Jan 24, 2014

AWARENESS REGARDING FILING OF CLAIMS AT RAILWAY CLAIMS TRIBUNAL




When a passenger is involved in a rail accident/incident, he is entitled to get compensation from the railways but the claims cases have to be filed in the Railway Claims Tribunal within o­ne year of the incident/accident. In case of Mumbai Bench, the office of the Railway Claims Tribunal is at 180, P.D'Mello Road, 19/T Wig-Wam, Mumbai 400 001.

An application for compensation payable, under Section 124 and 124A of the Railway Act 1989 may be filed before the Bench having territorial jurisdiction over the place from which the passenger obtains or purchases his pass or ticket or where the accident or untoward incident occurs or where the place of destination station lies or where the claimant normally resides.

Besides Mumbai, the other Railway Claim Tribunals over Western Zone are at Ahmedabad, Bhopal & Jaipur where the claims can be filed subject to the conditions as above. Information regarding addresses and telephone numbers of these benches has been provided in the zonal time tables for the convenience of the passengers/claimants.

It is important to file an application before the Claims Tribunal for compensation for the loss of life or personal injury to a passenger, in the stipulated time frame. If claims are filed after o­ne year, the claimant has to submit a condonation application along with his case with suitable reason for the delay.

SOURCE - (Sharat Chandrayan)
Chief Public Relations Officer

WR TO AUGMENT ONE AC 3-TIER COACH IN BANDRA (T)- DELHI SARAI ROHILLA GARIB RATH TRAIN




Western Railway has temporarily augmented o­ne AC 3-Tier coach in Train No 12216/12215 Bandra (T) – Delhi Sarai Rohilla Garib Rath express for the convenience of the passengers.

Accordingly, the Coaches will be added in Train No 12216/12215 Bandra (T) - Delhi Sarai Rohilla Garib Rath train o­n temporary basis with immediate effect upto 11thFebruary, 2014 ex Bandra Terminus.

SOURCE - (Sharat Chandrayan)
Chief Public Relations Officer

WR TO INTRODUCE THREE NEW EXPRESS TRAINS FROM BANDRA (T) TO JAISALMER , RAMNAGAR & HISAR




Western Railway is going to introduce three new trains i.e.Bandra (T)- Jaisalmer, Bandra (T) – Ramnagar & Bandra (T)–Hisar Weekly Express Trains o­n 24/01/2014. These trains will benefit the passengers of Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Uttarakhand.

Bandra (T)-Jaisalmer Weekly Express (via Marwar-Jodhpur)

Train No. 19063 Bandra (T)-Jaisalmer Weekly Express will leave Bandra (T) o­n every Friday at 14.35 hrs from 31/01/2014 and will reach Jaisalmer at 13.15 hrs the next day. Similarly, in return direction, Train No. 19064 Jaisalmer – Bandra (T) will leave Jaisalmer o­n every Saturday at 18.30 hrs from 25/01/2014 and arrive atBandra (T) at 17.35 hrs the next day.

The train will halt at Borivali, Vapi, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Nadiad, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati, Mahesana, Unjha, Palanpur, Abu Road, Jawai Bandh, Falna, Rani, Marwar Jn, Pali Marwar, Luni, Jodhpur, Osiyan, Phalaudi, Ramdeora and Shribhadriya Lathi stations in both the directions.

The train will comprise of AC2 Tier, AC3 Tier, Sleeper class & II class general coaches.

The inaugural run of 19063 will be run as Train No.09063 ex Bandra (T) at 11.10 hrs o­n 24/1/2014. It will reach Jaisalmer at 12.30 hrs the next day. The regular run of Train No.19063 will commence from 31st January, 2014.

Bandra (T)-Ramnagar Weekly Express:

Train No 19061 Bandra (T) – Ramnagar weekly express will depart from Bandra (T) o­n every Thursday at 05.10 hrs from 30/01/2014 and will reach Ramnagar at 21.50 hrs the next day. Similarly Train no 19062 Ramnagar – Bandra (T) weekly express will depart from Ramnagar o­n every Saturday at 06.20 hrs from 01/02/2014 and will reach Bandra (T) at 22.25 hrs the next day.

The train will halt at Borivali, Vapi, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Godhra, Dahod, Ratlam, Ramganj Mandi, Kota, Sawai Madhopur, Gangapur City, Bharatpur, Achhnera Jn, Mathura Jn, Hathras City, Kasganj, Farrukhabad, Kannauj, Kanpur Anwarganj, Kanpur Central, Lucknow Jn, Hardoi, Bareilly, Rampur, Rudrapur City, Lalkuan, Bazpur and Kashipur Jn. stations in both the directions.

The train will consists of AC 2-tier, AC 3-tier, Sleeper and second class general coaches.

The inaugural run of 19061 will be run as Train No.09061 ex Bandra (T) 11.00 hrs o­n 24/1/2014. It will reach Ramnagar at 02.30 hrs o­n Sunday. The regular run of Train No.19061 will commence from 30th January, 2014

Bandra (T)-Hisar Super Fast Weekly Express (via Ahmedabad-Jodhpur-Degana):

Train No 22915 Bandra (T) – Hisar super fast weekly express will depart from Bandra (T) o­n every Monday at 12.55 hrs from 27/01/2014 and will reach Hisar at 14.10 hrs the next day. Similarly Train no 22916 Hisar – Bandra (T) super fast weekly express will depart from Hisar o­n every Tuesday at 15.45 hrs from 28/01/2014 and will reach Bandra (T) at 17.10 hrs the next day.

The train will halt at Borivali, Vapi, Surat, Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand,Nadiad, Ahmedabad, Sabarmati, Mahesana Jn, Sidhapur, Palanpur, Abu Road, Sirohi Road, Falna, Rani, Marwar Jn, Pali Marwar, Luni, Jodhpur, Merta Road Jn, Degana, Didwana, Ladnun, Sujangarh, Ratangarh, Churu and Sadulpur stations in both the directions.

The train will consists of AC 2-tier, AC 3-tier, Sleeper and second class general coaches.

The inaugural run of 22915 will be run as Train No.02915 ex Bandra (T) at 11.30 hrs o­n 24/1/2014. It will reach Hisar at 16.40 the next day. The regular run of Train No.22915 will commence from 27th January, 2014.

The booking of inaugural trains No.09063, 09061 and 02915 will open o­n 23rd January, 2014 while booking for regular run of 19063, 19061 and 22915 will open o­n 24th January, 2014.

SOURCE - (Sharat Chandrayan)
Chief Public Relations Officer

Hon'ble Minister for Railways Dedicate DC-AC Conversion and Flags off 4 New Trains


Hon'ble Minister for Railways Dedicate DC-AC Conversion and Flags off 4 New Trains - Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Function Details with PHOTOs

DEDICATION OF DC-AC CONVERSION AND FLAGGING OFF OF 4 NEW TRAINS

BY HON’BLE MINISTER FOR RAILWAYS

Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, Hon’ble Minister for Railways dedicated DC-AC traction conversion o­n Kalyan-Thane-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus section, flagged off mail/express train with AC locomotive and flag off special inaugural runs of 19061 Bandra Terminus-Ramnagar Weekly Express, 19063 Bandra Terminus-Jaisalmer Weekly Express, 22915 Bandra Terminus-Hisar Weekly Sueprfast Express and 22113 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Kochuveli Bi-weekly Superfast Express at a glittering function held at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus o­n 24.1.2014,.

Shri Kharge, while addressing the gathering announced Rs.5 lakh ex-gratia to the girl who lost her both hands in a tragic incident at Ghatkopar station o­n compassionate grounds as a special case.

He said the work of raising the height of 74 platforms o­n suburban section will be taken up and the work will be completed in a phase wise manner within 3 years at an approximate cost of Rs.50 – 60 crores. He also urged the State Government/ Corporate Houses to provide help in this issue towards a unified transport solution..

Shri Kharge announced that two new trains may be introduced in the ensuing budget o­ne from Mumbai to Kolhapur and the other from Bengaluru to Kolhapur. He also announced that halt at Kirloskarwadi for Mumbai-Kolhapur Mahalaxmi Express will also be considered favourably.

He said the DC-AC conversion over Central Railway has reached Lokmanya Tilak Terminus and o­nly about 50 kilometers of route kilometres now remains to be converted. The completion of this work is a major milestone in the development of Rail infrastructure of the country.

Shri Kharge said that DC traction was the most modern traction system available at that point of time, and was the turning point in the development and growth of suburban transport system for the city of Mumbai. After 1945, AC traction was adopted all over the world for Railways, but Mumbai Suburban traction system continued to remain as DC traction because large number of trains were running o­n it and changeover to AC traction without affecting the train services was very difficult.

The Minister for Railways said that Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) services are the lifeline of Mumbai. Over the past seventy years, there has been a substantial growth in the demand o­n suburban train services. He also mentioned that Indian Railways carry about 75 Lakh commuters daily in Mumbai alone in about 3000 trains daily. To cater to these increasing demands, Indian Railways has undertaken many major steps. o­ne such effort has been going in for improved electric traction system in Mumbai, as the existing DC traction system could not cope up the higher power requirement for increased train services. The work of conversion of electric traction system from 1500 Volt DC to 25000 Volt AC was approved in 1996-97 consisting of 1681 Track Kilometers, costing about Rs. 1300 Crore, out of this o­nly 492 Track KMs remain to be completed. The balance portions of this work of Main line connecting up to Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Harbour & transharbour lines will be completed very shortly. o­nce these works are completed it will result in uni-traction system of 25 KV AC o­n Indian Railways with all its attendant benefits. With the completion of this work of DC-AC Conversion, trains originating from and terminating at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus can directly run o­n 25 KV electric traction system, without any change of locomotive, thus reducing travel time by at least 15/20 minutes.

S/Shri Mohammed Arif (Naseem) Khan, Hon’ble Guardian Minister Mumbai Suburban, Eknath Gaikwad, Hon’ble MP also spoke o­n the occasion.

Shri Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical Railway Board in his address said there will be savings in the cost of energy, locomotives and manpower, to the tune of about Rs 67 Crores annually. Precious space in Mumbai occupied by numerous substations and manpower engaged in these will be released for other essential works. He also said that the execution of this challenging work of very complex nature in the busiest network of Indian Railways is being carried out, without any disturbance to the Mumbai Suburban Rail traffic.

Shri Devi Pande, Member Traffic, Railway Board in his address said that the introduction of four trains will cater to the demands of Konkan, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttarakhand. He also said Railways are planning 20 new premium fare trains to others places considering the tremendous response to Mumbai-Delhi premium fare service.

Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway welcomed the dignitaries and in his welcome address said that DC-AC traction conversion o­n Kalyan-Thane-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus section will provide seamless operation o­n AC traction in Igatpuri. He also said the introduction of new train 22113 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Kochuveli Bi-weekly Superfast Express will meet the demand of passengers

Shri Mohammed Arif (Naseem) Khan, Hon’ble Minister of Textile, Minorities Development and Wakf, Maharashtra and Guardian Minister, Mumbai Suburban, Dr. Patangrao Kadam, Hon’ble Cabinet Minister from Maharashtra, S/Shri Eknath Gaikwad, Anand Paranjpe, Suresh Taware, Hon’ble Members of Parliament, Shri Milind Kamble, Hon’ble MLA were the Guests of Honour present o­n the occasion.

Shri Vivek Sahai, Adviser to Hon’ble Minister for Railways, Shri Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical, Shri Devi Pande, Member Traffic Railway Board, Shri Sunil Kumar Sood, General Manager, Central Railway, Shri Hemant Kumar, General Manager, Western Railway, Shri B.P. Tayal, MD, Konkan Railway, Shri Mukesh Nigam, Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division (CR) Shri Shailendra Kumar Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division (WR) and other Principal Heads of Departments of Railways were also present o­n the occasion.

Shri Mukesh Nigam , Divisional Railway Manager, Mumbai Division, Central Railway proposed the vote of thanks. Ms. Mansi Sontakke, compered the programme.

SOURCE -This news comes to you from the Public Relations Department, Central Railway, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Mumbai.

Safety of Passengers to remain top priority



Safety of Passengers to remain top priority: Sh Mallikarun Kharge 
Action plan for preventing fire incidences 
Nodal Officer in each division to handle cleanliness issues 
Two-Day General Managers’ Conference Begins 

The Railway Minister, Sh Mallikarjun Kharge has said that safety of passenger should continue to be the topmost priority on Indian Railways. The Railway Minister stated this while addressing the two-day conference of General Managers of all Zonal Railways and Production Units which began here today. Sh. Kharge called upon General Managers to take all possible efforts to prevent accidents and to improve overall safety environment on railways. Sh. Kharge asked GMs to ensure full and proper attention to the maintenance of Railway assets including the fixed assets and rolling stocks. He said that there should be enough meaningful surprise inspections and night inspections and strict actions should be taken against those found responsible for lapses during the course of inspections. The Railway Minister asked to ensure that there is no laxity of any type on safety and General Managers should personally monitor it regularly. Referring to recent two cases of fire on trains, the Minister said that there should be comprehensive action plan to prevent such unfortunate incidences which may include an audit of each passenger rake, ensuring of best quality of fire retardant material, etc. 

The Railway Minister also emphasized that there is an urgent need to increase the earnings and for austerity and economy in expenditure. He also called upon production units to continuously strive for better technology and improved quality for better customers satisfaction. The Minister also stressed on expediting the efforts to complete the various targets set in the railway budget which includes construction of new lines, gauge conversion and doubling. Pointing out to the cleanliness issues, the Railway Minister directed that every division should nominate a single nodal officer in-charge for cleanliness so that he can coordinate and implement the related instructions on this subject. 

Referring to the railways’ responsibility towards the differently-abled and aged passengers, Sh. Kharge said that the steps in this regard as announced in the budget like, provision of escalators and lifts at major stations, affixing Braille Stickers indicating the layout of coaches including toilets, provision of wheel chairs and battery operated vehicles at more stations and making coaches wheel-chair friendly etc, need to be taken on priority. The Minister also said that the inspection machinery to check the catering services needs to be strengthened to ensure quality food to the passengers. He also asked General Managers to pay attention to punctuality of train’s movement. 

Referring to the sincerity, dedication and the hard work being put in by the Railway personnel in discharging their duties, the Railway Minister said that it is responsibility of the Indian Railway administration to take proper care of its employees and hence several staff welfare measures announced in the budget should be implemented in the right earnest and time bound manner. Referring to the recent cadre restructuring exercise for Group-C staff, the Minister pointed out that cadre structuring of the remaining categories of staff is also under consideration of the Ministry of Railways. 

He also advised to promptly address the inputs and suggestions sent by public representatives, which are useful for improving services. In the beginning, Chairman Railway Board Shri Arunendra Kumar outlined the agenda of the conference and presented action plan. The agenda included review of safety performance, freight loading performance and financial performance. Modernization of rolling stock was also among the agenda points being discussed at the conference. The other Members of the Railway Board also spoke on their respective subjects. The General Managers on their part also presented various suggestions and their performance reports. The representatives of Unions and Federations also presented their views at the conference 

Setting up of electric locomotive factory at Madhepura and Diesel locomotive factory at Marhowra, Bihar



The Union Cabinet today gave its approval for setting up of an electric locomotive factory at Madhepura, Bihar and a diesel locomotive factory at Marhowra, Bihar at an estimated cost of Rs. 1293.57 crore and Rs. 2052.58 crore respectively, with limited equity contribution by the Ministry of Railways. 

Over a ten year period, the factories will provide the Indian Railways with 800 electric locomotives of 12,000 horse power (h.p.) each and a mix of 1,000 diesel locomotives of 4,500 and 6,000 h.p. with high level performance guarantees similar to international practices. 

The locomotive factories are likely to attract significant foreign investment with concomitant availability of internally generated resources for other important railway projects. Locomotives manufactured by these factories will be of international class energy/fuel efficiency and will become an important instrument of India's response to global efforts towards mitigation of adverse impacts on climate due to emission of green-house gases. Successful execution of these projects by the JV route will usher Indian Railways into a new era of reforms. 

An informal Group of Ministers, chaired by the Minister of Finance and comprising the Minister of Railways and Dy. Chairman Planning Commission had met in April 2013 and finalized its recommendations, following extensive inter-ministerial deliberations. The two factories will be set up in JV mode with locomotive manufactures to be selected through International Competitive Bidding (ICB). The JV partners will be selected through a two stage ICB process. The bids will be finalized within six months of receipt of the Cabinet's approval. 

Background 


The goal of sustaining economic growth, modernization and augmentation of locomotive manufacturing capacities and infusion of advanced technology is a basic infrastructural necessity.
Source - PIB

Financial bid for Metro works opens today



NAVI MUMBAI: After a long delay, work for the city's first Metro seems to be back on track.

The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) on Friday will open financial bid to finalize the contract to carry out system work, which includes laying of tracks, signalling and telecommunication.

Cidco Chief public relations officer Mohan Ninawe said, "Of the six bidders, three companies qualified for the technical bid. On Friday, the financial bid will be opened, after which the lowest bidder will be awarded the electrical and mechanical work."

According to Cidco officials, three companies - Larsen & Toubro, Ansaldo and Alstom qualified for the technical bid. "The work is being done in four stages - viaduct, station building development, construction of depot and finally, the system work," the official added.

Earlier, Cidco was set to open tenders for electrical and mechanical work for the 11-km CBD Belapur-Pendhar Metro in October. But due to technical glitches, the agency lost nearly three months, thus resulting in further delay. Though 55% of the first phase work is completed, due to delay in finalizing the tenders and other issues, Cidco has now set 2015 as the new deadline for rolling out services in the satellite city. The Rs 2,000 crore project undertaken by the town planning body is being built on a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) basis.

Navi Mumbai's first metro railway project was inaugurated by chief minister Prithviraj Chavanin May 2011. The CM then had instructed the town planning authority to complete the project within three years, before 2014.

In first phase the metro network will connect from Belapur to Pendhar. The CIDCO plans to build similar network of 106 Km across the satellite city in phases, including the plan to provide connectivity to the Navi Mumbai airport

Source..Rail News

Crude by Rail Requires Stronger Tank Cars, Investigators Say (2)


Rail watchdog wants tougher tank car standards

Crude oil hauled by rail needs to be shipped in stronger tank cars and on safer routes, transportation investigators in the U.S. and Canada said following a series of accidents in North America.

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Canadian Transportation Safety Board issued the recommendations today as part of a probe into the July derailment of rail cars filled with oil in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The accident ignited an inferno that killed 47 people spending a Saturday night in the town’s center.

“The large-scale shipment of crude oil by rail simply didn’t exist 10 years ago, and our safety regulations need to catch up with this new reality,” NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in a statement citing concerns about “the major loss of life” in accidents involving oil transported by rail.

The Canadian agency recommended tougher standards for the type of tank car involved in the Lac-Megantic disaster, improve route planning and require detailed emergency-response plans in communities where oil shipments travel. The NTSB made recommendations to make the tank cars safer in 2009.

Modifying the tank cars identified by the boards may cost leasing companies and shippers about $5.2 billion, according to estimates by Bloomberg Government today.

Neither board has the power to issue or enforce standards, which are overseen by agencies such as the U.S. Transportation Department and Transport Canada.

Record Volume

The boards acted after a BNSF Railway Co. train carrying Bakken formation crude crashed in North Dakota last month, forcing the evacuation of a nearby town, and aCSX Corp. (CSX:US) train hauling crude derailed Jan. 20 near the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

Record volumes of oil are being hauled by rail as soaring production from Canada, North Dakota’s Bakken shale formation and Texas exceeds pipeline capacity. U.S. oil output at the highest level since 1988 has led to a 400 percent increase in oil shipments by rail since 2005, the NTSB said, citing Association of American Railroads data.

Through Jan. 18, the volume of U.S. rail shipments of petroleum and associated products increased 13 percent this year as overall traffic is up less than 1 percent, according to AAR data released today.

The Canadian board today recommended that tank cars designated as DOT-111 that haul crude should be stronger and better able to withstand a crash or blast.

“If crude oil is to be carried, it shouldn’t be carried in class-111 tank cars,” TSB Chairwoman Wendy Tadros said today at an Ottawa news conference.
U.S. Fleet

The NTSB has investigated rail crashes since 1992 when this type of tank car ruptured. Hersman has said they have “inadequate design.” The NTSB has recommended phasing out the cars if they can’t be retrofitted to be made safer.

In an note to investors before today’s recommendations, Wells Fargo & Co. analysts said modifying tank cars could cost $5,000 to $45,000 apiece. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 cars are possible candidates, putting potential cost to upgrade the rail fleet at $350 million to $3.6 billion. Those costs probably will be passed on to the oil industry and other shippers, the analysts wrote Jan. 16.

“Enhanced safety standards on oil-by-rail could affect a major portion of the U.S. tank-car fleet at a time when we’re already capacity constrained,” said Patrick Hughes, an analyst at Height Analytics LLC, a Washington-based research firm. He didn’t say whether rules would add to transportation costs.
Root Cause

While reducing speeds around populated areas probably would win broad support from railroads and oil producers, changes to routes to avoid towns and cities would be difficult without access to track infrastructure, said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners LLC in Washington, said in an interview.

The American Petroleum Institute, a Washington-based group that lobbies for oil companies including Exxon Mobil Corp., called for preventing accidents in the first place.

“This issue calls for close cooperation between the railroads, shippers and regulators, but the first step is to prevent derailments by addressing track defects and other root causes of rail accidents,” Sabrina Fang, a spokeswoman for the group, said in an e-mailed statement.
Cenovus Pledge

Oil producer Cenovus Energy Inc. of Calgary, which plans to boost its ability to move oil by rail to 30,000 barrels a day by the end of 2014, is evaluating the recommendations and will meet or exceed whatever regulations are put in place, Jessica Wilkinson, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Imperial Oil Ltd., an oil-sands producer that’s planning a 100,000 barrel-a-day rail loading terminal in Edmonton to ship crude, is reviewing the recommendations, Leanna Dohy, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Source..Rail News

Canadian and U.S. safety watchdogs warn of oil-by-rail's risks in push for tighter rules



Canadian and U.S. safety officials have issued unprecedented joint warnings that North American communities are at risk of exposure to deadly crude oil derailments if new safety regulations are not adopted.

Transportation safety agencies in both countries called for a suite of reforms Thursday, including new requirements for railways to analyze the risks associated with moving crude on specific routes and ensuring that specialized crews and fire retardants are available to combat explosive fires such as those that occurred in Lac-Mégantic, Que., Alabama, North Dakota and New Brunswick.

Deborah Hersman, chair of the Washington-based National Transportation Safety Board, said the agency is “concerned that major loss of life, property damage and environmental consequences can occur” as a result of a 400-per-cent increase in oil shipments on the rails since 2005. “Our safety regulations need to catch up with this new reality,” she said.

Her fears were echoed by her Canadian counterpart Wendy Tadros, chair of the Transportation Safety Board, who warned an Ottawa news conference Thursday about serious safety concerns linked to the “staggering” increase in crude shipped on the rails. New safety measures are needed to keep the communities located along rail lines safe, she said. The TSB issued its warning as part of a continuing investigation into the Lac-Mégantic crude-oil rail disaster, which killed 47 people last summer.

Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said in a statement that Ottawa would review the recommendations “on an urgent basis.” A spokeswoman for the minister said she was unavailable for an interview on Thursday.

Ms. Tadros highlighted the need for more effective emergency-response supplies and protocols to cope with future derailments of oil cars. For example, she said, it was fortunate that a refinery within hours of Lac-Mégantic was able to bring in more than 30,000 litres of foam needed to battle explosive fires that burned for days. “But what if the specialized resources needed to fight the fire were not so accessible?” Ms. Tadros said. “We simply cannot leave this to chance.”

A letter from the U.S. safety agency, addressed to the Federal Railway Administration, said railways are not required to develop detailed emergency response plans for crude oil. As a result, “the burden of responding to an accident and remediating the aftermath is still left with communities,” the letter said.

Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, the railway whose train derailed in Lac-Mégantic, was not required to develop a comprehensive plan and was “unprepared to respond to a worse case discharge,” according to the letter. These shortcomings were highlighted in a Globe and Mail investigation in December.

Ms. Raitt has asked an advisory group to develop Emergency Response Assistance Plans (ERAPs) for crude oil by the end of this month, and told The Globe and Mail that she expects that plan to be in place by the middle of 2014. The advisory group is also looking at ERAPs for other flammable liquids including ethanol.

Claude Dauphin, president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, said the latest recommendations from the TSB underscore the need to act quickly on rail safety. He said he expects ERAPs to be put in place for all flammable liquids that pose a danger to communities they are moving through, adding, “We cannot afford to wait to make this important change.”

The safety boards did not address the specific dangers of Bakken crude Thursday, but investigators have previously said that oil from the Bakken region, which covers North Dakota and parts of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, may be much more volatile than they initially believed.

Both boards called for swift changes to the DOT-111 tank cars commonly used to haul crude oil by rail, which have insufficient lining, external shields and venting to protect against the punctures or gas buildups that have been factors in recent fiery derailments involving crude. “A long and gradual phase-out of older model cars simply isn’t good enough,” Ms. Tadros said. “It leaves too much risk in the system.”

NDP transport critic Olivia Chow called for a clear timeline for older-model DOT-111 tank cars to be phased out for volatile crude oil. “Phasing out doesn’t mean it has to be done tomorrow, but you have to have a plan with a timeline,” she said.

A spokeswoman from Ms. Raitt’s office said she could not comment on a timeline for halting shipments of crude in the older model DOT-111 tank cars.

The U.S. safety agency also called for an audit system to be put in place to ensure crude oil is properly tested and classified before it is loaded onto trains. Transport Canada issued new rules on classification and testing for crude after the Lac-Mégantic disaster and has proposed a new regime that would require specific individuals sign off on test results.

Source..Rail News

Pamban rail bridge centenary celebrations to begin on January 28



MADURAI: The Pamban rail bridge will beilluminated with special lighting starting from January 27 to 29 to mark the inauguration of the centenary celebrations of the bridge. Former President, A P J Abdul Kalam would inaugurate the celebrations at the Pamban railway station at 12.30pm on January 28, officials from the Madurai railway division said.

Earlier officials had planned to organize the celebrations on February 24, the day when the rail bridge was officially opened for train traffic in 1914. But railway sources said that Abdul

Kalam, who had played an important role in safeguarding the bridgeduring the gauge conversion time, was not available during those days.Abdul Kalam had played a key role in safeguarding the bridge when the railways adopted uni-gauge policy and contemplated on dismantling the bridge when the metre gauge section was to be converted into broad gauge.

Besides, there is uncertainty about the visit of dignitaries including the railway minister since the Parliament session begins on February 5. Hence, the railway authorities decided to change the celebration pattern by inaugurating the festivities on January 28 which will prolong till February 24 with a closing ceremony.

Divisional railway manager, A K Rastogi said that they will inaugurate the centenarycelebrations with Kalam on January 28.

"There would be a series of celebrations for the bridge turning 100 years. The inaugurationcelebration will include a technical session on the bridge by the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras team which took out the study on its residual life," Rastogi said. Based on the wind and climate conditions, they will work out extending the special lighting throughout the month, he added.

"We are planning to organise a closing ceremony of the centenary celebrations on February 24 and the railway minister has expressed his consent for the visit," he stated.

The division is also planning to release a commemorative stamp but the officials are facing some constraints. The postal department has released a stamp on Pamban Bridge under the title landscape bridges in the year 2007 and they are reluctant to release the stamp during the centenary celebrations since the postal department can do so only after a period of 10 years. "We are taking measures to release the stamp. If it does not work out, we will release postal cover on the bridge for centenary celebrations," Rastogi added. 

Source..Rail News

Oil & Gas Boom 2014: Creating A Rail Renaissance



Southton Railyard Sand Silos

One of the significant out-growths of America’s nascent Shale oil and gas boom is the subsidiary booms it is creating in other industries. Businesses that either service the oil and gas industries or rely on its end products as feedstock for products of their own are bringing thousands of jobs back from overseas and investing billions of dollars in new domestic infrastructure.

Nowhere has this direct cause and effect been any more apparent than in America’s rail industry, and nowhere is this impact more visible than in the Eagle Ford Shale region, where four major new rail terminals have opened in the last two years. Media coverage of this rail renaissance has focused on increased rail transport of crude oil from areas where the necessary pipeline infrastructure doesn’t yet exist. And rail transport has been a godsend in plays like the Bakken Shale in North Dakota, for that reason, and because of rail’s versatility in being able to route crude oil shipments to any number of market and refining centers.

But the most recent Eagle Ford region rail yard to open – the Southton Railyard just south of San Antonio – has a different initial focus for its transport services: Sand. Anyone familiar with the technology of hydraulic fracturing knows that sand, in large quantities, is a significant ingredient to the success of the process of “fracking” any shale well. Sand is pumped into the well along with water and chemicals to not only help create the fractures in the very dense shale rock below, but to also serve as the “proppant” that holds the fractures open against immense geologic pressure, allowing the oil and natural gas to flow through them and into the production tubing.

As Kevin Bowen, CEO of Shale Support Services, the developer of Southton Railyard, described to me earlier this week, “Sand has become a hot commodity because of the shale boom, and producers who can move it efficiently and cost-effectively will be the winners.” Southton’s anchor tenant, Santrol, is the largest U.S. provider of sand for hydraulic fracturing operations. Southton can off-load rail cars in about five minutes, and its four 13o-foot tall sand silos (pictured below) can store up to 20,000 tons of sand at any given time.

Southton’s location just off the intersection of Interstate 37 and Loop 410 at the southern tip of San Antonio is advantageous because, as Bowen pointed out, “from our facility, trucks have easy access to Highway 281, I-35, and I-10, and can be anywhere in the Eagle Ford region within 2 hours.”

While the sand side of the business is Southton’s initial focus, Bowen says the goal is for the yard to ultimately move any product relevant to the shale business. “Crude oil, guar gum, resins, liquids, bayrite, equipment – ultimately we plan to move them all,” he said.

Critics of shale development like to contend that plays like the Eagle Ford are very short term events, likely to move from boom to bust in just a few years. The initial infrastructure investment at Southton of $54 million, along with similarly large investments in major rail yards near Three Rivers, Cotulla and Encinal, tells a different story to anyone paying attention. Investors willing to shell out that kind of money are anticipating a development time frame of decades, not a few years. If money talks, it is telling anyone who will listen that the Eagle Ford boom is going to last for many years to come.

Another positive aspect of all of this investment in rail is that it is building out a regional infrastructure network that will remain in place for decades beyond the development time for the Eagle Ford play. This railroad network will be there to service the South Texas economy as it moves into future phases of development.

If you’re tired of congestion on Texas highways due to heavy truck traffic, it’s instructive to note that every rail car on the tracks is equivalent to two 18-wheelers on the highway. So just as we saw a national transition from rail transport of goods and equipment over the previous half-century, the oil and gas boom is laying the groundwork and paying for the infrastructure to lead to increased rail transport in the coming half-century. That will, in turn, help to ease pressure and reduce wear and tear on the nation’s system of highways.

For a boy like me, who grew up in Beeville hearing the sound of that Southern Pacific train whistle as it passed through town in the middle of the night, only to see those tracks get torn up in the 1980s as the transition to truck transport was in its heyday, this revival of the nation’s rail industry is music to my ears. It’s just one more way the current shale oil and gas boom benefits all Americans.
Source..Rail News

 

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