Apr 7, 2014

Rail Gun Slated for At-Sea Tests in 2016

By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy plans to test a prototype of an electromagnetic rail gun at sea from the deck of a Joint High-Speed Vessel (JHSV) in 2016.

Speaking to reporters at an April 3 press conference at the Pentagon, Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research, and Rear Adm. L. Bryant Fuller III, deputy commander for ship design, integration and naval engineering for Naval Sea Systems Command, announced that a rail gun will be tested at sea onboard USNS Millinocket in 2016.

The JHSV was selected for the test because a rail gun can be temporarily deployed on the ship without intrusive modification. Fuller said the gun will be placed on the flight deck and the supporting equipment will be staged in Conex intermodal container boxes in the ship’s spacious cargo bay. The gun will not be integrated into the ship’s systems, and the JHSV will not be a platform for operational deployment of the weapon.

“Rail guns use an electromagnetic force — known as the Lorenz Force — to rapidly accelerate and launch a projectile between two conductive rails,” a Navy spokesman said in a March 31 statement. “A precisely controlled high-power electric pulse is delivered to the rails where the magnetic field is generated. Range can be controlled by varying the nature of that pulse, giving rail guns a significant advantage over traditional powder guns.

“Rail guns complement current kinetic weapons currently onboard surface combatants and offer a few specific advantages,” the statement said. “Against specific threats, the cost per engagement is orders of magnitude less expensive than comparable missile engagements. They also can expand the current capabilities of powder guns, enabling the conversion of expensive missiles for use against only the most complex threats. This has an overall effect of dramatically increasing the capacity of our current inventory.”

Klunder said the rail gun prototypes have demonstrated “hugely impressive performance,” and show promise in fire support, air defense and missile defense, including ballistic-missile defense, “a new Star Wars capability that is extremely affordable.”

The rail guns will be able to fire 23-pound projectiles out to ranges in excess of 100 nautical miles. Each round costs about $25,000, one-hundredth of the cost of an interceptor missile, Fuller said.

The rail gun program has a goal of developing a weapon that can shoot 10 rounds per minute at Mach 7 with muzzle energy of 32 mega joules. A mega joule is the energy required to hurl a one-ton object at 100 miles per hour.

The electrical power for the tests on Millinocket will be provided by batteries contained in Conex boxes.

BAE Systems and General Atomics have developed prototype rail guns for the Office of Naval Research and “both performed very well,” Klunder said, noting that the selection of one for the at-sea tests has not been made as yet.

Fuller said the Navy plans to integrate a rail gun on a ship in 2018.

Source-Rail News

NCE Daily News Update Monday 4 April: New projects boss for Network Rail named; Femern receives 17 bids for crossing

Network Rail has announced that Francis Paonessa will join the company as managing director, infrastructure projects this summer.

Plans for a new railway flyover that aims to increase capacity and reliability on the Stafford to Crewe section of the West Coast main line have been given the go-ahead

Network Rail’s plans for the flyover at Norton Bridge (north of Stafford) will see nearly 10km of new 100mph railway constructed as well as 10 new bridge structures, one bridge enhancement, four river diversions, major environmental mitigation works and pipeline, road and footpath diversions.

The upgrade is part of the £250M Stafford Area Improvements Programme, delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance.

The Norton Bridge scheme was the subject of a Development Consent Order (DCO) application, which was approved late last week.

Nine major international consortiums or contractors have submitted 17 bids to build the world’s longest immersed tunnel, which will bridge a road and raoil gap between Denmark and Germany.

The Fehmarnbelt crossing scheme promoter Femern said on Friday the bids represented the latest significant milestone as the project aims for a 2021 completion date.

“We now finally get to see the specific and innovative solutions that the contractors have prepared,” said Femern technical director Steen Lykke. “Interest from the contractors has been fantastic and we’re looking forward to examining the tenders in more detail.”

Due to its size and complexity, the project is divided up into four large construction contracts, each of which will create thousands of jobs. The four contracts cover the dredging of an 18km long and 12m deep trench in the seabed, construction of the northern and southern ends of the tunnel and the establishment of the adjacent facilities on both the German and Danish sides of the tunnel.

Some of the consortiums have chosen to tender for the whole project whereas others have decided to focus on certain tasks.

Over the coming months, Femern will analyse the tenders with a view to engaging in a subsequent dialogue with the contractors, when that dialogue is completed, the contractors will begin to calculate prices. Femern expects to receive these in December, it said “so that a realistic construction sum for the works can be incorporated into the proposal for the Construction Act. Folketinget, the Danish parliament, will consider at the beginning of 2015.

Construction starts on Riyadh metro

Riyadh province governor prince Khalid bin Bandar marked the start of construction of the city’s metro system late last week, beginning with excavation of the station at King Khaled International airport.

An FCC-led consortium has begun work two months ahead of schedule on this part of the project to build line 4, to link the city’s financial district with the airport.

The line is part of the wider €16.2bn (£13.5bn), 167km metro scheme. FCC is leading the FAST consortium building lines 4,5 and 6 in a contract worth £5bn. Other members of the consortium include Samsung (Korea), Alstom (France), (The Netherlands), Freyssinet Saudi Arabia, Typsa (Spain), Atkins (UK) and Setec (France).

The contract covers 25 stations, 65km of track: 24km of viaducts.
On Saturday FCC celebrated the inauguration of the Panama Metro Line 1, built in three years costing $2bn (£1.2bn). FCC in venture with Odebrecht (Brazil) won the contract for the 2.2km extension in 2010.

Network Rail revealed late Friday that Francis Paonessa will join the company as managing director, infrastructure projects this summer.

Paonessa is currently managing director UK, Bombardier Transportation. He will replace Simon Kirby, who leaves Network Rail in June to take up the role of chief executive at HS2 Ltd.

Paonessa will lead Network Rail’s infrastructure projects division in its delivery of £25bn of infrastructure renewals and enhancements in its CP5 five-year investment plan.

Paonessa will be joining Network Rail from Bombardier Transportation where he currently leads the combined new build and services business in the UK, employing around 3,700 staff at eight Bombardier sites and 23 customer locations. He initially joined Bombardier in 2010 as president of UK rolling stock, where he managed the new build facility in Derby, manufacturing mainline and underground trains for the UK and for export. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Paonessa will be paid an annual salary of £425,000 with a maximum bonus opportunity of 20%.

Source-Rail News

CUI – New DIN-rail DC-DC converter simplifies installation in industrial environments

CUI has introduced a compact new DIN-rail DC-DC converter line to ease installation in industrial environments. The converter family is housed in a slim 76mm x 31.5mm x 25.8mm DIN-rail package with all electrical connections easily accessible via screw terminals.

The unit is designed for applications where the convenience of DIN-rail mounting is required, such as industrial equipment, mobile equipment, and telecom base stations. The family’s 47 modules, across three series – PYB10-DIN, PYB15-DIN, and PYB20-DIN – have an output range of 10 to 20W.

Available input ranges of 9 to 36VDC or 18 to 75VDC make the units ideally suited to battery-driven applications, where charging and discharging conditions require a wide input range. The devices’ -40C to +85C operating temperature range also allows the series to work reliably in harsh environments. For applications where power consumption is a concern, the PYB series delivers efficiencies reaching 91%.

The PYB family is available in single output (3.3, 5, 12, 15, or 24VDC), dual-output (±5, ±12, or ±15 VDC), and in 1W5 and 20W versions, triple-output (3.3/±12, 3.3/±15, 5/±12, or 5/±15 VDC) models. Outputs are fully regulated to within ±0.5% for overall line input conditions and ±1% for all load conditions. Input to output isolation of 1,500VDC is provided across the range of models.

Single output 15W and 20W models offer an output trim that allows ±10% nominal output adjustment. All parts include a remote on/off feature. Protections include continuous short-circuit, over-current and over-voltage. The PYB series meets CISPR22/EN55022 Class B standards with limited external components. An optional heat sink is also offered on most models for improved thermal performance, says the company.

Source-Rail News

Free wi-fi coming to Hitchin and Stevenage rail stations

Free WiFi is coming to Hithin and Stevenage railway stations on the First Capital Connect (FCC) rail network as part of a £2 million-plus investment.

WiFi will be rolled out starting this summer as part of service improvements over the next six months to mark its eighth anniversary.

FCC Managing Director David Statham said: “This is all about giving people better value for money. Free WiFi at our key stations turns downtime into productive time for our busy passengers, giving fast access to the entire net and features such as our mobile website and new mobile ticketing app.

“This £2 million-plus investment will also give passengers cleaner trains, improved customer assistance, further measures to prevent graffiti and improvements to stations along the route.

“It builds on what we have already delivered over the past eight years of our franchise: almost 30,000 extra seats at our busiest times of the day, new stations at St Pancras, Blackfriars, King’s Cross, Farringdon and West Hampstead, better stations, new or upgraded trains and a 36 per cent reduction in crime.”

Other ongoing improvements include:

• extra cleaners on trains, more customer service training for staff

• a rainbow board system on the FCC website to see the state of services at a glance

• extra trains leased from other operators to cover for essential heavy maintenance work

• station improvements:

• introducing lifts at Hitchin, Letchworth and Stevenage.

Source-Rail News

Najib, Lee reiterate high-speed rail link to complete by 2020

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia and Singapore prime ministers have reiterated that the proposed High-Speed Rail Link between the republic and Kuala Lumpur will be completed as scheduled in 2020.

Speaking to reporters today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said both governments were mindful of the fact that the project was ambitious and both governments were working hard towards meeting the deadline. 

He said the proposed project would enhance the cross-border connectivity between both countries.

"I think it is too early for us to revise the timeline at this stage. We wanted it to be an ambitious target, so that we will be very focussed and both governments will be directed towards the target date of 2020," he said.

Najib said the first phase of the joint engineering study to develop possible alignment for the project and the proposal for the proposed Rail Transit System (RTS) connecting Singapore and Johor Baru was completed.

"It will soon come a time for us to decide on the best option. We have 27 possible options to make RTS the most efficient and effective transport system that will benefit both nations," he added.

He said Malaysia would be making the decision fairly soon on the RTS location in Johor Baru.

Najib and his counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, attended a closed-door delegation meeting prior to the press conference.

Lee said the officials of both countries had to work in a very focussed way in order to get the proposed High-Speed Rail Link project done.

"2020 is a good target to work for. It will be challenging to achieve but I don't think we should relax the constraints yet," he said.

Lee was in Malaysia for a two-day annual Leader's Retreat. He arrived yesterday, accompanied by his wife Ho Ching, and Singapore' senior officials.

Najib said the end-point for High-Speed Rail link in Malaysia is at Bandar Malaysia, where the current Air Force base is located.

As for Singapore, Lee said, there would be three possibilities for the end-point of the rail link in Singapore namely Tuas West, Jurong East and the City.

"I shared some of the considerations and the possibilities to the Malaysian prime minister. This is something that we are working on and we will decide this year or so," he said.

Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued after the Malaysia-Singapore Leaders' Retreat, both prime ministers urged the High-Speed Rail Work Group to work diligently towards fulfilling its mandate by 2020.

The fifth retreat, held here, is a platform for both leaders to take stock of bilateral cooperation between both countries.

The last meeting took place in Singapore in February last year, which saw them agreeing on a high-speed rail link between the republic and Kuala Lumpur, which would significantly cut travel time between both countries to just 90 minutes. -- BERNAMA

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong shakes hands after a joint press conference at the prime minister's office in Putrajaya. Pix by Fariz Iswadi Ismail
Source-Rail News

Alert Railway Staff avert major train mishap: Rajdhani Express escapes train fire

Smoke seen in New Delhi-Ahmedabad Rajdhani Express, major mishap averted

Sojat Road सोजत रोड (SOD): An alert railway staff on Sunday averted what would have been a major mishap by stopping the New Delhi-Ahmedabad Rajdhani train near Sojat Road station and putting out the smoke coming out of an SLR coach.

A pointman at Sojat Road station, which falls along Ajmer-Marwar Junction route, observed the smoke emerging from the SLR coach of the New Delhi-Ahmedabad Swaran Jayanti Rajdhani Express train at around 4 am, and informed the station master who immediately contacted the train guard who stopped the train in between Sojat-road and Bhaisna where the crew members put out the smoke, chief PRO and DGM of NWR Tarun Jain said.

The train was stopped between Sojat-road and Bhaisna railway station, and the affected SLR coach was removed at Bhaisna railway station, Jain said.

NWR General Manager, R C Agarwal announced awards for the railway employees who averted the mishap, he said.

In another incident, the engine of Marudhar train (Jodhpur-Delhi) developed a technical snag in between Bandikui and Dausa railway station early on Sunday, an RPF inspector said.

The train was halted till the new engine was shuttled with it, he said, adding the train was halted for about half hour.

Source- Rail News

Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-speed railway project talks put on fast track

530-odd kilometres between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will be covered in just 2 hours

Ahmedabad अहमदाबाद (ADI): The ambitious Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed railway project had its first full-fledged meeting at the Railway Ministry earlier this week. Representatives from Maharashtra, Gujarat, the Japanese Industrial Cooperation Agency (JICA), and railway board officials attended it.

According to sources, the meeting was held to bring about a broad consensus on the project, especially between the governments of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

The project, among the most ambitious ones the railways has on its plate, will see trains running between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at more than 300 kilometres per hour and try to complete the
530-odd kilometres between the two cities in around two hours.

According to officials, one of the things agreed upon was to start the line from Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC) and then take it to Thane and onward to Virar. While the state government is keen that the line also touches Belapur to bring Navi Mumbai in the ambit, railway officials said the Bealpur detour is best avoided.

Another issue that was discussed, said sources, was to ensure that the terminal to come up at BKC have a connection to the BKC metro station envisaged as part of the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro line III. “That will allow people from the southern part of Mumbai to reach BKC and board the train. With the train taking around the same time as a flight, we do believe that a lot of people will be patronising it. And south Mumbai has a sizeable chunk of people who travel frequently to Gujarat,” said the official.

According to officials, there is still some ambiguity over where the terminal at Ahmedabad would be. “The railways is of the view that it should be a little away from the present Ahmedabad station,” said an official.

With its price ranging between Rs.35,000 to Rs.60,000 crore, officials said the project will require a major push from the Gujarat government if it has to be successful. “More than Mumbai, it will be a game-changer for Gujarat since several of its big cities will be part of the network,” said an official.

The project was to start from Pune but the Mumbai-Pune leg had to be dropped due to the massive cost involved in laying a high-speed network in the mountainous terrain around Pune.

Source- Rail News

Namma Metro: Precious space gone waste

Bangalore बंगलौर (SBC): The concrete marvel, that is the Metro Rail, is as inconvenient as it is convenient. Though its world-class infrastructure makes people reach their destination in a jiffy, sometimes the huge stretches that are used to make a station leave one wondering if so much space is required for it.

One such example is the Swami Vivekananda Metro Station. The entrance to the station (from the Baiyappanahalli side back to MG Road) is on a massive road that could take a huge load of traffic.

Yet the irony is that vehicles aren’t allowed to move in here and there is a huge pile-up of traffic on the main road outside.

Metrolife interacts with the authorities and citizens using this stretch to find out the solution.

Pallavi, a lecturer at East Point of Higher Education who stays in Pai Layout near Gopalan Mall, feels that the stretch is wasted.

“We have to wait for 20 minutes on the road outside to clear the signal. The least the authorities can do is provide parking here,” she laments.

Dinesh, a second-PUC student, notes that the traffic is really bad during peak hours.

“I often travel between Baiyappanahalli and Ulsoor and in the evenings, it takes at least 15 minutes to clear this stretch. This space could be made more useful,” he notes.

A second-PUC student of Indiranagar Composite PU College, Chaitra points out certain good things about the clear space.

“When it rains, one can take shelter here. Even when it’s too sunny, it’s a cool stretch to be at. In the mornings, one can see people enjoying their walks while children play and cycle here even though it’s not allowed,” she says.

Jayashree, an accountant, feels that if the stretch is used better, the Bengaluru Santhe could be given more visibility.

The authorities, who are slowly but tastefully using the space at the stations to build cultural spaces like Rangoli Metro Art Centre and Bengaluru Santhe, which is currently at this station, have more plans.

Explaining why traffic isn’t allowed to move here at present, UA Vasanth Rao, general manager (finance), Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd, says, “If we allow the traffic coming from MG Road through this stretch, it will get choked at the end of this stretch near the other half of Bengaluru Santhe, which will make the situation worse. That’s why we are planning to come up with three flyovers near Suranjandas Road,” he says.

The BDA, BBMP and BMRCL will be discussing this with the State Government, he informs.

“Once these flyovers come up, we will open one half of the stretch for vehicles. The original idea was for people using the Metro Rail to use this space as a pick-up and drop point,” he notes.

On the other half of the stretch towards the footpath and station, the authorities plan to open a world-class food court.

“Since this road leads to the IT corridor, we plan to open a grand food court that will have the most well-known food outlets, which will maintain hygiene and keep the surroundings clean. It will be open till 1 am. We will spruce up the place so that people can sit and enjoy or take away as they drive through. So while one half of the road will be for people using the food court, the other half will be open to regular traffic. And people can always park at the existing parking facility at the station,” he sums up.

Source- Rail News

Lucknow Residents blame Railways of encroaching LDA land

Lucknow लखनऊ (LKO): Northern Railway’s decision to build a boundary wall in the fully developed Lucknow Development Authority colony of Vineet Khand-5, Gomtinagar has left around 50 families in jeopardy as their properties come within the wall’s ambit. They bought plots from LDA years ago and some even built houses.

After inhabiting the area for almost 13 years, locals found their plots occupied by Northern Railways. Since the area is close to railway land, there has been a decade-old disagreement between railways and LDA on land-sharing. The matter once again came to the fore this week when residents found a railway contractor digging their plots on the main Nagar Nigam road and blocking entry to the park of the area.

Railways want to build a memu-train shed, hence digging land to erect boundary wall around it. Allotees of the plot complain the contractor has ruined most underground infrastructures of the colony during land cutting. The locals said LDA and railways had already done a demarcation survey jointly in 2003 and had installed division poles on the land.

LDA developed facilities like sewerage, drainage, water supply and electricity infrastructure in the colony by 2002 and allotted it to owners a year later. The colony was transferred to Municipal Corporation in 2008. The sudden land cutting led to huge public resentment forcing the contractor to leave the spot. On Sunday, all affected families gathered on the disputed land to oppose construction and plan future course.

Property owner Ajay Shrivastav said “we have complained to LDA and LMC several times and both agencies have written strong letters to railway authorities for restoration of the road and for action against the railway contractor. After repeated reminders, railway authorities finally turned up on Saturday and agreed to conduct a joint survey again for demarcating the land.”

Meanwhile, railways’ action has caused resentment among allottees who say they expected clear ownership of land when buying it from LDA. They are now demanding that LDA must set up a boundary wall demarcating its land, to check any future attempt by the railways. LDA had acquired this land from Husedia village farmers to develop the colony in late 1990s.

LDA’s stand

LDA has not only allotted plots but also constructed roads, parks, laid down sewer and electricity lines years ago. Railways had then not expressed any objection. Their attempt to react after such a long time and claim the LDA land is unfair.

Railway’s stand

A railway land will always remain railway’s, irrespective of when we want to build a facility there. As per revenue records, map shows the land belongs to us. We want to build memu-train shed for maintenance. It is LDA’s mistake to allott them plots in our land knowingly. Earlier, during demarcation survey of 2003 too, LDA had made such folly for which it had ended up cancelling around 40 odd plots.

Source- Rail News

Mookambika Railway Yatri Sangha urge KRCL to extend Bhatkal train till Madgaon

Mookambika Road (BYNR): The Mookambika Railway Yatri Sangha, Byndoor has appealed the Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) to extend the Mangalore Central – Bhatkal Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) service up to Madgaon.

Issuing a press release, president of the Sangha, K. Venkatesh Kini said that the present schedule of the DEMU service was not convenient for the passengers as the DEMU service from Bhatkal often arrived late to Mangalore Centre resulting in lack of the expected public response. Hence, he said, it was necessary to extend the service up to Madgaon.

It may be noted that during the last Konkan Railway Users Consultative Committee meeting, a similar demand was made But the KRCL officers has responded that running of DEMU service between Karwar and Mangalore would be considered after successful installation of bio-toilets.

As the Mangalore-Bhatkal DEMU service already had toilet and water facility, it is possible to extend it to Madgaon.

Source- Rail News

Montek for Railways as a Public Sector Enterprise

Shahpur शाहपुर: The Railways should be converted into a public sector corporation. It is running like a government department and not performing as per expectations. The Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated this while interacting with students of the Central University Himachal Pradesh here today.

Ahluwalia said a few decades ago, the infrastructure of the Railways was on a par with that of China. The latter is now far ahead of India in terms of railway network infrastructure. The basic reason for that is that China has refurbished its railways ministry whereas in India, it is just like any other government department.

He said the total subsidy on passenger freight in India is around Rs.20000 crores annually. In China, the passenger fare in railways is more than commercial freight rates. In India, it is the reverse. In case the commercial and passenger freights in Indian railways were rationalised, it could help in the industry’s growth, Ahluwalia said.

Earlier, while delivering a lecture on Indian Economic Objectives and Prospects, Montek said in the last two years, the annual growth rate of the Indian economy had gone down from 8 per cent to 5 per cent. Two-third of the reasons for the slowdown in the Indian economy were domestic while one-third of these were linked to the global slowdown, he said.

The basic domestic reasons responsible for slowdown in the Indian economy were environmental clearances and increasing non-performing assets of the banks and non-availability of finances in the market, he added. In the last one decade, there has been a huge increase in investments in India.

The systems in India for environmental clearances were unable to cope with increase in investment proposals, he said. Another reason for the economic slowdown was uncertainty in policy in view of the polls, he added. Whichever government is voted to power in India after May, the economy would achieve a growth rate of about 5.5 per cent this year and about 7 per cent next year, he said.

The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission claimed there had been reduction in poverty in India in the last 10 years. About 140 million people in India had come out of the poverty line in the last 10 years, he said, quoting a poverty measure whose authenticity has been doubted of late.

About the allegation that the poor were getting poorer due to the policies of the present government, he said it was not true. He said though there was no data on income to substantiate the fact that poor were getting poorer in the country, in terms of consumption index, there has been a small increase in inequality in the Indian society. He said the view regarding increasing inequality in the Indian society has been created by media.

In many foreign countries, products meant for the middle class are advertised. In the Indian media, the products meant for the high end society are largely advertised. This has created an impression that the gap between rich and poor is increasing, claimed Ahluwalia.

Highlights of Ahluwalia’s speech
Ahluwalia said China was far ahead of India in terms of railway network infrastructure
China had refurbished its railways ministry whereas in India, it is just like any other government department, he said
About 140 million people in India had come out of the poverty line in the last 10 years, the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman said, quoting a poverty measure whose authenticity has been doubted of late.

Source- Rail News

East Central Railway GM inspects work on Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge

Patna पटना (PNBE): East Central Railway (ECR) GM Madhuresh Kumar on Saturday inspected the ongoing work on the Digha-Sonepur rail-cum-road bridge in Patna and directed officials concerned to maintain a close coordination with district officials of Patna and Saran to remove all encroachments on roads for smooth construction of the bridge. The bridge is to be commissioned on March 31, 2015.

Giving this information, ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak said the GM also directed officials to float tenders for the leftover work.

The GM asked the agencies engaged in the work to complete girder erection work fast and complete road deck also. Out of 36 spans, railways has almost completed 24 spans of the bridge, 13 from the south end and 11 from the north end, sources said.

According to ECR GM, railways has adopted a calculated strategy to complete the project in time and dedicate the bridge to the nation by the end of March 2015. Technical experts of railways are supervising the quality of work of the bridge.

Besides, railways is carrying out fabrication and erection work on the rail bridge which is going on in full swing. The distance between two spans is about 131 metre.

According to sources, the whole project is likely to be completed at an estimated cost of about Rs 2,921 crore which includes cost of road construction work on the bridge. This is going to be the longest rail-cum-road bridge of Indian Railways having a length of about 4.5km.

This bridge will connect south and north ends to the state capital. Railways is building two stations Pataliputra in the south and Pahelja in the north end to cope with traffic flow after commissioning of the bridge. While Pataliputra station is almost complete, work on Pahelja railway station is going on, sources said.

According to Rajak, while width of the road on the bridge will be about 9.075 metre, the path for the convenience of the pedestrians will have 1.5 metre width.

Source- Rail News

Gogoi woos Barak Valley voters with Rail link to Kolkata

Silchar सिलचर (SCL): Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday wooed voters in the Barak Valley by promising to link Karimganj with Kolkata by laying railway tracks via Bangladesh.

Addressing an election rally in Karimganj in southern Assam, Gogoi said Silchar is a major business hub and an important town of the state near Bangladesh. The railway project would facilitate expansion of trade between the two countries and also reduce the distance between the Barak Valley and Kolkata.

The Chief Minister said he will take up the issue with the Centre so that it can take it up with Dhaka.

A railway track from Mahishashan, India’s last railway station in Karimganj, stretches up to Sylhet in Bangladesh. However, the track has remained abandoned for the last four decades for diplomatic reasons, a source said.

Addressing the rally organized in support of Congress nominee Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya for Karimganj Lok Sabha seat, Gogoi said he had promised a package of Rs 1,000 crore before the last assembly election, if most of the seats in the Barak Valley were won by Congress and had kept his promise after coming to power in 2011. “Now, I promise another package for the Barak Valley if Congress wins both Karimganj and Silchar Lok Sabha seats,” said the chief minister.

Addressing a 3000-strong crowd on the Public School ground in the border town, Gogoi said there was no ‘Modi wave’ in Assam. It was only ‘Gogoi wave’ across the state, he claimed.

“I will continue to remain the Chief Minister of Assam and Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister after the general elections,” said Gogoi. He said AIUDF is the ‘B-Team’ of BJP in Assam. “Narendra Modi never spoke a word against AIUDF during his visits to the state. Both Modi and Badaruddin Ajmal have made it a habit to criticize me and Congress. Don’t vote for both the parties. They are two sides of the same coin,” said the Chief Minister.

However, Minister for Cooperation and Border Area Development Siddeq Ahmed didn’t attend the rally. A source said he was unhappy that Public Health Engineering Minister Gautom Roy was accompanying the Chief Minister at the meeting.

Source- Rail News

First Passenger Train service to ‘chug chug’ into Arunachal Pradesh today

Harmuti (HMY): A passenger train would roll down from Tezpur to Naharlagun through the newly built Harmuti-Naharlagun railway line tomorrow to put landlocked Arunachal Pradesh on the railway map of India, informed Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

The ambitious railway line project estimated to cost Rs 156 crore (re-estimated at Rs 371.33 crore by the Railway Board on July 7, 2009), missed its target of December 2011 repeatedly. Sarma, who is the project incharge, attributed the inordinate delay due to existence of five high tension power line poles along the tracks, forest clearance at Gumto area obtained only January 8 last.

As state’s power department has now removed the high tension power line, the formal train service began with clearance by Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Sarma said, adding only passenger trains would run, not goods trains.

Railway connectivity would be a gift of government of India for the land-locked people of this Himalayan state, said Chief Minister Nabam Tuki.

The construction of 20-km Harmutty-Itanagar railway line was announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on January 31, 2008 but former Rajya Sabha member Nabam Rebia armed with a memorandum of Arunachal Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) had pursued then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who in 2007 Railway Budget had ordered surveys for gauge conversion of Rangia-Murkongselek and Tezpur-Bhalukpong link lines besides updating of the surveys of the Harmutty-Itanagar railway line.

Highlighting the historical and mythological relevance of the state including the famous Parsuram Kund, Malinithan and tallest Shiva Linga of Ziro during a one to one interaction with the then Union MoS for Trade and Commerce Jairam Ramesh at Pasighat on January 15, 2007, an ACCI delegation led by president Techi Lala, general secretary Tarak Nachung and chief advisor B K Ghosh Dostidar had also demanded construction of 161-km Tinsukia-Parsuram Kund rail line to help tourists from all over India to put the holy place in global tourism map.

As the trade and commerce minister had assured to look into our demands, “your (Mr Yadav) personal attention, particularly as a descendant of Lord Krishna, would materialize the railway project and boost the high potential tourism sector of this Himalayan state, known as the last Sangri-La on the earth”, red the memorandum.

Subsequently, the ACCI had also written to the PMO and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi besides forwarding copy to both MPs for follow up action, Nachung recalled today, and added that the rail link would boost the socio-economic development of this land-locked state. His reaction came after witnessing the engine running on the track.

Aimed at breaking the sense of isolation of the North East India, the Planning Commission had approved several projects for the NE during the 11th Five Year Plan.

The completion of ambitious 4.315-km Bogibeel road, 198-km Lumding-Silchar-Jiribam gauge conversion, 100-km Ziribam-Imphal extension project to link Manipur, the 108-km Kumarghat-Agartala, Jiribhum-Tulpul; Dimapur-Zuzba; Azra-Byrnihat the gauge conversion of Rangiya-Murkongsele, 84-km Badarpur-Bhairabi section for gauge link to Mizoram, and the 15-km Amguri-Tuli line would expand the rail network in the region.

It is commonly believed that the British rulers during 1858 to 1947 did more good to India than the Indian rulers did since then. For the British came as traders and undertook development work intended to flourish their trade. This was cited by Yadav, who in his 2007 Railway Budget speech had said: “Even the foreign government of the British had understood this fact and from 1833 to 1900, they built 40,000 km of rail track whereas we constructed only 8,000 km of rail track between 1947 to 1995″.

Though the average rail density of India is 19.13 and the NE is one of the poorest, Assam stands at 31.9 while the ratio of other states (in descending order) is Delhi (138.2) followed by West Bengal (43.4), Punjab (41.6), Haryana (36.1), Bihar (35.9), Uttar Pradesh (35.8) and Tamil Nadu (32.1).

Source- Rail News

Free MRT, LRT rides for veterans this week

MANILA, Philippines – War veterans may avail of free rides offered by the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) this week until April 11 in commemoration of Philippine Veterans Week.

MRT general manager Al Vitangcol announced the free ride scheme to media, Inquirer Radio 990AM reported on Monday.

“LRT 1 & 2 whole day free ride, April 5 to 11, for veterans with PVAO (Philippine Veterans Affairs Office) ID in celebration of Philippine Veterans Week,” LRT spokesperson Hernandez Caber said over Twitter on Sunday.

The official Twitter account of the LRT Administration confirmed the news, adding that the veteran’s accompanying guardian or caregiver will also be given a free ride.

The companion will also have to present a valid ID.

On April 9, the Philippine government will celebrate the Day of Valor (Araw ng Kagiting) at the Mount Samat National Shrine in Pillar, Bataan.

President Benigno Aquino III is expected to deliver a speech recognizing the heroism of Filipino soldiers during World War II.
Source-news info

Report: More than 7,100 Metro-North defects found

Metro-North New Haven
Federal inspectors over the last decade found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in Metro-North Railroad, but records show regulators launched a full investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year.

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – Federal inspectors over the last decade found more than 7,100 defects and deficiencies in Metro-North Railroad, but records obtained by a newspaper show regulators launched a full investigation only after two high-profile accidents last year.

Following a public records request, Hearst Connecticut Media reports that federal inspectors last year found broken joint bars and loose or missing rail braces that hold tracks to ties in Bridgeport, Norwalk, New Haven and Stamford.

Inspectors found numerous instances of passenger emergency equipment not being in place in New Haven and Stamford.

Marjorie Anders, a Metro-North spokeswoman, said the commuter railroad generally does better during federal inspections than most railroads.

"Every time a defect is cited, we fix them," she said.

Reports also show that following a derailment in Bridgeport last year and the death of a rail worker, federal officials significantly increased inspections

"Certainly, that would turn our attention to more inspections on that property," said Kevin Thompson, a spokesman at the Federal Railroad Administration.

Inspections during 2013 uncovered five times as many issues per 100 miles of track as similar inspections of other commuter railroads, he said.

"While that is a significant concern for us, it doesn't mean the railroad is unsafe to ride," Thompson said.

Metro-North has reduced train speed when necessary, responding to the "exceptions and defects" identified in federal inspections, he said.

The railroad has faced strong criticism from commuters and elected officials over numerous problems last year, including two derailments — one in the Bronx that left four passengers dead — and the Bridgeport accident in May that injured dozens of people.

A power outage in September also forced Metro-North to reduce service for nearly two weeks, infuriating passengers and leading many to take to their cars onto crowded Connecticut highways to avoid Metro-North.

Unions bid to stop rail deal

RAIL unions have launched a legal challenge to the Government over the awarding of franchises to train companies.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, Aslef and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), said members' jobs and conditions, as well as the interests of passengers and taxpayers, were threatened by a lack of consultation.

The unions are seeking a judicial review after accusing the Coalition Government of rushing through the privatisation of the East Coast main line so it is completed before next year's General Election.

Union officials said ministers had "cut corners" and had not carried out a proper consultation with passenger groups and unions.

They are also challenging extensions to the Thameslink and Great Northern franchises.

Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: "It is imperative we raise the genuine concerns of all stakeholders but especially the employees, before this is rushed through. We cannot, in good conscience, allow the mistakes of the past to happen again."

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: "After the scandal of this Government robbing the British taxpayer of a billion pounds in the scramble to privatise the Royal Mail it is shocking that they are engaging in the same tactics to try to hand the East Coast Mainline back to their friends in big business."

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: "The coalition knows only too well that rail franchising is not fit for purpose."
Source-herald scotland





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