Dec 10, 2014

Commissioner of Railway Safety to conduct speed trial on newly electrified lines in Tamil Nadu

MADURAI: High speed trials will be conducted on the Virudhunagar - Vanchimaniyachchi - Tuticorin and Vanchimaniyachchi - Tirunelveli sections as part of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) inspection on December 11. 

With the electrification works complete in these sections, Commissioner of Railway Safety, Southern Circle, S K Mittal, will be conducting safety audit on December 10 and 11. 

According to railway officials in the Madurai railway division, the speed trail is likely to be held between 9.30am to 1pm on December 11. 

The speed trial will be conducted by a special train hauled by an electric locomotive at higher speeds. Railway authorities have cautioned the public about going near the tracks and crossing them, especially in unmanned level crossings.
Source-times of india

Synthetic stimulants worth Rs 15 Lakh seized at Thane railway station

On Sunday, the Anti Narcotic Cell in Thane arrested a 22-year-old engineering drop out student, Arun Nagar, for possession of 3kg of synthetic stimulant drug called Mephedrone. The drug goes with several street names such as MD drug, crystal, cat. Total amount estimated of the seizure is around Rs15 lakh.

The accused, a resident of Dombivli was arrested on Sunday from Thane railway station, where he had come to deliver the package. The Anti Narcotic Cell got the tip-off about the seizure and laid a trap to nab the culprit. After arresting the accused, he was taken to the Thane Nagar police station and a case was lodged. The accused was also produced in the court.

A police official said, "We came to know about the delivery from our sources. While the accused was coming out of station, we saw him and arrested him immediately with the package."
MV Dharamdhikari, senior police inspector from Anti-Narcotic Cell said, "We are concentrating on the source of the drug. The quantity found with the accused is huge and there must be a larger network involved in this crime. We are tapping on accused's links and it is suspected that his close friends are also involved in it." Dharmadhikari said, "The accused is an engineering drop out and his father owns a small shop, where he helps his father in the business."

Platform height raised at seven railway stations to prevent mishaps

PUNE: The Pune railway authorities have increased the height of platforms at seven stations on the Pune-Lonavla route in last few months and have proposed similar works at five more stations on the route in the coming days. 

The height has been increased by six inches to one foot, depending on the requirement at the particular station. The increase in height will make boarding and alighting from local and long-distance trains easier and prevent mishaps like commuters slipping through the gap or falling on the tracks and losing limbs. 

The issue came into sharp focus after a series of accidents in Mumbai earlier this year, in which commuters slipped through the gap and came under a moving train. As per statistics, in 2013, Central Railway registered six deaths and Western Railway 12 deaths due to passengers falling through the gap between the platform and train. In January 2014, 16-year old Monica More lost her arms in a similar accident. 

The platform height was increased at Shivajinagar, Dapodi, Dehu Road, Chinchwad, Akurdi and Kanhe stations and a section of Begdewadi station. Similar work is proposed at Khadki, Pimpri, Vadgaon, Ghorawadi and Malavali stations and the remaining section of Begdewadi. 

Besides, repairs and maintenance of platform surfaces were also carried out. 

Hundreds of passengers travel daily from these stations in Lonavla-bound local trains. Frequent passengers said that senior citizens and children will benefit the most from the height adjustment.

Authorities in the administration said, "We conducted a survey at every station on the route to identify the height differences. We finalised the stations and the work order was issued accordingly. While carrying out the work, it was ensured that the height would be the same across the platform, so that passengers do not face any difficulties while boarding or alighting from trains," officials said. 

They added that small displacement of railway tracks over the years due to continuous running of trains was also a reason to carry out the work. The officials, however, clarified that none of the platforms at stations between Pune and Lonavla had dangerously low height. The height was increased to adjust gaps between the platform and the footboard of a coach, they said. 

A senior official said that the work at five other stations will start soon. At present, the administration is working on the process to call for tenders for the same, he said.
Source-times of india

Windsor has new allies in battle with railways

CP freight train hauling dozens of automobile rail cars, heads east along tracks at North Service Road crossing Thursday March 20, 2014. (NICK BRANCACCIO/The Windsor Star)

Windsor appears to have some new allies in its ongoing battle with the Canadian railways over the transportation of dangerous goods through urban areas.

The newly sworn-in mayors of Toronto and Mississauga are both demanding greater transparency from the railway companies and are proposing the entire elimination of trains hauling dangerous goods from entering their borders.

Windsor remains in a de facto standoff with Canadian Pacific, Canadian National and Essex Terminal Railway on a proposed nondisclosure agreement tied to the release of information surrounding dangerous goods.

Mayor Drew Dilkens on October 27, 2014. (TYLER BROWNBRIDGE/The Windsor Star)

“Essentially what we’ve done as a city is we have signed the agreement from the railway association that covers all the legislative requirements that we had to sign and we have given them that,” said Mayor Drew Dilkens, who dealt with the issue as a city councillor.

“What they have asked the city for is something over and above that, over and above the legislative requirements that we did not sign. At this point we’re willing to have dialogue, we’re willing to have conversation with them, to try and sort this out, but they won’t return our phone calls and they’re just saying nope, you don’t get this information unless you sign this form, which is over and above the legislative requirements.”

Windsor deleted the non-disclosure clause and then returned the rest of the documentation required for the release of dangerous railway goods information.

“Clearly we want some of that information, there’s no doubt about it,” said Dilkens, noting the city still has a good idea of what is passing through thanks to neighbouring municipalities.

“We want to be able to prepare appropriately and take appropriate safeguards for our community by preparing our first responders to respond to incidents with dangerous chemicals in the community.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory and Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie are both calling for greater transparency from the railways.

“I am far from satisfied with the transparency that we don’t see today,” Tory said in a recent scrum reported by The Toronto Star.

“I think it’s time to let the sun shine in on this, and it’s not just a matter of some principle of transparency. It’s a matter of people being adequately informed, in a big city like this, of what is travelling through the city, and when and how much.”

Dilkens said it’s good to know Windsor has some new allies on the issue.

“I think it certainly reassures us that we aren’t the only ones out there standing alone,” Dilkens said.

“It just seems to be in a lot of ways patently unfair that we can be stonewalled for this information when we have complied with the law. The more municipalities that come forward and stand firm it’s going to attract more attention from the federal government and the decision-makers at the federal government for sure.”

CP Rail spokesman Jeremy Berry said in an email “CP respects the nature and intent of non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses.

“We continue to work proactively with communities and first responders across our network. We’ve sponsored 40 Ontario firefighters to attend specialized tank car training at special facilities in Pueblo, Calif. An additional 1,000 first responders have been trained at 60 different TransCaer (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response) events held across the province of Ontario in 2014. In the past year, CP has made over 225 emergency preparedness presentations to over 120 communities across our network. These range from an overview to full technical training.”
Source-windsor star

Southern Railways organises Swachh Bharat bike rally

MANGALURU: Southern Railway State Bharat Scouts and Guides, central district, Chennai division has organised a Swachh Bharat (Clean India) bike rally from Chennai to Kanyakumari and back to Chennai, covering around 2,000-kms. Sukesh Kumar Sharma, additional general manager, Southern Railway, Chennai flagged off the rally from Chennai. 

The rally aims to create awareness among public on necessity of dumping waste only in dust bins, cultivating clean habits to maintain clean stations, avoiding littering of food items on platforms, refraining from smoking in trains and at stations, avoiding spitting and urinating at stations and in platforms by using toilets provided thereon, using train toilets only while the train is in motion. 

The bike rally comprising of 26 bikers, is due at railway divisional Office, Palakkad on Wednesday. Mohan A Menon, additional DRM, C C Joy, senior divisional mechanical engineer and district chief commissioner, Southern Railway State Bharat Scouts and Guides, Palakkad, along with other Railway Officers, members of district Scouts and guides and staff. The rally will then proceed to Thiruvananthapuram railway division.
Source-times of india

Bid to allow 100% FDI in Railways opposed

GUWAHATI, Dec 9 – The NF Railway Mazdoor Union is opposed to the NDA Government’s decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in the Indian Railways and privatise railway stations across the country.

Rakhal Das Gupta of the NF Railway Mazdoor Union said that the All India Railwaymen’s Federation (AIRF), in its 90th annual convention held at Hubli last month, resolved to stage an indefinite strike in the Indian Railways if the NDA Government does not withdraw its decisions.

In this regard, the NF Railway Mazdoor Union also held a meeting at the Maligaon Headquarters Gate here last week to highlight the issues, Das Gupta said.

Das Gupta, who is also the president of the AIRF, said that the Federation had, after failing to have its demands fulfilled since 2012, had in its 89th annual convention at Patna in November, 2013, decided to conduct a strike ballot in December, 2013.

There was an overwhelming response and over 96 per cent had voted in favour of the strike. The decision was postponed in the general council meeting of the AIRF held at Kota in February this year as dates for the Lok Sabha polls were announced.

“The new government was formed in May, 2014. The general council meeting of the AIRF held in July at Chennai decided to postpone the decision of the strike to give time to the new government to settle down. Unfortunately, the new government attacked the very foundation of the Indian Railways and issued a notification on August 22 that 100 percent FDI would be inducted in all sectors of the Indian Railways like construction, operation and maintenance,” Das Gupta said.

He said that even after the economic liberalisation in 1991, successive regimes have not allowed FDI in the Railways due to strategic and other reasons and the same policy was followed by the NDA regime of AB Vajpayee.

“The NF Railway Mazdoor Union and the AIRF have protested against the decision as this will pave the way of privatisation of the Indian Railways through corporatisation. Another notification has been issued by the Ministry of Railways to restructure the Railway Board and departments to separate operation of the Indian Railways from policy decision, set up a regulatory authority and allow free entry to IAS officers into the Railways. This has been protested by the AIRF as we have the bad experience of telecommunication,” he said, citing the example of telecommunications where the state-owned firm has gone from surplus to deficit since similar measures were adopted.

“Indian Railways is the poor man’s transport. Passenger fare has been increased by only 0.43 per cent on an average per year during the period from 2000-01 to 2012-2013, whereas the increase of wholesale price index (WPI) was 8-9 per cent and that of the consumer price index (CPI) by 10-12 percent. For the last five years for 2008-13, the Indian Railways has undertaken a social service obligation of Rs 29,903 crore by running passenger services below operational costs.

“In addition, the Indian Railways is paying a dividend of over Rs 5,500 crore annually to the general revenue and had to pay lease charges of about Rs 10,000 crore annually to the Indian Railway Finance Corporation,” Das Gupta said, adding that it has led to a further burden on the state enterprise.

“The Indian Railways is still generating surplus every year after discharging all obligations. It needs additional funds for development and expansion. There is no dearth of funds within the country. During 2011-12 and 2012-13, the Government has foregone revenue to the tune of Rs 4.9 lakh crore and Rs 5.25 lakh crore to corporate houses on account of corporate tax, customs duty and Income Tax. The Government has waived bank loans to the tune of Rs 2.04 lakh crore from 2001 to 2013, out of which the relief granted to big business houses is over Rs 1.45 lakh crore,” he said.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of privatising railway stations, he said, “The NF Railway Mazdoor Union and the AIRF strongly oppose this move of privatisation. Let the Central Government change the acts and rules and allow the Indian Railways to lease out its vacant land to set up hotels, etc.”
Source-assam tribune.





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