Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

NFR deploys GPS-based system to cut down delays due to fog

To help in timely running of trains during foggy season, a new GPS based system for auto warning to train drivers has been put to use by Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).

An equipment called FogPASS (Fog Pilot Assistance system for Safety) consisting of an inbuilt battery and GPS antenna with magnetic base has been installed in all locomotives in N.F.Railway. The device which weighs 1.5 kg is carried by the loco pilot at the time of assuming charge of the locomotive.

It is placed on the consul of the pilot and as the train moves, it displays short description and remaining distance of next two landmarks in geographical order on LCD screen. Landmarks include signals of various types, level crossing gate etc.

“This means that as a train approaches a station the device will flash the distance left for the home signal of that station. Thus, even if the pilot is unable to physically see the signal, he would be aware of how far the train is from the signal and would be alert to notice the aspect of the signal (red, green or yellow) and act accordingly,”  NFR CPRO Pranav Jyoti Sharma said.

There is also provision of voice announcement in speakers attached with the device for attention of drivers. The new device has proved to be greatly helpful to drivers in the foggy weather.

Sharma also informed that a total number of 1101 numbers of such devices have already been allotted to all Divisions for fixing in locomotives.

Besides, Railways has also deployed Fogmen to place detonators on the tracks to alert the loco pilots about approaching signals. Senior railway officials are undertaking night foot plate inspection and track patrolling to detect cases of rail fracture.

“Railways have also provided sufficient walkie-talkie sets to the crew and station staff. Signal indication booklets have been provided to loco pilot and counselling on working during fog is also being done,” NFR CPRO added.

It may be mentioned that during intense fog situation, railways normally face problem of shortage of crew resulting from longer working hours due to slower mobility, heavy crowing of waiting list passengers and non-availability of track maintenance slots due to reduced capacity apart from complete disorientation of timetable.

“So, the new GPS based system named FogPASS is proving to be a boon to speed up train during intense fog situation,” Sharma added.

Indian Railways an Institution for Nation Building, says President Ram Nath Kovind

Indian Railways is an institution for national service and nation building, President Ram Nath Kovind said yesterday.

Addressing a group of probationary officers of various rail services, he said that the rail network helps maintain and spread the country’s cultural heritage and traditions.

The president said Indian Railways is an institution for national service and nation building, a statement issued by the Rashtrapati Bhavan quoted him as saying.

In 2015-16 alone, Indian Railways serviced over eight billion originating passengers.

The Indian Railways moves industrial and agricultural freight, defence equipment and military personnel, Kovind said.

“Be it by mean of special trains run to accommodate the rush for Kumbh Melas or the majestic ‘Palace on Wheels’ that captures the imagination of people around the globe,” he said.

Kovind said that trains are emerging as a means of mass rapid transport within cities.

“Metro Rail projects are being adopted by more and more cities in a bid to provide fast, secure and affordable urban connectivity,” the president said, adding that this would also help de-clog cities and reduce carbon footprint.

He reminded the probationary officers that they have joined an institution that provides them a unique opportunity to serve the nation and millions of citizens each day.

Kovind urged them to lead a life of optimism and develop a sense of positivity.

“This will allow them to make meaningful changes both at their work places as well as in society at large. It will also allow them to nurture a spirit of innovation and emerge as solution providers,” the president said.

Railways raises Freight Rates for Coal between 10-20 per cent after CIL’s price hike

In a double whammy to power consumers, the Indian Railways has revised freight rates for coal between 10-20 per cent after Coal India on Tuesday announced up to 10 per cent increase in the fuel price in keeping with the rising cost.

The simultaneous increase in coal price and its transportation charge could spell trouble for debt-ridden power distribution companies as it could raise the cost of power by up to 30 paisa per unit and translate into higher electricity tariff for consumers. It will also raise fuel cost for steel, cement and power units.

The Railways issued a new freight circular for coal and coke on Tuesday that has raised charges for various distance categories ranging from 10 to 20 per cent.

The rate of increase in freight is higher for higher distances covered. New ra­tes will be applicable from January 15.

The changes in rail freight comes after revision carried out in August last year that raised transportation cost for power plants located 200-700 km away from the mines and a red­uction for those situated further away.

As per a railway ministry circular, the current chan­ges in freight for coal and coke would be applicable throughout the year and no busy season surcharge and development charge will be applicable on its transport.

The changes in freight has increased transportation charges for coal up to a distance of 100 kilometres from earlier Rs 179 per tonne for trainload to Rs 198 per tonne now. Similarly, the charges for highest distance category of 3500 km have been revised up to Rs 3815.10 per tonne for trainload from Rs 3174 per tonne earlier. For railways the decision to raise freight tariff for coal, the commodity that accounts for 45 per cent of its receipts from transportation of goods, had become necessary due to consistent fall in growth in earnings.

But the national transporter’s latest move is at divergence with its strategy outlined in the last budget to offer freight rebates to boost volumes and broaden the basket of commodities transported via its network by giving strong competition to the road sector.

While an official with state-run power producer NTPC said that the increase “may not lead to a drastic rise in power generation cost,” private power producers said the new freight rates will warrant a power tariff increase. Sou­rces said that some of the DISCOMs may absorb a portion of this increase on coal and freight cost under political pressure with eight states going to polls soon.

Renewal of 424 km of Rail, Sleepers by March on Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad Divisions

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Railways have mobilised men and machinery to complete 424-km renewal of rails and sleepers with other urgent maintenance activities in the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions by March this year at a total investment of Rs. 480 crore.

Rail renewal of 102 km and 139 km and sleeper renewal of 106 km and 77 km are the targets given by Railways to the Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad railway divisions respectively for 2017-18 as part of enhancing safety of rail users.

As Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has stated that the funds provided under the newly set up Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore cannot be refunded, a railway official said they had taken steps to accelerate the renewal of rails and sleepers in the State with the good monsoon prevailing.

As on December 1, 2017, rail renewal of 46 km, sleeper renewal of 48 km, deep screening of ballast in 73 km and de-stressing of 68 km of rails had been completed in the Palakkad division and 37, 12, 15, 45 and 54 km respectively in the Thiruvananthapuram division.

The rail and sleeper renewal carried out in the Palakkad division was 38 km and 7 km respectively in 2016-17 and 70 km and 12 km respectively in the Thiruvananthapuram division. “The target is achievable with good weather set to prevail in the next three months. The improvement in the condition of railway track in the State after the works will reflect on the punctuality of trains in the coming months,” the official said.

State-of-the-art tech

Railways have engaged state-of-the-art track relaying train (TRT) imported from the US for track renewals.

Already 26.71 km of track had been renewed in the Palakkad division using the TRT. Six km of track was relaid using the TRT in Kochuveli in the State capital in the last 10 days.

The TRT has been moved for the track renewal in the Kollam-Perinad rail corridor, the official said.

Flaws detection

In addition to these works, 267 flaws detected in the Palakkad division and 730 in the Thiruvananthapuram division this year through ultrasonic flaw detection test were removed by Railways. Internal flaws in the rails are detected using the machine and removed or secured using fish plates before they develop into fissures, the official said.

Massive Fire On 4 Coaches Of Patna-Mokama Passenger Train; No One Was Injured

Flames engulfed four coaches of Patna-Mokama passenger train last night; no one was injured in the fire. The train was stationed at Mokama railway yard, 90 kilometers east of Patna, when fire was spotted in two coaches at 1 am, the Railways spokesperson said. He added that an attempt was made to extinguish the fire but unfortunately it spread to two more coaches resulting in four coaches being completely gutted. The spokesperson said fire did not affect railway operations in that sector. The Additional Divisional Railway Manager reached the spot to take stock of the situation. Railway officials said the reason behind the fire is being looked into.

Chairman of the Railway Board, Ashwani Lohani told Press Trust of India, that train accidents have come down by 40-45 per cent in the current financial year as compared to last year. Hoping that train mishaps would further decrease, Mr Lohani said prime focus this year was to address safety, maintenance and cleanliness of trains and railway premises. By June, 500 railway stations would get Wi-Fi facility as part of the Union government’s Digital India initiative. Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has set a target of track renewal for the current fiscal at 3,600 km, an 80 per cent jump over the average 2,000 km of tracks renewed by railways every financial year.

ABB India wins Rs 134 cr order from railways

ABB India said today that it has bagged Rs 134 crore traction equipment order from the Indian Railways.

“ABB India has won an order worth Rs 134 crore to supply state-of-the-art traction equipment for electric locomotives, manufactured by Chittaranjan Locomotive works (CLW),” ABB India said in a statement.

It said the company will deliver traction converters, stand-alone auxiliary converters and vehicle control units for 64 electric

locomotives which will be used for passenger and freight operations.

They will be locally manufactured at ABB’s Nelamangala production unit in Bengaluru.

The compact, light traction equipment converts electricity from overhead power lines to the voltage levels required for traction motors and generates power for on-board auxiliary systems.

“ABB has been a key partner of Indian Railways over the decades with a suite of traction solutions. This year marks 10 years of our association with Chittaranjan Locomotive works (CLW) and we are privileged to have their trust and cooperation,” said Sanjeev Sharma, Managing Director, ABB India.

Currently, around 42 per cent of the entire Indian rail network is electrified. Indian Railways has a goal to electrify its rail network by 2020.

This move aims at reducing greenhouse emissions and the dependence on fossil-fuel based automotive power.

Piyush Goyal orders strengthening of cyber security measures

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday directed IRCTC and the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS) to strengthen cyber security measures in the wake of a ticketing scam unearthed by the CBI.

A software programmer of the anti-corruption division of CBI and a former employee of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) were arrested last night by the CBI for allegedly operating an illicit software, which subverted the railways reservation system.

The manipulated system allowed agents to book hundreds of tatkal tickets at a single click of the mouse, officials said.

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 illegal manner. In this regard, after swift enquiry it was found that Ajay Garg, ex-IRCTC employee and presently working with 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 such ticket-less travellers and illegal ticket booking, which creates 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 spokesperson said, adding that 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 CBI in 2012 through a selection process and has been working as an assistant programmer. He apparently learnt 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. While Garg was arrested here, Gupta was held from Jaunpur.

Both have been sent to five days of CBI custody, the spokesperson added.

‘Stainless Steel Coaches Can Lower Impact of Muzaffarnagar-Like Train Accidents’

Rail coaches made of stainless steel instead of carbon steel can minimise the impact of train accidents, an industry body has said.

“If all the railway coaches in the country could be made of stainless steel instead of carbon steel, it can bring down the number of lives lost in train accidents significantly,” the Indian Stainless Steel Development Association (ISSDA) said referring to recent train accident in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh that claimed 22 lives.

The ISSDA is the apex association of leading stainless steel producers in the country.

It said the use of stainless steel in passenger coaches is a common practice in developed economies such as the US, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea and Australia and in many East Asian countries.

Stainless steel coaches also ensure safety and reliability through super fire and corrosion resistance, the association said, adding that the intrinsic weight of vehicle decreases, thereby increasing its load carrying capacity and fuel efficiency.

In case of accidents, stainless steel undergoes lesser deformation, which further helps in rescue operations, it said.

“Over 23 million people commute through trains in India on a daily basis. There is an urgent need to migrate to stainless steel coaches to improve safety of rail passengers … Indian Railways are already seized of the matter and taken up programme for increasing manufacture of LHB stainless steel coaches,” said K K Pahuja, President, ISSDA.

The association said Indian Railways, at present, is using stainless steel coaches in LHB designs only for Rajdhani, Shatabdi and other premium trains.

LHB coaches are designed to be anti-telescopic, which means that they do not pile up over each other in the event of derailment, it said.

Stainless steel coaches are stronger and absorb more energy during collision and they can withstand considerable impact without fracturing, it said.


Indian Railways targets 100% electrification of broad gauge tracks by FY21:

In its December 2017 action plan, the Indian Railways has set a target of electrifying 38,000 km route in five years, incurring expenses of Rs. 32,591 crores for the project.  According to Elara Securities India, this is a notable jump from the Railways’ last year plans, reported by the Mint today.

A note from Elara said the current action plan’s target is 56 percent higher than an earlier plan of electrifying 90 percent of the network, or 24,400 route kilometres over FY17-21 announced in November 2016.

The national transporter has plans to award individual tenders as large as 1,500 km. This would reportedly lead to lowering of electrification costs due to better economies of scale and make these tenders more appealing to larger companies.  Previously, railways had been awarding tenders for small length projects, making them very time-consuming.

 The report also suggested this would give a thrust to engineering, procurement and construction companies (EPC). If the railways step up the pace to achieve its renewed target, then capital goods and EPC services providers can see accelerated order inflows.

According to Elara Securities, Central Organisation for Railway Electrification (CORE), an arm of the railways that carries out electrification works, has sounded out empanelled vendors of government power utilities.

“This would be beneficial for Indian Railways in accelerating execution of electrification projects and foster competition by enhancing the vendor base,” Elara Securities added.

400 trains delayed due to fog on New Year Eve, 15 cancelled

Meenakshi Badola wanted to celebrate her New Year Eve with her sister in Patna for the first time in almost 20 years. She had prepared for the family reunion before the year ended.

But that was not meant to be.

Badola, 45, had booked tickets for her and her five- year-old daughter and 71-year-old mother-in-law on Patna-bound Garib Rath Express for December 30, from Anand Vihar Terminal in New Delhi.

 When the Badola family finally alighted the train in Patna, celebration was the last thing on Meenakshi Badola’s mind.

The express train had started the journey 10 hours late than the scheduled departure, and reached Patna more than 23 hours late, at 4:30am on January 1.

She was not alone, though, to miss the New Year Eve celebrations. Thousands of passengers in nearly 400 trains were delayed due to dense fog across the country on December 31.

According to the official data, as of December 31 midnight, 400 mail and express trains reached their destinations late after getting delayed on account of fog.

As of January 1, 2018, 6:30am, 56 trains arrived late, 20 were rescheduled and 15 trains were cancelled.

Trains like Patna Rajdhani Express, Poorva Express were 12 hours late, Rewa Express was 11 hours late and Magadh Express was 11 hours late.

The Railways said that it has started Fog Pass Device (Fog Pilot Assistance System) or FSD. It is GPS-enabled and can continuously calculate the distance of the train in relation to the next landmark, enabling drivers to know when exactly a signal is approaching.

The national transporter has recently installed 4,920 such devices in the most fog-affected railway zones – northern, north-central, north-eastern and north-western.

Plans are afoot to install additional 1,175 such devices to take the total to 6,095, covering the most-affected zones, the national transporter said.