Feb 24, 2014

Time for new rail blood

Laing O’Rourke wants to become a major player in the UK rail sector and believes it can bring new ideas to the industry.

Right track: Experience in Australia can be translated to the UK

These days, it is not unusual to see Laing O’Rourke’s name on the hoardings at station construction and redevelopment sites. However, according to the company’s infrastructure director Arith Liyanage, that name may soon become familiar elsewhere on the rail network as well.

“In the rail space we’ve been focusing on station development,” he says. “What we’ve been working on over the last couple of years is to expand our expertise in stations and construction, and also looking at the opportunities in rail systems.

“I see no reason why we shouldn’t be delivering track, electrification, power and signalling.”

Off-site manufacturing translates really well to rail. It creates something engineered that can then be dropped into place without disruption

The company’s credentials in major station construction cannot be doubted, especially in London. It was involved in both the St Pancras and Farringdon Thameslink stations and is currently working on three Crossrail stations - Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road and Custom House - as well as upgrading Bond Street station for London Underground.

The firm also worked for Canary Wharf Contractors building the platforms and box for Canary Wharf’s new Crossrail station.

Liyanage says the obvious next step for Laing O’Rourke is to expand into the railway network side of the industry, something that is not as big a leap as might be imagined by those who only know the company for its buildings expertise.

In 2006, Laing O’Rourke bought Australian contracting business Barclay Mowlem from Carillion, and with it some major rail projects in the region.

“Barclay Mowlem has a wide scope of activities, including heavy rail engineering, such as track and electrification,” explains Liyanage.

“A lot of the expertise in the Australian market comes from expat Brits, and the rail specifications there are very similar to the UK’s, so we can easily bring people back to work in the UK.”

Liyanage himself was managing director of Carillion’s rail business in the UK for three years before joining Laing O’Rourke in 2011, so knows how the industry here works. But his approach is not to try to turn Laing O’Rourke into a traditional rail contractor; he wants to bring the firm’s strengths from the construction business into the rail sector - strengths like off site manufacture and directly employed operatives.

“What makes us unique is that we have invested heavily in off site manufacture,” says Liyanage, describing the firm’s manufacturing facility at Steetley in the East Midlands as “like an automotive factory manufacturing construction”.

Here the company has made platforms for Canary Wharf station, and built the entire structure of Custom House station before transporting it to site in east London.

“We have traditionally done it [off site manufacture] in the building industry because there has been a shortage of labour, and you get a drop off in quality as a result of that shortage,” explains Liyanage.

“But it translates really well to the railway in terms of creating something engineered that is manufactured off site, and can then be dropped into place overnight without disrupting the operational railway.”
Digital engineering

Another area of investment is what the company calls “digital engineering” - a term it thinks is more appropriate than “building information modelling” (BIM).

“Effectively we come up with design solutions in the digital environment and pass them on to the manufacturing facility for them to deliver,” says Liyanage, adding that the rail sector has traditionally had a lot of waste in its processes, often resulting from reworking on site when components do not fit exactly, or are difficult to install.

“In electrification, for example, there are huge coordination and clash issues,” he says. “That is perfect for digital modelling.”

Liyanage says that Laing O’Rourke’s 5,000-strong directly employed labour force, together with its pool of specialist equipment, can also play a part in making the UK rail industry more efficient.

He says that some of the accidents that have happened in the rail industry can, in part, be blamed on the desegregation of labour, with too much distance between the people commissioning the work and those actually carrying it out on the ground.

Directly employed operatives, he says, give the company the chance to drive up control quality, enabling teams to become “engineering professionals on site - rather than old fashioned builders”.

Traditionally in the UK, rail has been seen as a specialist discipline, distinct and different from other sectors of the construction industry. But Liyanage says there is much that can be leant from other types of construction, and there should be more crossover between sectors - be it in the way projects are procured and managed or the expertise of the operatives on the ground.

“A railway is a system,” explains Liyanage. “You have structures; you have an operational railway; you have control systems in the form of signals, etcetera. In that sense, it’s very similar to commissioning a building with all its different disciplines, and there are a lot of crossovers between the two sectors.

“Where we can bring some benefit is that the building sector is largely private sector driven, so there is a greater emphasis on delivery - making it faster, better, and smarter,” he adds. “Obviously we do need to be mindful that there is an operational railway to run, and the severity of what can go wrong is greater, but I do think that bringing the right mindset to the railway is important.”

One reason why Liyanage believes new thinking is needed in the rail sector is that there are not enough people in the industry to carry on doing things the way they have been done for the last 15 years.

“With the amount of work in [Network Rail’s next spending period] Control Period 5, as well as Crossrail and possibly Crossrail 2, there is going to be more spend than the major tier one contractors have the capacity to deliver,” he says.

Add in what Liyanage calls “the McNulty efficiency factor” - a reference to the 2011 report by Sir Roy McNulty that called for a 20% to 30% efficiency improvement in the rail industry - and, he says, “the only way you can deliver is to increase the supply market and do something different through innovation”.

“Our company culture is very much about innovation, and we do a lot of collaboration,” Liyanage adds. “We would like to see ourselves as a potential new tier one contractor to complement the existing contractors in the sector.”

Our company culture is very much about innovation, and we do a lot of collaboration

One way to make the industry more efficient, he says, is to bring in more alliancing and collaboration. Since Laing O’Rourke entered the Australian rail market, it has seen a real shift from traditional contracting to collaboration and alliancing, and Liyanage believes this could bring significant efficiency, cost and quality improvements to the UK rail sector.

It is an attitude that is gaining traction with Network Rail, as evidenced by the formation last year of the UK rail sector’s first “pure construction alliance” to deliver the £250M Stafford Area Improvement Programme on the West Coast Main Line. Laing O’Rourke is a member of that alliance, along with Network Rail, Atkins and Volker Rail.

The alliance - based on a model from Australia - was put together to remodel and re-signal the line’s complex layout through Stafford and build a new flyover to separate commuter, freight and inter-city services. All four parties in the alliance will share the benefits and the risks on the project, working in an integrated “one team” structure.

When the alliance was announced last year, Network Rail infrastructure projects managing director Simon Kirby described this type of collaborative approach as “the natural way forward for contracting within Network Rail and indeed the wider rail industry”.

“By adopting a common focus and shared approach with our industry partners, this will ultimately help to drive down costs, reduce risk and lead to the more efficient and timely delivery of major projects such as Stafford,” he added.
Alliancing ideal

Liyanage says that alliancing is ideal for the rail sector because of the number of stakeholders involved.

“That’s very different from a construction project,” he says. “In a construction project you can define the needs and requirements and turn that into discrete pieces of work to be done in discrete areas - then you go out and pass the risk onto a contractor who can manage all the interfaces.

“You can’t do that on operational rail projects. Everything you do has an impact on the operational railway,” he adds, explaining that the best way to come to an efficient solution is for the network operator and all the appropriate stakeholders to be part of the team developing the solution, in an alliance.

I accept that, outside of stations and civil engineering, we’re seen as a new player; but we’re ready to show what we can do

The imperative for the rail industry to change is there, Liyanage believes, as the number of major construction schemes coming up in the UK alone could leave the rail sector competing for scarce resources.

“I have certainly detected in the last two years that Network Rail and, to some extent London Underground, see themselves as part of the wider infrastructure sector, and understand that the infrastructure sector in the UK has lots of major projects that will suck in resources,” he says, citing the forthcoming Hinkley Point C nuclear power station, Crossrail and Thames Tideway tunnel as examples, as well as a reinvigorated roads building programme.

“They have accepted that, as an industry, we do need to work together in a much more coordinated way.”

Liyanage is keen to break down some of the barriers that have prevented operatives from moving between rail jobs and building or civils work, believing that there is no reason his firm’s directly employed workforce should not develop the skills to work throughout the infrastructure sector.

“We have plans to up-skill and cross-skill our guys to work in the rail sector,” he says. “If we can make it work, we’d like to bring operatives across from construction that are multi-skilled. I know that’s easier said than done, but it would be great to have operatives who can move across from one to another.”

With Network Rail’s next five year spending period about to begin, and other major rail projects under way throughout the UK, Liyanage feels Laing O’Rourke is absolutely ready to win its share of the work on offer. “I accept that, outside of stations and civil engineering, we’re seen as a new player; but we’re ready to show what we can do,” he says.

Manchester metrolink: Extending the city’s tram system

Sliding: Two new 580t bridges were slid into place

Laing O’Rourke has been consolidating its place on the UK rail industry map during a seven year programme to build the third phase of the Manchester Metrolink light rail system.

The company is one of three firms in the MPT joint venture that has carried out £900M of work since being appointed by Transport for Greater Manchester back in 2007, along with Volker Rail and Thalys.

Over that period the project grew considerably, until it became third only to the Olympics and Crossrail in scale, with construction spend reaching a peak of £1M every two days. In all, the network has been extended by the addition of 60km of new track and 55 new tram stops.

MPT says the project has included excavating around 600,000m3, 97% of which has been recycled and not sent to landfill; over 8,000t of reinforcement has been fixed; and 164,000m3 of concrete placed to construct the new track slabs and structures.

The extension includes 150 new or existing structures, including two new 580t bridges over the M60 and M56 motorways. Over 100 existing railway structures have been refurbished, renewed or replaced, and new underpasses have been constructed to route the Metrolink under major local highways, including the Manchester Inner Relief Road and Ringway Road outside the airport. A new multi-span viaduct has been constructed to carry the Metrolink across the Mersey Valley.

One of the major challenges posed by the project was to see how tram stops could be built more safely and economically. Laing O’Rourke’s off site manufacturing facility provided the answer, with the factory used to construct 2,900 precast modular concrete units that were taken to site and assembled.

2 rail link projects in J&K awaiting sanction: Minister

Jammu and Kashmir government today said reports on railway projects to connect Jammu to Poonch and Baramulla to Kupwara have been submitted to the Railway Board, but are yet to be sanctioned. 

"Reports on railway projects connecting Jammu-Poonch (Jammu region) and Baramulla-Kupwara (Kashmir region), based on a preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey carried out by the Northern Railways Construction Organization, have been submitted to the Railway Board, Union Ministry of Railways," Minister for Planning and Development Ajay Kumar Sadhotra said while replying to a Calling Attention Notice by Shehnaz Ganai in the Legislative Council today. 

"The projects have not yet been sanctioned," he said. 

The minister said these railway lines were very essential for the socio-economic progress and the state government was taking up the matter with the Union government for an early start of these projects.

Borders Railway: Price and times of services revealed

Train ticketsTransport Scotland has unveiled the proposed pricing for the Borders to Edinburgh railway
Transport Scotland has unveiled the times and prices of services on the Borders to Edinburgh railway which is due to reopen in 2015.

It said the plans, subject to sign-off from the industry, meant passengers should be able to travel "end-to-end" for less than £10.

It described the announcement as an "exciting milestone" for the project.

Transport Scotland said the average fare across the line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank would be just £3.50.

Passengers using the existing stations on the route - Newcraighall and Brunstane - should find their fares maintained at current levels.

There will be two trains per hour in each direction throughout peak times with an hourly service on Sundays.

World rail infrastructure market February 2014

Australia: Aurizon has awarded Leighton Contractors an A$100m contract to build a train maintenance and stabling facility at Hexham in the Hunter Valley by March 2015.

Austria: ÖBB has awarded the ATF consortium of Implenia and Swietelsky the €623m Lot 2.1 contract to build the 13 km central section of the 27·3 km Semmering base tunnel. Work is expected to take 10 years.

Wiener Linien has awarded Porr three contracts totalling €68m for signalling, station and related works on the metro Line U1 extension.

Brazil: Build-operate concessionaire CCR has awarded Egis a €12m systems integration contract for construction of the Salvador metro. Egis will work with local subcontractor MCA on project management.

China: MTR Corp has awarded Alstom a €41m contract to install 22 km of 25 kV electrified track including 6 km in depots and sidings for the Shatin – Central Link in Hong Kong.

Czech Republic: SŽDC has awarded a consortium of Subterra and Metrostav a KC1·0bn contract for modernisation of eský Tšín station by 2016, including works to increase the maximum line speed to 150 km/h.

France: Tata Steel has won contract to supply more than 200 000 tonnes of rail to SNCF over two years.

Germany: DB has agreed five rail supply framework contracts with ArcelorMittal (a total of 1995 km) and Voestalpine (1125 km).

Siemens is to supply interlockings for the rail network at the port of Bremen.

India: Ircon has awarded Hindustan Construction Co a Rs4·43bn contract to build a tunnel and two bridges for the link between the isolated Kashmir line and the wider network.

Italy: RFI has awarded an Alstom-led consortium a €120m contract for signalling renewals and the provision of Iconis control technology at Roma.

Netherlands: ProRail has awarded Strukton and VenhoevenCS a design and build contract for the rebuilding of Alkmaar station.

Norway: Sporveien Oslo has awarded Siemens Rail Automation a contract to supply signalling and train control equipment for the new Avløs metro depot. Siemens will supply its Trackguard Westrace and axle-counters, to be controlled from Tøyen using Controlguide Westcad.

Hordaland council has awarded Rhomberg Sersa Rail Group a €19m contract to build 7 km of double track and 6 km of depot tracks for the Bergen Bybanen airport extension between April 2014 and mid-2016. Around 90% will be ballasted track and 10% slab.

Poland: Fijakowski has won a 43·5m złoty contract 59% funded by the EU to modernise the main building at Toru Gówny station, which PKP SA has transferred to the city council. Works should be completed by May 2015.

Russia: Evraz has begun large-scale production of R65 DT-350 head-hardened rail for RZD.

Sweden: VR Track has been awarded a €76m contract to maintain the Nässjö – Arlöv section of the Stockholm – Malmö main line for five years from October.

Nexans is to be the main supplier of cables to Trafikverket under a two-year framework contract worth around €16m.

Thailand: SRT has awarded Italian Thai Development a 348m baht contract for track upgrading between Ban Tungpo Junction and Khiri Rat Nikhom.

Turkey: TCDD has selected a Kolin Gülermak naat joint venture to double-track the Konya – Karaman line under a contract valued at €146m.

USA: Ansaldo STS is to supply interlockings and control equipment worth $20·5m for Long Island Rail Road’s 70 km Speonk – Montauk line.

ABB is to install a second Enviline energy storage and recovery system on Septa’s Market – Frankford line. This will use both supercapacitors and batteries to store regenerated power, which can be fed back into the supply grid.
Source..railway gazette

New rail line will be ready in three years: Kharge

Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister for Railways, laid foundation stone for Chikmagalur-Sakaleshpur railway line in Chikmagalur on Sunday.

State government and Railways to work on Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur line on cost-sharing basis

M. Mallikarjun Kharge, Railway Minister, here on Sunday said that the new Chikmagalur-Sakleshpur rail line project would be completed in three years’ time. Land acquisition for the project has begun; the State government has released Rs. 15 crore to the Chikmagalur Deputy Commissioner.

He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for the project.

The project, valued at Rs. 645 crore, is being taken up on a cost-sharing basis by the State government and Indian Railways.

While the State will contribute Rs. 352.77 crore, the Railways will provide Rs. 292.33 crore. The 47-km line passes through Hadihalli, Belur, Bikkodu, Masavalli, and Halsugipetta to reach Sakleshpur.

Mr. Kharge said as Minister for Railways he had attempted to improve rail connectivity and services in the State. “We have announced only those projects which are practically viable,” he said.

Responding to the demand for a direct train between Chikmagalur and Bangalore, Mr. Kharge said he had announced a daily express between the two cities via Kadur. “I have announced 85 new trains. The Bangalore-Chikmagalur train is among them. All these trains will commence in the coming financial year,” he said.

Stating that Indian Railways was catering to over 800 crore passengers a year, Mr. Kharge said that enough attention was being given to passenger safety and increasing services.

D.H. Shankarmurthy, Chairman of the Legislative Council, opined that the Railway Ministry would have to use the public-private partnership model to complete ongoing works. “In total, Rs. 23,000 crore is required to complete ongoing projects in Karnataka. Even if Rs. 1,000 crore is earmarked every year, another 23 years are required to complete all works. Instead, the Railways should go for private-public partnership to execute its projects,” he said.
Source..The HIndu

50% DA MERGER - Impact of Merger of 50% Dearness Allowance with Basic Pay

Any possible to convert 50% of dearness allowance to dearness pay..!

Everyone's pointing fingers at "Parliament Election"...! 

50% of dearness allowance had been merged with basic pay for Central Government Employees and Pensioners with effect from 1.4.2004. This was followed the recommendation of 5th Central Pay Commission and the Union Government had decided to merge 50% of dearness allowance with baisc pay and issued orders on 1.3.2004.  (61% - 50% = 11%) 50% of dearness allowance merged with basic pay and remaining 11% had been issued as normal dearness allowance with effect from 1.1.2004.

Example : An employee's Basic Pay had revised as under on 1.1.2004 after 50 % DA merged with basic pay...

Basic PayDearness allowance 61%TotalBasic PayDearness PayRemaining percentage of Dearness allowance 11%TotalDifference









[And the next instalment of additional dearness allowance from 1.7.2004 declared as 3%, then the total dearness allowance went up to 14%. When implementation of 6th CPC, the above employee's basic pay was 4200 as on 1.1.2006, it just multiply with 1.86 and add with corresponding grade pay.]

Everybody thinking as more benefit on 50% of DA merge with basic pay...not like that..!

It is essential to CG Employees, of course for others, getting from some other way in hike in regular income...

For Example, an employee's basic pay Rs.10000 as on 1.1.2011, after merging of 50% dearness allowance the calculation is clearly shows the difference only 50 rupees per month...

Basic PayDearness allowance 51%TotalBasic PayDearness PayRemaining percentage of DA 1%TotalDifference









"Note that the 50% of Dearness allowance will not merged with basic pay, instead of the amount showing only as 'Dearness Pay'. This amount will pay upto only the date of implementation of 7th pay commission. 

This is only as a advance hike for all employees before the implementation of 7th CPC. 

When fixation of pay on the recommendations of 7th CPC on 1.1.2016 according to the revised pay rules, the amount of ‘basic pay’ will be taken without dearness pay. 

For example, approximately basic pay of the above employee will be 12,250 as on 1.1.2016 . This amount only will be taken as Basic Pay for the calculation of pay fixation against the amount of 18,375. 

The enhanced amount will be given for us as ‘Interim Relief’ for the period between announcement and implementation...It is not at all merged with ‘Basic Pay’..!

We can hear, what about hike in HRA and other entitlements...

The rate of HRA is provided according to the cities, like 10, 20 and 30%. Don't think all Central Govt Employees are getting 30%. And one more important points is the percentage hike in HRA will not applicable to those who are living in Government Quarters. In major metropolitan cities, thousands of employees are residing with Government Accommodation. They will pay more as HRA to Government and they don’t bother about increasing in HRA. 

Transport Allowance is providing according to their GP and classified cites, the amount is vary from 400 to 3200 plus DA thereon. The DA amount may decrease when 50% of DA merged with basic pay. 

So, ultimately hike in Basic pay only the factor is more beneficial in DA Merger.

But in 6th CPC there was no recommendation to convert dearness allowance as dearness pay each time the CPI increase by 50% over the base index recommended in pay commission report. 

All Central Government employees federations are showing maximum effort to achieve the demand of "Merger of 50% Dearness Allowance with Basic Pay" at this time. 

 Federations sources said, there will be chance to announce before March...!
Source: 90paisa

Railroads agree to increase oil train safety

ALBANY—The nation's major freight railroads announced Friday that they have voluntarily agreed to a series of measures to increase the safety of rail transport for crude oil.

Railroad companies will lower the speed of crude oil trains through populated areas, increase community outreach and improve emergency response training. The changes come in the wake of a series of train explosions in the last year that have killed dozens and, in some cases, forced towns to evacuate. Communities across the country, including Albany, are raising concerns about the increased number of trains carrying explosive crude from the Bakken shale of North Dakota.

“Safety is a shared responsibility among all energy-supply-chain stakeholders,” said Edward Hamberger, the president of the Association of American Railroads, in a statement. “We will continue to work with our safety partners – including regulators, our employees, our customers and the communities through which we operate – to find even more ways to reinforce public confidence in the rail industry’s ability to safely meet the increased demand to move crude oil.”

The agreement was reached with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Under the terms, railroads will increase track inspections, improve brakes so they can stop trains faster, study the safety and security of routes, as well as increase funding for emergency response training and capability. The industry will still essentially police itself, as there will be no inspectors to check if the new standards are followed.

In addition, train speeds will be reduced to less than 40 miles per hour through federally designated high-threat urban areas. That includes Buffalo and New York City, but not Albany, which is a major hub for crude by rail transportation in the state. The measures will be in place by April and July.

Governor Andrew Cuomo has issued an executive order to examine rail safety in New York, and a report is expected by April.

The agreement does not address one of the most significant challenges facing the crude by rail industry, which is the DOT-111 train cars. Federal regulators have deemed the cars unsafe, but they still carry the vast majority of the oil transported by rail. Some companies are attempting to phase out the cars on their own, including Texas-based BNSF Railway, which agreed to purchase 5,000 of the safer cars this week. Some refiners have also said they will phase out the more dangerous cars in the next few months.

An additional agreement with the industry on improved rail car safety could come as soon as next week.
Source-capitalnew york

Kharge lays foundation for Chikmagalur-Sakleshpura Railway line

Chikmagalur-Kadur-Bangalore Express service has been included in budget
Chikmagalur: Union Minister for Railways Mallikarjuna Kharge has said that the work on 47 km-long Chikmagalur – Sakleshpura broad gauge railway line will be taken up in cost sharing basis with State governments and Union government each sharing 50 per cent of the cost of the project. The project will be completed in three years.

Speaking to mediapersons after laying foundation for the Chikmagalur – Sakleshpura broad gauge railway line here on Sunday, he said that the state government will give free land and Rs 352 crore required for the project. The Railways will bear Rs 292 crore. The total cost of the project is Rs 644 crore.

“As the State government had shown keen interest in taking up the project in cost sharing basis, the Railways could take up lot of works. Similarly, governments in Andhra Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthana have agreed for taking up project in cost sharing basis. To reduce level crossing, the railways have taken up ROBs and RUBs across the country on priority basis.

“Before I took charge as the Minister, the State was getting only Rs 700 crore. Now, it has been doubled. Modernisation of railway lines, railway station and upgradation of platforms have been taken up at a cost of Rs 1,300 crore. Along with announcing new trains to Karnataka, additional Rs 120 crore has been earmarked. A few railway line works could not be initiated owing to technical glitches in the country.”

Kharge said that highest trains have been announced to the State in the interim budget. Karnataka will get 17 Jai Hind Expresses. Chikmagalur-Kadur-Bangalore Express service has been included in the budget. The train will be started during 2014-15.”

The railways security deposit was zero in 2010-11, 2011-12. Now, the profit has been increased from Rs 7,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore. The security deposit is likely to be increased to Rs 13,000 crore in the next budget.

High speed train

The railways have proposed to start a high speed train in India. “The railways have already entered into a talk with Japan Internal Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is planning to start high speed train services between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The Maharashtra government has given its nod for the proposal. A joint survey is in progress. If it is viable, then we are planning to extend it till New Delhi. A sum of Rs 67,000 crore would be required to implement the project. The final decision will be taken after the joint survey is complete.”

Kharge said that work on constructing maintenance facilities at the Binny Mill land adjacent to the Bangalore City railway station would commence within a few. The railways have purchased the land at Rs 80 crore.

There are demands for introducing new trains from Bangalore to connect to other parts of the country. “There is lack of space in the railways station. Hence, the maintenance facilities will be shifted, to increase the platforms.”

MP Jayaprakash Hegde, Council Chairperson D H Shankaramurthy, MLA C T Ravi , District-in-Charge Minister Abhayachandra Jain among others were present at the occasion. Kharge handed over keys of tourist taxis to beneficiaries under SEP and TSP project. Jain laid foundation for Pradhanmanthri Gram Sadak Yojane on the occasion.

Source-Rail News

Historic Pamban bridge turns 100 today

Pamban (PBM): The historic Pamban Railway Bridge, India’s first cantilever bridge, that connects Rameshwaram island in Tamil Nadu to mainland India turns 100 on Monday.

The 143 piers, 2.06 km engineering marvel was the country’s longest bridge until 2010 when the 2.3-km Bandra-Worli sea link in Mumbai was thrown open for traffic.

Vying for a spot in UNESCO’s world heritage list, the bridge is listed in the “10 Most Dangerous Railroads” and “10 Most Amazing Train Routes” of the world. Located in a highly corrosive environment, the bridge was constructed by more than 600 workers between August 1910 and December 1913.

“Workers from the Kutch region of Gujarat, who had experience in working with the Himalayan Railways were brought to Pamban for excavation and erection work, while the bridge structures and equipment were brought from England,” a senior official with the Southern Railway said. The official said the bridge rests on an artificial sandstone reef. “More than 5,000 tonnes of cement, 18,000 cft of crushed metal stone and over 2,500 tonnes of steel were used. The bridge was constructed in such a way that the middle portion could open up like a pair of scissors to allow vessels to pass under the bridge,” the official added. The 65.23-metre-long rolling central lift span was named after Scherzer, a German engineer who designed and built the span.

The famous Boat Mail ran on this track between 1915 and 1964 from Madras-Egmore up to Dhanushkodi, where passengers were ferried to Talaimannar in Ceylon.

According to railway sources, on an average, 10 to 15 boats and small ships pass beneath the bridge every month.
Source-Rail News

Mallikarjun Kharge flags off three new trains from Mangalore

Mangalore (MAQ): Union minister for railways Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday February 23 flagged off three trains at Mangalore Cental railway station.

The three trains were Mangalore Central – Madgaon Inter-city Express, Mangalore-Kachiguda biweekly Express, and Mangalore-Bhatkal DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit).

Addressing the gathering, Kharge said, “We have included three more trains in the interim budget which will connect the coastal region to other parts. We have also included 75 new trains in all for the benefit of the people, and they will be introduced by June this year.”

On plans to upgrade Central railway station to world class standards, he said the survey work for such upgrading is already over in Mangalore, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kolkatta stations, and the proposal has been sent to the railway board for approval. He added that the savings from revenue generated from Mangalore Central railway station will also be utilized for the station’s infrastructure development.

“Two escalators and elevators will be constructed for the benefit of the aged, children and physically challenged people at the Central railway station,” he added.

On increasing the number of trains between Mangalore and Bangalore, he said, “Already two trains are running successfully on this route. There are technical limitations to increasing the number of trains, as we need to get clearance from the commissioner of railway safety department. We have already sent them a proposal and they are in the process of studying it. The safety department is an independent body and we have to follow their guidelines, failing which they have the power to withdraw the trains.”

He further said that trains from Tamil Nadu, Bangalore and Andhra Pradesh will connect Jaipur via Ajmer. Train connectivity will also be established between Mysore and Bangalore to Varanadi in Uttar Pradesh, he said, adding that around 800 crore people travel by trains every year in India.

Udupi-Chikmagalur MP Jayaprakash Hegde in his address said, “

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel in his address said, “We got these three trains as per our request. For the purpose of developing tourism, the Mangalore-Madgaon Inter-city Express will be extended to Vasco (Goa). Kharge has assured that he will announce more trains between Mangalore and Bangalore. Moreover, Bhatkal-Thokur train has been extended to Mangalore.

“Many people have said the coastal region did not get anything in the recent interim rail budget. But the Hazrat Nizamuddin – Kottayam – Alleppey train will have a stopover in Mangalore, which will be beneficial to the people of this region,” he said.

Mangalore MP Naling Kumar Kateel said, “Over the last five years, there have been several demands for better train connectivity from the coastal region, but there has been no positive response from the centre. New trains are given to Kerala. Mangalore has to be separated from Palakkad railway division and joined with either Mysore or Bangalore divisions or made a separate one so as to unify the state’s rail network.” He also urged the union minister to extend Kabaka-Puttur train to Subramanya. District incharge minister Ramanath Rai also spoke on the occasion.

Rakesh Mishra, General Manager of Southern Railway, MLA Mohiuddin Bava, MLA J R Lobo, MLC Monappa Bhandary and others were present.

Source-Rail News

Short Interview with GM/Southern from the Venue of IRFCA’s 9th Annual Convention

Udagamandalam (UAM): Rakesh Misra, General Manager – Southern Railway, in Udagamandalam to address the Indian Railways Fan Club’s (IRFCA) ninth annual convention. Misra spoke on various issues related to the railway developmental works and freight cargo business.

How much additional freight load did Southern Railway handle over last year?

It was 10 per cent more than last year (30.99 million tonnes for nine months of FY 14 versus 27.83 million tonnes for the same period in FY13).

Freight earnings for this period were ₹2,016.14 crore, an increase of ₹165.43 crore, or 8.9 per cent, over last year.

Passenger traffic has remained at last year’s levels and higher revenue is due to the rise in fare. The growth is 18.5 per cent for nine months of FY14 over last year — an increase of ₹434.64 crore in earnings to ₹2,781.15 crore.

We added 85 km of new lines by commissioning the Salem-Karur section. Further, 67 km of gauge conversion was completed between Virudhunagar-Manamadurai, and 24 km of doubling works are slated for commissioning before March, 2014.

What are you doing to get more load from ports?

Originating load for us is essentially coal. We haul from Tuticorin, Karaikal and Ennore and supply to power projects such as the Mettur dam.

The Udupi Power project is served by the Mangalore port by us. Though there is a lot of freight traffic, the revenue generated is not much as the distance covered is very low (below 100 km).

Cement and fertiliser loads have been less this year due to seasonal effects. Though monsoon was better than last year, it was still not adequate. This has a bearing on the earnings of the Madurai division, as consumption of fertilizer depends on monsoon.

What is the off-take in container cargo rakes?

Karaikal and Tuticorin are doing quite well. However, Vallarpadam is a sad story. It is not generating any traffic.

I have met a lot of people, including shipping ministry officials, to find a solution to this issue. [The 8.86 km railway line connecting the international container trans-shipment terminal at Vallarpadam (Kochi) in Kerala was built by the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd at a cost of ₹350 crore. This includes India’s longest railway bridge of 4.62 km between Edapally and Vallarpadam].

Many important stations such as Arakonam do not have high-level platforms for 24 coach trains causing inconvenience to passengers. How are you addressing this?

We do intend to provide high-level platforms for 24-coach trains at important stations. However, funds for passenger amenities are tight.

Even at Arakonam there is a rail level platform and one does not have to alight on ballast. We have also provided lifts and escalators at major stations. Madurai has six.

How many trains are yet to be introduced from last year’s budget?
Five are yet to be introduced and would be done by February-end.

Source-Rail News

Union Minister for Mines flags off Demu Train in Surendranagar

Surendranagar (SUNR): The special inaugural run of new Demu (diesel multiple unit) Passenger Train between Surendranagar and Dhrangadhra was flagged off by Dinsha J Patel, Union Minister for Mines from Surendranagar station on Sunday evening.

Various other dignitaries such as Member of Parliament Somabhai G Patel, Divisional Railway Manager Vinay Babtiwale, Sr.Divisional Commercial Manager J C Birdi, Sr.Divisional Operating Manager Kamlesh Gosai along with other senior railway officers and staff of Rajkot division were present on the occasion. The Western Railway has introduced two new daily demu passenger trains between Surendranagar and Dhrangadhra. According to railway officials Surendranagar-Dhrangdhra demu train will depart from Surendranagar station in the morning at 08.20 am and it will reach Dhrangadhra station at 09.10 am. The second demu train will depart from Surendranagar station in the evening at 5.45 pm and it will reach Dhrangadhra station at 6.35pm.

Same way, Dhrangdhra-Surendranagar train will depart from Dhrangadhra station in the morning at 09.30 am and it will reach Surendranagar station at 10.20 am.

The second train will depart from Dhrangadhra station in the evening at 7.00 pm and it will reach Surendranagar station at 7.50 pm.

“The demu train comprises of total 3 general coaches in both directions. The distance between Surendranagar and Dhrangadhra is 35 km and it will be covered in 50 minutes by this demu train. The train will halt at Katuda and Rajsitapur station in both directions. The fare in this train is Rs.10″ said Vinay Babtiwale, Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Rajkot.

Source-Rail News

BARSYL selected as Consultant for Bhubaneswar-Cuttack Mass Rapid Transit System

Out of six bids for the project, the Tender Committee rejected the bid of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in the pre-qualification evaluation, while the rest five were considered

Bhubaneswar (BBS): The state government has selected Hyderabad-based consultant M/s Balaji Rail Road System Limited (BARSYL) to prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) for the proposed Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTS) between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. The MRTS includes mono-rail and high-speed bus service between the two cities. The project envisages an investment of over Rs 2,250 crore.

BARSYL was selected during a recent departmental tender committee meeting chaired by Additional Chief Secretary (Housing and Urban Development) Injeti Srinivas. There were six bidders for the project. The department rejected the bid of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation during pre-qualification evaluation while the rest five were considered, minutes of the meeting said.

The committee zeroed in on BARSYL because it was the lowest bidder by quoting Rs 2.52 crore for the DPR. The government had invited request for proposal to select a consultant in August, 2013. The selected consultant would prepare DPR for the road and rail-based system, connecting Jatni, Khurda, Bhubaneswar, Barang, Choudwar and Cuttack. Being referred to as Bhubaneswar Cuttack Urban Complex, the region is projected to have a population of 42 lakh by 2030.

According to Census 2011, Cuttack had a population of 6.06 lakh compared to Bhubaneswar’s 8.37 lakh.

BARSYL would assess mobility, alignment, multi-modal land use integration plan, land acquisition details, transit-oriented development, cost and funding pattern. It would also identify station locations, taking into account catchments areas, entry and exit facilities and availability of parking areas. It would suggest land acquisition needs for station areas, electric sub-stations and maintenance depots.

A 15-member committee under the chairmanship of chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra is overseeing implementation of the MRTS. The panel would review and monitor progress of DPR and its effective implementation. It will also give advice on overall planning, design and policy matters for effective completion of MRTS.

The studies under the present scope would cover tasks of preparation of a Detailed Project Report covering traffic demand assessment and system selection including mobility analysis, alignment study, multi-modal land use integration plan, land acquisition details, transit oriented development, cost estimation and funding pattern alternatives etc. leading to the financial and economic analysis of the project which will assist the client to decide on successful implementation of the project. The scope of the current assignment is divided into two stages:

Stage-1: Traffic Demand Assessment and System Selection
Stage-2: Detailed Project Report

Stage-1: Traffic Demand Assessment and System Selection
Study all relevant traffic and transportation study reports and collect available information from secondary sources like master plan, development plan, mobility plan, land use plan, environment and social management plan to create an economic, travel and traffic database
To conduct a review of the current transport situation in order to establish the existing condition and capacity of the public transport system.
To develop a travel demand model taking into consideration, future population, land use, employment etc
To carryout traffic surveys, OD survey, interview with potential transit users to determine their origins, destinations, modal preferences and interests in the proposed MRT system
To conduct reconnaissance survey and identify various options of alignment
To analyse future land use and transportation trends in the corridor, including the likely growth in travel trends and pattern
Examining merits and demerits of various mass transit facilities successfully demonstrated elsewhere
Alternative analysis and planning of feeder network including pedestrian and cycling facilities in catchment area. i) Transit oriented Development (TOD) for the influence zone. j) Sharja Maps for land acquisition.
Revenue model for generating at least 50% of capital expenditure through property development and at least 12.5% of O&M through recurring source of revenue other than fare.
Recommend most suitable system based on demand, engineering aspects and technology (rolling stock, power supply system, signaling and telecom system and other systems) relative costs of alternative systems (capital, operating & maintenance), Right of way, stations, stabling and maintenance depots, and interchanges etc
Integration with other mode of transportation
To prepare Block Cost estimates.

Stage 2 – Detailed Project Report for the selected system covers:

Civil Works covering alignment, track structure, stations, train operation plan, traction system & power supply, signaling, rolling stock, communication, maintenance facilities, environment impact assessment, cost estimates, economic and financial analysis, implementation strategy, institutional arrangement, implementation schedule etc.

Source-Rail News

Foundation Stone for South India’s First Railway Coach Refurbishment Unit laid in Kurnool

Alampur Road (ALPR): Kotla Jaya Surya Prakash Reddy, Minister of State for Railways, laid the foundation stone for construction of coach mid-life rehabilitation workshop to come up at Panchalingala and E Thandrapadu (three km from Alampur Road railway station) in Kurnool district on Sunday.

The foundation stone laying function for this workshop, the first of its kind in South India, was held at at Kurnool city railway station.

Addressing a gathering Surya Prakash Reddy said the coach mid-life rehabilitation workshop to be established at a cost of Rs 110 crore will boost the socio-economic progress of the region and will also herald development of industry in the area. The minister also highlighted the rail developmental activities being under taken on SCR in the region towards which sizeable allocations are earmarked. Sunil Kumar Agarwal, additional general manager, SCR, welcomed the gathering.

Salient features of coach mid-life rehabilitation workshop are:
  1. The workshop for mid-life rehabilitation is approved by Ministry of Railways in 2013-14 Railway Budget. The sanctioned cost of the project is Rs 110 crore.
  2. Mid-Life Rehabilitation (MLR) on a coach is carried out when it is at its mid-life i.e 12 to 15 years of age. In mid-life rehabilitation, heavily corroded areas are attended, anticorrosive fiber-glass tissues re-laid, flooring renewed, shock absorbers are changed, side panels renewed, light fittings are renewed, rewiring is done, all alternator belts are changed etc. The underlying principle of MLR is to give ‘As new’ condition to coach. It is done only once in the life span of a coach.
  3. The workshop will have state of the art computer numerical control (CNC) machines and heavy material handling equipments to undertake mid-life rehabilitation of 250 ICF design coaches per annum.
  4. The workshop location is identified between Alampur railway station and Kurnool city railway station. It is situated 3 kms from Alampur railway station and is adjoining to railway track in Panchalingala and Thundrapadu villages in Kurnool district and Bairapuram village in Mahbubnagar district.
  5. The land for workshop measures 144 acres with approach road to Bangalore-Hyderabad National Highway. The land is provided free of cost by Government of Andhra Pradesh. It has rail connectivity also from Alampur railway station.
  6. The cost of mid-life rehabilitation of each non-AC coach will be Rs 36 lakh whereas for AC coaches it will be Rs 45 lakh.
  7. The employment potential of the workshop is 1000 persons directly and more indirectly.

Source-Rail News

Railway Board plans strengthening of Mangalore-Bangalore section: Kharge

Mangalore (MAQ): Union minister of railways Mallikarjun Kharge said that the ministry has plans to strengthen Mangalore-Bangalore railway line and introduce more trains on the route.

Kharge said that more trains could not be introduced on Mangalore-Bangalore route as there is a direction from the Railway Safety Commission, working under the administrative control of the Ministry of Civil Aviation of the Government of India. He was speaking after flagging off the inaugural specials of Mangalore Central-Madgaon Intercity Express, Mangalore Central-Kacheguda Bi-weekly Express and Mangalore Central-Bhatkal Demu Service at Mangalore Central railway station on Sunday.

“The Railway Safety Commission has directed the railway ministry not to introduce more than two passenger trains on Mangalore-Bangalore route citing the safety reasons. Hence, we have written to the commission seeking directions to strengthen the railway tracks and introduce more trains on the route. It is the commission which take a final decision on introducing trains, running speed and other safety aspects. The commission also has the power to suspend train operations if the railways fail to adhere to commission’s directions,” Kharge said.

He said that a report on transforming Mangalore Central, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode railway stations into World Class Stations has been submitted to the Railway Board by the Southern Railways. The ministry will sanction required funds for the purpose, Kharge said.

Mangalore Central Railway Station will soon have two escalators and two lifts exclusively for elderly, children and disabled. The ministry also has plans of introducing four trains to Jaipur via Karnataka from South India, he added.

Minister for forest, environment and ecology B Ramanath Rai, MPs Nalin Kumar Kateel, Jayaprakash Hegde, MLC Monappa Bhandary, MLAs JR Lobo, Mohiuddin Bawa and Southern Railway general manager Rakesh Misra were the guests.
Source-Rail News





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