Jan 13, 2014

Gorakhpur Railway Platform enters Limca Book of Records

Gorakhpur (GKP): A newly built 1366-metre long railway platform at Gorakhpur Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh has entered into the Limca Book of Records as the Longest Railway Platform in the World.

General Manager North Eastern Railways (NER) K.K. Atal unveiled the certificate given by the Limca Book of Records to Platform No. 1 of the railway station at a press conference here on Friday.

According to the certificate, the length of the platform is 1366 metre. It was inaugurated on October 6 last year.

Till now, the record was held by the railway platform at Kharagpur in West Bengal. The platform is 1,072.5 metre long.

Mr. Atal said while the average passenger traffic has declined in other Railway zones, NER has registered an increase of 0.57 per cent during the current fiscal year.

More than Rs. 1,200-crore revenue has been earned from passenger traffic up to December last year, he said.

In view of the recent fire incident in the Dehradun Express on the Maharashtra-Gujarat border, NER has increased vigilance and alerted RPF to prevent passengers from travelling with inflammable items, he added.

The 1,355.40-m platform is the longest one in the world

Source..Rail News

Lucknow Metro awaits for DMRC’s tech nod to lay test track



Lucknow (LKO): The Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC) team, which went to Delhi early this week for a meeting with officials of the World Bank and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation to seek their feedback on observations made regarding design and route of metro-rail project in the city, said they were waiting for DMRC’s (interim consultant) approval on laying of a test track inside the metro depot proposed in Sarojininagar.

This dummy track is useful for testing the functioning of coaches before they actually run on the track. This track would be about 800-1000 metre long to test the rolling stock. An official said, “DMRC has always built testing tracks in metro-depots in all projects they took up and they suggest the same for Lucknow metro.”

DMRC’s technical views are expected in a few days after which the construction of test track would begin. LMRC refused to reveal about any discussions regarding DMRC taking up metro construction in city. Officials said they didn’t touch the subject during their visit. The decision on whether DMRC would bag the project of constructing metro on turnkey basis or not would come out only in the LMRC board meeting scheduled on January 16.

The metro cell has been evaluating options to hand over metro project of Lucknow to some other firm on turn-key mode. It would enter a contract with a government firm which would be responsible to fully design, construct and equip the service and hand it over to the cell when the rail is ready for operation.

Two agencies are being considered for this, including DMRC and Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). While RVNL has already submitted its terms of reference (TOR) to the cell, DMRC has been asked to submit its terms soon. RVNL is wholly owned and controlled by GOI as against DMRC in which Delhi government and GOI share 50:50 partnership.

Reportedly, the previous Delhi government had reservations with DMRC taking up metro project in Lucknow, but LMRC has always maintained it is hopeful about continuing its association with DMRC, which is also the interim consultant for the project. With more than 15 years of experience, DMRC is hands down the first choice for consulting metro project in Lucknow.

Source..Rail News

Railways to introduce Single Train Ticket to Kashmir soon



Jammu: Kashmir will soon be accessible to tourists by train as the J&K Government and Northern Railway have inked an agreement to introduce “single train ticket” system that will help tourists from all over the country and foreign nations to reach Kashmir directly from other parts of the country.

Under the agreement, tourists buying railway tickets to Kashmir will have a “complimentary” bus ride from Udhamur to Banihal stretch as tourists will disembark from the train at the Udhampur railway station and board State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses to Banihal from where they will again take a train to Srinagar or Baramulla.

The facility, however, will be available only after the inauguration of prestigious 25-km Udhampur-Katra rail line, which is likely to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the first week next month.

So far, the people have train facility only up to Udhampur from Jammu and other parts of the country, while the train in Kashmir chug up to Banihal from Baramulla.

“We have recently signed an agreement with the Northern Railway, under which the tourists intending to visit Kashmir from anywhere will have to buy a single train ticket. They will get off from train at the Udhampur railway station and will be taken to the Banihal railway station in brand new buses to be deployed by the SRTC after checking the train tickets of passengers,” Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, Minister for Transport, told.

He said the Transport Department was planning to purchase new buses, which would be deployed between Udhampur and Banihal. “We are hopeful that the system would be implemented soon after the inauguration of the Udhampur-Katra rail section,” Ramzan said.

The minister said the tourists could also board buses from the Katra railway station to reach Banihal for their onward journey by train.

On August 19 last year, the Ferozepur division of the Northern Railway had written to all stations falling under its jurisdiction to make suitable arrangements for the start of train service between Udhampur and Katra section after giving its approval to the opening of this rail link.

The authorities are still awaiting the final tests, inspection and certification to be conducted by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) before the inauguration of the track and throwing it open for passenger trains.

Sources said the CRS was likely to inspect the Udhampur-Katra rail section on January 17 and may accord his clearance. “The Railways is planning to run at least six trains to Katra, the base camp of Vaishno Devi shrine, which was visited by over 9.3 million pilgrims last year,” sources said.

The survey on a railway project between the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley was conducted in 1998. The construction process began in 1999. It was announced that Katra town would have direct train connectivity by 2005.

The track to Katra was ready by 2007, but the inauguration got delayed because of seepage in major tunnels en route. The 131-km rail track between Katra and Banihal, which has turned out to be a challenging task for the Railways, was delayed by almost a decade after its alignment was changed for safety reasons a few years back.

J&K Government, Railways ink agreement

Under the agreement, tourists buying railway tickets to Kashmir will have a “complimentary” bus ride from Udhamur to Banihal stretch as tourists will disembark from the train at the Udhampur railway station and board State Road Transport Corporation (SRTC) buses to Banihal from where they will again take a train to Srinagar or Baramulla.

The facility, however, will be available only after the inauguration of 25-km Udhampur-Katra rail line, which is likely to be inaugurated by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the first week of next month

Source..Rail News

Sanctioned trains fail to cater to needs of Adilabad commuters



Adilabad (ADB): Despite the growing demand for rail travel in the western part of Adilabad district, the sanction of trains to the region in the past has failed to cater to the needs of the commuters, according to concerned citizens here. More number of trains on the Nanded-Nagpur track via Adilabad, which will become an alternate link between the North and the South, could speed up the development in this backward area, they feel.

Only a few trains pass through this town, despite the railway station here being designated as a model station about seven years back, which was expected to provide a relief to the main track that links the two regions in the country. According to sources, the station is designed to handle traffic of 40 trains every day, which is yet to materialise.

“Leave alone introducing new trains, the Railway Ministry has failed in even taking up surveys on the two important tracks, a proposal mooted in the budgets of 2010-11 and 2011-12. The survey pertains to the new tracks between Adilabad to Gadchandur in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra and between Adilabad and Armoor, in the neighbouring Nizamabad district,” alleged RTI activist and member of Civil Society, Adilabad, S.P. Pataskar. “The Railways should give priority to extension of some trains to this town for the benefit of commuters. We have asked for the extension of Nanded-Daund-Nanded Passenger train to Adilabad for the convenience of thousands of Shirdi Sai devotees, extension of the Adilabad-Parli Passenger train to Pandharpur for the benefit of Vithaleshwar devotees and extension of Nanded-Pune-Nanded tri-weekly train to Adilabad, routing it through Aurangabad and Latur,” he says, quoting a list of demands which the Civil Society has submitted ahead of the Railway budget this year.

One of the major demands of people in Adilabad has been a pit line or maintenance unit which would ensure the diversion of many trains on this track. Among other key demands is the strengthening of the track between Pippalkunti and Majri under the Central Railway, which is one of the major stumbling blocks for superfast trains being re-routed through Adilabad.

Source..Rail News

Rail brake manufacturers ‘cartel’ under CCI scanner



Kapurthala (KXH): India’s anti-monopoly watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into an alleged formation of a cartel between two railway brake manufacturers Knorr Bremse and Faiveley Transport when they quoted identical prices for rail brakes’ tenders floated for by the Railway Coach Factory, Kapurthala, Punjab.

According to a complaint filed by RCF, Kapurthala, the Indian subsidiaries of German braking system maker Knorr Bremse and French railway equipment maker Faiveley Transport have formed a cartel to supply ‘Axle Mounted Disk-Brake System’ for coaches at Railway Coach Factory (RCF).

The railway department had floated tenders to provide specific braking system for Linke Holfmann Busch (LHB) coaches, which were designed by the German manufacturer for air-conditioned (AC) and non-AC coaches and power cars. The coaches are in use since 2000 in India in the Rajdhani and the Shatabdi Express trains.

The complaint filed by Kapurthala Railway coach factory states the order is normally split between both suppliers to ensure uninterrupted supply of material. The practice of sharing quantities for critical parts is a normal practice as per guidelines laid down by Railway Board.

In a complaint to CCI, the railways claimed that the two bids were totally identical on three occasions in 2011 when the department floated emergency tenders. After noticing the identical rates and set pattern, the tender committee asked both the companies for a detailed breakup of items used. However, companies didn’t share those details and Railway Board decided to move to CCI.

A cartel typically implies arrangements among more than two firms to ensure that they do not compete on price and product. For consumers, cartelisation leads to high prices, poor quality and less or no choices of goods. As per the Competition Act, the maximum penalty for cartelisation is thrice a company’s profit or 10% of its turnover, whichever is higher.

After hearing the arguments by the railway board, the anti-competition panel, chaired by Ashok Chawla, said that there is a prima facie case of a formation of an alleged cartel and the Director General of Investigation has been given 60 days to investigate the issue and submit its report.

The DG has been directed to investigate the role (if any) of the persons who were in charge of, and were responsible for the conduct of the business of the two companies.

An email query to Knorr Bremse and Faiveley Transport did not elicit any response.

A senior official from RCF said the department is yet to hear from CCI.

Source..Rail News

Snags to hit CR harder till DC-AC shift is complete



Mumbai: Compatibility issues arising from partial DC-to-AC conversion on the Main line of the Central Railway may make breakdown replacement services difficult to arrange from Monday.

The DC-only rakes left with the CR will be confined to the unconverted stretch between CST and Thane, unable to extend their run beyond Thane in emergencies.

“It will be difficult to rejig services to give optimum benefit in case of any disruptions or breakdowns as two types of rakes, DC and the DC-AC rakes, will be deployed on the Main line,” a CR official said.

The situation will remain so till the CST-Thane stretch is fully converted to AC by May. For now, the CR is to switch from 1,500 V direct current to 25 KV alternating current traction on certain stretches of the Main line.

While the switch will encompass all lines between Kalyan and Thane, between Thane and Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) only the fifth and sixth lines will see the change.

Till now, the CR section on the CST-Kalyan stretch was operating on DC traction. Beyond Kalyan, the Kalyan-Igatpuri and the Kalyan-Lonavla stretches had already switched to AC, for which the dual compatibility or DC-AC rakes were introduced.

Of the 825 Main line services, 218 operate on the CST-Thane stretch, which also includes shuttle services like CST-Kurla, CST-Ghatkopar and Dadar-Thane. To operate these services on this stretch, CR will deploy 10 DC rakes, which cannot operate on tracks with AC traction.

“Currently, in case of any disruption, our first instinct is to cancel shorter-distance services like CST-Thane, CST-Kurla and Dadar-Thane; these service are then run as special services up to Kalyan,” an official said. “This option will not be available to us for a while because of non-availability of DC-AC rakes.”

Source..Rail News

Hill Queen train on Lumding Division in losses due to absence of freight coaches



Haflong Hill (HFG): Quintals of goods are regularly sent by trains to other destinations without railway booking following which the NF Railway under Lumding division is incurring a huge revenue loss due to the absence of freight coaches.

Sources alleged that the railway authorities which are responsible for booking the goods are busy in earning money for themselves.

The Hill Queen train which runs between Lumding-Lower Haflong and is the only train for the people of Dima Hasao areas always remains loaded with huge quantity of goods including essential commodities causing inconvenience to the travelling passengers.

Gopal Das, a vegetable vendor said more than hundred vendors are earning their livelihood by importing vegetables from Lumding to Haflong for sale. Due to the absence of luggage van in the Hill Queen train they have to bring the goods in the passenger coaches. He also said they have to pay Rs 500 to 600 per bag to the GRP, ARP, TC, train cleaners etc., right from Lumding to Lower Haflong. “We have demanded an attachment of the luggage van but the Railway department has ignored our request”, Das added.

There are three pairs of trains namely Agartala Express, Barak Valley and Cachar Express which run between Lumding-Agartala and Lumding – Silchar. The railway provides four general coaches in each train apart from the reserved compartment out of which the Army keeps one and two coaches are kept for escort duty. Only one coach remains for the passengers where more than 400 passengers travel every day.

As per guidelines the three armed escorts should travel in one coach in each train. But the on duty escorts allow the passengers to enter in the escort coach and collect money which is never deposited in the railway revenue, sources alleged.

Source..Rail News

Ministry of Home Affairs gives Green Signal to FDI in Railways



New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs has finally given its green signal to the proposal of allowing foreign direct investment (FDI) in Failways. The Cabinet Committed on Economic Affairs (CCEA) is expected to consider the proposal later this week.

The department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), which has already prepared a draft Cabinet note, was awaiting the go-ahead from the home ministry. It was crucial that DIPP obtains the necessary inputs from the ministry since it entails security concerns.

DIPP for FDI

DIPP has been pushing for allowing FDI in railways since August last year. The government is also keen to have it passed before the elections. By the final Cabinet note, India will allow foreign players to invest only in construction and maintenance of railway projects, not in operations.

As a result, 100 per cent FDI might be allowed in this case.

Apparently, the final Cabinet note is to propose that up to 100 per cent FDI should be allowed in dedicated freight corridors and high-speed railway networks falling under the fixed-line category. And, up to 74 per cent should be allowed in the case of collaborations and joint ventures in other areas.

The railways ministry seemed keen in getting FDI, especially in public-private partnership (PPP) projects. This is because domestic private players have shown little interest in this segment.

Officials had earlier indicated that once the FDI proposal was cleared, foreign investors will be allowed to hold stake in special-purpose vehicles meant for PPP in construction projects.

The move will also help the railways achieve its revenue target of Rs 60,000 crore through projects like construction of factories to manufacture locomotives and coaches.

Currently, FDI is not allowed in railway transport other than mass rapid transport systems and component manufacturing. According to DIPP statistics, foreign equity flows in railway-related components between April 2000 and September 2013 stood at $368 million.
Source..Rail News

Rs.1500 Cr. loan deal by Next Month with French soft loan agency AFD by Kochi Metro



Kochi: The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd and the French soft loan agency AFD will sign the deal for a 20-year loan of around Rs 1,500 crore for the metro rail project next month.

This was decided after an Agence Francaise de Developpment team held final rounds of talks with the KMRL on Thursday and Friday. The team arrived here on Wednesday to finalise the loan agreement to be signed by the AFD and KMRL. The draft deal would have to be approved by the Central Government.

French embassy officials in Delhi and the CEO of AFD are expected to arrive in Kochi next month to sign the deal.

€180-m loan

The AFD will give €180 million (roughly Rs 1,500 crore) for a period of 20 years, with a five-year moratorium on repayment.

“The agreement to be signed with AFD envisages specific provisions for ensuring integrity, openness, transparency, competitiveness and quality in all facets of the procurement process,” KMRL said in a statement.

“The AFD has specific procurement manuals, which stipulate how the bids are to be processed in accordance with these norms, and the AFD’s specific approvals are required for the tender procurement documentation at various stages of the bid process,” it added.

Apart from funding the metro, the AFD team also agreed to consider providing technical assistance in implementing Kochi Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority, minimising the environmental impact of the Metro Village near Aluva and the strategy for operation and maintenance of the metro rail system.
Source..Rail News

 

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