Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Handing over projects to Army activated Railways

Railway minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said handing over the construction of three foot overbridges (FOBs) in Mumbai to the army, after a stampede on the Elphinstone Road FOB, spurred the railways to think in terms of the pace of execution of projects.

Speaking at the PHD Chambers of Commerce’s Rail Convention here, Goyal said he was not deterred when his decision to hand over the construction of the Elphinstone Road FOB and other bridges in Mumbai to the Army was criticised by many. In fact, he said the decision made the railways realise its own potential.

“It opened up our minds to think in terms of the speed of execution. After we decided around October 29-30 (2017) to hand over these three bridges to the Army, the Indian Railways got so activated that it completed 17 FOBs in the Mumbai Suburban section between October 2017 and February 2018. By June 2018, they have committed to complete another 22 FOBs. We have approved 56 more to be completed in the next 12 months and that includes tendering, procurement and execution.

“Compare that to the time before the Elphinstone Road tragedy, when it had taken 18 months, from February 2016 to September 2017, for the tender to be uploaded on the website after the (old Elphinstone Road) FOB was sanctioned. Contrast that with the speed with which railway officials are now taking up projects for implementation,” Goyal said.

The three new FOBs at the Elphinstone Road, Currey Road and Ambivali stations in Mumbai, built by the Army’s Bombay Sappers and dedicated to Mumbaikars, were inaugurated by commoners in the presence of Goyal and Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis yesterday.

The Elphinstone Road FOB was built by the Army in a record 117 days, the Western Railways said. The Army began the construction around two months after the stampede on September 29 last year that claimed 23 lives and injured over 30 persons.

Goyal also said the railways was evolving itself to become more contemporary to meet the needs of a new India and connect with the youth, who wanted more passenger comfort and safety.

“We have agreed on the future path as regards what needs to be done to make the Indian Railways the best in the world with the help of latest technology and innovative ideas,” he added.

The minister also said a 100-per cent electrification of the railways would not only save around Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000 crore every year, but also help curb pollution.

“Every traveller of the Indian Railways has the same value when it comes to human lives and if I believe that a modern signalling system makes the travel safer, then I see no reason why it should not be there across the railway network,” he added.

Modernisation/Augmentation of POH Capacity of Wagon Shop at Loco C&W Workshop/Dahod by MOSR

Hon’ble Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain alongwith Hon’ble Minister of State for Tribal affairs Jasvantsinh Bhabhor laid the Foundation Stone for Modernisation & Augmentaion of POH Capacity & Dedicated to the nation the Augmented Wagon Shop Capacity at Loco Carriage & Wagon Workshop, Dahod at a function held on Wednesday, 28th February, 2018. On this occasion, while addressing the function, MOSR said that the modernisation & augmentaion of POH capacity will further improve the quality of services being rendered by the workshop as well as will boost the development of this area.

In the beginning Rahul Jain, Addl. General Manager of Western Railway welcomed all the guests. Jasvantsinh Bhabhor felicitated & welcomed Hon’ble Minister of State of Railways Rajen Gohain in a traditional manner. The vote of thanks was delivered by N. D. Shakyawar – Chief workshop Manager of Loco Carriage & Wagon Workshop, Dahod.  The function was compeered by C N K David – Public Relations Officer, Western Railway. A large number of gathering alongwith R N Sunkar – Divisional Railway Manager of Ratlam and other senior railway officers were also present on this occasion.

Details of Modernisation & Augmentaion of POH Capacity & Dedication of the Augmented Wagon Shop Capacity at Loco Carriage & Wagon Workshop, Dahod

With the augmentation of Wagon Shop, the capacity of POH has been increased to 750 wagons per annum as against 450 earlier. Similarly, after the completion of modernization and augmentation of POH capacity work, the maintenance capacity would increase to 150 wagons per month i.e. 1800 wagons per annum.

Western Railway has always been marching ahead on the path of progress. Amongst all its major workshops, Dahod Workshop was the oldest workshop for steam engine POH over Western Railway, established in 1931.  After the closure of steam engines, POH activities of Loco, Carriage & Wagon have been taken up.  This workshop has the distinction of being the only workshop of Indian Railways where mid term rehabilitation of electric locomotive is carried out.  In addition to this POH of MEMU, DEMU and Tower wagons are also carried out.  Dahod workshop, repairs and supplies wheels to all Electric / Diesel loco sheds and wagon ROH shops of Western Railway. Dahod workshop has been ISO 50001 certified for ‘Energy Management System’ as well as ISO 3834 certified for ‘Quality Requirement for Welding’ and 5-S certified for an organized safe, clean and efficient workplace.


SRM University signs MoU with Integral Coach Factory/Chennai for Fuel Cell based Train Prototype

AMARAVATI (VIJAYAWADA): SRM University, AP – Amaravati and SRM Institute of Science and Technology have signed a MoU with Integral Coach Factory(ICF), Chennai for creating a Fuel Cell based Train Prototype.

SRM is a leading University engaged in quality research and ICF is a Production Unit under Ministry of Railways engaged in production of Coaches.

Fuel cells have higher efficiency than fossil fuel engines. These also operate silently, compared to internal combustion engines. Hydrogen based Fuel cells can also eliminate pollution caused by burning fossil fuels since they do not produce carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) when they are in use.

SRM will be responsible for conceptualizing and creating the energy storage systems including Fuel Cells, Batteries, Super Capacitors, DC/DC Convertors, and Control systems while ICF will develop the equipment beyond the DC link for the switcher in the coaches. The proposed fuel cell powered train will have Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) coupled with lithium ion batteries and super capacitors.

The main prototype should be developed and in place by December 2018 and the fuel cell driven passenger train is expected to operate for public transportation by December 2019.

“Hydrogen-based PEM Fuel Cell is one of the best renewable energy sources with increasing efficiency and with zero carbon dioxide emissions. Parallel development of fuel cell powered switcher coach of 100 horsepower as locomotive will be developed along with the passenger train with two coaches. Each coach of 65 passenger capacity operating at a speed of 75 kmph”, says Dr. D. Narayana Rao, Pro VC, SRM University, AP Amaravati.

MoU has been signed on Saturday, 24th February 2018 between Integral Coach Factory (ICF) and SRMIST, Chennai and SRM University, AP – Amaravati.

Rail Refurbishment Factory in Jhansi announced by Railway Minister in Investors’ Summit

Terming Uttar Pradesh as a growth engine, Union Railway and Coal minister Piyush Goyal declared several projects for the state including the setting up of a Rail refurbishment factory in Jhansi, a Rail auxiliary park in Fatehpur and converting the Mailani-Sitapur link connecting Dudhwa and Katarniya Ghat national parks as ‘Heritage Rail Track’.

The minister also announced that the capacity of Rail Coach Factory at Lalganj (Rae Bareli) of producing 600-700 coaches per year will be increased to 3000 coaches per annum the in next three years. Besides, the long pending promise of setting up an Electric Loco Shed in Gorakhpur would be taken up on a war footing.

Goyal made these announcements during a session on ‘Ease of doing business’ at the Investors Summit on Thursday, in the presence of Chief Minister Yogi Aditnayath.

The Railway minister said that the present meter gauge track connecting Dudhwa and Katarniya Ghat forest areas will be converted into heritage track and old coaches will be replaced by brand new coaches.

Talking about Refurbishment factory at Jhansi, he said that it would be set up in 300 acres of land which has already been acquired by the Railways.

“This Jhansi unit would be unique in the sense that it will refurbish general class coaches as till date only upper class coaches were refurbished by the Railways,” Goyal said.

“The Fatehpur auxiliary park will support the Railways. It will not only act as auxillary unit for Rail Coach Factory but also of Indian Railways,” he said.

Lauding Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Goyal said that there has been a paradigm shift in the quality of governance in UP in the last one year. “Yogi brought about a new meaning to development where superstition and myth has no place, “ he commented.

“No Chief Minister in the past dared to visit Noida but Yogi ji broke that jinx which shows the confidence he has. Come and invest in this state because UP is a modern state where the leadership thinks globally,” Goyal said adding that this was a safe state where law and order was guaranteed.

Terming the Investors Summit as a ‘Kumbh of investors’, the Railway minister said that it was a Kumbh of prosperity and entrepreneurs.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath thanked Goyal for attending the session and presented a detailed report on how the government has made ease of doing business in the state more investor- friendly.

“We worked on the law and order front and the result has been very encouraging. We also did lot in the area of ease of doing business and now UP is the seventh best destination in the country,” Yogi said.

Indian Railways to run 500 Special Trains to clear Holi rush

In order to clear the extra rush of passengers, the Indian Railways has decided to run 500 special trains during Holi. The Indian Railways has released a list of special trains for West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and UP.

This year Holi is being celebrated on March 2.

The additional trains by IRCTC will be running across Delhi, UP, Mumbai, Jammu, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Eastern Railways on Tuesday issued a statement saying that it will run 54 pairs of special trains during Holi to clear the festive rush.

Out of 54 pairs of Holi special trains, 5 will run between Howrah – Muzaffarpur, 4 between Howrah-Ramnagar and 45 between Bhagalpur – Saharsa stations.

The move is likely to benefit more than 7 Lakh passengers as they will now be able to enjoy the Holi festivities with there dear ones by reaching home ahead of the festival.

Railway officials said that this year, 60 more trains will run as compared to last year during Holi.

Last year, 440 special trains were put on tracks to clear Holi Rush

Last year, more than 6 lakh rail passengers benefitted with the special trains.

Railway’s focus this year is to cater to the huge demand for train reservations for Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

As per reports, the Central Railway will run 26 special trains, Western Railways 4, Northern Railways 270, NCR 4, NER 16, WCR 10, ER 10, ECR 140, SECR 4, SWR 4, SE 8, and SCR to run 2 special trains.

Meanwhile, the Indian Railways recently said that it will now focus more on upgrading the facilities of the second class and third class rail coaches, instead of adding more facilities in premium trains like Rajdhani or Shatabdi Express.

The announcement was made by Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal.

Goyal’s announcement came a few weeks after Budget 2018, where Finance Minister Arun Jaitley allocated a record Rs 1.48 lakh crore for the national transporter to raise its carrying capacity and improve the train travel experience.

Of this, Rs 1.46 lakh crore is the capital expenditure, while Rs 2,028 crore is to reimburse operating losses on strategic lines and reimburse Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation for the operational cost of e-ticketing.

50 Km More To Be Added To Kolkata Metro By 2021, Says Official

At least 50 kilometres of additional metro railway service will be added to the existing facilities in Kolkata by June 2021, Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani said today.

With issues like land acquisition and transfer, protection of heritage structures in the heart of city having been sorted out, work in several metro projects in and around Kolkata are in full swing, Mr Lohani told reporters.

 “The entire East West Metro route from Howrah Maidan to Salt Lake Sector V, Kavi Subhash to NSCBI Airport and a 9-km stretch from Joka to Majherhat in the Joka-BBD Bag route will be completed within approximately the next three years,” Mr Lohani said.

He said that completion of the new 50 km in addition to the existing 27-km stretch from Kavi Subhash to Noapara will go a long way in offering comfortable transportation to commuters who now avail suburban trains or other modes of transport.

The Salt Lake Sector V to Stadium stretch of East West Metro will be opened by Durga Puja in October this year, while infrastructure from stadium to Phoolbagan will be completed by March next year and passenger service will be started there by another few months, Metro Railway general manager Ajay Vijayvargiya said.

Mr Lohani, who visited the tunnels constructed under River Hooghly for the East West Metro corridor, said the crucial underground stretch from Barrabazar to Esplanade would be completed within the next three months.

This congested 3-km stretch passes underneath several heritage buildings and monuments in the Dalhousie area, one of the oldest office hubs in the country.

Stating that land acquisition in West Bengal was not a simple task, the Railway Board chairman said that with the Kolkata mayor having assured handing over of land soon for the Joka depot in the Joka-BBD Bag route, work on construction there would commence soon.

Mr Lohani said that work is in full swing for the metro projects in the city with most of the land-related issues having been sorted out.

Ahead Of Women’s Day, Breastfeeding Cabins To Come Up At Railway Stations

Ahead of The International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8, Indian Railways has taken a commendable step of setting up breastfeeding cabins at Kollam Railway Station in Kerala. The first cabin is a precursor to several such cabins that are likely to come up at Kerala railway stations.

In a tweet, ministry of railways has shared a news article highlights the news along with two pictures of the breastfeeding cabins.

The two cabins that have been set up at Kollam Railway Station were sponsored by Royal City as a part of the project’s first phase. The cabins are painted in pink colour and carry a representative of picture of a woman breastfeeding her child. Each cabin is equipped with a seat for mother, fan, and light. The cabin also provides a tiny space for stuffing the belongings temporarily. It took Royal City nearly Rs. 50,000 to set up the cabin.

The earlier plan was to set up these cabins near bus stops, but to prevent the cabins from being misused, the plan got shelved. Later, it was decided to set up the cabins at railway stations instead in Kerala.

What Is MDR? Railways Won’t Charge Passengers This Fee For Booking Tickets

Ministry of Railways in a statement on March 1 said Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) charges will not be levied on passengers for booking railway tickets (at the railway ticketing counters as well as through IRCTC ticketing website) on payment made through debit cards for a transaction value up to Rs. 1 lakh. Merchant discount rate or MDR is the amount that a merchant has to pay to its service providers when a consumer uses a debit card to pay for the transaction. IRCTC is the online ticketing arm of Indian Railways.

This is likely to make debit card payment for railway tickets slightly cheaper. The Ministry of Railways said that have been issued to the banks by the Ministry of Finance on February 26. This will further help in promoting digital and cashless transactions, the Railway said.

The Ministry of Railways in a statement said that it had “informed Department of Expenditure that all proceeds from sale of tickets through IRCTC website/counters go to Consolidated Fund of India through Ministry of Railways and such transactions should be considered as government receipts. The benefits on government transactions must be passed on to the public, and they should not face MDR charges while making payments to the government.”

 “From now on Merchant Discount Rate charges will not be levied on passengers for booking railway tickets through debit cards for a transaction value up to Rs. 1 lakh. The move will promote digital payments & help India move towards a less cash economy,” Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in a tweet.

The Railways also has initiated the facility of printing ticket details in local language on unreserved tickets issued through Unreserved Ticketing System (UTS) with first such language being Kannada. The facility was under testing at Mysuru, Bengaluru and Hubballi stations of South Western Railway with tickets being issued at these stations form one counter as trial. It will be extended to all other stations of Karnataka, the Railways said.

Andaman Rail project: Railways Green Signal for 240km BG Rail Line between Port Blair-Diglipur to open up Tourism Avenues

As the overland connectivity in Andaman and Nicobar islands is poised to get a boost, with the Railway Ministry green-signaling for construction of a Railway Line linking Port Blair with Diglipur, the largest town of North Andaman Island, the tourism avenues especially along the Jarawa reserve areas is going to open up anew and in the context of the jubilating fact that the number of Jarawas presently are on the rise.

Currently, travel within the archipelago is possible only by road and sea. The journey between Port Blair and Diglipur via the 350 km Andaman Trunk Road (ATR) takes nearly 14 hours, while the ferry takes a whole day. By comparison, travel via the proposed 240km broad-gauge railway line will take just three hours.

A 240-KM broad-gauge railway line connecting two major islands, with bridges and stations along the coast, will be part of an ambitious rail link connecting Port Blair with Diglipur on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands a first in the country that will bring the archipelago on the rail map.

This is in addition to alternate sea route to Baratang Island inaugurated by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport, Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga rejuvenation Shri Nitin Gadkari recently.

The sea route to Baratang will provide an alternative to the National Highways-4 route that linked Baratang to Port Blair, passing through the Jarawa Tribal Reserve. This sea route will thus help promote tourism, especially that of Jarwa sighting tourism without disturbing this negrito aborigine, whose life is basically a nomadic one.

And here the statistics provided by Chief Secretary, Andaman and Nicobar Administration, Shri Anindo Majumdar requires to be mentioned. It says, the total number of Jarawas at present is 500.

However, the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs puts the figure as 380. The A&N Administration has opened various channels of communication with the Jarawas so as to find out their present concerns as well as their future needs within the framework of Government policy, particularly the Jarawa Policy as enumerated in 2004.

This has yielded promising results in terms of the communities’ greater confidence in sharing information relating to poaching, encroachment and other forms of abuse they have had to face. Besides, in order to ensure a rich resource of forest based traditional food like wild pig, turtle, honey and fish etc, the Jarawa reserve area has been increased from 847 to 1028 Sq. kms. Exclusive marine resource base has also been increased by declaring coastal water up to 5 km from High Tide Line as tribal reserve.

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According to an internal survey report of the ministry, the cost of the line will be Rs 2,413.68 crore with a negative rate of return on investment of -9.64 per cent. The Railways considers a line to be commercially viable if this figure is at least a positive of 12 per cent. But the ministry is set to approve this project owing to its “uniqueness and strategic importance”, according to documents.

The ministry’s Planning and Finance directorates cleared the project last week saying it is desirable because “it is unique, away from the mainland, and has tourism potential.”

Giving a fillip to the rail link, the Union Territory administration has agreed to share 50 per cent of the project’s operational cost — or loss.

“As soon as the line is commissioned, tourism will see a jump from the current 4.5 lakh visitors a year to around 6 lakh a year, as per our estimates. So even though the railway survey shows a negative return, our assessment is otherwise. However, we have agreed to share the operational losses, if any,” Jagdish Mukhi, Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, told The Indian Express.

According to the UT administration, the line has tourism potential and is of “immense strategic value” to the defence forces because Diglipur is just 300 km by sea from the southern coast of Myanmar — a broad-gauge train line from Port Blair to Diglipur will take three hours at the most.

The Railways’ Planning wing has suggested that the project may be taken up as part of the strategic lines it will build for Defence ministry, such as those in the border regions of the Northeast. The Finance arm has said that it may be taken up as a national project, like the Kashmir link, in which the general exchequer is billed. The Railway Board will take a final view on this issue soon.

The initial survey for the proposed line was completed in December 2014 but the plan was dropped. Last year, the project received a fresh push when the Railways updated the survey and the UT administration said it would chip in.

Among the major tourist attractions in Diglipur are the Ross and Smith islands. “These are just two of the main attractions. Lakhs of tourists take great pains to reach there from Port Blair every year. With the railway line in place, that part essentially become a part of the capital, beneficial to tourists, local residents and the defence forces,” said Mukhi.

Mega Solar RFPs: Indian Railways to issue Tenders for setting up of Solar Power Plants on its Unused Railway Lands

The Indian Railways will call tenders to award contracts to set up 3,000 mw of solar power projects on its unused land, rail and coal minister Piyush Goyal said.

State-run lignite miner and power producer Nyveli Lignite Corporate India will also bid aggressively for the contracts, the minister said while addressing the media on Tuesday.

NLC entered the renewable energy sector with the commissioning of a 140 mw solar photo voltaic power plant at Neyveli and another 51 mw wind energy plant, also in Tamil Nadu. “In renewable energy, they already have about 191 mw today. It will become 300 mw by March 2018 and by 2025 it’s actually 4,251mw that they are planning. So almost 24% of their 13,700 mw capacity will be renewable energy,” the minister said.

Union minister Piyush Goyal said state-owned NLC India plans to aggressively bid for Indian railways’ solar projects. “Indian railways plans to have a bidding process to soon come out for expanding solar footprint of railways where NLC India Ltd is also having very aggressive plans and will be bidding very aggressively to try and get those contracts through the bidding process,” the Railways Minister told reporters here.

The company, he said, was now investing in solar projects so that it becomes a serious player in the renewable energy sector.

“They (NLC India) are also having discussion and dialogues with Indian Railways,” Goyal, who also holds coal portfolio, said.

The company forayed into the renewable energy sector with the commissioning of a 140 mw solar photo voltaic power plant at Neyveli and a 51 mw wind energy plant in Tamil Nadu. “In renewable energy, they already have about 191 mw today. It will become 300 mw by March 2018; and by 2025 it’s actually 4,251 mw that they are planning. So almost 24 per cent of their 13,700 mw will be renewable energy,” the minister said.

The minister also urged the West Bengal government to accord approval for transfer of DVC’s Raghunathpur power project to NLC India Ltd. “There is also a discussion going on…for transferring the Rahunathpur power plant from DVC to NLC India Ltd for which we are awaiting approval from government of West Bengal for almost two years…I would urge the West Bengal government to give us approval so that we can transfer the Raghunathpur power plant,” Goyal stressed. “If they (West Bengal government) had given us permission two years ago by now we would have actually started Raghunathpur plant and it would have started serving the people of India,” the minister said.

NLC India posted a 96% increase in net profit at Rs 2,368 crore for the fiscal year ended March 2018. Its turnover grew 30% to Rs 8,672 crore.
Its mining capacity increased from 41.6 million tonnes a year as of March 2014 to 61.6 mtpa in January 2018.

Goyal said the company last year made its highest ever contribution to national exchequer — Rs 4,965 crore, or two-and-half times the previous year.