Nov 6, 2014


Mumbai: BMC, Railways point fingers over flooded tracks

At a recent meeting, officials from the railways and civic body identified nullahs and culverts on both the railway lines that caused flooding of tracks during monsoon, but lack of funds has stalled progress

Will the recently concluded high-level meeting between the railway authorities and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials pertaining to flooding of railway tracks during rainy season yield result? The only thing Mumbaikars can do, is pray and hope for the best.

Flooded tracks at Kurla station is a common phenomenon during every monsoon. File pic

Sources, who were present at the meeting, claimed that the BMC, Western Railway (WR) and Central Railway (CR) authorities identified four nullahs and several culverts that are prone to waterlogging every monsoon, and need immediate attention. The discussion revolved around cleaning and maintaining the nullahs and culverts, and managing funds for the project.

Nullahs of concern
Authorities stated that the three nullahs on the Central line Somaiya nullah near Vidyavihar station, Nanepada nullah near Mulund station and the Kurla car shed nullah, and one on the Western line V H Desai nullah in Dahisar needed immediate attention, as they wreak havoc on train schedules every monsoon due to flooding.

Sources in the BMC claimed that the civic body was supposed to commence widening work of the Somaiya nullah in October, wherein the stretch between Vidyavihar station to Tansa pipeline was to be expanded.

They added that the BMC had even forwarded a proposal to the CR regarding the same. When contacted, CR officials denied receiving any such proposal. This ill-maintained nullah results in waterlogging between Vidyavihar and Kurla stations every rainy season.

The Kurla car shed nullah aggravates waterlogging at Kurla station. CR officials blamed the construction of a building next to the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, for further elevation of the road. “The area has become like a saucer, resulting in accumulation of water. This makes the situation precarious during monsoon,” said a CR official.

While the BMC officials blamed CR authorities for not commencing the work post-monsoon, the latter blamed it on the paucity of funds. “The BMC has to deposit R9.54 crore for the completion of pending work, and we have informed their authorities about the same,” said a railway official.

Sources in the CR claimed the money was needed to lay additional pipes of 1,800 mm diameter under the car shed and the main line tracks. However, records revealed that the civic body has already paid R3 crore to the railways.

On the Western line, a nullah that runs parallel to Dahisar station in the west starting from Dahisar subway to the creek needs maintenance urgently. During the meet, BMC officials and WR authorities decided to inspect the nullah together.

The authorities also discussed small culverts passing below the tracks at various locations, most of which are choked due to dumping of plastic, garbage and muck. CR identified the culverts that require immediate attention, and the BMC has already paid Rs 20.71 crore for their cleaning.

Important locations where culverts were identified are Dhobi Ghat in Sion, Swadeshi Mills between Kurla and Sion, two culverts at LBS Marg in Kurla and one at Chunabhatti station.

These need to be reconstructed into 2x1-metre box culverts. The other locations where minor work needs to be carried out are Wadala, Kurla railway colony between the car shed and Tilak Nagar station Nanepada in Mulund, Currey Road and Chinchpokli.

Source-Mid day

Bones in veg meal: Railway says passenger picked up non-veg lunch

New Delhi: Railways, which had conducted an enquiry into a complaint of bones being served in vegetarian dish, on Wednesday said that the passenger had mistakenly picked up the non-veg meal meant for his co-passenger. "The complainant passenger had mistakenly picked up the non-veg meal meant for his co-passenger," the Railways said in a statement.

The complainant, however, was "satisfied with the prompt action taken by railways" and agreed to close the matter, the statement added. Northern Railway has already imposed a heavy penalty of Rs 1 lakh on the service provider for misbehaviour of the waiter.

The enquiry was conducted after the passenger travelling on the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express found that the vegetarian dish he ordered contained pieces of bones. The incident happened early September when Tikam Chand Jain, a frequent traveller, boarded the Rajdhani from Delhi on September 19 and ordered a vegetarian meal the next day.
"The complainant passenger had mistakenly picked up the non-veg meal meant for his co-passenger," the Railways said in a statement.

To his surprise, 65-year-old Jain realised that he was chewing bones served in the curry. He complained to the manager serving food in the coach and later a written complaint was sent to the headquarters, according to a report submitted to Railway Ministry.

Railways has been flooded with complaints about the pathetic condition of catering services and quality of food. Despite the complaints and action against caterers, these kinds of incidents have been repeatedly happening. Recently, IRCTC was fined Rs 1 lakh after a cockroach was found in the food on Kolkata-Rajdhani on July 23.

During a special drive by Railways in July, sub-standard food was found in 13 trains and all caterers involved were imposed fine ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh. The official said several measures have been taken to improve the food quality. Serving pre-cooked ready-to-eat food, launching e-catering service, including the facility of ordering food through SMS and booking menu online are being planned to offer passengers multiple choices.
Source-ibn live

Are authorities making a sincere effort to tackle railway deaths?

No action is taken against commuters, who cross railway tracks, despite authorities issuing warnings against such activities. Shiladitya Pandit/iamin

Numerous announcements at railway stations, lengthy guard rails between tracks and hefty investments on escalators and foot-over bridges are seemingly leading nowhere in terms of reducing deaths on the suburban network. What is more alarming is that even railway authorities, do not seem to be aware about the actual cause of the problem. Figures gathered from the Western Railways’ website ( indicate that 364 people have died due to accidents on the Western Railway suburban network till the end of October, this year. This means there are at least nine casualties every week, eerily similar to the figures in October 2013, which recorded a rate of eight deaths per week. However, a lot of grey areas have been found in the said figures. The cause of casualties in a lot of the cases have not been specified. When contacted, the Western Railways’ public relations department admitted to a lack of clarity as far as statistics is concerned. “We do not have consolidated figures about the number of people killed, per year. We usually do not go into the specifics like the cause of death, so we do not know if most deaths were because people fell off the coach or were hit by a train,” said a senior officer of the department.
The Central Railways’ website ( reveals comparatively better figures, but by no means is it less distressing. By the end of October this year, 176 people had lost their lives on the tracks. This indicates a rate of approximately five deaths per week, in comparison to last year’s statistics, which accounts for six casualties, per week. But once again, the authenticity of figures is questionable. In a lot of the cases, the fate of the victim in the accident, as to whether s/he was injured or killed, has not even been mentioned. Central Railway officials have refused to comment on the matter.

Rwanda and Uganda Agree to Joint Railway Training Plan

Rwanda and Uganda, yesterday, agreed to conduct joint capacity building programmes to effectively manage the envisaged Kigali-Kampala standard gauge railway.

The proposed standard gauge railway, to be completed by March 2018, will stretch from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kampala, Kigali and Juba.

The meeting, held in Kampala, noted that while the studies on the project were still ongoing, Kigali-Kampala and Juba had given themselves up to end of this month to have made a final decision on the project contractor.

Tororo in Eastern Uganda has already been designated as one of the training centres for engineers to handle the standard gauge railway project.

"We are going to send our engineers to undertake courses related to railway but we also agreed on how we are going to have another set up in Kigali also for related activities," Infrastructure minister James Musoni told The New Times from Kampala.

"Capacity building has been key not only on how we are going to do it in Tororo but also looking at other parts of the world where railway business has been there for long."

Tripartite arrangement:

The deal is a step forward following a decision by three East African Community partner states-Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda-to enter a tripartite arrangement to fast-track integration projects, including the standard gauge railway.

The consultants are yet to report the total cost of engineering and procurement as well as advise on the routes and alignment from Kagitumba to Kigali.

Dr Augustine Mugisa, a member of the Road Industry Council in Uganda, said 904 kilometres of road from Kampala to Kagitumba had been split for easy management.

He said while Uganda had approved China Civil Engineering Construction Company to construct the sections, the company was in the spotlight over having restructured its organisation thereby raising suspicions over its competence to handle the job.

"Visits will be made to the countries where they have worked to assess progress, and then talk to the authorities who contracted them to see if they have any problems or not," he added.

After the verifications, Mugisa added, each of the countries will sign a memorandum of understanding to construct the lots under their jurisdiction.

Trade experts point out that the railway line will have the capacity to ferry cargo at speed of up 80 kilometres per hour, which will trim down transportation costs - considered one of the leading challenges to doing business within the region.
Source-all africa.

Mangled piece of Darwin's railway history installed at Cyclone Tracy exhibition

A 10-metre piece of wrought iron bent in half by Cyclone Tracy has been installed at a Darwin exhibition after three decades in storage.

The 130-year-old railway signal tower was installed at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory on Wednesday night for an exhibition commemorating Cyclone Tracy's 40th anniversary.

"It's one of the few ways that we can show an actual real object that has cyclone damage," curator of Territory history at the gallery, Jared Archibald, told 105.7 ABC Darwin.

The 400 kilogram tower was first installed in 1885 at Salonika Crossing, along the Palmerston to Pine Creek Railway, the first railway station in Darwin.

The original tower was at least seven metres above ground and its light signals were powered by kerosene.

"They were very tall so railway enginemen could actually see them from a long distance away [and know] if it was safe to proceed," Mr Archibald said.

The tower stood upright until the devastation of Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve, 1974.

It's not an ugly thing. It's beautiful in its own right.
Jared Archibald, curator of Territory history

The cyclone's winds were so powerful that some of the tower's steel snapped and the structure bent in on itself.

The mangled object remained at the railway after it closed in 1976 and during the initial years of Darwin's rehabilitation.

"It sat there until 1982 and then the museum ... started collecting material and relics from the railway before it disappeared," Mr Archibald said.

"The curator at the time saw it and knew it [was] a jewel [of a] story.

"One, it was part of infrastructure that just doesn't exist anymore because it was superseded by electric light signals.

"But it also shows the power of Cyclone Tracy, in having basically bent it completely over."
The signal tower sat in storage for more than three decades due to its large size and awkward angles.

The museum constructed two concrete cradles to transport the tower, so it could fit through a loading dock and into the exhibition space.

The bent tower just fits into the exhibition space and reaches just five centimetres below the ceiling.

Mr Archibald said the installed tower looks "artistic" due to its wrought iron and lattice work.

"It's not an ugly thing. It's beautiful in its own right," he said.

The museum's long-running Cyclone Tracy exhibition will be relaunched with the signal tower on November 24.

Modi government clears Railway land for Ahmedabad metro project

The Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro was kick-started when Narendra Modi was the CM of Gujarat
Written by Hiral Devrajbhai Dave

The Centre has finally given its nod to the Gujarat government for using unused Western Railways land along the Botad- Sabarmati meter gauge line in Ahmedabad city for its ambitious Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro link. After clearing Rs 10,773 last month, this is the second gift to Ahmedabad -Gandhinagar metro by the Narendra Modi government.

The elevated metro route in phase-I from Ashram Road will now shift to a 8-km stretch from Vejalpur to Nava Vadaj. Five of the seven stations in this stretch will be built on on railways land. The Gujarat government has since dumped the draft project report that included the busy Ashram Road.

“As the nod to use railways land had been pending with UPA government since 2012, an alternate route from APMC to Ashram Road was planned,” said Road and Transport Minister Nitin Patel. “The Narendra Modi government has given clearance and accordingly changes have been made,” he added. In the new plan, which will go to Jivraj from APMC, there is an extra 2 km for which there will be an additional station.

“Ashram Road is not only the busiest, but also a state highway, making is not so preferable an option for Metro. Besides, with Sabarmati River on one side, it wasn’t giving a fine approach,” said I P Gautam, MD, MetroLink Express Gandhinagar Ahmedabad, a special purpose vehicle to carry out the mass transport project. The MEGA was formed in 2010 by Modi, who was then the Chief Minister.

The state high powered committee led by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has cleared the new plan, including stations at APMC, Vejalpur, Shreyas Crossing, Parimal underpass, Gandhigram, Old Court and Nava Vadaj. Patel said the design has been done in a way that give easy access to commuters from both eastern and western side. New areas like Shyamal Cross Roads, Bhudarpura, Manekbaug and Satellite will get the benefits.

With an average speed of 45 kmph and maximum of 100 kmph, the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar metro is a much awaited rapid transit system connecting capital with the financial hub of Gujarat.

Source-indian express

Railways tender ‘tailor-made’ to favour private player

NEW DELHI: In what appears to be another scam in the railways, officials inflated the requirement of coaches for 2013-14 and then came out with "tailor-made" criteria to favour a particular private company.

Documents with TOI suggest that officials in the Railway Board justified the requirement of 500 GS (general second-class) coaches to be procured from public sector unit BEML and 'other sources' under the coach production programme for 2013-14.

This was in addition to the demand of 1,150-1,200 coaches being met by railway undertakings such as the Integral Coach Factory and Rail Coach Factory (Kapurthala and Rae Bareli) for the same year.

In June 2013, railways invited tenders from private players for the additional 500 GS coaches at an expected cost of around Rs 250 crore. The tender process is still to be finalized.

The order raised eyebrows in railways as procurement was being sought from private parties that had never manufactured GS coaches even as the manufacturing capacity of departmental units — ICF and RCF — was still to be exhausted.

A senior railways official told TOI that many posts and positions in newly set up Rai Bareli coach factory were not made operational on the plea that there weren't enough production orders.

TOI has found that the tender conditions were tailor-made to suit a Kolkata-based private company and specifications were inserted to cut out competition.

The shortlisted company has never produced or supplied GS coaches. Yet it was chosen because the tender document broadened the criteria to include manufacturing experience of other coaches. The tender state, "Bulk orders will be done from established manufacturers...who have successfully executed order of main line passenger coaches/EMU/MEMU/DEMU and should have been in operation for at least two years with satisfactory performance."

Once the precedent was set, railways again decided to procure 169 coaches from 'other sources' for the current year (2014-15).

A BSP MP has written to railway minister Sadananda Gowda, alleging a scam in the tender process. He said that the quantity of the purchase order, around 500 coaches, was inflated, and that a West Bengal-based company was being favoured.
Source-times of india

GRP's new formula: One office at each railway station in Mumbai

One officer at each railway station is the new formula chalked out by Government Railway Police (GRP) commissioner Ravinder Singal to get over the host of issues faced by the force. Singal hopes to bring about a sea change in the way railway stations in Mumbai are monitored.

The GRP, which has in the past faced heat from the Bombay high court over insufficient security measures to protect women, does not even have one walkie-talkie handset at each of the city’s suburban railway stations.

The force has only 120 walkie-talkie handsets to coordinate and patrol 136 suburban railway stations in the city. But of these, only about 50 handsets are in working condition.

Moreover, each GRP station has around five railway stations under its jurisdiction, with at least four inspectors assigned to the police station. These inspectors, who are posted at the main police station, investigate cases of crime and cultivate sources in the field.

“According to the new plan, these inspectors will be responsible for the crimes that take place on the stations they are deployed at. They will be answerable for the rise in the number of cases and will have to take steps to curb them. This will help bring in more accountability and transparency in day-to-day operations,” said Singal.

The commissioner has issued formal orders, which are likely to be executed soon.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to give the required push for the short-staffed force, the GRP is also being helped by the local arms (LA) division of the city police, to conduct combing operations at all major railway stations every day.

Major terminals such as Bandra, Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla), Dadar and Mumbai Central, among others, are jointly combed every day. “Around 40 police personnel of the police’s LA come to these terminals and with the GRP staff concerned, comb all the platforms and station premises. This is a routine exercise and will help keep the security in check,” said Pradeep Bijwe, assistant commissioner of police, GRP (Western Railway).

Source-hindustan times

Railways takes first step to give Surat station facelift

SURAT: The Western Railways have called for request for proposal (RFP) for preparing the master plan and study report for development and redevelopment of Surat railway station.

Ten consultants from across the country were present in the pre-bid meeting held on Wednesday and railway officials have asked for RFP for development of railway yard with 70,000 sq metre of land to be developed on public-private partnership (PPP) basis.

However, the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC), which is looking at integrated development of the whole of railway station area, has insisted on comprehensive redevelopment.

SMC plans to redevelop nearly 2 lakh sqm land around the railway station that belongs to state government, Gujarat State Road Transport Authority (GSRTC) and local body apart from railway authority.

"In our development plan, we will see that there is no additional financial burden on either railways or local body," said Milind Torwane, municipal commissioner.

The plan aims at resolving the traffic movement around railway station. It will also establish links for mass transportation from railway station to different parts of the city. The plan includes malls, hotels, offices, multiplexes and an activity center for tourists.

"As we have possession of majority of the land in our hands, we can right way start the work as soon as the plans are finalized," said Jatin Shah, city engineer, SMC.
Source-times of india

MoEF gives clearance for Kushalnagar-Madikeri railway line survey

The Mysore-Madikeri railway line project has inched a step forward with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issuing clearance for the survey work between Kushalanagar and Madikeri.

This was disclosed by the railway officials at the Divisional level Rail Users Consultative Committee meeting on Wednesday. The environmental clearance was received last week and the authorities plan to complete the survey and submit the report to the Railway Board by March 31st, 2015.

The preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey for the proposed railway line was launched in December 2011 but was taken up only between Mysore to Kushalnagar and the partial survey report was submitted to the Railway Board. Though the project was shelved by the Railway Board on grounds of commercial unviability, the State Government has evinced interest in the project and has agreed to take it up on a cost-sharing basis apart from providing land to the railways.

The first phase of the project entails providing railway link between Mysore and Kushanlagar at a cost of Rs.660 crore and would also connect Hunsur and Periyapatana.

Interestingly, the project was included in the Railway Budget 2010-11 under the socially desirable rail connectivity and the first proposal for providing a rail link between Mysore and Madikeri was mooted in 1881-82, according to the Mysore Gazetteer.

Divisional Railway Manager Mr. Rajkumar Lal, Senior Divisional Commercial Manager Mr.Anil Kumar, senior officials of different departments from the Railways, stakeholders from various districts coming under Mysore Railway Division were present.
Source-the hindu

Railway package will 'not be the last of its kind'

Technical and political bodies have joined forces to work on the fourth railway package, but the work isn't over yet, writes Luis de Grandes Pascual.

Despite legislative changes in recent years, rail transport has failed to become the kind of efficient, sustainable mode of transport the EU needs it to be.

The fourth railway package is currently in the final stages of tripartite negotiations between the commission, the parliament and the council. It is at its most critical point. Member states will need to transcend their purely national positions for the sake of a common vision of securing a genuine single, internal, competitive and cross-border rail market.





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