Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Indian Railways unique step! PM Modi gave innovative idea to convert coaches into COVID-19 wards, says Goyal

While addressing the India Foundation Dialogue 70 via video conference, the Railway Minister said that over 5,000 number of coaches have been converted by the national transporter, in which 80,000 isolation beds are now ready.

Indian Railways unique step, courtesy PM Modi! The idea of converting Indian Railways’ coaches into isolation wards, was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, says Piyush Goyal. According to the Railway Minister, the innovative idea was given by PM Modi, even before the nationwide lockdown was imposed. According to Goyal, PM Modi called him one day to ask whether railway coaches can be converted into isolation wards. Goyal was quoted in an ANI report saying that Indian Railways’ employees worked hard and in consultation with the Health Ministry, they developed the entire design. While addressing the India Foundation Dialogue 70 via video conference, the Railway Minister said that over 5,000 number of coaches have been converted by the national transporter, in which 80,000 isolation beds are now ready.

According to the Railway Minister, since the month of March, the national transporter has operated freight trains non-stop throughout the lockdown period ensuring adequate supplies of medicines, foodgrain, milk, fertilizer, coal petroleum products to very far-flung areas. He said that nearly 4,611 Shramik Special train services transported over 63 lakh stranded migrants to their respective destinations. The migrant passengers were provided with meals and water during the journey. Till 18 June 2020, as many as 1.85 crore meals as well as 3.12 crore drinking water packets were provided to migrant passengers during their railway journey, Goyal said.

According to Goyal, there is no demand for migrant trains at present. Also, no Shramik train service was operated yesterday, he said. He further said that the national transporter was able to make personal protective equipment like face masks, hand sanitizers for its own needs without depending on anyone else. Due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, trains are not running to their capacity at present as railway passengers are still not ready to travel in public transport.

In Indian Railways’ 167-year history, it is the first time that passenger trains are not running to full capacity. The national transporter had started 125 pairs of trains as special train services, across the country, but Indian Railways has not still reached the full potential of its passenger traffic. Currently, the average occupancy of passengers is around 70%. Only a few trains are going full, he added.

Train to Statue of Unity soon! Piyush Goyal reviews Indian Railways’ Kevadia rail link project; details

Once this project is complete, travellers visiting the Statue of Unity in Gujarat will have a hassle-free railway journey.

Train to Statue of Unity soon! Recently, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal reviewed the progress of the upcoming Indian Railways’ Kevadia Rail Link project as well as encouraged the entire team to complete the development work in a time-bound manner to further boost the tourism activities at the Statue of Unity in the state of Gujarat. Once this project is complete, travellers visiting the Statue of Unity in Gujarat will have a hassle-free railway journey. Under this project, an Indian Railways station is being set up, connecting the tallest statue in the world to the country’s network.

At present, Vadodara, Bharuch and Ankleshwar railway stations provide Indian Railways’ connectivity to the Statue of Unity, while the nearest airports to the iconic statue are Vadodara Airport and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. The central government, in Budget 2017, announced the gauge conversion of the Dabhoi-Chanod rail line. This rail line is being extended up to Kevadiya. The foundation stone for the Kevadiya railway station was laid in December 2018 by President Ram Nath Kovind. Once the railway station in Kevadiya is ready, there will be a huge relief for those who have been travelling by train to see the Statue of Unity. The upcoming railway station in Kevadiya is located at a distance of around five kilometres from the Statue of Unity.

The national transporter is connecting the Kevadiya colony and Chandod, Tilakwada, Moriya, and Garudeshwar. The section between Chandod and Dabhoi, which is 18-kilometres long, is undergoing gauge conversion. A new railway line between the Chandod-Kevadiya section is likely to be laid. It was reported that the total length of the project is about 50 kilometres, which includes 18 kms of gauge conversion of Dabhoi-Chandod and 32 kms of extension of the line from Chandod to Kevadiya Colony. In the section from Dabhoi to Chandod, there are 4 major bridges, 16 minor bridges, as well as 12 Low Height Subways/Road Under Bridges/Road over Bridges. While there will be 5 major bridges, 30 minor bridges as well as 18 Low Height Subways/Road Under Bridges and Road Over Bridges in the new Chandod-Kevadiya section. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 663.29 crore.

Meanwhile, the Kevadiya station building will have Green Building Certification and will be constructed at a cost of Rs 20 crore. The ‘Divyang’ friendly station will have a three-level structure, with the first and second levels boasting a VIP room, a general waiting room for passengers, an executive lounge for VVIPs, foreign tourists, station master room along with other facilities.

Indian Railways NRTI announces admissions for academic year 2020-21! Offers 8 new programmes

The last date to apply for BBA, BSc and post-graduate programmes is 31 July 2020. However, only online applications will be accepted by NRTI.

The National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTI), Vadodara, a deemed to be University established under the Railway Ministry, has announced admissions for the Academic year 2020-21. For the Indian Railways’ institute, this will be the third year of intake of students. The university will offer a total of 10 programmes, out of which eight programmes are newly added. The last date to apply for BBA, BSc and post-graduate programmes is 31 July 2020. However, only online applications will be accepted by NRTI. For the programmes, the entrance test will take place on 23 August 2020 at multiple centres around India. The admissions of B Tech courses will be based on JEE Mains score, for which the last date of application is 14 September 2020.

The university will offer undergraduate programmes of BBA in Transportation Management, BSc in Transportation Technology, B.Tech. in Rail Infrastructure Engineering and B.Tech. in Rail Systems & Communication Engineering. The NRTI will also offer postgraduate programmes of MBA in Transportation Management, MBA in Supply Chain Management, MSc in Transport Information Systems and Analytics, MSc in Transport Technology and Policy, MSc in Transport Economics, and MS in Railway Systems Engineering and Integration (in collaboration with the University of Birmingham).

How to apply for the programmes at NRTI?

  • Candidates can fill the application form, pay the application fee and register for the process by visiting the NRTI website www.nrti.edu.in/data/applications.html.
  • The fee for application is Rs 500 for GEN/EWS/OBC candidates, while the application fee is Rs 250 for SC/ST/PwD candidates.

In view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NRTI has augmented teaching with quality online courses and summer internships:

  • All programmes were conducted online by the faculty using the latest technology and pedagogy. The teaching of all courses and batches was completed without compromising quality and students’ safety.
  • To supplement classes, students were provided free access to a library of 4,000 online courses from leading universities across the globe. Courses in Microeconomic Principle, Data Science, Understanding Research Methods were included.
  • Digital certificates will be awarded to NRTI students from the offering university, as well as credits by the institute.
  • For the second year students, six-week online industry internships will be organized with leading private and public sector organizations in the transportation sector.

Meanwhile, at NAIR campus, new Infrastructure is also being developed to cater to the growth. Take a look at the new additions to the campus:

  • Master Plan has been prepared for 55-acre campus of NAIR has and the construction work for this will be initiated shortly.
  • There will be a capacity for 2,000 residential and 5,000 total students on the campus.
  • The campus will boast a New Academic Block with classrooms, seminar halls, laboratories, admin offices, faculty chambers, a 400 capacity auditorium as well as a model room.
  • There will be a multifunctional building with residential accommodation, a mess with 550 persons’ capacity, and amenities like activity rooms, gymnasiums, launderettes, spread across three towers.
  • The new sports block has been designed around a central courtyard which will include badminton courts, a billiards and indoor sports room, Squash courts, as well as tennis courts on its roof.
  • The Railway Ministry claimed that all buildings will meet stringent green building norms, preserving existing flora and fauna, using minimum land as well as ensuring ample daylight and cross ventilation.

Dedicated Freight Corridor, Bullet Train Project On Track: Railway Board

Railways’ statement comes at a time when most infrastructure projects in the country are facing delays due to the lockdown, coupled with the paucity of labour and the economic slump.

The Railways‘ two big ticket projects — the Dedicated Freight Corridor and the bullet train project — aimed at a modal shift in rail operations in the country will not be delayed despite the coronavirus crisis, Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav said today.

His statement comes at a time when most infrastructure projects in the country are facing delays due to the lockdown, coupled with the paucity of labour and the economic slump.

The Rs 81,000 crore Dedicated Freight Corridor, which is the Railways” single-largest developmental project currently underway, consists of the Eastern DFC, a 1,839-km freight line from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni near Kolkata, West Bengal, and the 1483-km WDFC or western corridor connecting India”s capital Delhi and its economic hub Mumbai.

According to latest data provided by DFCCIL on Wednesday, the agency has completed 56 per cent of its contractual work on WDFC and 60 per cent on EDFC.

The agency said 99 percent of the required land has been acquired. The completion of the project, scheduled for December 2021, is set to decongest the Railway network by moving around 70 percent of goods trains to these corridors.

“It was a very good decision on part of the DFCCIL (Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited) to keep their labourers in camps around the worksite and providing them with basic amenities thus ensuring that not many of them returned home. This way the work has not stopped, only slowed down a bit, and since there is still time till December 2021 (the deadline), I expect we will not be delayed,” Mr Yadav said.

According to the DFCCIL, they had around 40,000 workers at their worksites in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra which primarily was reduced to around 15,000 workers during the lockdown leading to a slowdown in its work. Its managing director wrote to the states, requesting them to ensure that workers are allowed to move from the camps to the worksites, even arranging e passes for them. The agency also hired locals to supplement the workers available with them.

Now, DFCCIL is also facilitating the movement of its labourers back to the worksite on trains and buses and in the last month has brought around 7,000 highly trained workmen back from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The latest tally, officials say is around 22,000 workers at the DFC units.

The completion of the DFC and the resultant decongestion of the railway network is also essential for the beginning of the 151 private train services in April 2023.

“By the time the private trains begin operations, we would have completed all our infrastructure work. We are doing a lot of infrastructure work of doubling and tripling which would address the congestion issues that these trains might face,” he said when asked about the congestion on the trunk routes.

The other much awaited project — the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed corridor — which has a deadline of December 2023 has had to contend with issues ranging from protests by landowners and rising cost of the project due to the widening gap between the Indian rupee and the Japanese yen, as 80% of the Rs 1 trillion needed to fund the project will come from a 20-year Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) loan. The project is being implemented by the National High-Speed Rail Corporation (NHSRCL).

The agency which provided the latest status report of the project to PTI, said it has floated 68 per cent of its civil works tenders covering 345 kms out of 508 kms along with a separate tender for fabrication of 28 steel bridges for the high speed corridor in Maharashtra.

While the joint measurement survey of the land required for the project is almost on the verge of completion, the agency has acquired 60 per cent land needed for the project ( about 77% land in Gujarat, 80% in Dadar Nagar Haveli and 22% in Maharashtra), according to the NHSRCL.

“In the bullet train project on the other hand, physical work is still to begin. However, the tendering process is on and land acquisition is presently underway,” Mr Yadav said.

A pre-bid meeting to solve bidders’ query was also arranged during the lockdown period through video conferencing. Mr Yadav said while the Railways’ revenue from passenger traffic has been affected due to the pandemic, freight loading will enhance its earnings by the year end.

“Due to the fact that passenger trains are off the network, there is a lot of track available for freight trains. This year, freight traffic will be 50 per cent more than last years thereby enhancing the Railways’ earnings despite the pandemic. During the lockdown and even currently we are working on our infrastructure to ensure that we remove bottle necks. We have utilised this opportunity to finish 200 of our pending works and utilised the opportunity for multi-tracking, doubling,” he said.

Not Feasible To Convert Rail Coaches Into ICUs: Railways To Bombay High Court

The Railways filed an affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Naresh Kapoor seeking the court’s direction to convert unused train coaches into ICUs considering the rise in COVID cases.

The Ministry of Railways on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court that it would not be feasible to convert railway coaches into intensive care units for COVID-19 patients, as the same would require extensive structural changes.

The Railways filed an affidavit in response to a petition by social activist Naresh Kapoor seeking the court’s direction to convert unused train coaches into quarantine facilities or ICUs considering the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“The conversion of train coaches to ICUs is not possible without extensive structural modifications and major changes. These changes would need detailed design and can be done only in units with elaborate manufacturing facilities,” the affidavit stated.

Moreover, isolation or quarantine facilities in coaches are temporary arrangements till the Railways begin regular operations and the modifications made were reversible, it added.

As per the affidavit, train coaches cannot be reused for regular passenger services if major structural changes were carried out.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik noted that presently, the situation is not such that conversion of coaches into ICUs is warranted.

The court in its order also expressed its satisfaction with the changes made by the Railways in coaches used as quarantine or isolation facilities.

The Railways in its affidavit further stated that the Central Railway had converted 482 non-air-conditioned coaches on 24 rakes into makeshift isolation centres in Maharashtra.

The middle seat in a regular non-AC coach has been removed and a toilet at the end of a coach has been turned into a bathroom.

Similarly, the Western Railway has converted 410 non AC coaches on 18 rakes into quarantine facilities.

These rakes were stationed at key junctions between Mumbai and Bhavnagar in Gujarat, it was stated.

Private Operators Will Run Only 5% Trains Under Public Private Partnership

Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav on Thursday said that private operators will operate only 5 per cent trains under Public Private Partnership while rest 95 per cent will be operated by Indian Railways.

“5 per cent is being offered to private operators under Public-Private Partnership (PPP), 95 per cent trains will be run by Indian Railways. Majority of trains will be manufactured in India. Private train operators will fix fare keeping in mind fares of airlines and AC buses,” said Mr Yadav.

“Our target is that the private trains start running by April 2023. A mechanism will be set up to monitor the performance of the private trains,” he added.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of Railways has said that it has invited Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for private participation for operation of passenger train services over 109 Origin Destination (OD) pairs of routes through introduction of 151 modern Trains (Rakes).

A press release from the Ministry of Railways yesterday said, “The 109 OD Pairs have been formed into 12 Clusters across the Indian Railway network. Each Train shall have a minimum of 16 coaches.”

The project would entail private sector investment of about Rs 30,000 crore. This is the first initiative of private investment for running Passenger Trains over Indian Railways network, the press release read.

Majority of trains to be manufactured in India (Make in India). The private entity shall be responsible for financing, procuring, operation and maintenance of the trains, it said.

The Railways said that trains shall be designed for a maximum speed of 160 kmph. There would be a substantial reduction in journey time. The running time taken by a train shall be comparable to or faster than the fastest train of Indian Railways operating in the respective route.

“The objective of this initiative is to introduce modern technology rolling stock with reduced maintenance, reduced transit time, boost job creation, provide enhanced safety, provide world class travel experience to passengers, and also reduce demand supply deficit in the passenger transportation sector. The Concession Period for the project shall be 35 years,” it read.

It further read, “The Private Entity shall pay to Indian Railways fixed haulage charges, energy charges as per actual consumption and a share in Gross Revenue determined through a transparent bidding process. These trains shall be operated by the Driver and Guard of Indian Railways.”

The operation of the trains by the private entity shall conform to the key performance indicators like punctuality, reliability, upkeep of trains etc.

Operation and maintenance of the passenger trains would be governed by standards and specifications and requirements specified by Indian Railways.

These 3 Delhi railway stations set to be world-class! Indian Railways plans mega projects

Once all the redevelopment work is complete, these railway stations will not only boast a swanky makeover but also various passenger-friendly facilities.

Delhi to get 3 swanky Indian Railways stations! Indian Railways is all set to give three railway stations in the national capital – Anand Vihar, Bijwasan, New Delhi an airport-like makeover. The Anand Vihar Terminal and Bijwasan railway stations will be redeveloped by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC), while the redevelopment of the New Delhi railway station (NDLS) will be done by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) under the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Once all the redevelopment work is complete, these railway stations will not only boast a swanky makeover but also various passenger-friendly facilities.

The New Delhi railway station revamp project will be done at a cost of Rs 6,500 crore. The station will be transformed into a world-class transit hub with the development of commercial components like hotel, offices, retail areas, etc. The first phase of the station redevelopment project will involve the renovation of around 110 acres of land. The station will boast separate entry/exit points for arriving and departing passengers. An elevated concourse will be developed at the station and the 16 station platforms will be refurbished. Additionally, a multi-level car parking facility is also likely to come up.

The design of the revamped Anand Vihar station will be eco-friendly. At the station, passengers’ arrival and departure will be separated. An airspace concourse has been proposed by IRSDC as well. The modernized railway station will also boast food stalls, shops, etc. For passengers, the station’s waiting area will be made more comfortable with enough space. Also, there will be adequate stairs and escalators for vertical circulation. The “Divyang friendly” station will enable smooth movement of physically challenged passengers and for those who are visually impaired, the station will offer Tactile and Braille guidance.

Bijwasan railway station:

The Bijwasan station is being redeveloped using the EPC mode at an estimated cost of Rs 270.82 crore over a period of three years. The revamped railway station will have separate areas for arrival and departure. An airport-like waiting area will be set up, which will be developed using the airspace of the station, with a concourse built above the tracks. To ensure quality waiting time, the upgraded railway station will also have shops, food stalls and other facilities. The redeveloped Bijwasan railway station will be 100 per cent friendly for the differently-abled passengers.

Railways To Expand Mumbai Local Services But For Essential Staff Only

The Railways will expand its suburban services in Mumbai from Wednesday and run 350 trains each in the Central and Western Railway Zones, Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.

The trains will, however, only carry essential services personnel identified by the Maharashtra government.

Local trains, the lifeline of the country’s financial capital, were suspended on March 23 as national lockdown to contain coronavirus came into force.

“Railways to expand to 350 local trains in Mumbai from tomorrow. As identified by State govt., essential staff incl. employees of Centre, IT, GST, Customs, Postal, Nationalised Banks, MBPT (Mumbai Port Trust), Judiciary, Defence & Raj Bhavan allowed. No services yet for general passengers,” Mr Goyal tweeted.

Both the railway zones that cater to Mumbai had resumed their select suburban services for essential staff from June 15.

In the Mumbai Division of Central Railways, presently 200 trains are being run and 150 will be added from Wednesday, taking the total to 350. Western Railways is presently running 202 services and 148 will be added from Wednesday.

These trains will halt at major stations (where fast locals halt). On the harbour line too the trains will halt at major stations only.

In normal times, the CR and WR ran more than 3,000 services in Mumbai daily, carrying around 70 lakh passengers.

After receiving a letter from Ministry of Home Affairs about allowing Central government department staff and bank employees to travel on suburban locals on June 27, the railway authorities had a meeting with state officials on Monday.

As of Tuesday, the CR was operating 200 suburban services — 130 on the main line between CSMT-Karjat/ Kasara and 70 on the Harbour line between CSMT-Panvel.

“The number of services may be modified as per the requirement to ensure social distancing norms,” a joint release of CR and WR said.

Western Railway on Monday added 40 suburban services, taking the total number to 202.

The railway release also made it clear that suburban services will not be for general public.

“The state government has been urged to ensure all those allowed to travel are allowed only after ensuring that they are medically fit and do not come from a containment zone,” the release stated.

To ensure social distancing, every train will carry only 700 passengers against the capacity of 1,200.

“Entry will be given at stations strictly through ID cards of essential staff, as identified by the State Government. Later on, the staff will be issued QR based E- passes which will also bear colour coding to enable swifter ticket checking,” the railway release stated.

No New Demand For Shramik Special Trains From Any State, Says Railways

There is no demand for Shramik Special trains from any state now, the Railways said today, but offered to run more if states request for them.

At a press conference, railway spokespersons said no Shramik Special ran on Sunday and none is scheduled for Tuesday either.

“There was demand for just one train from Karnataka and that train is running today (Monday) from Bengaluru to Muzaffarpur. There is no demand for such trains tomorrow as well. We will run them if demand arises from states,” a spokesperson said.

He also said that so far 4,596 Shramik trains have operated since May 1.

Giving details, he said the demand for Shramik Special trains has been reducing significantly starting June. On May 31, the Railways operated only 69 Shramik trains while the next day it run just over 100.

Shramik Special trains are being operated primarily on the request of the states which want to send migrant workers stranded due to the coronavirus lockdown to their native places.

The spokespersons also said that the Railways’ earnings from the 200 mail/express special trains, which started operations from June 1, was Rs 20-22 crore per day.

They also said the occupancy in the 15 pairs of a/c trains running on Rajdhani routes from May 12 was 80 per cent.

They also said while the demand for migrant specials was reducing, the occupancy in trains going to big cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru from states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal was almost 100 per cent, indicating beginning of economic revival.

These three states together accounted for 81 percent of the 4,596 Sharmik Special trains that have been operated so far.

The railways is running 100 pairs of mail/express trains from June 1, and 15 pairs of air-conditioned trains on the Rajdhani routes.

Giving an update on the Railways’ COVID care coaches parked at stations in five states, they said that of the 59 patients admitted since June 20 in Uttar Pradesh’s Mau, 56 have been discharged, while nine of the 32 admitted at Delhi’s Shakurbasti station have been discharged so far.

They also said the Railways has decided to refund the full fare for passengers who have booked tickets on trains that have been cancelled now.

Recently, the Railways cancelled all its regular trains till August 12, but said special trains will continue to be in service.

AC Trains To Have Operation Theatre-Like Fresh Air Pumped Into Coaches

The Railways’ air conditioned trains will now have operation theatre-like fresh air pumped into its coaches, replacing the circulated air which raises the chances of spread of infections, officials have said.

The experiment, started with 15 pairs of air conditioned trains being run by the Railways on the Rajdhani routes since May 12, will be replicated in all AC trains as part of the national transporter’s preparations for post-COVID operations.

“The Roof Mounted AC Package Unit (RMPU) system of Indian Railways AC coaches replaces air more than 16-18 times per hour just like in OTs,” officials said.

Previously, these AC trains had air change six to eight times per hour and 80 per cent of the air that was pushed into coaches was recirculated air, while 20 per cent was fresh air.

However, with the increase in the number of air changes, there has been a 10 to 15 per cent increase in energy consumption.

“This is the price one has to pay for the safety of passengers. This is the new normal. The way an AC works is that it uses recirculated air so that it gets cooler faster. When we use fresh air it takes more time to cool, so there’s additional energy consumption,” an officer said.

The Railways has also increased the centralised AC’s temperature from the usual 23 degrees to 25 degrees as passengers are no longer being provided linen.

Officials said that on the advise of the health experts, the Railways’ has modified its non-AC coaches as isolation coaches for treating mild coronavirus cases and said that they have also applied health ministry guidelines to modify the ac units on board the special Rajdhani trains to ensure that the disease does not spread.

As per the Ministry of Health guidelines, centralised AC is acceptable provided complete air change inside an AC coach takes place at least 12 times per hour, officials said.

So far, only a study by Chinese researchers has concluded that droplet transmission was prompted by air-conditioned ventilation. Not many other studies, however, have associated AC use with coronavirus spread.

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