Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Not bad eggs or other food items, Hilsa caused food poisoning on Tejas Express

fter 26 passengers travelling on the country’s first semi high-speed train Tejas Express fell ill on Sunday following consuming food, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has stated in its preliminary report that it was not bad eggs or other food items served to passengers, but the Hilsa fish being eaten by a group of passengers, that caused the problem.

Blaming a group of passengers, IRCTC in the report has asserted that there was nothing wrong with the breakfast served to passengers. It has found that smell from stale fish had caused some children to vomit, triggering a similar response from other passengers. Some were taken ill after they consumed the fish.

Following the incident, the Area Officer of IRCTC at Madgaon and the onboard manager were placed under suspension on Sunday pending a fact-finding report and a food test report. A three-member committee from Central Railway and IRCTC, too, has been formed which interacted with passengers, AC mechanic, and train ticket examiners.

Sources said that as per the report, the tour manager of a group of passengers from Kolkata categorically said that there was no problem with the quality of food served to them on the train. “He also reported that for the last 16 days, they have been travelling to various places in Maharashtra and Goa with their own cooks and food material. They were carrying fish (Hilsa) from Kolkata,” said an official. According to the report, the tour manager even confirmed that he ate everything served by the waiters twice, and found no problems with it. Six passengers of the tour manager’s group were among the 26 passengers hospitalised at Chiplun, who have since been discharged. There were two tourist groups travelling on the train, one from Himachal Pradesh and another from Kolkata.

Passengers of Karmali-Mumbai Tejas Express, which departed at 9.15 am on Sunday from Karmali, were served breakfast at 9.30 am. Around 12.30 pm, soup was served. Around 1 pm, at least three to four passengers from coach C5 started complaining that they were feeling giddy.

The first case of uneasiness was reported by the group from Himachal Pradesh, in which two children vomited in the coach owing to the smell of fish that was being consumed, the report states. The smell of the vomit triggered uneasiness among other co-passengers, and then another two children vomited in the same coach. This further vitiated the air in the AC coach and then two more children vomited, and in turn, triggered uneasiness among their parents, it adds.

The feedback about the quality of food from other passengers was taken and almost all passengers gave satisfactory remarks. The food samples were collected and it was observed that they were all within their date of expiry.

The committee has therefore concluded that the food quality served on Tejas Express was of satisfactory quality. The problem of uneasiness was reported by members of the tourist group, which appears to be the main cause of the incident, it has concluded.

The Indian Railways have made catering optional in trains like Rajdhani, Duranto, and Shatabdi. People will be given an extra form while booking train tickets, on which they can opt for vegetarian or non-vegetarian meals or choose not to be served meals.

The Railway Board has issued a circular that states that catering services will be made optional in top trains like Rajdhani, Shatabdi, and Duranto in which the public sector undertaking of IRCTC has been providing food to passengers. In the ticket booking form, two more columns have been added that mentions ‘Meal Request’.

Amul Tweets Business Plan To Rail Ministry. See Their “Utterly, Butterly” Reply

Not all business deals are discussed in stuffy, corporate boardrooms. Some happen in the virtual world on Twitter with 140 characters – as displayed by dairy cooperative Amul and Ministry of Railways.

On Monday, Amul came up with a business proposition for Ministry of Railways – on Twitter. The dairy company reached out to the ministry and expressed their interest in using Indian Railways’ refrigerated parcel vans to transport their ‘utterly butterly’ butter across India. The ministry promptly replied asking for contact details of their team. But surprising everyone on Twitter, rail ministry borrowed Amul butter’s famous tagline in an epic tweet that was a hit on Twitter.

24 passengers fall ill after consuming food on Tejas Express; IRCTC orders probe

Twenty four passengers travelling on Tejas Express from Karmali to Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus fall ill after they consumed food served by on-board pantry car operator.

All the passengers who complained of food poisoning were admitted to a Lifecare Hospital at Chiplun in the Konkan region. All are said to be stable.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched an investigation.

The train was on its way from Goa`s Karmali to Mumbai`s Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus.

Tejas Express is a state of the art train capable of running at the speed of 200 kmph with ultra modern amenities run between Mumbai and Karmali (5 days a week during Non-monsoon period and 3 days a week during monsoon period).

Equipped with CCTV cameras besides smoke and fire detection system, the 19-coach Tejas train has bio- vacuum toilets and GPS-based passenger information display system.

There are tea and coffee vending machines and snack tables at each coach as catering facility for passengers in the new designed coaches.

Promised in the budget, Tejas Express will also be pressed into service in Delhi-Chandigarh and Delhi-Lucknow sectors, according to the railways.

500 long-distance trains to run quicker, ‘innovative timetable’ from November

The Indian Railways will soon cut short the running time of over 500 long distance trains by up to two hours, a senior railway official said on Friday.

The new timings will be updated in the November timetable of the railways, he said.

Following directions from Railway Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month, the national carrier incorporated “innovative timetabling” under which running time of popular trains will reduce by 15 minutes to two hours.

The new timetable will also provide each railway division two to four hours for maintenance works.

“Our plan is to maximise the use of the existing rolling stock. It can be done in two ways – if we have a train that is waiting somewhere to return, we can use it during the lie over period.

“In the new timetable around 50 such trains which will be run like this. Fifty-one trains will immediately see reduced run time from one to three hours. This will go up to more than 500 trains,” the official said.

The railways has started the exercise of an internal audit through which 50 mail and express trains will be upgraded to super-fast services.

This is part of an overhaul of the rail system of increasing the average speed of existing trains, he said.

Trains such as the Bhopal-Jodhpur Express will reach 95 minutes early while the Guwahati-Indore Special will complete its 2,330-km journey 115 minutes early and the 1929-km journey of the Ghazipur-Bandra Terminus Express will be completed 95 minutes earlier.

The national transporter has also reduced the halt time of trains at stations. Similarly, trains will not stop at stations where footfall is less.

Coupled with track and infrastructure upgrade, automatic signalling and the new Linke-Hofmann-Busch coaches that allow a 130 kmph top speed, trains are expected to run faster.

The railways has also in the process of reviewing permanent speed restrictions.

‘Faster’ Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani reaches late by 47 minutes in its maiden trip

Mumbai: The Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express, which was touted as Indian Railways’ gift to passengers ahead of Diwali, reached its destination nearly 47 minutes late in its maiden trip on Tuesday.

According to reports, the new Rajdhani express, which was projected to be much ‘cheaper’ and ‘faster’ than the other two Radhanis running between the Mumbai-Delhi route, arrived at the Bandra Terminus nearly 47 minutes late, several hours after it was flagged off from the Hazrat Nizamuddin station in Delhi on October 16.

Ahead of its launch, it was said that the new Rajdhani will cut the time taken to complete the journey between Mumbai and Delhi by two hours.

The newly-introduced train was scheduled to take just under 14 hours to run between the two cities and with just three stops – Kota, Vadodara and Surat.

The train reportedly got late by one-and-half hours between Vadodara and Ratlam, according to rail officials. However, the delay was reduced to 70 minutes by the time it reached Surat.

The train will be beneficial for travellers as it will reach the respective destinations at around 6:00 am, giving them more time to spend in the city as well as helping them avoid suburban peak hour traffic.

The train will chug-off from Delhi on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and from Bandra on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Flexi fare shall not be levied on bookings on this train. The fare of the train, however, will be 20 percent more than the base fare of the existing Rajdhanis on the route. The concession is between Rs 600-Rs 835.

As compared to the maximum flexi fare for the Mumbai- Delhi Rajdhani for second AC of Rs 4,105, this train will cost Rs 3270. Similarly, as compared to the third AC flexi fare of Rs 2925, this train will cost Rs 2,325.

The catering services will be optional resulting in further reduction in prices if the passenger chooses to opt out.

The special train will comprise one first AC, two 2AC and twelve 3AC coaches besides a pantry car and two power cars.

The train will be hauled by two electric locomotives for better acceleration, deceleration and higher speed. It will run at a maximum speed of 130 kmph.

The Delhi-Mumbai line is important for the railways as the route, once frequented mostly by business travellers, has been losing passengers to airlines.

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Green Panel Slaps Penalty On Four Railway Stations Over Waste Management

Four railway stations in New Delhi, which have been generating waste in huge quantity, on Monday faced the wrath of the National Green Tribunal or NGT which imposed major fines on them for not complying with the solid waste management rules.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar imposed penalty of Rs. one lakh each on Anand Vihar railway station, Vivek Vihar railway station, Shahdara railway Station and Shakur Basti railway station for failure to properly manage waste and treat sewage.

The green panel directed them to submit 25 per cent of the fine amount with the Central Pollution Control Board and rest with the Delhi Pollution Control Committee.

Advocate Om Prakash, appearing for the railways, assured the bench that the transport behemoth would take all necessary steps to maintain hygiene and cleanliness at the stations.

The NGT order came after it perused an interim report submitted by a committee set up by it recommending action against defaulting bodies for improper management and treatment of sewage and lack of mechanism to recycle waste.

The tribunal had earlier constituted a committee to inspect major waste generators in the national capital including 5-star hotels, malls, hospitals, educational institutions with hostels and housing societies.

Noting that the problem of waste generation was being faced by the entire country and urgent steps needed to be taken without “demur and default”, the green panel had directed the Delhi government to provide a list of all such establishments to be inspected by the committee.

It had noted that Delhi generated nearly 14,100 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day and said that the mass generators of waste could not be equated to a simple household generating trash.

It had expressed concern that public authorities lacked infrastructure and appropriate technical capacity to handle such huge quantity of waste.

36 MNS Workers Arrested For Trying To Forcefully Evict Hawkers

Thirty-six activists of the Raj Thackeray led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) were today arrested by police for allegedly beating up and driving away hawkers from near the railway stations in Mumbai and Thane.

Thirty MNS activists were arrested by Thane Police, while the remaining six were arrested by Mumbai Police.

MNS had on October 5 given 15-days ultimatum to the railway administration and the police to clear the foot overbridges of illegal hawkers after the Elphinstone Road railway station stampede claimed 23 lives on September 29.

The party had warned that if the authorities fail to evict hawkers it would take the responsibility upon itself to remove them from the foot overbridges.

On Saturday, the Thane MNS unit had forcibly evicted the hawkers from Thane railway station. Today the police arrested MNS workers including its president Avinash Jadhav.

Meanwhile, 12 MNS workers were arrested in Kalyan and 11 were held from Dombivili, Thane police PRO Sukhada Narkar said.

In Mumbai, MNS workers today organised protests and attempted to drive out illegal hawkers outside the railway stations, police said.

MNS activists in Mumbai Central area gathered outside the station and evicted illegal hawkers, police said. No formal complaint was lodged against MNS activists in this connection, an official from Nagpada Police Station said.

In another incident in western suburbs MNS leader Akhil Chitre and five other party workers were arrested for forcefully trying to evict hawkers near Santa Cruz railway station, a senior police official said today.

The MNS workers forcefully evicted number of hawkers near Santa Cruz station last night, he said.

Following the the incident, the aggrieved hawkers approached Vakola police station and lodged a complaint against the MNS workers, the official said.

Acting on the complaint, police detained Mr Chitre and five others late last night and placed them under arrest today, the official said.

They have been booked for rioting and were produced in the court, the official said, adding further investigation into the matter is underway.

Congress, NCP Claim Maharashtra Government Colluded With MNS For Evicting Hawkers

The Congress and the NCP slammed the MNS for forcibly evicting illegal hawkers from a railway bridge and claimed that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is “hand-in-gloves” with the Raj Thackeray-led party.

“The Chief Minister was well aware of the threats given by Raj Thackeray and given his track record, the Chief Minister should have ordered the roundup of MNS workers before their given deadline ended.

“But, the CM is hand-in-gloves with the MNS and hence, North Indians are allowed to be tortured,” Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam told reporters here.

He added that the government has failed to enforce the Street Vendors Act, which seeks to protect hawkers.

“Had they enforced it, there would have been a survey done and illegal street vendors would have automatically been evicted by law. However, the chief minister is protecting goondaism,” he said.

“The CM should take action against MNS workers or the Congress will hold protests to protect the rights of street vendors,” Mr Nirupam added.

Thackeray had on October 5 met railway officials and had submitted a list of issues related to Mumbai locals with a deadline of 15 days.

“If things don’t get better, we will see,” Mr Thackeray had said.

NCP leader Dhananjay Munde questioned if the “violence” by MNS workers was in connivance with the Chief Minister.

“What Raj Thackeray’s party workers did can be analysed later. The first question is what has the government done after 23 people lost their lives on Elphinstone bridge.

Was responsibility fixed on those responsible,” the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council questioned.

“The Chief Minister keeping silent despite a threat by Raj Thackeray and now his men indulging in violence raises a doubt and makes us question if there is connivance between both of them,” he added.

A group of activists claiming to be affiliated to the MNS today drove away more than two dozen illegal hawkers from a railway bridge in Thane.

Around 25 activists descended on the Satis bridge this morning and evicted the hawkers, numbering about two dozen, who were selling their wares there.

Railways To Check Rail Bridges After 252 Found Without Speed Restrictions

The Railway Board has ordered a review of all rail bridges in the country that need repair after it was found that out of the 275 such bridges, only 23 had speed restrictions on them. The board had earlier sought details of the condition of bridges and found that trains would pass on the 252 dilapidated bridges in their usual speed, posing a safety hazard.

“CBEs (chief bridge engineers) should specifically review the position in respect of all bridges… and firm up the action plan for their rehabilitation on priority,” the board’s order said.

The railways has three ratings for its bridges — overall rating number (ORN) 1, 2, and 3. Bridges with ORN-1 rating require immediate building or rehabilitation, ORN-2 are required to be rebuilt on a programmed basis while ORN-3 bridges need special repairs.

“It seems that proper time-bound planning has not been done by the Railways for rehabilitation of these bridges which creates a doubt whether correct condition rating appropriate to the actual condition of the bridge has been assigned or not,” said the board’s order last month.

The board said it has found that in most cases, no speed restriction has been imposed and special inspection schedule has also not been prescribed by the chief bridge engineers.

The Railway Board said a large number of bridges needing rehabilitation existed on some zonal railways for long. The Central Railways has 61 such bridges, East Central Railways has 63, South Central Railways has 41 and Western Railways has 42 bridges that need rebuilding.

Pulling up the zonal railways for allegedly not following procedure, the board has said that there are many bridges where speed restrictions have been imposed on condition basis even when they have not been categorised under ORN-1 or ORN-2.

A 2015 report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had found that delays in sanctioning of bridgeworks and completion of sanctioned bridgeworks resulted in operation of train services with speed restriction resulting in extra operational costs.