May 31, 2014

Intermodal Rail Traffic Rises 8.6% for Week

U.S. rail intermodal traffic increased 8.6% in the week ended May 24 compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported.

Railroads moved 269,444 intermodal trailers and containers that week, AAR said May 29 in its weekly report.

Rail carload volume, which excludes intermodal units, increased 6.8% year-over-year to 300,936 carloads.

Nine of the 10 commodity groups that AAR tracks increased over last year, led by grain at 24.4%.

For the first 21 weeks of the year, intermodal volume has increased 5.6% from the same period last year to 5,322,963 units.

Year-to-date, intermodal volume for all of North America increased 5.5% to 6.7 million trailers and containers.
SOURCE - ttnews

प्रीमियम ट्रेन में टिकट की गारंटी, मगर किराया विमान से भी महंगा

ट्रेन में टिकट कंफर्म की गारंटी, मगर किराया विमान से भी महंगा। अत्यधिक भीड़ के चलते रेलवे ने कई प्रीमियम ट्रेनें दौड़ाई हैं, जिनका किराया 'डायनेमिक मूल्य नीति के मुताबिक टिकटों की मौजूदा दर से बहुत ज्यादा है। इसके बावजूद प्रीमियम टेनों में टिकट के लिए मारामारी है। दिल्ली से जम्मू जाने वाली प्रीमियम ट्रेन में तो स्लीपर क्लास में सभी सीटें भर चुकी है।

नई दिल्ली से मुंबई ट्रेन संख्या 22914, नई दिल्ली से जम्मू ट्रेन संख्या 02445, निजामुद्दीन से पूना 04014 और दिल्ली से सियालदह ट्रेन संख्या 02260 आदि प्रीमियम ट्रेनें चलाई जा रही हैं। यदि, नई दिल्ली से मुंबई की बात करें तो सेकेंड एसी क्लास में किराया 2495, थर्ड एसी क्लास में 1815 रुपये है, लेकिन प्रीमियम टेन में किराया सेकेंड एसी में 7707 और थर्ड एसी में 5870 रुपये लिया गया है। इस रूट पर 31 मई, 2 जून और 5 जून को टेन दौड़ेगी। टेन पूरी फुल हो चुकी है सिर्फ 120 सीटें बची हैं। इन सीटें की बुकिंग होने पर किराया और बढ़ सकता है। इसी प्रकार नई दिल्ली से जम्मू जाने वाली प्रीमियम ट्रेन 30 मई और 3 जून को दौड़ेगी। इस ट्रेन का किराया सेकेंड एसी का 4250 रुपये, जबकि अन्य ट्रेन में किराया सिर्फ 1155 रुपये है। सभी सीटें फुल होने के बाद बृहस्पतिवार को आरएसी सात तक पहुंच चुकी है। स्लीपर क्लास का किराया 950 रुपये देने के बावजूद टिकट 30 मई का उपलब्ध नहीं है। ये ट्रेन 30 मई और 3 जून को दौड़ेगी। यदि, स्लीपर क्लास में अन्य ट्रेन में टिकट हो तो उसका किराया 315 रुपये है। इसी प्रकार थर्ड एसी में किराया 2570 रुपये, जबकि अन्य ट्रेन में सिर्फ 820 रुपये है।

दरअसल, हवाई यात्र के डायनेमिक किरायों की तर्ज पर रेलवे ने पहली बार नया प्रयोग किया है जो सफल माना जा रहा है। इन प्रीमियम एसी विशेष ट्रेनों में राजधानी की तर्ज पर कैटरिंग भी है। हवाई जहाज के किराये घटते-बढ़ते रहते हैं जिन्हें डायनेमिक कहा जाता है, इसी प्रकार जहाज की तर्ज पर ट्रेनों को चलाया गया। सीटें फुल होने के साथ-साथ किराया बढ़ता जाएगा। यानी की कंफर्म टिकट चाहिए तो किराया रेलवे की मुताबिक ही देना होगा। आइआरसीटीसी के पोर्टल के माध्यम से ही हो सकेगी। रेलवे स्टेशनों पर कंप्यूटरीकृत आरक्षण कार्यालयों में टिकट बुकिंग की सुविधा नहीं होगी। अग्रिम आरक्षण की अवधि सिर्फ 15 दिन पहले होगी जिसमें वेटिंग टिकट नहीं दी जाएगी। प्रीमियम ट्रेन में किसी प्रकार की कोई रियायत नहीं दी जाएगी।






Brighton rail station opening pushed back to 2016

Commuters eagerly awaiting the debut of a Brighton commuter rail station, courtesy of New Balance, will have to wait a while longer.

The Boston Landing commuter rail station — originally scheduled to open this year — is now expected to open in 2016, as developers have realized the planning process and construction work will require more time than originally expected.

For residents and business owners in the neighborhood eager for new public transportation options, the new expected completion date is a letdown. But the protracted timeline also illustrates some of the potential inconveniences of the state’s new push for public-private partnerships: When private companies foot the bill for major infrastructure projects, the state may find itself beholden to their timeline.

The commuter rail station, on the Worcester-Framingham line, is estimated to cost $14 million to $16 million and is financed by New Boston Landing LLC, New Balance’s development company. It would provide service to the shoe company’s scores of employees, as well as direct access to the company’s planned Boston Landing development, a complex of restaurants, shops, a hotel, and athletic facilities under construction.

Additionally, the station is viewed as an act of goodwill to New Balance’s neighbors, providing the lone commuter rail station between the Fenway and Newton.

Two years ago, New Balance spokeswoman Amy Dow said construction of the station was anticipated to conclude in 2014. At a meeting of the state Department of Transportation board’s finance committee last year, the expected opening date changed to mid- to-late 2015. Now, Dow says, fall 2016 has become the new completion date, after engineers and construction experts ironed out the scope and details of the project.

“We were probably a little aggressive coming out the gate, as there are a lot of moving parts to the commuter rail station project and process,” Dow said in an e-mail.

New Boston Landing’s contract with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation shows an estimated completion date of July 2016, although the document states that the company donating the station “shall have the right to reasonably adjust or extend the dates set forth . . . for completion.”

MassDOT spokesman Mike Verseckes said the project is now adhering to the schedule outlined in that agreement. Even so, the agency has little recourse if construction runs longer, he said. After all, the state’s not paying for it, so the timeline is out of its hands.

“Even if it was behind schedule, there aren’t any financial penalties because the private entity has agreed to foot that bill,” Verseckes said.

News of the station’s later opening date is further disappointment for residents who have also hoped for a rail station near Allston Village; MassDOT officials said last week they have no immediate plans to make that project a reality.

Ali Carter, executive director of Brighton Main Streets, said community members have been anxiously awaiting the station’s debut. Some hope to commute in from the western suburbs, and others envision using the trains for quick access to jobs in the Financial District. Locals wish the station would open sooner, but have also been pleased with New Balance’s efforts to seek feedback from the community.

“As much as everyone wants everything to be up and running soon,” Carter said, “New Balance is doing everything right in getting community feedback. . . . I think that actually goes a long way to people being patient with them.”

It is an issue that the state could encounter more frequently in the future, as the Transportation Department considers other opportunities for public-private partnerships.

One year ago, the Transportation Department launched a commission to help usher in more partnerships with the private sector. Now, that commission is mulling the idea of enlisting a private company to build a new bridge to Cape Cod, where the developer could potentially charge tolls and collect the revenue.

Steve Poftak, executive director of Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston at Harvard’s Kennedy School, said that in a project like Boston Landing, where a private company is ultimately paying the bill, it can be difficult to negotiate financial penalties for late construction.

“In this project, there’s not a huge impact caused by this delay,” Poftak said. “It’s inconvenient to people, but it doesn’t critically impact infrastructure in any way. To make the deal happen, you wouldn’t build in some sort of punitive risk package. Then the private entity wouldn’t want to make the deal.”

But if the state embarks on public-private partnerships related to higher-stakes infrastructure projects — affecting roads, bridges, or tracks already used by commuters — it would be necessary for state officials to take a harder look at negotiating for financial penalties, even if it is not the state paying for the project.

“When you don’t make it economically compelling to get the project done on schedule, than it’s less pressing for them to finish when they say they will,” Poftak said.
Source-boston globe

UPDATE 1-CN Rail sees U.S. banning older rail cars for oil in 3-5 years

May 29 (Reuters) - Canadian National Railway Chief Executive Claude Mongeau said on Thursday he expects U.S. regulators to phase out use of DOT-111 tank cars in three to five years, following a deadly explosion in Quebec last year.

Mongeau also expects U.S. authorities to decide no later than early 2015 on a new, safer design for cars to transport crude oil, he said in an interview.

"Canada has already spoken; all these older legacy DOT-111 cars have to be phased out of flammable service (there) in the next three years," Mongeau said, speaking at a Sanford Bernstein conference in New York. "I think the U.S. will follow suit, three years, five years who knows? That's the range I think."

Canada will require that older rail cars used for carrying crude oil be phased out by May 2017, the government said in April, moving ahead of the United States to ban the controversial cars in light of burgeoning oil-by-rail traffic

The transport of oil by rail is rising due to fracking in North Dakota and drilling in Alberta's oil sands. Oil train cargoes have been under scrutiny since a shipment derailed in Lac Megantic, Quebec, last July, killing 47 people in an explosion.

The type of cars that derailed there are known as DOT-111 cars, and are seen as being vulnerable to puncturing and leakage.

The Association of American Railroads has made several recommendations for the new cars, including thicker, stronger steel, but shippers, leasing companies and manufacturers have their own views too, Mongeau said.

"There's broad agreement that we need a new tank car design for the future," he said. "There's not agreement on every detail and that's what the rule-making (process) needs to review and make a decision on from a government standpoint."

CN transported approximately 73,000 carloads of crude oil in 2013 across its North American network, more than double the previous year's carloads, but still only 1.4 percent of its total freight carloadings. It expects to double its crude oil carload volumes again by 2015.

Since October 2011, new oil tank cars have been built to a higher standard, known as CPC 1232. The CPC 1232 standard will be the minimum requirement in Canada three years from now.

In the U.S., that standard is not yet regulation, but new cars are already being built to that design, Mongeau said. The Association of American Railroads has said it would like to see a new standard of railcar for oil service with safety features exceeding the 1232.

BNSF Railway Co said in March that production could start in January on the first batch of 5,000 next-generation tank cars designed to carry crude oil more safely.

Even so, the older DOT-111 cars have several years of service remaining, despite their perceived flaws.

"It's a risk management process," Mongeau said. "We have used these cars for many, many years in flammable service."

Metro Moves Forward With Major Overpass For New Rail Line

The new Metro light rail line that will carry passengers from downtown Houston to the east end will proceed with an overpass at a critical juncture that is expected to save time and money.
Metro originally planned to build an underpass on Harrisburg at Hughes street to bypass some railroad tracks.

But Metro board chairman Gilbert Garcia says Metro will now build an overpass at that site and save millions of dollars in construction costs.

Garcia says “the most important thing we need to do at Metro is to complete the line. We think this line is going to transform the community, not just the east end, but really as it connects with the network all of Houston.”

It will take about 2 and a half years to build that overpass.

But the initial stretch of the east end light rail line or “Green line” from downtown to Altic street will be ready to go this fall.

Rail shares gallop on FDI hopes

Rail-related shares surged after media reports said that the government is likely to announce foreign direct investment policy for railways soon.

Kernex Microsystem surged 7% and is currently quoting at Rs 74.35 on the BSE. The stock opened at Rs 69.45, touched a high of Rs 75 and a low of Rs 69 on the BSE. Over 598,815 shares were traded on both the stock exchanges so far.

Kalindee Rail Nirman rose 5% to Rs 103.35 on the BSE. The stock opened at Rs 99.9, touched a high of Rs 103.35 and a low of Rs 93.5 on the BSE. Over 107,056 shares were traded on both the stock exchanges so far.

Titagarh Wagons gained 5% to Rs 250 on the BSE. The stock opened at Rs 248.9, touched a high of Rs 250 and a low of Rs 242 on the BSE. Over 78,956 shares were traded on both the stock exchanges so far.

Texmaco Rail and Engineering appreciated 5.1% to Rs 109.9 on the BSE. The stock opened at Rs 105, touched a high of Rs 112.4 and a low of Rs 105 on the BSE. Over 740,283 shares were traded on both the stock exchanges so far.

Diamond rail link may tap sovereign funds

The new government's big infrastructure project idea, from the poll manifesto of the now-ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, of a 'diamond quadrilateral railway project' to connect all the four metropolitan cities with high-speed rail, could mean a tapping of sovereign wealth funds to finance the mammoth cost, estimated to be at least Rs 12 lakh crore.

A senior official said a preliminary discussion on the project was held recently with a foreign consultant in the Planning Commission, to understand the broad contours. The total length of the rail network has been estimated at 6,500-7,000 km.

"The discussions are at a very preliminary stage and we have directed the foreign consultant who was advising the government on high-speed rail corridors to integrate the existing proposal with the new one," the official said.


Govt puts ‘diamond quadrilateral railway project’ on drawing board
Total length of railway line estimated to be 6,500-7,000 km
Preliminary talks was held recently with a foreign consultant in Plan panel
Project might have a structure similar to NHDP
Initial work for a high-speed rail corridor between Mumbai-Ahmedabad had begun with the previous government

Initial work on building a high-speed rail corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad had begun with the previous government signing a joint venture with Japan for feasibility studies. These are expected to over by the middle of 2015.

After the change in government, officials have been directed to merge the earlier programme with the BJP idea.

Officials said as building such an extensive rail network will involve laying new lines at huge cost, the government could also look at tapping sovereign wealth funds. "A project framework similar to the existing National Highways Development Project (NHDP) could be considered," said one. The NHDP was implemented from 1998 under the Prime Ministership of Atal Behari Vajpayee, to upgrade and widen major highways to a higher standard, in phases.

"Unless we have a proper framework and structure in place like NHDP, attracting such huge amount of funds for the ambitious programme could be a big challenge," the official said, adding a proper cost-benefit analysis was needed first.

The Rakesh Mohan committee on transport policy had estimated that investment in railways should rise from 0.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in the 11th Plan period (2007-08 to 2012-13) to almost 1.1 per cent of GDP in the 15th Plan.





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