Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Govt approves transfer of airport-land to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation

The government on Wednesday okayed transfer of 1,899 sq metres of land owned by Airports Authority of India at Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport to Lucknow Metro Rail Corporation (LMRC).

The first phase of the rapid transport system was launched earlier this month when the 8.5 km “priority corridor” of the total 22-km-long stretch became operational.

The AAI land will be used by LMRC for construction of an entrance to one of its metro stations near the airport, according to a press statement by the ministry of civil aviation.

The second phase of Lucknow metro project is the 11-km- long East-West corridor, stretching from the Charbagh railway station to Vasantkunj. The corridor will have 12 stations.

Pune Railway Division to conduct Track Surveillance trials with 2 Drones to keep eye on tracks, stations

As safety while using the Indian Railways becomes a matter of raging debate, it appears that the local division of this transport authority has decided to a rather futuristic remedial measure.

Now, two new drone cameras will be deployed soon to keep a hawk’s eye watch on railway tracks and stations in Pune railway division — also incidentally making it the first division in the country to use such a vigilance system.

Recent incidents of derailment and other railway accidents have sparked this decision, and the first trial runs for these cameras will take place next week.

Speaking to media about the initiative, Pune Divisional Railway Manager B K Dadabhoy said, “Train operations, maintenance of tracks, vigilance against untoward incidents and various other initiatives are being carried out round the clock by the railways. When accidents occur on the tracks, our Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and officials do take some time to reach the spot and verify matters. Often, there are cases of passengers protesting on the tracks, rail rokos and more — all in all, human vigilance has its limitations. So, we decided that drone cameras will aid us immeasurably when it comes to keeping an eye on railway tracks, Pune railway station and other areas under the division.”

Dadabhoy added, “Initially, we will buy just two drones at an approximate budget of Rs 40 lakh. They will be highquality machines to record videos and take pictures at a certain distance above ground level. It will help us get realtime videos and photos if incidents like derailment, accidents, illegal track crossing, passengers’ stunts (especially on Pune–Lonavala local train routes), track maintenance work, law and order situations and encroachments on railway property take place. Next week, we will conduct trial runs for the drone cameras, keeping one at Pune railway station and the other at Miraj railway station to cover nearby areas.”

In October 2016, the Maharashtra Express train derailed at Pune railway station during its night trip; several incidents of youths carrying out stunts have also been observed on Pune- Lonavala locals. While the RPF takes continual action against miscreants and trespassers, they can cover only a limited area.

Meanwhile, commuters have welcomed the drone project. Prashant Sharma, a daily passenger to and from Lonavala, shared, “In the last 20 years, I have witnessed a number of accidents on this route, mostly when passengers are hit by stones thrown from the outside. There have also been issues of trains getting stuck along the route due to technical or other occasions — if this happens at a lonely spot now, the drones will help capture the exact location and help officials reach hapless passengers in case of any emergency.”

Initially, we will buy just two drones for around Rs 40 lakh. Next week, we will conduct trial runs, keeping one at Pune railway station and the other at Miraj railway station to cover nearby areas.

GE warns Centre of risk in altering $2.6-billion Railway Deal

It took eight long years for the Indian Railways to make a mark in public-private partnership sphere, when it awarded two marque contracts for manufacturing locomotives to GE Transportation and Alstom in 2015.  Two years later, the Railways are wondering whether they need the $2.6-billion diesel locomotive contract placed with General Electric (GE), while continuing with electric locomotive contract with Alstom at Madhepura.

In a blow to PM’s pro-industry image, US giant General Electric on Tuesday said any move by the Indian Railways to wind up the company’s Marhowra diesel locomotive factory in Bihar would “undermine the government’s signature Make in India initiative and will put future foreign investment at risk”. “If railways moves forward with changes to the joint venture, they will undermine one of the most promising infrastructure projects in the country and put future foreign investment at risk. This will also undermine the government’s signature Make in India initiative,” the company said in response to a questionnaire.

India could also be on the hook for “substantial fees associated with this project”, the company stated.

The proposal to wind up the project was mooted in a review meeting held by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on September 7 since the railways plans to become fully electrified. The $2.6-billion deal for supplying diesel locomotives and setting up a locomotive factory was the largest foreign direct investment in the history of railways and also the largest deal in the 100-year-history of GE in India.

In case the government decides to scrap the project, it would be liable to pay GE damages that would include compensating investment made by the company. “The company has placed supply order of about $1 billion with its suppliers who would raise claims on GE which in turn would seek that from the government,” said an official who did not want to be quoted.  The company further added that an alteration of the contract will have serious impact on job creation and skills development and cause “the government to incur substantial costs”.  It, however, said, “We expect the partnership to move forward and the company continues to fully execute towards the plan.” Though in a meeting with Goyal last week, the idea of converting the diesel plant to electric was discussed. GE does not manufacture electric locomotives. “Moreover, GE got the project through a bidding process and the cost of an electric and diesel plant may differ,” a railway official said.

The bid was allotted to GE on November 9, 2015. Other than the GE, US-based Electromotive Diesel (EMD) and two Chinese firms were also in race to bag the Marhowra project. “We are on track and actively fulfilling our contract with Indian Railways to develop and supply 1,000 fuel-efficient diesel-electric Evolution Series locomotives,” GE said. GE said two locomotives have been built and tested and the first locomotive has been shipped and will arrive in India on October 10.  The project was expected to create a robust supply chain ecosystem in India, constituting 60 new local suppliers and 10 global suppliers to achieve over 70 per cent localisation.

The company had already hired 1,000 roles in the factory and maintenance shed and 5,000 jobs created and sustained in the supplier network.

New GM of North Western Railway underlines timely maintenance of Railways infrastructure

Emphasizing the need for safety of passengers, T P Singh who took charge as the new General Manager, North Western Railway (NWR), on Tuesday said that he will ensure periodic maintenance of all large infrastructure. The GM also underlined the need for appreciating innovation in safety, maintenance and engineering and their implementation.

Singh is a 1980 batch officer of Indian Railways Mechanical Engineering Services who had earlier served in many capacities including Divisional Railway Manager (DRM). Prior to his appointment at NWR, Singh was serving in East Central Railway (ECR) as GM.

After marathon rounds of meetings with his officers, Singh sat for a candid interaction with the media persons at the NWR headquarters.

“For the safety of our passengers I think the first and foremost thing is boosting the morale and motivation level of the staff,” Singh added while felicitating two loco pilots(train drivers) and a gate man with a cash award of Rs 5000 and appreciation letter.

Aiming at improving the operational safety of the trains, he said, “We are also planning to connect every trolley and patrol team who are responsible for checking the tracks on regular basis with the global positioning system (GPS) in coming months. This will enable the nearby station to upkeep the tracks properly to avert accidents. Not only that the gangman too would be connected with GPS.”

Talking about the welfare of the employees, he said, “We are coming up with an online system where the railway employees residing in various railway colonies in our various divisions would be able to register complains relating to housing, drinking water problems, telephone connection problems and others.”

Indian Railways makes it Mandatory for Kiosks to display Books on Indian Values and Morals

In a commercial circular dated September 5, the Railway Board instructed all general managers to ensure that such books are found in railway stalls under the new Multi Purpose Stall (MPS) Policy.

“Zonal railways shall ensure that all MPS must display and sell books pertaining to Indian tradition, culture, values, morals and history,” the circular, a copy of which is with PTI, stated. All miscellaneous, curio stalls, bookstalls, chemist stalls will now come under the multi-purpose stalls, it said.

The policy supersedes the Bookstall Policy of 2004 which mandated that stalls will keep books on varied subjects like literature, history, children’s literature, fiction, travel, light reading, art, culture, current affairs, professional interests, national integration, etc. in English, Hindi and regional languages.

The MPS Policy was drafted after it was felt that there was a need to have a single outlet at platforms from where passengers can purchase non-catering items required during travel.

The stalls will also sell artefacts and items of local and regional importance, proprietary article depot items, drinking water, over-the-counter medicines and non-pharmacy items like dry milk powder, the circular said.

The policy also states that it will be mandatory for all such stalls to display and sell prominently the zonal railway timetable as well as the ‘Trains at a Glance’ publication and any other official publications of the railways.

Retailers, individuals, self-help groups can apply for a licence to run these stalls. The allotment will be done after a tendering process, the policy states.

The new policy has also made it mandatory for such stalls to have a point of sale or swipe machine for acceptance of credit and debit cards from all customers without charging any additional transaction charge for any sale above Rs 100. For amounts below Rs 100, payments through e-wallet would be acceptable, the policy said.

Kanyakumari Rail Users demand diversion of long distance trains through TN

The Kanyakumari District Railway Users’ Association (KDRUA) has appealed to the railway minister and Southern Railway authorities to divert few long distance trains from and to Kanyakumari that now pass through Kerala and re-enter Coimbatore, to be run fully inside Tamil Nadu so that it benefits a large section of people in the southern districts.

Secretary of the association, P Edward Jeni said they have been giving representations to the minister and railway authorities for at least three years, whenever they received information that new trains would be plying from other parts of the country to Kanyakumari through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam in Kerala. “But, we have not received a proper reply for our representations over the years,” he rued.

The association pointed out that Kanyakumari and nearby districts would benefit if more trains connecting other states ply through Tirunelveli and Madurai as it would help them get easier access to Chennai. “The route through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam is 150km longer, and takes three to four hours more for passengers from Kanyakumari,” he said.

The KDRUA demanded that train no. 12659/60 Nagercoil – Shalimar Gurudev Weekly Express, train no. 22620/22619 Tirunelveli – Bilaspur Express and train no. 15905/15906 Kanyakumari – Dibrugarh Vivek Weekly Express should be diverted through Madurai and Tirunelveli. “Moreover, the Bilaspur train reaches Tirunelveli at a very inconvenient time,” he said.

Jeni said they have taken up the issue again as they came to know about a proposal to make the Bilaspur train as a bi-weekly. “Since the railways have turned a deaf ear to our pleas we are planning to move the high court the next time the railways announces long distance trains to Nagercoil, Kanyakumari or Tirunelveli through Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam via Coimbatore,” he said.

Indian Railways wave red flag to stop child traffickers in transit

On platform number one at the Salem train station in south India, a colourful booth stands out amid the chaos of passengers, porters and vendors.

It is a children’s help desk, one of two set up on a pilot basis in India by the charity Railway Children. Here staff are mapping the journeys of thousands of vulnerable children, who have been trafficked, are lost or are runaways.

From the brightly painted booth, officials track the nearly 200 trains that travel daily through Salem junction in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, looking for children at risk on the rail network – the traffickers’ preferred mode of transport.

Campaigners say India’s train stations have become transit points for traffickers, who lure children to cities with the promise of good jobs, but sell them into slavery as domestic workers, to work in small manufacturing units, farming or pushed into sexual slavery in brothels.

“If you travel 45 minutes from Salem junction, you will be in industrial hubs that thrive on child labour or cross a state border into a region with a different local language and culture,” said Valavan Vasantha Siddartha of Railway Children.

“If the journey of trafficked and vulnerable children is not stopped at the stations, the children will simply disappear once they reach their destinations.”

The two 24 hour help desks set up in collaboration with Indian Railways identify children at risk and provide them with shelter and work on reuniting them with their families.

More than 9,000 children in India were reported to have been trafficked in 2016, a 27 percent rise from the previous year, according to government data.

A large number of unaccompanied and trafficked children travel on train across India and many use platforms as shelter or working as hawkers or ragpickers, campaigners said.

“Our officials come across them all the time, travelling ticketless or abandoned on trains and at platforms,” A S Vijuvin, senior railway officer at the Salem station told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Between 2014 and August 2017, the Railway Protection Force rescued 28,057 children including 1,502 trafficked children from stations, according to a statement released on Monday.

On an average, at least 25 children are rescued every day from trains and railway premises, the statement said.


Since the help desk was opened at Salem station in March, 431 children have been rescued, a quarter from northern India.

“Many of the children we rescue were heading for the poultry farms in Namakkal, spinning mills in Erode or truck workshops along the highways,” Siddartha said.

“Since we set up the booth, we have noticed that many are travelling on trains that arrive past midnight, when the surveillance is lower.”

Campaigners estimate there is a vulnerable child entering a railway station every five minutes. Girls are particularly vulnerable and often taken off by traffickers within hours of arriving.

The Salem booth, and a similar one in Darbhanga station in eastern state of Bihar, are connected to shelters run near the station.

“Some come to have a bath or just sit in a clean space. We have counsellors at hand and the idea is to eventually help these children,” said Siddartha of Railway Children. “In many cases we reunite them with their families.”

The Indian government has in the past launched campaigns on India’s vast railway network, while a periodic police drive, “Operation Smile”, screens children in shelters, train and bus stations, and on the streets to find the missing.

Indian Railways has now extended these initiatives to cover 82 stations across the world’s fourth-largest railway network.

Ticket checkers, catering staff and policemen travelling on trains are taught to look for signs of trafficking and be on alert for children in large groups, the body language of the adults accompanying them and dubious documents.

“We are constantly relooking at the process because we realise that traffickers are two steps ahead,” Vijuvin said.

“When big stations are covered, they disembark two stops ahead, at the smaller ones. We hope to slowly link every station with these protocols.”

Railway Hotel Scam Case: Tejashwi Yadav Asks For 15 Days To Appear Before CBI

Former Bihar deputy chief minister Tejashwi Yadav today sought 15 days from the CBI to appear for questioning in a case related to alleged corruption in giving the contract for running two IRCTC hotels to a private firm in 2006, sources said.

Tejashwi, who was summoned to appear today, sent his counsel who submitted the request seeking time to appear before the investigation team, sources in the agency said.

The contracts were given in 2006 when his father Lalu Prasad Yadav was the Union railway minister.

The case pertains to allegations that Lalu Yadav, as railway minister, handed over the maintenance of two hotels run by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation, a subsidiary of the Indian Railways, in Ranchi and Puri to Sujata Hotel, a company owned by Vinay and Vijay Kochhar, in return for a prime plot of three acres in Patna through a benami company.

The FIR alleged that the RJD leader, as the railway minister, abused his official position for extending undue favours to the Kochhar and acquired a “high value premium land” through a benami firm Delight Marketing Company. As a quid pro quo, he “dishonestly and fraudulently” managed award of leasing of the two hotels.
After the tender was awarded to Sujata Hotel, the ownership of Delight Marketing also changed hands from Sarla Gupta to Rabri Devi and Tejashwi Yadav between 2010 and 2014.

 By this time, Lalu Prasad had resigned as railway minister.

The CBI has registered the case against Lalu Yadav, his wife Rabri Devi, a former Bihar chief minister, son Tejashwi, who was deputy CM until a few months ago, and Sarla Gupta, wife of Prem Chand Gupta, a former union minister.

Others named as accused in the FIR include Vijay Kochhar, Vinay Kochhar, both directors of Sujata Hotels and owner of Chanakya Hotel, Delight Marketing Company, now known as Lara Projects, and then IRCTC managing director PK Goel.

18-Coach Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani to run at 150 kmph, Cover 1377 Kms in less than 13 Hrs 30 Mins

As a Diwali gift to its passengers, the Indian Railways is planning to run a faster Rajdhani Express on the Delhi-Mumbai line that will cover the distance of 1,377 kms in less than 13 hours and 30 minutes.

The 18 Linke Hofmann Busch (LBH) coaches train will run at the maximum speed of 150 kmph. The train will originate from Hazrat Nizamuddin in Delhi and terminate at Bandra/Mumbai Central. The train would have a stoppage of 8-10 minutes at Ratlam fir operational purposes only — for change if crew and watering of trains.

The train would run at the maximum speed of 150 kmph between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Mathura and at 130 kmph from Mathura to Bandra/Mumbai Central. The 18 LBH coaches will comprise of an FAC (fuel adjustment component), 3 ACCW, 1 pantry car, 2 power cars and 11 ACCNs.

All the formalities are scheduled to be completed by October 15. The trial would be done in the last week of September

This will be the third Rajdhani on the route. Presently, the route is served by two Rajdhani Express trains– the August Kranti Rajdhani and the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani. While the August Kranti Rajdhani takes around 17 hours 05 minutes, the Mumbai Central-New Delhi Rajdhani train takes around 15 hours 35 minutes.

The Mumbai Rajdhani has a sanctioned speed of 130 kmph. But due to numerous curves and speed restrictions on the route, its average speed comes down to about 89 kmph.

Railway line connecting India, Nepal to become functional from Next Year

After remaining non-functional for the last three years the Janakpur-Jayanagar Railway line connecting Nepal and India is expected to become functional by 2018.It is the only railway line that once used to link India with Nepal but after 2014 its service got discontinued.

However, now both the neighboring countries are making an attempt to revive this railway service.”Talking about the progress, we are inching towards the completion. It will come under operation from the Biwaha Panchami,” Mukesh Kumar Yadav, Site Supervisor of the Janakpur- Jayanagar Railway told.

“The task of ground work has been completed, the work of the culvert is almost complete and the bridge is also in its final stage of completion,” he added.

The project will be completed in three phases and is estimated to cost 5.48 billion Indian rupees, mostly aided by the Indian Government.

“It is a matter of happiness for us, it will be good for the people as they come here and go there. People from there (India) comes here and people from here go there (India). It would be good for the people in the Janakpur, the poor ones,” Mithilesh Yadav a local residing near the railway construction site said.

As the train service over the countries got stalled from 2014 the trade through this point was shifted to other border point and with the revival of the rail way the economy of the place is expected to rise along with the slash in the time consumption for the travelling to capital Kathmandu.

The railway line which will have its track expanded to Bardibas of Mahottari district, will reduce the time duration to reach the place by less than an hour.

The Nayak Infrastructure of Assam, India has been awarded with the contract to lay down the 24 km track between the Irarwa (India) to Kaipleshwor of Janakpur.

Likewise, the Raman Construction of Janakpur is constructing the 25km segment between Kapileshwor and Bijalpur of Mahottari.