Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways nod for Rs 12,000-cr upgrade of mishap-prevention system

The Indian Railways has cleared a Rs 12,000-crore proposal to equip electric locomotives with the latest European train protection system.

At its meeting on December 15, the Railway Board cleared the proposal to equip 6,000 electric locos with European Train Control System (ETCS) Level-II to help drivers – or pilots — to prevent rail mishaps, a senior Railway Ministry official told IANS.

Besides, the Board also decided to install the ETCS Level-II system on the entire 9,054 km-long Golden Quadrilateral route connecting the four metros to make it a fully accident-free corridor.

The entire project to ensure ETCS Level-II compliance is expected to cost around Rs 12,000 crore.

There are cases where accidents occur due to error of locomotive pilots who generally have to work in very stressful conditions.

Currently, the Railways has a basic automatic train protection system based on the ETCS Level-I specification to provide a back-up to loco pilots on a limited stretch.

Known as a “train protection warning system”, the facility based on ETCS Level-I has been implemented on about 342 km of rail route. Gatiman Express, running at 160 kmph between Nizamuddin and Agra, safely runs at this speed protected by the system.

However, it was decided to upgrade the system to put it on par with world standards as the ETCS Level-I has limitations.

In a train protection warning system, information regarding the condition of the signals ahead — whether it is showing red, yellow or green — is communicated to the locomotive and is shown on a display screen called DMI (Driver Machine Interface) in the front of the loco pilot.
Thus this has a limitation that the information regarding the signal ahead is received only when a loco passes over a balise — and the driver has to wait till he passes over the next balise to get updated information.
This disadvantage of the ETCS Level-I is overcome in ETCS Level-II, which ensures that the status of the signal ahead is continuously available in the loco through a wireless radio medium using a GSM-R (Global System for Mobile Communication-Railways) network.
GSM-R is similar to the mobile GSM network with some special features for Railway applications. With the status of the signal continuously available, the driver can now run the train more efficiently, as per the movement authority available to him, thereby improving overall speed and the section capacity of the route.

Indian Railways: Train travel riskier as crime jumps by 34 per cent

Travelling by trains is getting riskier by the day as crimes under Indian Penal Code (IPC) witnessed an increase of over 34% in two years, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report for 2016.

Incidence of IPC crimes, which include murder, rape, rioting, kidnapping and robbery among others, registered by Government Railway Police (GRP) in 2016 was 42,388 in comparison with 39,239 in 2015 and 31,609 in 2014.

Among the states, UP tops the chart with the maximum number of 8,293 cases, followed by Maharashtra (7,358), Madhya Pradesh (5,082), Delhi (4,306) and Bihar (2,287).

The data reflects crimes reported between January 1 and December 31, 2016.

In 2015, Maharashtra (7,277 cases out of 39,239 cases) was on top followed by UP (7,168 cases), Madhya Pradesh (4,461 cases), Delhi (3,356 cases) and Bihar (2,182 cases).

During 2016, among IPC crimes, maximum cases were registered under ‘theft’ accounting for 33,682 out of 42,388 cases. It is followed by robbery (1,069) and kidnapping and abduction (280).

Around 236 cases of murder, 125 of attempt to murder, 79 of rape, 53 of dacoity and 112 of rioting were reported by Government Railway Police (GRP)-a force drawn from state police which has responsibility to maintain law & order in railways and railway premises.

Around 19,564 cases across the country were reported under special & local laws (SLL) crimes, like violation of prohibition act or gambling act or electricity act, by GRP in 2016 in which Kerala tops the chart with 7,371 cases (7,151 cases under Kerala Police Act and 88 cases under COTPA Act), followed by Gujarat (7,371), UP (2,625) and Bihar (1,235).

Interestingly, maximum number of 3,815 cases (out of total 4,023) under prohibition act were reported by GRP in Gujarat, followed by Maharashtra (114) and Kerala (87).

Under excise act, maximum of 1,094 cases (out of total 1,991) were reported in Bihar, followed by 303 in Punjab, 222 in UP and 170 in Haryana.

Most of the cases under arms act were reported from UP (1,092 out of total 1,610), followed by Rajasthan (199) and Punjab (146). Around 312 cases were registered under Juvenile Justice Act of which 209 were in Tamil Nadu and 82 in Telangana.

Konkan Rail, IIT-B Tie-Up To Strengthen Tunnel Technology Institute

Technology-Bombay (IIT-B) to make its George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology in Goa a world-class centre of knowledge in tunnel and underground structure technologies. Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) Chairman and Managing Director Sanjay Gupta and IIT-B Director Prof D V Khakhar signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) at the premier engineering institution here yesterday.

Under the MoU, IIT-B will offer technical support to the Konkan Railway to strengthen the George Fernandes Institute of Tunnel Technology (GFITT) at Madgaon in Goa, a release issued by KRCL said.

Underlining the objectives of the collaboration with IIT-B, a spokesperson of KRCL said they want to develop GFITT into a world-class premier centre of knowledge in tunnel and underground structure technologies.

“We also want to provide an opportunity to under-graduate and post-graduate scholars of IIT-Bombay to gain a practical experience and participate in the research and development programmes in tunnelling and underground spaces,” he said.

The institute has been named after former railway minister George Fernandes, who is said to be the driving force behind the Konkan Railway, the release said.

Railways resizes the Global Tender for Rail Tracks to 4.87 lakh tonne from 7 lakh tonnes (LT) earlier

The Railways Ministry has reduced the size of global tender for rail tracks to 4.87 lakh tonne from 7 lakh tonnes (LT) earlier, an official source said.

State-run Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), which has been the sole supplier of rails to the Railways so far, will supply the remaining quantity.

The railways ministry had recently floated the global tender to procure 7 lakh tonnes of rails worth Rs 3,500 crore for expediting track renewal.

“The tender has been reduced to 4.87 LT,” a railway ministry official told PTI.

SAIL has stepped up its production and increased supplies, the official said.

M C Agrawal, Executive Director, Corporate Affairs Division, SAIL, said, “Our rail mill in Bhilai is producing rail in full swing and we will increase production. Hence, the supply will also improve.”

Under an MoU, SAIL is the only steel maker which had been supplying rails to the Railways. It manufactures 260-metre long rails at its Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) in Chhattisgarh.

With the global tender, the Railways has now invited private players and international companies to supply rail tracks.

Naveen Jindal-led Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) is the only domestic private player that has the experience in rail making and it has confirmed its interest in the tender.

“We are fully prepared and well equipped. We can make early deliveries compared to any other player. If we bag the tender today, we can start making deliveries in just three weeks. It would take much longer for a foreign firm to start making deliveries. JSPL has a capacity to supply over 50,000 mt rail per month.” Naushad Ansari, CEO Steel Business, JSPL, had said earlier.

JSPL has a plant at Raigarh with a capacity to produce 1 million tonnes of rails.

Northeast Frontier Railway drafts Proposal of Rs 325 Crores to Safety Upgrade

North East Frontier Railway (NFR) has tabled a proposal before the Railway Board for upgrading safety infrastructure at an estimated cost of Rs 325 crore.

The proposal, for the year 2018-19, comprises 28 safety works including the improvement of running rooms in 30 stations for an estimated cost of Rs 71 crore and training centres at 13 stations at a cost of Rs 94 crore.

The proposal also suggests extensions of platforms at 18 stations for a cost of Rs 45 crore and foot overbridges at 30 stations for Rs 105 crore. There is also a Rs 10 crore-plan to replace, among other equipments, the LED signals and batteries. “Our focus on safety has so far yielded positive results. The number of derailments came down from four to one last year. No accidents at level crossings or cases of fire hazards were reported,” NFR’s Chief Public Relations Officer Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.

All SCR Stations to be 100% LED lit by Mar’18; Renewable & Conventional Energy resources need of the hour: GM/SCR

All Railway Stations on the jurisdiction of South Central Railway will be 100% LED lit by March, 2018 said Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, South Central Railway. He was addressing the National Energy Conservation Seminar held at Rail Nilayam, Secunderabad today i.e., 19th December, 2017 as a part of the Energy Conservation Week being celebrated on SCR.

Giving an insight on the plans of South Central Railway in the aspect of energy conservation, the General Manager stated that the Zone is in the forefront in initiating energy conservation measures on Traction, Non-Traction and Diesel wings. The Zone has been a pioneer in installation of energy efficient gadgets as LED lighting, Brushless DC electric motor energy saving fans, inverter type AC’s etc., SCR is focusing on generating power from renewable resources like Solar, Wind and Day Light Pipe Technology etc., apart from saving with energy efficient systems to save conventional energy resources as part of environmental protection, the General Manager added.

Vinod Kumar Yadav stated that fossil fuel resources need to be saved since they will deplete over time, towards which the need is to augment the requirement by production of alternative energy sources. He informed that SCR has spent Rs.1027 crores towards electrical traction energy, Rs. 1725 crores towards diesel fuel and Rs. 107 crores for non-traction energy during 2016-17. He also highlighted measures adopted on SCR towards energy conservation. SCR has achieved 2.2% reduction in energy consumption.

SCR focus o­n the use of renewable energy sources at stations/service buildings etc., use of star labelled electrical equipments, LED fittings in place of higher wattage fittings, use of energy efficient Pumps, provision of occupancy sensors, energy savers for air-conditioned units, timers for water coolers for rolling examination lights etc., resulted in saving specific energy consumption, he added.

John Thomas, Additional General Manager said that SCR is laying emphasis on implementation of several new initiatives on both electric traction and non-traction areas. He stressed on awareness of consumer in use of energy efficient devices and the big achievement in Ujala Scheme of Distribution of LED Lights.

A.A.Phadke, Principal Chief Electrical Engineer, in his address stated that SCR, which was awarded two prestigious National Energy Conservation Awards for the year 2017 by the Ministry of Power, Govt. of India, has imbibed the culture of energy conservation. The Zone is rated as the best amongst all the Zones on Indian Railways in terms of least specific energy consumption in two vital parameters covering the Electric and Diesel Traction. He stated that, Guntakal Division is the first Division on Indian Railways to complete 100% LED lighting of all the 157 Railway Stations under its jurisdiction.

The overview of energy conservation measures over South Central Railway were presented by S.K.Agarwal, Chief Electrical General Engineer; B.G.Mallya, Chief Electrical Loco Engineer; Ravi Kumar, Chief Motive Power Engineer (Diesel); A. Koteshwara Rao, Senior Divisional Electrical Engineer, Secunderabad Division, SCR and Hemanth Kumar, Manager, EESL. Senior Railway Officials, Staff participated in large number. Earlier, the General Manager, SCR inaugurated an exhibition set up at the venue, showcasing energy efficient equipment available in the market.

Indian Railways plans to spend Rs 60,000 crore to modernise Signalling Infra

The railway ministry will soon send a proposal to the cabinet seeking its nod for a Rs 60,000-crore programme to modernise Indian Railways’ signalling system, which will allow trains to run at a gap of 7-8 minutes, a senior government official said.

“We are revamping the signalling completely,” the official told.

The railways will upgrade the entire capacity in the country over five years. It will spend Rs 20,000 crore in the first year, he said.

Indian Railways is also working on a plan to electrify more than 30,000 km of rail lines in next five years to have 100% electrified network. Under the plan, railways will phase out diesel engines in five years, which will help it cut its Rs 26,500 crore annual fuel bill by Rs 10,500 crore, the official said.

Railways has a 64,000 km long network, of which a little less than half is electrified. “Electrification revamp would be done through a special purpose vehicle (SPV),” the official said.

“Golden quadrilateral would be prioritised and then its lateral corridors may be taken up. This proposal would be taken to cabinet soon for approval. SPV would be formed by public sector entities. It could be structured like Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT),” he said.

Railways has also decided to offer 99-year-long lease to contractors willing to invest in station and rail land redevelopment programme, to make the scheme more attractive, the official said.

The earlier scheme that offered 45-year lease for commercial exploitation of the railway station land, but it did not find many takers.

“We discussed with the industry as to what were the issues. They raised issue about lease being restricted to 45 years, which they felt was very short. They also raised issue about no provision for mortgage or resale,” the official said.

“We have now reworked it. It will have a 99 year lease and allow mortgage,” he said. Indian Railways has lined up 400 stations for redevelopment.

Indian Railways to float SPV to manage Electrification Work

The Railways Ministry will float a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to manage the entire electrification work of railways network and arrange funding for it, an official said today.

“As far as funding for electrification is concerned, we are looking at funding through an SPV and getting that SPV to run the entire electrification of Railways,” a top official in the Railways Ministry said.

The SPV will be tasked to look after the whole electrification project of the Railways. It will be own and manage those assets, the official said.

“The ministry is still working to float this SPV,” the official said.

Earlier in September, Railways Minister Piyush Goyal had said that his ministry is exploring ways to speed up the electrification process so as to cut down about Rs 16,000 crore expense on diesel.

“We are giving a relook to the ways of speeding up the electrification process” of rail lines across the country. The ministry is consulting all the people who are involved in the electrification process,” Goyal had said.

Indian Army team gets training in Mumbai Suburban Railway functioning

The Western Railway (WR) arranged a two-hour seminar at Mumbai Central Monday to teach Army officials details of railway functioning. Details of the operation of suburban trains and understanding of technical signage were given to the Army. Officials from the Bombay Sappers Group, Pune, are expected to make three foot overbridges at Parel-Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali stations by January 31. The Army is expected to begin laying the foundation for bridges by the end of December. Railway officials said the Army was working on the technical design of the bridges.

“We had arranged a seminar for two hours between 3 pm and 5 pm to explain details of railway functioning to the Army. The seminar included details of the layout of the yard of Elphinstone Road station and nomenclature of technical details used in the Railways. They were further instructed about what is a safety zone and the precautions, which need to be maintained while working in the safety zone,” said Mukul Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, WR.

A total of 15 officials from the Army were present at the seminar, official said, adding that 19 railway officials guided them. The Army is conducting preparatory works on building the bridges at the sites. The officials said the team would need to cross tracks to move the material and require understanding of the halt signage of local trains while working during day hours.

“We guided them on the precautions they need to maintain while piling, laying foundation of the bridges, pier construction, material transportation and especially during crossing of lines. We have also informed them about where our railway officials will be posted to inform them on the arrival of a train. We also asked them to be careful about the type of cable wires while digging and asked them to take the required technical blocks if they have to suspend rail traffic during the work,” Jain added.

The overhead wires run on alternating current system carrying a voltage of 25 kilowatts. Army officials were instructed to maintain due distance from the wires. The Railways has also helped the Army with certain technical instruments required for the work.

“We are giving them the required traffic block as asked. We arranged this session to facilitate their work on bridges. As this is the first time the Army is working in the suburban train section of the city, we wanted to provide them complete assistance,” said Jain.

Indian Railways sourcing 80,000 Bio-toilets from 9 Firms

The Railways is sourcing 80,000 bio-toilets from nine firms, of which almost 33,000 have been installed as of November-end.

The firms include JSL Lifestyle, Amit Engineers, Victoria Auto, Oasis Fabricators, Omax Auto, Hindustan Fibreglass Works, Mohan Rail Components and Rail Fab, and RailTech.

“These 80,000 biotank toilets will be fitted in 20,000 coaches with four toilets in each coach. The cost of these toilets is about ₹1 lakh each — resulting in an expense of about ₹4 lakh a coach,” a government official explained.

Use of these biotanks is a part of Indian Railway’s project to have coaches fitted with toilets that prevent passengers’ poop from emptying on the tracks — as is the case right now.

The move of having bio-toilets is aimed at not just preventing tracks from getting soiled, but also avoiding them from getting corroded.

In these biotanks, the Railways uses a bunch of bio-digesting bacteria that do not require oxygen and consume human faecal matter — converting it to disinfected water that gets discharged on, carbon dioxide and small volumes of hydrogen and methane gas.

Implementing the project has been challenging. The challenges include tanks getting choked with plastic bottles and sanitary napkins. The Railways is considering placing dustbins in the toilets, the Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in a conference recently.

The Railways is also tracking the performance of the bio-toilets and deal with causes that lead to choking and other reasons that lead to failure of these toilets.

To get funds for the project — which meets the twin objectives of cleanliness and safety — the Railways had been trying to source money from its depreciation reserve fund account and the Swachh Bharat Kosh.