Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

In 3 years there will be no unmanned railway crossing: Suresh Prabhu

Speaking exclusively to DNA, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said that his ministry intends to do away with unmanned railway crossings in the next 3 years. Large number of casualties take place at unmanned crossings every year, hence it remains a major cause of concern for the railways.

Prabhu also said that since railways in recent times have become a target for sabotage, they have established a forensic wing to collect sufficient evidence. To minimise number of accidents, anti-collision devices are being installed, said Union Rail Minister. Presently, Indian railways carry 22.1 million passengers every day and in 2016 ferried 8.1 billion in the country, a record in its own.

On the issue of safety, Suresh Prabhu said that 40,000 coaches are being retrofitted by new coupling devices so that trains don’t get derailed. Railways intend to meet its target in next 5 years. Suresh Prabhu also told DNA that India will see bullet trains run by 2023 between Ahemdabad and Mumbai but the project may be completed one year early, according to him.

Regarding railway connectivity with neighbouring countries, Prabhu said, “We want to connect Indian peninsula with Myanmar and Nepal and the process is in place”. About fighting legacy issues, Suresh Prabhu said that it is a long struggle. “When I took over , I inherited issues related to infrastructure, organisation and finance. I depoliticised these issues and resolved them. There was lack of transparency and finance was in bad shape,” said Rail Minister. Prabhu added that he is hoping for railways to have line to more credit to brighten its finances. “It is for number of reasons when I took over, I didn’t announce new projects. In fact, I have implemented projects conceived and announced by my predecessors as I wanted promise to match execution,” said Railway Minister.

Suresh Prabhu said that currently the focus is also on conservation of environment and through number of initiatives railways will save Rs 300 crore. He particularly stressed on recycling of water used by the railways daily.

In the end when asked as to why political narrative of cow vigilantism and Kashmir is dominating discourse around the government, he said,” I request everyone to evaluate us on the work we have done. This is a distraction and it has to be done away. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about these issues many times.”


Rajdhani, Shatabdi Trains To Be Revamped: This is What They Will Have

After the swanky and high-speed Tejas Express was successfully put on tracks last month, it’s time for Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains to get a major facelift. Enhanced catering, on-board entertainment and improved services are part of the makeover plan for these air-conditioned superfast trains under the Railway Ministry’s “Operation Swarn”.

In its first phase, the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express have been selected for upgradation. Work on the proposed changes for 30 trains – 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi – at an estimated cost of Rs. 25 crore starts September 26.
In the last few years, passengers have complained that the service and quality of food have deteriorated while cleanliness leaves a lot to be desired.

The three-month programme will include refurbishing of coach interiors, comfortable seats, improved sanitation infrastructure and maintenance of cleanliness in coaches.

Passengers will be able to watch films, TV shows and enjoy music as part of their entertainment package. Hygienic ways of handling food, special trolleys, clean linen and new uniforms for the staff aboard are part of the plan.

“Steps will also be taken to ensure punctuality by reducing delays in the premier trains,” a railways official said.

 A senior Railway Ministry official told news agency IANS, “The plan will be upgraded in future with services like Wi-Fi, infotainment screens (that were first provided in Tejas Express) and coffee vending machines.”

The project aims at strengthening the security system in the trains with adequate deployment of Railway Protection Force personnel.

In May, Tejas Express, India’s newest train, made its first trip from Mumbai to Goa. The luxury train took 400 passengers on the eight-and-a-half-hour journey. The bright yellow superfast train promises a flight-like experience on the track at less than Rs. 1,500 a ride.

The Tejas Express has German coaches fitted with LED screens, is loaded with coffee vending machines, automatic doors, fire repression system, bio-vacuum toilets, attendant call buttons, reading LED lights, besides free WiFi connectivity.

The train was designed to travel at 200 kmph but keeping in view the track conditions in the Konkan region, the speed is restricted to 130 kmph.

In the last few months, the Railways has launched a new series of fully air-conditioned express trains like Humsafar and Mahamana Express for overnight travel.

The Humsafar Express is equipped with features like CCTV cameras, coffee vending machines, fire and smoke detection systems, new interiors with comfortable seats.

The Mahamana Express has ergonomically designed ladders for climbing to upper berths, snack tables for side berths, windows with powered venetian blinds and roller blinds, LED lights as berth indicators, LED reading lights, fire extinguishers in all coaches and an electrically operated chimney in the pantry car.

Rajdhani, Shatabdi trains set for a big makeover from October this year

Trolley service for catering, polite uniformed staff and on-board entertainment are some of the changes slated to be introduced in Rajdhani and Shatabdi trains from October this year.

Aiming at enhancing the experience of passengers travelling by these premier trains, the Indian Railways has undertaken a complete makeover exercise in 30 trains – 15 Rajdhani and 15 Shatabdi – at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore.

 Targeting the festive season which begins from October, railways have launched a three-month programme under Project Swarn (gold) to refurbish coach interiors, improving toilets and cleanliness in coaches.

There have been complaints pertaining to catering, punctuality, toilet cleanliness and quality of linen among others in these trains.

It has been decided to improve services in these premier trains significantly and accordingly the Project Swarn has been launched with a three-month timeline, said a Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

The project also envisages strengthening of security system in trains with adequate escort personnel by RPF.

Rajdhani Express meant for Mumbai, Howrah, Patna, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar are among the 15 Rajdhani trains selected for service upgradation.

Shatabdi trains of Howrah-Puri, New Delhi-Chandigarh, New Delhi-Kanpur, Howrah-Ranchi, Anand Vihar-Kathgodam are among the 15 trains selected for the makeover exercise.

Steps will be taken for improving punctuality by reducing delays in premier trains, he said.

The catering will be also a focus area beside cleanliness.

The staff will be specifically trained on hygiene and use of trolley for serving food in premier services as part of the makeover exercise.

A new uniform has been designed for staff in the premier trains.

Passengers will be offered films, serials and music among other facilities as an on-board entertainment package.


ISRO-Made Chip System To Alert Users At Unmanned Railway Crossings

 New Delhi:  The Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a satellite-based chip systems to alert road users at unmanned level crossings about approaching trains and also help in tracking train movement on a

More trains will be equipped with such technology in a phase-wise manner, according to the plan.

Besides alerting road users, the satellite-based system will also be used for tracking trains for disseminating information about their movement on real time basis.

This will be of great help to passengers as currently train movements are tracked manually.

Safety at unmanned level crossings is a cause of serious concern for railways and the public transporter is exploring various ways to address the issue.

There are about 10,000 unmanned railway crossings in the country which account for around 40 per cent of accidents involving the railways.

While the Railways have eliminated 1,148 unmanned crossings in 2014-15 and 1,253 in 2015-16, it has scaled up its target and now plans to eliminate all such crossings in the next 2 to 3 years, the official said.

The satellite-based system will also help railways in mapping the area and the technology will come in handy at the time of accidents when it can be used to ascertain the exact location of trains and topography.

As Mob Rule Took Over A Train Compartment, Nobody Helped

Sayara, 46, sits among the mourning women, her hand pressed closely against her chest as if to stop her heart from breaking. Her blue-grey eyes look at you, through you, beyond you. She is the mother of the young men who were lynched on Thursday evening on the train which runs from Delhi to Mathura.

One of her sons, Junaid, just 15 years old, was buried in the local cemetery yesterday in the village of Khandauli in Haryana. Junaid had been beaten and repeatedly stabbed. His bloodied body was thrown out of the train just before it reached Palwal.

Her elder son Shakir is in hospital grievously injured. He has three serious stab injuries. He was not in the group of four young men which had travelled to Delhi to shop for Eid. He had got an urgent call from a cousin who was with the group with the SOS that they were being attacked. Shakir rushed to the Ballabgarh railway station to help but found that his brothers Junaid and Hashim and his cousins were not being allowed to leave the train.

He desperately tried. Instead, he was pulled in and stabbed. He too was thrown out at Palwal. He was soaked in his own blood and that of his beloved younger brother’s whom he had tried to save.

Sayara’s third son Hashim escaped with two stab injuries. It was he who cradled his brother Junaid’s body on the station platform while a crowd of people stood and stared, until the ambulance called by someone took them away to a local hospital.

Sayara does not know all these details, but she knows her grief and her loss so when she speaks, her voice is clear. She says “He (Junaid) had come home after a year after completing his Madarsa course in Surat, Gujarat. Along with his brother, he was going to celebrate his achievement on the auspicious occasion of Eid. I had given them Rs. 1,500 to buy themselves new clothes. I curse myself. If I had not given them the money, he would have been here.. He was on the Roza fast. All my sons are fasting. I keep thinking, he did not have a sip of water, I was waiting here to feed them, but I could not give him his last morsel. My son, my son…” She is weeping, someone offers her a drink of water. She refuses, she too is fasting.

The group of four young men had got onto the train at Sadar Bazar, Delhi. Seats were available for all of them. The compartment started filling up. A group of men got on at Okhla station. The harassment began then. Junaid got up to seat an elderly man. But as soon as Junaid stood up, the others in his group who were sitting down were abused and told to stand up as well. Hashim’s skull cap was snatched off his head and stamped upon. His beard was pulled. The young man resisted. It was then that the beating started. They were abused in the most derogatory communal language. They were called “filthy beef-eaters who should be killed” Their mothers and sisters were abused.

 Shockingly, not a single passenger in that crowded compartment objected. On the contrary, many joined in. One of the group, Mohsin, a cousin, escaped and tried to pull the emergency chain but nothing happened. It was mob rule in that compartment. The stabbing started after the train pulled out of Ballabhgarh station and a young man was killed right there, in public, with shouts of abuse ringing in his ears.

It was not an aberration or a one-off incident by drunken louts. It was not a dispute about seats. There was not even the absurd pretext of beef-eating, they were all fasting. It was a crime completely and totally motivated by communal feelings, a crime of hate.

They told us that Bhajan mandalis using battery-operated mics have converted many general compartments into religious zones. They spoke of aggressive and abusive comments made by some passengers when Muslim men enter the compartments. They said that harassment has become a common experience and there is fear and apprehension among young Muslim men when travelling this route. Several times, they said, complaints have been made to the police but have been ignored.

Security is non-existent, or else how could these men get on the train armed with big knives? The Railway Ministry cannot escape its accountability.

Across areas in and around the NCR region, organisations owing allegiance to the toxic communal ideology of the Sangh Parivar are spreading contempt, disrespect, hostility and hatred towards minority communities. The outcome is what happened that dreadful day on a local train travelling in the capital region of India.

Worse, these attackers, it is being established with one tragedy after another, are empowered by the lack of government action against them; they are emboldened by the support and patronage they get. Whether it is the criminal activities of so-called gau-rakshaks, the beef vigilantes, the love jihadis, it is open season for all those who do not conform to the idea of the Hindu rashtra.


Jat Stir Affects Rail, Road Network In Rajasthan

The ongoing stir by the Jat community demanding grant of Other Backward Classes (OBC) reservation benefits to the community in Dholpur and Bharatpur has affected road and rail networks connecting to the cities.

Roads connecting Mahua, Agra, Bharatpur, Jaipur are blocked. State transport and private buses are being diverted to take alternative routes. Market in Bharatpur is closed to avoid any untoward incident, Superintendent of Police, Bharatpur Anil Kumar Tank said.

Sources said that Kaman, Bolkheda, Nadbai, Kumher, Khedli, Vehaj, Bandha, Bedham, Deeg, Garoli apart from Jaipur-Bharatpur highway are jammed due to ongoing agitation of Jat community members, who had blocked railway track between Bedham and Vehaj railway station yesterday.

The members are led by Jat leaders and Congress MLA Vishvendra Singh who are demanding reservation for Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts.

“People are agitated and they don’t want any assurances. If the government is really willing to provide reservation to Jats in OBC, they should come to Bharatpur and give people in writing when it will be implemented,” Mr Singh told PTI.

He has said that Jats of Bharatpur and Dholpur have been demanding reservation since August 2015 but the demand has not been fulfilled yet.

Yesterday, OBC commission had submitted it’s report to the Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje after which Jats community members blocked railway tract following a decision taken in a Mahapanchayat.

State Social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi had said that government is positive for providing reservation to Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur and urged the community members to call off the protest.

He had said that the commission has submitted it’s recommendations and government would consider them with regards to OBC quota demands.

Bharatpur, Dholpur Jats Block Railway Line Over OBC Quota Demand

Members of the Jat community blocked the Mathura-Alwar railway line in the Bharatpur district of Rajasthan today demanding grant of OBC reservation benefits to the community in Dholpur and Bharatpur.

The blockade came as the state OBC commission submitted its report to chief minister Vasundhara Raje today.

 The community members held a ‘mahapanchayat’ near the tracks and then blocked the railway line between Vehaj and Bedham railway stations, a GRP official said.

The protesters were led by Congress MLA Vishvendra Singh who are demanding reservation for the Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur districts.

“We have been demanding OBC reservation for Jats of Dholpur and Bharatpur for the last two years. From August 2015 till today, the long pending demand has not been fulfilled.

It is under rising pressure that the OBC Commission has submitted its report today. But, they have not declared when it will be implemented. We want government to come out clear,” Mr Singh told PTI.

He said that people are agitated and the blockade will continue tomorrow.

A GRP official said that a goods train was stopped by the agitators near Deeg in Bharatpur.

Earlier in the day, the state OBC commission submitted its report to chief minister Vasundhara Raje at her residence in Jaipur.

The commission chairman Jitendra Goyal submitted the report in the presence of Panchayti Raj and Rural development minister Rajendra Rathore, social justice and empowerment minister Arun Chaturvedi and vice chairman of the ’20 point programme’ Digambar Singh.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan’s Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Arun Chaturvedi urged the community members to call off the protest.

He said the Jats should withdraw their agitation as the OBC commission today presented its report to the state government.

The minister said the state government would consider the recommendations of the commission with regards to the quota to Jats in Bharatpur and Dholpur districts.

Mr Chaturvedi said the state government is positive for reservation to Jats.

RPF Constable Helps Deliver Second Baby At Thane Railway Station

Shobha Mote is a constable attached to the Railway Protection Force. Little did she know that she was about to help deliver a child at the station – her second such experience.

Mote was manning the scanning machine at Thane station. Mote heard a woman wince in pain on the platform.

As she approached the woman, she realised that the woman was going in labour. Mote immediately arranged for a first aid kit and a blanket to help the woman.

The woman, 24-year-old Meenakshi Sandesh Jadhav, is a resident of Badlapur. Her husband Sandesh, who is a driver, said that they registered her name with Ghatkopar-based Rajawadi hospital. Meenakshi was not due to deliver for another 25 days.

“As my sister stays in Ghatkopar we planned to shift to her residence. But last evening Meenakshi went in labour, so I asked my mother to get her to Thane from were I would drive her to the hospital. take them in my car,” added Sandesh 29, who claims that incidentally his first child was born in an auto-rickshaw.

Mote, had earlier helped deliver a baby at CST when she was posted there. Post the delivery Meenakshi was shifted to Thane Civil hospital and her condition is stable.

Indian Rlys signs MoU with AU to preserve its heritage

As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

To conserve, preserve and manage the Indian Railways’ old and rich heritage, the Centre for Heritage Management (CHM) at Ahmedabad University (AU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN). The MoU aims to establish a long–term partnership in knowledge generation and collaboration. As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

To conserve, preserve and manage the Indian Railways’ old and rich heritage, the Centre for Heritage Management (CHM) at Ahmedabad University (AU) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Railways Institute of Civil Engineering (IRICEN). The MoU aims to establish a long–term partnership in knowledge generation and collaboration. As part of the agreement, the institutes will engage in a series of activities to build the capacity of railway personnel by integrating heritage perspectives in their training and work practices.

Passengers to grade Rajdhani, Shatabdi trains on cleanliness

Passengers will now be involved in judging cleanliness level of popular trains including Rajdhani, Shatabdi and Duronto as well as major stations across the country.

Focusing on cleanliness and hygienic conditions on premises, which has been a problematic area for it, the Railways will undertake a detailed survey cum audit of 407 busy stations and about 200 trains shortly.

A passenger can send photos related to cleanliness in trains and stations to a central control room to be set up soon, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the cleanliness drive.

From the passengers’ feedback, popular trains will also be audited for on-board housekeeping services, linen quality, toilet condition, disposal of waste and pest control system.

Trains and stations will be given ranking as per the survey results, he said.

The aim is to involve passengers in creating awareness about cleanliness on rail premises and also to keep it as a focused area for concerned staff, the official said.

Apart from all the premier trains, services of all Jan Shatabdi, Samparkkranti and inter-city trains will also be involved in the survey.

Earlier, the Railways had undertaken a passenger feedback survey to evaluate cleanliness levels of major stations through IRCTC last year.

The survey was conducted by a professional market research agency engaged by IRCTC. It commenced in January, 2016 and the field data was collected by February, 2016.

The final report of the survey along with detailed analysis was presented to the Railway Board on June, 2016.

Based on the recommendations and the way forward given in the report for improving cleanliness standards at major stations, the Railways had issued guidelines to all zones in July, 2016 to undertake focused actions in relevant areas for improvement.

As per the survey mechanism, there will be a sample size of about 50 passengers for premium trains and 30 passengers per journey for other trains.

At least four rakes for each train should be covered, said the official.