Sep 13, 2013

India’s longest rail bridge grossly underutilised

Rajesh Agrawal, Thiruvananthapuram Divisional Railway Manager, has expressed serious concern over the gross underutilisation of the rail corridor linking the Vallarpadam transshipment terminal with Edappally. He was interacting with reporters here on Thursday. India’s longest rail bridge (4.62 km) is part of the 8.86-km-long rail corridor.

He said now, only one train plied the rail route, exclusively meant for goods container traffic to and from the terminal, every week. This was mostly because goods transporters preferred to transport containers by road. The rail corridor could be put to optimum use only if at least three to five trains plied the route every day, he said.

[Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL) had constructed the dedicated track linking the terminal with Edappally station in record time. The track is underused as most containers are transported in lorries through congested highways.]

This practice has derailed the Railway’s ambitious project to transport 10 million tonnes of cargo in five years’ time from the terminal and Kochi port. The port had lost out to other ports in the South India, Mr. Agrawal said.

To ferry more goods from the terminal and port through trains, railway engineers are engaged in restoring deserted tracks and wharfs of Kochi port.

“We hope to achieve some breakthrough in transporting goods from the adjacent Harbour Terminus railway station,” he said.

Similarly, the initiative to transport vegetables from the State to 21 destinations in the country in coaches tagged ‘Kairali Queen’ lost steam since the Railway needed a large number of farmers rather than a few farmers to use the facility. We have discussed the matter with the State government and steps are on the anvil to transport vegetables to metro cities, with Kochi as the nodal point. Farmers will get much more for their produce if they take the rail route.

Onam special trains

On widespread complaints of inadequate special trains to Kerala during Onam, Mr. Agrawal said more coaches would be added to trains to cater to the festival rush. The Railways have announced two special trains: Kottayam-Nagercoil-Mangalore Junction Express and Yeshwantpur-Kochuveli Express.

He said steps were being taken to strengthen coach-maintenance depots in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. “A depot is being developed in Kochuveli.”

He said a master plan for the old railway station was ready.

17 airconditioned trains to tackle passenger rush

KOLKATA: Anticipating a huge rush of upper-class passengers during the festival season because of a hike in airfares from October, South Eastern Railway (SER) has decided to run 17 pairs of fully air-conditioned trains with pantry car facilities towards Mumbai and Chennai.

All these trains will run to and from Santragachi between October 5 and December 2.

Oil companies hiked Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices by 7% earlier this month, resulting in a major increase in operational expenses for airline companies. As it is, ATF price is higher in Kolkata when compared with Mumbai and Delhi. Before the price hike, ATF cost nearly Rs 85,645 per kilolitre in Kolkata. In Mumbai, the cost was nearly Rs 77,632 per kilolitre while in Delhi ATF costs Rs 75,031 per kilolitre. After the price hike, ATF cost in Kolkata has gone up to over Rs 91,000 per kilolitre.

The period between July and September is considered a lean one by airline firms and they are forced to sell tickets at discounted rates. However, there is a huge rush from October onward and officials said that a fare hike of 25-30% can be expected after September.

"To clear the extra rush of passengers, we have decided to run nine pairs of Santragachi-Chennai weekly AC superfast specials. These trains will leave Santragachi every Saturday at 7pm and reach Chennai at 10.45pm on Sunday. On its return journey, the train will leave Chennai at 7.50am on Monday and reach Santragachi at 10.25am on Tuesday. These trains will have 15 coaches," said Soumitra Majumdar, CPRO, SER.

Seven of these will be AC-III tier ones and four will be AC-II tier. They will also have a first-class AC coach each. Every train will also have a pantry car for the benefit of passengers. The trains will have stoppages at Kharagpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Road, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Samalkot, Rajahmundry, Vijaywada, Ongole, Nellore and Gudur," said Soumitra Majumdar, CPRO, SER.
 The eight pairs of Santragachi-Mumbai (Lokmanya Tilak Terminus) weekly superfast AC special trains will leave Santragachi at 6.05am on Wednesdays and reach Mumbai at 1.35pm on Thursdays. On their return journeys, the trains will start from Mumbai at 12.45am on Fridays and reach Santragachi at 8am on Saturdays.

These trains will have the same compositions as the Chennai specials and will stop at Kharagpur, Tatanagar, Chakradharpur, Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Bilaspur, Raipur, Durg, Gondia, Nagpur, Wardha, Badnera, Akola, Bhusawal, Manmad, Nasik, Igatpuri and Kalyan.

"We expect these trains to be very popular as they will stop at important destinations. These trains are in addition to the 73 pairs of Puja special trains that we had already announced," Majumdar added.

Rajdhani Express to stop at Sabarmati

AHMEDABAD: From next week onwards, Ahmedabad-New Delhi Swarna Jayanti Rajdhani Express will take a two-minute halt at Sabarmati railway station. After constant efforts from Kirit Solanki, MP from Ahmedabad (West), the railways issued a notification to add Sabarmati as a stoppage in the route of Rajdhani Express from September 20, train no. 12957 Ahmedabad-New Delhi and train no. 12958 New Delhi-Ahmedabad Rajdhani Express, both will take a two minute stop at Sabarmati.

"The population of Ahmedabad has gone beyond 65 lakh and most of the travellers like to get down at Sabarmati railway station as it is near to the western part of the city,"said Solanki. "The Sabarmati station is also near 132 feet Ring Road and closer to the proposed metro station. Many travellers from Ashram Express, another popular train to New Delhi, get down at Sabarmati only," added Solanki.

Train no. 12957 Swarn Jayanti Rajdhani Express departs from Ahmedabad daily at 5.45pm and reaches New Delhi the next day at 7.30am and train no. 12958 leaves New Delhi at 7.55pm and arrives in Ahmedabad at 9.35am. The train halts at Mehsana, Palanpur, Abu road, Ajmer, Jaipur, Gurgaon and Delhi cantonment railway stations.
Source..times of india





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