Oct 31, 2013

Railways take measures to prevent misuse of IZZAT season ticket

The Ministry of Railways has taken further measures to prevent misuse of the ‘Izzat’ Monthly Season Ticket (Izzat MST) and to ensure that the scheme actually reaches the low income category people. Under the new measures which have become effective from October 15, the following has been decided: For availing (Izzat MST), the passenger should first obtain income certificate from local government officials like SDM/SDO/BDO/Tehsildar and thereafter obtain income certificates from Member of Parliament of Lok Sabha. After obtaining income certificate from the government officials as mentioned above, recommendations from Member of Parliament of Rajya Sabha and / Union Ministers should be submitted to the DRMs.

On production of the above mentioned income certificates and a copy of Photo identity Card cum residential proof, Izzat MST should be issued.

In case of Izzat MST issued on production of income certificate from District Magistrate or on BPL Card or any other certificate issued by Central Government under a recognised poverty alleviation programme, including ration cards issued to persons under “Antyodaya Anna Yojana”, Izzat MST will be issued directly on production of residence proof. In case of residential proof the following may be accepted: Photo Identity Card cum residential proof like Voter Identity Card, Passport, Driving License, Ration Card, Adhaar Card, Bank Pass book from nationalised Bank with Photograph or any other Photo Identity Card cum residential proof issued with photograph by any Government in India or a Government Agency in India. As announced in Railway Budget 2009-10, the Ministry of Railways had decided to introduce this ‘Izzat’ MST Scheme of uniformly priced Monthly Season Tickets (MSTs) at Rs 25 inclusive of all surcharges which will be issued up to a distance of 100 Kms to persons working in unorganised sector with monthly income not exceeding Rs.1500.

Source..railnews

Kozhikode Railway Station to have World Class facilities

Kozhikode: Minister for Social Welfare M.K.Muneer and M.K.Raghavan, MP, respectively inaugurated the new escalators and elevators at the Kozhikode railway station as part of making it a world-class facility on.

With this, the railway station became the first in South India with either an elevator or escalator access to all platforms. The new facilities comprise two sets of escalators at the first platform with a capacity of 18,000 persons per hour and three elevators each (at platforms 1,3, and 4) which can carry 11 people at a time.

Railway sources said the facility was set up at a cost of INR2.5 crore. With these facilities, the station had become friendlier to senior citizens and differently abled persons, Dr. Muneer said. “As the Minister for Social Welfare, I am the happiest man about this facility,” he said.

The Minister said he would take special efforts to release the INR2 crore sanctioned by the State government three months ago for the development of the Kozhikode railway station. Dr. Muneer, who stated that steps were afoot to solve the water crisis at the Kozhikode station, said INR.78 crore had already been allocated for the Panniyankara railway over bridge.

“The land acquisition will begin once the district-level land purchase committee fixed the price,” he said. Raghavan, who presided over the function, said a INR300-crore master plan prepared by the Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organization (KITCO) for the development of the Kozhikode station had already been submitted to Railways.

“A session is planned in the city soon to get feedback from the media and the public about the project, which is expected to be implemented on a public-private partnership mode,” Raghavan said. Maintaining that the plan to set up a pit lane and a satellite station for Kozhikode at West Hill was under the active consideration of the authorities, Raghavan said Mainline Electric Multiple Units (MEMU) services from the city to Ernakulam and Palakkad would begin after the ongoing electrification of the Shoranur-Kozhikode line got over.

A new building for the reservation office and a waiting room at the fourth platform were among the works envisaged, he said. “Work on a fancy restaurant to be set up in a bogey at the fourth platform was also progressing,” Raghavan said.

Source..railnews

IRICEN day celebrations to be held on November 1



PUNE: Indian Railway Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN) will be celebrating its 56th IRICEN day on November 1.

The IRICEN day function will be presided by Subodh Jain, Member Engineering of the Railway Board. Among others who would be attending the function include Central Railway General Manager B P Khare, and Secretary of Railway Board H K Jaggi.

At the IRICEN day celebrations, the 1987 silver jubilee batch officers of Indian Railway service of Engineers (IRSE) cadre will be felicitated for completing 25 years of service in Indian Railways. The officers are also holding a seminar on a tropical theme “second phase of track modernising on Indian Railways” and “Ethical conduct and experience sharing”. Medals and trophies will be awarded to outstanding IRSE officers of 2009 batch and group B officers.

Incidentally, November 1 is also celebrated as IRSE day by the officers of Indian Railway Service of Engineers throughout the Indian Railways to mark the beginning of the illustrious service 123 years ago. IRICEN day has been synchronized with IRSE day as IRICEN is alma matter of all IRSE officers.

From November 1, IRICEN will start functioning from the new building at Koregaon Park. The new building is a Green building with platinum rating, which is the highest rating in Green building certification awarded by Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Source..railnews

Modern signalling system installed at Bharatwada station



Nagpur: The Nagpur division of Central Railway has, for the first time, commissioned electronic interlocking signalling (EIS) system at Bharatwada station near Nagpur for smooth and accurate train operations.

The electronic system is a shift from conventional route relay interlocking (RRI) system. The existing signalling system at Bharatwada was 30 years old and needed to be replaced.

“We plan to install similar system in Godhni. The advantage of EIS is that operation time of trains can be regulated to seconds,” said Manoj Kumar Sinha, senior divisional signalling and telecommunication engineer (Sr.DSTE).

Of the 101 railway stations in the division, only two – Gudan Khapa and Tadali – have the age-old level pulling system, while 94 have panel interlocking (PI) systems, five stations – Nagpur, Amla, Ballarshah, Sevagram and Ajni- have RRI systems. Of late, the Railway Board has decided to gradually shift to EIS. To start with, small stations are being taken up first to gauge its success.

Sinha said EIS was a microprocessor based system occupying less space. It consumes less power and is more reliable, safer and easy to install and maintain.

“The conventional systems require large number of relays, complex wirings, thousands of soldered joints and they are susceptible to failures,” said Sinha. After its installation on October 28, no signal failure has been reported. The staff was being trained to operate the new system, he added.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Brijesh Dixit was himself keen to expedite installation of the system. “The EIS was commissioned in three hours while it takes days for commissioning conventional signalling system,” Dixit said.

Sinha said the best part of EIS was that it had a standby facility and could be operated through conventional operating panel.

Source..railnews

Home platform at Nagpur station to be ready in January



NAGPUR: Boarding a train from Nagpur railway station is expected to get a whole lot easier with Central Railway readying home platform towards Santra Market side.

“Need for a home platform at the eastern side of the station was being felt for a long time due to heavy congestion at the western side. Initially, trains starting from and terminating at Nagpur will be operated from this new platform. It will be commissioned in January 2014,” said Brijesh Dixit, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Nagpur/Central Railway.

The new home platform will have a majestic facade of contemporary design depicting a large orange to go with city’s reputation as ‘Orange City’. It will have well lit circulating area with an attractive canopy, escalator, drop-n-go facility, auto stand, car and two-wheeler parking etc.

“While the western side of the station has heritage value, the eastern face will b sport a modern and contemporary look. Proposed world class station is also being planned this side. The proposed Nagpur metro will also pass from this side and will have connectivity with it,” said Dixit.

Officials claim the new development will prove so inviting that east side will become entrance of choice for passengers. Some of the works like full platform roof cover, washable concrete apron under the track will be done in next phase, Dixit added.

The new platform will be numbered 8. It will have innovatively designed roof cover, which will be totally leakproof and will give a pleasant feeling of space and defused lighting. Attractively designed water stands are being provided with water coolers and water filters for dispensing drinking water. Overall ambience will be enhanced by green patches and clear surroundings. This platform will be a virtual gallery of railway heritage articles, with the old period clocks, lamps, bells, benches and such other pieces, preserved and displayed.

The real attraction for users of the platform will be ‘car-to-coach’ facility. It is at present available at select railway stations in metros. “Passengers using this platform will have the option of going up to the platform directly from their car and two-wheelers,” said P D Patil, public relations officer (PRO).

Source..railnews

Coming, privatisation of Railway passenger segment



Kharge launches High Speed Rail Corporation stressing need for safe, reliable and affordable transport

The Railways on Tuesday set the ball rolling for privatising its passenger segment on its existing infrastructure with the launch of the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd (HSRCIL).

Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge launched the HSRC as a fully-owned subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Limited, which his predecessor Nitish Kumar had set up with the objective of raising extra budgetary resources — from the market and private investors.

Mr. Kharge, however, issued a word of caution against adopting new technology.

No technology for gratis

“You should not buy horses merely because horse shoes are freely available,” was Mr. Kharge’s caution. He stressed how technology could be made available for even free. “At times they tell us how cheap it is. The question is whether it suits us or not, not whether it is cheap or free.”

He launched the corporation at an “International Conference on High Speed Rail Travel — Low Cost Solutions.”

Mr. Kharge, however, underlined the need for high speed rail while focusing on providing a mass mode of safe, reliable and affordable transport. Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the Corporation, as the implementing agency, would contribute in the joint venture to be formed under the Public Private Partnership mode. The other stakeholders could be the State governments and private investors, explained corporation chairman Satish Agnihotri.

Seven routes

The Railways have identified seven routes — all commercially viable — on which the mini high speed trains with a speed of 160 km per hour to 200 km per hour would be operated under the PPP mode.

Officials maintained a stoic silence when asked if the railways were giving away the most viable routes to the private sector.

Some of the routes identified are Ahmedabad-Mumbai, Amritsar-Ludhiana-Chandigarh-Delhi, Agra-Lucknow-Varanasi-Patna, Chennai-Thiruvananthapuram and Bangalore-Chennai. The first project to be implemented under the scheme will be the Mumbai-Ahmedabad route.

Source..railnews

Metro, infrastructure projects can’t bank on realty: Urban Development ministry



NEW DELHI: The Urban Development (UD) ministry has red flagged overdependence on real estate revenues to make Metro rail projects viable on public private partnership (PPP) mode after the failure of Delhi Airport Metro Express Line where the private player exited in less than three years of its operation.

In case of these projects and also Hyderabad Metro, where private players were banking heavily on revenue from realty sector, the ministry has come to the view the revenue expectation from such activities should be limited to 20%.

In a Cabinet note, UD ministry has cited how the concessionaire of airport express line projected income from property development to the extent of 70% of gross revenue for 20-25 years, and later it would taper to 37%. “With the slump in the real estate business, the entire revenue collection of this line got jeopardized eventually seeking exit of the concessionaire,” the note says. It proposes that such public transport projects should not be converted into “real estate projects open to various market risks”.

For the Hyderabad Metro project, the successful bidder in 2007-08 banked heavily on revenue from real estate development and had even quoted negative grant. The note says though this was hailed as a successful model. The “euphoria” was “short-lived” due to the 2008 economic slowdown. The project was bid out again in 2010. Even the new concessionaire is facing upheaval task due to present financial condition.

The note backs auditing by Comptroller & Auditor General of India ( CAG) of expenditure of private parties in project development if the cost increases beyond 10%. The ministry wants that while providing land for Metro works no government agency should seek alternate land. Moreover, the price of the land should be at government rate.

Second, all departments concerned must issue permission for speedier construction so that there is no time and cost overrun. The ministry also sought exemption of Metro works from seeking clearance under the Ancient Monument and Archeological Sites & Remains Act to carry out construction close to monuments. It argues that Metro in other countries provide better link to such sites of historical importance.

Third, it pitches for exemption from forest clearances for such projects by treating these as public utility infrastructure works.

Source..railnews

CBI grills Kul Bhushan, Member (Electrical) Railway Board

New Delhi: CBI today questioned Railway Board Member (Electrical) Kul Bhushan in connection with its preliminary enquiry into alleged corrupt practices during his tenure.

CBI sources said Kul Bhushan was asked to appear at the agency headquarters in connection with the preliminary enquiry, registered soon after bribery scandal involving former Railway Minister Pawan Bansal’s nephew had surfaced, which relates to several counts of alleged corrupt practices including purchase of ‘benami’ properties.

They said Kul Bhushan who arrived at the headquarters in the morning was subjected to intense questioning till very late in the evening.

Kul Bhushan was not immediately available for reaction.

The sources claimed that at several points during the questioning sessions, Kul Bhushan could not come up with satisfactory responses when he was confronted with documentary evidence.

They said it is alleged that Kul Bhushan had acquired several ‘benami’ properties worth several crores from Railway contractors in lieu of favours promised to them.

Citing one such instance, the sources claimed, that a flat worth Rs.1.80 Crore was allegedly purchased as ‘benami property’ in Bangalore as an accommodation for his son.

Kul Bhushan is also under CBI scanner for alleged corruption in a separate enquiry related to purchase of coaches for the Kolkata Metro. It is alleged that Kul Bhushan also helped in nurturing vendor cartels at Level II in RDSO which wanted to stop contractors from upgrading from Level I to Level II to maintain its monopoly in bagging contracts, the sources said. The sources said it is alleged in the enquiry that he helped a renowned-builder by granting relief in terms and condition for the development of Rail Land Development Authority prime land at Sarai Rohilla here. It is also alleged that he shared eligibility details of proposed Rs.150 crore Railway Signals factory at Chandigarh with the interested contractors at the very initial stage and sought partnership in exchange of favours extended to the contractors, CBI sources said. The sources said he alleegdly influencing transfers and postings in the railway with the help of middlemen and other private persons.
Source..railnews

Land acquisition begins for 179 Kms Chennai-Karaikal East Coast Rail project

The 179 Km Project is under Progress at an Estimated Cost of Rs.800 Crore

The State government has started acquiring land for the East Coast Rail project, said Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office V.Narayanasamy here on Tuesday.

The 179-km ECR project passes through Chennai, Mammallapuram, Puducherry, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai, and Karaikal at an estimated cost of Rs.800 crore.

Speaking at the flagging off ceremony of the Lokmanya Tilak–Karaikal Weekly here, Mr. Narayanasamy said there were demands for new trains connecting Karaikal with New Delhi, Kanyakumari, and Kollam and the demands would be placed before the Railway Ministry.

The 22-km Karaikal–Peralam gauge conversion project envisaged at Rs. 178 crore but funds had not bee allocated this year. According to the Minister, it is expected that Rs. 120 crore would be sanctioned this year for the project. Persistent demand for extension of the Velankanni–Vasco-da-Gama Weekly special up to Karaikal will be pursued.

The long-standing request for all trains extended up to Karaikal to halt at T.R. Pattinam be taken up personally with Mallikarjuna Karge, Mr. Narayanasamy said.

Rescheduled

The Tiruchi–Howrah bi-weekly Express (12664) that was scheduled to leave Tiruchi at 4 p.m. on October 29 has been rescheduled to leave Tiruchi at 4 p.m. on October 30 because of late running of pairing train. The Puducherry–Howrah weekly express (12868) scheduled to leave Puducherry at 12.30 p.m. on October 30 has been cancelled, a Southern Railway press release said.

Source...railnews

Great rail journeys that exist only in fantasy


Trans-Siberian railway

A rail tunnel has opened under the Bosphorus, offering tantalising possibilities for rail anoraks, writes Tom de Castella.

"Anything is possible on a train," wrote Paul Theroux in the Great Railway Bazaar, "a great meal, a binge, a visit from card players, an intrigue, a good night's sleep, and strangers' monologues framed like Russian short stories."

For fans of great train journeys the possibilities have just magnified. A rail tunnel has opened under the Bosphorus, the strait separating Europe from Asia.

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who opened the new line, declared it would connect "London to Beijing".

The Turkish PM was perhaps getting caught up in the moment. At the moment it's a suburban railway linking both sides of Istanbul. And there's a much easier way to get to China - the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing.

A rail trip across Asia via Istanbul is intriguing though, says Mark Smith, founder of website The Man in Seat 61. Once bits of engineering work in Turkey are finished, you'll be able to board a train at St Pancras and - after a few connections - alight about 10 days later in Bangladesh. That's if you're not assassinated by bandits in southern Iran or al-Qaeda in Pakistan, he adds.

The Bosphorus tunnel offers other intriguing possibilities. Since the late 19th Century there's been a plan to build a railway between Cairo and Cape Town. There are now railways between Nairobi and Cape Town. If Africa's northern section was built, one could hop on a train in London, and via Istanbul, Syria - remember this is a train lover's utopian vision - and Egypt, reach the Cape some time later.

The longest journey Smith has done is Moscow to Vladivostok, which takes seven days. "Even I was going a bit stir crazy by the end. There's an awful lot of birch trees."

Changing scenery is a must, says Matthew Engel, author of Eleven Minutes Late. So is interesting company. On that score Amtrak in the US wins, he says.

Outside the densely populated north east, few Americans use the trains. "The people who do are a little bit, sometimes very, eccentric. And enormous fun." The trains are notoriously slow - "40 plus" hours from Chicago to LA. "It's like being on a cruise ship except no-one is boring."
Source..BBC

Oct 30, 2013

How Metro, Infrastructure projects can be made Viable on PPP mode

NEW DELHI: The Urban Development (UD) ministry has red flagged overdependence on real estate revenues to make Metro rail and other infrastructure projects viable on public private partnership (PPP) mode.

After the failure of Delhi Airport Metro Express Line and Hyderabad Metro, where private players were banking heavily on revenue from realty sector, the ministry has come to the view the revenue expectation from such activities should be limited to 20%.

In a recent confidential Cabinet note circulated to elicit responses of other ministries, Nirman Bhawan has cited how the concessionaire of airport express line projected income from property development to the extent of 70% of gross revenue for 20-25 years, and later it would taper to 37%. “With the slump in the real estate business, the entire revenue collection of this line got jeopardized eventually seeking exit of the concessionaire from the project,” the note says. It proposes that such public transport projects should not be converted into “real estate projects open to various market risks”.

For the Hyderabad Metro project, the successful bidder in 2007-08 banked heavily on revenue from real estate development and had even quoted negative grant. The note says though this was hailed as a successful model and it was assumed such Metro projects would be money-spinners, the “euphoria” was “short-lived” due to the 2008 economic slowdown. The project was bid out again in 2010. Even the new concessionaire is facing upheaval task due to present financial condition.

The note backs auditing by Comptroller & Auditor General of India (CAG) of expenditure of private parties in project development if the cost increases beyond 10%..

For smoother and timely completion of these major urban mass transport projects, the ministry has also suggested sweeping changes both relating to seeking clearance and permission to carry out construction without any hindrance.

The ministry wants that while providing land for Metro works no government agency should seek alternate land. Moreover, the price of the land made available should be at government rate.

Second, all departments concerned must issue working permission for speedier construction so that there is no time and cost overrun. The ministry has also sought exemption of Metro works from seeking clearance under the Ancient Monument and Archeological Sites & Remains Act to carry out construction close to monuments. In fact, it argues that Metro in other countries provides better link to such sites of historical and cultural importance.

Third, it pitches for exemption from getting forest clearances for such projects by treating these as important public utility key infrastructure works such as roads and water supply. The ministry has also underscored the need to appoint commissioners of Metro Railways safety considering its expanding reach to several cities.

Source..Rail News

Dimapur Railway police nabs 1 with gelatin sticks, detonators



The personnel of the Government Railway Police Station (GRPS) of Dimapur Railway Station arrested one person for possessing huge quantity of explosives on Saturday last. According to a statement issued by the Additional Superintendent of Police Dimapur and PRO today said that the accused, identified as one Samuel Lalramsan Hmar (27 years) of Rengkai village, Churachandpur, Manipur, was found smuggling the explosives in two bags, when police checked his belonging on suspicion as he alighted from the Intercity train at Dimapur Railway Station on charges of smuggling explosives. A total of 290 gelatin sticks, 450 detonators and 45 meters of fuse wires were recovered from Samuel. Police are investigating the source of the explosives and involvement of other accomplices in the crime. Investigation was on to apprehend the entire explosive smuggling gang, the statement said.

Source..Rail News

Turkey opens World’s Deepest Undersea Rail Link – connects Asia with Europe by SeaRail

Istambul: Turkey has opened an underwater railway tunnel linking Europe and Asia, and the two sides of Istanbul, realizing a plan initially proposed by an Ottoman sultan about 150 years ago.

The Marmaray tunnel runs under the Bosporus, the strait that connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara and divides Istanbul between Asia and Europe. The tunnel is 13.6 kilometres long, including an underwater stretch of 1.4 Kilometres.

It is among a number of large infrastructure projects under the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that have helped boost the economy but also have provoked a backlash of public protest.

“I wish from God that the Marmaray that we are inaugurating will be a benefit to our Istanbul, to our country, to all of humanity,” Mr.Erdogan said at the opening ceremony.

Officials hope that with up to 1.5 million passengers a day, the tunnel will ease some of Istanbul’s chronic traffic, particularly over the two bridges linking the two sides of the city. A more distant dream is that the tunnel may become part of a new train route for rail travel between Western Europe and China.

The underwater portion of the tunnel wasn’t dug, but was dropped in sections to the sea bottom the immersed-tube method used around the world. Turkish officials say that at more than 55 metres deep, it is the world’s deepest railway tunnel of its type.

Started in 2005 and scheduled to be completed in four years, the project was delayed by important archaeological finds, including a 4th century Byzantine port, as builders began digging under the city.

Rejecting any fears that the tunnel could be vulnerable to earthquakes in a region of high seismic activity, Turkish Transportation Minister Binali Yildirim said that it is designed to withstand a massive 9.0 magnitude quake. He calls it “the safest place in Istanbul.”

The tube sections are joined by flexible joints that can withstand shocks.

Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid is said to have proposed the idea of a tunnel under the Bosporus about a century and a half ago. One of his successors, Abdulhamid, had architects submit proposals in 1891, but the plans were not carried out.

The tunnel is just one of Mr. Erdogan’s large-scale plans. They include a separate tunnel being built under the Bosporus for passenger cars, a third bridge over the strait, the world’s biggest airport, and a massive canal that would bypass the Bosporus.

The projects have provoked charges that the government is plunging ahead with city-changing plans without sufficient public consultation. The concern fueled protests that swept Turkey in June.

Tuesday’s ceremony on the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Turkish Republic was attended by Erdogan and other officials, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country was heavily involved in the construction and financing of the railway tunnel project.

Japan’s Seikan tunnel linking the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido is the world’s deepest, getting 140 meters (460 feet) below the seabed and 240 metres below sea level. The Channel Tunnel linking Britain and France is as much as 75 metres below sea level.

Source..Rail News

Mumbai Express chugs into Nizamabad in Telangana

Nizamabad Railway Station will become an important junction soon -Madhu Yaskhi Goud

Member of Parliament Madhu Goud Yaskhi, here on Monday, received the newly introduced weekly express train between Mumbai and Nizamabad. The train was formally flagged off by Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge at Lok Manya Tilak Terminus in Mumbai yesterday evening.

This weekly train (No: 11205) departs at LTT Kurla on Saturday at 1640 hours, arrives in Nizamabad on Sunday at 0915 hours and leaves for LTT on the same day at 2315 hours and reaches on the following day at 1355 hours, according to railway authorities.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Madhu Goud said his two-year effort to get a sanction of an express train between Nizamabad-Mumbai fructified thanks to the cooperation of Railway Minister. Some more express trains would be sanctioned, he said.

Saying that the Nizamabad railway station would become an important junction in the region after the completion of Peddapally line connecting Karimnagar, Jagityal and Armur, he said the line would become operational within a year.

Sufficient funds for this line have been allocated in the railway budget and most of the work was completed, he said adding that the new train would cater to the needs of the people of the district who frequented Mumbai.

Replying a question he said that the Telangana State would be formed within two months and no one could stop it. “Our party will win the elections in two States and it will not have truck with any political party”, he added.

Source..Rail News

New Signboards for Darjeeling Hill Rail Stations

Siliguri: The Darjeeling Himalayan Railway is getting a makeover with the addition of signage in bright colours at all 14 stations of the Unesco heritage site, most of which will be given fresh paint also.

The refurbishment of the hill railway has started with Sukna station, 10km from here, where signboards have been put up in blue and yellow.

The boards show the name of the station, distance to other stations and direction, besides informing passengers about the Unesco world heritage status of the toy train.

“We are putting in all efforts to highlight the DHR as a prime tourism destination. In the process, we have started the revamp of all 14 stations that fall along the 80km route of the hill railway from New Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling. The first station to get a revamp is at Sukna and the outcome is quite satisfying. The station looks quite pretty with new signage and display boards. We have decided to give other stations also the same look,” said Arun Kumar Sharma, the divisional railway manager, Katihar division.

The 14 stations of the DHR still retain the old-world charm with cottage-style structures and tin roofs, wooden chairs for the passengers and small flower gardens fenced with wooden railings which usually have the model of a toy train on display.

“Tourists come to experience all that is antique and the old-world ambience of the hill railway that comprises engines, coaches and stations. Tourists like to halt at stations, sit on wooden chairs and take pictures of the cottage-styled structures as much as they want to enjoy the beautiful scenery along the route,” said a DHR official.

“Since the hill railway is 132 years old, refurbishing the stations from time to time is essential so that they do not look worn out. Apart from installing new signboards and signage, we will also give the cottage-styled structures, wooden chairs and railings a fresh coat of paint wherever it is required,” a DHR source said.

Source..Rail News

Braveheart GRP Pounced on Patna Terror suspect while trying to flee the blast spot



Patna: A security official caught hold of a man scurrying away from a Patna railway station toilet where a blast took place Sunday. And the terror suspect who tried to bluff his way out has turned out to be a big catch. Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari, main accused in the serial blasts in Patna, was caught by a Government Railway Police (GRP) official when he suspected something was amiss with the youth trying to flee after coming out of toilet following a bomb explosion. Senior officials have declined to name the brave GRP official for security reasons as also because it would endanger him. “Imtiaz was forced to flee after a bomb exploded when another terror suspect Ainul alias Tarique was trying to fit or fix a timer in a bomb at a Patna junction toilet,” a senior GRP official at Patna junction said. ADG (Special Branch) Rajesh Chandra said Imtiaz tried to act smart when the GRP official first pounced upon him and nabbed him. “He said he was a tailor (darzi) and he had to go to Kalyanpur in Motihari. But there is no place called Kalyanpur in Motihari. In fact, Kalyanpur is in Samastipur district,” Chandra said. Police recovered a piece of paper from Imtiaz’s pocket, which had seven phone numbers and they recovered his mobile phone too. Additional Director General (Rail) P.N.Rai described it as a big catch.

Imtiaz confessed that he along with six people was divided into three groups with specific assignments to carry out the blasts. He admitted that all the bombs were planted Sunday morning after 9 a.m. “Imtiaz told police that he along with another terror suspect was given the task of planting bombs at the Patna junction toilet and other adjoining places, and two other groups were asked by Tahseen Akhtar to plant bombs on two sides of Gandhi Maidan, where Modi was to address the rally,” he said. Tahseen is an activist-leader of the banned outfit Indian Mujahideen, and is the brain behind serial blasts now. Six of the seven blasts took place in and around Gandhi Maidan before Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi was to address a rally. Six people were killed and 83 injured in these serial blasts. Imtiaz told sleuths that all of them left Ranchi by a bus Oct 26 night and reached Mithapur bus stand, nearly 300 metres from Patna junction around 6 Sunday morning. Chandra said the terrorists formed three groups that left for different destinations, including Patna railway junction, with six bombs each – made of 8-9-inch pipes with explosives filled inside. Bihar Police have decided to reward the GRP official who caught Mohammad Imtiaz Ansari. Additional Director General (Rail) P.N. Rai said the GRP official will be rewarded for his courageous action. Bihar Police chief Abhyanand has recommended Rs.25,000 prize for the brave GRP official, Rai said. He, however, refused to name the GRP official on security grounds. He said Imtiaz was a big catch as that will help to crack the case of serial blasts in Patna. “Terrorist Kasab was caught during Mumbai terror attack. More or less similarly, Imtiaz was caught by GRP official,” Rai said. Officials at police headquarters here said that state government is likely to announce a bigger prize for the GRP official. The first of the low-intensity blasts ripped through a toilet at around 10 a.m. at the newly-built Platform 10 of the Patna railway station in the heart of the city. After an hour, by which time Modi had reached Patna but not the rally ground, six explosions took place – four inside the Gandhi Maidan, and two around it. The Patna railway station is located two-three km from the sprawling Gandhi Maidan.

Source..Rail News

International Technical Conference on “High Speed Rail Travel, Low Cost Solutions” launched



New Delhi: The Minister of Railways Shri Mallikarjun inaugurated a two day international technical conference on “High Speed Rail Travel; Low Cost Solution” here today. While addressing the conference, the Railway Minister said that India’s primary focus has been to provide a mass mode of safe, reliable and affordable transport, being the largest passenger Railway in the world, it is a natural aspiration of the people of this country that Indian Railways provide them high speed rail travel.

Shri Kharge said that most countries consider high speed capability to be in the range of 250 to 300 kmph which requires a dedicated track with fencing and can be prohibitively costly. For a country like ours track fencing also has its own set of associated issues. Thus, leveraging Rolling stock technologies may provide a lower cost solution to meet the immediate needs of achieving speeds of 160 to 200 kmph and that too on the existing track. For speeds above 200 kmph the costlier and time consuming solution of providing a separate dedicated track with fencing becomes inescapable. Therefore, the focus of this conference is to consider achieving higher speed trains in the range of 160 to 200 kmph with marginal inputs in the existing infrastructure, besides given the financial constraints and issues related to land acquisition and track fencing, as an interim step, the Railway Minister said.

Wishing all the success to Conference, Shri Kharge said that the deliberations in this conference between the various stakeholders will bring about a better understanding of the underlying technology issues and make higher speed rail travel in India a reality.

Source..Rail News

Pipavav Railway Corpn Ltd pays Interim Dividend of Rs.38 million to Pipavav Port

Port at evening
Pipavav Railway Corporation Ltd (PRCL) declares maiden dividend after 10 years of operation

Mumbai: APM Terminals operated Gujarat Pipavav Port (APM Terminals Pipavav), one of Western India’s fastest growing gateway ports, received an interim dividend of Rs.38 million (5%) from Pipavav Railway Corporation Limited (PRCL) on the 23rd of October at Mumbai – a historic first for Indian Railway’s flagship infrastructure company under Public Private Partnership (PPP).

PRCL is a Joint Venture company between Indian Railways and Gujarat Pipavav Port under the PPP model to undertake the construction, operation and maintenance of the Surendranagar-Gujarat Pipavav Port, Rail Connectivity Project spanning 271 Kms.

The dividend cheque for the current financial year was handed over to Mr. Dinesh Lal, Director of APM Terminals Pipavav by Mr.Pankaj Malviya, Managing Director of PRCL.

Earlier in the week PRCL also presented the Railway Minister Mr.Mallikarjun Kharge with an Interim Dividend of Rs.49 Million in Delhi.

Steadily increasing traffic at APM Terminals Pipavav, which forms the bulk of PRCL’s traffic, has enabled the company to roll-out its maiden dividend to the Stakeholders. PRCL and APM Terminals Pipavav who jointly pioneered double stack container movement in India, upgraded to double stack high cube (9’6″) capabilities in July this year which further enhanced the value proposition at APM Terminals Pipavav, which has had a direct impact on the increase in volumes to and from the Port.

About Gujarat Pipavav Port (APM Terminals Pipavav)

Gujarat Pipavav Port is part of an international network of Ports and Terminals belonging to APM Terminals of the AP Moller-Maersk Group. Strategically located in Gujarat, approx152 nautical miles from Mumbai, APM Terminals Pipavav is one of the Western India’s fastest growing gateway ports. The port has excellent connectivity to the rich hinterland in North and Northeast India. Since taking over in 2005, the port has steadily expanded its infrastructure facilities to suit its growing customer base. APM Terminals Pipavav, a successful Public Private Enterprise is emerging as an important gateway port on the west coast of India for containers, bulk and liquid cargo.
Source..Rail News

Kharge launches High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd (HSRCIL)

Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge today formally launched the High Speed Rail Corporation of India Ltd. (HSRCIL), a subsidiary of Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL), that will develop high-speed rail corridors i India to run passenger trains at speeds upto 350 km per hour.

Speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day international technical conference here on “High Speed Rail Travel: Low Cost Solutions”, he also unveiled the logo of HSRCIL which has been designed by the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.

Mr Kharge said that the Indian Railways currently carry more than 7 billion people annually, which is equal to the entire human popuation on earth. He said the Railways’ recent focus on technology upgradation had been driven largely by the objective of achieving higher levels of safety for passengers.

“Despite the fiscal constraints in upgrading the aging infrastructure and in the face of rising costs, the number of train accidents per million train kms has reduced from 0.41 to 0.13 over the past decade,” he said.

He said Indian Railways had attained speeds of 120 kmph on its Mumbai and Kolkata Rajdhani Express trains way back in 1973. In 1998, the Bhopal Shatabdi Express became India’s fastest train, attaining a speed of 140 kmph which was further increased to 150 kmph in 2006.

Meanwhile, many countries like, China, France, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Turkey, South Korea and Spain have developed high-speed rail to connect their major cities. The maximum commercial speed on most of these high-speed rail lines is 250 to 300 kmph.

He noted that, since the first such high speed rail system began operations in Japan way back in 1964 and became widely known as the bullet train, several countries have built extensive high-speed networks, and there are now several cross-border high-speed rail links.

“Most countries consider high speed capability to be in the range of 250 to 300 kmph which requires a dedicated track with fencing and can be prohibitively costly. For a country like ours track fencing also has its own set of associated issues. Thus, leveraging rolling stock technologies may provide a lower cost solution to meet the immediate needs of achieving speeds of 160 to 200 kmph and that too on the existing track,” he said.

Mr Kharge said that for speeds above 200 kmph the costlier and time consuming solution of providing a separate dedicated track with fencing would become inescapable.

“Therefore, the focus of this conference is to consider achieving higher speed trains in the range of 160 to 200 kmph with marginal inputs in the existing infrastructure.

“Achieving this higher speed train travel of 160 to 200 kmph will also need understanding of many new technologies which Indian Railways has not been extensively exposed to, such as aerodynamic profiles, light weight technologies, cab signaling etc.,” he said.

“This intermediate step can be considered preparatory to achieve high speed train travel of 250 to 300 kmph in the foreseeable future,” he said.

Railway Board Chairman Arunendra Kumar said the Railways had undertaken pre-feasibility studies of seven high speed corridors. A preliminary study for Mumbai-Ahemdabad route has estimated its cost to be around Rs. 65,000 crore.

Mr Satish Agnihotri, Chairman of HSRC and CMD of RVNL said that HSRC would undertake project activities such as preparation of project related studies, preparation of the technical standards for HSR Mumbai-Ahmedabad corridor and any other corridor decided by the Government. It will provide support to Ministry of Railways and Government of India in finalizing the financial and implementation models.

The conference is being attended by policy makers, senior administrators, rolling stock manufacturers, research institutions, consultants and industry professionals from India and abroad.
Source..rail news

Oct 29, 2013

Completion of Rail Projects hinges on Funds Release by State: Kharge

Karnataka has to provide Rs 700 crore for cost-sharing projects -Kharge

Gulbarga: Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday said speedy completion of railway projects in the State was fully dependant on the periodical release of funds with regard to cost-sharing projects by the state government.

He urged chief minister Siddaramaiah to ensure timely release of funds for these projects. Kharge was speaking after laying foundation stone for the construction of 1.5 km-long tunnel costing Rs.60 crore on the new Bidar-Gulbarga railway line at Maragutti village near here.

The minister said allocation of funds for the cost-sharing projects in the State has been doubled from Rs 350 crore, as provided in the Railway budget for the current fiscal, to Rs 700 crore. Accordingly, the State will have to release Rs 700 crore. So far, the State has given sanction for Rs 250 crore while it has actually released only Rs 150 crore.

CM’s Assurance

“While reviewing the railway projects of the State a month ago, Siddaramaiah had promised to release necessary funds on time. The chief minister had also given instructions in this regard to finance secretary and chief secretary. I hope Siddaramaiah will keep his words and help expedite the long pending projects’’ Kharge said.

Pointing out that Karnataka was not the only state which was sharing the cost of railway projects apart from giving necessary land, he said several other states have also agreed for the same.

“The Planing Commission and the Planning department are very strict in this matter. Even after states agreeing for giving land and sharing the equal cost, they are not easily permitting new projects,’’ Kharge said. State’s cooperation was very crucial in the speedy execution of rail projects, he added.

Allocation Hiked

He said that for the new Bidar-Gulbarga railway line, only Rs 10 crore was provided in the Railway budget and, after he took over as the Railway Minister four months ago, the allocation has been increased to Rs 60 crore. The State has also given Rs 60 crore for the project. With the availability of Rs.120 crore, the project has been comfortably placed, he said and hoped that it will be completed in the next two to three years.

Former Chief Minister and Bidar MP N Dharam Singh, Municipal Administration Ministers Qamar-ul-Islam, Minister of State for Medical Education Dr Sharan Prakash Patil, South Central Railway General Manager A K Mittal and Railway Board Member (Engineering) Subodh Jain were present.

Source..Rail news

Three Gangman mowed down by Speeding Train



KANPUR: Three railway gangmen, who were working on the tracks near Karbigwan railway station in Maharajpur area of the city, were mowed down by a speeding Chauri-Chaura Express train on Monday.

All the three gangmen died on the spot. Vimlesh and Mahendra Singh, of Allahabad and Indrapal of Kaushambi were working on the down tracks at the pole no: 985/18 near Karbigwan railway station on Delhi-Howrah route. Chauri-Chaura Express stopped and, the GRP and railway staff rushed to the spot to take note of the situation.

“It was while they were working on the down tracks, Jodhpur-Howrah train coming from Delhi arrived on the scene following which they got panicked and ran towards the up-tracks but around the same time Chauri-Chaura express arrived there and hit the trio,” an investigating GRP official said.

Their badly severed body were strewn all around the railway tracks. “Their body parts were later collected and dispatched to mortuary for post-mortem examination,” said GRP inspector SP Sonker. The GRP has registered a case, he added. Sonker further said that preliminary inquiry has indicated that the accident was a result of the mistake of the gangmen, who didn’t notice the train approaching them. Railways has ordered a probe in this regard.

Source..Rail news

Kharge orders inquiry into RRB Exam Malpractice



Gulbarga: Union Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has ordered an inquiry into the alleged malpractice during the written test for Group D posts in South Western Railway in an examination centre in Hubli.

Referring to reports appearing in the press in this regard, Mr.Kharge said he had taken a serious note of the reported incident and if it is found to be true, corrective steps will be taken. Asked whether re-examination would be ordered for the students appearing in the examination centre where the alleged malpractices took place, the Minister said: “Let the inquiry be completed and we will take all steps to ensure that the genuine students are not affected.”

Mr. Kharge said the Railways conducted the recruitment examination in a very transparent and fair manner without giving any room for complaints of irregularities or favouritism. To a question, Mr. Kharge said the direct rail connectivity between Hyderabad-Karnataka region and the Mumbai-Karnataka region would soon be a reality with the proposed Gadag-Wadi new railway line getting approval by the Railways. Work of the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been ordered. Later, the DPR of the Gadag-Wadi railway line would be presented to the Planning Department for financial assistance. If financial assistance was not forthcoming this year, the Railways would consider taking up the project with available funds this year itself,” Mr. Kharge said. A sum of Rs. 10 lakh has been earmarked for the project this year in the budget.

Cost-sharing

He said the State government had sanctioned Rs. 250 crore out of a total of Rs. 700 crore as its share for railway projects taken up on cost-sharing basis in Karnataka. Of the sanctioned amount, Rs. 150 crore has been released. “The State government had promised to release its share and I am confident it will stand by its assurance,” he said.

Many States have come forward with proposals for taking up railway projects on cost-sharing basis. A few of them have even offered to share 75 per cent of the cost, Mr. Kharge said. “Not all these proposals have been accepted by the Planning Commission. Fortunately for Karnataka, all the projects proposed by it were accepted by the commission,” he said.

MNREGA funds

To another question, Mr. Kharge said Maharashtra was the only State to propose using MNREGA funds for railway projects taken up on cost-sharing basis. “Since the MNREGA funds cannot be released directly to Railways, the Railways will mark out the works that are to be taken up using MNREGA funds by the State government.”

The Minister indicated that there would be a slight delay in inaugurating the push-pull train between Bidar and Humnabad as the Commissioner for Railway Safety, who inspected the new railway line, had pointed out a few defects and South Central Railway officials have been given three weeks to set right the defects.

Source..Rail news

Railway information on Smart Phones now

New Delhi: Over 25 million rail passengers can now find useful information regarding their train routes and stations at the click of a button on their smart phones.

RailYatri.in has launched a National Railyatri Alert System (NRAS) – an information system that helps passengers find information on their route, train or destination on their internet enabled phone.

To get alerts, passengers need log on to m.railyatri.in on their mobile phone browser and click on the National RY Alerts System, a release said here Monday.

NRAS includes a comprehensive database of major recurring events like religious, community gatherings or which are known to result in heavy rush at specific locations, and warns users in advance if their travel takes them through one or more hotspots, the release said.

Source..Rail news

Poster war on Train Gangs in Festive season


Hajipur: Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel have begun offering safe travel tips to passengers on trains passing through the Dhanbad division of East Central Railway.

The move comes in view of the huge rush of Bihar-bound passengers for the upcoming festivals of Diwali and Chhath, making them more susceptible to drug-and-loot gangs.

Special posters mentioning dos and don’ts have been pasted on the compartments of important trains as well as the station premises. They urge the passengers not to accept eatables and prasad from unknown people and be cautious of fellow travellers.

“We are also distributing pamphlets mentioning in detail the modus operandi of these nasha khurani gangs on trains. We are talking to passengers individually, telling them how such criminals often offer seats to passengers to strike a conversation, gain their trust and later rob them of their valuables,” officer-in-charge of RPF in Dhanbad D.K. Singh told.

Helpline numbers of RPF control room at East Central Railway in Hajipur (06224-223580 and 09771425418) and Government Railway Police (09473197668) are also mentioned on the posters to report any such suspected activity on the trains.

The focus is primarily on three trains — Ganga-Sutlej Express (13307) running between Dhanbad and Firozpur in Punjab, Ganga-Damodar Express (13309) between Dhanbad and Patna and Howrah-Mumbai CST Mail (12321), which passes through Dhanbad.

A large number of people hailing from Bihar, working in different localities in the coal town, return to their native towns and villages during the festivals via these three trains.

“We further advise passengers to immediately inform the RPF escort party on the train or coach attendant or TTE if they find any co-passenger behaving suspiciously,” Singh added.

The jawans are also recording videos and photographs of passengers, mainly in the general compartment, so that they can easily track down the gangs in case of any robbery. Intensive checking is being carried out in all trains with the help of sniffer dog.

Source..Rail news

Maharashtra GRP Website to guide people on reporting Crime



MUMBAI: The Government Railway Police (GRP) in Maharashtra will finally have its own website, complete with crime statistics, helpline numbers and information to help people report crimes and lodge complaints.

The move comes more than a year after the Mumbai wing of the GRP launched a site, Shodh, to help establish the identity of railway accident victims.

The state GRP site will have links to ‘Shodh’ and the sites of railway police commissionerates in the country.

“Commuters usually seek information on where and how to lodge a complaint,” a top GRP officer said. “The site will have a map explaining the jurisdiction of every railway police outpost in Maharashtra. It will have contact numbers of the officer in charge and also explain police hierarchy.”

A key aspect the website will address is commuter safety and awareness.

“Different modus operandi used by conmen on trains, such as spiking a commuter’s meal and robbing him, will be explained,” the officer said. “Commuters will be made aware of the fact that a complaint can be lodged on a running train [long-distance] with the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel escorting it.”

The GRP also intends to upload photographs of habitual offenders.

An officer said a separate section will be dedicated to the helpline, 9833331111, and the work done by its staff.

“Between November 2008 and July 2013, the helpline attended 5.34 lakh calls from commuters in distress,” the office said. “They have helped retrieve Rs 21.53 lakh in cash, 1.2 kg of gold, 5,600 handbags, 273 laptops and 154 cellphones.”

The domain name registration has been done. Email addresses of senior GRP officers will be generated on the basis of this domain name.

“The site will be designed on the lines of the Nagpur railway police commissionerate site, which is very comprehensive. Shodh will also be revamped,” the officer said.

Source..Rail news

Foundation Stone for Lucknow Metro likely to be laid next month



Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh government is all set to launch its ambitious Lucknow Metro rail project from next month. Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has directed the state chief secretary Javed Usmani to complete the regularity process at the earliest so that the project could be launched next month. To end all the hassles and complete the formalities, Mr Usmani has convened an important meeting of the high powered committee of Lucknow Metro comprising concerned departments and officials here tomorrow.

The meeting could also fix the date for laying the foundation stone for the project and launch of the construction of the first phase between Amausi airport and Charbagh railway station of about 7 kilometers. The government is said to be in a hurry to launch the Metro project due to the coming Lok Sabha elections. It is also expected that after the launch of the Metro, the Samajwadi Party government in a boost to the urban transport system could announce similar projects in other cities like Kanpur and Agra.

The CM has directed the officials to expedite the completion of the process after a high level team of the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited headed by its CMD and four directors met Mr Yadav last week, claimed advisor to the UP government on Externally aided projects department with a state minister status Madhukar Jatley here today. ” The CM is very much concerned over the problems of the city transport system in the state capital and want to bring Lucknow in the world Mass Road Rapid System map”, he said.

Source..Rail news

Taking no chances against fog, Northern Railway to cancel 6 trains



Chandigarh: Thousands of passengers from various cities of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi will have to look for options in the coming months as Northern Railway has decided to cancel six trains – three pairs – of this region due to foggy conditions in the winters.

Claiming that north India remains severely affected due to fog in the winter season and safety of passengers is vital, railway officials said that a decision has been taken to cancel the trains for a month and a half.

These trains originate from Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ajmer — Amritsar-Ajmer Express 19612, Amritsar-Ajmer Express 19614 and Jalandher City-New Delhi Express 14682 – and cater to thousands of passengers across major cities of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Rajasthan.

“These trains not only run late, but also create hindrance in the designated routes of other trains during winters. These will remain off track from December 28 to February 15, 2014,” a Northern Railway official said.

Anil Saxena, Additional Director General (Public Relations), Union Ministry Railways, said, “A list of 20 trains has been released as per initial information based on fog in winters. More may be added in future depending on weather conditions.”

Neeraj Sharma, central public relations officer, Northern Railway, said, “There is also an option with us to withdraw cancellation of these trains if weather remains good during that period. But such chances are remote. Therefore we are sending alerts in public interest.”

Sources said that the situation becomes difficult in foggy weather in winters due to which, trains run many hours behind scheduled timings.

Trains that will remain off track

Stations covered

Amritsar-Ajmer Express 19612

Amritsar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Bathinda, Hisar, Bhiwani, Rewari, Alwar, Dausa, Jaipur

Amritsar-Ajmer Express 19614

Amritsar, Ludhiana, Dhuri, Jakhal, Hisar, Charkhi Dadri, Alwar, Rajgarh, Baswa, Jaipur

Jalandhar City-New Delhi Express 14682

Jalandhar, Phagwara, Ludhiana, Doraha, Khanna, Ambala City, Ambala Cantt, Barara, Jagadhri, Saharanpur, Deoband, Muzaffarnagar, Meerut Cantt, Meerut City, Ghaziabad, New Delhi.

Source..Rail news

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