Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railway Jobs Tsunami: Job aspirants protest against reducing Age Limit & making ITI Certificate mandatary

Thousands of job aspirants for the recently advertised railway Group D recruitments, blocked the railway track at Ara railway station for almost five hours on Friday to protest against reducing the age limit for recruitment in Indian Railways and making ITI certificate mandatory to apply.Ara station master SK Jain said, “The job aspirants squatted on the railway tracks from 8.35 am till 1.30 pm on Friday.

As a result many trains were stranded at different stations.Though we accepted their memorandum in the morning and assured to convey their grievances to higher authorities, agitating students refused to budge.

”While 12 mail and express trains were detained, at least five local passenger trains remained stranded at different stations. According to railway sources, the long distance express trains which were affected due to agitation included New Delhi – Rajgir Shramjeevi Express, Patna -Vasco da Gama Express, Vikramshila Express, New Delhi- Malda Town Express, Danapur- Secunderabad Express, Bhagalpur -Anand Vihar Express, Patliputra-Lokmanya Tialk Mumbai Express, Seemanchal Express, Bhramputra Mail and Patna-Indore Express, sources said adding five local passenger trains mostly MEMU were also detained by the agitators.Police and district administration officials including Sadar SDPO Sanjay Kumar, Sadar SDO Arun Prakash also reached the spot and tried to persuade the agitating students but in vain.

The demonstrators shouted slogans against the central government and displayed posters that read “hum pakoda nahi bechenge”, “protest against surgical strike on railway job aspirants”, “notify more jobs in Railways”. The protest left nearly a dozen police officials injured and services on the Patna-Mughalsarai section of the East Central Railway paralysed.”Students pelted stones at the police when officers tried to disperse them in which nearly a dozen of them were injured,” a district police official said.

The police opened fire to disperse the protesters after they damaged the engine of a passenger train and tried to ransack the railway station. The blockade was lifted at about 1.30 pm after police chased away them away.


Indian Railways has announced more than 1 lakh jobs which was notified in RailNews ( that will be available for high school pass-outs to engineers.  The railway ministry has issued notification for around 65,000 jobs in Group D category that includes Trackmen, Gangman, and another notification for hiring 27000 personal as Locomotive Pilots and Assistant Loco Pilots. The minimum qualification required for these jobs is high school pass and ITI diploma, and the last date for filing application is March 12.

Indian Railways is among the largest employers in the world with a workforce of 13 lakh employees. The national transporter is sprucing up its safety infrastructure by hiring more gangmen. Around 1.2 lakh positions related to safety are currently lying vacant.

Union Budget 2018-19 has for the first time outlined jobs/mandays that government’s infrastructure development projects and social welfare schemes can generate. An ET analysis of the Budget has shown that at least five million jobs will be created, absorbing nearly half of the 10 million people who enter the country’s workforce annually.

These projects and schemes include construction of national highways, railway tracks, building toilets under the ‘Swachh Bharat’ mission and rural houses under MGNREGS, creation of cold chains and food parks and the extended ‘Pradhan Mantri Rojgar Protsahan Yojana’.

The pace of job creation is often considered an important barometer of the government’s performance. Industry estimates that in FY12-16, India created 3.65 million new jobs a year.

Central Railway passes Order to shut 139-year-old Railway Workshop at Parel

Work on one of the most ambitious projects, of building a mega outstation rail terminal at Parel that will change the face of the city, has gathered momentum after budget announcement with the first step taken – Central Railway has an issued letter to the Railway Board for the closure of the 139-year-old Parel workshop with an elaborate action plan to shift its activities elsewhere.

With Mumbai CSMT saturated and LTT station too out of the way for passengers on the Western Railway, CR’s idea to build a mega outstation train terminus complex at Parel in South Mumbai, at the site of the existing workshop, had received a boost in this year’s budget with fund allocation of Rs.193 crore. In the letter issued to the Railway Board a fortnight ago, CR has discussed in detail how the activities at Parel workshop could be distributed to other workshops before shutting it down.

Passing the parcel

Originally, it was at Parel workshop that work on the maintenance of the new LHB coaches was proposed at a cost of Rs.88.14 crore; now kept on hold, and given the inadequate space at Matunga, the work is likely to be shifted to Nagpur. The work of maintaining the heavy 149-ton crane, diesel engines and accident relief and tower cars could be taken up at Ajmer, and the manufacturing of narrow-gauge locomotives that Parel used to do will be taken up at Kurduwadi, with the proposed work of maintenance of wagons at Kurduwadi shifted to Badnera. The new terminus at Parel will not only have passenger platforms, but also a huge maintenance yard for trains. It will be linked with the new fifth and sixth lines between Kurla and Parel, work on which is on. This is in addition to the work on Parel local train terminus, which too is underway.

Rs.193 Crore: Funds allocated for Parel train terminus complex project
139 Years: Age of the Parel railway workshop.

This is the only workshop, other than the Diesel Locomotive Works and Chittaranjan Locomotive Works, which builds diesel locomotives.

ndian Railways that carry around 12 million passengers every day has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 160 years. Indian Railways, which had a modest beginning in 1853, has since then been an integral part of the nation, making the country proud of manufacturing all the engines and coaches locally. To understand the activities taking place in Central Railway’s Locomotive Workshop at Parel in Mumbai, RailNews visited the work spot recently; it took nearly 4 hours to cover the workshop and understand the activities taking place there.

The Parel workshop, one of India’s oldest railway workshops, diversified over the years, and, at present, is also carrying out the repair and overhauling of diesel locomotives, diesel cranes and rehabilitation of mainline coaches. It also manufactures many components for diesel locos, carriages and wagon. The workshop successfully manufactured narrow-gauge locos for the Neral-Matheran section and the Kalka-Simla section.

Normally, each workshop is specialised in any one area – either coach building or engine manufacturing or refurbishing of engines and coaches. But the Parel workshop currently manufactures and overhauls broad and narrow gauge locomotives, carries out refurbishing and overhaul of coaches and 140 tonne accident relief cranes as well.

History of Locomotive Manufacturing

The Parel Locomotive Workshop, established in 1879 as a steam locomotive repair unit, has now diversified and started manufacturing shunting type locomotives from 2007 by supplying it to Steel Authority of India Limited for their entire in-campus requirements.

Later, it bagged orders from major power plants, ports, rail yards and logistics providers across the country and received orders for more than 190 locomotives. Till date, it has manufactured 155 shunting locomotives to become the largest manufacturer of such locos in India.

The workshop also manufactures diesel locomotives for the hill railways. The first locomotive manufactured by Parel workshop ran between Neral and Matheran, a quaint hill station near Mumbai. The locomotive is uniquely designed to negotiate the sharp hairpin curves of the hills, by an articulated design inspired from the German Arn-Jung locomotives. It has 2 Cummins NT-495 model diesel engines with hydraulic transmission units manufactured by Allison Transmission. So far it has manufactured and supplied 23 locomotives to the hill railways.

Under-Frame Construction

The entire engine and the driver cabin are fitted over the under-frame. The under frame is manufactured with the help of high grade steel structure and joined by CO2 welding. CO2 welding is preferred in manufacturing locomotives since the weld metal will not be affected by oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere. After welding, the deposition efficiency is high and slag formation little, which makes it unnecessary to remove the slag after each cycle; this is the main reason why CO2 welding is preferred for underframe construction. After manufacturing the under-frame, the entire unit is transferred to the assembly line where other major components are fitted in.

Bogey Construction

Bogies are considered the main part of a locomotive, as the wheel sets with the axle box and traction motors and suspensions are fixed in. Each locomotive has 24 primary suspensions, 16 secondary suspensions and 8 vertical shock absorbers. The wheels and axles sourced from the Bonatrans Group are checked for nomenclature and finally painted and polished before going into the assembly line. Normally, all the trains run on steel wheels to bear the entire weight and reduce rolling friction. Once the wheel sets come into the assembly line, the axle box and traction motors are fitted. Each bogey has 6 sets of wheels, with individual traction motors and axle boxes. Each of its 6 wheel sets or 12 individual wheels drive the locomotive. But these massive 21 tonne bogies are not rigidly fixed to the frame of the loco; it has been constructed as body-onframe chassis.


Diesel or Electric in future Railway Transportation – Questions of Infra costs, Logistics & Flexibility for Railways

The chief of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Bibek Debroy has now presented a paper saying the policy of 100 per cent electrification needs more study.

Last year, the government decided to electrify the entire broad gauge network of the Indian Railways by 2022. Over the years, the rate at which electrification has progressed has been determined both by how much money has been available, as well as the returns on investment that the Railways got from operations on these lines. The more the traffic, the better are the returns on electrified routes.

However, all electrified routes also ran diesel trains because in a network that has both tractions, total segregation is neither possible nor viable. The chief of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Bibek Debroy has now presented a paper saying the policy of 100% electrification needs more study.

Electrification is cheaper, but…

Globally, the cost of operations has been cheaper on electrified routes. However, for it to be cheaper than diesel traction in the overall transport economics, the total traffic on that route must cross a certain threshold of Gross Tonne Kilometres (GTKM). This is the unit of measurement of total weight of locomotives and coaches carried per kilometre in a year on a route. A committee of experts headed by retired Railway Board Member (Traffic) C M Khosla determined that value at 53 GTKM in 2002. The World Bank has in the past suggested around 52 GTKM.

This is because unlike diesel, an electric engine requires heavy overhead equipment to run. Capital expenditure for this electrification is over Rs 1 crore per kilometre. The only way to recover this cost is by running trains — and if the number of trains does not cross a certain threshold, the calculation for the transporter goes into negative territory. On that parameter, the average GTKM value of currently electrified routes is around 45.

It, therefore, makes more sense to electrify routes that see heavy traffic volumes — which is what the Railways have done over the years. This is also why there is no talk of electrifying the 2,000-odd km of metre gauge and narrow gauge lines; the stress is more on converting them to broad gauge first. For the same reason, of the 22,019 km of the busiest double/multiple lines, a little over 82% already stand electrified. And everyone seems to agree that electrifying the remaining 3,842 km is a good idea.

The single-line problem

Of the 67,000-odd route km of railway network (narrow, meter gauges included), 39,658 km are single lines with mostly very poor train traffic volumes, almost less than half of the heavy-density electrified routes. This portion also includes the “uneconomic branch lines”. When the Railways say they wants to electrify the entire broad gauge network, they mostly mean the remaining single lines on the network.

Due to the poor density of both freight and passenger traffic, the Railways have not found financial justification for the electrification of these routes. Data show only 28%, or 7,190 km, of single lines are electrified — that too, due to operational reasons. With the stress on network capacity expansion, most single lines may be doubled in the future. However, the doubling will have a bearing on easing operational bottlenecks more than increasing traffic volumes — which is mainly determined by economic activity.

So the dilemma is, should the Railways also electrify these routes at a projected loss?

The cost breakup

The Railways spend around Rs 16,000 crore in diesel bills, and around Rs 10,000 crore in power bills, annually. It buys diesel at state rates, and power at an average per-unit cost of Rs 6.50.

Of the Rs 16,000 crore diesel bill, around Rs 8,000 crore are taxes. While the tax component varies from state to state, the Railways on average pay around 53% of the total diesel bill as taxes. Electric traction is more or less tax-neutral. The transporter is also purchasing directly from power producers at best-available rates per unit.

So, half of the money the Railways want to save is taxes ploughed into the economy that go into welfare schemes of the state, while most of the rest go to oil PSUs.

Also, stakeholders say, if GST is implemented on diesel, the Rs 8,000 crore the Railways pay in taxes would be almost halved even if the rate is 28%. It remains to be seen if the Railways wait for the government’s GST move before taking a final call on the choice of traction.

The power gain

The biggest argument put forth in favour of total electrification is the yearly saving to the tune of Rs 8,000-10,000 crore on the fuel bill. However, calculated at present rates, the total capital cost of electrification could be around Rs 40,000 crore. The cost of replacing the current fleet of around 5,800 diesel locomotives could be around Rs 50,000 crore. Taken with the maintenance infrastructure needed, the total figure may be Rs 1 lakh crore.

The Railways would have to borrow much of this money, while factoring in the cost of depreciation of assets. The servicing of this debt is an issue that needs to be looked at closely, experts say.

Environment, flexibility

If the Railways consume around 2,776 million litres of diesel, they currently require around 15,000 units of electricity, mostly coal-based thermal power. Total electrification might require the generation of an estimated 1,800 MW of additional power. The Railways have traditionally justified dual traction of diesel and electric on a variety of grounds, including, importantly, operational flexibility. During times of disaster or war, diesel engines have been more reassuring. While talking about 100% electrification, policymakers have discussed keeping a small fleet of diesel locomotives handy for such purposes.

Indian Railways to build modern Signalling System

The railways ministry is planning to build a modern signalling system on the lines of European Train Control System with a view to mitigating safety risk, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said today.

He said the development, once in place, would also help control crime and make train travel safer in the country.

“To make Indian railways safe, I am planning to build the most modern signalling system through the entire railways network in India which will mean over 1.18 lakh kms of railways on the line of European Train Control System (ETCS),” he said.

The minister was speaking at a Mahindra Group event here.

Goyal said that today only 20,000 kms of railways line in the world has such an advanced safety mechanism in place.

“And we are embarking on a plan to do six times that in the next six years,” he said, adding that the entire network would be connected with wifi.

Through the wifi-enabled stations, the local population would also benefit “from the connected world”.

When asked if autonomous mobility in terms of public transport would lead to unemployment, the minister said, “every country will have to adopt to what is the most essential for that country. So really, India doesn’t need driverless cars”.

Primary health centres at 7,000 Railway Stations soon

Indian Railways may soon unveil primary healthcare centres along with Jan Aushadhi stores and sanitary pad vending machines at around 7,000 stations across the country as part of efforts to boost the national healthcare plan proposed in Budget 2018-19.

The railways ministry has proposed that its infrastructure be used for providing primary healthcare services at affordable prices.

“We have got a robust network across the country including in villages that can be used by the Centre to take the preventive and primary healthcare to the last mile,” said a senior railways ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.

The railways ministry is working with the health and family welfare ministry to chalk out details of the plan, which could entail inviting private sector participation for setting up basic diagnostic centres.

“There’s a proposal to use retired doctors and ex-army hospital staff for the purpose,” the official said.

To begin with, the railways plans to immediately set up sanitary pad vending machines at stations across the country.

Bangladesh Railway implementing 12 projects under first Indian LoC

Bangladesh Railway (BR) is implementing 12 projects under the first Indian Line of Credit (LoC).

Three other projects will be implemented under the second LoC of Indian soft loan while two more projects under the third LoC, according an official release issued here on Thursday

An evaluation meeting on the progress of the projects undertaken by the Bangladesh Railway under the Indian soft loan LoC was held at the Railway Bhaban here on Thursday, the release said.

Railways Minister Mujibul Haque chaired the meeting that was attended by Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Moshiur Rahman, among others.

According to the release, detailed discussions on the projects being implemented under Indian finance, particularly under the first LoC, were held in the meeting. Project-wise discussion was also held on problems and the way out, it said.

123 Year Old Udvada Railway Station to be Redeveloped as a Pilgrimage Destination for Parsis

A 123 year old railway station serving Udvada in the Valsad district of Gujarat is all set to get a makeover. The Udvada station – that acts as a gateway to the Atash Behram or Iranshah, among the oldest and holiest fire temples for Zoroastrians in India – will be remodeled by Western Railways (WR) to become a pilgrimage destination station.

The railway station was originally built in 1895 and owing to its location witnesses thousands of pilgrims visiting the agiary. However, it has been unable to handle the load, leading to several accidents. In response to this, WR had sanctioned the construction of a foot-overbridge (FOB) for passengers and upgraded the station’s platforms.

However, a new plan from the Railways seeks to change the face of the station altogether. WR has called for tenders to remodel the station with a Parsi heritage design featuring bricks, teak wood doors and and Mangalore tiles. Other proposals include murals on the walls and heritage benches and domes along with a slew of upgrades for regular facilities including toilets, drinking water and more