Jan 28, 2014

Golden Rock Worshop garners Rs.75 cr as Foreign Exchange

Tiruchirapalli (TPJ): Railways Central workshop here has garnered Rs 75 cr as foreign exchange by exporting 139 surplus meter gauge diesel locomotives after refurbishment to African and South Asian countries.

Speaking at the Republic Day celebrations, P Mahesh, Chief Workshop Manager, said the 85 year old workshop had been selected by the Railway Board to carry out periodic over hauling to freight wagons capable of hauling 60 ton plus weightage belonging to all the zonal railways in the country. With its legendary acumen of the workforce and rich experience in manufacturing locomotives for mountaineering sections like the Darjeeling Railway System and Niligris mountain railway system, the railway board had accorded sanctions to convert a B Class steam loco into oil fired engine to be operated in Neral-Matheran section.

In recent years the workshop had rolled out over 3800 container wagons to meet the requirement of Container Corporation of India. More orders are in the pipeline and the workshop is geared up for these and to adhere to the delivery schedules.

Source..Rail News

Ahmedabad stations start Biometric Verification for Railway Tickets

Ahmedabad (ADI): Next time you go to the railway reservation counter at Kalupur or Gandhigram, don’t be surprised if you are asked to provide your biometric data before booking train tickets. To curb the menace of touts, the Western Railway has introduced a system of biometric authentication of ticket buyers at reservation counters.

“Anyone who goes to the reservation centre to purchase a railway ticket will have to collect a token after recording his finger and palm print. Incidentally, this system also ensures that the person does not have to stand in a queue. An electronic board will tell the person the counter number where he can purchase his ticket,” said a senior railway official.

Umesh Khatri, private firm accountant, said he found the system helpful. “You don’t need to be highly-qualified to use it. When the electronic board displays your number, you head to the counter assigned to you. I also liked the fact that there are many seats there. Waiting for long periods of time can become tiresome. Senior citizens will benefit a lot from this initiative,” said Khatri.

Similarly, Nirav Daswani, a businessman, said that the process is really simple once you become familiar with it. “It simplifies the process of ticketing. There will be less chaos and people will be more disciplined. And, as there is no queue, there will be no jostling or quarrels,” Daswani said.

Railways officials said that the system was earlier introduced in metro cities and when it was found to be successful there, it was implemented in other parts of the country. An official said that a genuine customer will visit the reservation counter perhaps once a month if he is a businessman. Touts, on the other hand, tend to visit reservation centres several times a day. The biometric authentication system will help authorities identify the touts and distinguish between them and genuine customers, the official said.

Officials said that identifying touts and black-marketeers will be easy since the counters also have CCTV cameras installed. A person who is captured by the cameras regularly and whose biometric data is also recorded frequently could be a tout. Also those who just loiter at the centre but do not register their biometric data will be classified differently. “We are in the process of evaluating the data which has been recorded so far,” said a senior officer.
Source..Rail News

Stanley Babu appointed advisor to metro rail MD

HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL) seems to have become a rehabilitation centre for retired officers. Former general manager of South Central Railway TStanley Babu has been appointed advisor (railways) to the HMR managing director for a period of two years.

While the orders were issued a couple of days ago, he assumed charge on Monday. Babu had worked as advisor (railways) to the state government after his superannuation in 2005. He then moved to L&T Metro Rail as advisor for three years, which ended last month i.e., December 2013.

Sources said the advisor to the HMR managing director has a remuneration of Rs one lakh in addition to Rs 30,000 reimbursable expenditure per month. The advisor is also entitled to get facilities such as an official vehicle, mobile and other facilities applicable to the chief engineer rank officer of HMR.

"Considering his wide range of experience in metro rail projects in general and the Hyderabad metro rail project in particular as advisor during its conceptual stage, the HMR thought he would be useful for the project," an internal proceeding order by HMR said.

The project works were being executed by the developer L&T and not by the HMR. Sources said even for monitoring works, there was no necessity to appoint advisors as there were officials, including engineers, with the HMR.
Source - TOI

Eight More Metro Rail Coaches Reach Chennai from Brazil

One of the eight rakes being offloaded from the ship that arrived on Monday | R Satish Babu
One of the eight rakes being offloaded from the ship that arrived on Monday

Eight more rakes of Chennai Metro Rail train reached Chennai shores on Monday and are expected to be transported to the Rs 198 crore, state-of-the art depot on Tuesday night.

The eight sealed rakes were offloaded from the ship on Monday. They arrived from the Brazilian port of Santos.

With their arrival now, the Chennai Metro Rail yard will have five metro trains. Four more trains, imported from Brazil, are to reach the Chennai shore soon. They will also be shipped out in pairs, a Metro Rail spokesman said.

The coaches were transported from the vessel to Namakkal Transport Carriers (NTC) vehicles. NTC has a three-year contract with Chennai Metro Rail to transport the Metro Rail coaches from the port as well as Sri City to the yard.

A Metro Rail spokesman said that although the official inauguration of the Sri City plant is yet to happen, the first Chennai Metro train that is being built in Metro Rail coach making facility at the Sri City Special Economic Zone near Tada in Nellore district will be rolled out by the end of next month. NTC officials said that they have yet to be assigned the dates on when to ship the trains from Sri City.

The rail cars will be produced with an indigenisation level of around 35 per cent. It is believed the site design and construction of the plant is based on technology shared from Alstom’s global manufacturing facilities as well as its major transport hub in Lapa in Brazil from where the first metro train was rolled out.
Source - new indian express

Is London’s secret railway about to get back on track?

In a deserted station some 20 metres below the streets of London, engineer Ray Middlesworth turns his great brass key and the Post Office Underground Railway roars into life. The sound of the 1920s locomotive engine bounces off the peeling century-old brickwork as we rattle along the two-gauge track.

This subterranean railway is a forgotten relic, opened in 1927 to feed the Royal Mail trains that once criss-crossed the country, immortalised in WH Auden’s poem “Night Mail”. After 76 years of service, it fell out of favour and was mothballed in 2003.

Today, compared with the steam locomotives of Auden’s imaginings, the Mail Rail is a rattling old beast. It groans as we trundle through gaping tunnels only 2.7 metres in diameter, the sounds magnified by the train’s lack of a roof. Damp, dripping walls whistle past. At least, I am assured, there are no rats.

“You get the odd wanderer passing through, but we don’t have any living down here,” says Middlesworth, who has worked for Royal Mail for 40 years. “It’s because there’s no food here for them any more.”

So even vermin give these six-and-a-half miles of tunnels a wide berth these days. Since its closure, the Mail Rail, which once transported four million parcels a day beneath the crowded streets of the capital, has truly become a ghost railway. Only a skeleton staff is kept on to maintain its tunnels and keep out intruders – but that could be about to change.What was the world’s first driverless, electrified railway could soon be opened to the public as part of a new, £22 million national postal museum. The only snag is that the British Postal Museum and Archive needs another £2 milllion in donations by this spring to get the line up and running.

If the money, which will be match-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, is forthcoming, the line will be reopened in 2016 as a visitor ride along a loop of track running through Mount Pleasant.

It was here, in the bowels of the Royal Mail’s flagship sorting site in London, that I met Ray Middlesworth. As he led me into an elevator to take us far below street level, he admitted that many postal workers have no idea what is down here.

Under ground, we passed through the former train repair depot, a vast abandoned bunker. Only a few broken bars of Royal Mail “E & R” soap hint at the army of 200 staff that used to keep the train on the tracks 22 hours a day.

And yet the opening of the Mail Rail marked the completion of one of Britain’s last major construction projects before the Great Depression struck. Royal Mail staff enjoyed Christmas parties on its platforms, and during the Second World War the trains offered a vital means of communication while bombs rained on the streets above.

A precursor to the railway, which used air pressure to force mail cars through tiny tunnels, had opened in 1863. That closed a decade later, not least because Victorian gentlemen began using it for sport after an evening’s drinking. Then in 1911, an electric railway with driverless trains was recommended instead, and work to construct its tunnels began soon after. During the First World War, collections from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery were stored down here for safekeeping, although a shortage of metal meant it was another decade before the train could start running.

It passed through eight stations, from Paddington in the west to Whitechapel Road in the east. The driverless trains would hurtle along at 35mph, barring the occasional crash, with the tunnels and platforms a hive of activity.

“It was like a battleship – there was a real camaraderie,” says Darren Casey, an engineer with 25 years’ experience. “We would have all the different skills, carpenters, painters – we could do anything. It felt like we were part of a real community.”

Yet when sorting offices started to close and centralise, the Mail Rail fell out of use. On the Sunday morning of May 31, 2003, it was Ray Middlesworth who, at the end of a night shift, finally switched the power off. “I turned it down, walked out of Mount Pleasant, and that was it,” he says. “It would be nice to see some life breathed back into it again.”

His voice echoes in the tunnels. For now, at least, the Mail Rail belongs to the ghosts – and the odd waylaid rat.
Source - telegraph

Railways losing passengers due to rising fares, poor service

Indian Railways has seen a steady rise in its annual passenger traffic. But for the first time in the past 12 years, this growth has been derailed.

Improved roads and luxury Volvo buses without the waiting tag of the railways are eating into its passenger share. Such easy mode of transport has also become a hit with young and corporate travellers who want a confirmed seat for travel up to 8-10 hours, preferably at night, without the hassle of waiting for confirmation of your ticket/seat.

Railway Board officials have attributed passenger loss to "hike in fares, thrice in last one year, and also high cancellation charges, discouraging train travellers to book tickets in advance."

Unending delays, erratic cancellations and lack of 'quality service' on trains have also contributed to the slump in passenger figures. "It has always been steady with 1.6 to 2 per cent annual increase in passenger traffic in the past 10 years. But this year, it is showing a reverse trend; we have lost nearly 1.6 per cent up to December," said a senior Railway Board official, requesting anonymity.

"In non-suburban sectors, the loss of passenger traffic has been as high as 4 per cent, according to our own figures. Up to October this year, the passenger traffic figures for both suburban and non-suburban show a dip of 2.25 per cent," the official added.

This alarming trend was discussed at the latest General Managers' (GMs) conference held last week where the finances of the country's largest transporter provider came up for discussion.

A senior official said, "If you compare the prices of upper class travel, you are actually paying 25 per cent more than last financial year. On top of this, cancellation charges have been hiked by four times. Passengers are not taking chances."

But trains are still running packed? "They may be going full house but there are a lot of ticketless travellers on board for short distances which we have found in random vigilance raids ... that is another worry for railways," the official added.

The railway top brass has also admitted to losing a great chunk of its revenue to luxury buses which are "all over and available at all times". A senior railway official said, "We're also examining the loss of passenger traffic in South India where we're competing against high-end luxury buses which are fast and cheaper and available at all time. There are certain routes from Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and even Bhopal-Pune, Indore-Pune, Bhopal-Indore, Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Jammu that are fast catching up with bus lovers. It is cheaper than AC 2 fare."

One such big competition is RedBus, a company floated by some young entrepreneurs in South India. It has a tie-up with over 350 bus operators with Volvo service and has become a hit among travellers.

SOURCE - indiatoday





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