Indian Railways News

SERWWO felicitates hard working Safety Category Group-D Employees

With a view to encourage the Safety Category Group-D Employees, Smt. Surabhi Agrawal, President, South Eastern Railway Women’s Welfare Organization (SERWWO) felicitated 35 (Thirty Five) Group-D categories of Gangman, Trolleyman, Gateman, OHE Khalasi, Signal Maintenars etc. from four  Divisions i.e. Kharagpur, Adra, Chakradharpur and Ranchi of South Eastern Railway for their sincere, dedicated  & outstanding performances in various spheres of safety activities in train movements during inclement weather and adverse situations at a function held at BNR Officers’ Club, Garden Reach today  (10.05.18).

The President/SERWWO along with other members gave away Cash awards & Merit Certificates to the devoted employees.

South Eastern Railway Women’s Welfare Organization (SERWWO) is a philanthropic and charitable organisation. The main objectives of this organisation are to help the wards of railway employees for their education, treatments and health care. This Organisation also sends relief materials to the affected areas during natural calamities like flood, earthquake etc. It also donates to various welfare organisations in and around Kolkata.

Smt. Surabhi Agrawal, President, SERWWO while welcoming and felicitating the awardees, recognised their perfect role for smooth maintenance of railway tracks, signal maintenance and safe running of trains during their duty assignments.

South Western Railway bags Safety Shield Award for Train Operations in 2017-18

During the year 2017-18, South Western Railway (SWR) has registered best figures and tremendous improvements in key areas of safety pertaining to train operations among all Zonal Railways. Recognizing the efforts of SWR undertaken for improving Safety, Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal awarded the Railway Minister’s Safety Shield for 2017-18 to South Western Railway in an annual award event. The number of accidents has come down in SWR from 11 in 2014-15 to 8 in 2015-16, 3 in 2016-17 to 01 in 2017-18.

“Safety is our first and foremost priority and safety performance has improved through the collective will and rigorous and sustained efforts of all train running staff in SWR. Safety action plan with motto of “Zero accidents” was prepared, being strictly implemented and periodically reviewed,” said A K Gupta, General Manager, South Western Railway.

Activities and consistent efforts taken up by SWR in direction of improving safety:

– The budget outlay was increased to nearly Rs 3000 crore from Rs 1000 crore a few years back.

– Gate Mitras round of the clock have been deployed at all unmanned Level crossing gates.

– 27 Unmanned Level Crossing gates eliminated by Construction of ROB/RUB/subway against a target of 25 in 2017-18

– Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) (exclusive Safety Fund) has been set up in 2017-18 Budget by Ministry. SWR could book funds to the tune of Rs 687 crore in 2017-18 under this head. A bulk of the funds in this head are being spent on track renewals for safety and up gradation of vital assets such as track etc.

– Shift towards safer LHB coaches.

– Infrastructure augmentation of maintenance facilities

– SWR completed 202 Track-Km of rail renewal in 2017-18, which is highest ever in the history of SWR about 115 per cent more than that of corresponding figures in 2016-17.

Indian Railways to build 3 strategic lines along China border; here’s the status of the projects

The railways has set a target of completing by 2019 the final location surveys of three strategic lines along the country’s border with China after the projects received the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) nod in December 2015, officials said today. The railways has received Rs 47.18 crore from the Defence Ministry for the final location survey (FLS) of the 378-km Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line, the 227-km Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai line and the 249-km North Lakhimpur-Bame-Silapathar line after the Cabinet Committee on Security decided to take them up for construction on priority.

“We have set a target of December 2018 for the FLS for Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai line and December 2019 as the deadline for the other two. These three are extremely difficult terrains and we have to deal with unstable and high mountains. In places such as the Sela Pass in the Missamari-Tenga-Tawang line, it is 14,000 feet high,” said A K Yadav, Chief Administrative Officer (Construction) of the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR).

He added that the field survey for the Pasighat-Tezu-Rupai line in the plains was in advanced stages, but for the other two projects which are on difficult hilly terrain, terms of reference have been finalised after preliminary investigations. The Missasamari-Tenga-Tawang line, which Yadav said was the most treacherous of all, will be the most expensive at an estimated cost of Rs 35,000 crore and will consist of 80 per cent tunnels. The cost of its location survey has been pegged at Rs 100.73 crore. The FLS of the other two collectively is at an estimated Rs 87.5 crore.

“We want the line to be operational through the year, despite the snow,” said Yadav, adding that the three line are of 853 km with 58 km in Assam and 795 km in Arunachal Pradesh.

For the fourth line also approved by the CCS, the 498-km Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line, the final location survey at Leh in Jammu and Kashmir began last year.

At a height of 3,300 metres, the 498-km long stretch is set to become the highest rail track in the world, overtaking China’s Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

The preliminary estimate of Rs 2.1 lakh crore for construction of the four strategic railway lines was provided by the railways, and a Steering Committee under the Secretary (Expenditure) in the Ministry of Finance was formed to look for ways to finance the construction. These four ‘priority’ lines are part of the 14 strategic lines which were identified for development in November 2010, among the 28 railway lines in the China and Pakistan border areas approved ‘in principle’ by the Defence Minister in January 2010.

Soon, Railways to roll out Smart Coaches with Diagnostics and Info System

They are billed as smart coaches, and Indian Railways will soon roll out these modern train compartments equipped with black boxes and coach information and diagnostics systems.

The black boxes, a first for the Railways, will have a powerful multi-dimensional communication interface to provide all kinds of information on coach condition and also passenger-related information on a real -time basis, a senior Railway Ministry official involved with the project told IANS.

The first smart coach will be unveiled at the Rae Bareli Coach Factory on May 11, National Technology Day, as a pilot project.

The most effective enabler for the system would be monitoring of critical components that have been identified as major causes for derailments and delays, and for causing deterioration in rail infrastructure.

The official said the Railways “will introduce the long-awaited sensor-based on-board condition monitoring system (OBCMS) for timely detection of defects related to passenger coaches and also tracks on a running train”.

The OBCMS aims to strengthen the security and safety in train operation as it will have integrated CCTV and information system which will constantly update the health of the coach — from oscillatory behavior, coach diagnostics and heating, ventilation and air conditioning and water management, among others.

According to the system, the on-board sensors constantly record vibrations and temperatures. Anomalies in vibration are the earliest indicator that something may be wrong with the bearings in the wheels of a coach. This allows for operators to mark those bearings out for careful observation, thus preventing any further damage.

Detection of bearing fault at this early stage will help prevent incidents and maintenance schedules can be planned accordingly.

To this end, the mainstay of the smart coach would be the wireless sensor modes that, once fitted on every wheel, help monitor the health of the wheel and its bearings.

“Once deployed in volume, these sensors would also be able to monitor track health on a real-time basis, resulting in improved safety, higher utilisation and reduced operation costs by enabling predictive maintenance and reduction in sudden catastrophic failures of the Railway’s assets,” the official told IANS.

The technology has found great acceptance and traction in other parts of the world.

It would cost an additional Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh per coach as most of the systems like the CCTV, passenger information system, fire extinguishers and the like are already a part of the system.

The Railways will replicate the system in many more coaches after the trial run.

Besides condition monitoring, the system will have Internet of Things (IoT) to provide entertainment-related offerings to passengers while train-related information will be constantly announced.

The pilot project is being executed in consultation with the experts to provide next-generation coaches equipped with maximum safety features, the official added.

On March 19, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal had pushed the Rae Bareli coach factory to go ahead with the pilot project as a game-changing initiative. The OBCMS was also displayed at Rail Shivir on November 2016 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

US firm ‘Hill International’ wins $4bn Rail Contracts in India

US-based construction consulting firm Hill International has secured two major rail contracts in India with a combined project value of nearly $4bn.

The new contracts are expected to strengthen Hill’s presence in the expanding infrastructure sector in India.

The first contract, awarded by Rail Vikas Nigam (RVNL), involves providing project management services for a programme that will double a 120km-long rail line section in Varanasi, located in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

Under the second contract, Hill International will provide quality and safety auditing consultancy services for the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor, a project funded by the World Bank.

The company will be working in conjunction with a consortium comprising Italferr and local consultant Vogue Construction and Consultancy Services. The consortium will provide the infrastructure for the 397km-long Sahnewal-Khurja section, as well as the nearly 46km-long double line electrified railway track for the Khurja-Dadri link.

Hill International Middle East regional president Abdo Kardous said: “Doubling the Varanasi Rail Line and Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor are ambitious projects that present several technical challenges.

“However, Hill’s expertise and experience will be valuable in helping both undertakings achieve their goals and support the region’s ongoing growth.”

Last month, the company won a contract to provide general consultancy services for the $2.26bn Mumbai Metro Line 4 in India from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority.

It secured the contract as a part of a consortium also including DB Engineering & Consulting and Louis Berger Consulting

Surat Metro Rail project: Revised DPR to be approved this month-end soon!

The revised detailed project report (DPR) of Surat metro rail is likely to be approved by the local authorities by this month-end.

The revised DPR proposes setting up of four elevated stations of the total 38 rail stations on public private partnership (PPP) mode at a cost of Rs 111.88 crore. Dream City company would construct other stations at a cost of Rs 31.20 crore each. The 40 km metro corridor in Surat will have two corridors and 38 stations. Corridor one begins from Sarthana up to Dream City and corridor number 2 from Saroli up to Bhesan. Surat metro rail is Rs 12,600 crore project and is expected to become operational in 2023.

The four elevated stations that the Surat Municipal Corporation would build with private partners will be at Rupali canal, Althan tenement, aquarium and Athwa chowpaty. SMC would give nearby commercial plots to developers for fulfilling the obligations under the PPP agreement.

Under central government’s transit oriented policy (TOP), empty spaces on both sides of the metro rail would be utilized for development projects. Sixty per cent of income generated from additional or paid FSI would be used in the maintenance of metro rail. This amount would be around Rs 1,138 crore at the rate of 3 per cent per year growth by 2038. SMC adviser and former city engineer Jatin Shah said, “SMC is ready to embrace metro rail. We are in the stage of finalization of the mega project that would change the mass transport scenario of Surat.”

Municipal commissioner M Thennarasan said, “We are in the process of sorting out private partners for the project. The metro rail project could be launched in the beginning of 2019.”

Railways plans 12-car Local Trains with six AC coaches for Mumbai Commuters

Commuters struggling through the humid summer in crowded locals may have something to cheer about soon, with the Railway Board planning to introduce air conditioned coaches. A Railways official said the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) will be floating a global tender for 34 12-coach AC trains, which will be split in two and attached to existing suburban trains.

“The tender will specify that the AC train’s software should be compatible with that of at least one manufacturers of existing rakes.” Most of the rakes used for suburban services are made by Bombardier and Siemens.

The six AC coaches, or half a train, will also have a motor car, the official said. Sources said both Siemens and Bombardier were consulted on the technical feasibility before the decision was taken.

Logistical issues

A Railways official said some logistical issues are expected. “The non-AC section of the rake will definitely be more crowded, which means one part of the platform will be more crowded. We are working on measures to decongest platforms at several stations, and many of these are in various stages of implementation, including more foot overbridges and removing obstructions. These measures will be revisited if partly AC rakes are to be introduced.”

The partly AC local was announced by Union Minister of Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal while inaugurating the Andheri-Goregaon Harbour Line extension on March 29. He had also said the AC coaches will have two passenger classes.

The Railways was faced with two options: rakes with three or six AC coaches. “The six-coach arrangement was generally favoured as it seemed technically more feasible,” an official said. The AC local recently introduced by Western Railway has six coaches connected via vestibules.

According to the Railways, partly AC rakes will mean more AC coaches during peak hours. Presently, the AC local runs only two services during peak hours. Many commuters have complained that as the AC local is a part of scheduled services, the wait for a non-AC local becomes longer. The AC local, built by Bharat Heavy Electrical Limited, does 12 trips on weekdays. Six more AC rakes are expected to be added by year-end.

The partly AC rakes will be in addition to the 47 AC rakes and 210 AC rakes that the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation will be procuring under the Mumbai Urban Transport Project (MUTP) 3 and MUTP 3A.

Separate Visakhapatnam Railway Zone gets Centre’s nod?

VISAKHAPATNAM / NEW DELHI: In all likelihood, an official announcement on the creation of a railway zone with Visakhapatnam as its headquarters will come soon, maybe by the end of this month or early next month.

According to sources, the NDA government at the Centre had taken a political decision for the creation of the zone. What remains is only administrative follow-up.

The sources said the Union government had completed necessary exercise and has given go ahead signal to the Railway officials to complete the exercise as soon as possible.

As a part of the formation of the zone, a five-member committee of the Railway Board and Railway Ministry is expected to visit Visakhapatnam in the next week. After the committee makes an assessment and submits the report, the government will announce the formation of the zone, the sources said.

The new railway zone will have Vijayawada, Guntur and Guntakal divisions apart from the Waltair division, but only the part that is in AP. The Waltair division extends beyond AP borders and the undivided Waltair Division used to net an annual revenue of Rs 6,500 crore per annum for the East Coast Railway.

As most of the revenue is by way of import of iron ore from outside AP, after the bifurcation of the Waltair division, the revenue of part of Waltair division in AP will go down to Rs 1,300 crore per annum.

This way there might not be any resistance from Odisha but it is not clear how people in AP would react. But the officials are moving ahead with this formula, hoping that at the end of the day, the Centre might divide the revenue of the Waltair division between AP and Odisha.

In fact, the Centre shared the information about the formation of the new Railway Zone with all the senior BJP leaders and MPs in both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

“The BJP government has said the Railway Zone will come up in its 2014-19 tenure only. Officials and the committees will visit as per the government decision but I do not have communication about the dates of the visit,” Vizag MP K Haribabu.

Bogibeel, India’s longest road-rail bridge, to be inaugurated by PM Modi this year

In a major boost to defence logistics along the border with China, India’s longest road and railway bridge connecting Dibrugarh in Assam to Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh is likely to be inaugurated later this year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

While all the civil work would be completed by July this year, two more months would be needed to finish the electrical and signalling work on the 4.94 km bridge, said Mahender Singh, Chief Engineer, construction, Bogibeel project.

The Bogibeel bridge is likely to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi by the end of this year, officials said.

The bridge, which is the second longest in Asia, has three lane roads on top and double line rail below.

The bridge is 32 metres above the water level of the Brahamaputra and is fashioned on a bridge that links Sweden and Denmark.

For the government, the bridge, officials said is both a symbol of development in the northeast as well as part of a strategic move solving logistical issues for the armed forces stationed at the China border to get supplies from Tezpur.

Bogibeel is part of infrastructure projects planned by India to improve logistics along the border in Arunachal Pradesh. This includes the construction of a trans-Arunachal highway on the north bank of the Brahmaputra, and new road and rail links over the mighty river and its major tributaries such as the Dibang, Lohit, Subansiri and Kameng.

India and China share a nearly 4,000 km border, with almost 75 per cent in Arunachal Pradesh.

As of now, the rail and road link to Arunachal is through three Assam bridges – Jogighopa in Bongaigaon district, Saraighat near Guwahati, and Kolia-Bhomora between Sonitpur and Nagaon.

This means that a cargo from Dibrugarh in the north-eastern corner of Assam takes over a 600 km detour merely to cross the Brahmaputra.

The other alternative is crossing by ferry, but it is not suitable for heavy cargo and due to monsoons for six months between May-October, ferry services often remain disrupted.

“Now, to go from Dibrugarh to Arunachal Pradesh by train, one has to go via Guwahati with more than 500 km detour. With this bridge, the journey will be less than 100 km,” said Singh.

Though approved in 1996, construction of the bridge was initiated by the first BJP-led NDA government in 2002.

1. Connectivity: Bogibeel bridge, which has taken several years to build, will connect the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra in the Eastern region of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

2. Defence boost: The 4.94 kilometres long Bogibeel bridge will be a big boost for the defence forces as it will provide faster connectivity to areas near the India-China border. This means swifter movement of troops and weapons systems.

3. The journey: Bogibeel bridge is located around 17-kilometres away (downstream) of Assam’s Dibrugarh area. As stated above, the foundation stone for the Bogibeel bridge was laid on 2022 and in 2007, the UPA government had accorded it the status of a National Project. The Modi government had asked for expediting work on the bridge which had already missed several deadlines.

4. Challenges: Bogibeel bridge is also unique for the challenges that were faced in constructing it. Speaking to Financial Express Online, North-East Frontier Railway CPRO Pranav Jyoti Sharma has earlier said that crucial the work for the bridge could only happen between November and March. That’s because early flooding the river Brahmaputra makes it unsafe to continue work. The bridge required huge amounts of construction material to be mobilised in those few months. According to Sharma, the transportation of concrete across the river channels of 600 metres to 900 metres width from the banks was the biggest challenge. This was overcome by adopting pumping of concrete through pipe line laid over buoys.

5. Rail links: As mentioned above, Bogibeel is a rail-cum road bridge and will connect two existing railway networks that run at the North and South banks of river Brahmaputra. At the South bank of the river, the railway link starts from Chalkhowa and Moranhat stations and joins in between the Sisibargaon and Siripani stations of Rangiya-Murkongselek section at North Bank through the Bogibeel bridge.

The North bank railway link was converted from metre gauge to broad gauge. According to Indian Railways, the block section between Dhamalgaon and Tangani station will be a double line section under which the Bogibeel Bridge lies.

6: Road links: A 29.446 km national highway will connect NH-37 at South Bank and NH-52 at North Bank of river Brahmaputra. The national highway road link will consist of 11.25 km at South Bank, 13.26 km at North Bank and 4.94 km on the Bogibeel bridge.

7. Saving time: Bogibeel bridge’s biggest benefit is the time that it will save. As of now a train journey from Arunachal Pradesh to Assam’s Dibrugarh requires a 500 km detour via Guwahati. Now, the journey will be less than 100 km. Also, the train journey between Delhi and Dibrugarh will also come down from 37 hours at present (via Guwahati) to 34 hours – a reduction of 3 hours.

8. Fully welded structure: According to Pranav Jyoti Sharma, Bogibeel bridge is a 100% welded bridge! Technology from firms of Sweden and Denmark have been used for its construction. One advantage of a 100% welded ridge is that it is light and the fully welded girders mean reduction in the weight when compared to riveted girders.

9. Estimated cost: The Bogibeel bridge project was initially sanctioned at a cost of Rs 3230.02 crore, but the final cost was revised to Rs 4857 crore keeping in mind cost escalation and increase in the length of the bridge to 4.94 km as against 4.31 km proposed earlier.

10. Other facts: Bogibeel bridge is the second longest in Asia and has been built 32 metres above the Brahmaputra river water level. The design of the bridge is similar to that of a bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden.

If one dies getting on or off Train, Railways must pay Compensation: Supreme Court (Download Judgement)

The Supreme Court passed a detailed judgment clarifying the law with respect to certain subjects which repeatedly arise in railway accident claims before Railway Claims Tribunal. What the Supreme Court ruled on Strict Liability and Burden of Proof!

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that the railways would be liable to pay compensation to passengers in case of death or injury while boarding and de-boarding trains and said it cannot deny such claims citing negligence on the part of passengers.

A bench of Justices A K Goel and R F Nariman held that death or injury during boarding or de-boarding a train will be an ‘untoward incident’ entitling the victim to compensation.

As per Section 124A of the Railways Act, 1989, no compensation shall be payable by the railway administration if the passenger dies or suffers injury due to suicide or attempted suicide by him, self-inflicted injury, his own criminal act or any act committed by him in a state of intoxication or insanity.

Different high courts have given contradictory verdicts as some of them held that injury or death during boarding and de-boarding because of negligence of the victim was at par with self-inflicted injury. Some HCs though applied the principles of strict liability on the railways for such incidents.

Putting an end to the controversy, the apex court ruled that the railways is liable to pay compensation to victims as compensation is payable whether or not there has been wrongful act, neglect or fault on the part of the railway administration in case of an accident or untoward incident.

The court said the concept of ‘self-inflicted injury’ would require intention to inflict such injury and negligence on the part of passenger, which is one of the grounds to decline compensation, could not be brought within its ambit.

The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices AK Goel and Rohinton Fali Nariman in an appeal preferred against an award of compensation of Rs. 4 lakh under Section 124A of the Railways Act, 1989.

The respondent had filed a claim for compensation for death of her husband Jatan Gope in an ‘untoward incident’ in 2002. Her case was that the deceased had purchased a second class train ticket and he fell down from the train due to rush of passengers and died on the spot.

One Kailash Gope who witnessed the deceased purchasing the ticket and boarding the train filed an affidavit stating these facts. He was not cross-examined. The case of the respondent was that the ticket was not recovered from the possession of the deceased as it may have been lost somewhere.

The claim was contested by the Central government (appellant). It was stated that the deceased was not a passenger but was wandering near the railway track. Cousin of the deceased stated that the deceased was suffering from mental disorder and was wandering in that state of mind. However, he was not examined as a witness.

The Tribunal dismissed the claim on the ground that it was not a case of ‘untoward incident’ but a case of ‘run over’ and that the deceased was not a bona fide passenger.

The High Court set aside the order of the Tribunal by relying upon the evidence of Kailash Gope who had filed affidavit to the effect that the deceased had purchased ticket and had boarded the train. The Central government then preferred an appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court ruled on the following four issues:

Application of Principle of Strict Liability – Concept of Self Inflicted Injury

The Court made it amply clear that the principle of strict liability applies and held that Sections 124 and 124A provide that in the case of an accident or an ‘untoward incident’ compensation is payable whether or not there has been wrongful act, neglect or fault on the part of the railway administration.

Only exceptions are those provided in the proviso to Section 124A. Where principle of strict liability applies, proof of negligence is not required, the Court stated.

The Court therefore, held that death or injury in the course of boarding or de-boarding a train will be an ‘untoward incident’ entitling a victim to the compensation and will not fall under the proviso to Section 124A merely on the plea of negligence of the victim as a contributing factor.

Burden of proof when Body Found on Railway Premises

Addressing this issue, the Court noted that conflicting decisions have been pointed out on this subject.

The Court however, held that mere presence of a body in the Railway premises will not be conclusive to hold that the injured or deceased was a bona fide passenger for which claim for compensation could be maintained.

However, mere absence of ticket with such injured or deceased will not negative the claim that he was a bona fide passenger. Initial burden will be on the claimant which can be discharged by filing an affidavit of the relevant facts and burden will then shift on to the Railways and the issue can be decided on the facts shown or the attending circumstances. This will have to be dealt with from case to case on the basis of facts found, the Court held.

Quantum of compensation

The Court held that compensation will be payable as applicable on the date of the accident with interest as may be considered reasonable from time to time on the same pattern as in accident claim cases. If the amount so calculated is less than the amount prescribed as on the date of the award of the Tribunal, the claimant will be entitled to higher of the two amounts.

The Court in the process also explained the “seeming conflict in Rathi Menon and Kalandi Charan Sahoo” while holding that the 4-Judge Bench judgment in Pratap Narain Singh Deo holds the field on the subject.

“Compensation as applicable on the date of the accident has to be given with reasonable interest and to give effect to the mandate of beneficial legislation, if compensation as provided on the date of award of the Tribunal is higher than unrevised amount with interest, the higher of the two amounts has to be given.”

Rate of interest

Rate of interest has to be reasonable at par with accident claim cases.

“….though this Court in Thazhathe Purayil Sarabi (supra) held that rate of interest has to be at the rate of 6% from the date of application till the date of the award and 9% thereafter and 9% rate of interest was awarded from the date of application in Mohamadi (supra), rate of interest has to be reasonable rate at par with accident claim cases.”

The Court held that in the absence of any specific statutory provision, interest can be awarded from the date of accident itself when the liability of the Railways arises upto the date of payment, without any difference in the stages. Legal position in this regard is at par with the cases of accident claims under the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

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