Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

PM Modi Unveils Bidar To Kalaburgi Railway Line

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated the 110 km railway track from Bidar to Kalaburgi in Karnataka, which will reduce distance from Bengaluru to New Delhi and upcountry destinations by 380 km and save 6-8 hours of travelling time.

The new track, laid over 16 years, was originally estimated to cost Rs. 370 crore but escalated to Rs. 1,542 crore.
The Prime Minister also flagged off the first train on the new line from Bidar station to Kalaburgi in the presence of Railway Minister Piyush Goel, Governor Vajubhai R Vala, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Union Ministers from the state Ananth Kumar and Sadananda Gowda.

The diesel-electric multiple train (DEMU) local service will cover the 110km between Bidar and Kalaburgi in two hours with brief halts at 12 stations en route.

Though the foundation stone for the project was laid in 1996 when Janata Dal-Secular supremo H D Deve Gowda from the state was the Prime Minister, construction began only in 2000 under the BJP-led NDA government and the railways took 16 years to complete it.

“The new track provides direct rail connectivity from Bengaluru to Bidar, 690km away from the state capital, and enable running more long-distance passenger and freight trains on the route,” a senior railway official told IANS here.

PM Modi Inaugurates Bidar-Kalburgi Railway Line, Flag Off Train Services

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Karnataka today, offered prayers at the famous Lord Manjunatha Swami temple at Dharmasthala. He then attended a function organised by the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural development Project in the temple town in Dakshina Kannada district. The prime minister symbolically launched the distribution of RuPay Cards for self-help group members who enrolled for Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana through the Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural development Project, a non-governmental organisation, during the programme. PM Modi symbolically transfered RuPay cards to women who would then conduct banking transactions in the MICRO ATMs placed on the dais during the programme. He then traveled to the state capital Bengaluru to attend a public function organised by the Vedanta Bharati at the Palace Grounds. He will also inaugurate the 110 km Bidar-Kalaburgi railway track in the Hyderabad-Karnataka region that will reduce the distance between Bengaluru and New Delhi by 380km and travel time by six to eight hours.

Parliamentary Panel Summons Top Railway Officials After Recent Accidents

A parliamentary panel has summoned top railway officials over the recent spate of rail derailments and the Elphinstone Road Bridge stampede in Mumbai.

The officials are scheduled to appear before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay on November 9.
Representatives of the railway ministry (Railway Board) will brief the panel on safety measures in railway operations and maintenance of bridges, a Lok Sabha notice said.

A member of the parliamentary panel said railways is the lifeline of the country and a poor man’s transport. He said safety is of paramount importance and that is why the panel has called the meeting.

The panel is expected to question the officials about the recent incidents of derailment and the Mumbai bridge tragedy in which 23 people lost their lives, the notice said.

A recent circular by the Railway Board had raised concerns over the maintenance of railway bridges, stating that out of 275 such bridges, only 23 had speed restrictions on them.

Speed restriction for trains is needed when the tracks are in need of repair. Without such a restriction, there can be safety issues for trains operating on regular speed.

The board had also ordered a review of all rail bridges in the country that need repair.

Bengaluru May Soon Get A Suburban Railway Network

The Railways is working on a proposal to create a suburban railway network for Bengaluru, much like the one in Mumbai, to decongest the city and link it to the airport, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

Mr Goyal said the idea was suggested to him before he took over as the railway minister by senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar who told him that he had been pushing for a suburban rail service for the Indian IT capital since 1996.

He said that during a review meeting of South Western Railway on September 18, he asked the officials to study the city for a rail network and come up with a preliminary project report for an elevated network.

“And possibly also have a road on top of the rail to connect the airport to places of work in the city,” Goyal said speaking at the International Conference on Green Initiatives and Railway Electrification here.

The minister said he gave the SW Railways 30 days’ time to come up with a plan but on September 20, when he was in the city again, he was given a document listing out initial action plans on the project to be executed within 28 days.

On September 26, Mr Goyal said the SW railway construction wing of Bengaluru awarded the consultancy to the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES), a government of India initiative, for a conceptual planning and study of the proposal.

By October 1, the minister said he was presented with a rough assessment on the availability of land for commercial use including the relocation requirements.

“They used google to locate and prepare the plan where land is available because the scheme has to be self-financed. Then they identified various sections which need to be elevated and also pointed out which were to be done on ground,” he said.

By October 18, the RITES had already finalised an initial conceptual plan with drawings of how the project will look like, where the routes will be and with height and elevation details, the minister said.

“So in a months’ time, we have a proposal upon which the IR (Indian Railways) can now start deliberating.

“I am sharing this to reflect the new confidence with which the Indian Railways is working with the commitment to time-bound delivery of services,” Mr Goyal said.

Crisis of Coal Supply Shortage began with the Closure of Dhanbad-Chandrapura Rail Line

For those who remember the headlines that the current government made, a prominent one was ‘coal surplus’. From 2014 onwards, the BJP government’s clarion call was increasing coal production and improving supply. State-owned monopoly Coal India Limited was given a tall target of 1 billion tonnes of coal production by 2019; three arterial railway lines were started from Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh; and the number of railway rakes for coal supply was to be increased.

Coal India ramped up production by opening new mines. So much that one of its subsidiaries, CCL, was opening a new mine every month last year. This improved coal supply boosted confidence in the government, which then started the programme to reduce dependence on imported coal to nil. This is where the problems began.

During the last financial year, while Coal India was increasing coal production to record levels, takers and the amount of coal dispatched reduced. Financially beleaguered power distribution companies weren’t buying surplus power, and they still aren’t. This led to power plants running at low capacity and, thereby, impacting the coal demand. Demand was so low that the ministry of coal rounded up close to 30 power generating units last year to pay penalty for sourcing coal below their lowest permissible threshold.

At the same time, state-owned NTPC went on a drive to reduce its import dependence. NTPC typically blends 8-10 per cent of imported coal in case of a domestic supply crunch. As Coal India increased production, NTPC was pursued to reduce coal dependence. The thermal power behemoth, which runs 49,000 Mw of coal-based units, reduced its imported coal consumption by 85 per cent as compared to the previous year. This was to be met through domestic coal supply, which Coal India duly complied with. Private units, even those in western India, that were dependent on imported coal shifted their loyalty to domestic coal as Coal India claimed to have a surplus supply.

In August, coal imports fell by 14 per cent over last year to 18.8 million tonne. At the same time, as the private units were running at low capacity, Coal India reduced production. Meanwhile, a crucial railway line (Dhanbad-Chandrapura) broke down and is still under repair. Further, the three planned lines are yet to be fully operational.

Crisis struck once peak summers came. Uttar Pradesh was the first to complain that it was only NTPC that was getting coal, while state-run and private units were facing a scarcity. Next in line came Maharashtra and Rajasthan, which had the same issue, and the latter suffered from power cuts.

By August, the situation worsened with hydropower generation not running at optimum capacity due to weak monsoon. Marred by payment issues and regulatory confusion, wind power faced its worst production year, with 354 Mw produced during April-August 2017.

By September end, average coal stocks at power plants were at a record low of five days. Last year, for the same month, it was 28 days. The number of rakes carrying coal for power sector was increased by the railway ministry. But this led to other sectors such as steel, cement and captive power units complaining of diversion of their rakes for power plants.

As the situation stands now, the ministry of coal has gone on record with the counter that it’s the power plants that should have kept a certain coal stock at their sites. Power plants, however, are alleging mismanagement by the ministries involved — coal, power, and railways. A lack of synchronised approach, they said, has led to this crisis.

Currently, 23 power units with a cumulative capacity of 30,000 Mw have super critical coal stock situation of less than three days, as per Central Electricity Authority. Latest data from ports show that, after five months of straight decline, coal imports have shown a spurt to 18.33 million tonne.

The headlines have gone back to coal deficit. Earlier, states would blame the Centre, the Union power ministry would blame the coal ministry, and the coal ministry would blame railways. For a government that vowed to break down silos, this is the test of cooperative federalism that it claimed to reinstate.

SWR announces Speeding up of Trains and Shifting of Terminals

South Western Railway has decided to speed up as many as 17 trains running within its jurisdiction from 01st November, 2017. New passenger time table for all Railway zones is being introduced with effect from 01st November, 2017. A unique feature of new time table this time will be thrust on speeding up of trains. All over Indian Railways running time of about 700 long distance trains has been reduced. The list of 17 trains being speeded up on South Western Railway are as under:

Speeding up of Trains

SNo. Train No. & Train Name ExistingTimings Revised Timings Speeded up in Minute
Departure Arrival Departure Arrival
1. 22678 (16562) Kochuveli – Yesvantpur 12:40 04:30 12:50 04:15 25
2. 22677 (16561) Yesvantpur – Kochuveli 15:20 06:50 15:20 06:45 5
3. 20651(16201) KSR Bengaluru-Shivamogga 15:30 20:45 15:00 19:55 20
4. 20652 (16202) Shivamogga-KSR Bengaluru 06:35 11:55 06:40 11:35 25
5. 16219 (56213) Chamarajanagar-Tirupati 15:00 05:35 15:10 05:25 20
6. 16220 (56214) Tirupati – Chamarajanagar 21:35 12:30 21:35 12:20 10
7. 16227 (56234/16227) Mysuru-KSR Bengaluru-Talguppa 19:10 07:15 19:40 07:15 30
8. 16228 (16228/56234) Talguppa -KSR Bengaluru- Mysuru 20:15 08:00 20:20 08:00 5
9. 17301 Mysuru-Dharwad 22:30 08:15 22:30 08:00 15
10. 56217 Talaguppa-Shivamogga 10:00 12:50 10:00 12:30 20
11. 56218 Shivamogga – Talaguppa 13:40 16:45 13:40 16:30 15
12. 56270 Mysuru- Shivamogga 10:20 16:45 10:20 16:40 5
13. 16577 Yesvantpur-Harihar 16:15 23:45 16:15 23:30 15
14. 16578 Harihar- Yesvantpur 05:00 11:25 06:15 12:30 10
15. 16575 Yesvantpur-Mangaluru Jn. 07:10 17:30 07:10 16:55 35
16. 16515 Yesvantpur-Mangaluru Jn.-Karwar 07:00 17:30 (MAJN) 07:10 16:55(MAJN) 45
17. 56515 KSR Bengaluru-Hubballi Passenger 07:45 20:50 07:45 20:45 5

It can be seen that saving of running time to the tune of 5 to 45 minutes has been achieved due to emphasis on speeding up of trains. This shall reduce travel time and it indicates commitment of Railways for facilitating faster travel of passengers.

The following trains already notified for upgrading to Express Train/Superfast Train from dates indicated in the time table.

Speeding UP Trains from Mail/Express to Superfast

SNo. Train No. From To Date Conversion  
1. 22501/22502 (15901/15902) New Tinsukkiya KSR Bengaluru 20.01.201731.01.2017 Weekly Express to Superfast Speeding UP Train New No. Ex.New Tinsukiya-20.01.2017 & EX KSR Bengaluru-31.01.2017
2. 22697/22698 (17314/17313) Hubballi Chennai Central 01.10.201602.10.2016 Weekly Express to Superfast Speeding UP Train
3. 20651/20652 Old No. (16201/16202) Bengaluru Shivamogga Town 01.10.2017  Daily Express Express in to Superfast with change in timings & New Train No.

Conversion Passenger Trains in to Express

Sl. No. Train No. From To Date Service  
1. 16219/16220 Old No. 56213/56214 Chamarajanagar Tirupati 22.08.2017  Daily Passenger in to Mail/Express
2. 16227/16228 Old No. 56234/56233 Mysuru Talguppa 28.07.2017 Daily Passenger in to Express, duly extending Train No. 16227/16228 KR Bengaluru-Talguppa-KSR Bengaluru up to Mysuru

III.      Shifting Of Terminals:

To decongest KSR Bengaluru, the terminal of following Trains has been shifted

Sl. No. Train No. From To New Terminal instead of KSR Bengaluru Date of Change in Terminals Frequency
1. 12683/12684 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi  04.01.2018 Bi-Weekly
2. 22607/22608 Ernakulam KSR Bengaluru Banasawadi  08.01.2018 Weekly

Trains Diverted due to Heavy Floods & Breaches in Samastipur Division

Diversion of Passenger Trains due to Heavy Floods & Breaches in Samastipur Division

1) Train No. 07091 Secunderabad – Raxaul Special Train departed Secunderabad at 21:40 hrs on 24th October, 2017 is diverted via Samastipur, Muzaffarpur, Sagauli and Raxaul instead of Samastipur, Darbhanga , Sitamarhi and Raxaul stations.

2) Train No. 07092 Raxaul – Secunderabad Special Train scheduled to depart Raxaul at 12:45 hrs on 27th October, 2017 is diverted via Raxaul, Sagauli, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur instead of Raxaul, Sitamarhi, Darbhanga and Samastipur Stations.

I) Trains Diverted due to traffic block

1) Train No. 12508 Guwahati – Thiruvananthapuram Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 27th October to 22nd December, 2017 (Fridays) is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj .

2) Train No. 12510 Guwahati – Bangalore Cantt Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 29th October to 24th December, 2017 (Sundays) is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj.

3) Train No. 12516 Guwahati – Thiruvananthapuram Super fast Train scheduled to depart Guwahati at 06:20 hrs from 25th October to 20th December, 2017 (Wednesdays) is diverted on its scheduled days from New Farakka Jn via Azimganj, Katwa, Bandel and Howrah Stations with stoppage at Azimganj.

Yesvatpur-Bidar-Yesvantpur Express to be extended to Latur from 3rd Feb, 2018

Ministry of Railways has approved the extension of Tr. No. 16571/16572 Yesvatpur-Bidar-Yesvantpur Express to Latur (three days in a week) with effect from 3rd February, 2018 from Yesvantpur and 4th February, 2018 from Latur. The Train Numbers of extended train services will be changed as Train No. 16583 Yesvantpur-Latur Express and Train No. 16584 Latur-Yesvantpur Express.

Accordingly Train No.16583 Yesvantpur – Latur Tri-weekly Express will depart Yesvantpur at 19:00 hrs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, arrive/depart Bidar at 09:15/9:20 hrs, on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arrive/depart  Latur Road at 12.08/12.10 hrs and arrive Latur at 13.05 hrs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

In return direction, Train No.16584 Latur – Yesvantpur Tri-weekly Express will depart Latur at 15:00 hrs on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arrive /depart Latur Road at 15:35/15:37 hrs ,  arrive/depart Bidar at 18.00/18.05 hrs and arrive Yesvantpur at 07.40 hrs on Fridays, Sundays  and Mondays.

The Concept of Indian Railways is Highly Essential for our Country today – Let’s make it Happen collectively!

The Indian railways’ network is one of the largest in the world and the second largest in Asia, next only to China. To put things into perspective, India is the seventh largest country in the world, a third the physical size of its neighbour, China. The Indian Railways is entirely owned by the Government of India and is operated by the Ministry of Railways. It operates several hundred Express,

Superfast & Passenger trains on a daily basis. It also has the responsibility of operating a number of local and urban trains. Over 22 million people utilize the Indian Railways every-day to commute to their destinations. The Indian Railways network is a mix & Mash of Broad, meter and narrow gauges. At the same time, diesel engines ply alongside electric engines all the while steam powered engines are still being phased out. The world’s eighth largest employer, over 1.4 million Indians get their paychecks from the Indian Railways, which employs more personnel than the Indian Army. In spite of corruption, nepotism, red-tape bureaucracy and political wrangling, the Indian Railways is the link that joins the entire nation.

It is the very chain that binds us as a nation, a glue that keeps us together and a welcome sight for the sore eyes of the millions of the improvised folks who have gone to distant places to earn a two-time meal. The railway in India evokes the warm memories of home. All commuters of the Indian Railways are witness to the very thought of unity in diversity, the good old virtues of sharing and caring, the idea of a healthy debate, the nostalgia of cold air hitting the face and the cacophony of the million myriad small worlds that home in a gigantic canvas of our nation. The railways in India evoke the essence of being an Indian.

However, in the recent past, the Indian Railways has started hogging in the news for some very serious accidents. Train derailments, a rarity in the past has become commonplace. Every day, some or the other train is found to derailed or overturned, causing a great loss of time, revenue and sometimes, human lives too. A Railway Minister offered his resignation on successive fatal train derailments. His resignation was rejected but he was transferred to another Ministry in the recent Ministry shuffles. While official investigations are ongoing, sections in the media and common populace have placed the blame on a plethora of factors ranging from a lack of communication between various stakeholders, worn out tracks to even hooligans cutting tracks to instil terror. Not only train derailments, the Indian Railways is plagued by various issues ranging from quality control in food provided on board its trains, the overcharging for standard products by attendant staff to whole scale server crashes while ticket booking. It is often said that booking a Tatkal ticket( an emergency ticket booked in the 24 hours before the train’s departure) has become the 3rd most difficult thing to do in India, the first two obviously being marrying your love and getting yourself selected in the prestigious 3Is (IIT-IIM-IAS).

There is a lot of noise being generated that railways is over-charging or even outright, fleecing its customers. Prima facie, it appears to be the case. Tatkal tickets routinely charge 2-4 times the amount of the conventional fare and dynamic pricing has made some train tickets as expensive as flight tickets. But who is to blame for this? Why are the Railways forced to charge absurd rates for even small routes? Why is there not a rational pricing mechanism in place for the railways?

The blame rests squarely upon successive governments and railway ministers who used the Indian railways as a vote fetching tool and nothing more. Projects and trains were always sanctioned to the home states and districts of the executive and factories set up in constituencies of the crème-la-crème of the administration to sway public opinion, without any consideration being given to profitability or revenue rationalization. The Rail Coach Factories sanctioned at Lalganj in Uttar Pradesh and in Bihar are a testament to this politicking.  Successive governments withheld or withdrew increasing passenger rates (due to public outcry and cement their pro-poor positioning) and increased freight rates (why cares about Industries anyway?).

In a way, this was justified. The Indian Railways is a government undertaking meant for the benefit of the Indian Citizens. The passenger fares had to remain low and sustainable so that entire India could rely on the railways for transport. But in a demonstration of very poor political economics, successive governments did not hike the railway passenger fares even when circumstances could have dictated otherwise. In one famous incident, a railway minister was sacked by his party chief who was in a coalition with the ruling dispensation for daring to effect a modest hike in the passenger fares. Yes, even today Indian Railways charges pennies for distances and on most routes, its conventional fares are a fraction of the Roadways and the railways. For examples, on the Lucknow-Delhi route, for the roadways, the fares vary from Rs 550/- (for a general purpose bus) to Rs 1450/- (Applicable for Scania like High-end buses).

The conventional railway fare is Rs 185/- (for a second seater- akin to a General purpose bus), Rs 350/- (for a sleeper’s berth where you can comfortably sleep and stretch your legs) to Rs 1300/- (for a cozy 2nd AC coach seat) for the same 640 km stretch. Over and above this, Railways also provides concessions for children and senior citizens. A flight ticket on the same stretch costs around Rs. 1500/- and much more, depending on the demand and the date. Even a Tatkal ticket for the same route costs in the neighbourhood of Rs 2000/- which is comparatively well-priced if you compare the comfort and speed of the railway service. Furthermore, the railways lose a substantial sum on every conventional fare ticket booked.

This, along with the massive ticket-less travelling and corruption, forces the Indian Railways to ask for subsidies and dole-outs from the Indian exchequer. Hence, as evident from the above numbers, there is an urgent need to increase the passenger fares or the railways has to come up with alternative ways to increase revenue. Tatkal tickets, dynamic pricing, increasing revenue from advertising are some of the ways the railways can improve the cash flow.

The freight operations, once the cash cow, of the Indian Railways, has now been sucked dry and freight rates, which were earlier competitive with the road transport is now reeling under multiple blows of successive hikes and has been highly uncompetitive. In the fiscal year 2015-2016, Indian Railways posted the lowest revenue growth since 2010-11. The Revenue growth in 2015-16 was just 4.6%, much lower than the 10-19% growth the national carrier registered in the previous four fiscal years and hoped to replicate. These facts will be a dampener for hopes that the railways will buttress the government’s capital expenditure plans and its future expansion plans.

The freight volumes are falling.  This is a major cause of concern as the railways generate three-fifths of its revenues from freight. This is undermining revenue growth. The weak revenue trends reflect the subdued economic activity. Cement, Coal and container traffic, in particular, fell.  The slump in revenue growth is also partly due to the uncompetitive position and impractical mess the railways has got itself into. Successive tariff hikes (courtesy, the earlier budgets) and the rapid & sustained fall in diesel prices has helped the roadways to become competitive, especially in the lucrative short-haul freight traffic. Experts point out that Rail-road freight tariff variation has reached a tipping point now as the fall in diesel prices and improvement in road infrastructure has made rail freight transportation a far less attractive proposition.

While we may find it very convenient to vent out our ire on the Railways for what we believe is the arbitrariness of the pricing mechanisms but the truth remains, the Indian Railways is under-funded, over-staffed and highly essential for our country. Let us not forget that for every Tatkal ticket which we claim is over-priced, many more underpriced tickets are also sold and several more, travel without a ticket, causing a loss of revenue and a dent in the finances of the Indian exchequer. This is the sad story of the often-abused Indian Railways.

Rumo to install GE Trip Optimizer on Locomotive Fleet

BRAZILIAN rail freight and logistics operator Rumo has signed an agreement with GE Transportation for the installation of GE’s Trip Optimizer energy management system on its locomotive fleet.

Trip Optimizer is a software-based energy management system that enables trains to operate in the most fuel-efficient manner possible by gathering information regarding its route and current load.

Trip Optimizer inputs data about a train’s route and load, and then automatically drives the train in the most fuel-efficient manner. Algorithms develop a customised plan to work with each train’s specific route to optimise operations and improve train handling and fuel economy. Trip Optimizer also syncs with the other onboard systems during each trip to adapt to changes that could impact the route, thereby enabling the train to consistently arrive on time while using the least amount of fuel possible.

Trip Optimizer runs on GE’s GoLinc on-board computing platform, which turns a locomotive into a mobile data centre and enables the implementation of GE’s full suite of digital solutions. “The installation of Trip Optimizer is an important first step in transitioning from manual trains to fully automated ones. It will not only increase rail productivity, but also radically change logistics for the better.” says Mr Danilo Miyasato, commercial director of GE Transportation, Latin America.

The solution is integrated with GE Transportation’s onboard computing platform GoLINC, which transforms a locomotive into a mobile data centre and enables the implementation of the company’s complete suite of digital solutions.

Trip Optimizer’s algorithms customise a locomotive’s work plan according to its specific rail route in order to optimise fuel usage and overall operational efficiency.

It can also synchronise with other onboard systems to adapt to potential changes that may impact the route.

Rumo technology director Roberto Rubio Potzmann said: “When integrated with our global technology strategy, it will bring considerable precision in the movement of freight, generating greater efficiency for our operation.

“Beyond that, the benefits of reducing fuel consumption extend beyond our own operations to the broader society as well.”

In addition, Rumo and GE are holding discussions regarding the possible implementation of additional digital solutions to help the operator further reduce operating costs and achieve other business goals.