Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

IR to re-categorize Railway stations taking into account Earnings, Passenger Footfall, Strategic Importance

In a major policy decision, Ministry of Railways has comprehensively revised categories of various Railway Stations with a view to make it more practical and rational.

This comes after the Minister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal directed to re-categorize railway stations taking into account earnings, passenger footfall, strategic importance with a view to plan various passenger services and passenger amenities at stations in a more effective and focused manner. It will also help the passenger to have a better experience in relation to travel amenities at stations.

The earlier criteria for station categorisation was based on the annual passenger earnings only. Stations were categorised into 7 categories which A-1, A, B, C, D, E and F.

The criteria for categorisation of stations have now been revised to include footfalls at the station. The stations have been further segregated based on the type and clubbed into 3 groups i.e. non-suburban (NS), suburban (S) and Halt (H). Further these groups have been put in grades ranging from NSG1-6, SG1-3 and HG1-3 respectively.

In the old criteria the number of stations with high passenger footfalls (handling high number of commuter and MST pass holders etc.) could not be covered into the higher category of station which led to these stations being eligible for lower level of amenities.

As per the new criteria the number of footfalls has also been given equal weightage and is taken into account as criteria for categorisation of stations. Therefore, many stations like Kalyan, Panvel, Tambaram, Thane have qualified into the higher category and become eligible for higher level of passenger amenities.

Under this new scheme of categorization of railway stations, the stations have been clubbed into 3 groups namely Non-Suburban, Suburban and Halt. Further, these groups have been put in different grades ranging from 1-6. Accordingly following categories have been formed.

Category of stationsCriteria of Earnings (in Rs.)Criteria of outward Passengers handled
I. Non-Suburban
NSG 1More than 500 CroreMore than 20 Million
NSG 2100 to 500 Crore10 to 20 Million
NSG 320 to 100 Crore05 to 10 Million
NSG 410 to 20 Crore02 to 05 Million
NSG 501 to 10 Crore01 to 02 Million
NSG 6Upto 01 CroreUpto 01 Million
Total of (I) 5976
II. Suburban
SG 1More than 25 CroreMore than 30 Million
SG 210 to 25 Crore10 to 30 Million
SG 3Upto 10 CroreUpto 10 Million
Total of (II) 484
III. Halts
HG 1More than 50 LakhMore than 03 lakh
HG 205 to 50 lakh01 to 03 lakh
HG 3Upto 05 lakhUpto 01 lakh
Total of (III) 2153
Total Number of stations (I+II+III) 8613

Presently, there are 5976 Non-Suburban Railway Station, 484 Suburban Railway Stations and 2153 Halts, which makes total number of stations as 8613. This categorization of stations has been done for the period 2017-18 to 2022-23.

General Managers shall have powers to categorize a station as NSG-4 category if it is a place of Tourist importance and/or is an important junction station.

In addition, Ministry of Railways has given GMs full powers to sanction out of turn safety related works without any limit. The following amenities will be provided at all the stations irrespective of their category for safe performance of journey by passengers:

  • Foot over bridge
  • High level platform
  • Trolley path for movement of wheel chair

For improving stations and passenger interfaces: More amenities has been provided to lower category of stations like:

  • Waiting halls
  • Platform shelters
  • Lifts
  • Escalators
  • Digital charts display
  • Illumination
  • The train/coach indication board

In view of the new criteria even the small station will get the higher level of amenities which will lead to better passenger satisfaction.

Railways ticketing scam accused had pan-India network

A CBI official and his crony, who allegedly manipulated Tatkal ticket reservation system of the railways through an illegal software developed by the former, were operating at pan-India level, officials said here today.

The CBI has arrested its assistant programmer Ajay Garg and his front man Anil Gupta, a private person, for developing and distributing the software to agents for a price, CBI Spokesperson Abhishek Dayal had said yesterday.

Garg and Gupta, who was arrested from Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh by the central agency and brought here last evening, were questioned till late in the night, the sources said.

During the questioning, it emerged that their network was spread across the country, they said.

The agency has so far identified 10 travel agents who were part of the network but their questioning is exposing more agents who subscribed to their illegal services, they said.

The present version of the software was developed nearly a year back, they said.

The money from the travel agents who booked tickets using his system was collected through bitcoins and hawala channels to avoid scrutiny, he said.

“The case is (being pursued) in line with our policy of having a robust internal mechanism of ensuring probity and having a zero-tolerance towards corruption,” CBI Director Alok Verma had said.

35-year-old software engineer Garg had joined the CBI in 2012 through a selection process and has been working as an assistant programmer. He had also worked with the IRCTC, which handles the ticketing system of the railways, between 2007 and 2011.

The CBI probe so far has indicated that Garg learnt the vulnerabilities of the IRCTC ticketing software during his tenure there which he exploited in his software, they said.

“These vulnerabilities still exist in the IRCTC system that is why his software was able to dodge it for booking hundreds of tickets at one go,” the officials said.

These tickets were genuine and the payments for them went to the railways, they said

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Six Coaches Derail At New Delhi Railway Station, No Casualties Reported

Six coaches of the New Delhi-Manduadih Express derailed at the New Delhi Railway Station late on Thursday. Due to the low speed of the train exiting the station, no casualties or injuries have been reported.

The coaches derailed at platform 12 of the New Delhi Railway Station affecting rail traffic on the route and causing delays by three hours.

Of the six coaches that derailed, one was an AC coach, three sleepers, one general and one inspection coach. All coaches are being replaced.

Addressing the Rajya Sabha during the winter session of parliament last week, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had said, “Derailments were not exclusive to the Indian Territory but countries boasting of sophisticated infrastructural facilities were not immune to it,” in an apparent reference to the Amtrak accident in the Washington state of US.

In the Amtrak accident, at least three people were confirmed dead, and about 100 others were critically injured.

Last month, a local passenger train heading for Ghaziabad derailed near Okhla in Delhi, where one of the wheels of a coach came off, according to officials. No causalities or injuries were reported.

To Avoid Incidents Like Elphinstone Stampede, Woman Home Guards Inducted

To avoid a tragedy like the Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives, Western Railway (WR) has roped in personnel of Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) and woman home guards for crowd management at suburban stations.

As many as 232 MSSC personnel and 97 woman home guards were today inducted into WR’s Mumbai Central Division for crowd management, safety, security of passengers, a senior official said.

According to the official, a high-level committee constituted to inquire into the Elphinstone Road station tragedy suggested for augmentation of Railway Protection Force (RPF) cadres in suburban rail network.
“Subsequently, the railway administration gave a nod to outsource the work to MSSC and woman home guards,” he added.

WR General Manager AK Gupta told reporters that the personnel, who were inducted after being given basic training, will be deployed at various suburban stations.

The area of platform is limited, so there was need to ensure systematic movement of passengers. For which, we needed some personnel at the platform to guide and regulate commuters. The MSSC has given their 232 personnel for the job” he said.

“Besides these, we have inducted 97 woman home guards to enhancing the security of women commuters,” he said.

“They will be deployed to provide quick assistance to female commuters in distress, besides managing crowd,” Mr Gupta added.

The General Manager said they would work in coordination with the RPF.

“As of now they have been inducted for six months. If the initiative helps in curbing untoward incidents, we will extend it. Our main aim is to keep trains and platforms secured,” Mr Gupta said.

On September 29, 23 people were killed in a stampede that occurred on a foot-over-bridge linking suburban Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.

Railways To Include Footfall, Not Only Revenue, To See Station’s Worth

To avoid a tragedy like the Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives, Western Railway (WR) has roped in personnel of Maharashtra State Security Corporation (MSSC) and woman home guards for crowd management at suburban stations.

As many as 232 MSSC personnel and 97 woman home guards were today inducted into WR’s Mumbai Central Division for crowd management, safety, security of passengers, a senior official said.

According to the official, a high-level committee constituted to inquire into the Elphinstone Road station tragedy suggested for augmentation of Railway Protection Force (RPF) cadres in suburban rail network.

“Subsequently, the railway administration gave a nod to outsource the work to MSSC and woman home guards,” he added.

WR General Manager AK Gupta told reporters that the personnel, who were inducted after being given basic training, will be deployed at various suburban stations.

“The area of platform is limited, so there was need to ensure systematic movement of passengers. For which, we needed some personnel at the platform to guide and regulate commuters. The MSSC has given their 232 personnel for the job” he said.

“Besides these, we have inducted 97 woman home guards to enhancing the security of women commuters,” he said.

“They will be deployed to provide quick assistance to female commuters in distress, besides managing crowd,” Mr Gupta added.

The General Manager said they would work in coordination with the RPF.

“As of now they have been inducted for six months. If the initiative helps in curbing untoward incidents, we will extend it. Our main aim is to keep trains and platforms secured,” Mr Gupta said.

On September 29, 23 people were killed in a stampede that occurred on a foot-over-bridge linking suburban Elphinstone Road and Parel stations.

IRCTC Ticketing Scam: Railway Minister Piyush Goyal Orders Strengthening of Cyber-Security

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has directed the IRCTC and the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to strengthen cyber-security in the wake of an alleged ticketing scam unearthed by the CBI.

The CBI earlier this week nabbed a software programmer of its anti-corruption division and a former employee of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for allegedly operating an illicit software that subverted the railways reservation system.

Officials told media on Wednesday that the manipulated system allowed agents to book hundreds of tatkal tickets at a single click of the mouse.

The CBI arrested its assistant programmer Ajay Garg and his front man Anil Gupta for developing and distributing the software to agents for a price, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

“Information was received about running of illegal operations to book tatkal tickets of Indian Railways in an illegal manner. After swift enquiry, it was found that Ajay Garg, ex-IRCTC employee and presently working with the CBI, was the kingpin of this entire network which involved numerous other persons,” the railway ministry said in a statement.

The statement also said that the railways already has an ongoing drive against ticketless travellers and such illegal ticket bookings, which create artificial shortages of tickets.

“Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal has now further ordered to continue this drive and identify similar cases which are causing inconvenience to genuine passengers,” the statement said.

Money from the travel agents who booked tickets using the system was collected through Bitcoins and hawala channels to avoid scrutiny, the officials said, adding 10 agents – seven from Jaunpur and three from Mumbai – have been identified so far.

The CBI probe so far has indicated that Garg, a 35-year-old software engineer had joined the agency in 2012 through a selection process and has been working as an assistant programmer. He apparently learned the vulnerabilities of the IRCTC ticketing software during his tenure there between 2007 and 2011.

The CBI has carried out searches at 14 locations in Delhi, Mumbai and Jaunpur during which it recovered Rs 89.42 lakh in cash, gold jewellery valued at Rs 61.29 lakh which include two gold bars of one kilogram each, 15 laptops, 15 hard discs, 52 mobile phones, 24 SIM cards, 10 notebooks, six routers, four dongles and 19 pen drives, Dayal said.

Through the software, Garg was allegedly able to keep the statements of tickets booked by the agents and charged them on per ticket basis, in addition to the cost of the software.

He was kept under surveillance before being arrested after a late night operation by the agency on December 26.

While Garg was arrested here, Gupta was held from Jaunpur. Both have been sent to five days of CBI custody, the spokesperson added.

Govt Considering To Install CCTV Cameras In Trains

The Indian Railways is considering to install CCTV cameras in trains, including in premium trains such as Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi, the government informed Parliament today.

“It is under consideration to installing CCTV cameras in nearly 58,000 coaches of suburban, passenger and mail/express trains including superfast and premium trains like Rajdhani, Duronto and Shatabdi,” Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

Gohain said that while policing is a state subject, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) supplements the efforts of the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the district police.

The minister said that on vulnerable and identified routes/sections, 2,500 trains – on an average – are escorted by the RPF daily, in addition to 2,200 trains escorted by the GRP of different states daily.

CCTV cameras, provided at 394 stations, are used for surveillance and ensure the safety of passengers, Gohain said.

“An integrated security system, consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through CCTV network, access control, has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism at over 202 railway stations,” he said.

China to bid for Malaysia Railway project

A Chinese consortium led by China Railway Corp will participate in bidding for a high-speed railroad linking Singapore and Malaysia in 2018, marking another step in China’s ambitious strategy to export its high-speed railway technologies to Southeast Asia.

The media office of the Beijing-headquartered China Railway Rolling Stock Co confirmed this move but declined to give any specific details as the matter is still in progress.

The consortium, consisting of eight companies including CRRC, China Railway Construction Corporation Ltd, China Railway Signal and Communication Co and Export-Import Bank of China, covers the design, construction, telecommunication, financing, operating and maintenance sectors for the high-speed rail network.

A joint tender for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project was issued by the Malaysian and Singaporean government-owned utilities-MyHSR Corp and SG HSR, on Dec 20.

According to a joint statement released by the two companies, the potential bidder would be responsible for the design, construction, financing, operating and maintenance of rolling stock and railway systems for the double-track line with a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour.

“Judging these companies’ size and resources, they will form the largest group to build a high-speed rail network outside China if they win the bid next year,” said Feng Hao, a researcher at the Institute of Comprehensive Transportation at the National Development and Reform Commission.

The tender is open to all companies, regardless of their location. A tender briefing will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Jan 23, and proposals need to be submitted by June 29.

Submissions will be evaluated based on technical merit, commercial robustness, financial sustainability and price. The preferred bidder will be selected by the end of next year.

The governments of both countries signed a bilateral agreement late last year to embark on the project.

According to the agreement, the high-speed rail link is expected to become operational by Dec 31, 2026, and will cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to just 90 minutes.

“The move indicates that China’s State-owned enterprises have stopped cutthroat competition to hurt each other,” said Du Chunbu, a professor of rail transportation at Beijing Jiaotong University.

“Instead, they have started to form a consortium to better compete with rivals from Japan, South Korea, Germany and Canada by bringing their specialties into play.”

The construction of the first section of the China-Thailand high-speed railway started last week in the northeastern Thai province of Nakhon Ratchasima.

The 253-kilometer first phase of the railway links Bangkok with Nakhon Ratchasima province. China is responsible for designing the railway, supervision of construction and manufacturing of trains and signal systems, among others.

Once completed, the railway with a maximum speed of 250 km per hour will be the first high-speed railway of Thailand.

Over 3,000 trains delayed due to Fog in Nov-Dec: Indian Railways

More than 3,000 trains were delayed due to fog between November 1 and December 21 this year, Parliament was informed today.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said 3,119 trains were delayed during the period on account of fog.

“The services of 25 pairs of mail and express trains were cancelled, while the frequency of 29 pairs of such trains was reduced. Further, three pairs of trains were partially cancelled, while two pairs of trains were diverted,” he added.

Goyal said portable global positioning system (GPS)-based fog pass devices were being issued to the loco pilots for the regions which get seriously affected due to fog.

According to the data provided by the minister, the Northern Railways has received 3,185 of such devices, North Eastern Railways has got 975, North Western Railways 802, East Central Railways 617, North Central Railways 282 and the Northeast Frontier Railways has received 183.

“The reported outcome of the fog pass devices from the zonal railways has been satisfactory. The device provides a visual indication of the approaching level-crossing gates and other signal landmarks to the loco pilots, 500 metres in advance,” Goyal said

Delay in Doubling & Electrification works on Secunderabad-Nizamabad-Manmad section hit Train punctuality

Due to the single railway line and lack of electrification of lines between Secunderabad-Nizamabad-Manmad, passengers are facing problems.

Nearly 32 trains run from Nizamabad railway station making above 70 trips, but due to the single line and change of engines, trains are taking more time than required.

Daily hundreds of trains run between Secunderabad-Nizamabad-Manmad Railway line, covering Telangana and Maharashtra. Among this corridor there are several major cities such as Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Nanded, Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Nasik and Manmad, and several pilgrim centres like the ones in Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Basar, Nanded, Aurangabad, and Ajanta Ellora Caves.

Railway board issued permission for doubling of the line in 2013 as well as for electrification works, in two phases and each km work required Rs 10 crore. In first phase, works from Secunderbad to Nizamabad was to be covered and in second phase, works between Nizamabad and Manmad were to be covered.

After starting the first phase works in 2013, Railway officials completed only 40 km works between Secunderabad and Manoharabad, but the remaining 121 km works are pending from last four years.

Second phase works from Nizamabad are pending from last four years. Maharashtra public representative have been putting pressure on Railway officials and due to that 81.43 km second phase works between Mudkhade and Parbhani was started and nearly 20.5 km works have been completed.

Passengers say on a regular basis many trains were found waiting at various stations to cross other trains, due to which express trains were taking additional 30 minutes and passengers trains were taking one hour extra.

Manohar Reddy, Railway Zonal Consultative Committee member, said public representatives and other organisations should put pressure on Union government and Railway officials to speed up doubling and electrification works between Manoharabad-Nizamabad-Manmad.

According to Railway norms, if there are more than 30 trains running in a particular route, immediately double line should be constructed. Even though Secunderabad-Nizamabad-Manmad route has 32 passenger trains running making more than 70 trips, apart from goods trains, it is yet to get a double line.

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