Indian Railways News

Siemens bags contract to supply 30 Vectron Electric Locomotives to full-service leasing Co., Mitsui Rail Capital Europe

A contract to supply full-service leasing company Mitsui Rail Capital Europe with 30 Vectron electric locomotives was announced by Siemens on September 14.

The order includes 10 multisystem locomotives rated at 6·4 MW for cross-border operation in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the Netherlands, and 20 DC locomotives rated at 5·2 MW for use in Italy. Both versions will be equipped with national train control systems, and the Vectron MS locomotives will also be fitted with ETCS.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in January 2018, and there is an option for a further 20 locomotives.

‘With this new order, our Vectron fleet will grow to a total of 111 locomotives’, said MRCE Chief Executive Junichi Kondo. ‘Our customers throughout Europe value the reliability and flexibility of the Siemens locomotive.’

‘With its fleet of DC, AC and MS locomotives, MRCE can now offer all electric versions of the Vectron’, added Jochen Eickholt, CEO of Siemens’ Mobility Division.

Bhubaneswar Railway Station to get iconic heritage look

The state government and the East Coast Railway (ECoR) on Thursday discussed the proposed draft for a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which they will sign very soon to redesign and redevelop the city railway station.

The multimodal hub project will come up on the railway station and its circulating area. It will have an iconic seven-storeyed building at the entrance of the station. Besides, it will have state-of-the-art amenities, commercial complexes, parking, rainwater harvesting system, firefighting facility with pump rooms, well maintained internal roads and attractive green landscape.

The Bhubaneswar development authority (BDA) will supervise the station development work. As the station comes under the smart city district, the work will be integrated in the smart city project. Budget amount for the redevelopment work will be increased beyond Rs 60 crore which was estimated earlier, said a senior BDA official.

“It is a joint project of the Railways and the state government. The multi-storeyed building will be used by both the government agencies. We will use some floors for operational purpose and the state will take the rest for their use. But the state government will develop the building,” said Brijmohan Agarwal, Divisional Railway Manager.

The state government has authorized the BDA to prepare design of the hub. Design will be prepared through a noted agency. “We have floated tender for preparation of the design of the multi modal hub. We hope the final design will come by February next year,” said Krishan Kumar, vice chairman of the BDA.

Manoj Kumar Mishra, commissioner of rail coordination and special secretary, said they have discussed the draft MoU prepared by the railway in the presence of chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi. “We agreed with 99 per cent of the draft proposal and some small issues related to execution and monitoring were resolved,” he added.

The earlier design was put on hold. Even the project’s executive agency, Works department, has been changed. Sources said the existing building with passenger reservation system (PRS) and booking counter will be demolished for the project. Even PRS and booking counter have been shifted to a temporary building near RMS office in the circulating area of the station in November last year.

For 95% Commuters, Bullet Train Means Nothing: Bibek Debroy To NDTV

It may have been the top trend of the day with #BulletTrain spinning super-fast dreams for the twitterati, but Bibek Debroy, a railway expert, says the $19 billion project will be irrelevant for all but a tiny portion of Indians.

“95% people are those that travel in unreserved compartments, and not Rajdhani or Shatabdi. To them this day counts for nothing,” said Dr Debroy, who is a member of the NITI Aayog, the government’s main policy think-tank.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese premier Shinzo Abe launched the Ahemdabad-Mumbai bullet train project today, which is to be completed in 2022, and will link the two huge trading centres in a 2-hour journey. Japan is providing 85 percent of the cost of the new train link in soft loans.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other government handles described the laying of the foundation stone today as “historic”.

But Dr Debroy, who has chaired a committee that looked at major railway projects, said that the criticism, including from opposition parties, of a bullet train overshadowing basic and wide problems with the 164-year-old rail network is “vacuous”.

Abhishek Manusinghvi of the Congress tweeted that the bullet train is a misplaced priority.

Totally dismissing this, Dr Debroy explained that the bullet train isn’t being funded at the expense of other rail projects. “Even when Japan helped us built the metro, they offered to do that or the bullet train. So the argument doesn’t stand,” he said. While the government is being attacked over the fact that derailments have risen in the last 10 years claiming 51 per cent of 458 deaths, the economist explained that the reason was tracks being overused so heavily that there was no time for basic upkeeps. “You need to have at least 2 hours daily to just maintain the tracks. These lines are used perhaps every 5 minutes. So the only way is to delay trains. That’s the trade-off for safety.”

When asked if the bullet train project, which was inaugurated in Gujarat, is being used to win public opinion ahead of elections in the state, he responded, “This has been in the works for years now. And there is always some election around the corner.” But the choice of Ahmedabad? “It needed to be 800-1,000 km stretch without any obstruction, a straight road. The only other one which perhaps has potential like that is Delhi-Chandigarh.”

As for whether the 1.1lakh crore project will be viable by the time the loan is paid off in the 50 years granted by Japan, you may need to think again. “I don’t think even the Japan bullet trains are viable. Nowhere is it viable, but the real estate around it can be viable,” said Dr Debroy.

Rajdhani Express Coach Derails In New Delhi, No Injuries Reported

A coach of Jammu Tawi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed today at the New Delhi Railway station in the national capital, but no one was injured in the incident, a Northern Railway spokesperson said.

The incident took place around 6.00 am when the train was entering the platform, the spokesperson said.

Nobody was injured in the incident, the official said.

The incident is the latest in a series of rail accidents in this month.

On September 7, seven coaches of Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express jumped the rails near the Obra Dam station in Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh at around 6:25 am while the engine and power car of the Ranchi-Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed near Minto Bridge in Delhi, injuring a person.

Two wagons of a goods train derailed in Khandala in Maharashtra on the same day.

China Says ‘Pleased’ At India-Japan High Speed Rail Cooperation

China on Wednesday showed interest in reviving its proposal to build high speed railway projects in India which has chosen Japan as a partner for the country’s first such venture.

China has been aggressively marketing its high-speed rail technology abroad and in the past lobbied hard to get the first contract in India. It had taken up a feasibility study for the New Delhi-Chennai corridor but no headway has been made in this regard so far.

 The Chinese side showed interest in the projects in India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe prepared to lay the foundation for India’s first bullet train project.

“China is pleased to see the infrastructure among the regional countries including the high-speed railway,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing when asked about the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project using Japanese technology.

“We stand ready to promote cooperation with India and other regional countries for regional development,” Mr Geng said expressing interest in reviving the project.

As to the railway cooperation, it is part of the practical cooperation between India and China. We have reached important consensus in this regard. Relevant competent authorities between the two countries maintained communication and increasing speed of railway in the current projects,” he said.

 India and China have worked out a number of cooperative agreements for the development of railways under which the Indian Railways engineers are getting trained in China in heavy hauling.

China is also cooperating with India to set up a rail university. It has also undertaken work to renovate some of the railway stations in India.

China currently has the world’s longest high-speed rail network. It has connected most of its cities with high speed trains reducing the travel time drastically.

RLDA, NBCC to form a SPV in the form of a JV Company to execute Station Redevelopment project

Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) has signed a MoU with National Building Construction Corporation for redevelopment of 10 railway stations across the country at par with international standards. The Railways has embarked on this ambitious project to redevelop 403 stations on PPP mode with the participation of private players, public sector and with the assistance of foreign funding.

The identified stations to be taken up initially by NBCC for redevelopment are Tirupati, Sarai Rohilla (Delhi), Nellore, Puducherry, Madgao, Lucknow, Gomtinagar, Kota, Thane (New) and Ernakulam. NBCC has been given 10 stations in first phase for redevelopment and more stations would be given to them in subsequent phases.

RLDA and NBCC shall form a Special Purpose Vehicle in the form of a joint venture company to execute the station redevelopment project. The JV shall redevelop the stations on a self-financing model. These stations would be developed as smart railway stations.

CCEA approves Doubling of Daund-Manmad Railway Line

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the doubling of 247.5 Km long Railway line from Daund (Solapur Division of CR)  to Manmad (Bhusawal Division of CR) to ease movement of passengers and goods across Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik in Maharashtra.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs gave the approval at an estimated cost of Rs 2,081.27 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 2330.51 crore.

The 247.5 km long railway line is expected to be completed in five years.

“Doubling of the line will greatly ease the ever increasing passenger and freight traffic on Daund-Manmad route, thereby increasing the revenue of Railways,” the rail ministry said in a statement.

“Besides passengers, industries in and around Daund- Manmad route will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements. The districts of Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik in Maharashtra will be benefited by this project,” it said.

At present the Railways is working on the Mumbai-Chennai route by doubling the Bhigwan-Mohol and Hotgi-Gulbarga sections.

Work on a new line on the Lonand-Phaltan-Baramati route in Maharashtra is also in progress.

“Once these works are completed, there will be tremendous increase in traffic over the Daund-Manmad section and existing single line will not be in a position to deal with the increased traffic,” the ministry statement said, emphasising the need for doubling.

SAILs Bhilai unit bags 12 LT Rail order from Indian Railways

State-run SAILs Bhilai plant has received an order for 12 lakh tonne (LT) rails from the Indian Railways for the current fiscal, Steel Secretary Aruna Sharma said yesterday.

She was replying to a question asked by an industry member at KATM conference on raw materials for steel and power here.

“Railways is on an expansion mode creating new railway lines. Is is not that the railways is not procuring new rails. Railways has already placed a confirmed rail order of 12 lakh tonnes with Bhilai in this financial year,” Sharma said.

Bhilai Steel Plant is the flagship unit of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). It produces high strength rails, heavy structurals, wide and heavy steel plates of different grades, merchant products, wire rods etc.

The unit became the first integrated steel plant in the country to surpass the 5 MT mark in crude production in the year 2005-06.

The plant has unique distinction of producing cleanest rail in the world.

Railways to Opt for Reverse Bidding to Reduce Procurement Expenditure

Aiming at increasing competition and reducing expenditure on procurement, the Indian Railways will adopt a reverse bidding process for high-value items like rolling stock parts, track equipment and cement among other purchases.

Reverse auction is an online bidding process that allows vendors to submit multiple bids on time scale and then compete online with each other by offering lowest acceptable bids.

Currently several ministries, including the power ministry, and public sector undertakings are using the reverse auction process to procure supplies at competitive prices. Though the railways has introduced the e-procurement system, which has helped to bring down corruption, officials say that procurement rates are still too high.

The railways purchases about Rs 60,000-crore worth of materials, including track items and items for the production and maintenance of locomotives and coaches, in a year.

“We aim to reduce the procurement expenditure substantially through reverse bidding method,” said a senior railway ministry official.

The railways, therefore, is in the process of developing a software for the reverse bidding purpose. “First we will try the system as a pilot project involving limited items.Then it will extended to all type of high value purchases.”

The Indian Railways will also be launching a system of digitisation of its entire supply chain across all zones, which also aims at improving the ease of doing business and transparency.

Digital contract, as it will be called, will be a seamlessly integrated digital supply chain. It envisages involving stakeholders including industries, financial institutions, internal customers of railways and inspecting agencies to create an efficient, responsive and transparent system.

“With 100% e-tenders and e-auctions already assimilated into the system, we are further planning to build on these initiatives to achieve seamless flow of material, finances and information,” the official said.

The system includes digitisation of processes like bill submission, inspection, dispatches, receipt, bill passing and bill payments, warranty monitoring and enabling use of analytics for increasing supply chain efficiencies in real time.

The railways have about 52,000 registered vendors for supplies and the vast supply chain also handles more than 2,664 registered bidders for the sale of scrap material.

Tenders and auction process are already on e-platform in railways.

CBI files FIR against Railway officials and a Private Co for cheating Railways

A private company that won the contract to maintain crucial facilities for India’s longest railway tunnel deployed less than half the staff it was required to and lied to the government about it, the CBI alleged while opening an investigation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation filed an FIR against six people — four Railways officials and two from Sarvonik Sistem India Private Limited — for criminal conspiracy and cheating since the private firm billed the Railways for 87 employees while engaging only 35 people on an average.

The company has been responsible for the ventilation, electro-mechanical works and telecommunications inside the 11.2-kilometre long tunnel connecting Qazigund and Banihal in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pir Panjal range.

The contract was given to Sarvonik for Rs 5.34 crore in 2015. The following year, the contract was extended for 12 more months.

“As per the contract agreement, 87 employees were required on ground for round the clock operation and maintenance of Pir Panjal Railway tunnel,” according to the CBI FIR.

“The actual attendance register also shows that less number of employees (were) deployed on ground (and) as such huge loss was caused to the government exchequer.”

Further, according to the FIR, the contract provided for registration of 87 employees for provident fund (PF) but only 22 employees were registered for the PF.

Identity cards were issued to all 87 employees, but only 38 of them got I-cards for 2016-17.

“In this way, (the) accused persons entered into criminal conspiracy and cheated the railway department by abusing their official position by authenticating the fake employees and raised the inflated bills as per the contract agreement, thus caused a wrongful loss to the government of India,” the FIR concluded.

Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) has constructed the 11 km long Pir Panjal Railway tunnel, the longest transportation tunnel in India, which has been successfully commissioned by Indian Railways. IRCON is the executioner of the Project.