Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Kalupur Railway Station to get 11 more Escalators in 8 months; may don a new Heritage look by 2018-end

Who says the Railways are not giving a good service? With an aim to provide better amenities to rail passengers, the Ahmedabad division of Western Railways is going to give a string of new services at Kalupur Railway station.

Eleven escalators will be installed in eight months on the platforms of the station for smooth manoeuvring of passengers. Currently, Kalupur station has just one escalator in the entry region.

Of the upcoming escalators, three will be installed at the exit, two at each platform ends. The station has 8 platforms.

The aged and the physically-challenged passengers will benefit the most from the initiative. Currently, the station has elevators at each platform. They are always busy and many passengers, especially the senior citizens, are unable to use them.

Dinesh Kumar, Division Railway Manager (DRM) of Ahmedabad division said that the project will take at least eight months to complete. Currently, Kalupur station has just one escalator in the entry region. With an aim to provide better amenities to rail passengers, the Ahmedabad division of Western Railways is going to give a string of new services at Kalupur Railway station. Eleven escalators will be installed in eight months on the platforms of the station for smooth manoeuvring of passengers. Of the upcoming escalators, three will be installed at the exit, two at each platform ends.

Ahmedabad Railway station will don a heritage look in just eight months. Ahmedabad Railway division took the inspiration from the city’s heritage monuments. Why so? That’s because your city bagged the Heritage City status by UNESCO last year.

The flavour of heritage will come from the sculptures that the station will have constructed at the Kalupur side.

The pillars of Sarkhej Roza will come up at the face of the main building.

The famous window carving of Sidi Saiyyed Mosque will be added at the centre of the building. The three doors of Teen Darwaza will be constructed at both the entry and the exit gates.

In order to cope with the new age, the station will have several selfie points to be constructed with miniature train modules. A giant 15×8 feet LCD screen will be installed at old booking area to show videos related to the Railways.

The blank staircases at the stations will have 3-D paintings and the interior will have chandeliers.

Dinesh Kumar, Division Railway Manager of Ahmedabad, said, “We are still to finalise the theme. As of now, we have decided to base it on the heritage monuments of the city. There are several aspects such as budget, designs etc. Once it’s decided, the project will be finalised. We have been given a deadline of 8 months to complete the project.”

The ministry of Railways has formulated the plan to redevelop 90 stations. The redevelopment plan has been assigned to different zones. These stations have a footfall of more than 50,000 people daily.

Also, six more stations of Gujarat like Gandhinagar, Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara, Bhavnagar city and Valsad will have a facelift in different manners.

Mysore Grahakara Parishat seeks DRM’s intervention for speeding up trains, new services

The Railway authorities have been urged to extend a few trains terminating at Bengaluru, to Mysuru and Chamarajanagar for people in the region, apart from speeding up existing services.

City-based NGO Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) submitted a memorandum, based on its interaction with various stakeholders, to the Divisional Railway Manager seeking his intervention in complying with the demands. The list includes the extension of 12609/10 Chennai-Bengaluru Intercity to Mysuru as an alternate train for the KSR Bengaluru-Kannur/Karwar train, which originally ran via Mysuru but has now been rerouted and skips Mysuru.

The MGP said this would benefit hundreds of professionals who work in Whitefield, K.R. Puram, etc in Bengaluru but are from Mysuru. “Till February 10, 2018, most of them were managing with the 5.30 a.m. Kannur/Karwar (16518) express till KSR Bengaluru. On the return side, they were using same train leaving KSR Bengaluru at 8.30 p.m. Now, this train has been diverted via the newly-laid track between Bengaluru and Hassan,” the memorandum stated.

Extensions sought

Hence, it suggested the extension of 12609/12610 Bengaluru-Chennai Intercity to Mysuru till an alternate train can be provided. Currently this train leaves KSR Bengaluru at 8 a.m. but can originate from Mysuru at 5.20 a.m. so as to reach Bengaluru at 7.45 a.m. according to the MGP.

In the return direction, the train can depart from Bengaluru at 8.20 p.m. to reach Mysuru by 11 p.m, it added.

The stakeholders have also sought the extension of 12785/86 Kacheguda-KSR Bengaluru Kacheguda SF Express and said this was a two-decade-old demand. “There are 14 daily buses, including private buses, from Mysuru to Hyderabad which itself shows the demand,” according to the MGP.

Other demands

The other demand pertained to extension of train number 17301/17302 Dharwad-Mysuru Dharwad Express and 17307/17308 Bagalkot-Mysuru-Bagalkot Basava Express to Chamarajanagar. The MGP said the two trains share the rake with primary maintenance taking place at Hubballi and are kept idle at the Mysuru station for nearly 8 hours.

These two trains transverse through 20 districts of Karnataka and will help in connecting educational and industrial centre of north Karnataka and Malnad region with Chamarajanagar, said the MGP.

The other demands pertained to increasing the speed of the existing trains on the Mysuru-Bengaluru section consequent to the completion of track doubling and electrification so as to give full benefit of the two projects to the public; augmentation of coaches on a few trains, introduction of AC coaches on a few trains, among others.

RDSO’s Outreach Program evokes huge response, boost ease-of-doing-business in IR

In order to boost Ease of doing Business in Indian Railways, Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) is keenly approaching Indian industry through Vendor meets being organized in various cities where senior officers of RDSO interact with the prospective vendors, educate them about the features and ease of using the new online vendor registration system.

The first such vendor meet was organized on 24.01.2018 at Rajkot in coordination with Laghu Udyog Bharti, Rajkot in which Queries/Doubts from the around 200 vendors present were resolved on the spot by senior officials in a Question-Answer session.

Similar Vendor meets have since been held at other cities such as Faridabad, Ludhiana, Sahibabad, Coimbatore, Pune and Noida on 22.02.2018, 07.03.2018, 09.03.2018, 15.03.2018, 04.04.2018 and 05.04.2018 respectively. The efforts are being very well appreciated by industry. Further such meets are planned in April and May 2018 at seven more places.

As a result of these actions, applications for fresh registration for RDSO items have increased from about 25 (average) per month earlier to 60 (average) per month now. From the period 01.11.2017 to 16.03.2018 RDSO has created 1231 nos. of Vendor Account Registration, Received payments in 208 cases and 27 Vendors delisted.

In this way, RDSO has opened up its arms to the Indian industry and poised itself as an industry friendly organisation. This has been very well received and appreciated by one and all.

Bomb explosion near Dum Dum Cantonment station did not affect Train Services

The railways today said a crude bomb explosion near the Dum Dum Cantonment station in West Bengal had not affected train services in the area.

The ministry said a guard of 33421 Up Sealdah-Barasat local informed at 8.20 am that one person was injured near the rail tracks between Bidhannagar Road-Dum Dum Cantonment section of the Eastern Railways Sealdah Division.

The RPF said there was a bomb blast in the Dum Dum Cantonment area and on enquiry, it was learnt that the blast site was about 150 ft away from the tracks near Dum Dum Cantonment area.

“The local police and the GRP cordoned off the area and carried out a thorough search in the locality. It was learnt that a drum of locally made bombs was found in a slum. It was recovered by the civil police and GRP,” a ministry statement said.

It also said that services were not been affected by the incident.

“It is clearly stated that the incident had no repercussions in the train services of Bidhannagar road-Dum Dum Cantt sections of eastern railways Sealdah division. Train services were maintained,” it said.

Prime Minister to flag off India’s first 12,000 HP Electric Locomotive on 10 April

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the country’s first 12,000 horsepower electric locomotive from the Madhepura locomotive factory in Bihar on 10 April.

With the launch, India will join an elite list countries, including Russia, China, Germany and Sweden, that have 12,000 horsepower and above capacity Electric Locomotives. Till now, the most powerful electric engine in Indian Railways was of 6,000 horsepower .

The heavy-haulage locos, with a maximum speed of 110 kilometre per hour, will help decongest saturated routes by improving the speed and carrying capacity of freight trains.

Prime Minister will also dedicate the Madhepura factory — a high-value FDI joint venture with French rolling stock giant Alstom — to the nation.

The Rs 20,000 crore project is expected to roll out a total of 800 high horsepower locomotives over a period of 11 years. The total project cost includes Rs 1,300 crore for setting up the factory at Madhepura and two loco maintenance depots at Saharanpur (Uttar Pradesh) and Nagpur (Maharashtra), beside building 800 locomotives. The average cost of each locomotive is estimated to be Rs 25 crore.

According to the contract agreement, the first five locomotives will be imported while the remaining 795 will be manufactured in the country under the Make in India programme.

The rolling out of the first locomotive on 10 April will be followed by four more locos in the current fiscal. About 35 locos will be manufactured at the Madhepura facility in the next fiscal (2019-20) and 60 in 2020-21. After that, the factory will produce 100 locos  every year till the target of 800 is reached over 11 years. These heavy-haulage locos would be pressed into service to transport coal and iron ore, said a senior railway ministry official.

Equipped with insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT)-based propulsion technology, the 12,000 horsepower locomotives will be compliant with Indian standards of freight transport.

PMO favouring SPV between MUD and Railways for manufacturing of Metro Rail Coaches

Nearly five months after the Railway Board chairman mooted the idea of Indian Railways supplying coaches for Metro rail projects, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has asked the urban affairs ministry to buy coaches from the Railways for Metro projects that will be rolled out without external assistance.

Railway Board chairman Ashwani Lohani in last October had written to housing and urban affairs ministry stating that the railways were keen to partner with the ministry to make the rolling stock (coaches) available for Metro trains. He had mooted setting up of a dedicated unit for Metro coaches manufacturing through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) with urban affairs ministry’s partnership with commitment for 10-15 years.

Sources said the PMO at a meeting held last month had suggested the urban affairs ministry to expedite standardisation Metro signalling system and promote captive buying of coaches from the railways be rolled out without external financial assistance.

Till now only a few Metro rail projects such as the Noida-Greater Noida link have been taken up without external assistance. “In projects where we have got external financial assistance from agencies such as JICA or AFD, the bidding for rolling stock has to allow bidders from across the globe,” said a source.

Indian Railways to preserve its Metre-gauge tracks to promote Heritage Tourism

Moving beyond the five hill networks that are major tourist attractions, Indian Railways is planning to also preserve its old five-metre gauge tracks built during its early days in the British era to promote heritage tourism.

These corridors in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Assam and UP are currently defunct.

“As part of the strategy to preserve the metre-gauge lines, Indian Railways is planning to preserve few metre-gauge lines, which have the potential to attract more tourists,” a senior Railway Ministry official told, requesting anonymity.

“The decision to preserve the metre-gauge lines was taken at a meeting on February 3. Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani, stressing on the need to preserve the metre-gauge lines to promote the heritage structures of Indian Railways, asked the officials to identify such railway tracks on which the tourism can be promoted,” the official said.

While the rail corridor in UP passes through Dudhwa tiger reserve; the rail line in Madhya Pradesh runs through the scenic Vindhyachal range of mountains. Recently, railways have also planned running air conditioned trains on mountain railways in Darjeeling, Nilgiri and Shimla, apart from reviving the vintage steam locomotives to haul the iconic Palace on Wheels.

“Thus we have identified five lines for preservation — the 42.27 km Visavadar-Talala line in Gujarat, the 16 km Mhow-Patalpani-Kalakand line in Madhya Pradesh, the 162 km Mavli Junction-Marwar Junction line in Rajasthan, the 171 km Nanpur-Mailani line in Uttar Pradesh and the 47 km Mahur-Harangjao metre-gauge line in Assam,” he said.

“Four of the metre-gauge lines are in working condition, while the one line located in Assam is not operational right now,” he added.

The official also said that the Railway Ministry has written to the zonal railways to check the operational feasibility of these tracks. “Once the response from zonal railways is received by the third week of April, the ministry will formally launch the project,” he said.

Giving details of some of the five lines, the official said: “The Visavadar-Talala metre-gauge line passes through the Gir forest in Gujarat and there is thus a speed restriction. Currently, only three trains pass through this section in the day.”

The Mhow-Patalpani-Kalakund line, the official said, passes through picturesque mountains, valleys, tunnels, ravines and crosses the Choral and Malendi rivers, which makes the journey very memorable, especially after the rains.

According to the official, this line was laid by the British about 150 years ago and passes through of the Vindhyachal mountain range.

The official said that the Nanpur-Mailani metre-gauge railway track in Uttar Pradesh crosses through the Dudhwa Tiger reserve.

The Railways currently operates six trains on the section. The trains are allowed to run at a maximum speed of 30 km per hour, which reduces to 20 km per hour in accident-prone areas.

The British laid this track in the 19th century for transporting timber from Nepal’s forests and from the forests on the border.

Currently, the five hill trains — Darjeeling Himalayan train, Nilgiri Mountain Railway, Kalka-Shimla Railway, Kangra Valley Railway and Matheran Hill Railway — are a major attraction for tourists in India.

Also, the railway ministry is working to revive two defunct heritage locomotives, including a fireless steam loco which is rested at the national rail museum in the national capital. According to a railway board official, the ministry has decided to preserve five of its metre-gauge lines across the country, and run them as heritage lines.

Earlier, it was planned to convert them into broad-gauge lines as they were lying defunct. Sources said these lines are linked to tourist destinations and were earlier identified for gauge conversion, but now will be retained as heritage lines.

Among the identified corridors are the 30-km long Mhow-Kalakund rail line in Madhya Pradesh, which, the sources said, will be used solely for tourism purposes. This rail route passes through the picturesque hills and the valleys of the Vindhyachal mountain range and will draw tourists to the Patalpani waterfall, officials said.

Similarly, the 171-km Nanpara-Mailani section in Uttar Pradesh, too, will be developed for tourist purposes. The corridor runs through the Dudhwa national park which attracts a large number of wildlife enthusiasts.

Around a 50-km meter-gauge line that passes through the Gir Forest in Gujarat will also be preserved, sources said, along with about a 70-km Marwar-Udaipur metre-gauge railway section falling in the bio-diversity sanctuary of Todgarh Raoli. “These are picturesque stretches which can be enjoyed by tourists and are unique to India. They have high potential of ecotourism safari. All these sections have sharp bends and tunnels which have immense tourism potential,” said an official.

Sources say that the ministry is also contemplating if these heritage trains can be such that tourists can enjoy the scenery through large glass windows and ceilings like the trains started in Araku valley and the Kashmir valley. Railway ministry has also identified a 120-km section in Assam – the Mahur Harangajao meter gauge – in the hill section of the North Cachar Hill district (now called Dima Hasao district). The line, which will now be preserved, is unique for the presence of several tunnels in the section that still stand out as architectural marvels. Three of the hill railways- the Darjeeling Himalayan, the Nilgiri Mountain, and the Kalka-Shimla Railway- have been accorded the UNESCO World Heritage status, two other hill railways – the Neral-Matheran and the Kangra Valley, is on a tentative list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Railways to re-float $US 415.5m Global Tender for inter-city EMUs

Indian Railways (IR) plans in mid-April to re-float a global tender for a Rs 27bn ($US 415.5m) contract to manufacture 15 inter-city EMUs in collaboration with a foreign partner, after the Stadler-Medha consortium emerged as the sole qualified bidder after technical bids were opened for the original tender on February 6.

India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) raised concerns about the outcome of the original tender, while IR has never finalised a single-tender contract in the past and decided to abandon the tender.

According to the terms of the original tender, only firms having existing manufacturing facilities for three-phase electric motors could qualify. “This clause is being deleted, so as to attract bigger participation from global manufacturers,” an IR official said.

IR intends to deploy the EMUs on premium main line routes such as Delhi – Mumbai and Delhi – Kolkata with the aim of providing higher passenger comfort and shorter journey times. The trains will have a top speed of 160km/h, compared with an average of 130km/h for premier Indian trains such as the Shatabdi and Rajdhani services. However, IR does not yet have any sections of line passed for 160km/h operation.

Meanwhile, the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai, a subsidiary of IR, has developed its own 16-car EMU with a top speed of 160km/h. The train, which is equipped with a three-phase IGBT propulsion system, is scheduled for roll out in June.

“Improved mechanical couplers and modern facilities such as zero-discharge vacuum toilets and automatic plug type doors have been fitted,” an ICF official said. ICF claims these trains will be manufactured at half the cost of foreign-designed trains.

Manoharabad-Kothapally new Railway line going at an expected pace: says B Vinod Kumar, Karimnagar Lok Sabha MP

The work on Manoharabad-Kothapally (Karimnagar) new railway line is going at an expected pace, according to Karimnagar Lok Sabha member B Vinod Kumar.

The MP, who met the South Central Railway (SCR) General Manager Vinod Kumar Yadav in Hyderabad on Friday, in a statement said that track work between Manoharabad and Gajwel will be completed by December. The tender process for the stretch between Kothapally and Boinpally will be completed in April. Works on railway bridge across Manair river near Sircilla will be launched very soon, the MP said.

Responding to the MP’s appeal for the halting of Patna-Secunderabad Express and Danapur Express trains at Jammikunta station, the GM said that proposals were sent to Railway Ministry. Meanwhile, the Railways has sought State government’s approval for the construction of a RoB at LC No 18 at Karimnagar yard on cost sharing basis.

Railways inducts New Machine 09-3x Dynamic Tamping Express for improved Mechanised Track Maintenance

Indian Railway has inducted three numbers of 09-3X Dynamic Tamping Express machines, the state of the art integrated track maintenance. These machines were inaugurated and flagged off by Shri M.K. Gupta, Member Engineering, Railway Board at Faridabad. Seven number of such machines are planned to be procured and inducted within next six months in the present fleet of 874 track maintenance machines over IR for deployment on heavy density Routes.

The New 09-3X- Dynamic Tamping Express costing about ₹ 27 Crore each is a latest high output integrated tamping machine having multiple functions, so far being carried out by different machines. It can measure pre & post track geometry, correct the track to required geometry, can tamp three sleepers simultaneously, stabilize and measure post tamping track parameters under load to ensure quality of work done. This eliminates the need for a separate stabilisation machine which reduces operating costs and track possession time. This machine will vibrate & compact the loose stone ballast after tamping for safe movements of trains. These machines have been manufactured in India under MAKE IN INDIA initiative with imported components. 42 more such machines have been planned to be included in Indian Railway maintenance fleet over next three years. This will further improve the safety, reliability and economy in maintenance of tracks over Indian Railways. This will also eliminate manual measurement of track quality after maintenance.

Three operations including manual interface is now combined in one machine.

For practical hands-on training to operate such advanced track maintenance machines a new 3D state-of-the-art tamping simulator has been installed and commissioned at Indian Railway Track Machine Training Centre Allahabad (IRTMTC) recently. This type of advanced technology simulator is presently available only in five countries including India. India Railway has planned complete mechanisation of inspection, monitoring, relaying and maintenance of track by 2024.