Mar 10, 2014

Global crude oil price of Indian Basket increases to 105.81 per bbl on 07.3.2014

The international crude oil price of Indian Basket as computed/published today by Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) under the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas went up to US$ 105.20 per barrel (bbl) on 07.03.2014. This was higher than the price of US$ 105.20 per bbl on previous trading day of 6.03.2014
 In rupee terms also, the price of Indian Basket increased marginally to Rs 6453.35 per bbl on 07.03.2014 as compared to Rs 6450.86 per bbl on 06.03.2014. This was due to increase in price in dollar terms and helped by the marginal rupee depreciation. Rupee closed stronger at Rs 60.99 per US$ on 07.03.2014 as against Rs 61.32 per US dollar on previous trading of 06.03.2014. 
The table below gives details in this regard:
Price on March  07, 2014(Previous trading day i.e. 06.03.2014)                                                                  
 For Pricing Fortnight February 13 to 12, 2014 Effective 01.3.2014
Crude Oil (Indian Basket)
       105.81            (105.20)
       6453.35         (6450.86)
Exchange Rate
           60.99             (61.32)         

  RCJ/Daily Crude oil price- 10.03.2014     

Seminar on “Role Of Information Technology in Rail Services – Present and Future” Inaugurated.

I.T. is Useful in Serving Rail Users Effectively and Efficiently: Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. 

A seminar on the theme “Role of IT in Rail Services – Present and Future” was inaugurated by the Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury here today. The seminar which was organized by the Centre for Transportation Research and Management (C-TRAM), an autonomous body of the Ministry of Railways, brought together the eminent professionals from Information Technology (IT) sector, industries and rail users and corporate managers to deliberate on the current status of IT and its future prospects for Indian Railways to expand and improve its quality of service. The objective of this seminar was to generate ideas through interaction between the key players and the Indian Railways about new areas where IT can be put to use. Present on occasion were Shri Arunendra Kumar, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri. D. P. Pande, Member Traffic, Shri Kul Bhushan, Member Electrical, Shri Alok Johri, Member Mechanical of Railway Board, Mrs. Suhash Kumar, Advisor (Freight Marketing) and MD, CRIS and Sh. R. C. Dubey, Executive Director, C-TRAM. Noted IT expert, Sh. Kiran Karnik delivered the key note address at the seminar. 

Speaking on the occasion Minister of State for Railways Shri Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that “this seminar is deliberating on a very timely, topical and important subject of “Information Technology” which has become indispensable part of our day to day life. The system is now moving from paper to paper-less delivery of services, he added”. 

The Minister said that “Indian Railways have had a healthy tradition of utilizing Information Technology in their day to day operations in the last 40 years. Referring to the wide scale railway operations, the Minister pointed out that Railways is presently carrying over a billion tonnes of freight and over 8 billions of passengers annually. The Minister emphasized that this corresponds to around 27 lakh trucks a day and 22 million passengers a day. He said that IT is helpful in serving rail users of this scale effectively and efficiently. IT enabled passenger and freight information services have made it possible for the rail user to access the services increasingly from his desk top or lap top or even his mobile phone. Internally also, Railways have utilized computerization extensively to provide quick and efficient processing of data. Almost all departments use computerized applications in their day to day work, to collect information from the lowest levels of the organization and disseminate it to the managerial levels for quick and effective decision making”. 

The Minister Sh. Chowdhury said that “India has been recognized as a major source of young IT professionals as most new IT initiatives in the developed world like USA are handled by Indian professionals. The Minister talked of inclusive growth of the country and called upon to strengthen IT literacy in the country taking marginalized sections on board on this journey. Shri Chowdhury said that there is long way for Indian Railways to go in utilizing the real potential of IT for use of railways’ Commercial Operation and Asset Management Functions”. 

Mr Chowdhury hoped that the seminar would deliberate on all aspects of IT and will throw some useful suggestions that railways need to implement for the next generation. 

In his speech, Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Arunendra Kumar said that “Indian Railways have adopted Information Technology since 1960s and the results are there for all of us to see. IR have extended the benefits of computerization to the common man by making it easy for him to buy train tickets at his convenience. We have enabled freight customers to pay for their transactions through a computerized payment gateway. Railways are providing information to the customers about train running, accommodation status, reservation status etc, which has been possible by computerization and use of Information Technology. Most of the initiatives taken by Railways have been widely recognized and appreciated. Railways can justly be proud of our achievements in the area of IT”. Shri Kumar said that “Over the years, Railways have been expanding the ambit of IT for use in various operational areas of rail transportation and customer services. Starting from pay roll to passenger ticketing and reservation, IR has used IT to facilitate a wider clientele of freight, container and parcel transport users. Freight Operation Information System (FOIS) is helping Railways in getting on line real time information about trains and reduce the time spent on collecting and collating information”. The Chairman Railway Board, also said that “we have to further take steps to bring maximum value to the organization through the use of IT. He also suggested that a certain percentage of budget should be earmarked for IT activities so that sufficient funds are available for implementing IT projects”. 

Delivering key note address, noted IT expert Shri. Kiran Karnik said that “Railway is flag bearer in the use of information technology and should continue to set new bench mark in the use of IT. He said Railways has lot of big data flowing through its operations. He said that Railways can undertake comprehensive data analysis which can be utilized for various activities like predicting passengers movement, demand patterns etc. Sh. Kiran Karnik said that the freight loading of the Railways need to be further strengthen and expanded to cut the cost of logistics. Emphasizing the need for safety, Sh. Kiran Karnik said that new and innovative methods and designs to enhance safety may come through extensive use of information technology. Sh. Kiran Karnik said that there is also a need to leverage the use of next stage cloud computing for bringing efficiency in the Railway operations”. 

Speaking on the occasion, Shri D.P.Pande, Member Traffic, Railway Board, said that in the ticketing field Indian Railways have progressed in e-ticketing where now about 50% tickets are sold on the internet. In the passenger business front, IT has acted as a great enabler. Premium Trains are being planned on the basis of MIS Reports generated. He said that it is the endeavour of Indian Railways to reduce queues and therefore, 1030 ATVMs have already been installed and it is proposed to proliferate it further to about 3500 coin and currency operated ATVMs. Indian Railways is also working on e-railway receipts and e-forwarding note. The aim of IT is to act as an information highway where and when required for both internal and external customer and also to act as a personal productivity tool, he added. Indian Railways is keen at improving the quality of services. Increasing use of IT and computerisation has been of considerable help in this effort. Indian Railways are one of the oldest Government organisations to use Information Technology for better management and improving customer services. Starting with payroll accounting, today Indian Railways is using IT for its freight transportation data, passenger ticketing and reservations, rail enquiry and even Passenger grievance redressal. With the result, life has become much easier for passengers for booking their tickets and getting information for their journey. 

One of the key objectives of CTRAM has been to provide a forum for cross – sectoral and cross – functional dialogue between policymaking professionals and academics on issues pertaining to transportation with special focus on the dynamic developments unfolding in the transport sector in India. CTRAM has already conducted thirteen National seminars on issues pertaining to transport industry in general and Indian Railways in particular. 

Dawlish historian: Damage to rail line could have been prevented if Brunel's original plans were followed

EXPOSED: The original pre-railway masonry wall revealed after the storm

A DAWLISH historian has claimed the damage to the Dawlish rail line may have been prevented if the designer Brunel's original plans were followed.

Bob Vicary prepared seven history boards along the South Devon Coast Path between Dawlish Warren and Lea Mount Park, Dawlish, for the Brunel bicentenary.

He did much research and said the facts are 'a bit faint, but plenty of them'.

"The Board of Admiralty insisted Brunel construct a seawall path alongside his railway to compensate people for the loss of access to their foreshore," said Mr Vicary.

"You could even bring quite decent sized fishing boats up into the creek on a high tide before the railway viaduct and the channelling of the Brook restricted access.

"However, a gent from the Midlands, James Powell, had built a large property at Sea Lawn prior to planning for the railway.

"He then sought an agreement that the seawall coast path be dropped to beach level past his property so his privacy was protected.

"The first trains started running in 1846 and, ironically, James Powell died in the same year. The interruption in the coast path became known as 'the Sea Lawn Gap'.

"The significance of this is the railway is protected for most of its length by an inner and outer wall, supporting the coast path, but over the 'Sea Lawn gap' there is only one wall and it is consequently the weakest point in the protection of the line."

Mr Vicary said around six years ago the foot of the seawall was reinforced just south of the Red Rock cutting along to a point just short of the Sea Lawn gap.

"Just too short as recent events have shown," he said.

"It has long been a local puzzle why the railway companies did not complete the high level coast path after Powell's death and the house was sold to GWR to offer greater protection against damage by the sea."

Mayor rules out Byron rail corridor as bypass option

Byron shire mayor Simon Richardson has rejected calls to use the rail corridor in Byron Bay as a road bypass of the town, saying it was an unlikely option.

Cr Richardson says the disused corridor should be protected for the future use of rail, and changing its status would increase the temptation for governments to privatise it.

Community calls for the much needed bypass to ease congestion on the northerly entrance to the town have increased since plans for the proposed West Byron subdivision were announced.

But Cr Richardson said Transport for NSW (TfNSW), the owner of the rail asset, and its agent John Holland Rail, which has the contract for property management, have confirmed that an Act of Parliament was needed to remove the status of the rail corridor.

‘Apparently the rail corridor is protected by legislation for the exclusive use of rail, regardless if the corridor is used or not,’ he said.

‘The Act would need to be changed to first remove the protected status, which in turn may allow other uses for the land to be considered, and then subject to development and agency approvals etc.

‘This however could see the rail corridor open up to many potential uses, not just transport purposes, and would presumably also attract market rates whether for lease or sale.

‘As it is located in Byron Bay, it would likely be considered high value real estate,’ he said.

‘Even if the Act was changed to allow other transport purposes, minimum widths and standards would still apply.’

Cr Richardson said he had been advised that as the rail corridor width varies greatly in Byron Bay (and across the shire), it was ‘unlikely a single, continuous lineal, multi-modal transport corridor is possible that could accommodate rail, a bike/pedestrian shared path and a road.

‘Put simply, in most locations the width of the rail corridor would not allow multiple uses to co-exist.

‘However, Council is very keen to ensure all stones have been turned to investigate the best bypass route option. We will meet with the Grab the Rail Group to further investigate their ideas,’ he said.

The mayor also noted that Council and the community were waiting on the findings of the state government rail trail report.

He said the consultant engaged for the report had raised the issue of co-existence with Council and other interested stakeholders.

‘The current Byron Bay bypass alignment, west of the rail corridor, does not rule out the potential return of rail services, whereas a declared change of use within the rail corridor would,’ Cr Richardson said.

Local farmers may not benefit from inland rail line

The proposed Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail line won't necessarily help local farmers get their produce to market.

Much of the 1,800 kilometre route will run though country New South Wales.

But Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss says branch lines (small lines that connect to the main rail line) are unlikely to be funded by the private sector investors who are integral to the $5 billion project project.

He says it will be those investors that decide if branch lines would be viable.

"The ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corporation) is already managing some of the branch network in NSW, including the highly profitable coal lines," said Mr Truss.

"We will be very keen to encourage private sector investment wherever we can."

Mr Truss admits there will only be investment where there is money to be made.

"The private sector is only going to invest in projects that are going to deliver a financial return.

"Some of the country branch lines do not have a very good record of being able to return a profit to the rail operators.

"The private sector is less interested in those sorts of projects because they can't get a return on their investment."

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce is more optimistic.

He says a rail line would increase farmers' capacity to get produce to an intermodal hub.

"We'd have the capacity to deliver goods in such a form so we can get them on the inland rail and get them moving to a multiplicity of ports, said Mr Joyce.

"Once we get the big rail line working, the viability of the smaller lines picks up."

Infrastructure Minister Warren Truss says construction of parts of the rail line could begin as early as next year.

He says the government has invested $300 million to finalise the route and begin land acquisition, a process the Coalition hopes to complete by the end of the government's first term.

Rail Muscles Its Way into U.S. Oil Boom Narrative

Despite mounting concerns about safety, and developments in the midstream sector, John Gray, a senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads, said crude oil is now a key commodity group for the rail industry.

AAR said less than half of the 20 commodity groups carried on the U.S. rail network saw increases in delivery volumes last month when compared with February 2013. Outside of coal and grain, carloads for most commodity groups were lower by some 5,100 carloads.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said last month the brutal winter season was affecting everything from refinery performance to pipeline deliveries. Gray said "it would be nice" to blame the decline in rail delivery on the weather, but that would be misplaced.

"In the meantime, crude oil has become a significant part of the railroad business," he said.

From Jan. 1 to March 1, AAR said 127,534 carloads of petroleum and petroleum products, or about 89 million barrels, were carried on the U.S rail network, a 6.5 percent increase from the same time last year.

The increase in U.S. crude oil production has put a strain on existing pipeline capacity. Transit bottlenecks could be alleviated with the reversal of Enbridge Inc.'s Line 9 through Michigan to Canada and, assuming its approved, TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline. In the interim, however, rail is becoming an important cog in the energy transport wheel.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada, along with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, both found the risks of transporting some types of oil by rail were not documented accurately, however. Last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation vetted concerns about rail safety given the increase in crude oil delivery.

"While rail safety is improving, high-profile train accidents … underscore how important it is to be ever-vigilant in protecting local communities and the environment," PHMSA Administrator Cynthia Quartermantestified.

The U.S. Department of Transportation in February slapped Hess Corp., Marathon Oil Corp. and Whiting Petroleum Corp. each with $93,000 fines for not following the rules on oil classification for rail and in early January, PHMSA said some types of crude oil may present unique risks to rail transport.

AAR said the railroad industry, meanwhile, has "led the charge" for the safe transport of crude oil.

"Railroads know how important it is to move crude oil safely, and they are committed to continually searching for ways to make this happen," AAR's Gray said.

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., ranking member of the Senate committee, said he was encouraged by the industry's commitment to safety, but stressed more time was needed to get the right regulatory policies in place. In the meantime, as the U.S. oil boom continues, rail has established itself as a fundamental part of the U.S. midstream conversation.

By Daniel J. Graeber of

Badli Metro line to go over rail tracks

NEW DELHI: The extension of the Yellow line to Badli, on the Jehangirpuri to HUDA City Centrecorridor, will be one of the few Metro lines going over a railway line in the capital. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation will construct a special steel bridge to span the Northern Railway tracks on the Delhi-Ambala route. It will also construct two separate elevated tracks for this corridor.

"The challenging part of is that the elevated viaduct of the line will cross the Northern Railway tracks between Adarsh Nagar and Badli stations of the Northern Railway. The DMRC alignment will cross the Northern Railway tracks just before Badli Mor Metro station," said DMRC spokesman, Anuj Dayal. Thus, there will be two separate viaducts for the "up" and "down" line on this stretch.

A 45m span steel bridge will be constructed to allow crossing of railway and Metro tracks. This bridge will be on RCC piers for which piling work has been completed and pier construction is underway. The bottom level of this steel bridge (called soffit) will be more than 12m above the railway track. The girders have been fabricated and received.

"After clearance from authorities, these steel girders will be launched by push method by means of winch machine. Temporary supports in the form of steel trestles have been erected between piers. Rails are fixed over these trestles and piers," said a DMRC official. The girder is lifted and placed over the pier, before the spans where it is to be erected. "The girder is then moved over the rails on rollers, using winch machines, till it is in position. It is then lowered over the piers and the RCC deck slab is casted," said the official. DMRC's spokesman said the bridge work is expected to be completed by June.

The Badli Mor station, which will be designed keeping Phase-IV in mind, will connect the Yellow line with the proposed RK Ashram-Mukundpur-Janakpuri (west) section. This section will connect the current Yellow line with line 7 (Mukundpur-Yamuna Vihar) and line 8 (Janakpuri West-Botanical Garden).

"The structures of the station are designed in a way that they will be able to take the load of two platforms which will cater to Phase-III and IV," said Dayal. The first two floors of the station, which are lower than the level of Outer Ring Road, will be used for property development. The Outer Ring Road will run parallel to the station. The third floor, which will have a direct link with the road through a foot-overbridge, will be the concourse and the platform will be above it. "The Phase-IV platform will come up above the Phase-III one," said Dayal, while adding that almost 45% of the structure is ready.
Source..Times Of India





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