Feb 22, 2014

Udaipur to be connected by broad gauge rail by March 2015

Agartala (AGTL): Udaipur, the headquarters of Gomati district, would be connected by broad gauge railway line by March next year, the Tripura Assembly was informed today.

State transport minister Manik De in a statement in the Assembly said the 413 km stretch of metre gauge line between Lumding in Assam to Agartala was being converted into broad gauge was on and would be completed by March, 2015. By that time, the track in broad gauge would be laid up to Udaipur. So, direct train service from Agartala to the entire country via Guwahati would be available by 2015.

De said Sabroom, the sub divisional border town in South Tripura district, 70 km from Udaipur would come into the railway map by the December of the next year. “If train can reach up to Sabroom, it would be easier to be connected with the Chittagong port in Bangladesh, which is just 75 km from the border town,” the minister said. The Chittagong port in Bangladesh is considered to be the best port in South-East Asia.

Source..Rail News

Railway stations in Bangalore City all set for makeover

Railway stations in the Bangalore City are set for a face-lift with additional facilities 
Bangalore (SBC):  While Bangalore City Railway Station will soon get an additional building and a foot-over-bridge (FOB) connecting platforms 1 to 10; Yelahanka Railway Station will get additional platforms, a foot over bridge, another building and escalators costing Rs 12 crore.
Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Bangalore Division Mr.A.K.Agarwal said in addition, construction of the building at a cost of Rs.3 crore has already begun and there would be 10-12 ticket booking counters, waiting halls, and parking facility for the convenience of passengers at the City railway station.
The railways have set up current reservation display systems which will enable passengers to know the seat availability even after the preparations of final charts at Bangalore City Railway Station and Yeshwanthpur Railway Station, Agarwal said.
Four to five LCDs are being put for advance reservations and the passengers will be able to see the availability of seats in specific trains and destinations 60 days in advance.
Row over land
Officials of Railways and BBMP are squabbling over a piece of land in K R Puram which belongs to the former and required by BBMP for widening the road. While an MoU was signed, till date the two agencies have not been able to arrive at an agreement.
Railways officials claim they have already handed over one part of the land. While the other has about two dozen residential quarter housing the railway staff, it is BBMP which has not honoured the MoU. Agarwal said many meetings have been held to sort this matter out but nothing has moved in a positive direction.
Mayor B S Sathyanarayna said “from our end there is no problem. We have handed over the land to railways. If there is an issue, railway officials can contact us directly.”
Tourism award 
Agarwal said Union Ministry of Tourism recently presented the National Tourism Award to Bangalore City Railway Station in the category of “Most Tourist-Friendly Railway Station” for 2012-13. The station bagged this award for having facilities like escalators, battery operated ferry carts, subway lifts, emergency medical facility and for providing other facilities for passengers.
The station is equipped with facilities such as 3 Non-AC and 2 AC waiting halls, 2 paid lounges, 13 Non-AC and 17 AC Retiring Rooms including deluxe & ultra-deluxe category, 66 bedded dormitories, information kiosks, battery operated ferry carts, subway lifts & escalators, emergency medical facility, dedicated windows for senior citizens and differently abled etc.
Source..Rail News

Pune Metro: Special Purpose Vehicel likely within a fortnight

Pune (PUNE): The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the city’s ambitious Pune Metro Rail Project (PMRP) will take shape within the next two weeks.

The officer-on-special duty of the PMRP, Shashikant Limaye, said that the SPV will oversee the entire project implementation and has to establish an organisation to execute the project on a daily basis.

While the State government will nominate six directors in the SPV, the Centre will have five members. All the 11 directors of the SPV will either be bureaucrats or experts of such mega projects.

The Centre had recently given its in-principle nod for the project that will cost about Rs.10,183 crore with the target date for completion being 2021.

The Metro Rail Project will cover a length of 31.51 kms along two corridors – Corridor 1 covering 16.59 kms from PCMC to Swargate and Corridor 2 covering 14.92 kms from Vanaz to Ramwadi.

“After the formation of the SPV, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between the Centre, the State government and the SPV. This MoU will be forwarded to the Planning Commission, Public Investment Board and if necessary, the cabinet, for the provision of funds to execute the project,” he added.

According to Limaye, the formation of the SPV is taking some time since the nod from the concerned officials and experts are needed for being on the board.

Since the municipal commissioners of both the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) have changed, the signatures of the new incumbents have to be taken as both of them would be part of the SPV’s board of directors.

While PMC commissioner Vikas Deshmukh has given his consent as the director of the SPV, PCMC commissioner Rajiv Jadhav’s signature is awaited.
Source..Rail News

L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail MD Gadgil receives PRCI Award

Hyderabad: V.B.Gadgil, chief executive and managing director of L&T Metro Rail (Hyderabad) Limited, has been honoured with Corporate Strategist of the Year Award by the Public Relations Council of India (PRCI).

The award was presented by Rajeshree Birla, director of the Aditya Birla group of industries, and Vithal Kamath, chairman and managing director of Orchid group of hotels, in Mumbai recently.

PRCI gives away this award to those who excel in their own field and contributed to social justice and made a difference to the nation in the last four years.

The award is also known as Chanakya Award.

On receiving the award, Gadgil said: “It is an honour to receive this award and I appreciate the PRCI for instituting Chanakya Awards to recognise the outstanding contributions made by corporates and individuals and their efforts to promote public relations at various levels.”
Source..Rail News


Source - http://employeenewscenter.blogspot.in/2014/02/do-not-be-income-tax-defaulter.html#.UwgxC2KSwYk

Rail industry outlines safety changes to ease crude-by-rail concerns

WASHINGTON – Railroads hauling crude oil will beef up inspections on their tracks and cut speeds to 40 mph while travelling through major metro areas – most trains already travel through the Fargo area at 35 mph – as part of a set of new industry-imposed changes outlined Friday.
The new safety initiatives, announced by the Association of American Railroads after weeks of discussion with federal railroad and hazardous materials regulators, are meant to address safety concerns after a year marked by several fiery accidents – including the Dec. 30 derailment in Casselton.
Huge growth in crude-by-rail shipments across the nation has been driven by the oil boom in North Dakota, where trains hauled 800,000 barrels per day out of the Bakken region late last year, according to estimates.
In a statement announcing the changes, AAR president and CEO Edward Hamberger said the railroad industry and the U.S. Department of Transportation “worked together to swiftly pinpoint new operating practices that enhance the safety of moving crude oil by rail.”
Among those voluntary changes:
• Starting March 25, railroads will start conducting additional inspections for internal rail flaws and geometric issues using high-tech equipment on routes that carry crude oil.
• Crude oil trains will be equipped with more effective braking systems by April 1.
• Later this year, the industry will use special software to ensure crude-by-rail shipments are moved on the safest routes possible.
• Railroad companies will help develop specific training for first responders to handle crude-by-rail accidents.
• Trains hauling crude in old tank cars – known for decades to be prone to punctures in derailments – will be slowed to 40 mph while moving through some of the nation’s largest metro areas, including the Twin Cities.
But the slew of changes don’t address the construction standards of the DOT-111 car, an older tank car model involved in the Casselton derailment, which spilled about 475,000 gallons of crude oil, and an accident in Quebec last summer that killed 47 people. There are more than 300,000 DOT-111s on the rails, 94,000 of which haul hazardous fluids such as crude oil and ethanol, according to the Railway Supply Institute.
While he commended the industry for taking steps to address safety concerns, Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., highlighted the need for updated tank car standards in a news release.
The Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is in the middle of a rulemaking process that may require older models to be retrofitted or phased out of service, but that isn’t expected to conclude until sometime in 2015.
Hoeven also called for measures to ensure oil is properly classified – an issue federal regulators highlighted during inspections at loading facilities in the Bakken region in 2011 and 2012.
BNSF, which hauls the majority of the crude moving out of the Bakken region, said in a statement it “strongly supports the new voluntary commitments to further reduce risk in the movement of crude oil by rail.”
Source..Rail News

Deal Reached on Crude-by-Rail Safety Rules

Federal regulators and the rail industry said Friday they agreed to new voluntary measures aimed at making it safer to ship crude oil by rail, including increased track inspections and lower speed limits in some urban areas.

The agreement comes a little more than a month after federal regulators and the rail and petroleum industries met to discuss enhancing safety measures after several recent accidents involving tank cars containing crude—including a fiery derailment in Quebec last July that killed 47 people.

"Safety is our top priority, and we have a shared responsibility to make sure crude oil is transported safely from origin to destination," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement.

Federal regulators have been investigating a series of accidents involving exploding tank cars filled with crude from the Bakken oil fields. While crude oil is considered hazardous, it isn't usually explosive. Derailments by trains—typically caused by track or equipment problems—have triggered the accidents.

Safety measures addressed at the meeting also included sharing information on the composition of crude from the Bakken shale, which the government has warned may be more explosive than other types of crude, as well as examining adding new safety features for tank cars that carry crude.

One thing holding up the process in documenting the composition of the crude is a lack of hard data provided to the DOT by the American Petroleum Institute, which says it's still collecting information from its members.

Most of the new rail rules, scheduled to be in place by July 1, hammered out by the Transportation Department and the Association of American Railroads apply to trains with at least 20 carloads of crude.

"We share the administration's vision for making a safe rail network even safer, and have worked together to swiftly pinpoint new operating practices that enhance the safety of moving crude oil by rail," said AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger.

Major railroads, including the two biggest Canadian railroads, have pledged to lower speed limits to 40 miles an hour for crude-oil trains with at least one older car traveling in any high-risk areas. Crude trains currently have a speed restriction of 50 mph.

The rail industry has also agreed to add technology that would enable crews to apply emergency brakes from both ends of the train, allowing the train to stop more quickly. Railroads will also start using new routes around high-risk areas, as determined by a risk-management system.

In a letter after the meeting last month, the DOT's Mr. Foxx said that the American Petroleum Institute agreed to "share expertise and testing information…about characteristics of crude oil in the Bakken region" within 30 days.

"API has not yet provided us with the requested data," DOT Chief of Staff Sarah Feinberg said. "Their press statements earlier this week indicate that they do plan to share data with us, and we continue to expect them to do so. In the meantime, we remain committed to taking steps as needed to ensure that this product is transported in the safest possible manner."

American Petroleum Institute President and CEO Jack Gerard said it is taking actions including developing a comprehensive standard for testing, classification, loading and unloading of crude oil. He also said it will continue to work with the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and other representatives from the DOT to share information and expertise on crude oil characteristics.

The institute hasn't historically collected data on oil characteristics, he added.

The API has met with PHMSA, and "there's clearly an exchange of information, of data," Mr. Gerard said. "From our perspective, we're committed to collaboration."

—Russell Gold 
contributed to this article.

Source..Rail News

UPDATE 1-US rail adopts new safety measures for oil on the tracks

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Many oil-by-rail shipments will slow down through urban areas and track inspections will increase on high-traffic areas in response to a string of fiery derailments in the last several months, the American Association of Railroads said on Friday.

The rail industry agreed to the voluntary measures in consultation with the U.S. Department of Transportation, which has been trying to prevent future mishaps.

Among the steps, large cargoes of oil will be fitted with new braking technology meant to prevent a pile-up on the tracks in case of a derailment.

That measure will be in place by April and by July, many large shipments of crude oil will abide by a 40-mph speed limit (64 kph) in urban areas, the American Association of Railroads (AAR) said.

The safety of existing tank cars has come under particular scrutiny, and the rail industry trade group said that it would take more care with the DOT-111 model - the workhorse for oil-by-rail shipments.

Trains will abide by the lower speed in urban areas if an older model DOT-111 is on the chain of tank cars in that shipment, the AAR said.

Also of particular concern is fuel produced out of new energy patches like North Dakota's Bakken region where rail transport has surged ahead alongside oil production.

Bakken oil shipments could be more flammable and prone to explosion than crude oil from other regions, officials have said, and regulators are trying to better understand the risk of carrying that fuel on the tracks.

Earlier in the week, the American Petroleum Institute said that it will work to improve testing and classification of oil-by-rail shipments.

"Safety is a shared responsibility among all energy-supply-chain stakeholders," AAR President and CEO Edward Hamberger said in a statement.

In a letter to the association this week, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said "the rapid increase in the production and transportation of crude oil requires additional vigilance."

Early this month, the DOT fined three North Dakota oil companies $93,000 for wrongly classifying fuel shipments out of the state.

A DOT official said on Friday that officials are still studying crude shipments out of North Dakota and that further regulatory and enforcement action could be taken in the coming weeks.

Source..Rail News

Penalties needed for delayed rail shipments: Alberta agriculture minister

EDMONTON - Alberta's agriculture minister says it's time to impose cash penalties on railway companies for their role in bottlenecks that are stifling the shipment of grain and other commodities.

Verlyn Olson says shippers and handlers all along the line are paying steep fines for missing deadlines but railways are exempt.

Olson says he will be raising the issue and looking for other solutions when he talks with federal and provincial counterparts in the coming days.

He admits there is no magic solution to the grain backlog, but adds that shared responsibility and penalties are a good start.

Snow and cold have contributed to delays, but farmers say rail shippers are also giving oil, potash and coal a higher priority than grain.

Olson says extreme weather is a factor, but not an excuse given everyone has to plan and make allowances for the Canadian winter.

Many parts of the Prairies enjoyed a record harvest last fall, but some crops are still sitting in fields because of rail transport problems.

Source..Rail News

AIRF Demanding Merger of 100% Dearness Allowance with Basic Pay

New Delhi: February 21, 2014 - All India Railwaymen’s Federation(AIRF) has addressed the issue of merger of 100% Dearness Allowance with Basic Pay for all purposes w.e.f. 01.01.2014 to Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and the Finance Minister, Government of India, as Dearness Allowance will cross 100%. Unfortunately, there is no heed to this issue despite agitations at length over the Indian Railways by the AIRF. 

It is also unfortunate that due 10% Dearness Allowance w.e.f. 1st January, 2014 has still not been announced by the Government of India. 

AIRF earnestly requests the Government of India to immediately announce Dearness Allowance w.e.f. 1st January, 2014 all along with merger of 100% Dearness Allowance with Basic Pay. 

Source - For General Secretary 
All India Railwaymen’s Federation





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