Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways has put Massive Reforms on Track: Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani

The Indian Railways is undertaking massive structural, cultural and process reforms to improve ease of doing business, even as it is focussed on growth and consolidation of its enormous operations, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani has said.

The 164-year-old railroad network, the world’s fourth-longest, is trying to empower those at the field level, and is ready to hold industry-specific dialogues with the private sector, Lohani told a gathering of chief executives and fund managers at a Round table meet on ‘Railways – The Engine of Growth’ – part of a series on infrastructure. “We have done away with age old petty practices and are cracking down on corruption. It’s a tall order, no doubt, but at least we have started moving in that direction,” Lohani said. The railways is also finalising a few corridors because existing ones are choked and burdened with a wide spectrum of services, with average speeds ranging from 18 km per hour for goods to 45 km for passenger trains.

Industry executives at the event lauded the efforts of the railways, but suggested steps like a truly empowered regulator, clarity on longterm purchases and a strategy whereby the railways focuses on running core operations, leaving other services to the private sector.

Sujoy Bose, CEO, National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Ltd, said there was enormous potential for private investment and that the fund was interested in public-private partnerships (PPPs) in services such as development of cargo and dedicated freight corridors, railway station developments, and electrification.

To help PPP succeed, the railways needs a truly independent regulator, said Vinayak Chatterjee, chairman of Feedback Infa. He also flagged concerns about how the railways would meet its enormous fund requirement, particularly in the short term. Industry leaders said Indian companies can operate globally.

“Why don’t we have an Indian global rolling stock manufacturer? Why do we have to go outside in the world, because when it comes to railway rolling stock, we always look outside our country,” said Umesh Chowdhary, vice chairman and managing director, Titagarh Group.

He said other countries partnered with their manufacturers. “Is there a way the railways can actually think in terms of doing the same and having an Indian multinational which can first cater to the demands of the growing needs of the Indian railways and then become global there?”

Unmesh Abhyankar, a top executive with the Adani Group, said: “There needs to be certainty of permitting us to invest in wagons, because we tie up with the customers, make commitments. You are coming out with a liberalised wagon investment scheme …where railways makes a firm commitment and private sector is actually allowed to own the other wagons.”

Nalin Jain, president & CEO, international, GE transportation, said railways needed to become more customerfocused and shed ad-hoc decisionmaking. He said the process of adopting new technologies should be speeded up because the prevailing system took a long time for assessment and approval.

The Railway Board chairman said simplification of decision making was underway. He also accepted a suggestion by Mahendra Singhi, group CEO, cement, Dalmia Bharat Cement, that the railways should have industry-specific dialogues with the corporate sector. Singhi said industry and the railways can cooperate in making projections about growth and help reduce uncertainty. The steel sector also needs clarity on the metal demand of the railways and how the network would deal with the massive rise in cargo movement as India plans a big expansion in capacity.

“We are running a purely commercial business in a sarkari way,” he quipped. The railways is gung-ho about infrastructure and improving its signalling system, toilets and coaches. It plans to have bio-toilets in all trains by December 2018. Lohani said the Railway Board is doing 4,300 km of rail renewal this year and a lot of repair has happened in the last four months. Apart from station redevelopment, cleanliness is another area of focus.

Land acquisition completed for 2 Loco Engine units in Madhepura and Marhoura: Piyush Goyal

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal yesterday said land has been acquired for two locomotive engine factories in Madhepura and Saran districts of Bihar.

An Electric Locomotive engine factory would be set up at Madhepura and a Diesel Locomotive engine unit would be established at Marhaura in Saran district in PPP mode.

Goyal was speaking while laying foundation stone for various projects at Ara railway station through video conferencing, according to an official release.

A total of 226.9 acre of land was acquired for the Rs 2719 crore diesel locomotive engine factory which will produce 1000 diesel locomotive engines in 11 years, he said.

For the other factory, 306 acres of land has been acquired at Madhepura to set up the unit at a cost of Rs 1293.57 crore and a total of 800 electric engines will be built in 11 years from there.

Development of Railways in Bihar has always been in the priority of the Central government and work on 26 various rail projects worth Rs 18,180 crore is in progress in the state, said the minister.

Besides, four projects of gauge conversion and 20 projects meant for doubling of tracks are also going on in Bihar, he said.

Western Railway Installs Sanitary Pads Dispensers, Incinerators For Female Staff

In a unique initiative, the Western Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation or WRWWO has installed sanitary napkin dispensers and incinerators for female staff at all its major offices on the network, a top official said in Mumbai on Wednesday.

Donated by the WRWWO, the first of the coin-operated machines was inaugurated at the Western Railway (WR) headquarters at Churchgate, and all the Divisional Headquarters at Mumbai Central (Maharashtra), Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Bhavnagar (Gujarat) and Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh).

“These incinerators will not only ensure quick disposal of used napkins but also contribute to maintain proper hygiene levels among the women employees,” said Ravinder Bhakar, WR Chief PRO.

On inserting the used napkin in the provided chamber and switching on, it will automatically attain the requisite temperature and convert it into ashes and control the ill-effects of conventional or casual modes of disposal, besides contributing to the ‘Clean India-Green India’ drive, he added.

 At the inauguration by WRWWO President Archana Gupta, a demonstration was conducted on the ease of operating the machines which dispenses a sanitary napkin by inserting Rs. 5 coin and also showed how to dispose it off in the incinerator.

Archana Gupta urged women employees to take maximum advantage of the machines which evoked a tremendous response among the female staffers.

Rail Tracks Blocked In Mathura Against ‘Padmaavat’ Release

Alleged members of the Shree Rajput Karni Sena on Wednesday blocked the Mathura-Agra route of the North Central Railway at Bhuteshwar station for about 10 minutes in a “symbolic protest” against controversial film “Padmaavat“, which is scheduled for release tomorrow.

“The agitators blocked a passenger train between Delhi and Mathura, for over 10 minutes at Bhuteshwar station in Mathura district,” GRP Inspector Gaurav Kumar Sharma said.

The train already has a scheduled stoppage of 10 minutes and the blockage added to a 10-minute delay, Sharma said.

“We don not want to take law in our hands, however, in spite of so much opposition from the Rajputs, all over the country, the central government neither had made any effort to solve the problem by interacting with the censor board nor has it pleaded the case properly in the apex court,” Kunvar Narendra Singh, President, Brij Mandal Kshatriya Mahasabha and National vice-president of the Mahasabha leading the “Rail Roko Abhiyan” said.

 “The blockade was symbolic in view of the problem of the passengers. The train was allowed to go after over 20 minute,” he said.

Singh expressed hope that the cinema owners of the district would “cooperate with the agitators” and would not make any effort to exhibit the film in Mathura.

Meanwhile, the district administration has said it has taken every precaution to ensure that the demonstrations does not become violent.

“So long it (demonstration) is peaceful, we would not interfere. However, violation of law would be severely dealt with,” SSP Swapnil Mamgai said.

Metro Railway Services In Kolkata Normal Today

Metro railway services in Kolkata resumed this morning after disruption throughout Tuesday evening owing to a suicide and derailment of a coach of an empty rake.

A metro spokesperson said services started from 6.45 am as per schedule and normal services have been maintained since then.

 “The derailed coach of an empty rake at Maidan station was lifted back to the tracks in overnight operations and trains are running since morning normally,” Metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said.

The coach had got derailed at 7.20 pm yesterday while it was being turned towards the opposite direction at a ‘Y-siding’ of Maidan station.

 No one was hurt owing to the accident as the train was empty.

The turning of trains towards opposite direction at that station was necessitated owing to the death of a man on the tracks at Shyambazar station after he allegedly jumped before an incoming train.

 The suicide disrupted services from 6.01 pm for 35 minutes and as such truncated services were being run between Maidan and Kavi Subhas stations in the southern part of the city, when the coach got derailed in the ‘Y-siding’.

Kashmiri Man’s Rail Stunt Video Goes Viral, Twitter Calls It “Stupid”

A purported video of a death-defying stunt by a Kashmiri man, in which he lies on a railway track while a speeding train passes over him, has taken the social media by storm, prompting calls for strict action to prevent it from becoming a trend.

The undated video, which emerged on social media late this evening, shows the phiran-clad (a traditional Kashmiri cloak) man lying face down in the middle of the track as the train passed over him.

He let’s out a celebratory shout after the stunt to his friend who recorded the video, which is being widely shared the internet, even as several social media users called for action against him.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also called out the “stupidity” of the act.

“There is something drastically wrong with this sort of adventure seeking. I can’t believe the stupidity of these young men,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

“There should be strict action against this stupid boy, ” a Facebook user wrote.

Administrators of many WhatsApp groups have urged their members not to circulate the video, saying it can influence impressionable minds the wrong way.

Government officials were not immediately available for a comment on the video.

Man Dies After Jumping Before A Metro Railway Train In Kolkata

A man today died after allegedly jumping before a metro railway train at Shyambazar station, a metro official said.

Metro services were disrupted for 35 minutes from 6.01 pm after the man, aged around 25 years, allegedly jumped before an incoming train on the down track at Shyambazar in the northern part of the city.

Power to the third rail was stopped at the station to retrieve the body from under the wheels.

 Services were resumed on both tracks from 6.36 pm, metro spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said adding truncated services were run during the period of disruption, the official said.

Praful Bhalerao, Popular For His Role In Marathi TV Serial ‘Kunku’ Dies

A household face on Marathi television, Praful Bhalerao, died in a train accident in Mumbai early this morning. 22-year-old Praful’s body was found on the track near Malad in Mumbai suburbs. The Railway police told news agencies that they received a call at 4.30am saying a person has been found lying on the track. Praful was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. The mishap took place when Bhalerao was on his way to Goregaon from Malad in the western suburbs, a police official said.

The Borivali Railway Government Police told news agencies that the actor was trying to board a fast moving train at platform number two in Malad station; he may have slipped and fallen on the track and injured his head. Praful’s body was sent for post mortem and a case of accidental death has been registered said police, though they are investigating further. Reports say eyewitnesses described how Praful was leaning outside while the train gained speed after leaving the platform.

Praful Bhalerao shot to fame as a child actor for his role in the popular TV series ‘Kunku’ – a story of the journey of a village girl Janki from rural Maharashtra to Mumbai. In the family drama, Praful played the role of Janki’s brother. The actor became very popular for his sensitive performance in ‘Kunku’. The young actor had also featured in other Marathi TV serials like ‘Tu Majha Sangati’, ‘Nakushi’ and ‘Jyotiba Phule’.

Praful had just stepped from the small to the big screen with a key role in ‘Barayan’, directed by Deepal Patil. The film on education and youth was released on January 12, the National Youth Day, marking the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.

Centre considering plan to shift RPF to Ministry of Home Affairs: says Railway Minister

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has confirmed that his ministry is considering a proposal for transferring the Railway Protection Force (RPF) from Railways to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Goyal on Sunday visited the Matunga railways station, which is entirely run by women, to felicitate the staff after the station entered the Limca Book of Records for the feat.

Later, while addressing the media, Goyal when asked about the rumours of RPF being transferred to the MHA, said, “We are very much considering the transfer of RPF from Railways to MHA.”

He used the occasion to caution the RPF personnel against continuing with the associations formed by them, calling such associations are illegal and out of place.

Asking them to voluntarily dissociate with such associations, he said the RPF, being a national security force, was not permitted to have such groupings. Forming associations for the purpose of socio-cultural activities was alright but the association set up by the RPF personnel was actually acting like a union, he said.

“My appeal to all RPF officers and staff is to disband the association so that we can continue to have them under the Railways otherwise my hands will be forced for take some drastic steps,” Goyal said.

A senior official from RPF pointed out that at present, the force has an association which influences transfers, and thus encouraging indiscipline in the force.

Under MHA, any security agency will be banned from forming any kind of association. A senior officer pointed out: “The move will further benefit Indian Railways as the cost incurred by the railways in maintaining the RPF, which is now to the tune of Rs 500 crore, will then be taken care by MHA.”

The Bibek Debroy Committee on restructuring of the railways had recommended transferring RPF to MHA.

It is felt that the move to bring RPF under the umbrella of MHA will also help modernise the force and enhance its effectiveness as more posts will be created and more funds will flow in.

The move to transfer RPF to MHA will also make way for bringing in the concept of federal policing with one security agency for the railways. At present, the offences of theft of railway property are being looked into by the RPF while the law and order, which is a state subject, is being dealt with by the Government Railway Police (GRP).

The transfer to MHA will also enable the RPF to conduct investigations in an impartial manner without the fear of being accountable to the railway administration in case of conflict of interest.

2018-19 will be women’s safety year: Piyush Goyal

Railway minister Piyush Goyal visited Central Railway’s Matunga station on Sunday, which now boasts of an women staff (51 staff). The minister announced that the year 2018-19 will be the Women safety year for the railways and special emphasis shall be given on preventing of human trafficking, with focus on children and women on railway premises. He also informed that soon we may see elevated railways over national highways.

To work on the safety of women and stop harassment or molestation on railway premises, the suburban local coaches will have CCTV installed. “The footages from the camera will be sent across to RPG, GRP and even local city police,” said Goyal.

In the anti-human trafficking and safety of woman issues, the minister claimed that he has asked the Director General of RPF to have one single number where a complainant can call throughout the country. He also said that “we don’t need just manpower, but also modern CCTV cameras to tackle the issue of security.”

Railways clears proposal to let 1st Class users board AC Local

With almost a month to go for the AC local to start its actual operations, the Railway Board has agreed to let First Class commuters – both holding monthly season passes and daily tickets – use the service. This would mean that over 4.25 lakh people on the Western Railway (WR) can travel inside the AC local plying between Churchgate and Virar.

“The difference of fare between First Class Season ticket and AC Monthly Season ticket shall be collected for the entire month irrespective of days left in First Class monthly passes. The validity of the same shall be as per the validity of First Class monthly pass,” said a circular issued by the Board.

This facility will be extended for season pass holders through booking counters by Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS). “We are almost done with making changes in the ticketing software,” said an official from CRIS.

Of the 37 lakh daily commuters on WR, an average 11.31 per cent hold First Class season passes. Further bifurcating it, 74.60 percent of commuters travel on monthly season pass while rest of them use quarterly, half-yearly and yearly season passes.

The ticket checker will collect the difference of fares without any penalty after entering the AC local coach. Sources said that they are looking at providing hand-held devices to TCs so that they can swipe debit/credit cards to avoid the issue of giving change while dealing with cash.

“We will be collecting difference of fares from those holding monthly season tickets for First Class and are travelling in AC local which also has monthly pass facility. It will be difficult to calculate the same for quarterly, half yearly and yearly and so these commuters will have to pay fine,” explained a WR official.

This will be on trial basis till June until when the discounted rates at 1.2 times of fares will be applicable. Right now there are two TCs travelling inside 12-car AC train who are checking tickets. Until now on an average, everyday, nearly 3,800 commuters travels in the AC local. Ever since AC local started, Mumbaikars have been demanding to allow First Class passengers to travel in them.

The Indian Railways are also studying the possibility of compartmetalisation of AC local in the near future. If this is thought off then the AC local would have coaches with cushioned seats, sun blinders etc while the other General coaches will be similar to the existing ones. At present there is separate compartment for women commuters in the AC rake which is at the ends of the train.

Under Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3-A; 210 AC rakes worth Rs 17859 crore would be procured.

The railways are studying the option of attaching three AC coaches in the regular 12-car train which would give option to commuters in a single rake.


Until now on an average, nearly 3,800 commuters travels in the AC local every day. Ever since the trials started, Mumbaikars have been demanding to allow First Class passengers to travel in them