Indian Railways News

Maoists Torch Vehicles, Railway Machine In Dantewada: Police

At least four vehicles and a railway-track laying machine were set ablaze allegedly by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district on Friday, police said.

The incident happened around 7:30 pm near Kamaloor railway station, where track-laying work was underway on the Kirandul-Visakhapatnam route, a police official told PTI over phone.

Around two dozen armed Maoists reached the construction site and torched the vehicles and the track-laying machine, he said.

The attackers fled after the incident, he said.

Bhansi is located around 450 kilometres from Raipur. Security personnel were rushed to the site after the railway staff there informed them about the incident, the official added.

Travel Time Of Over 500 Long Distance Trains To Soon Be Cut By Up To 2 Hours

The running time of over 500 long distance trains will soon be cut short by up to two hours, a senior railway official said today.

Following Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s directions, the Indian Railways incorporated “innovative timetabling” under which the running time of trains will reduce by 15 minutes up to two hours.

The timings under the new timetable will be updated in November.

“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 internal audits through which 50 mail and express trains will be upgraded to super-fast services.

The audit exercise is part of an overhaul of the rail system to increase the average speed of existing trains, the official 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 halt times of trains at stations have also been reduced by the Indian Railways. In another move to reduce travel time of trains, the Railways has decided that trains will not stop at stations with low footfall.

Travel Time Of Over 500 Long Distance Trains To Soon Be Cut By Up To 2 Hours
Following Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s directions, the Indian Railways incorporated “innovative timetabling” under which the running time of trains will reduce by 15 minutes up to two hours.
All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: October 20, 2017 17:35 IST

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Travel Time Of Over 500 Long Distance Trains To Soon Be Cut By Up To 2 Hours

The Indian Railways is trying to increase the average speed of existing trains
New Delhi:
Highlights

Railways is using ‘innovative timetabling’ to cut travel time of trains
The new timetable will be updated in November
The Railways is taking steps such as reducing the halt time at stations

The running time of over 500 long distance trains will soon be cut short by up to two hours, a senior railway official said today.

Following Railway Minister Piyush Goyal’s directions, the Indian Railways incorporated “innovative timetabling” under which the running time of trains will reduce by 15 minutes up to two hours.

The timings under the new timetable will be updated in November.

“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 internal audits through which 50 mail and express trains will be upgraded to super-fast services.

The audit exercise is part of an overhaul of the rail system to increase the average speed of existing trains, the official 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 halt times of trains at stations have also been reduced by the Indian Railways. In another move to reduce travel time of trains, the Railways has decided that trains will not stop at stations with low footfall.

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

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

500 Long Distance Trains To Run Quicker From Next Month

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 today.

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.

Railway Board Empowers DRMs To Re-Engage Retired Rail Staff

The Railway Board has empowered Divisional Railway Managers (DRM) to re-engage retired rail personnel for appropriate posts in the sector. In a letter dated October 16, the board gave the power to the DRMs to employ pensioners at their discretion. “Divisional railway managers are empowered to re-engage retired employees. Railway should give publicity to such re-engagement by putting it on railway websites,” the letter said. The board said those re-appointed can only be in service till they are 62. The retirement age of employees is 60.

The monthly remuneration of such employees would be determined by “reducing pension from his last pay drawn”, it said.

The board has also laid down some conditions for re- engagement.

Retired employees being re-appointed should not have been covered under voluntary retirement schemes such as the Safety Related Retirement Scheme or Liberalised Active Retirement Scheme for Guaranteed Employment for Safety Staff, the letter stated.

“While re-engagement of such staff, medical fitness of the appropriate category should be obtained from the designated authorities as per existing practices,” it said.

The Northern Railways has already released a notification inviting retired railway employees to apply for 4,500 vacant positions in various departments.

The board’s letter also said suitability or competence of the staff should be adjudged before the re-engagement and their safety record as well as other operational requirements adequately addressed.

The offer for re-engagement, the board said, stands till September 14, 2018, and they have to be discharged once selected candidates join from the Railway Recruitment Board.

Robbers Break Into Haridwar Express Train, Loot Jewellery, Cash From Passengers

Robbers struck a compartment of the Haridwar Express train and looted jewellery, cash and mobile phones from members of two families near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, the police said.

The incident took place on Wednesday night when five members of the two families were returning home after performing post-death rituals in Haridwar, they said.

The families came to know of the loot in the morning at the Kota railway station.

Following the incident, the Government Railway Police (GRP), Kota has lodged a zero number FIR against unidentified persons.

Sanjay Jaiswal, a resident of Vigyannagar area, along with his wife and son, and Rajesh Sain, a resident of the Mala Road area here, accompanied by his brother were victims of the loot, SHO, GRP, Kota, Ganga Sahay said.

He said they were befriended by an unknown co-passenger and offered them juice and fruits, he said.
After consuming fruits they lost consciousness and in the meantime they were looted, Sahay said.

A golden chain of a wrist watch, two golden chains, three mobile phones and cash were stolen, he said.

The five were rushed to a hospital where they are undergoing treatment and their condition is stable, he added.

Agartala-Delhi Rajdhani Express To Start Soon

The much-awaited Rajdhani Express, connecting Agartala with New Delhi, would be launched soon, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) sources said today.

A train with 19 coaches, two power vans and two pantry cars reached Agartala railway station on Saturday, the sources said.

“The coaches have arrived but the date of inauguration and the name of the dignitary who would be launching the service are yet to be finalized. The process for ensuring a hassle-free journey has begun,” the chief Public Relations Officer of NFR, Pranab Jyoti Sharma told PTI over phone.

Chief operations manager AK Biswas, who looks after freight and passenger train operations, also expressed his ignorance over the date of launch of the new service.

Finance Ministry may reimburse IRCTC for loss from Service Charge waiver on e-Tickets

The finance ministry plans to reimburse the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation’s (IRCTC) for losses incurred from waiving off service charges on online tickets.

Compensation of around Rs 80-100 crore, which is the actual cost and not the margins borne by IRCTC, is likely to be offered. IRCTC has quoted costs of Rs 600 crore per year including actual costs plus margin.

IRCTC is hoping the ministry’s gesture will wipe out financial glitches ahead of it’s IPO.

“In the earlier model, of the Rs 600 crore IRCTC used to collect as service charges annually, 50 percent used to go to the railways and the balance was retained by IRCTC. However, since processes are now mostly computerised, cost of operations has reduced,” a ministry of railways official told the paper.

The service charges at Rs 20, Rs 40, Rs 80, and Rs 120 for the tickets, were waived off in November last year after demonetisation. Till date, it is unclear whether the ministry will bear the cost of online ticketing services for every year. Customers cannot be levied with the service charge till March 2018.

Apart from IRCTC, the government plans to list three other railway PSUs — Indian Railways Finance Corporation, IRCON International and RITES — within this year.

Indian Railways to partner FSSAI to improve Food Safety in Trains

The Railways and the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) will work together to ensure improved safety standards of the food being served in trains. The food regulator said it will also get a third party safety audit done soon.

“Our role will be to partner with the Railways and bring in systemic changes and improvements. Therefore, we will be getting a third party food safety audit done soon. This is not going to be an accounts or a performance audit, but a food safety audit which will help us understand the gaps within their systems in terms food safety,” Pawan Agarwal, CEO, FSSAI told.

The Railways was in the news recently when an incident in the high-profile Tejas Express was reported wherein 24-26 people were hospitalised after “food poisoning”. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), however, denied any food quality issues in its preliminary probe report. Incidentally, CAG in its report, earlier had also termed the food served in trains as “unfit” for human consumption.

In the new catering policy, IRCTC has called for zones of the Indian Railways or IRCTC to ensure good quality and hygienic food to passengers.

However, ensuring quality processes across the supply chain for food served is a huge challenge, given that Railways has over 7,000 stations and moves over 2.2 crore passengers every day.

IRCTC serves about four-five lakh meals a day in about 350 trains where it has pantry cars. It will be modernising its base kitchens at 12 locations — where the proposed meal production is expected to be 5.7 lakh a day.

Third party audit of mobile units and base kitchen is to be undertaken by zonal railway periodically, by hiring an independent agency in accordance with Catering Policy 2017.

As regards the premium Tejas Express, which runs between Mumbai and Goa, catering services are optional for passengers and are factored in the fare. However, if a passenger asks for catering services at a later stage, an extra ₹50 per cent per service is levied, in addition to the cost of catering charges.

To spruce up its catering quality, IRCTC plans to set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones, which will be owned, operated and managed by it, and it shall be fully accountable for all issues pertaining to the base kitchens and quality of food.

All four base kitchens under departmental operation of Zonal Railways (Nagpur, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, Mumbai Central and Balharshah) and all kitchen units — refreshment rooms at A1 and A category stations, Jan Ahaar, Cell Kitchens shall be handed over to IRCTC on ‘as is where is basis’.

It also plans to introduce station based e-catering, pre-cooked food (‘ready to eat’ meals) , operation of centralised Catering Service Monitoring Cell for prompt redressal of passenger grievances relating to catering.

Smart Railway Yards: IR to spend Rs.3000 Crore to Mechanize & Automate the maintenance & repair work of Rakes

The Indian Railways plans to spend around Rs.3,000 crore to make smart yards in order to mechanize maintenance and repair work of rakes, ending a century-old practice of manual inspections.

According to the proposal, 40 of the 100 yards that the national carrier has would be automated and mechanized at an average cost of around Rs.70-75 crore each. To start with, yards at Mughalsarai and Tughlakabad will be made smart yards.

On an average, around 10,000 rakes are inspected manually every month by groups of 4-30 employees, spending as much as six hours per train.

Railway Board member-rolling stock Ravindra Gupta mentioned the plan for smart yards at an international rail conference last week but didn’t divulge details.

A railway ministry official on condition of anonymity said, “Sanctions for these two projects were given during Lalu Prasad’s tenure (as railway minister), after which it took time to make detailed project reports, hold pilots, etc.”

“Bigger yards like Mughalsarai cater to around 450-500 trains a month, while smaller yards do 20-30 trains, so it doesn’t make sense to invest in small plants,” the official explained.

He added that 38 yards that would be developed into smart yards have already been identified and would be processed after a clearance from the Railway Board.

Conceived and sanctioned during Prasad’s tenure (2004-2009), the idea of smart yards was ignored once he demitted office. It got a new lease of life during the Rail Shivir held in November 2016.

The then railway minister Suresh Prabhu liked the idea and decided to go ahead with it.

Another railway official who also didn’t wish to be identified said, “With automation, capacity of maintenance will increase from 10,000 to 15,000 rakes per month. Besides, it would also ensure safety of wagons as we often come across accidents due to human errors.” However, he denied smart yards would mean a reduction in the number of people employed for train maintenance and repair.

The move comes at a time when the national carrier plans to spend over Rs.15,000 crore in the next 12 months to make train travel safe for passengers—rake maintenance and repair are an important aspect of it.

Konkan Railway to raise Funds for Infrastructure projects

The Konkan Railway Corporation Ltd (KRCL) has decided to raise finances for its major infrastructure funds through increased equity shares and market borrowings.

“The total cost for executing these projects is of the order of around Rs.7,500 crore, and are likely to be completed in a phased manner spanning about five years. Conversion of many halt stations into a crossing station and patch doubling will improve the operations which will ease the inconvenience and hardships being faced by the people in and around Konkan region,” says the press note issued by Chief Public Relations Officer, KRCL, L K Verma.

“To boost the development of Konkan region, Ministry of Railways (MoR) has taken a decision to increase Authorised Equity Share Capital for providing more financial support to Konkan Railway,” says a press note issued by the KRCL.

Following the approval granted by the MoR for increase in Authorized Equity Share Capital from Rs 806.47 crore to Rs 4,000 crore, KRC shareholders unanimously passed a special resolution to that effect for execution of various capital expenditure projects like Roha-Veer part doubling, route electrification of Konkan Railway, doubling of traffic capacity of Konkan Railway, and construction of new crossing stations and additional loop lines, the note says.