Indian Railways News

RInfra makes foray into Railway Biz space; wins Rs.774 crore EPC Contract from RVNL

Reliance Infrastructure Ltd (RInfra) said it has entered the railways’ EPC segment by winning a project worth Rs 774 crore from RVNL.

The company said it has received “the Letter of Award (LOA) from Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) for its maiden railway project worth Rs 774 crore for the construction of third rail line between Jimidipeta and Gotlam on East Coast Railway on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis”. Jimidipeta-Gotlam Railway route falls on the Waltair Division of East Coast Railway.

The 105 km-long line will run in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, it said, adding that the scope of work includes civil, track, electrification, signalling and telecom works. It also includes construction of 13 railway stations and staff quarters.

The other bidders in the fray were L&T and NCC, the company said.

The Railway line between Jimidipeta to Gotlam is part of Titlagarh-Vizianagaram section. At present, Titlagarh-Vizianagaram is a double line (electrified) track section of Jharsuguda- Visakhapatnam line.

It is an important rail link between Jharsuguda and Visakhapatnam, and serves as a bypass Rail link to Howrah-Mumbai trunk route and Howrah-Chennai main line of East Coast region.

It also caters to the goods and passenger traffic from Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur and Raygada with Koraput on the Kottavalsa-Kirandaul line. The line traverses through Western Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. This line will lead to development around the entire area, the company said.

Reliance Infrastructure EPC CEO, Arun Gupta, said: “This order marks our foray into Railway EPC segment… The company is well positioned in the emerging railway market and poised to capture a sizable share.

Cornet Technology announces successful commissioning of pilot project on Train Control Communication System

Cornet Technology announces the successful commissioning the pilot project on Train Control Communication System (TCCS) for Indian Railways under RDSO in cooperation with Cornet Technology (India) and Bitcom Technologies (India).

The new IP-based TCCS voice communications system surpasses the existing legacy system by allowing personnel at train stations and way stations to communicate and conference using customized phone terminals over a modern IP infrastructure with recording capabilities in a user-friendly manner.

The new system leverages the Indian Railways’ IP networks to lower the cost of ownership while greatly increasing reliability and capability. The Cornet Technology system can also be introduced as a technology insertion to bridge existing railway systems to Indian Railways’ IP infrastructure.

“We consider the TCCS to be mission critical and vital for train operations and look forward to this system to benefit the entire Indian Railways in the near future. We are excited to a part of Indian Railways’ modernization plans,” said V. Ramgopal, President of Cornet Technology (India).

About Cornet Technology, Inc. 

Cornet Technology, Inc. is a leading C4ISR and tactical communications equipment supplier to the defense and industrial customers in the United States and overseas. Cornet’s solutions deliver voice/video/data communications and video management solutions to some of the world’s most exacting users. Headquartered outside of Washington DC, Cornet Technology has wholly owned subsidiaries in Frankfurt (Germany), Tokyo (Japan), and Chennai (India).

More information on CTI’s products and services is available at the CTI web site http://www.cornet.com

Mumbai-based Capsule Hotel firm ‘Urbanpod’ looking to introduce Capsule Hotels at Railway Stations

A year after launch, India’s first capsule hotel firm Urbanpod Ltd is gearing up to expand its presence across the country.

The Mumbai-based firm is looking to introduce capsule hotels at railway stations and pilgrimage centres across the country. They are also called pod hotels, a term derived from their pod-sized rooms fitted with a bed.

Urbanpod—which launched its first 140-pod property in Mumbai’s Andheri in March last year—is planning to introduce the concept in eight more locations including the National Capital Region centred on New Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai, taking it to around 800 pods in the next two years.

To finance expansion, Urbanpod is seeking investments around Rs.20 crore from venture capitalists.

Urbanpod co-founder Hiren Gandhi said in an interview that Mumbai-based merchant bank Ashika Group has been hired for its fund-raising plan.

“Going forward, we see a huge potential with the rising real estate prices. Not only in metros, we are looking at pilgrimages, where are there different sorts of travellers. We are also trying to work something with the city railways,” Gandhi said, adding that the capsule hotel company is also looking for franchisee partners.

Gandhi said the company has participated in the bidding process run by the Indian Railways to privatize retiring rooms at various railway stations.

Besides, it is also in discussions for a potential partnership with individual and private companies which have already won the bidding for some of the railway locations, he added.

“So far, we have considered 3-4 different railway locations mainly in business districts where there will be a lot of business travellers. We will be participating in the bidding as and when the Indian Railways comes up for privatisation of the retiring rooms at the stations. We are looking at around 35 railway stations in the next five years,” Gandhi said.

While pods at its Andheri property are available for between Rs.1,000 and Rs.3,000 per night, the company is also contemplating whether it should rent them out on an hourly basis, particularly at transit places like railway stations.

A concept which took birth in Japan, pod hotels have become popular in other Asian countries including China, Taiwan and Singapore.

Citing WiseGuy Research Consultants, Forbes in a September 2017 report estimated that the global capsule hotels market stood at $159 million in 2016 and expected it to reach $226 million by the end of 2022, growing at an annual average growth rate of 6.03% over the course of the six-year period.

“Such products are likely to be successful in high concentration and high population markets,” said Achin Khanna, managing partner (strategic adviser), Hotelivate, a hotel consultancy firm.

“In India, places like Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai, may find some demand of such pod hotels, particularly in the very heart of the cities. So, the audience which would probably see value would be people who go to high concentration cities and who do not want to pay so much for a hotel,” Khanna added.

Land for Kazipet Periodic Wagon Overhauling Workshop yet to be handed over by the State Government: says RVNL

The construction of Periodical Overhauling (POH) workshop for the railways at Kazipet has not happened even two years after the proposal was approved. The Centre had allotted Rs 200 crore in the current financial year.

The railways  in a letter to the state government had said it was prepared to invite tenders for the constructing of the workshop once the land was handed over. The Centre had sanctioned the POH workshop at Kazipet in 2016-17 at a cost of Rs 269.78 crore. Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL) was to be the executing agency and it was waiting for the land to be handed over.

According to the schedule, construction was to be completed by March 2019. The state government had allotted 160 acres to be given free of cost to the railways. But some farmers filed court cases against this land allotment. Unless these cases were cleared, the railways could not take up construction.

It sought settlement of the cases by district authorities. Funds were not an issue since the railway ministry had allotted Rs 200 crore in the budget for the project. Recently, TRS MPs  discussed this project with South Central railway officials and requested them to take up the project at the earliest.

Ministry of Railways vies to put Rail Varsity on ‘Institution of Eminence’ List

NEW DELHI / VADODARA: Days before the National Rail and Transport University (NRTU) is set to commence classes for its first batch from August 1 this year, the Ministry of Railways is already vying to put the country’s first rail university on the list of elite institutions, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plan to develop it as an ‘institution of eminence.’

During a meeting with the Railway Board last month, the PM said the rail university should be developed as an ‘institution of eminence’ – one of the top 20 Indian higher education centres – so that it was on the list of top 500 institutes globally within 10 years, and among top 100 eventually.

According to sources, the PM was informed at the meet that the Ministry of Railways was already preparing to present its case on the matter before the University Grant Commission’s empowered expert committee (EEC), which is tasked to select 10 public and 10 private institutes to be developed as ‘institutions of eminence.’ The UGC has already assessed the infrastructure preparedness on the ground, sources in Vadodara told.

While a decision to include a institute on the elite list lies with the UGC committee, officials said the effort for the same has been underway from the beginning to raise the bar of university which is essentially the PM’s brainchild.

In fact, ever since Modi tasked the Railways with the job to create a university in 2014 for modern research and manpower capacity building in the transport sector, the Rail Bhawan has been struggling to give the job a shape.

Sources say, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and the Railway Board under Chairman Ashwani Lohani made it a top priority project soon after assuming office last year. After the Union Cabinet approved the project to set up the NRTU on the National Academy of Indian Railways campus in Vadodara, Gujarat, in December last year, Lohani has been personally monitoring the progress, sources said. The physical progress recently got a thumbs up from the Prime Minister.

Indian Railways marching towards Good Times: Umesh Chowdhary, Vice-Chairman & MD/Titagarh Wagons

KOLKATA: In what could be seen as a definitive sign of an uptick in freight movement, Indian Railways has revised its wagon requirement to 15,000 during the current year, which is almost double the actual procurement of 8,000 in the last fiscal. The revised requirement is also higher than 12,000 indicated earlier. Finance minister Arun Jaitley had said in his Budget speech that 12,000 wagons, 5,160 coaches and approximately 700 locomotives are to be procured during this financial year.

According to Indian Railways officials and industry players, the upward revision has been triggered by an improved demand from existing Railways network. This, without considering major upcoming projects like dedicated freight corridors.“As per traffic data, the annual requirement of around 15,000-plus wagons is projected in 2018-19,” an official of Railway Board’s store directorate said in a recent meeting to decide on the Railways’s requirements for the current financial year.

According to the official, this revision has been triggered by improved loading of freight on wagons.

Improvement in demand for more wagons comes from increased economic activities, said industry players.

“The railway traffic is showing a healthy growth. This (revision in target) is primarily for the existing railway network and not for projects like dedicated freight corridor,” Umesh Chowdhary, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director, Titagarh Wagons told.

The steep surge in demand has come after a subdued procurement of just around 8,000 wagons in the previous year from various manufacturers across both public as well as private sector, while the target was set at 12,000 units.

With work on eastern and western dedicated freight corridors in full swing, the demand for wagons is set to swell in the coming days.

The initial requirement for specialised wagons for the dedicated freight corridor is expected to flow in the next two to three quarters along with orders for coaches from three to four metro railways projects across the country.

Railways’s last wagon order, for about 9500 units, was issued in January.

Konkan Railway announce NTPC jobs for more than hundred posts

Konkan Railway Corporation Limited has announced NTPC jobs for more than hundred posts. The recruitment to the Non-Technical Popular Categories (NTPC) will be for the States of Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka; preference will be given to the Land Loser candidates (candidates whose land has been acquired for the railway project of Konkan Railway Corporation Limited). Vacancies are available for the posts of Station Master, Goods Guard, Accounts Assistant and Senior Clerk. Applicants must be in the age group of 18-33 years (5 years relaxation in upper age limit for SC/ ST candidates; 3 years for OBC non creamy candidates). The last day to apply is 12 May 2018.

For the recruitment, graduates are eligible to apply. Computer based test (CBT), for the selection, will be held in June 2018. The CBT is of screening nature and the standard of questions for the CBT will be generally in conformity with the educational standards as mentioned. The exam will be of 90 minutes and candidates shall have to attempt 100 questions in the given time. The qualifying marks for the exam is 50% for reserved category and 40% for others.

In March 2018, Konkan Railway Corporation Limited had announced for Technician recruitment for land loser candidates. The registration portal is open till 30 April. A total of 65 vacancies are open for recruitment for Electrician III/ Electrical and Electrical Signal and Telecom Maintainer (ESTM) -III post. Applicants must be in the age group of 18-30 years. Candidate must have 10th pass qualification with ITI in the Electrician/ Wireman/ Mechanic HT, LT Equipment’s and Cable Jointing/ Electronics Mechanic. Matriculates with CCAA in the above mentioned trades are also eligible to apply.

NTCA rejectes Hubballi-Ankola Broad Gauge Railway Line

In a major set back to Railways, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has rejected the proposed 168.28-km broad gauge railway line from Hubballi (South Western Railway) to Ankola (Konkan Railway) as it passes though dense forest cover of the Western Ghats comprising three elephant corridors, a tiger reserve and a wildlife sanctuary. This region is a biodiversity hotspot and a world heritage site and the project, if implemented, NTCA says will fragment the old migration path of elephants and break the habitat connectivity of tiger reserves.

Last July, the Regional Empowered Committee (REC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests (MoEF) had recommended stage-1 clearance for the project, however, with many conditions. The REC had asked the Railways to go in for more tunnels. So the new proposal submitted by Railways included 34 tunnels and nine stations but requiring more forest land.

Also, REC asked them to revise the mitigation measures being taken, including construction of underpasses for wildlife. At the 48th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board of Wildlife held on Wednesday under the chairmanship of Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan, the IGF (WL), MoEF, informed that the ‘site inspection committee’ of NTCA had not recommended the project and rejected it.

According to the IGF (WL), the project involves diversion of cumulative forest land of 595.64 hectare area from three elephant corridors for the construction of this broad gauge line. The IGF (WL) added, “State chief wildlife warden had recommended the proposal with the condition that the mitigation measures suggested by IISc, Bengaluru, must be strictly implemented. The official had stated that post-facto approval of the project will be taken in the forthcoming meeting of the Karnataka State Wildlife Board.”

Wildlife experts had noted that out of the six tiger occupied landscapes of India, currently the Western Ghats landscape is highly dynamic and shows spatial and temporal variation. Moreover, recent research has highlighted that future of tigers in India depends on conserving the habitat connectivity of isolated tiger population of tiger reserves.

Welcoming the move, wildlife activist Giridhar Kulkarni said, “I request the Centre to scrap the project as it will have an everlasting and adverse impact on the precious biodiversity.”

SERIOUS ECO-CONSEQUENCES

  • 596 ha deforestation
  • Loss of wildlife habitats
  • Felling of two lakh trees
  • 34 tunnels and 9 stations requiring more forest lands

Railways to introduce the Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) Services to Kerala to boost trade and commerce

The railway is about to introduce the Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) services to Kerala to transport goods lorries across the state. The Southern Railway’s Palakkad division is expected to host the first Ro-Ro centre in Kerala, though the merchant community in Kannur has been lobbying to set up the centre in Kannur to benefit from the proximity of an upcoming airport and port.

The office-bearers of the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce had petitioned the Southern Railway to introduce the system in the Kannur South railway station. The railway officials visited Kannur to hold talks with the stakeholders.

Konkan’s Ro-Ro

The Ro-Ro system was introduced by the Konkan Railway to ease goods traffic in western India. The railway offers to transport goods-laden lorries across long distance routes. A train could carry 30 to 40 lorries and drop them at predetermined stations.

The system saves fuel costs for the lorry operators and spares the drivers the trouble of negotiating through congested cities and towns. Many cities have banned lorries within their core areas during the day to ease traffic on roads. The Ro-Ro system could save transporters time.

The system could also help Kerala by reducing the number of vehicles on roads and bringing down the chances of road accidents.

The Konkan Railway started Ro-Ro in 1999. Stations at Suratkal, Madgaon and Karad have facilities to load and offload lorries. Many of the lorries carrying goods from Kerala to north Indian destinations are loaded onto a train at Suratkal and driven off at Karad, ensuring a smooth journey for 600 kilometres.

Decongesting Delhi roads

The Indian Railways have introduced a similar system in the Delhi zone on a trial basis last year. The Ro-Ro train plies between Gurugram in Haryana and Murad Nagar in Uttar Pradesh.

Town planners in Delhi have been asking for such a service for decades to do keep away the huge fleet of lorries criss-crossing the capital every day. More than 60,000 lorries cram Delhi roads on any given day but not even a third of them are Delhi-bound. The drivers have no other option but to slug it out on the city roads on their way to other destinations.

North Malabar has an advantage

North Malabar is perhaps the largest mercantile center in Kerala with connections to the Mumbai port and north Indian destinations. Traders in Kannur and neighbouring districts ship large amounts of plywood, rubber and handloom and import loads of tiles, marble, steel and petroleum products. Hundreds of national permit lorries headed for the northern states whiz past the small towns of Kerala on the national highway.

The cargo movement is only expected to increase with the opening of the Kannur airport and port, necessitating the urgent introduction of alternative modes of transport including the Ro-Ro system.

The facility may be more suitable for the Kannur South Station because the city railway station is bursting at the seams juggling the regular passenger services.

The south station is ideal for installing the ramps to load lorries to trains and unload them and the systems to weigh and measure the lorries, said K Thrivikraman, the president of the North Malabar Chamber of Commerce.

He said that the railway officers who visited Kannur seemed to be pleased with the availability of land in the south station to set up the facilities. The officials met up with merchants, transporters, lorry agents and plywood manufacturers in the Chamber of Commerce Hall in Kannur.

Special Trains between Hyderabad-Kakinada Town and Lingampalli-Visakhapatnam

In order to clear extra rush, South Central Railway will run six special trains between Hyderabad – Kakinada Town via., Guntur and Lingampalli – Visakhapatnam as detailed below.

Hyderabad – Kakinada Town special Train via Guntur (04 Services):

Train No. 07075 Hyderabad – Kakinada Town special train will depart Hyderabad at 18:50 hrs on 28th & 30th April, 2018 arrive/depart Secunderabad at 19:15/19:20 hrs and arrive Kakinada Town at 07:45 hrs on the next day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07076 Kakinada Town – Hyderabad special train will depart Kakinada Town at 18:10 hrs on 29thApril & 01st May 2018 arrive/depart Secunderabad at 06:00/06:05 hrs on the next day and arrive Hyderabad at 06:50 hrs.

Enroute, these special trains will also stop at Nalgonda, Miryalaguda, Piduguralla, Guntur, Vijayawada, Gudivada, Kaikaluru, Akividu, Bhimavaram Town, Tanuku, Nidadavolu, Rajahmundry and  Samalkot stations in both the directions.

All these special trains consist of AC III Tier, Sleeper Class Coaches and Brake, luggage and generator Car.

Lingampalli – Visakhapatnam special Train (02 Services):

Train No. 07148 Lingampalli – Visakhapatnam special train will depart Lingampalli at 17:00 hrs on 27th April, 2018 arrive/depart Secunderabad at 17:50/17:55 hrs and arrive Visakhapatnam at 08:00 hrs on the next day.

In the return direction, Train No. 07147 Visakhapatnam – Lingampalli special train will depart Visakhapatnam at 10:15 hrs on 28thApril 2018 arrive/depart Secunderabad at 22:30/22:35 hrs on the next day and arrive Lingampalli at 23:10 hrs.

Enroute, these special trains will also stop at Kazipet, Warangal, Khammam Town, Vijayawada, Eluru, Rajahmundry, Samalkot, Annavaram, Tuni, Anakapalli and  Duvvada stations in both the directions.

All these special trains consist of AC Chair Car, Second class Chair Car, General Second Class and Luggage cum Brake Coaches