Indian Railways News

Molinari Rail to set up manufacturing unit in India

Swiss major, Molinari Rail will set up a manufacturing and assembly centre for auxiliary power units for diesel locomotives in India by next year.

Molinari Rail AG has entered into a strategic pact to design, manufacture and deliver the auxiliary power units (APUs) for 1,000 diesel locomotives to be built in India for Indian Railways.

“We have a project for Indian Railways and we will manufacture and assemble auxiliary power units here in India for the 1,000 diesel locomotive programme.

“With this component we are contributing highly to greener rail operations in India. By this, Molinari Rail is following the ‘Make in India’ strategy of creating new jobs and local expertise,” Michele Molinari, president and CEO of the Molinari Rail Group, told PTI here.

However, he declined to share details about the investment needed for the project.

Molinari, who is also the board member of SwissRail Industry Association, said the group will form a Lucknow-based company that will manufacture 100 auxiliary power units per annum, which can be ramped up later.

“We will have a company here in India which we will set up together with Prag Group of Industries at Lucknow and there we will combine long standing Indian and Swiss rail expertise as a new player in the Indian rail industry,” he said.

“We are already assembling the first prototypes this year in Lucknow in collaboration with Prag. It will be a Molinari managed company” he added.
He said the company is eying some other projects in the railways sector as well.

“We are looking at Railways sector which is our speciality. There are interesting projects coming up that is where our focus is. We are looking at tenders of Indian Railways and other companies in the sector so that we can participate with our knowledge and expertise leveraging the new local set up in Lucknow,” he said.

Molinari also said the SwissRail Industry Association is keen to invest in India. The association has 110 members and most of them are SMEs and family-owned companies.

“The members are all very innovative, competitive and delivering world class Swiss quality. Most of them are into exports and of course India is a natural place to work for us. Swiss industry and especially Swiss rail industry has always collaborated with India for a long time,” he said.

“With the modernisation programme of Indian Railways and based on the Make in India policy, there are huge opportunities for us and for the Swiss industry,” he said.

Headquartered in Switzerland and having major sites in Austria and Germany, Molinari Rail delivers customised solutions for the rail industry worldwide.

Railway Board ask RVNL to carry out the Feasibility Study for 2 more Bullet Train corridors

Following Rail Vikash Nigam Limited’s submission of the final feasibility report of a bullet train in the Delhi-Kolkata corridor, the Railway Board has now entrusted it with the feasibility study of two more alignments from Kolkata.

The Kolkata-Mumbai (1,968km) and Kolkata-Chennai (2,182km) corridors will be part of the high-speed railway network called Diamond Quadrilateral.

In fact, the Mumbai-Nagpur alignment will be the first phase of the proposed Mumbai-Kolkata corridor. The feasibility study is being done under government-to-government cooperation with Spain by Adif-Ineco.

Similarly, the feasibility study for Kolkata-Chennai corridor is to be decided by the ministry of railways. According to officials, this is quite similar to the Golden Quadrilateral highway project of the NDA government under Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

At present, the travel time by train from Kolkata to Mumbai varies from 26 to 40 hours. Duranta takes 26 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus while Jnaneswari Express takes 30 hours to reach Lomanyatilak Terminus (Kurla). The high-speed bullet train can reduce the travel time to less than 10 hours, said a Railways official.

However, the biggest challenges to these projects are land acquisition and capital investment. Like in Bengal, acquiring land will be a major issue all along these corridors. Land requirement for these is, however, smaller compared to a six-lane highway. A wide double-line high-speed corridor requires land that is 15-m wide while a six-lane high-speed road requires land that is 35-m wide. But a high-speed railway corridor allows more passengers per hour, said an RVNL officer.

High-speed railway (HSR) involves high capital cost and high demand risk due to higher tariff as compared to conventional rail. This is why the tracks will be dedicated and mostly elevated. The emphasis will be on alternative revenue sources like real estate, carbon credits and cross-subsidy from road/air travellers.

But there is hardly any alternative to high-speed rail. A double-track train is equivalent to a three-lane motorway. Twelve trains per hour per direction can only be replaced by 4,000 cars per hour per direction. While HSR can carry 14,400 passengers per hour, a motorway can carry only 8,000 passengers per hour. So, HSR facilitates decongestion to a great extent, explained Railways officials.

Each HSR corridor will have a long gestation period and will be highly capital intensive. The project will require seamless coordination among central government ministries, government agencies and state governments, as well as strategic thinking.

 

Railways to install bar-coded flap gates at stations

The Railways will go the Metro way and install automatic flap gates with bar code scanners at stations to facilitate faster ticket checking and ease the pressure on ticket examiners and collectors.

To begin with, the access control system, already operational in Kolkata and Delhi Metro services, will be implemented at non-metropolitan stations where traffic rush is very less.

CRIS, the software arm of the Railways, is on the job to make the new flap gate system operational at Brar Square station in Delhi Division as a pilot project.

The access control system at Brar Square will be functional in the next three months, said a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project.

If successful, the system will enable the Railways to deal with the shortage of train ticket examiners and ticket collectors.

According to the system design, an encrypted QR code will be printed on unreserved tickets for the designated station where passengers need to enter or exit through these gates after validating their tickets.

The automatic flap gate system can handle faster entry or exit of passengers during the rush hour.

Besides installing automatic gates, there will be counters at the Brar Square station to provide QR-coded tickets to passengers for entry or exit.

Though the system is successfully tackling the Metro rush in Delhi and Kolkata, it has never been tried in the railway system.

While Metro stations are situated either at elevated or underground levels, railway stations are on the surface without boundary walls.

“We chose Brar station for conducting the trial because the passenger rush is limited here,” said the official.

As a first step, the entire station will be fenced so that no passenger escapes without ticket.

It costs about Rs 4 lakh to install the automatic gate with bar code facility.

Besides, there will be thermal printers at ticket counters for bar coded tickets.

RailCloud to optimise server management, resources

The Indian Railways will launch on Wednesday RailCloud, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that will enable faster connectivity at a reduced cost.

Developed by rail PSU RailTel at an estimated cost of about Rs 53 crore, Railcloud is aimed at optimising server resources and its management.

Cloud computing is an emerging technology for faster and on demand commensurate deployment of server resources which results in reduced cost.

“RailCloud technology enables maximising the usage of available server and storage resulting in accommodation of bigger data and more applications within same server space. This makes the system suitable to meet higher demand,” said a senior Railway Ministry official.

Currently all IT applications have separate servers which increase the cost of operations and purchases.

The state-run transporter will also launch tomorrow Nivaran-Grievance Portal, the first IT application on the RailCloud.

Nivaran is a platform for resolution of service-related grievances of serving and former railway employees.

RailCloud will cover all management related to various services like human resources, health and hospital, signal assets, freight and logistics and energy among others.

Asked about the security aspect of the system, the official said, “It is a private cloud which has an inbuilt security system. In fact it will improve security and reduce the cost by 30 per cent.”

The cloud shall be equipped with security features as per latest government guidelines. The security features can be updated in one go for all applications hosted on the cloud, resulting in enhanced security and stability with less expenditure and effort.

RailCloud will pave the way for swifter deployment of application within 24 hours as compared to conventional time running into weeks and months.

In Cloud, the server resources are constantly scaled up or down as per the number of users logged on to the system. This ensures a better user experience to the customer.

Companies offering these computing services are called cloud providers and typically charge for cloud computing services based on usage, similar to how you are billed for water or electricity at home.

Railways have started a strategic IT initiative, christened IR-OneICT, for enterprise wide digital single platform with an aim to improve customer satisfaction, improve revenue and effective, efficient and safe operations.

To achieve the goal of single digital platform for IR a few foundational projects need to be implemented first. Establishment of RailCloud is one such project.

Railway Ministry working with companies like Apple on train speeds

Eyeing trains speeds of 600 km per hour, the government is working with global technology firms like Apple to help take Indian railways to the next level, Union minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday.

The railway minister also said the government’s premier think tank NITI Aayog had approved the ministry’s Rs 18,000 crore proposal to increase speeds of the Gatiman Express on the two busiest corridors, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata.

With this approval, the speed of the Gatiman Express would increase to 200 km per hour, the minister said at an event organised by industry chamber ASSOCHAM. “You can yourself imagine how much travelling time this will save.”

Sharing plans for the future, Prabhu said the government had six-eight months ago called major technology developers working on increasing train speeds to more than 600 km per hour.

“We are already working with companies like Apple… technology will not only be imported in India but will be co- developed in India,” Prabhu said.

Safety was also an important concern and Indian railways was planning to use self-propelled coaches that can detect rail fractures through ultrasonic technology, the minister added.

Siemens to provide IGBT technology for Indian Railways

Automations solutions provider Siemens Limited on Monday said it has bagged the contract to install state-of-the-art IGBT technology for Indian Railways.

Siemens will be designing, supplying and installing alternating current (AC) traction systems for dual cab high horsepower diesel engine locomotive for diesel locomotive works (DLW), the company said in a statement.

“The systems have been developed based on the state-of-the-art insulated gate bipolar transistors (IGBT) technology. The AC traction systems will be produced at its factory at Nashik, Maharashtra,” the company said

IGBTs are state-of-the-art power electronics for the traction system of electric and diesel-electric rail vehicles. The main benefit of IGBT is that it reduces the requirement for current, minimising heat and traction noise while also making the acceleration process efficient.

“The advent of IGBTs has yielded strong efficiency gains in electric drive technology. The project showcases Siemens’ partnership with the Indian Railways as it combines innovation with responsibility to bring together the combined expertise of its teams, that is committed to deliver reliable, safe and efficient technologies,” its Executive Vice-President and Head, Mobility Tilak Raj Seth said.

Tata Steel signs long-term tariff contract with railways

Tata Steel on Friday said it has entered into long-term tariff contract with railways, becoming the first company in the steel sector to sign such pact.

“Tata Steel became the first steel company to enter into a long-term tariff contract (LTTC) with Indian railways here today,” the company said in a statement.

LTTC has been introduced by Indian Railways to establish long-term contracts with customers with guaranteed incremental revenue for Indian Railways, the statement said, adding that the contract can be for a duration of three to five years.

The main objectives of LTTC includes long-term revenue commitment from customers, preferential treatment to customer for supply of wagons, generation of additional traffic volumes and revenues for railways and freight concession on retention of traffic as well as on incremental traffic.

The long-term contract also aims at freight escalation protection i.E. Freight increase mid-year will not be passed on to the customer.

 

New Policy To Upgrade Railway Food Quality After Audit Termed It ‘Unfit For Consumption’

A day after the CAG released a report critical of the food served in stations and trains, the Ministry of Railways today said the IRCTC has formed a new catering policy by unbundling the current services on trains.

In order to better the quality of food, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) will set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones, the ministry said in an official statement.

The IRCTC has been mandated to carry out the unbundling by creating a distinction, primarily, between food preparation and its distribution, it said.

The statement came after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in a report yesterday, had termed the food served at stations and in trains “unfit for human consumption”.

The ministry said as per the new catering policy of 2017, the IRCTC will manage the services on all mobile units and pantry car contracts will be reassigned to the railways’ catering arm.

Meals for all mobile units will be picked up from the nominated kitchens owned, operated and managed by the IRCTC, it said.

NITI Aayog approves Rs.18000 Crore investment for Railways

NITI Aayog on Friday approved investments worth Rs. 18,000 crore for high-speed rail projects for major routes of Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Kolkata, Union Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said at an ASSOCHAM event here today.

“We are working on Gatiman Express which is India?s fastest train at 180 km per hour and trying for Mumbai-Delhi and Delhi-Kolkata which are major routes with a speed of maximum 200 km per hour (kmph) and that will be an investment of Rs. 18,000 crore which has already been approved by the NITI Aayog,” said Prabhu while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM International Conference RAILTECH 2017.

“When we proposed it, they were apprehensive but now everybody realises importance of it as it is a least-cost option, so we are trying to do that, you can imagine the trains can go at that speed from Delhi to Mumbai and how much travel time will be reduced,” added Prabhu.

He also said that Railways Ministry is working with many countries to increase the speed of operations, including France.

“There are a lot of studies which are going on and they are in a very advanced stage, so we will start implementing that in the next few months” time,? added the minister.

He added that the Government is working towards introducing cutting-edge technology of future in all aspects of railways with it not only being imported but being co-developed in India.

“We already had about six to eight months ago, a programme in which we called all the major technology developers who had not yet fully developed, commercialized the technology which can take the speed of railways to more than 600 kmph and we are already working with them, companies like Hyperloop,” added Prabhu.

Talking about the use of high-end technology on safety front, he said that self-propelled detection of tracks together with use of ultrasonic machines and geo-spatial technology to alert about unmanned railway crossings are underway.

On laying of railway tracks, he said that automatic track laying machines which are already being used on Dedicated Freight Corridor will now be tried all over the country.

“This has already resulted in increasing the speed of putting the track which was only three kms. per day to almost eight kms. per day and the target is to take it to 20 kms per day in the next three years and definitely we are on track for doing that,” added Prabhu.

He said considering that capital expenditure needed for optimal technology has gone from Rs. 30,000 crore a year to almost Rs. 2,75,000 crore in the last 2.5 years shows the commitment of the Government.

On the rolling stock, he said that two major locomotives are already in use with one from French transport giant Alstom. “It is going to bring in the best cutting edge technology, environment friendly, speed will be good, least fuel consumption and that will available in the next month?s time and that is going to be manufactured in India.”

He said that another locomotive factory would be set up in West Bengal, “We are yet to finalise the bid, but it will already be happening. That again will begin the best technology in fact, all the top global players are vying for it.”

Highlighting that the Government is taking all these steps in a very transparent manner, the Union Minister said that companies like Siemens have made a consortium in this regard. “So you can imagine how serious they are because otherwise they would have come on their own.”

Prabhu also informed that Railway Ministry has started working on revamping, refurbishing and retrofitting of 40,000 outdated coaches.

?We have already stopped manufacturing non-LHB coaches from April 1, next year and all the LHB coaches will be manufactured, so you can imagine the technological up-gradation that is happening at all levels,? he said.

He said that Railway Ministry has also completely revamped the ticket-booking mobile application with many services being made available on one single application. “This is going to bring in a completely different experience for the traveller because he can book it completely on his palm literally, not only booking but anything to do with railways.”

Talking about the recently held huge roundtable conference on technology, he said that Railway Ministry was engaging with all the top global players that had participated in the same.

?I think we have already taken very serious steps, to modernise and optimise the capacity of railway operations and the biggest other technology tool that we will be using and we have already started work on is rail cloud,? said Prabhu.

He said that Railway Ministry has also started working on enterprise resource planning (ERP) which has the potential to save up to Rs. 70,000 crore.

?We are also using technology for each and every aspect of railways, including managerial practices which includes our internal processes to ensure that efficiency is allowed and in fact we will try to plug every possible area where there is a leakage, hoodwinking possible and the system will be made foolproof,? said the Union Railway Minister.

 

Anticipated cost of Imphal-Jiribam Rail line pegged at Rs.9658 Crores

Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain informed the Rajya Sabha yesterday that the Imphal-Jiribam rail line has been taken up at the anticipated cost of Rs 9658 crore while an expenditure of Rs 5278 crore has been incurred till March this year.

An outlay of Rs 1400 crore has been provided for 2017-2018 for the project, said Gohain and added that Imphal to Jiribam railway line is part of the Trans-Asian railway network.

Replying to questions raised by Rajya Sabha MP K Bhabananda, Gohain further said that the completion of the project depends on many factors such as land acquisition, forestry and wild life clearances, shifting of services, construction of road over and under bridges, law and order etc.

The proposed railway stations that will come up along the new line are Jiribam, Vangaichingpo, Kaimai, Kambiron Thingao, Khonsang, Awangkhul, Noney, Tupul, Haochong and Imphal, informed the Minister.

To other posers raised by K Bhabananda, MoS for Electronics and Information Technology, PP Chaudhury said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is implementing Digital India programme to transform India to a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy and added that State Wide Area Networks (SWANs), State Date Centres (SDCs), Common Service Centres (CSCs), State Service Delivery Gateways (SSDGs), e-District Mission Mode Project (MMP) have been implemented to help the Government Departments in the States and Centre.