Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways to Launch New App That Lets You Book Flight Tickets, Taxis, and More

A new mobile app from the Indian Railways will now let you book flight tickets, among other things. The app, which is set to launch this week, will offer users options like booking a porter, retiring room, or ordering food apart from booking train tickets, of course, in an effort to create an integrated Railways app.

 According to a senior Railway Ministry official, the app looks to provide an easier way for passengers to find what they are looking for when travelling, PTI reports. There are multiple apps of the Railways that offer specific services, but the official said that most of them are limited to a single service, and that there was a need for an app that offers multiple services in a single window interface. In addition to train-related features, the app can also be used to book taxis, hotels and notably, even flight tickets.
 The Integrated Railway Mobile App project was first announced during the Rail Budget 2016-17. It is being developed by the CRIS, the Railways’ software arm, at a cost of Rs. 7 crores.
 “Presently we have different digital solutions for ticketing, grievance redressal and other issues. We intend to integrate all such facilities into two mobile apps, one dealing with all ticketing issues and the other for receipt and redressal of complaints and suggestions related to all our services,” Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said in his budget speech.

Separately, the Indian Railways on Wednesday will be launching RailCloud, a virtual server with an inbuilt security system that promises to provide faster connectivity at lower cost. This is being developed by PSU RailTel at an estimated cost of about Rs. 53 crores.

Hubballi–Ankola Railway line project clears first Environmental hurdle

The much-delayed, controversial project to provide a railway line — connecting Hubballi in the plains and Ankola on the coast — that cuts through the dense forests of the Western Ghats has taken its first step towards fruition.

The environmental cost, however, remains high: More than 1.73 lakh trees in 1,472 acres of forests will make way for the railway project, apart from fragmentation of two tiger reserves.

On Monday, the Regional Empowered Committee of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) recommended the Stage-1 clearance for the long-pending project, albeit with conditions.

This marks a big step for the project —which was announced in 1997 and foundation stone for which was laid in 1999 — that has seen environmental opposition and even court scrutiny.

Among the conditions mentioned, the REC has asked the Railways to propose an increased number of tunnels. According to the proposal submitted, there will be 34 tunnels and nine stations on the 168.3-km route. Similarly, the committee has asked them to revise the mitigation measures being taken, including construction of underpasses for wildlife.

It was on May 5, during the previous meeting, that the REC claimed they were “not yet convinced” about the need of the project that will cut through “pristine” forests. While environmental hurdles had persisted, the Ministry of Railways and numerous Union Ministers from Karnataka had gone on record stating that the project will proceed at all cost.

The proposal states that the line will handle nearly 27 million tonnes of cargo headed from north Karnataka towards Belekeri, (proposed) Tadri, and Karwar ports in Uttara Kannada as well as the Margao port in Goa which is being expanded to import coal. During the previous meeting, the REC had asked the Railways why the project was needed, considering that National Highway 63 (Ankola to Gooty) runs parallel to this; while, a railway line between Hubballi and Margao via Castle Rock already exists.

“The user agency (Indian Railways) has provided information on the doubts we had, including cost-benefit analysis when compared to other projects already present … It is difficult to mitigate (environment damage) in projects like this, but there is a trade-off so that a long-pending project can come up,” said Jagmohan Sharma, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Forest Clearance).

Among the changes that saw the project get clearance is a fresh enumeration of the trees being cut. Previously, the Railways had estimated that 2.02 lakh trees would be felled on the alignment. The fresh figures lowers it to 1.73 lakh trees.

‘Another intrusion into delicate ecosystems’

For environmentalists, the Hubballi–Ankola railway line signifies another infrastructure intrusion into delicate ecosystems when there were less-destructive alternatives present.

“There is no need for a fresh project when existing railway lines can be optimally utilised. The existing railway line through Castle Rock passes just around 80 km north of this line,” said Praveen Bhargav, managing trustee of Wildlife First.

K. Ullas Karanth, director for Science-Asia, Wildlife Conservation Society, said, “There are too many of these linear intrusions in the Western Ghats already, with more ideas along the way. I completely oppose these incremental intrusions of having more highways and railway lines passing all along the length.”

Indian Railways to lauch ‘RailCloud’ to optimise Server Management

The Indian Railways will launch tomorrow 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.

Railways Clarifies On Tatkal Reservation, Cancellation Rules. Details Here

Following reports on social media and some websites that train reservation rules, including Tatkal booking and cancellation, will change from July 1, Indian Railways has issued a clarification, saying that there has been no changes. “It has been noticed that a news item is in circulation in various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, and some websites which mentions that Indian Railways is introducing several changes and new facilities with effect from 1st July, 2017. This news is totally incorrect and baseless,” the Railways said in a statement on June 30. “This has created a lot of confusion in the minds of the rail users.”

In this context, the Railways also reiterated the existing Tatkal reservation and cancellation rules.

The booking timings for Tatkal tickets were changed in 2015 with booking for AC classes opening at 10:00 AM and for Non-AC classes at 11:00 AM (one day in advance of actual date of journey excluding date of journey). There has no change in these timings and the same arrangement is continuing, the Railways said.

Again, there is no change in the refund rules of Tatkal tickets, the Railways said. Under the existing rule, no refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets/duplicate Tatkal tickets. This rule continues to be in operation.

 Here are other things to know about the Tatkal reservation rules:

A maximum of four passengers per PNR can be booked on Tatkal e-tickets.

Tatkal charges per passenger are in addition to normal tickets.

Premium Tatkal Facility

From October 2014, in select trains, a premium tatkal facility was introduced and tickets are sold on dynamic pricing. Fares go up depending on percentage of berths sold subject to a maximum cap.

No concession is allowed in Tatkal booking.

The Tatkal charges have been fixed as a percentage of fare at the rate of 10 per cent of basic fare for second class and 30 per cent of basic fare for all other classes subject to minimum and maximum as given here below, according to the Railways website.

Class of travel Minimum Tatkal charges (in Rs.) Maximum Tatkal charges (in Rs.) Minimum distance for charge (in km)
Second (sitting) 10 15 100
Sleeper 100 200 500
AC Chair Car 125 225 250
AC 3 Tier 300 400 500
AC 2 Tier 400 500 500
Executive 400 500 250

8 Train Coaches Travel 30 km Without Engine In Uttarakhand

In a bizzare incident, six goats and a cow-calf came under eight coaches that rolled 30 km without an engine from the railway station in Tanakpur.

The 50-km railway line between Tanakpur and Majhola in Uttar Pradesh is being converted into broad gauge. The incident took place due to the negligence of the company engaged in the work, Public Relation Officer of North-Eastern Railway, Izzatnagar division, Rajendra Singh said.

“The gates at over 12 crossing points, through which the coaches passed, were open as the line was closed for work. No one was injured,” the spokesperson said.

Six goats and the cow-calf were killed, he said.

The coaches stopped after ramming into some iron object at the Khatim Railway Station, Mr Singh said.

He said that railway officials have ordered a probe into the incident.

Nizamabad District Administration decides to make Nizamabad Railway Route greener

Nizamabad district administration in Telangana has decided to take up a sapling plantation drive with an innovative concept to increase greenery across the Railway Track in the district as a part of the third phase of the Haritha Haaram programme which will start from July 12.

Nizamabad district has railway connectivity in all parts of the district and by keeping that in mind, district collector Dr Yogitha Rana has decided to take up the programme.

In South Central Railway (SCR), Nizamabad-Nanded Railway line is one of the prominent railway lines. This will make the transport connectivity between North and Western parts and South parts of the country even more attractive.

Nizamabad Railway has its own importance. Recently Nizamabad-Karimnagar Railway line was also inaugurated by Railway Ministry.

After observing all these things, district collector decided to take the splinting plantation and use the Railway line popularise Haritha Haram concept increase the peoples responsibility increasing forests and protecting the forests which helps finally protection of environment. Zilla Parishad (ZP) CEO I Govind made as nodal officer for the programme.

As part of first phase programme sapling plantation from Nizamabad Â-Kamareddy, Nizamabad- Navipet- Nizamabad -Bodhan railway lines selected sapling plantation and decided to plantation programme will be organised two sides of 61KM Railway track and decided to plant around 50,000 spliningÂ’s. The track will situated six Mandals of the district.

All these saplings were not avelbule in government department nurseries collector decided provided the samplings which they purchased from private nurseries and all are ornamental saplings. Apart from Railway track plantation programme will be organised at Dichpally and Naveepet where the huge land avelbule.

After carefully following the Railway authorities’ rules and regulations and holding several meetings with railway engineers the Nodal Officer finalised the programme.

ZP CEO Govind told the sapling will planted from 10 meters distance away from railway track. He has said in selected area bush clearance and digging of pits were completed. Several open areas speedup the arrangements sapling plantation.

“We will spend the funds from MNREGS for providing protection of sapling and watering programmes”, Nodal officer explained.

He has said entire Railway history this was first time Nizamabad district administration organising the programme on two side of the railway track.

He has said that during the beginning railway officials did not come forward organise the Haritaharam programme now the railway officials were more saplings to organise the open land in Railways in the district.

He has said that Sate Agriculture Minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy will inaugurate the programme near Madavanagar Railway gate and he will travel on railway track on traly to surprise sapling plantation programme.


He Fled From His Abusive Father In Bihar, Made Delhi Railway Platform Home

Railway stations always fascinated Rahul Misra. These were the dots that linked the country, the boy from a remote Bihar village would tell himself.

That one such platform would become his home is something that 10-year-old Rahul never imagined. But it did, when he fled from home and his abusive father six weeks ago.

“My father used to beat me and my mother every day. My mother had to even be admitted to a hospital,” Rahul told PTI.

One day, his battered mother, scared that her husband would beat the boy to death, gave him Rs 200 and told him to leave home — and to never return.

He boarded the first train that stopped at the Bihar Sharif station. Its last stop was New Delhi.

Rahul got down at the New Delhi Station (NDLS), and started living there, till social workers found him scrounging for food in the station’s dustbins.

The boy from Pachauri village in Nalanda is one of 600 “railway children” who every month get off a train at NDLS and make the platforms their home.

Delhi’s “railway children” — a name coined by social workers and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) — come from all parts of the country, most fleeing poverty and abuse, but some simply seeking adventure, attracted by the bright lights of a big city.

For many of them, the railway platform is the first stop, and shelter. The RPF and NGOs have set up base at NDLS to zero in on such runaways and ensure that they are not trafficked.

Most of the runaways are boys. The few girls who are found in railway stations are taken to government shelters.

Four NGOs – Sathi, Salaam Baalak Trust, Prabhas and Subhakshikha – comb the platforms to identify new arrivals.

“A shabby appearances, unkempt hair and dried tears are some of the signs of a runaway child. About 15-20 children come to NDLS every day, mostly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,” said Pratap Singh, an RPF official at NDLS.

Once such children are identified, their personal details are noted by the RPF personnel and they are sent to child care institutions for counselling. If unwilling to return home, they are taken to government shelters.

According to data compiled by Sathi, between 80,000 and 100,000 children arrive at railway stations every year. Many are reunited with their families.

Rohit Singh, who ran away from home when he was 12 to escape poverty, is one such child taken back to his family. When he reached Delhi recently after leaving Neotni village in Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao District, he tried — in vain — to get in touch with a man who had promised him a job in a factory for Rs 3000 a month.

He went back to the station and started living on a platform, occasionally sleeping in a waiting room, and earning money by scavenging for and reselling plastic bottles.

“I used to get Re 1 for used mineral water bottles and Rs 5 for a sealed bottle,” Rohit said.

But after he contracted dengue, he contacted social workers who had been urging him to join their rehabilitation centre. They helped reunite him with his family on June 27.

Most children are not so lucky. Some are exploited and trafficked and many get addicted to narcotics or alcohol.

Rupak, 15, is one such child.

“He came from an abusive family where his alcoholic father beat him up. He ran away and started working at a dhaba. But he was made to work for 14-16 hours, beaten up and given leftovers to eat,” said Hashim Khan, a social activist.

So Rupak ran away again, and landed up at NDLS.

“He is addicted to drugs. We are trying to rehabilitate him but there is a long way to go,”
Mr Khan said.

The government has laws supporting children, but enforcing them is not easy because not many are aware of the Acts, the social workers said.

“There are portals such as ‘Track-Child’ and ‘Khoya-Paya’ which help locate missing children but because of lack of awareness, few use them. There is a need to integrate these two portals,” said Rohit Shetti, Advocacy Officer of Sathi.

Mr Shetti added that Childline, a helpline for children in distress, needed a dedicated section for railway children. “These children are at a crossroads and we try our best to keep them on the right path,” he said.

Rahul, who does not wish to go back home, may end up in a government shelter. Till then, the platform will be his home.


Officials Blame Railway Police For Denying Ambulance To UP Family To Carry Body

The local administration in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda district has blamed the Government Railway Police or GRP for not helping a family carry their relative’s body for post-mortem in a vehicle. A video of the body being carried on a rickshaw had appeared on social media.
“Instead of arranging for an ambulance to carry the body of Ram Asrey, it was taken on a rickshaw. This was revealed in a probe carried out by SDM (sub-divisional magistrate) Sadar. Prima facie, the GRP has been found guilty,” Banda District Magistrate Mahendra Bahadur Singh said.

“The GRP police station in-charge, in his written statement, had said that the family members of the dead man had come to the police station and willingly took the body on a rickshaw for post-mortem,” he said.

Mr Bahadur said the sub-divisional magistrate’s report said the GRP should have contacted a hearse van or the chief medical officer to arrange an ambulance. “But, the GRP showed laxity,” he said.

GRP police station in-charge Indramohan Barola, however, denied they did not follow procedures. “The government has made a provision of making Rs. 1,000 available to carry out the last rites of an unknown body, but in case the body is identified, the rule is not applicable,” Mr Barola said.

“In this case, the onus of taking the body for post-mortem lies on the family members of the dead,” he said.

The family members of Ram Asrey, who died at 44, carried his body for post-mortem on a rickshaw after officials allegedly refused to give an ambulance. The body was recovered from a railway track on July 8 near Atra railway station.

Chief Medical Officer Santosh Kumar had yesterday said the family members had not given any information for requirement of an ambulance.

Last month in Kaushambi, the uncle of a seven-month-old girl carried her body on a bicycle after his plea for an ambulance fell on deaf ears. In May, a labourer carried the body of his 15-year-old son on his shoulders after allegedly being turned away by doctors at a government-run hospital in Etawah.



Tatkal Ticket Booking, Cancellation Rules: Railways Issues Clarification

Indian Railways has issued a clarification saying there has been no changes in Tatkal and other ticket reservation rules from July 1, 2017. “It has been noticed that a news item is in circulation in various social media platforms, WhatsApp groups, and some websites which mentions that Indian Railways is introducing several changes and new facilities with effect from 1st July, 2017. This news is totally incorrect and baseless,” the Railways said in a statement. “This has created a lot of confusion in the minds of the rail users.”

In this context, the Railways has clarified the following on June 30, 2017:

1) The booking time for Tatkal tickets was changed in 2015 with booking for AC classes opening at 10:00 AM and for Non-AC classes at 11:00 AM (one day in advance of actual date of journey excluding date of journey). There is no change in these timings and the same arrangement is continuing.

2) Again, there is no change in the refund rules of Tatkal tickets. Under the existing rule, no refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal tickets/duplicate Tatkal tickets. This rule continues to be in operation.

3) There are as such no new changes being introduced from July 1, 2017. The only new thing is that Railways, like other departments, is rolling out GST (goods and services tax) with effect from July 1, 2017.

4) Railways has been selling wait-listed tickets both through online (e-ticket) and PRS (Passenger Reservation System) counters. There is no change in this scheme and railway will continue to sell wait-listed tickets through both online and PRS counter.

5) Railways has been running Suvidha Class of trains since July 2015. Such trains will continue to run. The wait-listed ticket in such trains is also available, if required. Provision of partial refund in case of Suvidha Train Tickets is available right from the beginning of the scheme. Hence, no new changes in this regard.

6) Railways have notified new refund rules in November 2015.There rules are still continuing and there is no change in them.

7) There is no proposal to discontinue paper tickets for Shatabdi and Rajdhani trains and, for that matter, in any class of train. However, for passengers booking tickets online (i.e. e-tickets), the tickets received by SMS are a valid authority for travel along with permissible proof of identity.

8) There is no such proposal to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing train ticket concessions.

9) There is no proposal to run duplicate trains. “We, in anyway, run special trains to clear the rush during peak season on identified popular routes as per the traffic requirements & operational feasibility,” the Railways further said.

10) Railways has launched ‘VIKALP’ or Alternative Train Accommodation Scheme (ATAS) on November 1, 2015 with a view to provide confirmed accommodation to wait-listed passengers and also to ensure optimal utilization of available accommodation. This facility was initially started on New Delhi-Jammu, New Delhi-Lucknow, Delhi-Howrah, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Secunderabad Circuits. This scheme was expanded to all the sectors from March 22, 2017.

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.