Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Rajdhani, Shatabdi Trains Set For Makeover Under ‘Operation Swarn’

They are the premium trains in India. Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express were started to move people who could afford to pay more for a somewhat luxurious travel.

But after years of service, the trains have lost their sheen. The service has deteriorated, the cleanliness is missing, quality of food has suffered.

After years of complaints by the travelling public, the premium trains are now set for a makeover. The Railway Ministry is to launch “Operation Swarn” to improve services in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains.

 In the first phase, the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani Express and Mumbai-Ahmedabad Shatabdi Express have been selected for upgradation. Work will start from September 26. More trains will be identified in a phased manner.

A senior Railway Ministry official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS: “The railways have decided to launch Operation Swarn (or ‘gold’) to refurbish its services after several complaints by passengers like delay in train arrival, sanitation and quality of food.”

Under the project, the Indian Railways will focus attention on 10 key areas — punctuality, cleanliness, linen, coach interiors, toilets, catering, staff behaviour, security, entertainment, housekeeping and regular feedback.

The Ministry official also said 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 modified trains will also have improved coach interiors, better furnishing and new comfortable seats.

The official said an amount of Rs. 50 lakh will be allotted to each Rajdhani and Shatabdi train on various routes for the revamp. To monitor the work, two committees will be formed.

In May, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched the first high-speed premium train Tejas Express between Mumbai and Karnali in Goa.

The premium train was loaded with features like LCD screen on every seat, improved interiors, coffee vending machines, automatic doors, fire repression system, bio-vacuum toilets, attendant call buttons, reading LED lights, and others. Tejas Express also offers free Wi-FI connectivity.

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

Earlier this year, the railways launched a new series of fully air-conditioned express trains like Humsafar, Mahamana and Gatimaan for overnight travel.

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.

Railways to Launch Redesigned e-tendering System

The railways will launch shortly its redesigned e-tendering system with more user-friendly new features to facilitate digital participation of over 60,000 vendors.

Ushering in a new era by going paperless, the system envisages that bids are invited online and the entire process leading to award of a tender is done electronically.
Online refund of tender cost and earnest money deposit, online bidder deregistration process, integration with payment gateways of more banks are currently underway in the railways to make the system efficient and transparent, said a senior railway ministry official responsible for the e-system.

The redesigned e-tendering system part of the complete digitisation of supply chain will have vendor interface module to benefit vendors with online vendor registration and inspection call and contract amendment process.

Besides, the system would facilitate auto-alerts, processes relating to acceptance of supplied material and its payments and also include vendor grievance redressal process, the official said.

The railway supply chain supports activities of production, asset acquisition, periodic overhaul and maintenance of rolling stock, tracks, stations, signalling and telecom network, among others.

Digitisation of railway supply chain is designed towards achieving objectives of transparency, global reach, efficiency, ease of doing business, removing entry barriers and enhanced competitiveness, the official said.

While several vendor-related processes and documents are also going to be digitised, efforts are also on to enable vendors to submit online bills and ensure seamless payment.

The digitised supply chain provides single window access for entire supply chain process, 24×7 global and easy reach in real time, savings of time, cost and efforts, online payments for tender cost and earnest money deposit.

The official said digitisation of railway supply chain began with e tendering in its procurement and e-auction in its sale of scrap.

Currently scrap material worth more than Rs 2,700 crore is sold through 100 per cent e-auctions annually.

Payment towards earnest money deposit is collected through e-payment gateway.

Indecisive Indian Railways Delaying ‘Bullet Train’ Dream

Spanish high speed passenger train company Talgo is now feeling edgy because of the constant delays in the final decision-making process of the Indian Railways. “Despite multiple successful trial runs and the Indian Railways appreciating the technology in Talgo trains, we are still waiting for the final green light since October 2016,” said Subrat Nath, Director India and Asia Pacific, Talgo in an exclusive interaction with Debashis Sarkar of

Talgo made headlines in the country back in September 2016 after a nine-coach Talgo train successfully completed the final trial run between Delhi and Mumbai, conducted by the Indian Railways. The 1,400 km journey between Delhi and Mumbai takes at least 16 hours for the Rajdhani Express. The Talgo train, on the other hand, completed the journey in under 12 hours.

For those unaware, Talgo trains can be deployed on existing tracks. The lightweight design and advanced suspension technology allows Talgo trains to travel faster, minimises risks of accidents and puts less force on existing tracks during high-speed manoeuvre. While the average speed of Rajdhani and Shatabdi coaches are at a dismal 70 kmph, Talgo trains can race at an average speed of 105 kmph on the same tracks

After the successful completion of the trail runs, the Indian Railways had shared plans to operate Talgo trains in the country on a lease agreement by mid-2018. However, the company is yet to get the final nod and Nath seems to be on an endless wait to get a response from the government.

As per the lease agreement plans, the Indian Railways showed interest in deploying Talgo trains in short-distance routes like Mumbai-Ahmedabad, Delhi-Lucknow, Bengaluru-Chennai or Delhi-Amritsar on a profit-sharing basis. The Indian Railways is looking at leasing four Talgo trains to begin with.

“We had submitted the proposal in October 2016. It went through various processes and then a committee was nominated to look into the developments. But they are looking at it since October 2016. We had last met them around February and we were informed that by end of March 2017, a decision will be taken on the said lease agreement,” said Nath.

Nath explained that the moment the government confirms the lease agreement, the Talgo trains will arrive within a year and the operations might start by December 2018. However, with no official word for over six months now, Nath is hoping to see Talgo trains run on Indian tracks by 2019.

One of the major causes of the delay is due to the fact that the Indian Railways cannot opt for a direct formal contract.

“The government officials said that their only worry is that Talgo is the only company to offer such a product and there are no competitors to fight a tender bid. In reply to this, we said that we are ready to fight an open tender and wish to follow government procedures. But it’s already May 2017 and no progress has taken place,” added Nath.

The company claims to have big plans for India including making Talgo trains in the country for domestic use as well as export.

NITI Aayog Clears Rs. 18,000 Crore Project To Increase Train Speeds

The ambitious Rs. 18,000 crore project for increasing train speeds on the Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah rail corridors has got the Niti Aayog’s approval, paving the way for being put up for Cabinet clearance.

The mega project is meant to bring about a paradigm shift in rail operations enabling trains to run at 160 km per hour on the busiest routes on the Indian railway network.

Aiming at reducing travel time between the three metropolises, the project envisages fencing off the entire 3,000 kms on both routes, upgradation of signalling system, elimination of all level crossings and installing train protection warning system (TPWS), among other works to make trains run at an increased speed of 160 kmh.

“Any project more than Rs. 1,000 crore in worth will have to get the Niti Aayog clearance. So now after getting the Niti Aayog clearance yesterday, the proposal will now be examined by the expanded railway board,” said a senior railway ministry official involved with the project.

The expanded railway board is comprised of senior representatives from department of expenditure, department of programme implementation and Niti Aayog, besides the board members.

The Railways will submit the proposal for cabinet clearance after getting the proposal approved by the expanded railway board.

The 1,483-km long New Delhi-Mumbai rail route will also include the Baroda-Ahmedabad sector, and is estimated to cost Rs. 11,189 crore.

The 1,525-km long New Delhi-Howrah route, which also includes the Kanpur-Lucknow section, is estimated to cost Rs. 6,974 crore.

The work on both sections will be given to a single agency through global bidding for effective implementation of the project.


Railways set to start a carrot-and-stick policy

Railways may soon start a system of reward and punishment for its employees depending on their performance. The proposal for the same came on Thursday from Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. The minister also suggested incorporating changes at the top-level to begin with which can be percolated down at the grassroots level to achieve better results. “If an organisation has to change, the change must begin at the top level and only then everybody will follow,” Prabhu said.

Prabhu was speaking at a round table conference on human resource management of Railways. “There should be reward for those who do well. We have to introduce it in the system to bring better performance to the fore and recognise the same. We also have to see how to punish those who do not perform well,” he said

Indian Railways has a workforce of 13 lakh people across 17 zones and 68 divisions across the country. Pushing the performance-reward approach, Prabhu said, “For example, if we are executing a project and somebody completes the project in a record time then the team implementing the project should be rewarded. Similarly if a person delays it and causes loss to the organisation, he should be penalised.”

Insisting that changes must be made in railways to improve its functioning, Prabhu said the Railways, as an organisation, must revisit and re-look itself to know whether it was on the right track and gear up for future. “A change can happen in railways when we realise where are the shortcomings,” he said.

The minister described the railways as the most ‘strategic asset’ of the country. “All our coaches are requisitioned for the movement of troops. Whether reaching our soldiers at the border or making trade and commerce in the run, or dispatching water to water-starved region, railways is needed.”

Boosting morale

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has proposed a system to boost the enthusiasm among the employees.

Employees who complete their work in due time are going to be rewarded.

Similarly, those who fail to meet the deadline will face punishment.

This Bihar School Runs as Per Indian Railways Timings

A government school in Bihar’s Sitamarhi district runs as per the timings of Indian Railways.

The reason for this is that the teachers of the school in Kamala village of the district do not live there and commute by train.

The school opening and closing as per the railway timings has angered the villagers

They allege that the school teachers do not come on time due to which the school remain closed more often. According to the villagers, the four government teachers that have been appointed in this school, only come to school to mark their attendance and leave without taking any classes.

As these teachers commute by train from Sitamarhi to reach the school in Kamala village, they follow the railways timetable and do not teach students, said a villager. We have reported the matter to senior authorities many a times but no action has been taken against them, he added.

He further said that the villagers cannot send their children to any other private school as they are poor people.

District Education Officer Suresh Prasad said, “The matter has come to our notice. We will take action against the accused after proper investigation.”

Railways to Launch Overnight Service for Business Travellers

The Railways will soon launch an overnight double-decker train service equipped with modern facilities to attract business travellers.

The public transporter is looking to connect metropolitan centres through the new service, Uday Express, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said today at the ‘Smart Railway Conclave’ here.

“We will be launching Uday Express for business travellers who would start in the night and reach in the morning so that they can save on hotel cost,” Prabhu said, adding that it will have improved amenities.

Currently railways has undertaken a large number of projects to provide better onboard amenities for passengers.

“We are moving ahead with a holistic strategy and we are doing it in a most challenging situation. Whether it is catering, booking tickets, cleaning of coaches, all these are happening in a smart way in the railways,” he said.

He said railways has suffered from under investment and lack of capacity expansion in the past.

 “The expansion was not commensurate to the demand. Goods were moving away from the railways. There was a huge gap in demand and supply. So we decided to come out with a holistic strategy to deal with it. We tried to implement projects involving laying new lines, electrification on a faster pace,” he said.

He said the challenge now is to make better use of latest technology. “Technology was always been there but now the scale has multiplied now. Use of right technology is the game changer.”

The Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) which was languishing for years was made to progress rapidly and it is expected to be operational by 2019, he said.

Highlighting the importance of investment in the rail sector, Prabhu said “Every rupee invested in railways has six time multiplying effect on economic and job creation sector.”

A huge capital expenditure of Rs 8.56 lakh crore was planned out for five years out of which more than Rs 3 lakh crore is being spent now, he said.

High-Speed Train Corridor To Ensure Non-Stop Net Connectivity

Rail passengers can soon enjoy uninterrupted Internet connectivity with the Railways all set to equip main trunk routes with high speed mobile communication system.

This will also help in real-time monitoring of assets besides ensuring direct communication between gangmen and loco pilots and station masters on condition of tracks.

Considered as one of the areas essential for transforming rail operation, the state-run transporter will be setting up the high speed mobile communication corridor at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,000 crore through PPP model.

Currently, the Railways has been using wireless systems for operational applications. It has deployed GSM-R networks on select routes for operational voice communications between train drivers and train controllers.

“Now we are planning to migrate to LTE-R (Long Term Evolution-Railways) technology from GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication-Railways), for creating high speed train communication corridor,” said a senior official of the signal and telecom wing of the Railway Ministry.

The high speed mobile corridor aims to support various safety, train operation and train management systems apart from offering broadband service to passengers.

Today, passengers expect uninterrupted Internet connectivity while travelling by train or at stations.

The system shall fulfil all these needs of passengers by setting up dedicated broadband network along the railway tracks, said the official.

The high speed mobile communication system would enable the public transporter to have next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.

It would also improve travel comfort of passengers by providing real-time multimedia information and access to social networks in stations or on the go.

It is expected that once implemented, the corridor will not only help in real-time monitoring of the assets, its maintenance and management, but will also help the Railways to provide next generation mobile train radio communication between control office and crew of the trains for safe train operations.

The Railways has implemented mobile train radio communication system on 2,541 route km and further works on 3,408 route km are in progress.

Besides monitoring assets, it would provide a better passenger comfort and journey experience such as onboard Internet access, video on demand or other entertainme


Konkan Railway Corporation Limited Notifies For Land Loser Recruitment

Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has invited applications from ‘eligible land loser candidates (Self / Sons / Spouse / Unmarried daughters / Grand sons / Unmarried Grand daughters only) whose land has been acquired for Konkan Railway project, irrespective of the percentage of land lost and from other than land losers, candidates belonging to all categories (UR/OBC/SC/ST) from the states Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka only.’ The recruitment is open for the post of Junior Engineer in Signal and Telecom discipline. Other details can be found below.

Interested candidates, only after ensuring their eligibility can apply online till 16 July 2017.

In addition to this, candidates also have to send the printout of the online application with pass port size photo affixed on the space provided. Other details of application submission can be found from the official notification. The last date for submission of printout of the application is 17 July 2017.

A total of 7 vacancies are available for recruitment.

 Candidates with Full time regular Diploma with not less than 60% marks in aggregate or equivalent CGPA taking average of all the Semesters/Years, irrespective of the weightage given to any particular semester/year by the Institute/ University are eligible to apply.

In addition to this applicants must not be more than 32 years of age as on 1 July 2017.

Railway Track Near London Tower Blaze Closed At Fire Brigade’s Request

A railway track which lies in the shadow of a London tower block that was gutted by a deadly blaze this week was closed on Saturday at the request of the fire brigade, the city’s transport authority said.

 London Fire Brigade requested that two London Underground lines be partially suspended, a spokeswoman for the city’s transport authority said.

“No service between Edgware Road and Hammersmith due to the recent fire in the Latimer Road area,” said a tweet on the account of the Circle Line. The Hammersmith and City line, which runs along the same track and stops in that part of west London, was also partially suspended.

 The track is above ground and lies a stone’s throw away from Grenfell Tower, where at least 30 people died on Wednesday after a fire engulfed the building.