Jan 26, 2014

Saturated rail line hindering introduction of new trains

I’ll try to take up Yelahanka-Penukonda line doubling proposal, says Minister Kharge

The Railway Board’s lack of interest in a proposal that will enable doubling the single line between Yelahanka-Penukonda on the Bangalore-Dharmavaram section has not only been hindering introduction of new trains but also posing operational difficulties, according to railway officials and regular commuters. The line is saturated with capacity utilisation on this 121-km stretch being over 140 per cent with 22 pairs of mail/ express trains, four pairs of passenger trains and eight pairs of goods trains being operated daily.

The Dharmavaram section is the shortest route to many important cities, from where rail lines go towards Secunderabad, Raichur and Bellary.

The South Western Railway, under whose jurisdiction the stretch falls, has been submitting the doubling proposal for over a decade, but to no avail, said sources in the railway zone.

Many important trains linking Bangalore with other cities, including the Udyan Express (Mumbai), Kacheguda Express (Hyderabad), Rajdhani Express (Delhi), Basava Express (Bagalkot), Hampi Express (Hubli) and Sampark Kranti Express (Delhi), operate on this route.

The stretch offers short-distance connectivity even to the Hyderabad-Karnataka region and doubling should be given priority, said K.N. Krishna Prasad, a regular rail commuter. He said that electrification work is in progress on this stretch, which is of no use as the line from Dharmavaram to Secunderabad does not have electrification. He said that funds should be utilised for line doubling.

Divisional Railway Manager, Bangalore, Anil Kumar Agarwal, told The Hindu that a fresh proposal for ling doubling is being sent to the Railway Board. The rate of return after line doubling would be 18 per cent and is above the minimum rate of 14 per cent. Hence, doubling, expected to cost about Rs. 840 crore, is essential, Mr. Agarwal said.

Sources, however, said that the board’s reluctance to line doubling could be due to lack of political pressure. Hitherto, doubling proposals were sent under “traffic requirement” head, he said. The other alternative to doubling could be new lines between Chickballapur-Gauribidanur or Chickballapur-Sri Satya Sai Prasanti Nilayam, both of which had been announced in earlier Railway budgets. The surveys too are over, he said.

Railway Minister M. Mallikarjun Kharge has said that he would try to include the doubling proposal in the vote on account to be presented next month.

Source - THE HINDU

Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor proposed via Thane


MUMBAI: A proposal is under consideration to link Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor with bullet trains Via Thane and Virar in Maharashtra. 

The feasibility study for 535 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad Hi-speed train is expected to be complete by May 2015 by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). 

The JICA team was in Mumbai to meet state government and railway officials to discuss the details of the project, which is estimated to cost Rs 63,000 crore. 

WR's divisional railway manager Shailendra Kumar said, "The train is likely to originate from BKC." 

However, the team has drawn up other options for originating destination in Mumbai at either Bandra Terminus or LTT if BKC option does not work out. 

The high-speed train will run at a Maximum speed of 320 KMPH. A senior railway official said, "The train will have the ability to traverse the 534 km distance in two hours." 

As of now, the fastest train to run on this sector is Duranto and it takes close to 7 hours reach Ahmedabad from Mumbai Central. This train runs non-stop between these two cities at a maximum speed of 120 kmph. 

As per the tentative alignment finalised, the train will originate via BKC or Bandra Terminus and will have halts at Thane and Virar, from where it will run parallel to existing WR alignment upto Ahmedabad." 

There are a total of 11 stations, of which 7 are in Maharashtra. 

The official said, "The idea behind linking the route via Thane is to keep the option open to link this High-speed train to Pune. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad route will primarily benefit Gujarat more as three of its premier city's, including Vapi, Surat and Vadodara get connected, while none of Maharashtra's major city except Mumbai gets the benefit." 

A pre-feasibility study for the Pune-Mumbai-Ahmedabad route was conducted French consultancy firm Systra. Indian Railways has however decided to abandon the Pune-Mumbai leg of this stretch as it could turn to be loss-making proposition due to poor patronage. 
An official said, "The project is likely to be implemented on PPP model with Maharashtra and Gujarat as stake-holders. Maharashtra would definitely look at the cost-benefit ratio before whole-heartedly commiting to the project." 

The official said the feasibility study will include alignment survey. The official said, "It will check if the quantum and locaction where land-acquisition is necessary, building of tunnels and bridges, etc. It will also ascertain environmental challenges, if any while building the route." 

The feasibility study will ascertain the traffic demand and suggest a financial model based on fare and non-fare box revenue. 

Former Railway Board Member VN Mathur, who has been roped in as advisor by JICA for the project said, "The details of feasibility study are yet being work out." 

The cost of the study, for which an agreement was signed in October 2013, will be shared 50:50 between India and Japan. 

As of now, around 25 services operate between these two destinations. These includes, Shatabdi, Duronto and mail/ express services. Even then, the passenger demand for trains on this route has not ebbed.
Source - TOI

Three RPF Personnel Awarded President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service 13 RPF Personnel Awarded Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Services

His Excellency the President of India has been pleased to award 16 Railway Protection Force (RPF)/Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) personnel for their exemplary services on the occasion of Republic Day, 2014. 
President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service to:
1. Shri S.C.Sinha, CSC/WCR
2. Shri Nirmal Singh, CSC, NFR
3. Shri Rajpal Singh, SIPF/NR
Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Service to:
1. Shri G.K,Dash, IPF, ECoR
2. Shri T.R.Das, ASC/NFR
3. Shri Vijay Kumar Yadav, SIPF/NER
4. Shri Subedar Singh, ASIPF/NER
5. Shri C.S.Dwivedi, IPF/ WCR
6. Shri Pradeep Tiwari, SIPF/ WCR
7. Shri A. Vardhan, ASI/ NFR
8. Shri Puran Mal Yadav, SIPF/ WR
9. Shri L .V.Krishnarnoorthy, IPF(M)/ RP SF
10. Shri P. Satya Narayana, ASI (E)/ RPSF
11. Shri Brahma Nand Pareek, ASI (E)/ RPSF
12. Shri U.N.Mishra, ASI/ ER
13. Shri Ravi Shankar Singh, IPF/ ECR
SOURCE - PIB

Non-populist project: Urgent need for rail lines for coal in Jharkhand, Odisha & Chhattisgarh

Rail Bhawan faced an unprecedented upheaval last year. It began with the Central Bureau of Investigation's crackdown on a cash-for-job racket, which forced the then rail minister to quit and sent top officials to jail. That wasn't the only mishap that gave the Indian Railways' top brass the jitters.

For over three months in 2013, the government was in a fix on who to appoint as railway board chairman; two of the bureaucrats short-listed to head this 14 lakh strong organization were tainted with allegations of corruption.

One casualty of this phase of uncertainty and policy paralysis has been a nonpopulist railway project that envisaged three coal connectivity lines in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh, which was inevitably put on the backburner.

The project is critical for Coal India, which produces 81% of domestic coal and has been suppressing its production in some mines because of connectivity issues; the world's largest coal-producing company is likely to miss production targets in the years to come if these rail tracks are not ready.

Win-win Situation

The Railways, for its part, stands to add roughly Rs10,000 crore per year to its freight revenue if these tracks are built. And the best part: it need not spend a paisa; Coal India has made a commitment of up to Rs7,500 crore to fund the lines.


If a fund crunch is not the problem, what is it that keeps this project that was conceived 15 years ago still firmly pinned to the drawing board? "Perhaps it has not moved fast enough because the top leadership of the Railways faced a bit of a strain last year," says former coal secretary Alok Perti. He recalls a high-powered meeting convened at Rail Bhawan over two years ago to push for the coal connectivity rail projects.

Ranjan Kumar Saha, former chairman and managing director of Central Coalfields who was also present in the meeting, says the original idea was to include all companies with a presence in those areas — Coal India, NTPC and a clutch of private coal miners.
Source..economic times

Railways to complete three key Coal links by 2016



Lines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha to facilitate delivery of around 300 mt of fuel; will help CIL and firms with captive mines

After 15 years, the Ministry of Railways has committed to complete three crucial rail link projects by 2016. The rail connectivity would help evacuate and deliver to customers nearly 300 million tonne of coal annually from mines in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

The sudden promptness from the Railways to complete the lines, pending since 1999, is seen as the impact of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh-headed Cabinet Committee on Investment pushing for fast-tracking of projects.

S Narsing Rao, Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India, said: “These lines would not only help Coal India to evacuate coal, but it would also help several public sector and private companies which have captive mines in these areas.

The three lines would facilitate around 250-300 million tonnes of coal movement every year.”

The three rail corridors, which include Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia in North Karanpura, Jharkhand; Bhupdeopur-Korichhaapar to Mand Raigadh mines in Chhattisgarh and Barpali-Jharsuguda in IB Valley, Odisha, are to be completed by 2016-end.

The lines in Odisha and Jharkhand are fully funded by Coal India, while the one in Chhattisgarh would be set up through a joint venture. Miners other than Coal India would also be allowed to use these lines. Those agreements would be negotiated separately, Rao told.

Demand-supply Gap

With the increasing gap between demand and supply of coal in the country, the Coal Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office’s were pushing for these lines to be commissioned. Earlier, the PMO had also ordered the Railways to execute the three railway tracks within three years of the necessary clearances being obtained. But, things did not move on ground.

Time-lines

“Time-lines for various activities to be undertaken as part of implementation of the projects, such as land acquisition, tree felling, bridge construction, earth work, electrification and laying of lines, have been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Project Monitoring Group (PMG),” a Cabinet Secretariat official said. The Coal Ministry, which had approached the PMG last year for getting the three rail projects get off the ground, claims that coal availability problem in the country could get solved once these crucial rail links are in place.

According to CIL, while it has the potential for incremental supplies, the coal cannot be transported in the absence of rail connectivity to transport it from the mines to industry.

The three rail links, once completed, would help transport 300 mt of coal annually which is about half the 650 mt of coal consumed annually in the country.

“The detailed scheduling of various activities will help the PMG keep track of whether the projects are moving as per plans. If there is any deviation, it can be corrected,” the official said.

The schedule will now be placed before the CCI.

Source..Rail News

Katra train likely from first week of Feb



Chandigarh: The much awaited Kalka-Katra Express train, announced in the railway budget, was finally set to chug out, as the commissioner, safety, ministry of railways, has finally given his consent for the security checking of the 25-km Udhampur-Katra railway track from January 27 to 29. The rest of the stretches on the route have already been cleared.

Sources in the Northern Railway said the train to be beneficial for those visiting Vaishno Devi shrine was likely to start from the first week of February.

“Railway safety commissioner R K Kardam will go for security checking of the 25-km railway stretch and then the track will be opened. The Udhampur-Katra stretch has 10 tunnels and many overbridges. After the inspection, all three trains a?? two from New Delhi and one from Kalka — will start from their respective stations to Katra in the first week of February”, said a senior officer of the Northern Railway.

As per the schedule, the Kalka-Katra train would run twice a week. It would depart from Kalka on Tuesdays and Fridays at 7 pm and arrive at Katra the next day at 7.50 am. It will leave from Katra on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 9.30 pm and reach Kalka at 4.45 pm.
Source..Rail News

 

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