Mar 24, 2014

Makum-Saikhowa Railpath Suraksha Samity demands Makum-Saikhowa section as a ’Heritage Line’

Makum Jn (MJN): Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) Railpath Suraksha Samity (MSRSS) has raised a strong demand for the declaration of Makum-Saikhowa (Sadiya) railway line which is a part of historic Dibru-Sdiya Railway Line, as a ’Heritage Line’. The MSRSS adopted a resolution in its executive body in this regard and placed it in the Divisional Railway Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC) meeting held recently. This was stated by MSRSS in a release.

The Assam Railway and Trading Company (AR&T Co) had laid the 95-km-long Assam’s first railway track from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat in 1881. But, in the devastating earthquake in 1950, the track along with Saikhowaghat railway station suffered heavy damages. Consequently, the rail service was confined upto Dangari railway station, 8 km from Saikhowaghat.

In the post-independence period, no government took the initiative to restore the track upto Saikhowaghat. Towards the end of the year 2000, as a result of continuous and strong demand of MSRSS and the public, a 30-km Makum-Dangari section of the track under Tinsukia railway division was converted to broad-gauge. Though the conversion work was completed in December, 2001, the rail traffic was initiated on the track from October 30, 2002. Since then, only one passenger train (Dangari Passenger) has been plying from Tinsukia to Dangari once daily except Sundays.

In the pre-independence period and even after the independence also, train services were there from Dibrugarh to Saikhowaghat. But now it is confined between Tinsukia and Dangari. MSRSS has been demanding since its inception to extend the track from Dangari to Saikhowahat. It submitted memorandums to the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, DoNER Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar, the president and secretary of North-East MPs Forum and all the MPs from north-eastern States in this regard. As a result, in the Rail Budget 2012, the proposal of this extension project was sent to the Planning Commission of India. In spite of this, nothing could be seen about this project in the Rail Budgets of 2013 and 2014. This is one of the examples of Centre’s utter negligence towards the North East and specially to the historic railway track.

However, responding to the demand of MSRSS, the divisional railway manager of Tinsukia railway division, Aneet Dulat has promised to introduce a passenger reservation system (PRS) at Doomdooma. If it is materialised, the rail users of this region will be benefited.

The only passenger train running between Tinsukia and Dangari (55911 Up and 55912 Down) will be rescheduled and it will run from New Tinsukia Jn instead of Old Tinsukia station. The new schedule of the train will be prepared in such a way that it can connect its passengers will also avail the far-distant mail and express trains from New Tinsukia Jn. It is also expected that from 2015, a new system of rail traffic called diesel multiple unit (DMU) will be introduced under the Tinsukia railway division. For this, construction of infrastructure has been going or in full swing at old Tinsukia station.
Source..Rail News

Gul Panag hits out at Pawan Kumar Bansal, questions CBI clean chit in rail scam

Chandigarh (CDG): Launching a scathing attack on former Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal over cash-for-post scam, AAP candidate and former Miss India Gul Panag today questioned the clean chit given by CBI in the case to her rival from Chandigarh seat and said he cannot simply brush aside the alleged involvement of his nephew in the scam.

“A man who has to resign from his Ministerial post (Railways) due to a corruption scandal, a man whose nephew is still in jail is talking of having got the clean chit,” the 35-year-old Bollywood actress told PTI.

Panag, daughter of a retired Army officer, said the former Railway Minister has to decide whether he was complicit or incompetent to know what was going on in his ministry.

“It’s like this. If I am in a scandal where you found somebody guilty, either I am complicit or I am incompetent. I am incompetent if I don’t know what is going on in my ministry. So, I think Mr Bansal has to decide what is he, complicit or incompetent,” she said.

When asked about four-time Chandigarh MP Bansal’s statement that the charge sheet in the case has not named him, she said, “I am sure he has a clean chit, he has been given clean chit by CBI under his own government.”

“Individually, I have the highest respect for him. He is a man who is of my father’s age. He was a class fellow of my father. He is a man with incredible political acumen and incredible experience. But I think it’s time for him to step forward and tell us if is he complicit in this (case) or is he incompetent that he does not know what was going on in his own Ministry,” she said.

Bansal’s nephew Vijay Singla and nine others, arrested in the Rs.10 crore cash-for-post railway bribery case, will face trial with a special court in Delhi framing charges of criminal conspiracy and corruption against them recently.

Bansal has been arrayed as a prosecution witness by the CBI in its charge sheet filed last year.

Apart from Panag, who writes her full name as Gulkirat Kaur Panag and Bansal, prominent among those who are pitted against them include BJP’s actor-turned-politician Kirron Kher and BSP’s Jannat Jahan.

Panag said that corruption is an issue which affects everyone and her party’s fight is to root it out from the society.

Panag said that people of this country are seeking a change and AAP is trying to provide them with a viable alternative.

Launching an attack on the parties with “Right wing agenda” she said, “On the other extreme there is such a Right wing agenda, it frightens me as somebody who is a minority, as somebody who has been at the receiving end of religious persecution still hasn’t seen justice.”

“I am not saying these parties will not reform, I am sure they will, time will make them reform. Today, they all have made corruption their agenda suddenly, why? There is public pressure, there are pressure groups, so eventually system will get cleaned up – 50 years, 60 years down the line, there may be no need for AAP by then. The idea is to force change,” said Panag, who has a masters in Political Science.
Source..Rail News

SCR gears up to move Para Military Forces in large number for Election Duty

Secunderabad (SC): Indian Railways plays a vital role in smooth conduct of General Elections by way of moving the security personnel for election duty across the length and breadth of the country. As per the indication of Election Commission and Ministry of Home Affairs, about 80,000 para military force personnel need to be transported by Rail, which requires about 1200 coaches for running of around 60 special trains. In addition, special coaches will also be attached extra o­n regular trains and some of the existing coaches will be earmarked o­n various trains for exclusive occupation of forces.

For the ensuing General Elections in the months of April – May, 2014, SCR is in readiness to handle large scale movement of Para military forces by trains o­n and across the Zone. Officers and staff from Operating, Mechanical and Electrical departments have been nominated to function as nodal officers at Zonal and Divisional levels to closely monitor the movement of the election special trains. Requisite arrangements for providing catering services to the personnel from various security forces o­n these special trains have also been made in association with Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation(IRCTC).

South Central Railway has earmarked 63 coaches exclusively for operating election specials. These are grouped into three rakes of 21 coaches each with Sleeper and AC class accommodation for movement of personnel from Central Police Forces (CPF), State Armed Police Forces (SAPF) and Railway Protection Special Force (RPSF) to different destinations. Out of these 3 rakes, o­ne rake has already been pressed into service and the remaining rakes are kept ready at Vijayawada for movement at short notice. The election special trains will be scheduled as per the requirement communicated by the Election Commission and the Ministry of Home Affairs in co-ordination with Railway Board from time to time.

SCR ran the first election special train o­n 19th March, 2014 from Hyderabad to Coimbatore. This special train carried personnel from Andhra Pradesh Special Armed Police Force from Hyderabad, Warangal and Vijayawada to Tamil Nadu. In addition, seven coaches were earmarked o­n different trains for movement of personnel from Central Police Forces and Railway Protection Special Force to different areas in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Goa States.

Several summer special train services have already been announced o­n SCR to take care of the summer passenger rush in the months of April and May. Election specials will also need to be run during the same period. In this connection, Shri P.K.Srivastava, General Manager, South Central Railway directed the officials concerned to ensure that all necessary measures are taken to run these special trains smoothly in close co-ordination with various agencies involved in the movement of security personnel o­n election duty.
Source..Rail News

Delhi University to study on how Railways have benefited Kashmiris

DU undergrads’ plan to help hone research skills with practical examples 

A team of ten students of different academic disciplines from Delhi University and three professors have started preparatory work to track the socio-economic benefits of trains after they were introduced in the Kashmir valley.

Basheerat, a first-year Physics (Honours) student who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, has already done the pilot survey. A ground trip has been planned for later but right now, the students are using social media to connect to stakeholders.

“The aim of the project, which is funded by Delhi University, is to initiate research skills in students in the pre-graduation levels by exposing them to practical examples.

Also, the research could influence policy initiatives in the Railways and Government,” said Sangeeta Dhal, principal investigator of the project, who teaches political science in Kalindi College, Delhi University. Dhal is open to collaborating with teams from Jammu and Srinagar University. The train in Kashmir has been a hit with the locals. After the Pir Panjal tunnel was opened up in June 2013 – the all-weather rail link connected Banihal in Jammu with the Kashmir valley – daily passenger traffic on the train has jumped 48 per cent in the last one year.

Cheaper option

“Average passenger traffic a day this year is 12,464, against 8,403 in 2012-13,” Nand Lal, Chief Controller, Northern Railway, Badgam, (a junction in the Kashmir rail network), told.

Not only does the train provide a cheaper and faster travel option over roads to many Kashmiris, but is also the most preferred when the highway between Jammu and Kashmir closes due to snowfall or landslides.

The entire 135-km train trip between Baramullah and Banihal takes only about half the time (2 hours 50 minutes) as the road journey and costs about a tenth (₹30 for a ticket against ₹400 by road), said Lal. The project team has a mentor in J.K. Singh, Chief Project Manager, Northern Railway, Jammu and Kashmir. The study is titled, ‘Evaluating the socio-economic and political consequences in Kashmir valley: A study of railway network as a game changer in Badgam district since 2008’.

The research team has already started generating considerable interest. “Last month, at our inter-college fest, we showcased the project with a model of a train coming out of the Pir Panjal tunnel.

The response was really good. Officials from defence, railways and many others who have either spent time in Kashmir or have witnessed the rail link become operational have offered to help us,” said Isha Arora, a second-year English (Honours) student.
Source..Rail News

Now you can book your own coach in Delhi Metro

Delhi: New Delhi: Tourists, foreign travellers and government or private school children, NGOs running schools for differently able children can book coaches for metro tours for anything between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, under its Policy on Reservation of Car(s)/Train, allows tour operators, any government or private agency, or an individual on behalf of a group or school to book cars or trains from any station of the metro network including the Airport Express line.

The booking tariff consists of fares for the number of passengers and facilitation charges toward offering special facilities to the group, consisting of not less than 45 passengers up to 150 passengers.

Only the coach of the longest train consisting of 8 coaches can be booked for a group.

DMRC does not charge facilitation charges from government schools and NGOs running special schools.

These facilitation charges, in addition to the applicable fares, consist of Rs 50,000 for one coach on Line 1, 2, 3/4, Rs 30,000 for Line 5 and Rs 40,000 for the Airport Express line.

These fares also get escalated at the rate of 10 per cent from April 1 of each financial year.
However, if the originating and terminating stations are on different lines the booking on multiple lines will be treated as multiple car booking.

Some special facilities offered by DMRC are viewing the Metro Museum, textiles, handicraft exhibition at nominal charges, free parking facilities at the station for the group, welcome message or special announcement for the group besides presenting mementos to travellers. One member of the DMRC will also be present with them to guide them through the journey.
Source..Rail News

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya sends notice to Central Railway

Mumbai: A legal notice has been sent to General Manager of Central Railway, Sunil Kumar Sood, by former BJP MP Kirit Somaiya two days after the derailment at Titwala claimed the life of 19-year old Dhaval Lodhya and injured 14 others.

In the notice, Somaiya has accused the Railways for the absence of health and safety support systems and disaster management plans.

According to Jay Lodhya, friend of Dhaval, who was present at the spot, the ambulance reached the spot an hour later.

Despite several requests, they were denied help by the people present and the Railway Police Force personnel alike.
Source..Rail News

Mumbai Metro to get speed certificate this week

Mumbai: Indian Railway’s research arm RDSO is likely to issue ‘speed certificate’ to the much-awaited Mumbai Metro this week, sources said. This will now pave the way for the operator Reliance Infra obtaining safety certificate from the Railways, they said. ”The process of issuing speed certificate for the Mumbai Metro is almost over.

The trial report is nearly ready and we may give the clearance to the operator of Mumbai Metro One as early as this week,” sources at the Research, Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) told PTI. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and the operator Reliance Infra have been saying that the metro services will be thrown open to the public this month-end.

Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) is a joint venture between Reliance Infrastructure, French firm Veolia Transport and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). While Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Infra, which is the execution agency, owns a 69 per cent stake in the project, the state-run MMRDA and Veolia hold 26 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

The RDSO is a statutory technical body, which certifies rail system for safety based on international standards. After carrying out the oscillation and emergency braking distance trials under the monitoring of the RDSO, the MMRDA is now undertaking proper trial runs on the entire first phase of the 11.4-km long Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar section of the Mumbai Metro for the last couple of days.

Once the speed clearance is in place, MMOPL will have to apply to the Commissioner of Metro Railway Safety for the safety certificate, they said, adding the final go ahead for the commencement of services will come from the Railway Board. The speed clearance is granted after testing the stability and load, vibration, comfort factor on the tracks, alignment between tracks and train wheels during the trial runs of the train.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had laid the foundation stone of the first phase of the Mumbai Metro in June 2006. According to the initial plans, the stretch was to start operations from 2009. The joint venture’s failure to launch the services on time has reportedly resulted in the project cost shooting up by about 84 per cent to Rs 4,351 crore from the originally planned Rs 2,356 crore. The consortium has been claiming that there is a cost escalation of Rs 1,935 crore over and above the original cost of Rs 2,356 crore.

Source..rail news

Train Stopover may be Scrapped if Not Utilized, cautions Railway Yatri Sangha

Udupi (UD): Railway Yatri Sangha president R L Dias has reminded the train commuters of a new railway facility for the people of Udupi and around.

The Hindu brethren intending to visit the holy places of Hardwar and Hrishikesh have to depend on only one train, the weekly Kochuveli-Dehradun service. Pilgrims going to these two holy places, have to get down at Hardwar railway station, which is 51 kms from Dehradun.

This train was begun five years ago. It leaves Mangalore junction (earlier called Kankanady) railway station. The next stop after Mangalore was only Madgaon.

The Udupi Railway Yatri Sangha had been making all efforts to get a stop to this train at Udupi for the last 4-5 years. Pilgrims from Udupi heading for these holy places, had to go all the way to Mangalore Junction to catch the train.

Similarly the Sikh brethren employed or settled here, in order to visit their holy Golden temple at Amritsar faced the same problem with no stop at Udupi for the weekly 12487 Kochuveli-Amritsar train.

The Yatri Sangha’s efforts over the past 4-5 years have borne fruit in that these two trains have been given stops in Udupi with effect from March 5, 2014.

This timings are as shown below:

No. 12287 – Udupi – Fri 9.50 am, Nizamuddin Sun. 10.40 am, Haridwar Sun. 3.35 pm
No. 12288 – Haridwar – Mon. 7.15 am, Nizamudin Mon. 1.15 am Udupi Wed 1.12 mid night.

No. 12483 – Udupi Wed 9.50 pm Nizamudin Fri 10.40 pm, New Delhi Fri 11.05 am Amritsar Fri 7.45 pm
No. 12484 – Amritsar Sun 5.55 am New Delhi Sun 1.25 pm Udupi Tues 1.12 midnight.

The stop given now is a temporary, experimental step for 3 months. These stops not only help the pilgrims, but also are useful to people going to New Delhi on government and other business.

In case people of Udupi fail to respond to make proper use of this facility, there is every risk of the cancellation of the stops by the railway authorities.

Hence the Sangha has requested the people of Udupi to avail themselves of this facility.
Source..Rail news

Railways kicks off big-ticket contracts this year with orders for 1,350 bogies

Ending drought of high-value procurement, Indian Railways has given out orders for coaches for the first time this year, giving respite to the industry dependent upon country's biggest employment provider.

Railways has just given out orders for about 1,350 cast steel bogies to be used by Container Corp of India for its flat wagons.

The order was based on a tender floated earlier in September.

This would benefit four manufacturers, only one of which is a listed entity, Simplex Castings Ltd.

The total value of the coaches is Rs 30 crore at prices ranging from Rs 1.82 lakh to Rs 2.19 lakh, according to the order details.

Simplex, owned by the Kolkata-based Mundhras, incidentally is not a traditional manufacturer of either wagons or coaches and has been concentrating mostly on civil construction and engineering. It has bagged orders for 506 coaches worth Rs 11.30 crore.

Other companies which got shares of the pie -- Frontier Alloy Steels, Orient Steel & Industries and Hindustan Engineering and Industries -- also aren't traditional wagon makers such as Texmaco Rail and Engineering and Titagarh Industries, which have also forayed into coach making in recent times.

The previous order of similar kind that rolled out in the current fiscal from the Railways was in September, also for steel cast bogies. And the biggest beneficiary was Titagarh Wagons which bagged order for 1010 such bogies valued at Rs 24 crore. Others were Texmaco, which got mandate for 490 units worth Rs 11.70 crore.

Raneka Industries of Pitampur and Siena Engineering of Indore got orders for 300 and 200 orders, respectively.

Public sector BEML at that time got a separate order for 310 sleeper coaches with bogie mounted air brakes, worth Rs 165.66 crore.

With the orders for the bogies arriving, Railways dependent manufacturers are now eagerly waiting for announcements on wagons, the key driver for their revenues, to flow in soon.

Tender for procurement of 11,728 wagons was floated in October.

But actual order hasn't happened for a long time, partly because Cimmco Ltd, owned by Chowdhurys of Titagarh, had moved the Supreme Court demanding that the sick company it acquired from the Birlas deserves more orders till it turns around, something which the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction had directed.

In February 2013, the apex court ruled in favour of Cimmco dismissing a special leave petition filed by the Railways against a Delhi High Court order.


Homes near rail lines face exposure to harmful emissions: study

A train loaded with coal winds its way into the mountains of West Virginia in this file photo. A new study found residents living near rail lines face increased exposure to harmful microscopic particles from diesel emissions.

A University of Washington study has found residents near rail lines face increased exposure to harmful microscopic particles from diesel emissions.

The study also found residents are exposed to larger particles, possibly from coal trains.

The study, accepted for publication this month in the online journal Atmospheric Pollution Research, provides some of the first measurements of emission effects of coal train traffic through neighbourhoods in the Pacific Northwest.

It addresses an issue at the heart of a heated debate over proposals to increase coal exports to Asia on both sides of the border. The study has also fuelled calls by B.C. activists for a comprehensive health impacts study of a $15-million coal-handling project in Surrey.

The $24,000 study was financed through crowdfunding from 270 individuals and a donation from the Sierra Club.

University of Washington atmospheric scientist Dan Jaffe said while there is air quality data available in Washington State and British Columbia, it is not focused on rail lines.

“We wanted to find a real home where people actually live (next to a rail line) to see what were air quality impacts. They were surprisingly significant,” Jaffe said in an interview Sunday.

“We do sort of go out looking for a worst-case scenario, but worst case only in the sense that this is actually a place where people live,” Jaffe said from Italy, where he is teaching under a prestigious international exchange Fulbright Award.

The study examined exposure at a home in Seattle last summer, about 20 metres from a rail line, and another location in the rural Columbia River Gorge area.

For the month that measurements were taken at the Seattle residence, the study found the level of tiny particles — about 1/30 the size of human hair — was more than double the level than at coastal locations away from railroads.

The measurements also showed the trains produced substantial quantities of diesel exhaust linked to microscopic particles.

The results showed that after passage of coal trains, there was a statistical increase in larger particles compared to other train types such as freight and passenger trains.

These larger particles are most likely consist of coal dust, the study concludes.

More research is needed into the coal dust issue — something that is planned for this summer, Jaffe said.

A future increase in rail traffic will increase microscopic particle exposure in the Seattle area, and for some homes may result in concentrations that exceed U.S. air quality guidelines, says the study.

The results were less conclusive for the Columbia River George area.

Jaffe acknowledged that the one-month time period of the study is a limitation.

The study was launched, in part, because there are proposals to increase rail traffic for coal-export terminals in Washington State, which have faced stiff opposition from environmental and community groups.

Coal exports are also increasing in B.C.’s Lower Mainland, with a $200-million expansion at Neptune Bulk Terminals in North Vancouver already approved and the $15-million coal-handling proposal at Surrey Fraser Docks still under review.

Port Metro Vancouver did not respond to a Vancouver Sun question on whether it would consider the new study in its Surrey review decision.

Arunachal now just a small stop away from rail link

Taba Chake, who has never travelled by train, with the inspection train. (Dasarath Deka)

Taba Chake, a 22-year-old BA student at Itanagar’s Dera Natung College, has never travelled by train. “In fact I had not even seen one so close,” he said, as he touched coaches of a Light Goods Special that arrived here on Thursday last week.

As the train remained parked at the Naharlagun station for the day, others like Habam Tabe (26), Dobum Raja (19), Chukhu Paji (29), and Tamo Kame (30) kept rushing in and out of its nine coaches. The Light Goods Special was just an inspection train. However, for Arunachal that has long been waiting for a rail link, that was the first concrete indication that the link was just a step away. Naharlagun is just 10 km from Arunachal capital Itanagar. A tiny, 1.26-km stretch in Bhalukpong in East Kameng district, built back in 1989, is all that the state has by way of railway so far.

Commissioning is expected to take place after the elections given the code of conduct. Arunachal will see simultaneous general and Assembly polls. Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.
The lack of connectivity is a major issue in the sensitive state which shares a long boundary with China. China has already extended its railway network to Xigaze, close to Sikkim, and is also understood to have drawn up plans to bring one railhead to the border just across Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.

Chake came to see the train with father Taba Sera, a contractor who built portions of the Naharlagun station platform. A well-known singer and guitarist of the state, the 22-year-old has travelled to cities such as Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati and Shillong for performing, but it’s always been by air. “I will travel on the first train when regular services are inaugurated,” he said.

Northeast Frontier Railway GM (Construction) R K Singh and his team came with the inspection train for an overnight trip. Naharlagun is being connected via a 21.75-km broad gauge track to Harmuti in Assam, a Rs 408-crore project whose foundation stone was laid by PM Manmohan Singh in January 2008. The project included 54 bridges.

The lack of connectivity is a major issue in the sensitive state which shares a long boundary with China. China has already extended its railway network to Xigaze, close to Sikkim, and is also understood to have drawn up plans to bring one railhead to the border just across Tawang in western Arunachal Pradesh.





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