Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

ECOR to install Wi-Fi in small stations through Universal Services Obligation Fund

The Railway Board has recently approved the provision of installing free Wi-Fi hotspots at 200 rural and remote stations across the country through Universal Services Obligation Fund (USOF) of the Centre. RailTel, a company under the ministry of railways, will carry out the project. USOF, which comes under department of telecommunications, has an objective to provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality ICT (information and communications technology) services to people in rural and remote areas.

Stations like Malatipatpur, Sakhigopal, Birapurusottampur, Delang, Motori, Retang, Mancheswar, Barang, Gopalpur, Balikuda and other small stations under the jurisdiction of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) will be provided with free Wi-Fi service through the USOF project.

These stations will get high speed internet facility like Bhubaneswar, Puri and Visakhapatnam. Passengers passing the stations and local people can enjoy the free Wi-Fi facility at these stations. Target for completion of the project is March 2018.

Umesh Singh, ECoR General Manager, has reviewed the progress of Wi-Fi services in different stations and asked all concerned officials to expedite the new work.

The zone has already installed Wi-Fi services at small stations like Keonjhargarh, Paradeep, Tikiri and Bissamcuttack with the help of local industries, corporate houses and social organisations. The zone had decided on its own to request some corporate houses to invest their CSR fund to provide the service at some rural stations. This fund will boost their plan, said a senior railway officer.

Besides this, the ECoR has already installed Wi-Fi hotspots at all A1 category stations like Bhubaneswar and A category stations like Cuttack of the ECoR.

Call to use less Forest Area for Bhadrachalam-Sattupalli Railway Line

Roads and Buildings Minister Tummala Nageswara Rao informed that he would explain the necessary changes in the proposals of Bhadrachalam Road-Sattupalli railway line to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s video conference.  At a review meeting in Kothagudem on Wednesday, the Minister laid stress on significant reduction in acquiring forest lands and cut costs by opting for land in plains which makes it easy to go in for alignment.

If the proposals revising all alignments made by the Minister are accepted, the distance would come down by 44.93 km from Bhadrachalam Road to Penuballi, and also by 30 km between Sattupalli and Jeelugumilli. In the proposal I, as revised by the Minister, the Bhadrachalam Road-Kovvur distance would be cut down by 53 km there by cutting the construction costs.

Tummala recalled that in the proposals accepted by the Centre, it was noted that the line passed through forest lands and that it was difficult in the present circumstances to acquire land. He explained that first proposal of the Bhadrachalam Road-Kovvur railway line, as accepted by the Centre in 2012-13, covered a distance of 151 km and to be laid at a cost Rs 923 crore. The cost was to be shared by both the Centre and the State.

Following the division of Andhra Pradesh, the two Telugu States had agreed in principle to share the cost. The distance covered in Telangana would be 78.50 km (cost Rs 239.82 crore) and 72.40 km in Andhra Pradesh (cost Rs 221.18 crore). As per the current estimates, the cost of the entire railway line would be about Rs 2,700 crore.

In the second proposal, the entire cost was to be met by Singareni Collieries (except land acquisition cost) with civil works accounting for Rs 586.44 crore, electrical engineering Rs 34.47 crore, signaling & traction Rs 29.90 crore and electrical (TRD)Rs 53.41 crore. The land acquisition cost was to be borne by the railways.

According to current estimates, the cost would now be around Rs 958 crore. In the third proposal, both the Centre and the Railways had approved PPP (Public Private Partnership) concept costing Rs 723 crore, covering a distance of 125 km. The revised cost would now be Rs 2,250 crore.

Railway Board (Rail Bhawan) security comes under MHA Operational Control

The Union Home Ministry has taken operational control of security at Rail Bhawan, the headquarters of the Indian Railways, the government said on Wednesday.

Located at 1, Raisina Road, near Parliament House, the Rail Bhawan building’s security and access control is under ‘B’ category deployment cover of Railway Protection Force (RPF).

As per a Home Ministry order to the Railways on November 7, the RPF deployment will continue but its operational control will now be in the hands of the Home Ministry.

The order said access to the building will be regulated as per the Home Ministry norms on security.

“The system of issuing visitor and temporary passes will be as per the Home Ministry procedure. The Ministry will also take care of things like identity cards, validation slips, restrictions, and entry.”

“The reception can continue to be manned by Railway Ministry staff. If so desired, however, they will work under the operational control of the zonal supervisor concerned of the reception organisation of the Home Ministry.”

Growth in Transportation of Goods items strengthening NFR coffers

Growth in transportation of various items, including food grain and mineral oil, as well as rise in prices of some commodities in the markets has brought dividends for the Maligaon-headquartered Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), with the zone’s year-on-year cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic witnessing an increase during the first half of the current fiscal.

NFR’s revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis went up to Rs 609.35 crore during the April 1 to September 30 period this year, compared to Rs 594.10 crore in the year-ago period, resulting in a growth of 2.57 per cent.

During the period under review, the commodity-wise freight traffic of the NFR on originating basis also went up by 2.78 per cent annually to 4.81 million tonnes (MT) from 4.68 MT in the comparative period of 2016-17.

The increase in freight traffic and the resultant earnings have happened despite the fact that rail traffic from the NFR zone to the rest of the country remained snapped for as long as three weeks in August this year due to massive floods in eastern Bihar.

In the first half of the current financial year (2017-18), the NFR earned Rs 62.49 crore from transportation of 0.30 MT of coal compared to Rs 52.43 crore from transportation of 0.29 MT of coal in the same period of the last fiscal.

Its earnings from other major components like container service and ‘other goods’ also went up on an annual basis.

NFR earned Rs 14.62 crore from transportation of 0.05 MT of container service during the first half of this fiscal as against Rs 13.67 crore from transportation of 0.04 MT of the product in the year-ago period.

Similarly, its earnings from ‘other goods’ went up to Rs 103 crore by transportation of 1.53 MT of such items, compared to Rs 75.96 crore from transportation of 1.25 MT of ‘other goods’ during the first six months of 2016-17.

The zone earned Rs 184.17 crore from transportation of 1.50 MT of mineral oil (petroleum oil and lubricants) during the first half of this fiscal.

In addition, it earned Rs 172.54 crore from transportation of 0.67 MT of food grain, Rs 6.54 crore from 0.11 MT of fertilizers, Rs 17.43 crore from 0.20

MT of cement and Rs 48.46 crore by transporting 0.45 MT of raw materials for steel plants.

Overall, in the first half of the current fiscal, the Indian Railways’ cumulative revenue earnings from freight traffic on originating basis also jumped by over eight per cent on an annual basis to Rs 52,414 crore, while its commodity-wise freight traffic also registered a growth of over five per cent to 559.16 MT.

It is noteworthy that of the 17 zonal railways, as many as 12 registered a growth in the earnings from freight traffic during the first half of the current fiscal.

Railway officials said one of the reasons for the growth registered by NFR this year is the low base.

They added that freight traffic and earnings from it can receive further boost in the NFR zone as work on the double tracking has been taken up and railway services are being extended to remote parts of the north-eastern states.

All Rail Coaches to have Bio-toilets by 2018 as Indian Railways advances the target for 100 percent installation

The Ministry of Railways has advanced the target for 100 percent completion of installing Bio-toilets in coaches to December 2018.

The decision was announced at event titled, “Indian Transport Sector: Marching towards Sustainable Mobility” at Conference of Parties (COP-23), Indian Pavilion at Bonn, Germany on Tuesday.

Ravindra Gupta, Member (Rolling Stock), Ministry of Railways, who is on official tour to Germany, presented the quintessential role of Indian Railways in promoting sustainable mobility.

Gupta also emphasized particularly on the innovative steps taken by Indian Railways by way of bio-toilets for having an open discharge free in line with mission of “Swachh Bharat” and an Open Defecation Free (ODF) Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Two sessions were organized as a part of this side event. The first session highlighted efforts of Indian Railways towards a low carbon pathway and the second was dedicated to overall sustainable mobility initiatives in Indian transport sector.

The event was attended by nearly 50 national and international participants including eminent speakers, policy makers, industry representatives.

The event started with an Audio-Visual film on Indian Railways showcasing key low carbon transport initiatives being taken by Indian Railways such as Electrification, Energy Efficiency initiatives, renewable energy deployment etc.

The session was organised in partnership with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), as knowledge partners, FICCI as industry partner, and RITES as technical partner.

Army submits bridge drawings to Indian Railways

THE ARMY on Wednesday submitted the General Arrangement Drawings (GAD) for the bridges to be constructed at three railway stations.

The railways aims to send corrected drawings of the bridges back to the Army within this week. GADs form the earlier part of drawings which come before making the designs. The GADs for making bridges at Parel-Elphinstone Road stations, Currey Road and Ambivali stations were submitted to the railways.

“We have received their GADs. The next step would be to deliberate over the designs and suggest them corrections at certain stages. After respective officers of the division have approved the drawings, we can send the designs back to them. The Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) would also approve the designs,” a senior railway official said.

According to the designs, the bridge to be made by the Army at Parel station would be at least 70 metres long, the one at Currey Road would be 30 metres long and one at Ambivali station would be 20 metres long. They would each have 3.5 metres width.

“The railways has started clearing obstacles from the premises. These obstacles were coming in the way of the bridge construction, according to the design. They should be cleared before work starts on November 25,” the official added.

The next step would be to approve final design drawings of the bridges. Approvals from the municipal corporation were also taken with respect to designs, senior railway  officials added.


Railways set to achieve track renewal target this year: Piyush Goyal

For ensuring the safety of passengers, Indian Railways is diverting new tracks to replace the old ones instead of just laying down new lines.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal said ensuring safety and security of passengers was top priority of the government. “New tracks are being diverted for track renewal. This government is so committed to the task at hand that there are no budget constraints. There is no limit of money that Railways can spend on passenger safety,” Goyal said.

While the move is significant against the backdrop of several train derailments in the recent past, Goyal also said that after a long time 2017-18 would be the first year when Railways would be able to achieve track renewal targets. “After many many years this will the first time that Railways will achieve track renewal target set at the begining of the year,” the minister said.

Recently, Railways had floated a global tender for procuring 7 lakh metric tonnes of rails for track renewal.

Moreover, sources in the ministry said that in order to uplift passenger experience, the national carrier was in the process of procuring and installing one lakh television screens at stations across the country.

Sources also added that apart from this, to add to passenger comfort the railways would be installing several lakhs more chairs at the top 1,000 or 1,500 railways stations where footfall was highest.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to all MPs to set aside a portion of their MPLADS funds for providing better amenities at stations under their constituencies.

Parliamentary Panel summons railway officials within a fortnight; grills them on safety

Indicating its seriousness towards the issue of railway bridge safety, a Parliamentary panel has called top railway officials before it. Interestingly, this is the second time the railway officials have been summoned in the past fortnight.

A parliamentary Standing Committee on Railways headed by Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay has called the representatives of the Ministry of Railways to hear them on issues ranging from safety measures in railway Operations to maintenance of bridges of foot over bridges that fall under the purview of the Indian Railways.

The committee, which first met on October 12, took up the issue as the matter of railway bridge security raised concerns in wake of the incident in Mumbai where 23 people were killed in a stampede at Elphinstone Road railway station. A few days later, a portion of a foot over bridge at Charni Road station in the city left two people injured.

The panel first took up the issue on November 6 in which top officials of railway board were grilled about the security measures being taken by the department about railway bridges and their current status across the country.

As a number of queries raised by members could not be answered on sport, the panel has again summoned the railway officials before it on November 20.

Top Railway Board officials will brief the panel about both the issues—the safety measures undertaken by the department with regard to railway operations and also the maintenance of bridges in Indian railways.

The Parliamentary panel had in its earlier meeting also expressed its concern over the spate of train derailment incidents in the past few months.

After a series of train derailment incidents, the then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had also made an offer to resign and was subsequently shifted out of Railway Ministry in a Cabinet reshuffle in September. According to an analysis, the death toll from train derailments was the highest in 2016-17.

Titagarh to drive in automated rail track checking vehicles

At a time when Indian Railways is besieged by accidents, Titagarh Wagons is set to introduce technology-driven track diagnostic vehicles, which would be manufactured by its joint venture (JV) with Mermec SpA of Italy.

These automated vehicles would be replacing the century-old system of linesmen manually checking the tracks by hitting them with iron rods.

“This is company which is a world leader in diagnostics with presence in signalling, with 80% of its 1,000 staff into designing. We would finalise the joint venture soon and manufacturing would happen in Uttarpara (West Bengal) by next year. To head the JV, we have brought in Lalit Tejwani, who was responsible for ABB’s railway business in the Middle East, Africa and India,” Umesh Chowdhary, vice chairman and managing director of Titagarh Wagons, told DNA Money.

The JV, to be named Devadoot, was signed during Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni’s visit to India and will design and manufacture cost-effective track-side signaling systems and also high-tech systems and measuring trains for the safety of the railway lines and trains.

“The accessible market for the venture is around €1.5 billion,” a statement issued by industry body Ficci during Gentiloni’s visit on October 31 said.

Titagarh has been looking at opportunities within and outside the country by either acquiring foreign technology-led companies or forming JVs with them.

Its maiden acquisition was French wagon maker Arbel Fauvet Rail in 2010

The wagon maker is now strategising to turn its domestic units into manufacturing bases for its foreign units.

“It’s not that we are closing down manufacturing there. We had acquired stressed assets having very high technology expertise and in the first phase we are turning them around, a process which is complete for our French unit. The second step involves lowering the costs for these overseas units by manufacturing the basic units in India and finishing them and putting some value-addition there,” Umesh said on the sidelines of a CII-organised event on doing business with the Railways.

“We are doing it in a subtle manner but in a solid way,” he added.

For the French unit, all required approvals are in place and Titagarh is currently exporting wagons designed and finished in France but manufactured in India.


  • These automated vehicles would be replacing the century-old system of linesmen manually checking the tracks by hitting them with iron rods
  • The accessible market for the venture is around €1.5 billion, a statement issued by industry body Ficci said

Amul Boards Indian Railways Via Twitter

Nearly a month after dairy giant Amul approached the Indian Railways on its official Twitter handle with a business proposition to use refrigerated parcel vans to transport butter across India, the first shipment is on its way.

“First refrigerator van with 17 MT #Amul butter being flagged off from Palanpur to Delhi with our milk train. Thanks @RailMinIndia for the prompt action,” Amul tweeted on Saturday.

On September 23, Amul had reached out to the railway ministry on its Twitter handle for advice on the proposition, saying the dairy major was “interested in using refrigerated parcel vans to transport Amul butter across India.”

The Railways promptly responded on the micro-blogging site, using a popular tag line of the company. “IR will be utterly butterly delighted to get the taste of India to every Indian,” the ministry’s handle @RailMinIndia tweeted.

The national transporter uses Twitter extensively to address passenger woes. But that was perhaps the first time it received a business proposition on the popular social site.

The Indian Railways had introduced the refrigerated van service a few years ago with an aim to facilitate the transportation of perishable commodities such as fruits, vegetables, frozen meats/poultry and chocolates.

However, these services existed only on specific routes.