Indian Railways News

Railway Authority Apologises For Posting Wrong Picture Of Jagannath Temple

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) today tendered an apology for posting a picture of an ‘ISKCON temple’ as ‘Puri Jagannath Temple’ at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) in Mumbai.

“The news article appeared in Odisha newspapers where IRCTC posters of Bharat Darshan has shown ISKCON temple instead of Puri Jagannath Temple. The posters were displayed at Mumbai where this has happened inadvertently. All the posters have now been removed. Our sincere apology,” IRCTC East Zone said in its twitter handle.

The issue was raised by priests of Sri Jagannath Temple after Shambhu Nath Khuntia, a servitor of Puri Jagannath temple during his recent visit to Mumbai, found an ISKCON temple photo in place of the 12th century shrine in Puri.

Protesting the IRCTC’s action, Mr Khuntia immediately posted the image on social media which sparked a statewide resentment. Subsequently, Sri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) also wrote to the Indian Railways and protested the IRCTC’s act of displaying a wrong picture in the name of Puri Temple.

“We have written a strong letter to the Indian Railways for posting wrong picture in the name of Puri Temple,” said SJTA official Sujit Chatterji.

 Meanwhile, Puri-based Jagannath Sena Convenor Priyadarshan Pattnaik appealed to the IRCTC to remove such posters. He also described such activities as a disrespect to the Lord Jagannath and its millions of devotees across the world.

Four Rail Corridors to complete ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ likely to get Nod in Budget

The budget is likely to approve the four remaining corridors that will complete the railways’ ambitious ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, connecting the four metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata — through a high-speed network, officials said.

Two corridors of the quadrilateral — Delhi-Mumbai and Delhi-Howrah — were sanctioned at a cost of Rs.11,189 crore and Rs.6,875 crore respectively in the last Union budget.

The remaining four — Delhi-Chennai, Chennai-Howrah, Chennai-Mumbai and Howrah-Mumbai — will now be connected through high- speed corridors, with trains running at a speed of 160 kmph-200 kmph.

Officials said the estimated cost of the remaining corridor is likely to be about Rs.40,000 crore.

The plan is to launch the high-speed ‘golden quadrilateral’ by August 15, 2022, which will coincide with the 75th anniversary of the country’s Independence, they said.

Once these corridors are operational, the train travel time between these metros will reduce by 50 per cent, officials said.

For example, currently, the travel time from Kolkata to Mumbai varies from 26 to 40 hours. While Duronto takes 26 hours to reach Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, Jnaneswari Express takes 30 hours to reach Lomanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla).

With semi-high-speed trains, the travel time will vary between 10-16 hours.

Railways Mega Conclave with Construction Industry for expeditious Implementation of ambitious Rail Infra Development Projects

In a major initiative to ensure expeditious implementation of ambitious Railway Infrastructure Development Plans, Ministry of Railways is organizing a “Mega Conclave” on 17th January, 2018 with all stakeholders including leaders of the construction industry at Railway Board/New Delhi.

The Conclave will not only see Railway Board Members and Senior Zonal Railway Officials interacting with construction industry captains but will also see Minister of Railways & Coal, Piyush Goyal to have a mutual dialogue and personal interaction with the participants.

The Conclave named as “NIRMAN–SAMVAAD” is being organized by Railways PSU Rail Vikas Nigam Ltd. (RVNL) which is a dedicated arm of the Ministry of Railways for fast track implementation of railway projects.

The Conclave will provide an opportunity to discuss the impediments/constraints faced in implementation of the projects and to seek suggestions to remove bottlenecks and bring about efficiencies in project execution on Railways.

Senior Officers of Railway Board, Zonal Railways, CPSEs and top executives of about 400 construction and consultancy companies will be participating to deliberate upon the issues/impediments being faced by the industry and arriving at possible remedies thereof. The ambitious Infrastructure Development Projects of Indian Railways include Doubling Projects, Electrification Projects, Hill Railway Projects, Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) and High-Speed Projects on diamond quadrilateral.

Backgrounder:

Ministry of Railways has ambitious plans for development of Rail infrastructure to meet the ever increasing transport needs of the nation and a huge investment in this sector has been planned. The main focus is on:-

  • The pace of augmentation of railway network needs a quantum jump. The speed of execution of doubling/tripling and quadrupling which is about 800 kms per annum for the last 5 years, needs to be accelerated 2 to 3 times to meet the increasing demand.
  • Completion of electrification of the full rail network in the next 3 to 5 years. So far out of 63000 RKM, 25201 RKM have been commissioned on electric traction till 31st March 2017. The average pace during last five years is about 1300 RKMs per annum which needs to be increased by 6 to 8 times to electrify remaining 38000 RKMs to meet the ambition of complete electrification.
  • Taking up of Hill Rail Projects, including Rishikesh – Karanprayag, Char Dham rail connectivity, Bhanupalli – Bilaspur and on to Leh.
    Completion of ongoing and proposed Dedicated Freight Corridors.
  • Mumbai-Ahmedabad High Speed Rail Corridor and other projects on Diamond Quadrilateral to link the major Metropolitan Cities.

It has been experienced that there are constraints of capacity from the side of both executing agencies as well as from railways to meet the demand.

The Conclave will address all these issues and workout solutions with a view to ensure fast track implementation of all railway projects.

Specialised Weather Forecast for Indian Railways soon from the Indian Meteorological Department

Soon, specialised weather forecasts could help in the operation of train services. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is piloting for a Specialized Weather Forecast wing for Indian Railways for real-time weather and climate information services for smooth operations of trains.

In the next few months, the IMD is planning to widen its wings in several spheres of weather services to help Railways get real-time data on weather forecasts on various Zonal,  Divisional Railway systems including remotest Railway stations coverage.

To this effect, IMD is planning to train its internal resources in lines with the Railway operations and equip the staff to cater to the requirements of Indian Railways for safety and smooth operations of trains.

The condition of weather plays an important role in the operation of train services by Indian Railways as it can damage tracks and electric equipment powering the train.

To overcome such problems, the Indian Meteorological Department is providing real-time weather information such as wind speed, weather interference, weather warnings to the Indian Railways on a pilot basis.

One of the long-awaited improvements in long-range forecast and precision in weather warning may soon be implemented.  At present, the IMD provides five-day weather forecast and two days of outlook. The lead time may be increased to 15 days forecast with higher accuracy soon.

Such specialised services would be provided as part of its programmes for sustenance and upgrading forecasting system approved under the NITI Aayog, which has replaced Planning Commission.

IMD to also further coordinate with various other government agencies for providing tailor-made weather forecasts to different sectors on real-time basis, take preventive measures against the spread of infectious diseases, plan power generation etc.

Following a MOU with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the department has already started providing climate information feed for health service on an experimental basis.

The specialised weather forecast for four days would predict the possibility of spread of diseases, including malaria and dengue, in a particular region based on the temperature and humidity conditions there.

S.B.Thampi, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, said the forecast service for the health sector is likely to be launched in six months across the country.

Power generation is another sector where weather prediction would help plan ahead for power distribution. Following an agreement with the Power System Operation Corporation, the IMD has proposed to develop a demand forecast based on various parameters, including wind, temperature, humidity and onset of sea breeze. Various energy sources like thermal and wind could be operated according to the demand and weather conditions.

There are also plans to upgrade the services already being offered in the tourism and agromet advisory services. Tourists could soon plan their travel better as more places would be covered under specialised forecast.

“There are only eight to ten agromet field units across the State. Agriculture activities vary in every region. We want to set up District Agromet Unit in every district for region-specific meteorological service for agriculture,” said Mr. Thampi.

Demand Surge seen for Cost Accountants everywhere, including Railways: Vice-President/ICAI

The demand for cost accountants is expected to be rise exponentially in the coming years with various State governments and ministries striving to improve efficiencies on the costing front. The Railway Ministry, for instance, has assigned a project to the Institute of Cost Accountants of India to study the existing costing system in the Railways and propose upgradation to ensure costing efficiency in key performance areas. H Padmanabhan, Vice-President of the institute, was recently in here to create awareness among school teachers on the ICAI-CMA course.

‘Accounting Reforms’ in Indian Railways

Padmanabhan told that the institute, after making a preliminary assessment and submitting its report, is now working to implement ‘accounting reforms’ (AR) in the Railways. The project is expected to be rolled out by the third quarter of 2018.

The Accounting Reforms project envisages transformation of the Railways’ accounting system. “We have been working on this project for 6–7 months now. Our members are working in close collaboration with the Railway team to implement the rollout,” Padmanabhan said.

ICAI through its research arm, ICAI Accounting Research Foundation (ICAI ARF) entered into an agreement with Indian Railways on February 15, 2017 for introducing the Accrual based Financial Statement as an additional set of Accounts to existing Cash based Government Accounts which will be a critical milestone in the history of Indian Railways towards embracing Accounting Standards and best practices being followed worldwide in the sphere of financial accounting and reporting. Accrual based financial statement will support Indian Railways in better utilisation of available resources, estimation of future liabilities and prioritisation of spending. It will also pave way for best financial management practices to be introduced in Indian Railways.

This agreement follows successful implementation of the pilot project for introduction of the Accrual based Financial Statement as an additional set of Accounts at North Western Railway at Jaipur and Rail Coach Factory at Kapurthala by ICAI ARF. The agreement was signed by Shri V. Sagar, Director, ICAI ARF & Secretary, ICAI and Shri Sanjeev Sharma, Deputy Chief Project Manager (Accounting Reforms), Northern Railway in the presence of Shri Shahzad Shah, Financial Commissioner, Indian Railways and CA. Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey, Chairman, ICAI ARF & President, ICAI and other dignitaries.

To be called Performance and Activity Based Unit Costing, the process is expected to produce an outcome budget for the railways where it will be able to analyse stepwise costing of every asset created and services delivered.

It will also deliver train, section and rail route costing and profitability analyses. “We need to bring in cost control targets. For better financial management, there’s a need to arrive at per-unit cost of service provided or output delivered,” a senior government official said.  The railways has 16 divisions that undertake all asset creation as well as operational and management work, but there is no centralised cost-tracking system.  The railways is also proposing to set up an internal audit branch at every divisional headquarters. “If you need more investment to come or to bring in corporatisation, the only way is to introduce activity-based unit costing. That’s the only way investors will get more confidence after they see the actual results and numbers,” said Jaijit Bhattacharya, partner-infrastructure at consultancy firm KPMG.

Besides the Railway Ministry project, the institute, as a consultant to Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, submitted its reports for review of financial models for determination of tariffs at six major airports — Ahmedabad, Calicut, Lucknow, Guwahati, Jaipur and Thiruvananthapuram, Padmanabhan said.

In a major boost to the Rail Wagon makers, IR place Work Orders for procurement of 9493 Wagons on Private Wagon Cos.

In a major boost to the rail wagon makers, Indian Railways has issued orders for 9,493 wagons to the private sector players, many of whom are listed entities, multiple industry sources have told RailNews.

The biggest beneficiary has been the Titagarh group controlled by the Kolkata-based Chowdhury family, which, among Titagarh Wagons and Cimmco Ltd, has cornered orders for 2,338 wagons, or about 25% of the total order given out.

After Titagarh, Texmaco Rail and Engineering, owned by Saroj Poddar, has emerged second, bagging an order for 1,764 units, the single largest given to any one company.

Jupiter Wagons, part-owned by Lohia family and Tatravagonka of Slovakia, has emerged third with an order count of 1,582 wagons.

Modern Industries, Hindustan Engineering, BESCO are some of the others who got smaller order quantities.

Coming after a significant delay, the railway-based industry sees the orders as the much needed lifeline for the sector, which has been struggling for the past several quarters, with some companies plunging into losses as the government still remains the key customer for the industry.

Industry sources rubbished news reports that the ordering of the tenders was scrapped due to alleged formation of cartels pushing up bid prices.

While it is true that values of wagons to be paid by Railways have doubled over previous year’s level, industry officials said this has to do with the change in the norms for tenders.

“In this order, there is no free material component to be provided by Railways. We have to buy them ourselves, which has pushed up the bids,” an industry player said.

This is the reason, prices of, say, BOXNHL variety of wagons have gone up to Rs 24 lakh now from Rs 11.52 lakh for the 2016 order.

In the 2016 order, Railways issued all the steel required for building the wagons plus the wheels and bearings.

“No free supply items will be provided to the firm against the subject contract. Steel, bearings and wheel sets will be purchased by the firm,” a letter accompanying each order said.

The release of the order closely follows a decision of the Railway Board to stop inordinate delays in awarding of all kinds of tenders.

BACK ON TRACK

  • Titagarh Wagons and Cimmco Ltd have got order for 2,338 wagons
  • Texmaco Rail and Engineering has received orders for 1,764 units while Jupiter Wagons for 1,582 units

CMRS Team visits Maha Metro Nagpur Project, inspects Facilities and Infrastructure

NAGPUR: A three-member team of Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS) visited Maha Metro Nagpur project between Airport South Station and Khapri Station, including MIHAN Train maintenance Depot and inspected various facilities provided at all levels of the project. The inspection which continued almost the entire day, was followed by presentation and meeting with the senior officials.

The three-member team was led by Arvind Kumar Jain, Commissioner of Rail Safety (CRS), Central Circle, Mumbai and an ex-IRSE officer of Indian Railways. The other members of the team included G P Garg and Uttam Prakash, both holding the post of Deputy CRS. The team, which arrived here today morning first inspected Airport South station to oversee various facilities provided there.

The team also inspected passenger facilities and other operation rooms at the station. Maha Metro MD Dr Brijesh Dixit, led by senior officials, accompanied CMRS team during their inspection. The CMRS team boarded Metro Train from Airport South Station and travelled to MIHAN Car Depot. The team checked the break system, evacuation system and other on board measures related to passenger safety during emergent situations. The team also enquired about various train features and safety provisions in the train.

The team held a meeting at MIHAN Depot and an audio-visual presentation was organized there. The progress of the project and other relevant details were shared with team during the presentation. The team also inspected shunter, hydraulic jack, traction sub-station used for feeding 25 KW traction supply for main line, and other rescue equipments procured by Maha Metro. The team of CMRS officials held another round of meeting with the Maha Metro officials at Metro House, Civil Lines and appreciated details of the project including 5D BIM project monitoring system adopted by Maha Metro Nagpur. Among the senior Maha Metro officials present during the day-long inspection included Director (Project) Mahesh Kumar, Director (Rolling Stocks and System) Sunil Mathur, Director (Finance) S Sivamathan and General Manager (Administration) Anil Kokate.

Railway Panel Mulling Increased Fare For Lower Berths, Festive Travel

Railway passengers could be shelling out more for choosing lower berths and travels during festive seasons, if the recommendations of a fare review committee are approved by the Railway Board.

The panel constituted to review the flexi-fare system in premium trains has recommended that the transport behemoth adopt the dynamic pricing model followed by airlines and hotels, sources said.

Like flyers pay more for front-row seats, railway passengers too could be paying extra for seats of their choice, the sources said.

There also could be an increase in fares of trains which have “convenient” timings and are more popular on a particular route, they said.

The committee has also recommended that instead of having flat fares, the railways should increase fares during festive seasons, and reduce them during lean months.

It has also suggested that passengers be offered discounts on trains reaching destinations at inconvenient times, for example between 0000 and 0400 hours and 1300 and 1700 hours, they said.

The committee consists of some Railway Board officials, NITI Aayog adviser Ravinder Goyal, Executive Director (Revenue Management) of Air India Meenakshi Malik, professor S Sriram, and Iti Mani, Director, Revenue, Le Meridien, Delhi.

The committee, which submitted its report to the Railway Board yesterday, has proposed these changes in the flexi-fare system which led to up to 50 per cent increase in fares of premium trains, drawing opposition from certain sections.

Under the flexi formula, base fares increase by 10 per cent (up to 50 per cent) after every 10 per cent of berths booked.

 

Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Special Train Gets Extension, Details Here

Indian Railways has decided to extend a Rajdhani Special train service between Mumbai and Delhi citing high demand. Western Railway – which caters to one of the zones served by Indian Railways – said the Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train running between the Bandra Terminus railway station in Mumbai and the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station in Delhi will get a further extension of three months. In a press release dated January 15, 2018, Western Railway said the move was “to facilitate passengers and to clear extra rush”.
Here are five things to know about the extended thrice-a-week Bandra Terminus-Nizamuddin Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train:

1. The Rajdhani Special service between Bandra and Nizamuddin has been extended from January 17 to April 15, 2018.

2. The extended trips of the tri-weekly Superfast AC Rajdhani Special train will be from January 18, 2018 to April 15, 2018, according to the press release.

3. Previously, the Rajdhani Special service was scheduled to be operated till January 17, 2018.

4. The extended Rajdhani Special service will be operative with trains 09003 and 09004, according to the Western Railway.
Bandra Terminus-Hazrat Nizamuddin Rajdhani Special timetable

5. Train No. 09003 will start from Bandra (T) at 4:05 pm every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It will arrive at the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station at 6:00 am the next day, the press release noted.

6. Train No. 09004 will commence its journey from the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station at 4:15 pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. This train will reach the Bandra Terminus station 6:10 am the next day.

7. The train service will halt at Surat, Vadodara and Kota stations in each direction.

8. The extended Rajdhani Special train service will comprise AC I Tier, AC II Tier and AC III Tier coaches.

COMMENTS9. Bookings of train tickets under the extended Rajdhani Special service will commence from January 17, 2018, according to Western Railway.

10. The Railways had introduced the new tri-weekly Superfast Rajdhani Special service between Delhi and Mumbai in October 2017. This service aimed to fulfill the long overdue demand of passengers and to provide faster connectivity to passengers between the two metros.

Indian Railways plans Roadmap for three-fold increase in Production by 2022

Eyeing large-scale expansion, the Railways’ production units have been asked to formulate a roadmap to achieve a three-fold increase in production by 2022. This comes after Railways Minister Piyush Goyal held a meeting with the general managers of all the railway zones last month during which he emphasised the need for improving transport output by three times by 2022.

“It is needless to say that output of our production units has to increase substantially during this period to match the growth expectations,” a letter to the general managers of all production units of the railways said. “There is therefore, an urgent need for evaluating the performance of manufacturing facilities to assess their capability to ramp up production by almost three-times the present level with the existing workforce,” it said.

One of the most significant increase is to take place in the production of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches this year. But boosting production significantly requires a sharp increase in the present annual coach production target of 2,435 to 5,000 such coaches, officials said. The directive to the production units also says that the plan should be such that it facilitates decisions that lead to the best usage of time, financial and human resources.

The plan, it said, should be “workable” and should succeed by making suitable changes to the present processes, inducting technology and introducing a judicious mix of “make or buy matrix”. It is therefore imperative that the production units of the Indian Railways embark on the journey of a three-fold increase with a clear strategy, the directive said.

“You are requested to formulate a ‘production ramp-up’ road map with absolute clarity of resources required with cost and timeline and communicate to board latest by January 31, 2018,” the letter said.

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