Dec 22, 2013

UK weather: National Rail Enquiries warns of disruption with strong winds and heavy rain forecast

National Rail Enquiries has warned there may be delays or cancellations two days before Christmas (Picture: PA)

National Rail Enquiries has warned strong winds and heavy rain may cause disruption to train routes in England, Wales and Scotland on Monday through to late Tuesday morning.

Dozens of routes are expected to be cancelled or delayed, with the chance train operators could run an amended timetable as people try and make their way home for Christmas.

Rail users are urged to check the National Rail Enquiries website for updates before they travel.

The rail service has also suggested those on Twitter should use and check the hashtag #UKstorm for the latest information.

The operators potentially affected by the stormy weather include, Arriva Trains Wales, c2c, Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, East Coast, East Midlands Trains, First Capital Connect, First Great Western, First Hull Trains, First TransPennine Express, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Greater Anglia, Heathrow Connect, Heathrow Express, Island Line, London Midland, London Overground, Merseyrail, Northern Rail, ScotRail, South West Trains, Southeastern, Southern, Stansted Express and Virgin Trains.Chiltern Railways set to run slower service due to expected poor weather condition’s(Picture: File)

Chiltern Railways says it has been advised to operate its services between London and Birmingham at half speed tomorrow because of expected high winds and a number of train operators have said they are accepting tickets booked for tomorrow on today’s trains in advance of poor weather conditions.

Winds of 60mph are expected almost everywhere on Monday afternoon, according to the Met Office, with some areas being battered by 80mph gusts later in the day. Flood warnings have also been issued to parts of North East and South West England.

Rail fares for commuters to rise by up to 5%

Commuters struggling with cost of living face fare rises of up to 5 per cent in New Year, train companies to announce
Commuters could see their season tickets rise by as much as £250 Photo: ALAMY

By Nick Collins, Transport Correspondent

10:00PM GMT 21 Dec 2013

Commuters will face above-inflation rises in rail fares of up to £250 for a season ticket despite a government cap on price increases, train companies will on Monday.

Train fares which are controlled by the Government, including season tickets and intercity services, will rise by up to 5.1 per cent from Jan 2. Other fares which are set by the train companies, such as most “any time” tickets, will rise by significantly more.

Monday’s announcement will provoke a political row, with Labour accusing the Government of failing to tackle the “cost of living crisis”. Ministers, meanwhile, insist they have done more for commuters than the previous government.

In his Autumn Statement George Osborne, the Chancellor, barred train companies from raising average rail fares by more than inflation, which is running at 3.1 per cent.

However, rail companies will be able to raise some fares by up to 2 percentage points above inflation, or a maximum of 5.1 per cent, provided smaller increases on other routes bring the average price down. The freedom of train companies to raise selected fares – known as “flex” – could see the price of a season ticket from Southampton to London rise by £258, from £5,068 to £5,326.

Labour is calling for “flex” to be scrapped. Mary Creagh, the shadow transport secretary, said: “Rail fares have risen 20 per cent under this Government. David Cameron is doing nothing to tackle the cost of living crisis. Labour would remove the flex and put a tough cap on rail fares.” Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said average fares will be “frozen in real terms”. “We understand the concerns of rail passengers and realise the impact rail fares can have on household budgets,” he said.

“That is why, for the first time in a decade – most of which was spent under Labour rule – the average regulated fare will be frozen in real terms. Meanwhile we are investing record amounts in new track and trains, as well as better stations.”

Although the rail industry was privatised in the 1990s, it still attracts up to £6billion in government subsidies every year. But this has not led to a reduction in fares, which are linked to the rate of inflation.

Stephen Joseph, from the Campaign for Better Transport, said that the fare rises have the potential to be “toxic” for political parties.

Many of the areas where people will be paying more are Tory marginal seats such as Stevenage, Thurrock and Hendon, where Ukip is expected to make significant gains, he said, adding: “We are already seeing people being priced off the railways, which is very sad. Railways should be affordable to people.”

The campaign wants the Government to use a different measure of inflation as a basis for rail fare rises, the consumer price index, which is running at a lower level and would save commuters hundreds of pounds.

A spokesman for the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train companies, said: “We strongly supported the Chancellor’s announcement earlier this month that season tickets would rise on average in line with inflation.”

Monday’s announcement of rail fare rises was delayed for three weeks by the cap announced in the Autumn Statement.

New northside light rail line opens with free rides

Photo By Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle

A group of Tae Kwon Do students from Apollos Sun Kan Tae Kwon Do Academy cross in front of a Metro light rail train at the Fulton/North Central Station Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013, in Houston. The $756 million, 5.3 mile extension of the current Red Line opened Saturday.
Weekend commuters, rail supporters and those with a little time to kill crowded Saturday onto trains to check out Houston's first new light rail line in a decade.

Despite the day's rain, passengers packed the first trains to make the trip as part of regularly scheduled service between the University of Houston Downtown and Northline Commons, north of Loop 610.

"It's great. I'm glad they finally opened," said Anthony Smith, who said he'll probably ride the new train daily.

Metropolitan Transit Authority spent four years and $756 million building the line, one of three new light rail lines set to open in the next 12 months. Officials celebrated the opening Saturday with concerts and activities in Moody Park, one of eight new stops on the rail line.

Others weren't committed to riding regularly, but welcomed the train to the Northside, where residents and officials hope it will invigorate the neighborhood.

"I would ride it to a big event downtown, rather than parking," Martin Lopez said as he escorted his children along the line, just to check it out.

Many people who hopped aboard just wanted to see what all the fuss was about, or to check out a new view of their familiar neighborhood. Lopez's daughter got a birds-eye view of her school, from the overpass that carries the tracks above a freight rail line north of Loop 610.

Others were looking for a quicker trip, which the train line can provide in some cases.

"It has its ups and downs," Devotia Poe said. "I can't just hop off where the bus would let me off, so in that case it is worse for me."

Even so, Poe said she expects travelers to adjust. In the neighborhood, some families might share a car or have no car at all, and the train improves their travel options.

With the 5.3-mile extension of the existing Main Street Line, the new section, dubbed the Red Line, stretches from Northline Commons to the Fannin South Transit Center, south of Loop 610 and Reliant Park.

Northside residents who work in the Texas Medical Center, in particular, likely will use the train, Poe predicted. Those needing to get to shopping and area services like clinics will also find it helpful, she said.

Saturday's rail line opening wasn't the only major transportation change in the region. A major 15.2-mile segment of the Grand Parkway between Interstate 10 and U.S. 290 also opened.

Much like the rail line, the new Grand Parkway segment is expected to improve access, this time for drivers traveling between Katy and Cypress. Though not all are open, eventually the I-10 to U.S. 290 segment will have exits and entrances to ten local streets. Officials expect some development along the route, though it will not have continuous frontage roads like freeways and tollways in more urban areas.

Drivers will have until Jan. 31 to use the tollway for free. Starting Feb. 1, a trip along the new segment will cost $2.88.

Railways’ Dynamic Fare Scheme: Facts you must know

New Delhi: For the first time, railways will experiment with dynamic fares on the pattern of airlines by operating AC special trains between Delhi and Mumbai from December 24 with costlier tickets to encash the peak demand during festive season of Christmas and New Year.

There will be four trips from December 24, 2013 till Januray 2, 2014 of the premium AC special trains on the busy New Delhi-Mumbai sector, said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding "the tickets will be sold on higher rate than the existing rate as per the dynamic pricing policy."

The facts would include:


  • The premier AC special trains will have only AC-2 and AC-3 classes with Rajdhani like facility including catering.
  • Premium special train is introduced from on the busy New Delhi- Mumbai sector with dynamic fare pricing.
  • Dynamic fare stands for the fare component which may be increased with the subsequent bookings.
  • There shall be no commercial stoppages enroute for this train. The trains shall originate and terminate at New Delhi and Mumbai Central stations.
  • There shall be only two classes of travel accommodation, viz. AC 3Tier and AC 2Tier.
  • Catering shall be provided on board and catering charges shall be part of tariff.
  • Advance Reservation Period (ARP)of this train will bea maximum of 15 days.
  • Dynamic fare shall be charged for confirm as well as RAC passengers.
  • Waitlist Ticket Booking is not allowed in this train.
  • The passengers are required to carry the prescribed original photo identity card.
  • Only E-tickets will be permitted for booking.I-ticket Booking is not allowed in this train.
  • Modification is not allowed
  • Tatkal/ Ladies/Other Quota tickets cannot be booked in this train.
  • No concession shall be applicable in this train.
  • Upgradation option shall not be applicable in this train.
  • Only end to end, General Quota Booking will be allowed.
  • Current booking will be allowed on reservation counters after charting only.
  • No Refund shall be granted.
  • However, full refund shall be admissible only if the train is fully cancelled.
  • The menu and tariff of the catering services will be similar to other Rajdhani Trains.
  • Dynamic Fare along with Total fare will be displayed after filling Reservation form. Users must ensure the Fare and Journey Details before proceeding for payment.


Following airlines, Railways introducing dynamic fare system

Following airlines, Railways introducing dynamic fare system
New Delhi: For the first time, railways will experiment with dynamic fares on the pattern of airlines by operating AC special trains between Delhi and Mumbai from December 24 with costlier tickets to encash the peak demand during festive season of Christmas and New Year.

There will be four trips from December 24, 2013 till Januray 2, 2014 of the premium AC special trains on the busy New Delhi-Mumbai sector, said a senior Railway Ministry official, adding "the tickets will be sold on higher rate than the existing rate as per the dynamic pricing policy."

The premier AC special trains will have only AC-2 and AC-3 classes with Rajdhani like facility including catering.

The dynamic fares are prevalent in air fares and it is first time that railways have decided to run trains on the pattern of air fares.

The advance reservation period for this train will be 15 days only and the fare shall be equal to or higher than the Rajdhani Tatkal fare to begin with.

"The fare is also likely to increase depending on the demand intensity," said the official.

"We will be running four trips on December 24, 27, 30 and January 2 from Delhi and in return journey there will be three trips on December 26, 29 and January 1 on experimental basis," he said.

There will be no commercial stoppages en route for this train. The trains shall originate and terminate at New Delhi and Mumbai Central stations. 

The booking for the AC special trains shall be available only through IRCTC's portal and not through the counters at reservation centres.

The fares applicable for each day/transaction shall be indicated at the time of booking on the IRCTC's e-ticketing website.

Catering shall be provided on-board and catering charges shall be part of tariff like the premier service of Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains.

The official said as the train is designed to clear the last minute peak time demand and has no stoppages en route, no concession shall be applicable to this train.

There will be no waitlisted tickets and there will be no refund except when the train is cancelled on railway account due to unforeseen circumstances or due to severe disturbances affecting operations.

Dynamic pricing is already being applied in freight business.

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

"Passenger business should not be making loss. The waiting list of passengers is getting longer and longer, then why should passenger business making loss?" the official asked adding many are willing to pay for travelling in safe and comfort.

He said if the experiment becomes successful then the similar trains will be launched on other sectors like Delhi-Kolkata.

The passengers are required to carry the prescribed original photo identity card which is used at the time of booking.

At present, there are two Rajdhani trains for Mumbai. 


Metro Railway to get GSM-R from Sunday

KOLKATA: Sunday promises to be a red-letter day for the Metro Railway. Not only will services start from 10 am, the Metro will also get the much awaited Global System for Mobile Communications - Railways (GSM-R) that promises safer train-running. This technology will also come in handy for commuters later. They would get to use their mobile phones even when the trains are inside the tunnels. The technology holds immense promise. Should the Metro so desire, CCTV cameras can be installed inside coaches and live feed sent to the control room. 

"The Metro started with VHF communication between the motormen and controllers. Gradually, due to lack of spares, the VHF sets had to be phased out. For the last 5-6 years, there was practically no communication between the motormen and controllers when the trains were inside tunnels. Now, we have installed a 'leaky" feeder inside the tunnels. This will allow seamless communication. We propose to lease out any additional capacity that we may have. This can be used by cellular service providers to provide connectivity to their customers while on the move in the Metro network," an official said. 

The GSM-R technology is being provided by Nokia Siemens Network. Officials feel that this will improve the safety and reliability of the Metro while reducing operating costs. The technology is already in operation along 3,500 km of Indian Railways across four zones. The system will be inaugurated in the Metro on Sunday by minister of state for railways Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury.

Source - TOI

Work on international railway project stops

ARARIA: The work on laying railways tracks in 18.45 km for an international railway project connecting Bathnaha railway station (Araria, Bihar) to Biratnagar (Nepal) involving about Rs 250 crore has come to a standstill in the state allegedly due to apathetic attitude of Araria district land acquisition office. The time limit for finishing the project has already been extended by one year due to the difference over rate of compensation which were to be paid to the farmers whose land has been acquired for extending rail lines across Indo-Nepal border. 

According to railway sources, for laying 5.45 km rail lines from Bathnaha railway station to Integrated Check Post (ICP), Jogbani, Rs. 110 crore was sanctioned for acquiring about 65 acres, construction of one major bridge and for seven culverts Rs 140 crore. The Araria district administration had initially submitted an estimated cost of the land to be acquired for the project from 2.7 to 4.95 km rail lines (Indian side) at Rs. 34.92 crore in 2009 but in 2011 it demanded Rs 65.36 crore. 

The Railway Board had deposited Rs 65.36 crore on October 13, 2012, but the process for the acquiring land by the district administration was not set in motion. The Araria district administration has now demanded about Rs 150 crore for acquiring land for the project. 

Railway sources alleged that the district land acquisition authorities have fixed the rate of the land at an abnormally high rate of Rs 30,000 to Rs 60,000 per decimal and agricultural land has been shown as residential and commercial land. 

he railway ministry has strongly objected to the manner of enhancing the proposed compensation rate of the land to be acquired by the Araria district land acquisition department. The railways ministry has argued that 156 such railway lines projects are going on in the country in which the total cost for laying tracks in 1km comes to Rs 7 to Rs 10 crore only. If the proposal of enhanced rate of compensation fixed by the Araria district administration is approved, it will cost Rs 66 crore per km. The project construction work was started in 2011 and it was to be completed in December 2013. 

Project Manager, IRCON, Ashwini Kumar recently told newsmen that construction work of the project on Indian side is stopped due to the land acquisition problem and until the land acquisition process is completed by the Araria district administration, no further construction is possible. It may be mentioned here that the entire cost of laying rail lines between Bathnaha (India) to Biratnagar (Nepal) was funded by the ministry of external affairs, Government of India, to improve its bilateral ties with Nepal. 

It is said that on getting information about the projects, the members of the land mafia purchased land from the poor farmers at throwaway prices and then wielded their influences on the local administration to enhance the rate of compensation for acquiring the land for the project. 

Several such anomalies in determining the rate of compensation, cases of wrong payments during the land acquisition process for the construction and widening of the National Highways Road (NHRC) passing through Araria district were detected by the then Araria DM. 

Araria DM Ajay Kumar Choudhury told TOI that he would take all possible administrative steps for the completion of the project. Track laying work in Nepal side is going on. 






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