Dec 9, 2013

'Stark' difference in rail service in Wales and Scotland

Rail station worker

Train services in Wales are lagging behind others in the UK and could be improved by devolving responsibility, says a report.

The study for the Campaign for Better Transport shows services are used less and have lower passenger satisfaction.

The Welsh government said it cannot comment on research it has not seen.

It comes as details of a £24m upgrade in rail stations at Rhyl, Aberystwyth, Pontypridd, Port Talbot Parkway and Ystrad Mynach is revealed.

The comparison between Scotland and Wales is stark, with devolved management of services in Scotland delivering significantly better results than the equivalent in Wales”Matt LoveringCredo director

Stephen Joseph, the chief executive of the transport charity said the devolved Scottish rail service faired better than the one in Wales which is managed by Whitehall.

"There is definitely room for improvement and a case for the Welsh government to make the case for much more control over the Welsh railway... and managing it much more itself," he told BBC Radio Wales.

Earlier this year it emerged the Department for Transport has been in discussion with the Welsh government to assess the feasibility of devolving responsibilities for the rail franchise held until 2018 by Arriva Trains Wales.

The report for the Campaign for Better Transport said in Wales, "rail has not established itself as a leading mode of travel", adding that along with the north east and the east of England the nation had the "greatest opportunities to improve rail services".

The research compares regional rail performance across investment, growth and passenger satisfaction.

Meanwhile, more details of investment in the five Welsh rail stations, including £17m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), are being revealed by Ms Hart.

'Pleasant experience'

The money will be used to improve customer facilities, access, capacity and park and ride spaces.

The report found networks in London, the north west and the west Midlands performed better while Wales, the north east and the east of England were at the other end of the scale.

Consultants Credo looked at areas like how many people used services, their quality, and how accessible they were.

Credo director Matt Lovering said: "The comparison between Scotland and Wales is stark, with devolved management of services in Scotland delivering significantly better results than the equivalent in Wales."
Trains are a vital service for many people to access jobs and services”Edwina HartTransport Minister

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, which speaks for the industry, said: "While there is always room for improvement, rail passengers are travelling on services that are unrecognisably better when compared to 15 years ago.

"Passenger satisfaction is at a near record high with 500 million more journeys each year being rated 'good' or 'satisfactory' according to the independent passenger watchdog."

Speaking about the fresh investment in the five Welsh stations, Ms Hart said: "Trains are a vital service for many people to access jobs and services.

"We want to make our rail stations accessible to all and ensure a pleasant experience for passengers.

"Provision of extra park and ride spaces is an important part of our strategy to reduce reliance on the car for people to get to work or go shopping."

The Welsh government is contributing £5.1m with £700,000 from Network Rail, and £400,000 from Arriva Trains Wales.

Neath Port Talbot council is paying £500,000 towards the Port Talbot Parkway scheme with steel for the project donated by Tata.

Source - BBC

Indonesia commuter train in deadly collision

A commuter train has collided with a vehicle in Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, causing parts of the train to burst into flames.

The incident happened in south Jakarta. The vehicle, said to be a truck, was carrying liquefied gas canisters, reports say.

At least four people were killed in the crash, including someone working for the train company, officials said.

Pictures from the scene showed black smoke billowing from the crash site.

The collision happened at 11:21 local time (04:21 GMT) at a train crossing in Bintaro Permai, police say.

At least two people have been found dead inside a train carriage, police told the BBC.

The number of injured remain unknown, as rescue efforts are underway.

"Other than the driver, we have not yet identified the victims," Transport Ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan told Agence-France Presse news agency.

The truck is said to be from Pertamina, a state-owned oil and gas company.

Witnesses say the train's first two train carriages caught fire and loud explosions were heard.

Local journalist Pandu Jati, who was aboard one of the train carriages, told the BBC there were a lot of passengers.

He said passengers in his carriage kept on trying to open the doors and the windows until they managed to evacuate from the train.

रेलवे का कुमाऊं में खुला पहला फूड प्लाजा

Haldwani (HDW) हल्द्वानी। काठगोदाम स्टेशन पर रेलवे (आईआरसीटीसी) का पहला फूड प्लाजा खुल गया है। शनिवार को पूजा-अर्चना के बाद यात्रियों को फूड प्लाजा की सुविधा मिलनी शुरू हो गई। इस अवसर पर आईआरसीटीसी मैनेजर रोहित रंजन शाह, फ्रैंचाइजी गौरव श्रीवास्तव मौजूद थे। पत्रकार वार्ता में मैनेजर शाह ने बताया कि यह कुमाऊं का पहला फूड प्लाजा है, जिसे व्यापक सर्वे कर खोला गया है। एक ही जगह पर इंडियन, चाइनीज, मुगलई से कांटीनेंटल से लेकर साउथ इंडियन व्यंजन मिलेंगे। इनके रेट भी तुलनात्मक तौर पर काफी कम रखे गए हैं। रेट लिस्ट पर लिखी ही अंतिम राशि होगी। कोई टैक्स आदि नहीं जोड़ा गया है। क्वालिटी, हाइजिन और बेहतर सर्विस दी जाएगी। श्रीवास्तव कहते हैं कि यहां पर शिकायत/सुझाव की पुस्तिका होगी। इसके अलावा रेलवे का जनता खाना, नाश्ता आदि भी रेलवे बोर्ड के कंट्रोल रेट पर मिलेगा। शाम को वित्त मंत्री इंदिरा हृदयेश, डीसीएम डा.हरीश ने भी पहुंचकर फूड प्लाजा का निरीक्षण किया। इस अवसर पर काठगोदाम रेलवे स्टेशन प्रबंधक सुनील यादव समेत रेलवे अधिकारी मौजूद थे।

Source..Rail News

Pune Division felicitates 12 Patrolmen

Pune Jn. (PUNE): The Pune railway division felicitated 12 patrolmen for exemplary work in detecting rail/weld failure during night patrolling and being alert while protecting the track.

A cash award and a commendation certificate were given to the patrolmen by divisional railway manager Suneet Sharma during a seminar conducted by the administration to discuss issues related to safety during winter. While addressing the seminar, Sharma said that safety of tracks is top priority and there should not be any compromise. He asked the staff to be vigilant to avoid any mishaps.

Presentations were made by officers and supervisors on testing, winter patrolling, welding of rail. The staff of engineering department from various depots of the Pune division participated in the seminar.

Source..Rail News

Metro agency speeds up tree planting mission

KOCHI: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) is drafting a “consultative tree planting plan” and has identified about 10 locations in the city to plant saplings.

The agency, which is drafting the project along with the district tree cutting permit issuing committee, environmentalists and other green agencies, will soon implement the project.

KMRL managing director Elias George said that they have approached various agencies which own roads and parks to grant required sanctions for beginning the planting process. “The aim is to launch tree planting on Sahodharan Ayyappan Road. KMRL hopes to start the work by January,” he said.

The Metro agency has speeded up the drafting process following the statement issued by the tree cutting committee that it would not provide further permits to cut trees unless KMRL implemented a project for caring and nurturing saplings.

KMRL has also taken up the responsibility of fabricating about three lakh tree guards. They will also rope in an agency to ensure that the seedlings are nurtured. “KMRL will sign a tree contract with the agency. Once we complete the bidding process for appointing the agency and obtain the required tree guards, we expect to launch the planting work,” said George.

The total cost required for the project would be ascertained after awarding the contract.

The Metro agency will have to spend at least Rs 750 for each tree guard. Meanwhile, the district tree cutting permit issuing committee member S Sitaraman said that KMRL has given an assurance that they would “provide a substantial amount” of money to carry out tree planting. “Surveys are being done to identify areas and also to spot places where saplings can be planted. The focus will be on planting fruit bearing trees, which have long life and are sustainable,” he said. In the initial stage about 500 saplings will be planted in the available space.

While trees such as jackfruit, mango, jamun, blackboard tree (Paala), pongamia, peltophorum will be planted in places where larger areas are available, tress such as golden shower tree (kanikonna) will be planted along congested and busy roads.

Source..Rail News

NFIR’s Convention: Special Train to Visakhapatnam for flagged off

Vadodara Jn (BRC): The National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR), INTUC is holding its 27th national convention at Vishakhapatnam on December 10 and December 12 which will be attended by 20,000 delegates from 16 zonal railways.

Sixteen special trains will bring the delegates to Vishakhapatnam from various zones.

On Sunday, J G Mahurkar, General Secretary of the Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) and NFIR’s vice president flagged off a special train with delegates from Vadodara railway station.

The national convention will be attended by union minister of railways Mallikarjun Kharge, chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Kiran Kumar Reddy and national president of INTUC Dr Sanjeeva Reddy.

M Raghavaiah, general secretary of NFIR has already raised the issue of merger of 50% DA in pay with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh because the present rate of DA is 90 percent.

The Prime Minister has referred the issue to the Department of Personnel and Training and the finance ministry.

“Because of NFIR and INTUC’s efforts, the central government has already appointed seventh pay commission, which will benefit 36 lakh central government employees. The cadre restructuring of employees has already been announced which will promote 2.5 lakh railway employees but there are certain problems which the railway and finance ministry is not considering for years together, which has resulted into severe resentment in the 14 lakh railway employees,” Mahurkar said, after flagging off the train.

NFIR has demanded grant of interim relief to the employees because the report of the seventh pay commission will be implemented from January 1, 2006. Also, it has demanded to ensure guaranteed pension and family pension to central government and railway employees in lieu of national pension system and removal of national salary calculation ceiling and ensure payment of productivity linked bonus on actual wages.

“Our demands include implementation of agreement for upgradation of 3335 apex level group ‘C’ posts to Group ‘B’ gazetted in railways. Also, we want free medical treatment to the dependent parents of railway employees, revise entry grade pay of loco pilots as well as guards, revise entry grade pay of station master’s category as Rs 4200, allot adequate funds for maintenance of railway quarters and construction of new quarters,” he said.

Mahurkar added that NFIR has taken a serious view of the negative attitude of the government in ignoring the legitimate demands. “It is possible that if negotiated settlement fails, NFIR will take strike ballot to achieve the demands,” he said.

Source..Rail News

RPF cracks down on illegal Ads in trains

Thane: The Railway Protection Force(RPF), Thane have filed 62 cases with regard to the illegal advertisements pasted in train compartments from January to November this year. The RPF have arrested 70 persons responsible for putting up the unauthorised advertisements and slapped them with a fine of Rs 85,000 in the last 11 months.

A RPF source said, of the total fine recovered, Rs.30000 has been given to the railway administration as expenses incurred for removal of posters. “It is a tedious job to track the owners of the advertisements. However, the RPF personnel themselves called up the numbers given in the ads and tracked them down. Stringent action has been taken against those who pasted them. The drive is still on,” added the source.

According to rules laid down by the railway administration, pasting advertisements in train compartments is prohibited, especially on notices like ‘pull chain’ or ‘no smoking’.

Section 166 states that, it is punishable offence to display illegal advertisements and stickers in train. It not only makes railway coaches look unclean but also defiles your image in the minds of the public.

Source..Rail News

Engineering Courses in Metro Rail Technologies makes for a good career prospect

Hyderabad (HYB): In September 2012, Ashish Agarwal joined Rapid MetroRail Gurgaon Ltd (RMGL), the company which runs the Gurgaon metro, as a traffic controller. Earlier, he worked for Delhi Airport Express, the metro line leading from the heart of the capital to Indira Gandhi International Airport, formerly run by Reliance Infrastructure Ltd, but recently taken over by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). Why did Agarwal, a qualified engineer, choose this particular segment to work in? “Earlier, I was in the research and development sector, but I thought the metro a good option as there would be many new lines across India,” he says.

And he was right. When he found the Delhi Airport Express had few passengers and was making losses, he began looking around and found there were plenty of other opportunities. The RMGL suited him best as he belongs to Delhi. “The salary here is the same as at my previous job, but there is job security and the opportunities to learn are also great,” he adds. For instance, RMGL sent Agarwal to China for four weeks of training in operations and maintenance. He now teaches a batch of RMGL employees about what he learnt in China.

Indeed, metro projects are set to boom and offer excellent prospects for engineers. Metro trains are already running in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Gurgaon, while active construction is on in Chennai, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Jaipur and Kochi. “The government has decided it will support the preparation of detailed project reports for metro rail systems in all cities with a population of over two million. This means that in addition to the present lot, another eight to 10 cities will also be eligible to start such projects in the 12th Five Year Plan,” says Sudhir Krishna, Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development. The estimated investment for rail-based mass rapid transit systems in the 12th Plan (2012-17) is Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The plan targets 7,400 km of metro track in the next decade.

Training engineers for the special needs of metro transportation is getting more attention as well. For a long while, the only training available was at DMRC’s own training centre in Delhi. Now, there is a full-fledged institute, the Indian Metro Rail Technology (IMRT), Hyderabad, promoted by Secunderabad-based Balaji Railroad Systems Ltd (BARSYL), a leading railway consulting company for rail education. “Candidates and course participants who pass through IMRT will be employment ready for the industry,” says Sunil Srivastava, Managing Director, BARSYL.

The recently started IMRT held its first short-term course on RAMS – Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety – from November 18 to 23 this year, in association with Lloyd’s Register Rail (Asia) Ltd and the Reliability Engineering Centre of IIT Kharagpur, charging a hefty Rs 1.25 lakh. Organisations such as Bombardier Transportation, Alstom, Nokia Siemens Networks and L&T, among others, registered for it.

“There has been good response from the industry, the metro developers, manufacturing organisations, and railway projects such as DFCC (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd) for our RAMS engineering and similar open programmes we are planning,” says Srivastava. Ruchita Kaka, Lead, Learning and Development, Bombardier, agrees. “This is a rare course, specific to the industry’s requirements. Skilled professionals in RAMS engineering are rare. It’s important for our company,” she says.

IMRT’s flagship one-year postgraduate programme, which will cost Rs 10 lakh, is set to start in July 2014. The waiting list for admission has been growing. Only those who have taken the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) will be eligible to sit for IMRT’s entrance examination. “An IMRT professional can join any private or government metro rail system thereafter,” says Gyan Prakash, Director General, IMRT.

More such institutes are also likely. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has approved a plan to let universities formulate four-year B.Tech courses in Metro Engineering.

More metro networks are indeed a fait accompli. Urban development secretary Krishna notes that another 10 urban centres will become eligible to set up metros after the 12th Plan period. Sanjiv Rai, Managing Director and CEO, Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (Il&FS), which helped to build RMGL, expects 30 to 40 towns to build metro systems. “If that materialises in the next eight to 10 years, there will be more organisations offering training and institutes with metro engineering courses,” he says.
Source..Rail News





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