways to global standards

A two-day seminar on ‘Emerging Coach Technologies’ was held at Advanced Welding Training Institute in ICF, Perambur, with a mission to enhance Indian railways to global standards by 2020. Various dignitaries from the department attended the event.

Having encountered at least a dozen accidents in the past few months, including the fire accident at Perambur, the railways had planned to give importance to safety measures. Ramachandran, DG, RDSO, said, “A crash energy system will be installed to minimise damage during accidents. Fire detector systems will also be set up to prevent any untoward incidents,” he said and added fast service trains that run up to 200 km will be introduced soon.

According to mission statement 2020, sanitation and hygiene will be given priority and work is underway to build more than 10,000 bathrooms in railway stations. With ICF being a strong advocate of the ‘go- green’ policy’, bio-degradable, environment friendly and recyclable materials will be used for building coaches.
Abhay Khanna, GM, ICF said, “The flaws in the system and the lack of courage in the hierarchy are the main reasons why these plans are not implemented. However, with a new factory in Rai Barelly nearing completion, more coaches will be ready”

ICF has been a pioneer in Indian railways and is no stranger to the infusion of technology. Rakesh Saxsena, who works with the Mumbai railways and one of the chief guests of the seminar, acknowledged the contribution of ICF.

“The suburban trains in Mumbai are well connected and organised, thanks to ICF. They were also instrumental in infusing the threephase technology,” he added.

An exhibition demonstrating the latest trends in high-speed bogies, passenger information system were on display.

All-cushion CR train awaits green flag

Following chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s suggestion to make train travel less strenuous, the Central Railway has readied a suburban train with cushioned seats in all compartments. However, the train is parked at a Central Railway yard for over a month, awaiting suitable VIPs to inaugurate it.

The suburban trains have cushioned seats only in first-class compartments, while those in second-class ones have uncomfortable hard tops. In a meeting with Union minister of state KH Muniyappa last October, Chavan had suggested that seats in all compartments should have cushions.

Accordingly, CR authorities replaced the hard-top seats in second-class compartments in one of the new rakes on pilot basis. The upgrading was done at CR’s Matunga workshop at an estimated cost of Rs. 27 lakh.

However, the new seats are gathering dust as the train is stationed at the Kurla car-shed for over a month.

“All field trials of the local train have been completed and it is waiting for commissioning since a long time,” said a source.

The source said the CR management is keen to get the train inaugurated by the railway minister and the chief minister, but getting the two VIPs is a difficult task due to their busy schedules.

The CR authorities had planned to put the train on tracks on May 20.
“It will be commissioned soon,” said a CR spokesperson, but avoided elaborating on reasons for the delay

Published in: on July 7, 2012 at 8:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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