Oct 27, 2013

At this pace, track doubling will take another 20 years, warns official

Morsel of fund in railway budgets for completing track doubling in the Ernakulam-Kollam stretch has thrown works off the track.

“We need at least Rs 300 crore each year for the next three years to complete track doubling through Kottayam and Alappuzha. Only Rs 70 crore was allotted in the 2013-’14 budget, though the demand was for Rs 250 crore,” a senior official in the railway’s construction wing said.

He was doubtful of meeting the revised track doubling deadline of 2017. “By the present pace, it will take another 20 years for track doubling. The paltry fund allocation has already increased the cost of land acquisition and doubling to Rs 1,100 crore,” he said.

Slowing trains

“MPs from the State — eight of whom are Ministers in the Union Cabinet — must jointly demand the State’s rightful share for doubling works since express and other trains that pass through Kerala are much slower than those in other States,” he said. The inordinate delay in doubling has also held up introduction of new trains due to non-availability of free tracks. For example, officials said Rs 100 crore was required exclusively for land acquisition in Kurupunthara-Chingavanom stretch. But the railways had set apart only Rs 20 crore in the last budget. At present, most hassles for executing doubling works to Kottayam, except the tunnel near Kottayam, have been overcome. In Alappuzha, a few bridges have to be built. “Sufficient and timely handing over of funds is crucial for works to gather pace,” sources said.

In Ernakulam district, doubling the Mulanthuruthy-Piravom track is expected to be over by January.

Land acquisition

Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of Southern Railway Dani Thomas said land acquisition hassles were almost over in both the Kottayam and Alappuzha routes. “Land owners are getting market rate fixed by district-level purchase committees as compensation. There is also a relief and rehabilitation package.”

Mr Thomas spoke of how problems associated with sourcing and transporting mud (red earth) for track doubling persist despite the State government convening three meetings.

We need at least Rs 300 crore each year for the next three years to complete track doubling through Kottayam and Alappuzha. Only Rs 70 crore was allotted in the 2013-’14 budget, though the demand was for Rs 250 crore.

Senior Official

Railway construction wing

“We need at least Rs 300 crore each year for the next three years to complete track doubling through Kottayam and Alappuzha. Only Rs 70 crore was allotted in the 2013-’14 budget, though the demand was for Rs 250 crore,” a senior official in the railway’s construction wing said.

He was doubtful of meeting the revised track doubling deadline of 2017.
Source..The Hindu

Dynamic fares for Delhi-Mumbai route mooted

NEW DELHI: Railways is mulling to run special trains with costlier tickets in a bid to tide over the losses in passenger business and also to cater to the growing demand for confirmed tickets. 

Dubbed as "dynamic pricing", the proposal entails offering tickets at an increased rate for some special trains in AC-2 and AC-3 classes with catering facility on certain busy routes like Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata sectors. 

The issue of dynamic fares prevalent in air fares was discussed by senior railway officials at the Railway Board and it was suggested to experiment it in the Delhi-Mumbai sector on a pilot basis, sources in Railways said. 

According to the proposal, tickets at higher rates should be made available at a separate portal of IRCTC ticketing website and the special train with Rajdhani like facility should be launched before Christmas to encash the festive rush. 

At present, there are two Rajdhani trains for Mumbai and if the dynamic fare proposal gets the nod then it will be the third Rajdhani for all practical purpose. 

"It (dynamic pricing) is just a proposal as we are exploring various options available for increasing the earnings and also to ensure seats for growing number of travelling passengers in some high demand routes," Railway Board Member (Traffic) DP Pandey told PTI. 

Dynamic pricing is already being applied in freight business. 

Pandey further said, "We just had first round of meeting discussing various options... the dynamic pricing of ticket is one option. But nothing has been finalised yet as it requires more discussion before shaping up the policy." 

Currently, the loss in passenger sector is touching Rs 26,000 crore in a year and it is being cross-subsidised from freight earnings.
Source..economic times

IRCTC announces new tour packages

Breaking away from the rail-bound tours, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has announced two more customised tours for Chennaities to Srinagar, Coorg and Wayanad.

Following the successful launch of its customised air-travel packages to Goa, Munnar and Andaman and Nicobar Islands, IRCTC is planning to increase its frequencies and add new destinations through low-cost airlines, says an official.

An official release said the Srinagar package starts on November 23 and ends on November 28 and Coorg-Wayanad tour is for four nights and five days, starting from December 28. More details can be had from visiting www.railtourismindia.com or calling 98409 02917 or 98409 02919. – Special Correspondent
Source..the hindu

Nagpur rail division makes electric locomotives as mini-power house

BETUL (MP): Novel initiatives taken by the Nagpur railway division have helped in converting its electric locomotives to work as mini power house by generating electricity. 

"The new generation of 3-phase locomotives which are in use in Nagpur division at present and working on the state-of-the-art technology not only consumes much less electrical energy in operation but also generates electricity while going on the down gradient and braking," Divisional Railway Manager (Nagpur) Brijesh Dixit told PTI today. 

"This electricity is fed back to the overhead wires and thus these locomotives also work as mini power house as there are areas where these locos generate more electricity than what they consume," Dixit said. 

"By encouraging staff to go for conservation of energy the division has saved 1.31 crore units of electric traction energy worth Rs 9.64 crore in just four months," he said. 

As part of the drive to control and conserve energy consumption and to thereby control the expenditure of the same, a special drive involving loco pilots, assistant loco pilots, station manager and other concerned staff of the division was launched, Dixit said. 

"A pocket size book titled 'Urja Sanrankshan Mantra' (energy conservation mantras) containing 'Do's and Dont's' for various categories of staff was issued in May 2013 and the staff was counselled for the steps they have to take during their duty to ensure conservation of energy while hauling the trains by electric locomotives," he said. 

To record data of consumption and conservation, Green Cards have been issued to the loco pilots. 

"Practices like shutting engine down the loco while the trains wait for signal for longer time, coasting while going down the gradient, passing of trains through stations at maximum permissible speed and signals to be given in time, among others have been focused for ensuring maximum energy conservation," Dixit said. 

As part of the drive, 49 drivers and other staff have been awarded with star ratings with cash and merit certificates, he said. 

"Optimum and skillful utilisation of these locos to the maximum advantage of Indian Railways is a challenge which Nagpur Division is meeting fully," he said. 

The division had consumed 56 crore units of electrical energy last year for hauling of trains, incurring an expenditure of Rs 414 crore, Dixit added.
Source..economic times

Kochi Metro work on track, says CM

The HinduChief Minister Oommen Chandy and DMRC Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan visit the Ernakulam North overbridge, which is being widened as part of Kochi Metro’s preparatory works. Photo: Vipin Chandran

‘Retendering will not affect commissioning of monorail projects’

Initial hiccups not withstanding, Kochi Metro would be commissioned as scheduled by June 2016, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Saturday.

Talking to reporters after visiting the Metro’s work sites in the city and a casting yard at HMT, Kalamassery, he said the focus was on time-bound completion of the project. Back in June at the launch of the Metro’s works, Mr. Chandy had given an assurance that Metro trains would ply on the 25-km-long Aluva-Pettah corridor within three years. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has set December 2015 as the deadline to conduct trial run of trains on the Aluva-Palarivattom stretch.

All pending issues (such as the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) delay in relocating pipelines from the Metro’s SA Road alignment and the Public Works Department (PWD) delay in widening Vytilla-Pettah Road) will be sorted out at the upcoming review meeting here on Thursday, Mr. Chandy said. “The government is fully satisfied with Metro works that are under way.”


He said the government had an open mind on Metro extensions proposed to Tripunithura, Kakkanad, international airport and west Kochi. “The present priority was to commission the Metro’s phase one (which, according to metro stakeholders, would include the Tripunithura extension),” he said.

Asked whether the retendering of the Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode monorail projects would in any way delay their commissioning, Mr. Chandy said everything would be done to meet the deadline. In the wake of only one firm responding to a global tender, it was decided a few days ago to float once again tenders for the two projects to select the exclusive developer-contractor.

Referring to the pace of Kochi Metro’s ongoing civil works, DMRC Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan said rain delayed piling-related works, including those on M.G. Road, by 45 days. This delay would be made up once the works attained pace after the rains subsided. On the KWA’s delay in relocating pipelines from S.A. Road and the Revenue Department’s delay in acquiring land to widen the Vytilla-Pettah Road, Mr. Sreedharan said the Metro contractor of the Ernakulam South-Pettah reach had been asked to commence civil works in areas where such problems did not exist. (It had been reported that Era Constructions would commence piling in a 700-metre reach east of Vytilla Mobility Hub, which runs parallel to Kaniampuzha River). He added that tenders would be invited soon for laying tracks over the Metro viaduct.

On the two bridges and a flyover proposed at Edapally, Mr. Sreedharan said the DMRC would begin piling in a week’s time. Some more land had to be acquired on the flyover’s Palarivattom side.

Earlier, the Chief Minister lauded District Collector Sheikh Pareeth and KMRL’s managing director Elias George for their role in speeding up land acquisition for the metro. About widening the South overbridge, he said this was not as urgent as widening of North overbridge. But the proposal was under the government’s consideration. Activists of the DYFI and the CPI(M) waved black flags at the Chief Minister at three places. The police dispersed the activists at Edappally, Kalamassery, and Kakkanad.
Source..the hindu.

Early fog forces Northern Railway to cancel 30 trains in December

NEW DELHI: The untimely fog and haze in the north has forced Northern Railway to take urgent steps to deal with the situation. And, strange as it may seem, one of these is to cancel several trains in advance. 

Fog and haze, according to meteorologists, have come much earlier than expected. Northern Railway officials say that because of this reason six trains have already been cancelled and some were running late. 

Thirty trains in the month of December have been cancelled till further notice. Of these, the route of four has been changed. Some of these go to big railway stations like Howrah inWest Bengal, Sitamarhi in Bihar, Varanasi and Agra in Uttar Pradesh, Ajmer in Rajasthan and Ludhiana and Jalandhar in Punjab. Usually, seats on these trains are booked as soon as these are made available two months in advance. 

The officials say the cancellations will help passengers from being inconvenienced during winter when visibility drops to just a few metres. "We are witnessing the impact of fog and haze in Delhi in October. If the fog becomes more dense in December, we will have to cancel these trains and cause last-minute inconvenience to passengers. We will runs these trains only if the fog lifts," said a Northern Railway spokesperson. 

The spokesperson added that an advance notice of three days, before the train is scheduled to run, will be given to passengers to book their tickets. This information will be made available through advertisements and news bulletins. 

The general manager, Northern Railway, VK Gupta, is himself monitoring the preparations and is keen to avoid bad publicity that the railway gets in winter owing to the large number of cancellations, diversions and delays.
Source..economic times

Delhi Metro gets Chinese-made rail cars

CSR is the world's largest manufacturer of electric locomotives and is China's leading bullet-train maker.

BEIJING: A Chinese train manufacturing firm today said it has sold 21 rail compartments to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). 

CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive, a subsidiary of major Chinese train manufacturer CSR Corporation, has supplied 21 cars to Delhi's metro rail system, the company said. 

The sale marked the company's second order from India as it had exported 15 metro cars to the Delhi Metro in 2010, state-run Xinhua news agency reported today. 

The locomotive company said the trains would be more energy-efficient and be an industry model in India, which is affected by power shortages. 

CSR is the world's largest manufacturer of electric locomotives and is China's leading bullet-train maker.
Source..economic times





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