Oct 14, 2013

Train services between Howrah, Puri restored

PTIPassengers of different trains stranded at Bhubaneswar railway station on Saturday as all trains are cancelled due to cyclone Phailin.

With cyclone Phailin losing its intensity, the East Coast Railway on Sunday restored train services between Howrah and Puri.

However, services between Khurda Road station and Palsa remain suspended as the restoration work on the track is still continuing, an East Coast Railway spokesperson said.

The services were restored between Howarh and Puri after necessary repair of overhead equipment, checking of signalling system and removal of uprooted trees and debris from the railway tracks.

Railways had on Saturday cancelled all trains between certain sections as a precautionary measure due to the cyclone.

Railway signal, high-tension towers, platforms damaged in Odisha

With uprooted high tension towers and signals, damaged platforms and tracks blocked by trees due to high-velocity winds of Cyclone Phailin in Odisha, East Coast Railways on Sunday said no trains were moving in Bhadrak-Khurda Road-Palasa-Vizianagaram sections.

While the up line signal of Ichhapuram Station was uprooted, the overbridge and platform shelter at Brahmapur, Ganjam, Somepeta, Balugaon, Mancheswar and Khurda Road stations were either blown away or damaged, ECor Railway said in a press release.

With the wind speed of the cyclone gradually reducing, engineering, traction distribution and signalling and telecommunication staff have been kept in readiness to visit the affected spots by tower wagon and diesel light engines.

The overhead equipment at Khurda Road-Palasa was not functioning and an attempt to charge it had failed, the release said.

The overhead equipment at Cuttack-Paradip and Barang-Khurda Road sections were also not functioning and tower wagons from Bhadrak and Jajpur-Keonjhar Road had already moved out to the sections, the release said.

“Details of sectional damages can be assessed only after the relief team reports back,” it said.

High tension towers were uprooted at many locations in Khurda Road-Brahmapur section.

A large number of uprooted trees were lying on the track and overhead equipment, the release said.

The running of major trains between Kolkata and Chennai passing through Odisha would be affected due to these developments, ECoR sources said.

SCR activates emergency control rooms

The South Central Railway (SCR) has activated emergency control rooms at its headquarters here and in Vijayawada, besides patrolling of railway tracks, among other measures, to deal with the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm ‘Phailin’.

The emergency cells are being manned 24X7 by senior officials from various departments to closely monitor the situation and immediately initiate necessary action, SCR said in a release here on Sunday.

Special patrolling of railway tracks is being undertaken on Vijayawada division, especially covering the entire section between Vijayawada and Duvvada near Visakhapatnam, it said.

Special engineering trains carrying material including boulders, quarry dust have been kept ready at four locations at Vijayawada, Bitragunta, Rajahmundry and Vatlur under the Vijayawada division for relief operation in case of need.

Supervisors have been deputed to travel in locomotives of the trains running on Vijayawada-Visakhapatnam section to keep a watch alongside the railway tracks, particularly with regard to water level among others, the release said.

Helpline numbers have been activated at 19 railway stations covering Vijayawada, Guntur and Secunderabad Divisions to ensure flow of information to passengers on train services, the release added.

Several trains have been diverted on the SCR in view of the cyclone.
Source..the hindu

IRCTC makes a comeback with rail tourism, non-railway catering business

After catering in Indian Railways’ trains was taken away from IRCTC in 2010 after, the profits fell from Rs 61 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 49 crore in the next year, while income fell to Rs 111 crore. A major chunk of IRCTC’s current revenues still comes from railway catering at 100 food plazas across the country. It has also partnered with Comesum, a multi-cuisine food chain, to run the joints to hold down manpower costs. Rail tourism and non-railway catering (NRC) have helped Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to increase its profit by 20 per cent and add Rs 166 crore to its FY13 income. This is a comeback for IRCTC after it lost Rs 300 crore business of railway catering in 2010.

IRCTC, the mini ratna public sector undertaking of Indian Railways, has seen an increase of 30 per cent in its FY13 income, compared to the previous year. The income stood at Rs 720 crore for 2012-13 compared to Rs 554 crore in FY12. The profits before tax stood at Rs 92 crore for 2012-13 compared to Rs 76 crore in the year before.

“Many thought we will not be able to survive without the railway catering business as the business on the platter was lost,” says Rakesh Tandon, managing director of IRCTC.

Rail tourism has been the key bailout ticket for IRCTC, whose revenue share has increased six times. “We have bulk agreements with the governments of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, under which we run pilgrim special trains for them,” Tandon adds.

IRCTC has leased five rakes comprising 18 coaches each from Indian Railways for special trains on an annual contract basis. It runs about 100 such trains. Rail tourism generated Rs 45 crore in 2010; the revenue stands at a Rs 190 crore in 2013. This also includes the luxury tourist trains.

For non-railway catering, IRCTC currently runs about 100 kitchens at various ministries, Bhilai Steel Plant, high courts and Delhi University. It also provides food to 12 multinational corporations in Noida and Greater Noida. NRC has added Rs 34 crore to the total income of IRCTC.

IRCTC is likely to see major business expansion in the coming years with new e-ticketing website and 10 new plants coming up for Rail Neer. The other sectors of expansion would be air-ticketing and e-commerce.

“Public sector undertakings of railways have been performers all through. The story of IRCTC is very positive. But they have to leverage their engagement with the private sector to further growth”, said Abhaya Agarwal, partner (infrastructure and public-private partnership) at Ernst and Young.

Experts also claim that in the current economic slowdown, it is the engagement with the public sector that has helped IRCTC and made the comeback slightly easier as the private sector currently suffers in the economic slowdown.

The net worth of IRCTC has increased from Rs 247 crore in FY12 to Rs 292 crore in FY13. It is expected to pay a dividend of Rs 11.77 crore, compared to the Rs 9.71 crore it paid last year

Source - business-standard.





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