Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

PM Narendra Modi To Flag Off Varanasi-Vadodara Mahamana Express On September 22

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the country’s third Mahamana Express from his Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi on September 22, senior railway officials said today.

On its maiden journey, the train will run from Vadodara in Gujarat to Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh after the PM launches it using a remote control, they said.

The Modi government had unveiled the first rake of the Mahamana Express as part of Railways’ Model Rake Project in 2016.

The Mahamana Express with plush interiors — built under the Make in India initiative — currently runs on two routes of Varanasi-New Delhi and Bhopal-Khajuraho.

The new weekly train will run from Varanasi every Friday and from Vadodara every Wednesday.

The 1,531-km journey between the two cities will take 27 hour 30 minutes at an average speed of 55.7 km/hr, ministry officials said.
It has stops at Bharuch and Surat in Gujarat; Amalner and Bhusawal in Maharashtra; Itarsi, Jabalpur, Katni and Satna in Madhya Pradesh; and Chheoki in Uttar Pradesh.

Some of the special features of the Mahamana trains include modular panels, ergonomically designed ladders for climbing to the upper berths, aesthetically appealing toilet modules with big mirror, platform washbasin, controlled discharged water tap, odour control system, exhaust fan, LED lights and dustbin inside the toilets.

The new train will have 18 coaches – one AC 1st class, two 2nd class AC, eight sleeper, four general, one pantry car and two guard brake vans. There is no AC-3 tier coach in the train.

The train has LED lighting across the coaches, special berth indicators-cum-night-light in reserved coaches to assist passengers boarding train at night.

Other facilities like fire extinguisher in all coaches, electrically operated chimney in pantry car and stainless steel panelling in luggage compartment have also been provided in the train.

‘Mahamana Express’ is named after former Hindu Mahasabha president Madan Mohan Malviya, also also addressed as ‘Mahamana’.

China, Nepal To Start Technical Works On Cross-Border Railway

China and Nepal have agreed to start technical works to build a cross-border railway link via Tibet to boost connectivity, according to Nepalese Foreign Ministry.

This was decided during the recent visit of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to Beijing.

“Both sides have agreed to move forward technical works relating to construction of Nepal-China cross-border railway line,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

During the high-level talks in Beijing, Mr Mahara had requested China to forward the work relating to preparation of a Detailed Project Report for the construction of inter-country railway line giving it high priority, it said.

China, Nepal To Start Technical Works On Cross-Border Railway
This was decided during the recent visit of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to Beijing.
All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: September 19, 2017 00:51 IST

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China, Nepal To Start Technical Works On Cross-Border Railway

Nepal and China have agreed to move forward technical works (Representational Image)
Beijing/ Kathmandu: China and Nepal have agreed to start technical works to build a cross-border railway link via Tibet to boost connectivity, according to Nepalese Foreign Ministry.

This was decided during the recent visit of Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara to Beijing.

“Both sides have agreed to move forward technical works relating to construction of Nepal-China cross-border railway line,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement last week.

During the high-level talks in Beijing, Mr Mahara had requested China to forward the work relating to preparation of a Detailed Project Report for the construction of inter-country railway line giving it high priority, it said.

However, China’s state-run People’s Daily has claimed that during Mr Mahara’s visit to China early this month a deal has been struck to establish the rail link.

It said the rail link includes two lines: one connecting three of Nepal’s most important cities and two between China and Nepal.

The daily, however, did not identify the Nepalese cities. The Sino-Nepali railway, which passes through the Chinese border town of Zhangmu and connects with routes in Nepal, will be the first railway by which China enters South Asia, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Centre for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

“Although the railway connection between China and Nepal is intended to boost regional development and not for military purposes, the move will still probably irritate India,” he was quoted as saying by the daily – the ruling communist party’s official mouthpiece.

China last year agreed to consider building a railway into Nepal and to start a feasibility study for a free trade agreement with landlocked Nepal, which has been trying to lessen its dependence on its other big neighbour India.

Nepal also signed up to President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road initiative which is opposed by India as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Bihar May Lose Biggest Make In India Project, Nitish Kumar Seeks A Meet

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said he would meet Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to discuss the future of a proposed diesel engine factory in Bihar’s Chhapra. The project — billed as the country’s biggest Make in India project — may slip out of Bihar’s grasp, reports say, with the railway ministry toying with the idea of shelving the 3000-crore initiative that’s expected to roll out by October 2018.

The ministry is of the view that since electrification of railway tracks going ahead full steam, investment in diesel engines would not pay off in the coming years, reports said. Mr Kumar, who has handled the railways portfolio twice, disagrees.

Indian Railways is the third largest railway network in the world and full electrification of the 1.1 lakh-km tracks will take a long time, Mr Kumar argues. Till then, having fuel-efficient diesel engines will be cost-effective. Besides, once full electrification is done, India may even sell the diesel engines to neighbouring countries that are yet to modernize their railways, he said.

The factory at Marhaura, billed as the biggest Make in India project is expected to roll out 1,000 fuel efficient diesel-electric evolution series locomotives within 10 years. The emissions-compliant diesel locomotives would be a first in the country. Besides ushering in modern rail infrastructure, it would also generate at least 1,000 jobs in the state.

The project had been the brainchild of then railway minister Lalu Yadav, who wanted to build a state-of-the-art factory. But it went into cold storage and was later revived by the Narendra Modi government.

In 2015, the project was awarded to the US multinational General Electric, which has already built two locomotives in its US-based factories. The first engine has been shipped and it will arrive in India on October 10. Sources in the company said if all goes well, the factory in Patna may be commissioned much before its scheduled date.

A few months ago, Mr Goyal, who was then the Union Power Minister, also put a 4000 MW ultra-power project in Bihar’s Banka on hold, saying unless the state entered a power purchase agreement, the Centre would not sanction funds to start work. The project had been given to state in the Prime Minister’s package announced just before assembly elections in 2015.

Indian Railways To Fill 1 Lakh Vacancies In Safety Category

In a major development, Indian Railways has decided to fill more than one lakh safety related jobs. The safety-related posts include loco running staff, driver, station master, guard, technology supervisor, control and yard staff, signal inspector and maintenance employees. A report published in the Allahabad edition of Hindi Daily Dainik Jagran said that the Railways has decided to recruit one lakh staff in the safety category, and these vacancies were on hold for a very long time.

What is important to note is the timing of these recruitment announcement.

On August 23, Kaifiyat Express derailed in Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh injuring over 100 people.

At least 23 people were killed and over 72 injured after 14 coaches of the Utkal Express ran off the tracks in Uttar Pradesh on August 20.

The Indian railways had reported total of 13,929 train accidents from 1960 to 2016.

According to Mint, the Indian Railways had a vacancy of 1,22,763 in 2016 in safety category while it was 1,24,201 in 2015.

Indian Railways had reported a 2.1 lakh vacant posts in 2012, including 90,000 safety-related vacancies, crucial for train operation.


According to a study by NITI Aayog, since 2012, six out of every 10 rail accidents in the country have happened because of mistakes by or the negligence of railway staff.

Currently, according to Indian Railways’ response to a Parliament question, over 700,000 railways staff work on safety-related operations at the country’s largest employer.

Taking charge of Indian Railways after two back-to-back train accidents that, the newly Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has also said that his focus will be safety.

The railway ministry has already initiated measures like inducting modern coaches, creating a safety fund as well as incorporating new technology to not only plug accidents due to derailments, but also to reduce casualties, a senior ministry official said on August 20.

A detailed presentation on safety was made at a meeting which was held at the presence of Piyush Goyal, Minister of Railways and Coal on September 7, 2017 with members of Railway Board & Safety Directorate of Railway Board to comprehensively review Safety measures for train operations. In the meeting, the Minister emphasized that the safety is paramount and there cannot & should not be any compromise on this front.

The special focus of the meeting was to identify measures to reduce accidents due to derailments which has emerged as one of the major causes of Train accidents. Minister of Railways directed the Railway Board to ensure that all unmanned level crossings should be eliminated expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now.

The Dainik Jagran report today said the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) will fill half of the seats in group C and RRB and Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC) together will fill the seats from Group D vacant.

According to reports, the selected candidates after the RRB and RRC recruitment process will be appointed across 96 divisions of Indian railways which are located in 17 zones.

RRB Non-Technical Popular Category (NTPC) Stage II Computer Based Test (CBT) exams which were conducted on January 17, 18, and 19 across India this year and the whole process took Indian Railways, one of the largest employers in the world to a new mile stone.

A whopping 92 lakh candidates had applied for the jobs, of whom 2.73 lakh qualified the preliminary exam and were called for online test on January 17-19, a senior Railway Ministry official told Press Trust of India.

Railtel Corporation To Recruit For Assistant Engineer, Sr Manager Posts; 45 Vacancies To Be Filled

RailTel Corporation of India Limited, a Mini-Ratna (Category-I) Public Sector Undertaking under Ministry of Railways will recruit for the posts of Assistant Engineers and Senior Managers. Candidates should note that recruitment to the posts will be on contract basis for for implementation of National Optic Fiber Network (NOFN) project covering the State of Gujarat. Out of the total 45 vacancies 38 are for Assistant Engineer post. ‘The period of contract shall be for two years, which may further be extended based on mutual consent and requirement.’ Official notification has been released at the website

The last date for submission of application is 27 September 2017 (12 noon).

Eligibility Criteria for Assistant Engineer post

Candidates with Diploma and 3 years of work experience
MCA/ BE/ B.Tech/ B.Sc (Engineering) and 1 year of work experience

RRC Jaipur Recruitment 2017 For 307 Posts; Indian Railways To Recruit Through Departmental Exam

The recent job notification released by Railway Recruitment Cell (RRC) Jaipur, has stirred an excitement among government job aspirants. The news carried by various job portals claims that RRC Jaipur has started recruitment process for a total of 307 vacancies. The recruitment is infact a GDCE notification. RRC Jaipur will conduct General Departmental Competitive Examination (GDCE) 2017 for recruitment to the posts of staff nurse, junior engineer, station master, goods guard, pharmacist, stenographer, commercial clerk, ticket examiner, technician, assistant loco pilot and clerk cum typist.

The notification, which has been assumed to be a direct recruitment alert issued by Indian Railways, is actually open for those candidates who are engaged in North Western Railways (Group C) and Eastern railways (Group D). Concerned eligible candidates can submit their applications online before 1700 hours of 12 October 2017.

Railway job aspirants, need not apply for the recruitment. Moreover job seekers are suggested to go through the recruitment notifications released by organisations properly before applying in order to avoid the confusion between direct recruitment and deputation jobs.

Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) notify job advertisements (and declare the results, as well) on the official websites (region wise web portals), Employment News (job journal of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India). Candidates can regularly check these for timely updates on railway recruitment.
Considered to be one of the largest functioning bodies in the country, a job in the Indian Railways is one of the most sought after among job aspirants’.

Japanese firm Mitsui wins Bid for Supply of Rail Tracks for Ahmedabad Metro Rail project

Japanese firm Mitsui Co. Ltd. has won the bid to supply 10,600 metric tonne of Head Hardened Rails (HH-Rail) for the track work of the 37-km-long Phase-1 of the Ahmedabad metro-rail project at the cost of Rs 59.32 crore.

“Mitsui has been selected from a group of five bidders which included Voestalpine, Jindal Steel, British Steel, East Metals,” said IP Gautam, Managing Director of Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA) Company Ltd which is constructing the Rs.10,700 crore Phase-I of the project.

Mitsui is the first Japanese firm to win a bid out of the 27 contracts that have been awarded.

The tender notice for procurement of the HH-rail was published on July 8, 2016 and the tender was awarded on June 15.

According to metrorail officials, the 1,080 grade HH-rail being procured for Ahmedabad metro has greater durability than the normal rail of 880 grade. The use of 1,080 grade HH-rail will dispense frequent rail checks on main lines.

“We will be using the HH-rail only for laying the metro tracks, while normal rail will be used in the depots,” an official added. Two depots — one at Apparel Park on the East West Corridor and the other at Gyaspur on the North-South Corridor is being built.

Indian Railways Collaborates with Australian firm Sydac to revamp Railway Safety in India

In the backdrop of back-to-back rail accidents, the current safety standards of Indian Railways have assumed centre-stage again in India’s development agenda. As on March 2016, Indian Railways data shows that 66 of 105 serious rail accidents happen due to mistakes or negligence by railway staff.

Keeping this in mind, Indian Railways has decided to collaborate with Australian firms to revamp railway safety in India. A part of Indian government’s ₹2.8 lakh crore plan for the rail sector (called Re-Build Railways), the tie-up will result in measures such as the development of high-tech driver training centres, adaptation of international safety models and procurement of sensor-based track detection machines from Australia.

In 2014, a $30 million tender floated by the Indian Railways for setting up driver training centres in 12 cities (Mumbai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Jodhpur, Jalandhar, Vijayawada, Siliguri, Jhansi, Itarsi, Kharagpur, Ghaziabad and Tatanagar) was bagged by the Sydac Australia.

Now nearing completion, the project has led to the development of 12 high-tech training centres with 3D rail simulators and 72 regular training centres with smaller simulators.

Dermot Dixon, the Managing Director of Sydac Australia, said the company has bid for the new tender with the aim of increasing the number of simulators in these centres. He also added that the firm is willing to provide training solutions to the Indian Railways for personnel involved in signalling and switching operations.

The importance of this project is underscored by the fact that India has around 86,000 train drivers who operate over 12,000 electric and diesel locomotives every single day to transport people and freight across the country. So the driving skills, alertness and ability to deal with hazardous events of drivers is critical to safety in train operations. This, along with route learning and fuel efficient driving, is the core areas of focus at the training centres.

In another tie-up with an Australian firm, Indian Railways is partnering with Track IQ to procure high-tech equipment that includes sensor-based systems that can detect cracks in rail tracks.

With the aim of reducing rail accidents by 50% in the next two years, Indian railways is also working to make its safety research institute operational at the earliest. Named SRESTHA (Special Railway Establishment for Strategic Technology & Holistic Advancement), it will focus on developing cutting-edge rail technology for both local and global use. Simultaneously, it will also help Indian Railways adapt international models to the national rail environment.

SRESTHA has already started working with Australia’s premier track and vehicle railway research centre, Monash University Institute of Railway Technology (IRT), to help Indian Railways’ ambitious plans come to fruition.

With the gradual introduction of these high-tech safety innovations (eg. integrated chip systems on trains that alert pedestrians of approaching trains), India’s national transporter looks all set to redefine the way the majority of Indians travel today.

Sydac is a world leader in driver training simulation solutions with 25 years experience and clients across the globe.

With over 150 employees dedicated to driver training simulation activities, including engineers, electricians and graphic artists, Sydac has developed a broad variety of simulation related products and services.

Starting from ‘top of the range’ full cab simulators with motion bases and complex CGI vision, using the very latest in computer visualisation technology, to simple training material that can be delivered on a laptop or tablet computer.

Sydac’s experience working in the simulation industry, equips staff with the knowledge to understand the unique training needs the industry requires.

Having significant experience in the development, deployment and support of driver training simulators, Sydac leverages maturity of design and re-use of field-proven software components, providing an excellent basis for the development of new products in this arena.

Each project completed by Sydac is a custom adaptation of a standard and proven solution to specific customer needs. Sydac invested early in a core technology environment that allows today to offer particular solutions at a reduced budget while taking advantage of many years of rail simulation developments for a large variety of customers and applications.

Huge investments made in Railways in the last 3 years will lead to Development: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal, who on Monday took office as Railway Minister, said that huge investments made in the railways in last three years will definitely lead to the development.

“Huge investments in railways have been made in past three years, which will definitely lead to its development,” he said after taking charge in the Rail Bhavan.

He also said that Indian Railways will continue on the roadmap of development.

Appreciating the the efforts put in by his predecessor Suresh Prabhu, Goyal said: “Now people talk about ministers working 24×7. But I have seen Prabhu working like that 15 years ago.”

He also described Prabhu as his elder brother and said that it is an emotional moment for him as “Prabhu is my mentor”.

“He has been mentoring me for over 20 years. He (Prabhu) has worked with my father in Atal Bihari Vajpayee government,” he said. Goyal’s father had been Power Minister then.

He also said that he has got time to work under Prabhu.

Meanwhile, Prabhu, who was also present to handover the charge of office to Goyal described him as his younger brother.

“Goyalji is like my younger brother and now he will take over as new Railway Minister.
“I am confident that he would contribute to the development of the nation,” he said.

Goyal was on Sunday given charge of the Railway Ministry, replacing Prabhu, who shifts to Commerce and Industry that was with Nirmala Sitharaman, who has now become India’s first, full-fledged Defence Minister.

Prabhu had offered to quit after a major rail accident in Uttar Pradesh claimed 23 lives last month.

Newly appointed Railway Minister Piyush Goyal takes Charge; Rail Safety, Finance priority for Piyush Goyal

A confidante of BJP chief Amit Shah and someone who was in the good books of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Piyush Goyal replaced Suresh Prabhu as the new railway minister at a time when the safety of the national transporter has become a major concern.

Piyush Goyal on Monday took the charge as Minister of Railways in the presence of former post holder Suresh Prabhu. Goyal yesterday replaced Prabhu as he Union Railway Minister during the Cabinet reshuffle, possibly taking the most challenging ministry in light of several derailments in the recent past.

Though Prabhu had offered to resign after a spate of accidents recently, Modi had asked him to stay.

For Goyal, the upgrade from minister of state with independent charge of power and coal to a Cabinet rank was certainly an acknowledgement as a performer.

For Modi, he wanted an efficient person to transform the crucial Railway Ministry given his focus on pushing infrastructure in the country. Also, the fact that millions of citizens use the vast railway network regularly necessitated that public concerns over safety be put to rest. In the past three years under Prabhu, the Railways had witnessed 346 accidents and the highest number of 193 passenger deaths in a decade in 2016-17.

That precisely is the challenge for Goyal as the cash-strapped behemoth dreams big on realising the bullet train project but struggles to ensure smooth running of passenger trains. Goyal is the third railway minister in the NDA government. Prabhu, who became railway minister in November 2014, had replaced Sadananda Gowda.

Goyal, who also holds the coal portfolio, will have to hit the ground running in the Railway  Ministry and focus on steps to improve freight earnings and complete pending projects ahead of the 2019 general elections. At present, the Railways is facing a loss of Rs 36,000 crore annually due to passenger fare subsidy.

Prabhu, a chartered accountant by profession, was brought in as railway minister with expectations that he would help improve the financial health of the Railways, but under him, freight loading fell further and operating ratio jumped over 100 per cent. He did take some measures such as decentralisation of tendering powers to check corruption, setting up of non-fare revenue directorate, planning high speed and semi-high-speed trains, dynamic fare pricing, merger of the railway budget with the general budget and formation of an independent tariff authority to take a call on fare hike, among others.

New railway minister Piyush Goyal has his work cut out for him as he has to prioritise safety and restore confidence since the railways is going through a rough patch due to successive derailments.

Goyal’s appointment has come just ahead of the visit of Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe to lay the foundation of high speed bullet train in Ahmedabad on September 13.

Railway board members are geared up to meet ambitious targets and challenges ahead of the Indian Railways, particularly safe operations, better freight and passenger revenue, doubling of tracks and electrification.

Considering the fact that Goyal is having the charge of coal as well, there are hopes of having better synergy between the two ministries. Coal is the major source of revenue for the railways.

The biggest challenge in front of Goyal would be to ensure making railways safer, fill vacancies in the safety wing and hasten procurement of safety related equipment.

Average vacancy in safety positions during 2009-10 to 2013-14 was 18.65 percent of the total sanctioned strength which has dropped to mere 16.86 percent in 2017.

The railways recruited 37,510 people in different safety categories, taking the total staff strength to 6,35,940 as on April 1, 2017.

General secretary, All India Railwaymen’s Federation, Shiv Gopal Mishra told Governance Now that despite the railways recruiting people, over one lakh safety vacancies are still lying vacant.

A railway ministry data revealed as many as 421 people were killed in 857 derailments over the past 11 years between 2005-06 and 2015-16.

Derailments of the three express trains – Kalinga Utkal express, Kaifiyat express, Nagpur-Mumbai Duranto express – in the past 15 days in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra forced Suresh Prabhu to offer his resignation to prime minister Narendra Modi on August 23. Prabhu was asked to wait for the few days as the cabinet reshuffle was in the offing.