Indian Railways News

Efforts on to Restore Flood-Damaged Railway Infrastructure, N-E links remains Snapped

Works to restore railway infrastructure damaged by the flood under the jurisdiction of the N R Railway is on in the war footing in the wake of the Railway Board giving direction to all zonal railways to cancel trains travelling from various parts of the country beyond Malda town in West Bengal and Katihar in Bihar till August 20 next because of the damage to railway infrastructure by flood fury.

The damage of railway infrastructure due to flood fury forced the N F Railway to cancel altogether 77 trains so far. The railway link with North East India has remained snapped.

Meanwhile, a medical camp was conducted at Guwahati station for the passengers waiting in the station due to cancellation of train services. The N F Railway is running special trains from Guwahati to Dalkhola and from Dibrugarh to Guwahati for clearance of rush caused by cancellation of trains due to unprecedented flood, according to the CPRO of the N R Railway, Pranab Jyoti Sharma.

The CPRO informed that at Bridge No. 3 located at Km. 7/2-3 between stations Kuretha and Manian in the section Katihar- Kumedpur which was breached at 7.30 A.M. on Wednesday, N.F. Railway has been able to mobilise a 45 ft. girder along with a 140-ton crane which has reached site from Eastern Railway. Boulders for restoration have been mobilised from Pakur, Bakudi and Sakrigli.

This bridge which is crucial for connectivity from Katihar to Malda is being attended by more than 600 labours working round the clock and it is expected that if flood condition does not deteriorate further the bridge will be restored by tomorrow.

At Bridge No. 133 located between stations Sudhani – Telta of New Jalpaiguri – Malda section which was worst hit with almost 60 m approach being washed away on both up and down line, restoration work has already been started. The senior railway officials are camping at site while an NDRF team from Danapur has also reached the site today. Work is progressing day and night.

At bridge no. MK 8, 9, 11 between stations Kumedpur – Khurial of Malda Town New Jalpaiguri section which have been washed out by flood water from river Mahananda, restoration work is going on in full swing under supervision of senior Railway officials.

In Alipurduar Division, track connection from Fakiragram to Dhubri has been restored from Thursday morning after completion of work at Bridge no. 28. Train connection from Dhubri will be restored and DEMU services will be started from Friday. In Lumding Division, the flood-affected track between Silghat and Jakhalabandha stations has been attended and restored for movement of traffic at restricted speed.

Karnataka Ministers to boycott Railway Minister’s Inaugural Function of FIAT Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir

Expressing unhappiness about the Railway Ministry, Ministers Priyank Kharge and Sharanprakash Patil will boycott the inaugural programme of the Rail Bogie Karkhana at Kadechur-Badiyal Industrial area in Yadgir district on Friday.

Talking over the phone from Bengaluru, the Ministers expressed anguish over the Railway Ministry neglecting the region and also elected representatives. “Being the Minister of the district where the Karkhana came up, I was not invited as per protocol,” Mr. Priyank Kharge said.

Mr. Kharge said Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu should understand the project came up because of M. Mallikarjun Kharge, MP and Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, who dreamed to develop the backward area with this project. Mr. Prabhu, however, did not invite Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge as per protocol.

The foundation stone to establish FIAT Rail Bogie Karkhana was laid in 2014 on 150 acres of land in Kadechur and Badiyal Industrial Area. The land was handed over by the State government for free and Tata Projects Ltd. completed the project at a cost of Rs. 80.92 crore for Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd.

According to the South Central Railway headquarters at Secunderabad, Mr.Suresh Prabhu will inaugurate the Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir through video-conferencing on Friday.

The foundation stone for the Rail Bogie Karkhana at Yadgir was laid in February, 2014 and the work was awarded to M/s.Tata Projects Ltd., with the executing agency being the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL). The Karkhana was completed at a cost of Rs. 80.92 Crore and has come up on 150 acres of land given free by Government of Karnataka to Indian Railways. The Karkhana is located 40 Kms from Raichur Railway Station on the way to Saidapur Railway Station and approximately 10 Kms from Saidapur Railway Station.

 

BEML hits new 52-week high as Cabinet approves new Metro Rail policy

PSU stock BEML has moved higher on impressive volumes on Thursday, riding on news that the Union Cabinet has approved new metro rail policy. The government’s new policy aims to expand the metro network across various cities in the country through Public-Private Partnership model. The plan looks at construction of new Metro Rail systems via the Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer mode and allowing private players to operate the service and involving them works such as  maintenance and upgrading of infrastructure.

BEML already has a pretty strong order book and with the new policy on Metro Rail set to result in more order inflow for the company, the stock may well go on to test higher levels in the near to medium term.

The company announced that its order book’s value stood at Rs 7582 crore at the beginning of the June 2017-18 quarter and during the quarter it bagged orders worth Rs 815 crore.

The company executed orders worth Rs 632 crore in the April – June quarter. As on 30 June 2017, the order book value stood at Rs 7765 crore. Out of this, the company has execute orders worth Rs 2388 crore during the current fiscal and the rest, Rs 5377 crore worth of orders, in the next financial year.

BEML had reported a net loss of Rs 85.13 crore for the quarter ended June 2017, as against net profit of Rs 186.40 crore in the preceding quarter. In April – June 2016 quarter, the company had posted a loss of Rs 107.10 crore.

At Rs 1868, off the day’s high of Rs 1879, BEML is now up 8.8% from its previous closing price. More than 3.1 lakh shares have changed hands so far at the BEML counter on BSE today, about 3.3 times the average daily volume of 0.91 lakh shares. On the National Stock Exchange, the BEML counter has clocked a volume of nearly 3.2 million shares so far in the session. Th stock touched a new 52-week high of Rs 1880 on NSE today.

Why ‘Metro Man’ Sreedharan is against PPP Model in Rail Projects

The Centre’s growing emphasis on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model in transport infrastructure underscores a cash crunch in the coffers. Along with mounting fiscal deficit, governments in the states and Centre are also hobbled by a lack of institutional framework that would have made private investments viable and sustainable in the long run. It is in this context that ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan’s scathing observations about the Union government’s diktat on seeking private participation in urban mass transit projects assume importance.

E Sreedharan, famously known as the Metro Man, has always been a vocal critic of PPP (public-private-partnership). Therefore, his reluctance in executing urban rail projects on PPP mode is not new and if facts are to be believed the 85-year-old’s fear is not misplaced either.

It all might seem a good idea to invite private entities to capital-intensive projects, but as Sreedharan rightly points out private funding in infra-projects would seek higher returns in shorter time frames, which is virtually impossible in the case of metro since fares must be kept reasonable, if not low. With real-estate prices witnessing a sharp decline, the carrot of land parcels for property development hasn’t also worked. It is clear that the onus of developing mass public transport is on the government if it wants cities to grow as economic hubs — Mumbai’s wheels of commerce are powered by the suburban railways network. Going by past fiascos, depending on private participation is too risky a proposition for developing metro rail. The government must pay heed to his warning that the new policy could sound the death-knell for projects around the country. His words must be taken seriously.

Sreedharan in the past had said the construction of Airport Express Metro would have incurred 20 per cent less expenditure had Delhi Metro built it. In the case of Airport Express, the entire civil structure was done by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), accounting for 60 per cent of the cost. He had said the other 40 per cent could also have been done by DMRC with the help of a loan from Japan.

The project got delayed on several accounts and was finally salvaged by Sreedharan and launched in February 2011. In the airport line, DMRC invested 55 per cent of the cost (50 per cent of which was borrowed from Japan). Reliance Infrastructure, which was the only private player to come forward, invested in the rolling stock, electrification, and signaling.

According to latest media reports, the Metro Man has once again questioned the feasibility of PPP projects. PPP in India was tried out in Mumbai, Hyderabad, and the Airport line of Delhi, but the experience has not been good.

In Mumbai Metro Line 1, Reliance Infrastructure took almost seven years to complete 11 km of the relatively easier elevated line and they now claim to be losing Rs 50 lakh per day in revenue everyday despite the very high fares they are charging. In Chennai, the state and central governments invested all the money with borrowing from Japan.

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday cleared a new metro policy under which the future metro projects will now be tendered after evaluating their social and economic impact in addition to considering financial returns.

Taking note of the substantial social, economic and environmental gains from Metro projects, the policy stipulated a shift from the present ‘Financial Internal Rate of Return of 8%’ to ‘Economic Internal Rate of Return of 14%’ for approving Metro projects, in line with global practices.

The policy opens a big window for private investments, making the PPP component mandatory. “Private participation either for complete provisioning of Metro rail or for some unbundled components (like automatic fare collection, operation and maintenance of services, etc) will form an essential requirement for all Metro rail projects seeking Central financial assistance,” the new policy said.

The new policy provides for a rigorous assessment of new proposals and also proposes an independent third-party assessment by government-identified agencies.

Sreedharan has even said that no private company will come forward for construction of Metro rail as it is not a profitable investment. This could also be true since the metro projects are left to be taken up in tier II cities where the traffic volumes may not be as high as in Delhi and Mumbai.

Caught On CCTV: Mum Rescues Baby From Train Tracks With Seconds To Spare

A heartstopping video shows the moment a pram with a baby strapped into it rolled from a platform onto railway tracks. The baby was rescued just seconds before a train came in. The incident, which took place at the West Ryde station in Sydney, Australia was captured on CCTV. Footage captured shows how a mum was caught off guard while travelling in an elevator with three children, one in a pram. As the family exited the elevator, the mum turned around to retrieve her elder child and let go of the pram for a moment, upon which it promptly rolled off the platform.

As the pram plunged onto the railway tracks, the mother too jumped down to save her baby.

Both the mother and her baby were pulled to safety just seconds before a train pulled in at the platform.

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Caught On CCTV: Mum Rescues Baby From Train Tracks With Seconds To Spare

CCTV footage shows a mum jumping onto train tracks to save her baby.
A heartstopping video shows the moment a pram with a baby strapped into it rolled from a platform onto railway tracks. The baby was rescued just seconds before a train came in. The incident, which took place at the West Ryde station in Sydney, Australia was captured on CCTV. Footage captured shows how a mum was caught off guard while travelling in an elevator with three children, one in a pram. As the family exited the elevator, the mum turned around to retrieve her elder child and let go of the pram for a moment, upon which it promptly rolled off the platform.

As the pram plunged onto the railway tracks, the mother too jumped down to save her baby.

Both the mother and her baby were pulled to safety just seconds before a train pulled in at the platform.

Watch the video below:

Another video shows just how close a shave this was as a train rolls in:

 

The incident prompted Transport for New South Wales to release safety guidelines on travelling with prams and young children.

Railways To Run 22 Special Trains On Pune-Hatia Route. Details Here

Indian Railways launched several new train services on different routes last week. Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu inaugurated some of these train services during the weekend while Minister of State Manoj Sinha inaugurated one new train service and an increase in frequency of two trains from Ghazipur. Anticipating an extra rush during the Diwali season, Railways has decided to run superfast weekly special trains at special charges between Pune (Maharashtra) and Hatia (Jharkhand). The superfast trains will run on a weekly basis. They will operate between September and up till December. The new service will hail out of Hatia on Wednesday evenings and will depart from Pune on Fridays, Central Railways said on its website. It will make at total of 11 trips from each side.

The train will run through Daund, Ahmednagar, Kopergaon, Manmad, Bhusaval, Akola, Badnera, Wardha, Nagpur, Gondia, Durg, Raipur, Bilaspur, Jharsuguda and Rourkela. It will be composed of one AC 2-tier, four AC 3-tier, 6 sleeper class, 4 general second class and two general second class-cum-guard’s brake van coaches.

The Superfast weekly special service will leave Pune at 10:45 am every Friday from 22.09.2017 to 01.12.2017 (11 trips) and arrive in Hatia at 6:20 pm next day. From the Hatia side, it will leave Hatia at 9:00 pm every Wednesday from 20.09.2017 to 29.11.2017 (11 trips) and arrive in Pune at 02:45 am on the third day. Bookings for the special trains are open at all PRS (Passenger Reservation System) locations and through website irctc.co.in.

 
the Bandra(T)-Gorakhpur Antyodaya Express. This train service will hail out of Bandra on Sundays and Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh) on Tuesdays. The railway stations where the new service will halt include Borivali, Surat, Vadodara, Ratlam, Kota, Kasganj, Kanpur Central, Gonda and Naugarh.

 

All Trains To Northeast Stopped Till August 20 Due To Flood: Railway Official

All trains to the Northeast from rest of the country have been cancelled till August 20 after rail tracks were damaged due to floods in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, officials said today. “The Railway Board has directed all zonal railways to cancel trains travelling from various parts of the country beyond Malda town and Katihar till August 20, 2017,” Northeast Frontier Railway public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said in a statement.

Rail connectivity in flood-hit areas in Bihar and West Bengal has been affected too. “However, virtually no accessibility to most of the damaged sites has affected the restoration work. Telecommunication network in the entire section is badly affected also,” Mr Sharma said in the statement.

A railway bridge between Maniyan and Kuretha was damaged by floods today morning, disrupting train communication between Katihar in Bihar and Kumedpur in West Bengal.

“This has further hampered mobilisation of materials to sites,” the railway official said, the railways has arranged special trains between Guwahati in Assam to Dalkhola in West Bengal and back.

“Water is still above danger level in sections like Dalkhola-Telta-Sudhani Barsoi-Raiganj and Balurghat-Buniyadpur. Restoration work is going on. Boulder, ballast and other materials are being arranged from various locations for being used in restoration work,” Mr Sharma said.

He said Northeast-bound rail passengers who earlier had to get down at Katihar station in Bihar have taken trains till Malda in West Bengal.

“On date, there are about 120 passengers, who are stranded at Guwahati station and railway administration is taking all necessary steps to extend all possible assistance to these people,” the statement said.

Coal Stock at Private Power Plants dips after critical Dhanbad-Chandrapura Rail line shuts

Coal stocks at some private thermal power plants, which receive the fuel from Central Coalfield Ltd (CCL), have reached precarious levels as CCL is said to be supplying more fuel to NTPC power plants. According to industry sources, this is due to the shutdown of Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line, which has compelled Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) to shift 8-10 rakes from its supply to CCL.

Underground fire at Jharia coal field and unsafe operations of the railway led to the shutdown of Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line in December, 2016. The railways is working closely with the coal ministry and Coal India Ltd to minimise loss of loading on account of the closure of this line, senior railway officials said. “Out of the 10 BCCL sidings falling on this line, only 3 sidings are now functional and remaining 7 sidings have been closed. BCCL has organised transportation of coal (which was earlier loaded from these closed sidings) to other sidings,” Mohd Jamshed, member traffic, Railway Board, told. “The loss of loading which was 6-8 rakes per day immediately after closure of the line has now reduced to 4-5 rakes per day with increased coal transportation by BCCL from alternate sidings,” Jamshed added.

According to the latest government data, on August 18, private power plants which get coal supply from CCL, such as Adani’s 3,300 MW Tirora plant and Lanco’s 1,200 MW Anpara plant had fuel reserves for only one day and two days respectively. Reliance’s 1,200 MW Rosa plant had zero days of coal in stock.

On the other hand, NTPC power plants which source coal from CCL through railways, namely the 4,760 MW Vindhyachal plant, 3,000 MW Rihand plant and the 2,320 MW Mauda plant, had coal stocks for 17, 19 and 18 days respectively.

According to the official definition, power plants with reserves of less than four days are termed to have ‘super-critical’ reserve. This definition stands for non-pithead power plants, like the ones cited above, which get supply of coal through railways.

In order to ensure seamless transportation of coal from the mines to the plants, the government had announced many railway line projects in the CCL and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited areas; however none of them have been commissioned even after three years of such announcement, pointed out sources from the private power generation industry who did not want to be named.

In a letter to Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar, written earlier this calendar year, the Association of Power Producers noted that generators face difficulty in long-term production planning due to significant mismatch between the committed schedule and the actual delivery of coal.

Railway Postal Services to apply Blockchain Technology and IoT for better service delivery and management

Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is looking to modernize postal services including Railway Postal services through budding technologies.

India Post is planning to integrate blockchain technology and internet of things (IoT), respectively, to their service platforms. One of the senior Director at India Posts predicts that blockchain technology may be implemented by the end of 2018, or shortly thereafter.

Blockchain technology can be used to add a layer of security to the delivery of high value parcels, including luxury items. “Blockchain is secure and trusted as only authorised persons are allowed to open parcels,” the Director said.

Given the synergy between blockchain-based technologies and IoT devices, it is not a far stretch of the imagination to see a possible collaboration of technology platforms between these two state-run agencies viz. India Posts and Indian Railways, with IoT devices reporting to a blockchain platform. If this happens, it’s possible that both India Post’s and Indian Railways applications of blockchain technology and IoT may give rise to a shared technology that can track posts going through rail channels.

With similar goals of introducing new technology, Indian Railways also entered the areas of innovating with IoT devices. As per the report, the broadcasting spectrum would allow a wireless communications array to integrate with IoT sensors. Such sensors may provide better alerts to authorities, enabling them to more effectively stop trains to prevent accidents and perhaps save lives. It will also improve the logistics service of goods delivery.

Four different ways to use Blockchain technology to improve services

The report also suggests that the mail services should consider using blockchain technology for identity purposes, supply chains, device networks, and possibly even a cryptocurrency to be issued for purchasing postage with. The blockchain technology could impact the Postal Service’s business in several ways. The Postal Service could improve its existing services by beginning to experiment with the financial applications of blockchain.

The first of the four areas that the report targeted for blockchain disruption is financial services. Although the India Posts Payment Bank offer a full line of banking services, there are still services such as printed money orders and international electronic money transfers, where a cryptocurrency solution could save money and increase efficiency.

There is also a recommendation for creating a centrally-run digital currency “PostCoin“. Although financial applications on the blockchain do not need intermediaries to function, having a trusted entity like the Postal Service acting to facilitate its fair, affordable, and transparent use may help address many of the challenges that currently prevent individuals and businesses from taking advantage of this technology.

The report explores two possibilities for creating the PostCoin, the option “to ‘buy in’ to an existing, public blockchain” and the option “to create a brand new blockchain altogether.” The benefits and challenges of each choice are examined, including implementation. “The Postal Service could use the Bitcoin protocol,” it stated, or “another open source software.”

The PostCoin could be used for more than replacing money orders and remittance transactions, states the report. They suggest the currency would be used as a kind of ATM network, and to purchase postage worldwide, across a global network of 600,000 post offices.

Digital Identity is the second major area of opportunity for blockchain disruption mentioned, and the report suggests storing verified identities for all citizens on their blockchain, even for use outside of the postal system. “Identity services are one of the biggest areas of opportunity in the blockchain community, and the Postal Service, as a highly trusted government agency, would be well-suited for a role in identity verification.”

“The Postal Service could verify identities in-person at a post office by using an identification card, such as a driver’s license, Aadhar or a biometric ID, such as a fingerprint,” the report continued. “It could further link that virtual identity used by the customer to operate within a blockchain system with real-world identifiers, such as a person’s postal address.”

The customer benefit derived from such a system could be available in far more roles and applications than any state ID system has attempted to address before. “Customers could use these verified identities to login to secure websites, notarize documents, or participate in smart contracts.”

The least well-known area for opportunity covered in the report was about Device Management, pertaining to the agencies’ own Internet of Things (IoT), including delivery trucks, hand scanners, terminals, and mailboxes. Putting all of these devices on a shared blockchain offers attractive cost savings, through security and efficiency gains.

The final opportunity for disruption may be the biggest cost saver of them all, focusing on the overall postal system supply chain management. Supply chains are explored in the report as a way of “using blockchain to identify packages and mail in the same way individuals can be identified.” Added benefits include tracking every single postal letter and package on a blockchain, removing the need for trust throughout their entire system, and even operating smart contracts for each package.

Although they make no cost savings estimates, it is clear that the improvements could be sweeping, and touch every part of their system. “In essence, blockchain technology allows for close linkages between the financial, logistics, and delivery parts of commercial transactions with the power to unify payment and delivery in one seamless experience.”

Although the report admits it would be cost prohibitive to put such a sensor in each letter and package, it presumes that some customers may pay more for that level of service, while most letters only need a simple barcode printed on them for tracking, like we have today, but referencing the blockchain.

Between the four areas of opportunity mentioned, the report makes no claims which should be implemented first and strongly suggests research for each of them.

The upgradation of information technology platform, equipment and processes to generate accurate and high-quality data for years, amidst financial challenges. “In many ways, the entire Postal organization is going through a data-driven transformation,” the report states “How we use this information is changing the way we manage the organization.”

“Here at the Postal Service, we’re not standing still — we never have. We have a long history of adaptation, embracing new technologies and innovating to meet the evolving needs of the people we serve. We’ll keep investing in the future because we’re always looking forward,” said a senior Technical resource at India Post.

The India Post isn’t the first postal system to consider the upside of using blockchain technology. The public and private jointly-owned enterprise that delivers Australia’s mail, Australia Post, has been considering using blockchain tech for identity management purposes since at least March of this year and the other major organisation is the US Postal Services. Both are also facing financial challenges, suffering a net loss of US$5.06 billion in 2015.

Their investigations have so far been limited to improving their process for issuing digital identification, while the USPS seems to be considering any use for blockchain tech. A similar use for the technology in identity management has been considered in the U.S. already too. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has been exploring potential applications in identity management as well. The agency said that it is seeking to “Design information security and privacy concepts on the blockchain to support identity management capabilities that increase security and productivity while decreasing costs and security risks for the Homeland Security Enterprise (HSE).”

All Trains To Northeast Stopped Till August 20 Due To Flood: Railway Official

All trains to the Northeast from rest of the country have been cancelled till August 20 after rail tracks were damaged due to floods in Assam, West Bengal and Bihar, officials said today. “The Railway Board has directed all zonal railways to cancel trains travelling from various parts of the country beyond Malda town and Katihar till August 20, 2017,” Northeast Frontier Railway public relations officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said in a statement.

 Rail connectivity in flood-hit areas in Bihar and West Bengal has been affected too. “However, virtually no accessibility to most of the damaged sites has affected the restoration work. Telecommunication network in the entire section is badly affected also,” Mr Sharma said in the statement.

A railway bridge between Maniyan and Kuretha was damaged by floods today morning, disrupting train communication between Katihar in Bihar and Kumedpur in West Bengal.

“This has further hampered mobilisation of materials to sites,” the railway official said, the railways has arranged special trains between Guwahati in Assam to Dalkhola in West Bengal and back.

“Water is still above danger level in sections like Dalkhola-Telta-Sudhani Barsoi-Raiganj and Balurghat-Buniyadpur. Restoration work is going on. Boulder, ballast and other materials are being arranged from various locations for being used in restoration work,” Mr Sharma said.

He said Northeast-bound rail passengers who earlier had to get down at Katihar station in Bihar have taken trains till Malda in West Bengal.

“On date, there are about 120 passengers, who are stranded at Guwahati station and railway administration is taking all necessary steps to extend all possible assistance to these people,” the statement said.

 

 

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