Feb 9, 2014

Technical study on proposed Thane Railway station extension to begin



THANE: Finally, the much-talked about proposed new Thane cstation and terminus at Kopri has gained momentum with the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) picking up expert technical consultant that would kick off further feasibility study on the project. The new proposed station, essentially an extension to the old station will come up between Mulund and Thane station.

TMC has zeroed in on a reputed consultant to carry forward the planning work at the proposed new station area in the campus of Thane regional mental hospital.

TMC has appropriated Rs 1.66 crore, to be directed to the consultant, as professional charges to submit a detailed report on the viability of the project, which will decongest the old Thane station. In the meantime, Central Railway has agreed to come up with a new station onexceptional case to reduce load on visibly saturated old station. With the short listing of the technical expert an agreement is yet to be inked between TMC and the consultant soon.

"The consultant will work on the planning stage of the project. The place where the terminus will come up belongs to the mental hospital which has 72 acres of land out of which 11 acres have been encroached upon. We asked the state government to allot us 10 acres of that land where we can plan the project," said a civic official.

A source revealed that the proposal was still confined to the four walls of the civic headquarters. "If this happens it's not far off to have another station in the periphery for the rapidly growing Thane city. We will find solace once it takes a shape," said a commuter.

The proposed new station will be just over a km away from the old one. According to TMC sources, on completion, all local trains would be operated from new station, connecting the proposed metro, whereas outstation trains would halt and depart from the existing facility on the lines of Kurla Terminus and Bandra as well.
Source..timesofindia

City Railway Station gets four escalators

Home Minister K.J. George, Minister for Railways M. Mallikarjun Kharge and South Western Railway General Manager Pradeep Kumar Saxena flagging off two express trains from Bangalore on Saturday. Among the passenger amenities that were inaugurated through remote control from Banaswadi Railway Station, included escalators at the Bangalore City Railway Station and road overbridge at Sarjapur. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Minister for Railways M. Mallikarjun Kharge inaugurated several passenger amenities through remote control from the Banaswadi Railway Station in Bangalore on Saturday. He also flagged off two express trains to Nagercoil (Train no. 17235/36) and Kamakhya (Train no. 12551/52).

After inaugurating four escalators at the Bangalore City Railway Station that have come up at a cost of Rs. 3 crore, he said that the facility would benefit senior citizens and people with disabilities. Bangalore was one among the 850 railway stations in the country that have got the escalator facility, he added.

The Minister inaugurated a road overbridge at Sarjapur Main Road. The project was taken up at a cost of Rs. 17.77 crore on December 2012. Mr. Kharge then laid the foundation stone for the MEMU (Main Line Electrical Multiple Unit) shed at Banaswadi.

The MEMU shed was sanctioned in the supplementary budget in December 2013, and it will come up at a cost of Rs. 11.83 crore, he said.

He said during his tenure as Union Railway Minister, he has sanctioned 10 new trains for the State.

He also pointed out that there were 26 ongoing railway projects that have been taken up at a cost of Rs. 23,125 crore. Of these, 16 projects are under 50:50 cost sharing basis between the State and the Centre. The land acquisition process is on for the remaining 10 projects.

Earlier, Home Minister K.J. George urged him to improve passenger amenities at the Banaswadi Railway Station, and provide a halt for all trains there. Mr. Kharge directed the South Western Railway General Manager P.K. Saxena to look into the demand for a canteen, waiting rooms and toilets at the Banaswadi Railway Station and fulfil the same.

MP D.B. Chandre Gowda, Transport Minister and city in-charge Ramalinga Reddy, chairperson of the Railway Passenger Amenities Committee Chalavadi T. Narayanaswamy, and Deputy Mayor Indira were among those present.
SOURCE..THE HINDU

Now automatic SMS after confirmation of Indian railway waitlisted tickets



Waitlisted passengers will soon get status messages in their mobile phones if their tickets get confirmed before journey.

A senior Railway Ministry official said the waitlisted passenger will get a SMS about the status of the ticket on the mobile phone number given at the time of ticket booking before the journey.

Currently, one has to either dial the enquiry number 139 or use the Internet to know the waitlisted ticket status. Others get to know the status of their tickets only after reaching stations.

"Once the SMS-based service is operational, passengers will get the updated status of their waitlisted tickets automatically," the official said, adding "only those passengers will get the message whose tickets get confirmed."

CRIS, the technological arm of Railways, is making the software for the SMS-based service.

IRCTC has already launched a system for booking tickets using mobile phones.
Source..financial express.

Strike threat: Railway board agrees to National Federation of Indian Railwaymen's demands


VADODARA: Railway Board has agreed on charter of demands put before it by National Federation of Indian Railwaymen (NFIR). NFIR, the railway union, had threatened to go on strike after taking a strike ballot last month in which over 97 per cent employees had voted in favour of general strike.

On Friday, railway board's chairman Arunendra Kumar and a member staff had a meeting with the railway employees union in which NFIR's general secretary M Raghavaiah, president Guman Singh and working president R P Bhatnagar represented NFIR.

During the meeting, the railway board agreed to NFIR's demand of scrapping the new pension scheme which was imposed from January 1, 2004. A special communication is being sent to ministry of finance with the approval of railway minister recommending scrapping of the scheme.

"The board has agreed for upgradation of track maintainers in the ratio of 6:12:22:60 to the track maintainers in grade pay Rs 2,800, Rs 2,400, Rs 1,900 and Rs 1,800 respectively," NFIR's vice-president and general secretary of Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh (WRMS) J G Mahurkar said.

"The board has agreed for granting appointment to wards of a railwaymen under the LARSGESS scheme by relaxing norms and the present condition of 20 years service in safety category will be relaxed to 20 years total service," he said.

Similarly, the board has also agreed to grant appointment under the LARSGESS scheme to employees of TRD, bridge, power staff, track machine staff and helpers working under permanent way inspectors in grade pay of Rs 1,800.

"Upgradation of 3,335 apex level group 'C' post to group 'B' gazetted will be pursued with Union Finance Ministry for clearance. The board has agreed to implement cadre restructuring of 2,50,000 employees without hurdle. Also, it has agreed to consider absorption of quasi administrative staff and to find out solution," he said.

The board has also agreed to constitute a joint committee for finalization of running staff problems within time frame.

Source..timesofindia

Railways losing cargo traffic to roads



The share of Indian Railways in cargo traffic is expected to go down by 2-3% this year against the current 36%. This is in sharp contrast to 2% increase targeted for the 12th Plan period. The key reason has been the lackluster performance of the Railways in setting up dedicated lines and centres for expanding business in commodities like steel and cement.

India is the fourth largest producer of steel in the world. The Railways even with the current growth of loading rate at 8.39% would carry less than half of the steel produced- about 40 million tonnes compared to the overall production of 96 million tonnes annually. India’s steel capacity would treble in the coming years but the Railways seem to be little prepared for the challenge.

Among the steel producers, only Steel Authority of India uses the Railways for transportation. Other major private players have switched to roads because of issues like cost, service, and connectivity. A senior official from the Planning Commission said there was an urgent need to capture the traffic at the Western Coast.

In the case of cement, the Railways' carrying capacity grew by about 1.84%, while the overall cement demand grew by about 8.2% this year, according to a report by ICRA Limited of 2013. Last year, the railway loading fell by 1.63%.

In 2008-09, Lalu Prasad Yadav, the then Railway Minister, had said, "The Railways will receive more than 100 million tonnes traffic every year from the cement industry and we are targeting a loading of 200 million tonne from cement industry in 2011-12." But four years later, the Railways carried only 105.82 MT in 2012-13 and would barely manage the figure this year.

There has been little progress on the construction of new lines that are part of the 10 identified big cement clusters in Nandyal-Yerraguntla, Jaggayyapet-Mallacheruvu and Vishnupuram-Janpahad.

Besides, the Railways has also missed the opportunity to tap automobile traffic. Automobile forms less than 1% of the Railway traffic. Each year, the Railways announces a policy revision for automobile traffic. It hopes for better performance. But the policy for its inherent flaws has never succeeded because of capacity and servicing issue, said Abhay Agarwal, Partner & Advisory, Ernst & Young.

Although the Railways has taken some initiatives for coal connectivity projects, the commodity specific focus is absent. The commodities that performed well this year are food grains and iron ore for export purposes. But fertilisers registered a dip of about -0.48% compared to last year. The coal traffic for public use has come down by about 4%. Experts have argued that less coal traffic is one of the key reasons for decline in average lead.

Senior railway officials do not agree on the loss of market share to roads. “We are only interested in long distance traffic. We might have lost some traffic but most of it is short distance," said a senior Railway official. But even in the long-distance, the performance has not been good with the lead, which gives the total distance on which a tonne of cargo has been carried, falling to just 622 kilometre during April-November 2013 against 642 km achieved during the same period last year and 636 km in 2012-13.

The drop in average lead shows that Railways is loosing traffic even on longer distances, says Agarwal.

Officials said the zonal railways were recently asked to aim at increasing the lead rather than just concentrating on meeting the originating loading targets. Experts, however, said though the Railways might well achieve their budget loading and earning targets, the continuous loss of traffic to the road sector underlines their under-performance.

 

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