Mar 26, 2014

Collegian used software skills to corner rail tickets in bulk

A recent anti-tout operation conducted by Central Railway's RPF for 20 days resulted in 12 arrests and revealed a chink in the armour of IRCTC's ticket booking portal. 

The most intriguing of the arrests, however, was that of an 18-year-old computer science undergraduate student from Somaiya College, who was apprehended on March 5. Using his skills and sophisticated software, he allegedly managed to expedite online ticket booking procedures and thereby book multiple tickets at one go that were then sold for higher prices. 

RPF officials said that Krishna Vishwakarma, a resident of Ghatkopar, used a laptop to book the tickets which were sold from various sources, including Gupta Tours and Travels at Bandra. 

"He, along with his brother Ajay and cousin Pushpendra, were arrested with 136 confirmed e-tickets worth Rs 3.61 lakh, following the arrest of two other persons on March 4 who had with them 37 confirmed e-tickets costing around Rs 1.09 lakh," said an official. "They led us to Vishwakarma." 

During his five-day remand in custody, Vishwakarma revealed that his father earlier ran an IRCTC authorized agency at Ghatkopar, and that it was from there that he had learnt the nitty gritties of the ticket booking system. 

"He explained that by using certain software and his skills he could 'jump ahead' of everyone trying to book tickets online at 8 am. That helped him corner several confirmed tickets at one go," said Senior Divisional Security Commissioner Alok Bohra. 

"We have now involved IT experts as well as the cyber cell to understand more about the software, as well as the modus operandi he used," Bohra said, adding that an investigation into the case is underway. 

Bohra said that all the 12 accused, including Jitendra Gupta, owner of Gupta Tours, were booked under Section 143 of the Railways Act for conducting the business of procuring and supplying of railway tickets without authorization. 

Meanwhile, an RPF official voiced the need for a separate team of RPF staff specially trained in IT, who can quickly crack such cases as touts were using the latest technologies and people were ready to pay tidy sums for confirmed tickets during peak season. 

The official also said it was high time IRCTC made its website secure by designing a tamperproof ticket booking application to prevent such illegal activities. "It has already been conveyed to IRCTC and they have assured us that steps are being taken," the official said.
Source..mumbai mirror

Coming, skyscrapers over an active rail yard!

New York: Here comes the next engineering marvel that would lift your living right into the sky - on a platform over the busiest commuter rail yard in the US. 

A New York-based real estate developer is developing Hudson Yards at Manhattan’s west side without footings or foundations. 

Kicked off last week, the project is being built atop 300 concrete-sleeved, steel caissons jammed deep into the underlying bedrock. 

Caissons are watertight retaining structures used in bridge building as foundation. The engineers would drill them anywhere from 40 to 80 feet into the Manhattan schist - the dense, metamorphic bedrock that supports the city’s soaring skyline. 

The caissons would be meticulously arranged in the narrow spaces between the train tracks. 

Above, they would connect to deep-girdle trusses - some up to eight stories tall - that control and redirect the towering weight overhead. 

“The total weight is somewhere near 35,000 tonnes of steel and 50,000 cubic yards of concrete,” Jim White, the lead platform engineer from Related Companies, a privately-owned real estate firm in New York City, was quoted as saying. 

“We look at the train traffic and actually design the connections so we can install these 100-foot-long trusses when have a window of opportunity,” White added in a report in Wired.com. 

There are plans to build a four-acre green boulevard that would extend from the north of Hudson Yards through Hell’s Kitchen and would end in Times Square, the report added. 

Hudson Yards, at a planned 17 million square feet, is the biggest private real estate development in the US history. 

The Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project is a joint venture by New York City Department of City Planning and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 

According to Related Companies, the entire project would be completed in 2024.
Source..zee news

Rail industry successfully enters 2014 - sustained improvement of low mood

The SCI Rail Business Index gathers the evaluations of top managers from the global rail industry interviewed about the current and future business situation. The crisis in mood within the rail industry seems to have experienced a sustained improvement. Since the end of 2012, managers with one exception have again been viewing their current business situation and future developments more positively. Above all, the important indicator of demand has been substantially gaining momentum.

For the first time in 18 months, demand for products and services has risen for the majority of companies interviewed. Stimulus has come from both passenger and freight transport. The once again rising economic growth is leading in many regions to rising transport services by rail. SCI Verkehr has additionally observed a rising interest from financial investors in the rail industry. Many transactions are currently keeping the industry in motion.

The companies surveyed predominantly had good starts to the year 2014. The positive trend in the current business situation is being consolidated: compared to the previous quarter, the balance of evaluations rose slightly to 30%. Only 5% of top managers are still unsatisfied with their current situation.

The recently published business reports of many companies confirm the positive mood. SCI Verkehr has observed momentum in all business areas. The recovery of the global economy and the increase in international goods flows are having positive consequences on services in rail freight transport. Continuing urbanisation, in particular in Asia and Africa, as well as the expansion of high-speed rail networks are leading to growing demand in passenger transport.

Additionally, SCI Verkehr has noted the growing importance of after-sales business. In Europe in particular, the major investments of the past decades are now producing a growing need for maintenance and modernisation.

For the first time since mid-2012, the majority of companies surveyed indicated an increased demand for their products and services. Only for 10% of companies has demand lately decreased. The positive mood in the industry is now also reflected in the important indicator of new order inflows. This benefits not only the production industry; SCI Verkehr has also lately observed increasing activities among leasing companies.

The order backlog, which shrunk above all in 2012 due to falling demand, is also recovering. For the fourth time in a row, an increasing proportion of companies (+30%) indicate that their current order backlog is relatively large. This also strengthens confidence for the coming months.

Companies’ expectations for the coming 6 months have substantially improved compared to the previous quarters. A third of all companies surveyed expect development for the better in the first half of 2014. Only one company fears a worsening of its situation. Besides the currently good order situation at many companies, the positive economic prospects and announced procurement plans should support this optimism. In Germany, numerous networks continue to be tendered with accompanying procurement of new vehicles. In addition, SCI Verkehr also expects strong momentum from new markets such as South-East Asia and South Africa. Furthermore, this year’s Innotrans in September offers the hope of further successful contracts for the rail industry. 

For several years, SCI Verkehr has been asking companies about the development of their investments in relation to the previous year. Up to 2011, a clear rise in investment activity can be recognised. Accompanying the collapse of demand from 2011, investments in 2012 decreased substantially, barely 30% of companies invested more than in the previous year. With the growing new orders at the start of 2013, investments in the past year increased again. A good 40% of managers surveyed reported increased expenditures, including many with substantially increased investments.

Source - Strategic Research Institute, Steel Guru

 

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