Indian Railways News

Indian Railways News

Railways Issues “Domestic” Tender To Manufacture 44 Vande Bharat Trains

The Railways has floated a new “domestic” tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed “Vande Bharat” train sets, in which only India-registered companies can participate and the minimum local component percentage required is 75, officials said on Monday.

In August, the Railways had cancelled a global tender it had floated the month before after it emerged that among the six candidates that had submitted financial bids was CRRC Pioneer Electric, in which China’s CRRC is a joint partner.

“The revised tender is in line with the Government of India’s preference for the Make In India policy,” a Railway spokesperson said.

“The minimum local content percentage has been revised to 75%. It is the first big tender under revised DPIIT norms of Atma Nirbhar Bharat having at least 75 % domestic components. This tender is now a domestic tender. It shall be local (indigenous) tender in which a two-stage reverse auction shall take place,” the spokesperson said.

The tender is for three-phase propulsion, control and other equipment along with the bogies for the 44 train sets.

The ministry also said a pre-bid meeting for the tender will be held on September 29 and the tender will be opened on November 17.

The bid document states that the train sets shall be manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai; Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala; Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli.

The government had earlier scrapped three global tenders for the project.

The August cancellation had come in the backdrop of rising tensions between India and China. The Railways had then said a fresh bid will be put out as per the revised Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) order.

As per the CRRC Pioneer Electric’s website, it is a joint venture of CRRC Yongji Electric Co. Ltd — a core subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation — and India’s Pioneer Fil-Med Pvt ltd, set up in 2015.

The other bidders for the project, estimated to cost about ₹ 1,500 crore, were Indian PSU Bharat Heavy Electricals, the Hyderabad-based Medha Group, the Himachal Pradesh-based Electrowaves Electronic Pvt Ltd, Powernetics Equipments Pvt Ltd and Bharat Industries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the maiden run of a Vande Bharat train on the New Delhi-Varanasi route on February 15, 2019.

The second such train service between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by Home Minister Amit Shah on October 3, 2019.

Officials said that going by the cost of manufacturing of the first Vande Bharat Express, or Train 18, the present tender would be worth over ₹ 1,500 crore.

Earlier, the Railways had also cancelled a ₹ 471-crore signalling contract of another Chinese firm and scrapped a tender for thermal cameras as again a Chinese firm was seen as a front-runner.

Railways Issues “Domestic” Tender To Manufacture 44 Vande Bharat Trains

The Railways has floated a new “domestic” tender for manufacturing 44 semi-high speed “Vande Bharat” train sets, in which only India-registered companies can participate and the minimum local component percentage required is 75, officials said on Monday.

In August, the Railways had cancelled a global tender it had floated the month before after it emerged that among the six candidates that had submitted financial bids was CRRC Pioneer Electric, in which China’s CRRC is a joint partner.

“The revised tender is in line with the Government of India’s preference for the Make In India policy,” a Railway spokesperson said.

“The minimum local content percentage has been revised to 75%. It is the first big tender under revised DPIIT norms of Atma Nirbhar Bharat having at least 75 % domestic components. This tender is now a domestic tender. It shall be local (indigenous) tender in which a two-stage reverse auction shall take place,” the spokesperson said.

The tender is for three-phase propulsion, control and other equipment along with the bogies for the 44 train sets.

The ministry also said a pre-bid meeting for the tender will be held on September 29 and the tender will be opened on November 17.

The bid document states that the train sets shall be manufactured at Integral Coach Factory, Chennai; Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala; Modern Coach Factory, Raebareli.

The government had earlier scrapped three global tenders for the project.

The August cancellation had come in the backdrop of rising tensions between India and China. The Railways had then said a fresh bid will be put out as per the revised Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) order.

As per the CRRC Pioneer Electric’s website, it is a joint venture of CRRC Yongji Electric Co. Ltd — a core subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation — and India’s Pioneer Fil-Med Pvt ltd, set up in 2015.

The other bidders for the project, estimated to cost about ₹ 1,500 crore, were Indian PSU Bharat Heavy Electricals, the Hyderabad-based Medha Group, the Himachal Pradesh-based Electrowaves Electronic Pvt Ltd, Powernetics Equipments Pvt Ltd and Bharat Industries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had flagged off the maiden run of a Vande Bharat train on the New Delhi-Varanasi route on February 15, 2019.

The second such train service between New Delhi and Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Katra was flagged off by Home Minister Amit Shah on October 3, 2019.

Officials said that going by the cost of manufacturing of the first Vande Bharat Express, or Train 18, the present tender would be worth over ₹ 1,500 crore.

Earlier, the Railways had also cancelled a ₹ 471-crore signalling contract of another Chinese firm and scrapped a tender for thermal cameras as again a Chinese firm was seen as a front-runner.

India Delivers Two Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit Trains To Nepal

India has handed over two modern trains to Nepal that would run between Jaynagar in Bihar and Kurtha in Dhanusa district from mid-December, marking the beginning of the first broad-gauge railway service in the Himalayan nation, officials said on Saturday.

The Konkan Railway delivered two modern Diesel-Electric Multiple Unit (DMUC) trains to the Nepal Railway for Jaynagar-Kurtha broad gauge line on Friday. These trains are manufactured by Integrated Coach Factory, Chennai with modern amenities and latest AC-AC propulsion technology.

The Indian technicians and the Nepal Railway staff were welcomed at various locations when the trains arrived in the country from India on Friday.

Thousands of people gathered to see the new trains despite the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 390 people and infected over 60,000 others in Nepal.

The train operations from Kurtha to Jaynagar, covering a distance of 35-km, will benefit citizens of both the countries, according to Indian Embassy sources.

The trial run of the new trains started from Friday on the broad gauge tracks whose construction was completed last year, according to Nepal Railway Company Director General Guru Bhattarai.

Since the border is unlikely to open soon due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the train services would not start immediately and the trains would be parked at the Nepal Railway Station in Jaynagar for the maintenance and safety, according to Senior Divisional Engineer Devendra Shah.

“The trains are expected to go into regular operation around the Ram-Janaki marriage ceremony in mid-December when the situation is likely to improve,” said Nepal Railway Company Engineer Binod Ojha.

The Jaynagar-Kurtha rail line was originally built during the British Raj to transport logs from forests at Mahottari, Nepal to India.

At that time, the line from Jaynagar in Bihar to Bijulpura in Mahottari was 52 kms long.

The 69-km Jaynagar-Janakpur-Bardibas railway is being built at a cost of Rs10 billion with support from the Indian government.

According to the Nepali media reports, the railway track is being built in three phases. The 35-km-long first section of the rail line links Jaynagar and Kurtha in Mahottari district. The 17-km-long second section will link Kurtha and Bhangaha while the third phase is 17-km-long and will extend from Bhangaha to Bardibas.

GMR, Adani Among 20 Firms Keen In Redeveloping New Delhi Railway Station

France’s state-owned railway company SNCF, the GMR Group and the Adani Group are among 20 entities that have shown interest in redeveloping the New Delhi railway station into a world-class multimodal hub.

At a pre-bid meeting on Tuesday, around 20 national and international firms — such as the SNCF, the Arabian Construction Company, the GMR, the Adani Group, the JKB Infra, Anchorage Infrastructure — participated.

The project, being implemented by the Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA), is estimated to cost ₹ 6,500 crore and will be completed in around four years.

“The redevelopment of New Delhi Railway Station has attracted interest from leading global firms,” RLDA Vice Chairman Ved Parkash Dudeja said.

The objective of the ambitious project is to position the New Delhi railway station as a multimodal hub through upgradation of the infrastructure and provision of state-of-the-art amenities such as an elevated concourse, a multi-level car parking and much more facilities.

The project would be developed on a Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) model for a concession period of 60 years.

“The project aims to transform New Delhi Railway Station into a world-class transit hub, in line with the Prime Minister’s vision of New India. This station will be a one-stop destination for retail, commercial and hospitality. It will also boost real estate and ensure cascading development of New Delhi and surrounding regions,” Mr Dudeja said.

The concessionaire will earn revenues from several components including passenger handling fees collected via ticket sales, revenues from passenger facilities within the station such as retail areas, lounges, parking, advertisement spaces, food and beverages, income from the development and lease of the commercial components to name a few, the RLDA said in a statement.

The phased exercise encompasses redevelopment of station and associated infrastructure, relocation of social infrastructure as well as the refurbishment of offices and quarters.

Other aspects include developing food courts and restrooms, an elevated concourse with segregation for arriving and departing passengers, and refurbished platforms with easy access from the concourse level.

The redevelopment plan also envisions mezzanine level exclusively for passenger facilities such as lounges, an elevated road network with multiple entry and exit points.

Green building provisions such as optimum use of natural ventilation and lighting will also be a key highlight of the redeveloped station.

New Delhi Railway Station is the largest and second busiest station in the country and handles approximately 4.5 lakh passengers daily (approximately 160 -170 million passengers annually).

The station handles 400 trains per day which are expected to increase due to higher operational efficiencies resulting from the redevelopment and better yard utilization.

The RLDA is currently working on 62 stations in a phased manner while its subsidiary, IRSDC has taken up another 61 stations for redevelopment.

In the first phase, the RLDA has prioritised prominent stations like New Delhi, Tirupati, Dehradun, Nellore, and Puducherry for redevelopment.

Railway stations across the country will be redeveloped on a PPP Model as a part of Smart City Projects launched by the government.

The RLDA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Railways for development of vacant railway land for commercial use in line with the objective to generate revenue by non-tariff measures.

Currently, the approximately 43,000 hectares of Railways land are lying vacant.

The RLDA has over 79 sites across India for leasing and the eligible developers for each will be selected through an open and transparent bid process.

The RLDA is currently also handling 84 railway colony redevelopment projects and has recently leased out a railway colony in Guwahati for redevelopment.

Railways To Run 20 Pairs Of Clone Trains From September 21

The Railways Tuesday said it will run 20 pairs of clone trains from September 21, most of them to and from Bihar.

While the tickets for 19 pairs of these trains will be charged at the Humsafar Express rates, it will be at par with the Janshatabdi Express rates for the clone train between Lucknow and Delhi.

The advance reservation period for these trains will be 10 days and the booking will open at 8 am on September 19, the Railways said.
In a media briefing recently, Railway Board chairman V K Yadav had said the national transporter will operate clone trains on the routes that have a long waiting list, so that the passengers with such
tickets can travel.

These clone trains will run ahead of the actual trains so that passengers have no problem in travelling.

On Tuesday, the Railways said that these trains will operate on notified timings and will be fully reserved services.

While the 19 pairs of Humsafar Express trains will be of 18 coaches, the Lucknow-Delhi train will have 22 coaches.

According to the list of trains being run by the Railways, 10 trains (5 pairs) will operate between Bihar and Delhi under the East Central Railways.

These trains will originate and terminate in Bihar’s Saharsa, Rajendra Nagar, Rajgir, Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur.

The two trains operating under the Northeast Frontier Railway are also from Bihar: Katihar to Delhi and back.

The Northern Railway will also run 10 trains (5 pairs) which will operate between Delhi and Bihar and back, West Bengal to Delhi, Punjab to West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh to Delhi among others.

The South Central Railway will operate two trains between Danapur (Bihar) to Secunderabad and back.

The South Western Railway will operate 6 trains (3 pairs) between Goa and Delhi, Karnataka-Bihar and Karnataka-Delhi.

The Western Railway will run 10 trains (5 pairs) between Bihar (Darbhanga)-Gujarat(Ahmedabad), Delhi-Gujarat, Bihar (Chhapra) to Gujarat (Surat), Mumbai-Punjab, Gujarat(Ahmedabad)-Bihar (Patna)
These trains will run in addition to the 310 special trains already in service and their stoppages will be limited to operational halt or the Divisional Headquarters en-route (if any).

The suggestions of state governments may also be kept while restricting the halts, the national transporter said.

Why 2030 is big year for Indian Railways

Commerce, Industry and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that “By 2030 we will be a net-zero railway, our carbon emission will be zero. Indian Railways transports nearly 8 billion passengers and 1.2 billion tonnes of freight every year. Ours will be the world’s first Railways of this scale to go green.”

Indian Railways also plans to use its surplus land to generate 20 GW of renewable energy from ‘Made in India’ solar or wind equipment to power its network. Goyal said Indian Railways will be a 100 percent electricity-driven rail network in coming years which would make it the largest such network in the world.

He was addressing CEEW India’s programme on ‘Powering Livelihoods: Transforming India’s Rural Economy with Clean Energy Solutions’. The railways may need to either expand battery storage or other forms of storage for this, he said.

Goyal on Monday also reviewed the progress of the ambitious Dedicated Freight Corridors, and was apprised that the Western Corridor, connecting Dadri in Uttar Pradesh to Jawaharlal Nehru Port (JNPT) in Mumbai, and the Eastern Corridor, starting from Sahnewal near Ludhiana (Punjab) to terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal, will be completed by December 2021.

“He suggested that involving young fresh minds to suggest best solutions may be encouraged,” the ministry said. “During the meeting, it was decided that strict monitoring of work of all contractors be done. Resolution of all issues, including coordination with the states, to be done on a mission mode. Innovative mechanisms to constantly monitor the weekly progress of the project to be evolved,” it said.

With the need for public transit increasing with each passing year, there has also been a rise in demand for faster transit causing the evolution to superfast trains, but only select countries have pulled them off, here are a few

Kolkata Metro To Run Special Services For NEET Aspirants On September 13

In a bid to ease travel woes of several thousand National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) aspirants, the Metro Railway in Kolkata has decided to operate special services on September 13, an official said on Wednesday. This service will be exclusively for medical entrance examinees and their guardians, Metro Railway spokesperson Indrani Banerjee said

Examinees will have to show NEET admit cards at the gates of Metro stations, she said. Normal Metro services were suspended due to lockdown announced in March and efforts are on to restart operations soon.

“No token will be issued to commuters and only printed card tickets will be issued to the bonafide students and their guardians,” Ms Banerjee said.

A total of 66 trains – 33 each in up and down directions – will run on September 13 from 11 am to 7 pm from the two terminal stations, Noapara and Kavi Subhash. These services will be available in every 15 minutes, she said.

Candidates for Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) had faced a tough time reaching exam centres due to lack of transport facilities earlier this month.

14 Children Trafficked From Bihar Rescued In Delhi, 10 Arrested

The Railway unit of the Delhi Police has rescued 14 children allegedly trafficked from different districts of Bihar to Delhi and arrested 10 people, officials said today.

As per protocol, the rescued children who are in the age group of 12-14 years have been taken to a quarantine centre in south Delhi’s Lajpat Nagar, they said.

The matter came to notice after an information was received from an NGO on September 7 about 14 children being brought to Delhi by Mahananda Express Train from different districts of Bihar, a senior police official said.

A joint operation was launched at the Old Delhi Railway Station by police along with NGO Bachpan Bacho Andolan, Salam Balak Trust and RPF personnel.

The team kept a vigil on the movement of passengers and closely monitored the CCTV cameras to see any suspicious movement, he said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Railways) Harendra K Singh said “Ten persons were detained and 14 children accompanying them were rescued. These children were medically examined and taken to quarantine centre, Lajpat Nagar.”

“They were produced before the Child Welfare Committee through video conferencing. Based on their statements before the committee, a case was registered and the ten accused persons were arrested,” he added.

During interrogation, the accused disclosed that the children belong to different districts of Bihar.

Among those rescued, nine children are from Katihar, two from Begusarai, two from Kishanganj and one from Purnia. They had planned to take them to different places including four to Azadpur and two to Seelampur in Delhi, two to Faridabad in Haryana and six to Punjab, he said.

Due to the shortage of labourers amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the traffickers saw an opportunity to get the children employed in factories and targeted poor families in Bihar, the DCP said.

Restart Migrant Trains From Odisha, Minister Urges Colleague Piyush Goyal

Within days of a road accident that killed seven migrant workers travelling from Odisha’s Ganjam to cloth mills in Gujarat, Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has urged Railways Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to restart Special Shramik trains from his home state so people can “safely return to work” and “help restart the economy”.

In his letter to Mr Goyal, the Petroleum Minister – who is an MP from Odisha – said he was making the representation on behalf of Ganjam’s migrant workers seeking to return to the industrial states of Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

“There was a mass exodus of migrant workers from states like Gujarat, Karnataka, and Maharashtra to Odisha in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown… These workers have highlighted their plights due to the unavailability of livelihood options and difficulty in travelling back to their workplace for re-joining work. Even though some employers are willing to offer bus transport service from Odisha, a long and arduous journey via road is neither feasible nor safe for such long distances due to prevailing monsoon conditions,” Mr Pradhan wrote.

He further emphasised that there is a need to resume rail services – which continue to remain suspended since before the nationwide coronavirus lockdown started on March 22 – for migrant workers “keeping in mind the need to re-ignite our economy”.

“I request your personal intervention for restarting of Shramik Special Trains from Odisha to states like Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra at the earliest,” the Petroleum Minister said in his letter.

The request comes even as the Railways plans to start, from September 12, 80 new trains in the reverse direction of the Shramik Special trains to help migrants return to work.

The Shramik Special trains were started to facilitate return of migrant workers, left jobless amid the coronavirus lockdown, to their home states after lakhs of them started walking back because all public transportation services stood suspended.

The request comes even as the Railways plans to start, from September 12, 80 new trains in the reverse direction of the Shramik Special trains to help migrants return to work.

The Shramik Special trains were started to facilitate return of migrant workers, left jobless amid the coronavirus lockdown, to their home states after lakhs of them started walking back because all public transportation services stood suspended.

Kolkata Metro To Give Colour-Coded E-Passes To Maximum 400 Per Train

A colour-coded e-pass system using a mobile phone has been developed by a technology solutions company in Kolkata for ensuring that a maximum of 400 passengers board a Metro Railway train in the city to maintain COVID-19 health safety protocol after it resumes service.

Sanjay Chatterjee, network and security solutions head of Ideation Technology, which was asked by the Metro authorities to develop the system, said that a bot-based (web robot) technology will be used to generate e-passes that will be colour-coded to ensure that only authorised passengers enter the stations at a given time in order to maintain the maximum passenger count.

“The main challenge was to come up with a solution which can be easily used by people – those who have smartphones and also those who have analogue phones; without installing any app,” he told PTI.

“So we came up with a simple technology, we have developed a system similar to that of Whatsapp or Facebook Messenger, wherein one can start it by just clicking open a link,” Mr Chatterjee said.

He said that a bot is being used for the purpose wherein it will ask the intending passenger his or her name, the boarding station, destination and the preferred time slot.

A passenger will be given a total of five questions, including one on language option, which he has to answer using the link in the mobile phone.

Mr Chatterjee said that the passengers will have three language options – Bengali, Hindi and English.

“The Metro authorities have told us that a maximum of 400 passengers can be carried in a train at any point of time, based on that either the chosen time slot will be given and if the number of passengers has already reached the threshold, a different time slot will be asked for from the intending passenger,” he said, adding that the process will not take more than 10 to 12 seconds.

Mr Chatterjee said that on the basis of availability, QR code will be generated immediately and e-pass will be given online to the user.

He said that the e-passes will be colour coded based on the hourly time slots.

“The colour code will help easy validation by security personnel of the e-passes as per the time slots and thus avoid queues at the entry points at stations,” Mr Chatterjee said.

He said that for example, if yellow colour code is being used for a particular hour slot, a passenger with a different colour-coded e-pass will not be allowed to enter a station at the time.

The West Bengal government last week proposed developing a system to issue e-passes to commuters for entering Metro Railway stations during a meeting between senior Metro and state officials to ensure maintenance of social distancing norms.

Senior officials of the Metro Railway and the state government met for the second time on Friday last to discuss the modalities regarding maintaining social distancing norms and crowd management, according to a Metro spokesperson.

The developer of the system for issuing e-passes explained it to the committee during the meeting, the spokesperson said.

Metro Railway general manager Manoj Joshi has said that the final date for resumption of the city’s rapid transit system will be fixed shortly.

The Union Home Ministry has issued Unlock 4 guidelines under which Metro railway services in cities will be allowed to resume from September 7 in a graded manner.

The West Bengal government had written to the Railway Board seeking resumption of Metro and suburban train services in a limited manner maintaining the norms of physical distancing and health and hygiene protocols.

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