Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways to give Wagon Contracts in bulk to meet future demand

In a move that could bring cheer to rail wagon makers, the railway ministrywill tweak tendering norms for wagon procurement that will provide clarity on the demand from the national transporter for the next five years.

The ministry has decided to give wagon contracts in bulk with demand of five years with bucket filling. It will conduct reverse e-auction and intends to save 20-25% in cost, a top rail ministry official said. The Indian Railways procures 12,000 wagons per annum, costing around Rs 3,500 crore.

“Instead of going for piece-meal tenders, we will go for bulk tenders where the lowest bidder would be given an option to provide for railway’s future demands at the same price. This will give vendors a future outlook and they will benefit from economies of scale along with offering the lowest price to us,” the official said.

During an Infrastructure Roundtable in January, various rail vendors, including Titagarh Wagons Ltd, had sought more clarity on future rail contracts from Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani. Companies such as Texmaco Rail and Engineering, Titagarh Wagons, Jindal Rail and Jupiter Wagons, which are the railway’s largest wagon providers, are likely to benefit from this decision.

The ministry has also decided to carry out all railway procurement and contracts under the reverse auction route through electronic mode. The railways has been following a ‘two packets system of tendering’ for procurement, a system considered less transparent by experts. Under this system, tender quotations are submitted in two sealed envelopes, one containing the technical and commercial offers and the other the financial bids. Such a physical system of bidding has loopholes and potential for rigging, experts say.

The same tendering system will also be followed for other bulk contracts that the railways intends to give, including the upcoming signalling overhauling contract of the country’s entire rail route length of 120,000 km and the contracts for electrification, elevators at stations and CCTVs.

Jhansi Division to introduce HD Cameras to check undercarriage of trains

The Jhansi division of North Central Railways (NCR) will soon introduce high-definition cameras to monitor undercarriage of trains that halt at the junction in a bid to inspect the locomotive for faults or damaged parts. The cameras will record and give real-time assessment of damages, aiding officials in taking prompt action.

Gaurav Bansal, Chief Public Relations Officer of NCR, said, “Conventionally, the undercarriage of trains, which includes wheel sets, suspension, brakes and other devices, were manually inspected by two or three workers from the outside while the train in is movement. At night, these men either use torch or flood lights to locate or find damaged parts and alert loco pilots. With these new cameras installed on tracks at both ends of the platform, inspection of the undercarriages will be thorough.”

Wear and tear of train carriages takes place mostly in the summer months, added Bansal. “No division of the Indian Railways has introduced this technology,” he said.

The Jhansi junction has seven platforms and sees a traffic of around 150 express as well as mail trains. Divisional commercial manager of Jhansi division, Neeraj Bhatnagar, said, “Funds for the cameras have been approved. Soon, these will be installed. We are also going to upgrade the CCTV cameras in the stations for better surveillance.”

A senior railway official said, “These high-definition cameras will help to prevent accidents.”

Chennai to get Cantilever-based Metro Stations for future Extensions

In order to minimise land requirements for Metro stations, the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) has decided that it will build future stations using a cantilever-based design along Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), also known as Rajiv Gandhi Salai or the IT Expressway.

The cantilever design, pioneered by Larsen and Toubro (L&T) Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (HMRL), features a station that is built on a single pillar in the centre and suspended. The entire station structure is built atop the same pillars as the tracks and only the entrances and exits require land acquisition at the side of the road.

CMRL has planned 27 stations along its OMR line in the second phase of the project with all of them featuring the new design. It also plans to use this design to build six stations as part of the first phase’s extension from Washermenpet to Wimco Nagar in North Chennai

Electric Vehicle Charging to be made available at Railway Stations in India

The Indian government is progressively looking to expand and strengthen the support infrastructure for electric vehicles with an intent to popularize and promote clean transportation.

Indian Railways will set up charging stations at the parking lots of railways stations to help users charge their vehicles. According to media reports, this pilot project will be initiated in the capital city of New Delhi, which is expected to see a surge in electric vehicles very soon.

Power distribution company BSES will set up DC charging stations at two railway stations in New Delhi. These charging stations will support 10 vehicles simultaneously and would be able to charge a vehicle in 40 minutes — compared to AC chargers which can take up to 6 hours.

The total investment on setting up the charging infrastructure is expected to be around $23,000. Indian Railways will provide infrastructure to BSES and may get to earn some revenue as well. BSES will charge vehicle owners around ¢8/kWh as charging tariff, as approved by the state regulator.

If this experiment reaps desirable results, the model can be replicated throughout the country. Indian Railways has more than 7,000 stations across the country. Indian Railways is also planning to set up 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity, including at least 3 gigawatts of utility-scale capacity on surplus land. These solar power projects may power the charging stations, creating an additional source of revenue for the Railways.

New Delhi is expected to see a surge in electric cars over the next few months as automakers start the delivery of nearly 10,000 sedans against the tender floated by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). Automakers Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are believed to have supplied 500 electric sedans while EESL will float a tender for 9,500 additional sedans. All these cars are expected to be used by government offices located in the capital

Rail Vikas Nigam Limited floats SPV for Nellore Railway Station development

A team of officials from Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) have visited Nellore Railway Station recently for preparing plans for development of the station with world class facilities. Indian Railways had already sanctioned Rs 60 crore for the station development.

The RVNL officials have decided to undertake station development by creating a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). It may be recalled that the South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager (GM) Vinod Kumar Yadav informed during his recent visit that a technical team would visit Nellore railway station to make plans for station development.

As per initial plans, the RVNL will take up widening of platforms, concrete roofs for all offices or sections located on the platforms, setting up restaurant on the first floor with a direct escalator facility connected with the platforms for quick movement, and other facilities at the station. There are also plans to construct a hotel, commercial complexes, and dormitories with air-conditioned facility.

Even though, the station is having huge chunk of open lands in its surroundings, they have been encroached by local people with the support of politicos which turned out to be a major obstacle for development of the station.

So, officials are initially planning to vacate the encroachers and then start work with the help of top revenue officials. SCR GM also assured that they would maintain safety precautions for the passengers and another foot overbridge in Nellore along with escalator facility.

The existing foot overbridge would be widened to 6 metres as part of expansion. Construction of foot overbridges already started in Nellore South Station where people were facing difficulty to cross the railway line which is surrounded by residential areas, hospitals and colleges.

Further, even though the Railway Road Over Bridges (ROBs) were sanctioned at Kondayapalem gate and BV Nagar gate centres and the Indian Railways already had matched its portion of funds to the state government.

GM clearly informed to the local politicos that they had handed over the grant portion according to their share, but the state government has to take care of the rest. Now, there are huge lands close to the Nellore Railway Station and some have already been evacuated. But, still, a petrol pump is existing on the main road which was arranged long back and alienated to many people subsequently.

Now, the Railways is continuing legal battle to evict the people for constructing a state-of-the-art hotel for convenience of the passengers which would be managed by IRCTC or other wings.

The team of RVNL officials considered all these issues and scope for further expansion and prepare a report to be placed before the GM for final shape, sources said. Rs 400 crore was also earmarked for Tirupati railway station for making it a world class station keeping in view of huge throng of devotees across the country.

Railways eliminates manual recording of Punctuality in 41 Major Junctions

The railways has eliminated the practice of manually recording punctuality performance in 41 major railway junctions across zones to ensure correct reporting of such data, senior officials said.

The Railway Board had earlier issued instructions that zonal railways link the arrival and departure of trains from data loggers from January 1 in 34 such junctions without the “fear of drop in punctuality and report authentic punctuality status”, officials said.

A data logger (also data recorder) is an electronic device that records data over time or in relation to location either with a built in instrument or sensor or via external instruments and sensors.

“Correct reporting of punctuality is essential for initiating improvement in actual running of trains and public perception about the railways…it may be ensured that the train running status is correctly reported for all trains and necessary action be taken to ensure that there is no manual entry of timings at 34 locations mentioned…”, the letter to all railway zones from the Board has said.

However, railway zones have managed this across 41 such stations which include Howrah, Mumbai CST, Mughalsarai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Chennai Central, Ahmedabad and Bangalore.

“This way we will get the actual reporting time of running trains. These are major junctions and in many cases, there are two railway zones involved in the smooth running of the trains. We have removed any manual intervention in these 41 locations, as a result of which preliminary data suggests an improvement in punctuality. In fact, even time related public complaints have also decreased,” an official said.

The punctuality data for these stations, officials say is still been collated.

The board has also said the criteria for judging punctuality performance of zonal railways will be based on grades instead of percentage. Punctuality of more than 85 per cent will receive the grade A+, punctuality more than 75 per cent to 85 per cent grade A, punctuality of more than 60 per cent to 75 per cent will earn the zone B grade and punctuality less than 60 per cent will be given a C grade, the boards letter has said.

Punctuality of trains in fact has been the topic of an internal railway report which is now with the Board for perusal. The report has also recommended that trains be graded to record their punctuality.

It has proposed that a long-distance train be marked ?excellent? if it is less than 10 minutes late, ?very good? if the delay is between 10 and 20 minutes and if the delay is between 20 and 40 minutes, the train is to be graded ?good? on punctuality.

If the delay is more than 40 minutes but less than two hours, the grade is ‘fair’, the report has said. If a train is more than two hours late, it will be graded ?bad? on punctuality, as per the proposal.

Dakshineswar Metro by 2019 Pujas: says Chairman/Railway Board

On Monday evening, Ashwani Lohani, chairman, Railway Board (CRB), boarded the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express as a common First AC passenger after promising Kolkata residents Metro rides to and from Dakshineswar by the 2019 Pujas.

During the day, Lohani inspected several ongoing Metro project sites, including the stretch between Noapara and Dakshineswar. In fact, he started his inspection tour from Dakshineswar and went up to Ruby crossing which is part of the Kavi Subhash-Airport (via Rajarhat) stretch.

“Now that the last hurdle regarding encroachments has been cleared by the Kamarhati Municipality and work is progressing at a fast pace, the link up to Dakshineswar should be commissioned by September, 2019. This will enable people of Kolkata to use the services during the Pujas next year,” Lohani, who is keen on adding 50 more km to the Metro Railway’s existing network in the next three years, said.

After reviewing the progress of the Kavi Subhash-Airport link extensively, Lohani moved to Joka to check out progress of the construction of a car shed there for the Joka-BBD Bag project. Till date, Metro has only got about 70% of the land for the carshed but construction could not be started as the plots are disjointed. Officials of the Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd informed the CRB that work for the carshed, a vital component of the project, will start soon after the Kolkata Municipal Corporation hands over the remaining land there to the Metro. Officials told Lohani that the stretch between Joka and Majerhat could be completed in two years.

“The CRB held several meetings and also urged us to speak our minds and make suggestions for better services. He was also keen to know if we have any problems that can be solved through his intervention. He also assured all assistance in meeting targets and completion of projects,” an officer said.

Lohani, known for his austerity measures, insisted on travelling by train rather than fly. While in Kolkata, he also sought comments from officials on measures such as abolishing of the ‘bouquet culture’ in the railways. Lohani has also forbidden junior officers from ceremoniously waiting on their seniors and the pomp and show that used to be part of railway events in the past.

Tinsukia first among NFR divns to have 100% LED-lit stations

Tinsukia has become the first division of NF Railway to achieve the feat of having all stations 100 per cent LED lit.“NFR is going strong in reducing the carbon footprint within its premises, thereby contributing to and promoting a greener environment. Out of 505 stations in NFR, 260 stations have already been completely fitted with LED fittings. Tinsukia division has become the first to achieve the feat of making all stations 100 per cent LED lit,” said an official statement.

Out of 132 electrified stations under Katihar division, 129 have been covered and the rest will be equipped with LED fittings shortly. In Alipurduar division, out of 85 electrified stations, 59 have been covered with LED fittings. In Rangiya division, out of 97 electrified stations, 77 have been converted by LED fittings, while in Lumding division, out of 124 electrified stations, 68 have been converted by LED fittings.

The remaining stations in all the divisions will be fully converted with LED fittings by the end of March, the statement added.

NFR said that there was a saving of about 10 watts per LED fitting.

“After completion of all stations with LED fittings, other railway service buildings like offices, railway quarters, etc., will be taken for 100 per cent conversion to LED fittings.”

It said that total savings on the energy bill will be approximately Rs 67,36,274 per year after all stations are converted with LED fittings.

All 102 Railway Stations of NWR/Ajmer Division turn eco-friendly

All 102 railway stations of Ajmer division have become eco-friendly by replacing conventional equipment of electrical devices with LED fittings.

In this drive 7,500 LED fittings were installed to save 3.31 lakh units of electricity costing Rs 23.32 lakh per year.

The division stood first in North Western Railway in this project.

Divisional railway manager Puneet Chawla said that ministry of railways had set the target to make every railway station eco-friendly by cutting power consumption till March 31 this year.

“We accepted the challenge and started removing conventional fittings from all 102 stations of Ajmer division and now LED lights are used,” said Chawla. He added that with the provision of energy efficient LED lights, Ajmer division will able to save 11 to 15 percent of annual energy consumption and will reduce carbon footprint by 303 tonnes.

At 63 stations of the division, conventional fittings were replaced by the railways and remaining 39 stations were covered by EESL company.

Gymnastics World Cup Tournament Bronze Winner Aruna Reddy to join South Central Railway

B. Aruna Reddy, who brought laurels to the country in the recently held Gymnastics World Cup Tournament in Melbourne has been taken in by South Central Railway into its fold. Reddy, who won the bronze medal in the World Cup, has been given employment in SCR in Group C category.

According to an SCR release, Vinod Kumar Yadav, General Manager, SCR, who has been instrumental in SCR’s plan to tap young sports talent and encourage them by offering jobs, expressed confidence that Reddy would continue to dazzle with her performance, bringing glory to Indian Railways and the nation.