Nov 7, 2013

Jayalalithaa flags off Chennai metro rail test run

Chennai: Flagging off the test run of the Chennai Metro Rail, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inquisitively watched the four-coach train making a small trip of one km along the test track in Koyambedu on Wednesday.

The test run marked an important milestone in the execution of the Rs.14,600-crore project that is expected to integrate mass rapid transport system in the city.

“The current round of tests will go on for some more weeks. By January, a section of the elevated portion of the corridor connecting Koyambedu with St. Thomas Mount will be taken up for test run,” said a senior official of Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL), a special purpose vehicle with the Union and State governments having equal equity holding.

This elevated stretch forms part of the corridor -2 that starts from Chennai Central and terminates at St. Thomas Mount covering 21.96 km.

The 23-km-long corridor – 1 will run from Washermenpet to Chennai Airport – mostly underground.

In three months, the CMRL authorities plan to commission the control room for the Metro Rail system. After that, various clearances including the one from the Research, Designs and Standards Organisation of the Indian Railways have to be obtained. “This will take three to four months. By June or July, the elevated corridor will be thrown open to the public,” the official explains. Each four-coach train can carry 1,276 passengers with 176 seated. As per design, two more coaches can be added.

Flagging off the test run at Koyambedu depot, the Chief Minister, accompanied by Minister concerned P. Thangamani and Chief Secretary Sheela Balakrishnan, surveyed the interior of a four-coach train for about 10 minutes.

She went to the driver’s cabin and spent some time there. To her queries on the progress of the project and features of the rake, CMRL Managing Director K. Rajaraman gave answers.

The Chief Minister took a look at different features of the train such as automatic train protection and operation systems, arrangements for emergency exit and provision for differently-abled and information on stations.

She also switched on a 25-KV (kilo volt) overhead traction system, which would be used to power trains.

Source..Rail News

Sreedharan seeks river sand for metro structures

Kochi: E.Sreedharan, Principal Advisor to Kochi Metro Rail Ltd, has promised that sand mining from the Periyar and the Bharathapuzha rivers for construction activities for the metro project will be eco-friendly.

He allayed fears raised by noted environmentalist Sitaraman against quarrying sand from these two rivers.

In his communication, Sreedharan said that if DMRC is allowed to collect the required sand, it would do so without endangering the hydraulic regime of the two rivers concerned.

He pointed out that good river sand is essential to ensure the life of the metro structures which have to last at least 100 years. One has to make a choice between structural durability and environmental impacts, he said.

It is the indiscriminate and unlawful quarrying resorted to by the sand mafia that is threatening the rivers. No construction activity has come to a standstill in the State for want of sand. This indicated that sand was somehow collected or stolen from the rivers, he said.

The worst attack on the rivers was the dumping of industrial waste and sewage. The damage caused due to the dumping of waste and sewage was more than sand mining. Controlled sand mining is essential for the health of a river, he added.

Source..Rail News

UP looking abroad to fund Metro

Funding would be spread over three financial years viz 20%, 40% and 40% respectively during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16

Lucknow: UP Government is actively pursuing foreign funds for the ambitious, proposed Lucknow Metro rail project. Three state government agencies are to provide seed capital of Rs 350 crore for the project. UP Housing and Development Board, Lucknow Development Authority and UP State Industrial Development Corporation would contribute Rs 200 crore, Rs 100 crore and Rs 50 crore, respectively towards financing the initial works of the project.

This funding would be spread over three financial years — 20 per cent, 40 per cent and 40 per cent would be invested during 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.

“The foreign funding plan is on track. The state is within its right to decide on the funding route it opts for the project,” Madhukar Jetley, adviser to the UP government (externally aided project), told.

Recently, a high-powered committee for the Lucknow Metro project, under chief secretary Jawed Usmani, had decided on free transfer of 150 acres in the Chak Ganjaria farms to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation, to increase the financial internal rate of return to over 8 per cent through commercial use.

Meanwhile, the Detailed Project Report (DPR) had already been forwarded to the Centre for approval. The DPR needs to be examined and approved by various central government agencies before the project starts to take shape.

“We are heading fast towards the conclusion of the regulatory approvals for the Metro rail project. We are confident that the work would start soon,” Jetley said.

Lucknow has a population of over four million. There has been tremendous horizontal growth in the state capital, with rapid development of suburbs. In this scenario, a modern, urban rapid rail transit system is needed in the city, to facilitate faster commuting and to decongest ever-increasing road traffic.

The cabinet approved the development of the first phase of the project, estimated to cost Rs 8,000 crore. The north-south corridor would span 24 km, connecting Lucknow airport to Munshi Pulia and traversing the busiest intersections.


Lucknow has a population of over four million. There has been tremendous horizontal growth in the state capital, with rapid development of suburbs.
A modern, urban rapid rail transit system is needed in the city, to facilitate faster commuting and to decongest ever-increasing road traffic.

Source..Rail News

Two Officers suspended for parking the Railway Minister’s Saloon away from Red Carpet

Lucknow: Divisional Railway authorities of Lucknow suspended two Railway Officers on Tuesday evening for failing to place Railways Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s Inspection Saloon precisely in front of the red carpet that had been laid out for him at Lucknow station at the VIP entry gate, and the decision was revoked within 12 hours due to vociferous protest from the officers’ federation. Ironically, suspension and revocation both were carried out through verbal orders!

A Senior Divisional Mechanical Engineer (Sr.DME) and a Coach Depot Officer (CDO) of Lucknow Division who were responsible to look after the arrival, berthing and proper maintenance of the Railway Minister’s Special during were suspended by the divisional authorities for not parking the Railway Minister’s Inspection Special in front of the VIP gate at Lucknow station due to which the minister had to walk a little.

Kharge was travelling from Lucknow to Kanpur for an official function in the Inspection Carriage, a special saloon meant for the minister. The incident assumes importance as it involves Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge’s Inspection Carriage and importantly, one among the two officers who were suspended was awarded by Railway Minister for his outstanding work a few months ago!

The punitive orders were revoked on Wednesday morning, approximately 14 hours after they were issued. Both the orders were issued on behalf of the Lucknow Divisional Railway Manager Jagdeep Rai.

Tuesday’s ‘faux pas’ had caused the minister to walk a few extra steps to board the saloon at Lucknow station, while journeying to Varanasi for a visit at the Diesel Locomotive Works facility.

“Such action in a democratic country reminds us of the British Raj, or worse, a totalitarian state. The unprecedented orders were issued in gross abuse of powers and in an unauthorised manner,” the honorary General Secretary of Federation of Railway Officers’ Association said in a letter to Chairman Railway Board (CRB) Arunendra Kumar on Wednesday. FROA has sought a meeting with Kharge over the issue.

Procedures require that a suspension order can be issued in writing to an officer after approval has been obtained from the CRB.

In regard to the suspension and revocation drama involving the two officers – Swapnil Garg and AK Mall – certain rules were violated, while the CRB had apparently not been kept in the loop.

“I have no information at present. The General Manager of the Northern Railways VK Gupta should have the details,” Kumar told.

Source..Rail News

Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor may see funding issue

The eastern arm (Ludhiana to Dankuni) of the Indian Railways’ ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridor project is expected to face funding hurdles.

Of the 1,839-km eastern corridor, 1,130 km is funded by the World Bank. The funding is capped at $2.725 billion (about Rs 16,350 crore, at current exchange rates).

For construction and civil works related to the freight corridor, costs stand at about Rs 10/km. Senior officials of the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation (DFCC) said following the tranche for the second phase, the third and last phase would have inadequate funds. “We might have to explore the option of market borrowing. We will just have about $0.65 billion left for the third phase,” said a senior official. The amount would be sufficient to complete the civil works; additional funds would be required for signalling and electrification.

In the eastern, corridor the remaining stretch is to be completed through funding by the Ministry of Railways and the public-private partnership (PPP) route. While the ministry is expected to provide about Rs 4,000 crore for the Mughalsarai-Son Nagar stretch, the Son Nagar-Dankuni section is to be funded through the PPP route.

Ministry sources said the financial model or the revenue structure hadn’t been decided and, therefore, no bids had been invited for the PPP section. Though the deadline to complete the entire eastern corridor is 2018, it is unlikely the project would be completed by then. If Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation has to adhere to the deadline, it has to award all the projects for civil works by the end of 2014. Each phase takes about four years for completion.

“We expect to award contracts of about Rs 14,000 crore by the end of this year for the remaining section of phase-I on the western corridor and phase-II of the eastern corridor,” said Rakesh Gupta, managing director, Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation.

So far, two contracts have been awarded — one each for the eastern and western corridors. On the eastern corridor, a 343-km stretch from Ludhiana to Mughalsarai was awarded to Tata-Aldesa. The civil contract is worth Rs 3,300 crore and the section accounts for 18.5 per cent of the entire eastern corridor.

In the western corridor, the first contract awarded accounts for 43 per cent of the entire corridor. This corridor is completely funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency. The first contract was awarded to L&T and Sojitz for a 640-Km stretch between Rewari and Vadodara. With the next contract award, construction on 62 per cent of the corridor would be underway.

DFCC has already secured environment clearances.

And, about 93 per cent of the entire land has been acquired. Going ahead, this could make the PPP route smoother and keep other works insulated from delays. The delay being seen in the eastern corridor could prove to be a costly affair for Indian Railways, as the Ludhiana-Khurja section is the starting point of the eastern corridor.

According to Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation’s projections, this corridor is expected to account for the movement of about 54 million tonnes of powerhouse coal each year by 2017. Also, the corridor is crucial for providing coal from the eastern coal fields to power plants in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and parts of Rajasthan.

The delays would also affect the railways’ ambitious plan to increase the speed of passenger trains to up to 200 km/hour.

Source..Rail News

IRCTC e-Shopping expands rapidly, adds Luggage and Books categories

New Delhi: IRCTC Shopping and SOTPL (which runs announced the launch of two new categories, luggage and books on the IRCTC Shopping Portal – The addition has been made after successfully running the shopping portal of last three months. These categories have been launched based on customer feedback and demand.

The IRCTC shopping page is powered by They manage the customer journey end-to-end from the User Interface to product sourcing to final fulfilment of the order to the customers.

Both luggage and books complement the Travel category and integral part of every user’s travel pack. With this launch travellers can now easily shop for luggage and books while making their travel bookings on From the launch itself customers will have access to over 20,000 book titles and over 150 luggage items to choose from.

This IRCTC Shopping Portal is helping expand the reach of product ecommerce to cities beyond the top metros and enabling Indians from even tier 4 and 5 cities to shop online. Since its inception the portal has received a strong and positive response and the introduction of these new categories will only increase customer appeal.

The Books category offers over 20,000 books from various categories ranging from fiction, sci-fi, non-fiction, mystery, literature, bestsellers, etc to name a few. The Luggage section offers an extensive range of more than 150 products to choose from heavy to light travelling, with major brands like Samsonite, Skybags, VIP, American Tourister, etc.

Nikhil Rungta, Chief Business Officer,, said, “We are delighted to announce the introduction of two new categories: luggage and books to the existing IRCTC shopping site. Our association with IRCTC was a strategic move in order to expand our reach to the Real India – those living in tier 4 and 5 cities. Within a short span of time we have received an overwhelming response from our customers and based on their feedback, we have introduced these categories. “

Sunil Kumar, JGM IT, IRCTC, said, “We are happy announce the launch of two new categories on IRCTC Shop – Luggage and Books. They have great synergy with travel and we feel our customers will find them very useful. We have had a very good response to our shopping site till now and feel our association with Shop online trading Private Limited, Brand name Yebhi, working really well owing to their deep understanding of e-commerce and consumer behavior while they shop online.”
Source..Rail News





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