Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Ticketless Travel a concern, Indian Railways can’t afford it: says Parliamentary Panel

A parliamentary panel has expressed concern over the huge number of ticketless travellers in the railways and said the national transporter could “ill-afford” the substantial losses on this count.

In its report on vigilance in the railways, tabled in Parliament last week, the Railway Convention Committee also rued the fact that recoveries made from ticketless travellers do not correspond with number of such persons detected during the period, but stopped short of saying there was corruption involved.

“The committee are deeply concerned to note the huge number of persons detected travelling without or with improper tickets in Indian railways during the year 2016-2017.

“They are equally concerned to find the amount of railway dues realised from the ticketless travellers during the same period,” the report said.

To illustrate the point, the report states that Rs 935.64 crore was collected from more than two crore ticketless travellers during 2016-2017 across railway zones, the highest being made in Northern Railway (26.40 lakh).

It was followed by South Central (25.86 lakh) Central Railway (24.24 lakh), Western Railway (20.24 lakh), East Central Railway (18.62 lakh), North Central Railway (16.56 lakh) and North Eastern Railway (12 lakh), the report said.

It also said that other than these zones, all other zones reported single digit detection of ticketless travellers.

Usually, as per rules, ticketless travellers are supposed to pay base fare plus Rs 250 towards compounding action as fine. Those entering on platform without mandatory ticket also have to pay Rs 250, besides the platform ticket price, as fine.

Though the report does not give any number regarding actual losses, for two crore ticketless travellers, the railways should have recovered a minimum of Rs 500 crore, with the fine being Rs 250.

While the Northern Railways made maximum detections, it was Central Railway which tops the list for the recovery amount at Rs 125.13 crore.

Northern Railway made a recovery of Rs 116.52 crore, followed by Western Railway with Rs 84.09 crore, East Central Railway with Rs 72.52 crore and North Eastern Railway with Rs 60.80 crore.

The committee said that all other railway zones made recoveries of less than Rs 50 crore.

The report states that while the railways has identified defaulting zones where number of checks conducted are less or the ticket checking earnings are low, more needs to be done.

It has suggested the national transporter step up its monitoring mechanism to detect ticketless travellers.

“The committee desire that the monitoring mechanism be stepped up to ensure special drives and surprise checks to detect ticketless travellers as the railways can ill afford to lose substantial money on this count”, the report said.

Train services disrupted for over 6 hours between Kantadih-Urma stations on Adra Divn owing to a traffic-cum-power block

Train services remained disrupted for over six hours on Sunday owing to a traffic-cum-power block on both up and down lines between Kantadih and Urma stations on Chandil-Adra section under Adra division of South Eastern Railway.

The traffic block began at 10.10am and continued till 4.10pm to facilitate the launch of a low-height subway,which replaced an unmanned level crossing, around 100km from the steel city.

Both Tatanagar-Asansol MEMU Passenger and Asansol-Tatanagar MEMU Passenger were short-terminated at Barabhum railway station and Purulia, respectively.

The Tatanagar-Dhanbad Subernarekha Express and Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Express were also rescheduled on Sunday.

While Tatanagar-Dhanbad Subernarekha Express left the originating station at 3pm instead of 1.20pm, Jammu Tawi Express left Tatanagar station at 4.50pm, two hours behind schedule.

The Tatanagar-Hatia Passenger ran on a diverted route via Chandil and Muri instead of Chandil, Purulia, Kotshila and Muri.

Movement of several trains were affected including Danapur-Tatanagar Express, which got detained for 40 minutes between Asansol and Purulia railway stations due to the traffic block.

“The traffic-cum-power block took place to facilitate the construction of a low-height subway. It affected movement of trains for about six hours. Train services got restored once the work got over around 4.15pm,” said a spokesperson of Chakradharpur railway division.

Passengers were equally inconvenienced.

“I came to know about the rescheduling of Tatanagar-Jammu Tawi Express only after reaching the railway station along with my wife and children. We had no option but to wait at the station for over two hours,” said Gurucharan Singh, a businessman and resident of Mango.

Railway sources said that a similar traffic-cum-power block had taken place on Adra railway section in January 2017.

WR faces real test as AC Local runs up to Virar today

The Western Railway (WR) braces for a challenging first day of 2018 as it is the D-Day to operate the newly inaugurated air-conditioned local train up to Virar. On Sunday, WR officials were busy with the final checks of the AC locals as beginning Monday, the local will run for 60 kms.

Over the past two days, the WR carried out basic maintenance checks and inspection in the AC rake. “Primary checks were carried out. The AC train will run on the Churchgate-Virar route as scheduled,” said Ravindra Bhakar, Chief PRO, Western Railway.

After its launch on December 25, up to December 29, the AC local ran six services daily which will be upped to 12 services from January 1. Of these, eight services will run the Churchgate-Virar stretch and the remaining on the Churchgate-Borivali route.

As per the decided schedule for the AC local, authorities will operate one service each during the morning and evening peak hours.

Initial runs from the last week have mostly received negative feedback from commuters owing to the high fares, while some are of the opinion that the AC local is eating into the regular train services.

“By replacing the existing local train services on the Churchgate-Borivali route with the AC train, almost 50,000 people have been affected,” said passenger activist Anil Galgali.

Authorities are even more concerned about reactions once the AC local runs up to Virar.

“The Railways should have at least lowered the fares. Who will spend Rs 205 one way from Virar to Churchgate when a second class season pass can be bought in almost the same amount,” said A Parab, a resident of Virar.

A monthly pass for the AC local from Churchgate to Virar will cost Rs 2,040, fortnightly Rs 1,555, and weekly Rs 1,070. The daily ticket up to Vasai and Bhayander will cost Rs 195 and Rs 175 respectively.

Between Churchgate and Virar, the AC local will halt at Mumbai Central, Dadar, Bandra, Andheri, Borivali, Bhayander and Vasai. Similarly, three fast services will run between Churchgate and Borivali and the remaining one service will run as a slow service from Mahalaxmi to Borivali.


Railway Train Ticket Cancellation, Refund Rules For AC I, AC 2, AC 3, Sleeper Class Tickets

Indian Railways offers a facility that enables passengers to make advance train ticket reservations up to 120 days in advance for all classes of travel. The Railways carries over two crore passengers per day. E-ticket cancellations are not allowed at railway counters. IRCTC, the e-ticketing arm of Indian Railways, offers the facility of booking train tickets online. The refund amount for tickets cancelled through the IRCTC portal or app is credited back to the account used for booking online tickets, after deduction of applicable cancellation charges.

Train ticket cancellation charges and refund rules

1) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled up to 48 hours before the scheduled departure of train, ticket cancellation charges will be deducted at Rs. 240 for AC First Class/Executive Class, Rs. 200 for AC 2 Tier/First Class, Rs. 180 for AC 3 Tier/AC Chair car/AC 3 Economy, Rs.120 for Sleeper Class and Rs. 60 for Second Class.

2) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled within 48 hours and up to 12 hours before the scheduled departure of train, ticket cancellation charges will be 25 per cent of the fare subject to the minimum flat rate mentioned above.

3) If a confirmed ticket is cancelled between 12 hours and up to four hours before the scheduled departure, cancellation charges will be 50 per cent of the fare paid subject to the minimum cancellation rate.

4) Cancellation charges are levied on per passenger basis.

5) E-tickets cannot be cancelled after preparation of chart. No refund of fare shall be admissible on the ticket having confirmed reservation in case ticket is not cancelled or TDR (ticket deposit receipt) not filed online up to four hours before the scheduled departure of the train, according to the IRCTC website.

6) In case of cancellation of trains, an automatic refund is granted for e-tickets. Filing of a TDR or ticket deposit receipt is not required.
Wait-Listed, RAC Train Ticket Cancellation And Refund Rules

7) For RAC (reservation against cancellation) train tickets or wait-listed train tickets cancelled up to 30 minutes before the departure of train, refund will be granted after deduction of clerkage charges. According to the IRCTC website, for second class (reserved) and other classes, the clerkage charge is Rs. 60 per passenger for cancellation of RAC and waitlisted tickets.

8) No cancellation charge is levied and full fare is refunded to passengers holding confirmed, RAC and wait-listed tickets if the journey is not undertaken due to late running of train by more than three hours of scheduled departure, subject to the condition that the ticket is surrendered prior to actual departure of train.

9) For a PRS (Passenger Reservation System) counter ticket, in case of train cancellation, a refund is permissible within three days excluding the scheduled day of departure of train.

10) Remember no refund is granted on cancellation of confirmed Tatkal train tickets. If a train is running late by more than 3 hours or train is cancelled, you can file TDR for claiming refund, according to IRCTC.

Dense Fog In Delhi Delays Flights, Train Leaving Passengers Stranded

Hundreds of passengers at Delhi’s airport and several railway stations in north India were left stranded on Sunday after multiple flights and trains got delayed due to the thick fog.

As the visibility level at the three runways of the Delhi airport went below 50 metres, all domestic and international flight operations were put on hold between 8am and 10am. Upto 90 flights were affected, while most were delayed or diverted, nearly 20 were cancelled. According to airport officials, flights started landing again after 10 am and take-offs resumed after 11:30 am.

Sima Mukherjee, 50, and her husband Shankar Mukherjee, 54, planned to celebrate the New Year at their home in Kolkata but when they reached the airport from Noida they were told that their flight scheduled to depart at 9:50 am had been cancelled.

“This is so troublesome. Our money also got wasted because we came all the way from Noida till here and tomorrow again we will have to spend so much money to come here and catch a new flight.” Meenakshi Jangra, 31, said, “My friend had a 3:30 pm flight to Ranchi and we just received a message that the flight has been cancelled. We travelled all the way from Hissar (Haryana) for four hours to see her off. The entire new year plan has been spoiled now.”

Train passengers too were hassled as nearly 57 trains were delayed and 15 cancelled. Neelam Sharma, 45, a passenger, said, “I am going from Delhi to Gaya. The train was supposed to depart at 12:10pm but it is late and will arrive at 6:45 pm. It is already a 24 hour journey from Delhi to Gaya…this delay will only worsen things.”

 While the weather conditions have already disrupted the new year and travel plans of so many people the weather department has predicted dense fog on Monday morning as well and temperature is expected to fall further.

Mumbai AC Local Train Service: Ticket Price/Fares, Timings, Features And More

Indian Railways has introduced the much-awaited AC local train service in Mumbai. The air-conditioned coaches of the new Mumbai local started its run from Churchgate to Borivali in December. From January 1, the Railways will start operation from Churchgate to Virar. The new Mumbai AC local trains will run on the Borivali-Churchgate section of the Mumbai suburban line under Western Railway, which caters to one of the zones under Indian Railways. Equipped with new features, the train is aimed at ensuring a safer and more comfortable journey for passengers, an official release said. From January 1, it will run from Churchgate to Virar having 12 services per day, news agency Press Trust of India cited WR chief spokesperson Ravinder Bhakar as saying.

Five things to know about Mumbai AC local fare structure

Base fare of the single journey of AC EMU (Suburban Train) shall be 1.3 times of the base fare of existing fare of single journey ticket for first class.

However as an introductory offer for a period of initial six months, the base fare of single journey of AC EMU shall be charged 1.2 times of the base fare of existing fare of single journey ticket of first class.

The difference between 1.3 times and 1.2 times will be shown in the ticket as discount during the introductory period, according to the press release dated December 24.

Season tickets: Weekly, fortnightly and monthly season tickets shall be charged equivalent to 5, 7.5 and 10 single journey of AC EMU respectively. No other type of season tickets shall be issued for the time being.

AC EMU ticket holder shall also be allowed to travel by first class compartments of local trains. The Ministry of Railways also detailed the fare charges of AC local train:
Five features of the new Mumbai AC local train

The new train service will operate with a fully air conditioned rake with a capacity of 30 tonnes per coach. The new Mumbai AC local will have a passenger carrying capacity of 1,028 seats a total of 5,964 passengers.

The new Mumbai AC local will operate with stainless steel coaches having straight side walls. The train will operate at a maximum speed of 100 kilometres per hour.

The coaches will come equipped with automatic door closure systems, LED-based lighting, LED-based coach identification systems (for alarm chain pulling and door malfunctioning) and emergency talk-back systems. The train will not start or take traction if any of the doors is open.

The Mumbai AC local has been provided with modular polycarbonate seats, aimed at the comfort of passengers, and wide double-sealed glass windows for panoramic view, among other features.

The rakes are also fitted with GPS-based passenger information systems, equipped to provide features such as passenger announcement, communication (between the driver and guard) and coach displays, among other features.

Illegal Software To Trick Tatkal Booking Under CBI Scanner

The CBI is investigating whether travel agents are using illegal software to trick the railway tatkal booking system into issuing tickets at a fast rate by evading the railways’ own security checks, people familiar with the matter said today.

The Central Bureau of Investigation earlier this week arrested Ajay Garg, a programmer who worked with the probe agency, for allegedly developing and distributing a tatkal-cheating software to travel agents for a price, CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal had said. Another software professional, Anil Gupta, was also arrested.

The CBI suspects that similar illegal software as the one developed by Mr Garg could be in circulation among travel agents, and some of these illegal software could be bought from the online ‘market’ easily, news agency Press Trust of India reported.

The software tinkers with the railway ticketing system by speeding up the booking process and allowing multiple tickets to be bought, people familiar with the matter said. They said the software called “Neo” developed by the arrested programmer is one of the many tools available online for a price.

“All such software are under scanner. We are examining them and may soon take action, if any illegality is found in their operations,” a CBI officer said.

The software creates an auto-fill system where details of a large number of ticket-seekers are entered and kept ready even before tatkal bookings open on the ticketing authority IRCTC’s website at 10 am for trains departing the next day, PTI reported.

The illegal software then speed up the PNR-generating process, bypassing the IRCTC’s captcha guard — a feature to avoid spam — and allowing login with multiple identities. A single click of the mouse will then book multiple tickets simultaneously.

Users of the software can also enter computer networks illegally, investigators said.

“Use of such software is illegal as per rules and regulations of the IRCTC and also under the Railways Act. It was also alleged that the accused was collecting money for the use of such software by certain booking agents and had amassed huge wealth from these activities,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said.

Ticket bookings under tatkal quota open at 10 am for air-conditioned coaches and 11 am for non-air-conditioned coaches for trains departing the next day. Under the quota, a fixed number of seats in each coach are sold at a premium by the railways to travellers who need tickets urgently.

A common complaint of passengers is that by the time they enter details on the IRCTC website or complete the booking process, seats under the tatkal quota gets full within minutes of the start of booking.

Some travel agents offer to provide confirmed tickets under the quota by charging a premium over and above the railways prices, people familiar with the matter said.

The arrest of Mr Garg and Mr Gupta has exposed the alleged software used by them to exploit any vulnerability of IRCTC’s ticket-booking system, investigators said.

Mr Garg, 35, joined the CBI in 2012. He had been working at IRCTC from 2007 to 2011.

Myth Of Bengal’s “Haunted” Station Busted After 50 Years

A group of rationalists spent a winter night in the small obscure railway station in West Bengal’s Purulia district, which had been recorded as ‘haunted’ by the railways, to bust the myth.

The group found a few locals trying to scare them away from the station on Thursday night instead of any paranormal presence, a member of the rationalist group said.

Begunkodor station, located near the Ayodhya Hills and 50 km from Purulia town, had earned the distinction of being a ‘ghost station’ after 1967, the year its station master had reportedly died after seeing a white sari clad woman walking along the tracks in the night.

The incident had caused passengers to desert the station and it had come to be known as ‘haunted’ in the railways records.

Begunkodor had been closed since then and was listed by railways as one of its 10 ‘haunted’ stations in India.

The station was reopened 42 long years later in 2009 by Mamata Banerjee during her tenure as the railways minister.

Since then trains stopped at this obscure station and passengers used it only till 5 pm scared of encounters with the ghosts.

A nine-member team of the rationalist organisation Paschim Banga Bigyan Manch, armed with torches, digital compasses and cameras, had camped at this station with police protection on Thursday night and busted the decades-old myth.

Nayan Mukherjee, who led the team said, “We were at the Begunkodor station in Purulia district from 11 PM on Thursday night till the early morning hours the next day but there was no nocturnal activity.”

He said the team did not see the ghost of a woman who is said to have committed suicide years ago or the apparition of the station master, who reportedly haunt the station. “We could only spot a snake in an adjacent well,” Mr Mukherjee said.

The team had heard a peculiar noise from the darkness behind the station building deep in the night, he said. “When we focused the torch light on the surrounding bush at around 2 AM we saw four to five people, who appeared to be locals fleeing from the spot. We chased them for a while but they ran away.”

The station was being touted by certain people for some time as a ‘ghost tourism’ spot to attract visitors. Some of the locals apparently scare them away with the noise and steal their belongings after they flee out of fear, he said.

The digital compasses and cameras installed in the station compound by the team did not pick up any sign of paranormal activity, Mr Mukherjee said.

The Superintendent of Police of Purulia district Joy Biswas said the team had asked for police protection which was given to them.

He said the police and the administration were aware that Begunkodor station was known as a ‘ghost station’ among the locals and had started night patrolling in the area recently. Efforts were also made to create awareness among the people over the public address systems.

“I have asked the the superintendent of police to take necessary steps in the matter,” Purulia District Magistrate Aloke Prasad Roy said.